I became acquainted with philosophy and literature at age fifteen. Until then, I was interested mainly in sports, like other American youngsters. But when I stumbled across a world history textbook, a textbook that had been written for youngsters, the whole world of culture was suddenly revealed to me. The historical personage who caught my imagination most was... Continue
On the Writer as Father Figure
The Dostoyevsky-Nietzsche Equation
Nietzsche’s Break With Schopenhauer
Nietzsche and Freud on Morality
Nietzsche’s Big Idea: Morality = Decadence
More on Nietzsche
The conventional view is that Shakespeare was a man from the small, country town of Stratford. Many people, however, reject the conventional view, and argue that Shakespeare was the pen name of... Continue
Oxford vs. Stratford: A Short Introduction
Why Stratfordians Are So Stubborn
Shakespeare: Objective or Subjective?
Hamlet’s Dark Side
Shakespeare’s Secret Son: The Prince Tudor Theory
Realms of Gold: A Sketch of Western Literature
Descartes and Pascal
Other French Philosophers
Other British Philosophers
Lichtenberg, Kant and Hegel
Weininger and Spengler
Mann, Hesse, and Goethe
Other Russian Writers
Other English Writers
Robert Louis Stevenson
E. M. Forster
D. H. Lawrence
G. B. Edwards
Shaw and Wells
Chesterton and Belloc
Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene
Wodehouse and Christie
Other French Writers
Three Spanish Writers
Marquez & Coelho
James Fenimore Cooper
Lovecraft & Co.
Clarke and Heinlein
Arthur Machen and
J. D. Salinger and John Williams
Middle-Eastern and Indian Poets
Isaac Bashevis Singer
G. M. Trevelyan
Napoleon and Hitler
Goitein and Grunebaum
Other Modern Historians
Biographies and Autobiographies
Other Art Historians
Bloom and Edmundson
Morris and Lorenz
Laurens van der Post
Lovejoy, Kuhn, and the History of Science
Newsletter on Philosophy & Literature
The newsletter (known as Phlit) is released every 2-8 weeks. Click here for the latest issues.
Everything Is Connected
I spoke recently to a woman who, with her boyfriend’s help, had built a house with her own hands. Neither of them had ever built a house before, and neither of them had much carpentry experience. It was to be a small, simple house, but for them, it was a big project. Continue
From Conversations With Great Thinkers:
The Philosophy of Today is both a religion and a philosophy; it satisfies both spiritual needs and intellectual demands. It has given up on traditional religion, monotheistic religion. It doesn’t believe in a Creator God, a Ruling God, a Judging God. But it also is wary of atheism because it believes that the universe is suffused with energy, power, mystery, even a kind of consciousness. Continue
Reader Reactions to Conversations With Great Thinkers:
Arthur Waldron, Lauder Professor of Int’l Relations, U. of Pennsylvania: “A unique and fascinating book, a rare modern example of philosophy the way it was written before professionalization.”
Dong Leshan, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences: “I read the book at one breath, and liked it very much. Every chapter contains flashes of wisdom. It’s the product of wide reading and deep thinking.”
Dispute With Analytic Philosophers
In September, 1994, I began using the Internet. I joined a group called PHILOSOP, which described itself as a “Philosophy Discussion Forum.” Most of the members of the group were philosophy professors. After I had been in PHILOSOP a few days, I posted the following message: Continue
Philosophy Talks on YouTube
Click here for a series of videos on the Philosophy of Today.
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See what others have said about this website. Send your own feedback. Continue
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Decadence and Renaissance
(Chapter 14 of Conversations With Great Thinkers)
|1. Organisms have life- and death-instincts.
|2. Society is an organism.
|3. Society has life- and death-instincts.
|4. When the life-instinct is predominant in a society, the result is a renaissance-type society; when the death-instinct is predominant in a society, the result is a decadent society.
|5. When the death-instinct in a society reaches an extreme, it turns into its opposite, the life-instinct.
|6. Decadence, or the death-instinct, has now reached an extreme in most Western societies.
|7. The death-instinct, having reached an extreme in most Western societies, will now turn into its opposite, the life-instinct. Thus, most Western societies are at the start of a renaissance.
Travels & Memoirs
A Connecticut Yankee in the Land of the Dragon
Ten Days in France
Two Weeks in England
Two Weeks in Italy
Two Weeks in Prague & Germany
Summer on Nantucket
My Youth in China, by Yafei Hu and L. James Hammond
A Baby From China
A Week in Saint Martin
A Caribbean Cruise
The Inca Trail
When I Was A Girl: The Memoirs of Louisa Ashley Hammond, 1831-1912
History & Current Events
Donald Trump: A Dialogue
Greeks & Romans
Jihad Philosophy: Qutb & Shariati
Who Shot John F. Kennedy?
Leo Strauss and George W. Bush
The Weekly Standard
A Philosopher’s Notebook: Quotations and Commentary
Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it. --Emerson
Passages from Proust, arranged by subject
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American philosopher, best known for his Essays
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), emperor of France; these selections are from books on Napoleon
José Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955), Spanish philosopher, best known for his Revolt of the Masses
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), American philosopher, best known as the author of Walden
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