On Practical Reasoning

From Insouciance in Deliberation (1899):  To really deliberate, that is, to vividly imagine oneself persisting into one future, adjusting that mysterious stew of antecedent beliefs and evaluative biases (which may, of course, just be two Gestalten of the very same essence) in such a way that the resultant future “self” is one wants to assume is…

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Hallowed Hollowness

From “Hallowed Hollowness: On Machines and Modernity”: “The modern man of science wonders to himself, “If I were to arrange things thus-and-so, how would y then be?” But what the scientist fails to see is that this is just the manipulation of what is arbitrary [eigenmächtig], rearrangement of labels chosen for their aesthetic charm and not for…

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On the Aim of Reason

“Knowledge, for Reason, is but a passing stage. Once, through its effortful striving, it has reached knowledge of the world entire, Reason coagulates into a knowing that knows itself. Knowledge is the being of Reason, and having reached being, Reason can act no more. When nothing escapes its gaze, and every corner of the world…

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Maria von Klemperer

He courted her in the cruelly hot summer of 1867 when he was stationed outside Linz. From a youthful diary entry: “She wanted to be expressive, yes, but her cheeks, surging with ever more pliant flesh as she lumberingly metamorphosed into what every lady of the Bildungsbürgertum must eventually become (immovable), made even wrath (she hated it when I forgot…

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Poem: “Watching the Canvas at the Rijksmuseum”

Meingast travelled to Amsterdam in 1885 to go to the Rijksmuseum, which had just moved into its new building (that “disorienting hodgepodge of Gothic and Renaissance elements”). No one is sure which canvas he was “watching.” A triptych/ three sitting or leaning before an aqua green, faintly mottled curtain/without creases/ a painterly imposition on reality, like the symmetry of…

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On Intuition

“There are hordes of people today who would like us to believe that in their wisest moments they were doing their thinking with the help of some special faculty. Whether one calls it divine illumination or, in the modern fashion, merely intuition, it is a hindrance to real understanding. Nothing is to be gained by…

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