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Philosophical Temperaments: From Plato to Foucault

Peter Sloterdijk; Translated by Thomas Dunlap with a foreword by Creston Davis

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Paper, 136 pages,
ISBN: 978-0-231-15373-7
$19.95 / £13.95

May, 2013
Cloth, 136 pages,
ISBN: 978-0-231-15372-0
$59.50 / £41.00

Peter Sloterdijk turns his keen eye to the history of western thought, conducting colorful readings of the lives and ideas of the world’s most influential intellectuals. Featuring nineteen vignettes rich in personal characterizations and theoretical analysis, Sloterdijk’s companionable volume casts the development of philosophical thinking not as a buildup of compelling books and arguments but as a lifelong, intimate struggle with intellectual and spiritual movements, filled with as many pitfalls and derailments as transcendent breakthroughs.

Sloterdijk delves into the work and times of Aristotle, Augustine, Bruno, Descartes, Foucault, Fichte, Hegel, Husserl, Kant, Kierkegaard, Leibniz, Marx, Nietzsche, Pascal, Plato, Sartre, Schelling, Schopenhauer, and Wittgenstein. He provocatively juxtaposes Plato against shamanism and Marx against Gnosticism, revealing both the vital external influences shaping these intellectuals’ thought and the excitement and wonder generated by the application of their thinking in the real world. The philosophical “temperament” as conceived by Sloterdijk represents the uniquely creative encounter between the mind and a diverse array of cultures. It marks these philosophers’ singular achievements and the special dynamic at play in philosophy as a whole. Creston Davis’s introduction details Sloterdijk’s own temperament, surveying the celebrated thinker’s intellectual context, rhetorical style, and philosophical persona.

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About the Author

Peter Sloterdijk is professor of aesthetics and philosophy at the Institute of Design in Karlsruhe and teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. His numerous works include The Art of Philosophy: Wisdom as a Practice; Rage and Time: A Psychopolitical Investigation; and the best-selling Critique of Cynical Reason.

Thomas Dunlap is also the translator of Wolfgang Benz’s A Concise History of the Third Reich and Michael Stolleis’s A History of Public Law in Germany, 1914–1945.

Creston Davis is professor of philosophy at the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities in Skopje, Macedonia.

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