Sunday, January 14, 2007
but the winner lose it all someday:
Rutgers Philosophy: number two in the country, son! My brilliant epistemology professor, Peter Klein, remarks, "it was cheaper than funding a physics lab." Meanwhile, my disappointing William James professor, Bruce Wilshire -- the Victor Davis Hanson of philosophy -- wrings his hands: "I'm not sure what anything like this does for us."
--Spencer Ackerman
I love the Library Journal bit at the Amazon link:

Wilshire (philosophy, Rutgers Univ.) argues that addictive behaviors from smoking to overeating to alcoholism result from modern humanity's loss of ecstatic connection with nature and that society can only overcome these difficulties by cultivating nature, religion, and art. This book is not a systematic argument for this position but rather a compendium of autobiographical meditations (some of which do not seem to have any relationship to the rest of the book), literary quotations, and general musings. It does not offer individual treatment suggestions.

VDH, indeed.
Blogger Anderson | 11:14 AM

Why must we pick on poor Victor Hansen? If you want to pick on a classicist who's done some real harm, start with Kagan, whose spawn seems to have spawned the latest absurd Bush policy.

Kagan made a career out of a series of not particularly inspiring books paraphrasing Thucydides plus some wingnut huffiness. He pulls a Joe McCarthy on the late British Marxist scholar Geoffrey de Sainte Croix, who wrote a far more thought provoking book on the same subject.

Hansen has put out a lot of boiler plate in recent years, and the cultivated toughness gets to be a bit much, but books like The Other Greeks are intellectually very serious and contribute to a debate that (as he points out) has largely been conducted in other countries. Beyond that, he takes seriously and treats with respect leftist historians like Moses Finley whose exile to Cambridge I'm sure suited the Kagans of this world just fine.
Blogger Gene O'Grady | 10:23 PM