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About the Author

Includes the name: Wolfram EilenBerger

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Works by Wolfram Eilenberger


Common Knowledge



This group biography covers one decade- 1933-1943- in the lives of four exceptionally gifted philosophers who explored the concept of self and other in the shadow of totalitarianism. The book does very well by the dyad of Rand and Weil clearly outlining their opposing philosophies of the self's relationship to society. It helps that the decade covered culminated in Weil and Rand's most influential works. We never quite get to the most influential work by Arendt and Beauvoir though, so it feels like there are important pieces missing from their stories. It's also clear that the author approached Arendt through his earlier work on Walter Benjamin and Heidegger. Often, Benjamin is quoted more in the Arendt chapters than Arendt herself. It's also notable that the fact that all four philosophers were women is barely noted, as if it had no effect on their lives. It is really hard to tell from the writing if that is how they viewed their own relationship to their gender or just a choice by the author. It seems unlikely at least in the case of Beauvoir that gender could play so little role in her life. At any rate you could come to this book with very little knowledge of Rand and Weil and come away with a decent understanding of their philosophy, but you would need both prior knowledge and more research on Beauvoir and Arendt to feel similarly satisfied.… (more)
megacool24 | 3 other reviews | Dec 18, 2023 |
Read a paperback copy in advance of possibly pursuing the TOC Berlin edition. The book is fine, sets out what it wants to do - though if you aren't bound up in 1920s analytic philosophy than you likely won't care. The book presupposes the importance of these events, instead of making a case for them. CS Peirce is mentioned in passing, not even making the index despite anticipating and furthering all these arguments decades earlier.
1 vote
kcshankd | 11 other reviews | Oct 10, 2022 |
In this excellent work of Intellectual History, Eilenberger weaves together the experiences and thought of four German-speaking philosophers during that most consequential period between the wars, when some of the perennial themes in the field (the limits of language, idealism v. realism, metaphysics and ontology) were refashioned by a confrontation with the destabilizing effects of modernism. The narrative treat is seeing how Eilenberger pairs off or pits against each other Cassirer, Benjamin, Heidegger and Wittenstein in various ways—intellectually, domestically, emotionally—and how friends, lovers, job prospects, and physical setting influenced their ideas.… (more)
HectorSwell | 11 other reviews | Feb 5, 2022 |
Not really a book for a person with casual interest in and knowledge of philosophy (meaning me).
hhornblower | 11 other reviews | Jan 1, 2022 |



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Shaun Whiteside Translator.



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