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Agents of uncertainty

Mysticism, scepticism, Buddhism, art and poetry


John Danvers

Through an analysis of many different examples, Danvers articulates a new way of thinking about mysticism and scepticism, not as opposite poles of the philosophical spectrum, but as two fields of enquiry with overlapping aims and methods. Prompted by a deep sense of wonder at being alive, many mystics and sceptics, like the Buddha, practice disciplines of doubt in order to become free of attachment to fixed appearances, essences and viewpoints, and in doing so they find peace and equanimity. They develop ways of living with impermanence and the unexpected by letting go of adherence to dogmatic beliefs and by suspending judgement. In common with many artists and poets they act as agents of uncertainty, actively disturbing the routines and habits of day-to-day thought and behaviour in order to demonstrate how to maintain a sense of balance and spontaneity in the midst of life’s difficulties. Topics explored include: being and self as process; mysticism and language; scepticism and dogmatism; Buddhism, interdependence and emptiness; Daoism and impermanence; dialectics of doubt in art and poetry. Written in a lively and accessible style, accompanied by drawings and photographs by the author, this volume is aimed at scholars, artists, teachers, and anyone interested in philosophy, religion, art, poetry and ways of being.


Lourens Minnema

Evil is like the romantic "sublime": it is beyond the limit, beyond the range and limits within which human nature can cope with reality and find balance. Evil generates a disproportionate lack of human balance. But the responses it evokes are disproportionate as well. They have been contaminated by the disproportionality evil brings about. The evil to which Hamlet is exposed in Shakespeare's Hamlet consists of fratricide, illegitimate succession, and incest. The coping strategy Hamlet is expected to practice is revenge. Does revenge represent a coping strategy that has the potential to balance the political, social, moral, and psychological wrong brought about by human evil? Shakespeare's work, and Hamlet in particular, tells the story of evil's complexities. Twelve literary critics will shed their light on Shakespeare's sense of tragic revenge.

Nietzsche, the Aristocratic Rebel

Intellectual Biography and Critical Balance-Sheet


Domenico Losurdo

Perhaps no philosopher is more of a conundrum than Nietzsche, the solitary rebel, poet, wayfarer, anti-revolutionary Aufklärer and theorist of aristocratic radicalism. His accusers identify in his ‘superman’ the origins of Nazism, and thus issue an irrevocable condemnation; his defenders pursue a hermeneutics of innocence founded ultimately in allegory. In a work that constitutes the most important contribution to Nietzschean studies in recent decades, Domenico Losurdo instead pursues a less reductive strategy. Taking literally the ruthless implications of Nietzsche's anti-democratic thinking – his celebration of slavery, of war and colonial expansion, and eugenics – he nevertheless refuses to treat these from the perspective of the mid-twentieth century. In doing so, he restores Nietzsche’s works to their complex nineteenth-century context, and presents a more compelling account of the importance of Nietzsche as philosopher than can be expected from his many contemporary apologists.

Originally published in Italian by Bollati Boringhieri Editore as Domenico Losurdo, Nietzsche, il ribelle aristocratico: Biografia intellettuale e bilancio critico, Turin, 2002.


Francien Markx

In this first monograph on E. T. A. Hoffmann and opera, Francien Markx examines Hoffmann’s writings on opera and the challenges they pose to established narratives of aesthetic autonomy, the search for a national opera, and Hoffmann’s biography. Markx discusses Hoffmann’s lifelong fascination with opera against the backdrop of eighteenth-century theater reform, the creation of national identity, contemporary performance practices and musical and aesthetic discourses as voiced by C. M. von Weber, A. W. Schlegel, Heine, and Wagner, among others. The book reconsiders the traditional view that German opera followed a deterministic trajectory toward Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk and reveals a cosmopolitan spirit in Hoffmann’s operatic vision, most notably exemplified by his controversial advocacy for Spontini in Berlin.


Iris Seri-Hersch

’s character “effective” and meaningful. They warned against the dangers of a lack of balance in developing certain qualities (e.g. self-confidence) at the expense of others (helpfulness). A picture of general aims in life could help the individual to balance his character. 63 Interestingly, Griffiths and


Stephan Guth

how long and if he will regain emotional balance abroad; and Émilie decides to spend the rest of her life in a monastery as a nun. Emotionalist aspects can also be observed elsewhere in Way , for example in some passages, woven into the text, on poetical criticism. In these, al-Khūrī(‘s narrator


Francesca Bellino

Istānbūl Markaz al-abḥāth li-l-ta⁠ʾrīkh wa-l-funūn wa-l-thaqāfa al-islāmiyya 2010 6 266 Ḥājjī Khalīfa Muṣṭafā ibn ʿAbdallāh The Balance of Truth Kātib Chelebi G. L


Katharina Ivanyi

iqtiṣād in the Ṭarīqa is significant, with Birgivī defining virtue—in classic Aristotelian fashion—as the golden mean between two extremes and thus as a point of moderation or balance. Part two ( al-bāb al-thānī ) of the Ṭarīqa is divided into three chapters, just like part one. The first of these


Cat Moir

. 97 In 1863, he would speculate that in order to maintain nutrient cycles in a sustainable balance, it would be necessary to collect all the excrement of the town and return it to each farmer proportionally to the volume of produce he had supplied. 98 Liebig’s discovery of artificial fertilizers as