Philosophy, Poetry, Science, & Scandal
Paris, 1933: three contemporaries meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are the young Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and longtime friend Raymond Aron, a fellow philosopher who raves to them about a new conceptual framework from Berlin called Phenomenology. “You see,” he says, “if you are a phenomenologist you can talk about this cocktail and make philosophy out of it!”
It was this simple phrase that would ignite a movement, inspiring Sartre to integrate Phenomenology into his own French, humanistic sensibility, thereby creating an entirely new philosophical approach inspired by themes of radical freedom, authentic being, and political activism.
Poet Glyn Maxwell wakes up in a mysterious village one autumn day. He has no idea how he got there–is he dead? In a coma? Dreaming?–but he has a strange feeling there’s a class to teach. And isn’t that the poet Keats wandering down the lane? Why not ask him to give a reading, do a Q and A, hit the pub with the students afterwards. Soon the whole of the autumn term stretches ahead, with Byron, Yeats and Emily Dickinson, the Brontes, the Brownings, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Wilfred Owen, and many more all on their way to give readings in the humble village hall.
The existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre once declared “the ideal limit of aquatic sports . . . is waterskiing.” The avid surfer and lavishly credentialed academic philosopher Aaron James vigorously disagrees, and in Surfing with Sartre he intends to expound the thinking surfer’s view of the matter, in the process elucidating such philosophical categories as freedom, being, phenomenology, morality, epistemology, and even the emerging values of what he terms “leisure capitalism.
Aaron James is the author of the immensely successful Assholes: A Theory.
Heiress to the nearly forty-billion-dollar L’Oraeal fortune, Liliane Bettencourt is the world’s richest woman and the fourteenth wealthiest person. But her gilded life has taken a dark yet fascinating turn in the past decade. At ninety-four, she’s now embroiled in what has been called the Bettencourt Affair, a scandal that dominated the headlines in France.
The legendary biologist and bestselling author mounts a timely and passionate defense of science and clear thinking with this career-spanning collection of essays, including twenty pieces published in the United States for the first time.