- Title: Happiness, Death, and the Remainder of Life
- Author: Jonathan Lear
- ISBN: 9780674006744
- Page: 191
- Format: Paperback
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Separated by millennia, Aristotle and Sigmund Freud gave us disparate but compelling pictures of the human condition But if, with Jonathan Lear, we scrutinize these thinkers attempts to explain human behavior in terms of a higher principle whether happiness or death the pictures fall apart Aristotle attempted to ground ethical life in human striving for happiness, yetSeparated by millennia, Aristotle and Sigmund Freud gave us disparate but compelling pictures of the human condition But if, with Jonathan Lear, we scrutinize these thinkers attempts to explain human behavior in terms of a higher principle whether happiness or death the pictures fall apart Aristotle attempted to ground ethical life in human striving for happiness, yet he didn t understand what happiness is any better than we do Happiness became an enigmatic, always unattainable, means of seducing humankind into living an ethical life Freud fared no better when he tried to ground human striving, aggression, and destructiveness in the death drive, like Aristotle attributing purpose where none exists Neither overarching principle can guide or govern the remainder of life, in which our inherently disruptive unconscious moves in breaks and swerves to affect who and how we are Lear exposes this tendency to self disruption for what it is an opening, an opportunity for new possibilities His insights have profound consequences not only for analysis but for our understanding of civilization and its discontent.
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Lear contrasts the overarching principles of Aristotelian happiness and Freudian death instinct as would-be explanations for all of human psychology, pointing out that they don't cover everything and that there are always exceptions or "breaks" in the narrative. This is the "remainder" in his book title."The answer to the question ‘What is happiness?’ [in Aristotle’s Ethics] is that it is a ‘something’ that lies outside the ethical life itself. Now the point of the ethical life is to g [...]
The question "What is the purpose of our existence?" longs for an overarching principle that can encompass all human striving. But what if there isn't such a principle to human existence? What if we have to tolerate, as Lear says, a peculiar kind of anxiety, which is to tolerate life without a principle?If you're interested in psychoanalysis and philosophy, and the question of why we sometimes desire a meaning of life, this is a very intriguing read. Lear offers an interesting perspective on why [...]
These three lectures are essential reading for those interested in the irrational, perverse, and self-destructive capacities of the human animal. Lear furnishes thoughtful, overlapping readings of Plato, Aristotle, and Freud to reveal the ongoing relevance of psychoanalysis. Along the way, he offers a wealth of critical insights. (For example, he points out that Plato's Allegory of the Cave is a kind of elegy to Socrates; it explicitly states that the person who leads the cave-dwellers out of da [...]
This book draws on Classical resources in order to use understandings of happiness and sadness as they are communicated through the ages. Plato figures in largely throughout the text, and accepting the majority of his views is necessary in order to keep yourself from pulling out your hair. If that is something you can do, then, by all means, take a peek through these pages. The author brings the argument into Kant and tests the waters with slightly more contemporary influences, but his associati [...]
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