The View of Life: Four Metaphysical Essays with Journal Aphorisms Hardcover – 28 Jan 2011
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"Simmel is the only social theorist one can read anymore."--Max Horkheimer
"Although Simmel has written the most profound and stimulating book in sociology, in my opinion, that has ever been written, he was not in the first instance a sociologist but a philosopher."
--Robert E. Park
"Following World War II, neither in Germany nor the United States did Simmel achieve an intellectual presence that would lead one to suspect the extent of the influence he exerted on his contemporaries."
Simmel is the only social theorist one can read anymore. --Max Horkheimer"
Although Simmel has written the most profound and stimulating book in sociology, in my opinion, that has ever been written, he was not in the first instance a sociologist but a philosopher.
--Robert E. Park"
Following World War II, neither in Germany nor the United States did Simmel achieve an intellectual presence that would lead one to suspect the extent of the influence he exerted on his contemporaries.
About the Author
Georg Simmel (1858-1918) was professor of philosophy at the University of Berlin and, later, at the University of Strasbourg. His many books include The Philosophy of Money, On Social Differentiation, and Rembrandt: An Essay in the Philosophy of Art. John A. Y. Andrews is an information systems consultant for the Rhode Island Department of Human Services. Donald N. Levine is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Chicago and the author of, most recently, Powers of the Mind: The Reinvention of Liberal Learning in America.
Top customer reviews
Here, Simmel outlines his 'philosophy of life' (Lebensphilosophie), inspired by Nietzsche and Bergson, but he integrates his version of Kant's 'forms' and 'contents'. So 'life' is reality which is always moving and taking different shapes (forms) that become obsolete and are surpassed. The ethical essays (the individual law) aim to reconcile the tension between universalism and particularism.
Simmel conceives of the ethical life as a pursuit for the 'mystic'. It is not generalisable. In that, he follows Nietzsche's idea of nobility and eternal recurrence, albeit only up to a point.
It is impossible to summarise and explain briefly. This is Simmel's mature work and requires familiarity with his previous ouvre. Simmel is complex, inconsistent in his language and unsystematic. So it calls for patience and a lot of reading.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I could not figure out what Simmel was trying to say. If someone told me Simmel was parodying the Germanic idealist literary tradition of the time, I would be prepared to believe it. Here is one sentence chosen at random (p. 63): "The inorganic body is distinguished from the living one above all by this: the form that defines it is determined from outside... The organic body, however, produces its form from within."
Well, I do declare! That is really deep and insightful. If you are about eight years old. The whole book reminded me of the movie "Being There" in which Peter Sellers is mentally retarded but everyone takes his pithy statements seriously because he dresses impeccably and has a perfect upper class British accent.
Perhaps some reader will tell me what this book is really all about.
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