We’ve come again to a new month, which means it’s time to figure out what you want to read next, and the best way to read is with company, so go join Not School (read about it!) to have some people to read with.
Firm groups for May are as follows:
1. First off, everyone contemplating some philosophy reading who has yet to really make the plunge should join the Intro Readings in Philosophy group, which established and well praised Hilary Szydlowski will be leading (she ran it in February) to cover Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Sections II and VII. The text is free, the reading is manageable, the instruction will be a bit more hands-on than in other groups (in which there’s really no “instruction” to speak of, this being Not School), so there’s no excuse not to get in there and participate.
2. One on Heidegger’s Basic Writings, starting right now with his essay “The Origin of the Work of Art” and probably working on another essay for mid-month.
3. A new existentialism group intended to be ongoing, I believe starting with the essay “Existentialism is a Humanism” (which will certainly be covered in a PEL episode some time in the next five months). That essay is very breezy, and some of other titles floated there for future coverage include The Stranger, so this sounds like a fun one to get into on the ground floor.
4. Gary’s media ecology group will be moving toward a discussion of semantics, covering S.I. Hayawaka’s Language in Thought and Action. This seems to have been a very fun group for April and is set to continue through the next two months at least.
5. There looks to be a new Levinas group, led by Will Yate who’s also continuing the Merleau-Ponty group. The Levinas group will cover about 10 pages of “God and Philosophy” per week; this should be a great introduction to this difficult thinker. I see there are only a couple of members so far, but Will is a diligent fellow and I’m sure will soldier on regardless, so you should join and glom onto his energy.
Also continuing are the groups on William James’ Essays in Radical Empiricism, Gilles Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition, the aesthetics group on Graham Gordon’s Philosophy of the Arts: An Introduction to Aesthetics, and the ethics group on Susan Neiman’s Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy. I’m guessing that the philosophy of mind and fiction and philosophy groups are continuing as well but don’t appear to have picked new books for May yet, so you can get in there now to influence their decisions. Or why not go try to revive the philosophy and physics group? Or get some new folks to read Deleuze’s What Is Philosophy? now that the PEL episode on that is immanent? Or go propose something brand new! If you think Continental philosophy is overexposed here, go propose some hard-hitting analytic stuff. If you think some topic has been unfairly glossed over by PEL, having a group on it is just about the best way to convince us that there’s something there we should check out. If you’re just sick of waiting for us to get around to some long-ago announced topic (Ayn Rand, anyone? Rawls and Nozick? Gadamer or Ricouer?), go start reading it now! Go go go!