Monthly Archives: March 2013

Dostoyevsky on truth

Photo of F. Dostoevsky Русский: Фёдор Михайлов...

Photo of F. Dostoevsky Русский: Фёдор Михайлович Достоевский Suomi: Fjodor Mihailovitš Dostojevski Svenska: Fjodor Dostojevskij (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“To make the truth more plausible, it’s absolutely necessary to mix a bit of falsehood with it.”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons

I love this quote for two reasons.

Firstly, Dostoyevsky has always been my favourite author – he is a masterful storyteller.

Secondly, although my current writing project is non-fiction and based on historical research, I am looking for the story amongst the facts. And so it reminds me I must use a little imagination to make the truth more plausible


March 9, 2013 · 10:24 pm

Mind Mapping

One tool I have found useful in the conceptualisation phase of my writing project was mind mapping. A mind map helps you to ‘see’ the conceptual framework for your book or other large project. The free mind mapping app I used was Simplemind Free which can be found at the Mac Appstore. Using this app I created a mind map for my book which you can view by clicking on LOVERS OF PHILOSOPHYmindmap.

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What Lovers of Philosophy is about

They were Europe’s greatest thinkers. But what were they like at life? In particular, did their highly developed capacity for critical thinking help or hinder their ability to have relationships with other human beings? Were they superior in their ability to succeed in having mutually fulfilling intimate relationships, or did they flounder just as much as we mere mortals?

Lovers of Philosophy is an exploration of the love lives of the great European philosophers from Kant to Derrida. It introduces the philosophy of Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Foucault and Derrida; and examines whether their deep pondering on the meaning of life helped them to be any better at living and loving than we non-philosophers. Their lovers tell us what these philosophers were really like. We hear from Simone de Beauvoir about Sartre; from Hannah Arendt about Heidegger. We hear about the so-called continental philosophers’ peccadillos, mistresses, fetishes and foibles. These stories are told against the background of the bigger story of the momentous changes that have occurred in Europe in the past three hundred years, and how these philosophers initiated, and responded to the scientific, social, economic and political revolutions of modern times.

By exploring of these philosophers’ lives, the reader is taken on a journey through the intriguing world of continental thought from the 1700s to the 21st century. Starting with the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, the book chronicles the evolution of European philosophy from German idealism through to French existentialism, structuralism and post-modernist thought.

By drawing on historical research, the relationship between each philosopher’s love life and their work is examined. As well as their individual philosophies, there is an exploration of Kant’s celibacy, Hegel’s premarital liaisons, Nietzsche’s heartbreak, Heidegger’s hypocrisy, Sartre’s experiments in promiscuous polyamory, Foucault’s exploration of gay liberation, and Derrida’s dalliance in extramarital intimacy; as well as the role of marriage and long-term relationships in the lives and works of these intellectuals.


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Derrida on the lovers of philosophy

Cover of "Derrida"

Cover of Derrida

Amy Ziering Kofman:
If you were to watch a documentary about a philosopher – Heidegger, Kant or Hegel, what would you like to see in it?

Their sex lives. If you want a quick answer. I would like to hear them speak about their sexual lives. I would like to hear them speak about it. What is the sexual life of Hegel or Heidegger?

Derrida. Dir. Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering Kofman. Zeitgeist Films. 2002. Film⁠1



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March 8, 2013 · 1:01 pm