American Philosophy: A Love Story by John Kaag

By John Kaag

The epic knowledge contained in a misplaced library is helping the writer flip his lifestyles around

John Kaag is a dispirited younger thinker at sea in his marriage and his occupation whilst he stumbles upon West Wind, a wreck of an property within the hinterlands of latest Hampshire that belonged to the eminent Harvard thinker William Ernest Hocking. Hocking used to be one of many final precise giants of yankee philosophy and a right away highbrow descendent of William James, the daddy of yank philosophy and psychology, with whom Kaag feels a deep kinship. it truly is James’s query “Is existence worthy living?” that courses this notable book.

The books Kaag discovers within the Hocking library are crawling with bugs and whole of mildew. yet he resolves to revive them, as he instantly acknowledges their significance. not just does the library at West Wind include handwritten notes from Whitman and inscriptions from Frost, yet there are startlingly infrequent first variations of Hobbes, Descartes, and Kant. As Kaag starts to catalog and skim via those worthwhile volumes, he embarks on an exciting trip that leads him to the life-affirming tenets of yankee philosophy—self-reliance, pragmatism, and transcendence—and to an excellent younger Kantian who joins him within the recovery of the Hocking books.

Part highbrow historical past, half memoir, American Philosophy is eventually approximately love, freedom, and the function that knowledge can play in turning one’s lifestyles around.

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