Bald 35 Philosophical Short Cuts Simon Critchley

Publication date:
20 Apr 2021
Yale University Press
264 pages: 216 x 140mm
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A new and expansive collection of essays from one of the world's best-known popular philosophers
“A genial exercise in public philosophy by an admittedly tonsorially challenged practitioner. . . . Ever current, Critchley closes with a meditation on Covid-19 and the anxieties it induces. . . . Along his path, he pauses to wonder whether philosophy has progressed at all over the centuries; to appreciate David Bowie’s final album, Blackstar; . . . and to allow, with Pascal, that we’re weak and wretched beings but eminently improvable.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

The moderator of the New York Times’ Stone column and the author of numerous books on everything from Greek tragedy to David Bowie, Simon Critchley has been a strong voice in popular philosophy for more than a decade. This volume brings together thirty‑five essays, originally published in the Times, on a wide range of topics, from the dimensions of Plato’s academy and the mysteries of Eleusis to Philip K. Dick, Mormonism, money, and the joy and pain of Liverpool Football Club fans. In an engaging and jargon‑free style, Critchley writes with honesty about the state of world as he offers philosophically informed and insightful considerations of happiness, violence, and faith.
Stripped of inaccessible academic armatures, these short pieces bring philosophy out of the ivory tower and demonstrate an exciting new way to think in public.

Simon Critchley is the Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research and the moderator of the New York Times’ Stone column. He is a board member of the Onassis Foundation, and his most recent book is Tragedy, the Greeks, and Us. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

“Would Montaigne have approved of the current vogue for “personal essay-writing”?...Assuredly he would have, for the French philosopher was the original blogger par excellence...He would also surely have approved of the English philosopher Simon Critchley, whose direct style, wisdom and wit, is on show in his latest book Bald: 35 Philosophical Short Cuts.”—Alastair Benn, Reaction

"Simon Critchley is an international treasure—that rare and real philosopher who embraces Rousseau’s ‘feeling of existence,’ David Bowie’s vision of love, and Philip K. Dick’s genius with genuine wrestling and a soulful smile! He enacts the truth in skepticism and the power of compassion without paralysis or illusion.’’—Cornel West, Harvard University

“What is philosophy? An endless succession of puzzles and parables? An attempt to understand ourselves, our language, the world around us? Simon Critchley shows us that the answer is all of the above. Indeed, we might think of philosophy as the inexorable study of unanswerable questions. Bald offers an incredibly enjoyable and endlessly fascinating excursion. It’s turtles all the way down.”—Errol Morris

“Wise and funny; Critchley covers a remarkable range of topics from Plato to football, Hamlet to religion, Dostoevsky to God. A book to immerse yourself in, or dip in and savour.”—David Edmonds, author of The Murder of Professor Schlick

“Mixing profundity with irony and sometimes hilarity, these essays are invariably well written and intelligently observed; bald and bold.”—Richard Kearney, Boston College