Gesprekken met hedendaagse filosofen
A collection of conversations with eighteen contemporary European and American philosophers
In every philosophical reflection two souls address each other, though they may not be of one mind. With this basic premise, Ger Groot set out to converse with eighteen prominent contemporary European and American philosophers. These conversations usually coincided with a special occasion, such as a lecture, a retirement or the publication of a book or translation.
Groot firmly believes that philosophy needs to come out of the ivory tower, for it has something to say to both society and individuals. These interviews, which first appeared in magazines and newspapers, are therefore aimed at a general readership. Even those with no philosophical background will find them eminently readable and engrossing.
The book has been arranged according to topical issues whose themes are central to the work of his conversational partners: awareness (Hans-Georg Gadamer), civilization (Alain Finkielkraut, Julia Kristeva), heroism (Fernando Savater, Rüdiger Safranski), God (Gianni Vattimo, Alvin Plantinga), literature (Paul Ricoeur, Richard Rorty) and politics (Charles Taylor, Stephen White). The reader is thus exposed to a wide range of contemporary philosophical concepts. Some of the dialogues home in on one aspect of the philosopher’s thinking, while others sweep panoramically through a lifetime of philosophical thought. Given the many references to literary motifs or characters, it would seem that writers and philosophers are kindred spirits, and that literature is a necessary complement to philosophy. Sooner or later, most thinkers also find themselves coming back to the subject of religion, regardless of whether they have embraced it, transformed it or rejected it.
In Groot’s view philosophy is and always has been a cacophony – every attempt to create order has foundered because what you gain in clarity is inevitably lost in relevance. However, in this book he has managed to achieve an admirable balance between the two. Every text is a clear but kaleidoscopic mosaic of statements, dialogues, explanations and descriptions.