I found this little (117 pages) monograph quite thought-provoking. Its topic is philosophy itself, explored primarily using tools from the analytic toolkit. This meme that compares the analytic and continental traditions comes to mind:
Without doubt, the richest possible treatment of fundamental questions of the true and the good would necessarily bring to bear great works of literature, mythology, historical insight, etc. Nevertheless, Lange’s treatment of the subject is sharp and interesting, despite the restricted palette. It seems like you can read it and understand it without being particularly educated, which suits me fine right about now. (My coverage of icy’s reading list is quite fragmentary at the moment. I’m also making my way though Jordan B Peterson’s.) But keep a dictionary at hand.
It seems quite obscure to start with, and in fact criticises its own supposed lack of clarity and orderliness in its opening section. Is this tactically deployed false humility, meant to disarm the reader whose about to get their conceptual foundations rustled hard? The approach draws up carefully-defined distinctions, and explores their logical implications. The style is conceptually densely-packed, full of ironic hedging and qualifying, lecturely prose.
Key point given halfway though: first order philosophy is proposal. Subsequently, Lange explores the paradoxical nature of this characterisation and develops a way towards establishing philosophical statements as, despite being proposals one could seemingly freely accept or reject, cognitions with some sort of objective, matter-of-factness to them. So: a round-about way of grounding what practically amounts to a common-sense realist stance. The book’s closing statement: “So now everything is just the same except that it is all different.”
There’s a brief mention of the possibility of an evolutionary aspect to philosophy, which strikes me a profitable avenue for deeper investigation. The book’s implicit conception of philosophy as primary, rather than the philosopher, would be a critical weakness, but the conclusion seems to re-set these to their proper orientation. Primacy of the life-form over its life-processes.
This book has convinced me to read some more of Lange’s work. Most of it is fiction. That’s what he’s most known for: writing the Gor series under the name John Norman. These explore social and psychological themes from Nietzschean perspective, in a science fiction/adventure fantasy setting. They’re notoriously polarising, provoking both scathing criticism (sexism and slavery, oh no!) and enthusiastic fandom, including a subculture of Gorean roleplayers.
I haven’t read any of those yet. I watched the 1988 Gor film, which was alright, I suppose.
Goreanism has come up in recent controversy in the Drupal realm.
A prominent contributor to the open source Drupal content management system has been asked to distance himself from project because “his belief system is inconsistent with [the] project’s goals.”
The beliefs at issue involve participation in the BDSM and Gorean (NSFW) communities, the latter involving people interested in recreating the culture of male dominance and female sexual servitude depicted in John Norman’s poorly regarded Gor sci-fi novels.
I often work with that CMS in my day job. Funny world we live in.