“The Truth is Terrible”: A Wonderful Epes Lecture by University of Chicago’s Brian Leiter

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Updated: Read Leiter’s paper.

Blog props back to Brian Leiter, who gave Davidson a shout-out on his own blog, Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog, after his Tuesday night Hansford M. Epes Distinguished Lecture in the Humanities in the 900 Room, “The Truth is Terrible: Nietzsche’s Idea of an Aesthetic Justification for Existence.”

Wait, don’t jump off that third-floor balcony! Leiter, the University of Chicago Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the Center for Law, Philosophy & Human Values, introduced his topic with a wicked deadpan delivery of a compendium of existential and pestilential ills plaguing the human condition this very day, before zooming back out to the ivory tower view, for a lively, scholarly look at Nietzsche and philosophy through the ages. Quite densely engaging, I must say. I haven’t had to think that hard since my last lunch with Hansford himself, who was seated in front of me for his eponymous lecture. I noticed we chuckled at some of the same parts. That always makes me feel smart.

Who’s your Dada? (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

After the lecture, I asked Leiter what he would recommend for a renewal of my own Nietzsche reading. It’s been a while since I studied him in Humes! Along with his suggestions, he advised a very good secondary source, as well as primary. As it happens, some of those sources have sprung from his own mind, so I’ll look forward to reading some Leiter as well as some Nietzsche. Thanks again, Dr. Leiter!

In the meantime, I close with one of my favorite F.N. quotes, taped to my computer monitor since my own “last century”: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

What’s in your statement of purpose?


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