David Cooper on Finding the Music Again

David E. Cooper’s recent piece for the Philosopher’s Magazine is a good reminder about the need for work that is integral to one’s life:

It was a bright morning in the summer of 1978, but my mood, as I entered my study to pick up on the previous day’s work, did not match the weather. There, stuck in my sun-lit typewriter, was the latest symbol-packed page of a book I had been writing for some months. The subject was the foundations of modal logic – the logic of notions like necessity and possibility. The work had not been progressing well. I had no natural facility with symbols, found the literature dry and difficult, and so far had come up with nothing especially original to say. But it was not this depressing awareness that the going was hard and the progress slow that triggered the sudden and vivid experience that was soon to follow.

As I sat down in front of the typewriter, gearing myself to the task ahead, my eye wandered to some other objects in my study and in the garden outside the study window – to a clarinet propped up against a music stand, to a shelf full of art books, and to a pair of walking boots at the entrance to a shed. And then it came to me. “Why on earth am I writing this book!? read more here

By Noelle McAfee

I am professor of philosophy at Emory University and editor of the Kettering Review. My latest book, Fear of Breakdown: Politics and Psychoanalysis, explores what is behind the upsurge of virulent nationalism and intransigent politics across the world today. My other writings include Democracy and the Political Unconscious; Habermas, Kristeva, and Citizenship; Julia Kristeva; and numerous articles and book chapters. Edited volumes include Standing with the Public: the Humanities and Democratic Practice and a special issue of the philosophy journal Hypatia on feminist engagements in democratic theory. I am also the author of the entry on feminist political philosophy in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and well into my next book project on democratic public life.