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The Dogma of Faith [19 Mar 2011|01:37am]

Believing in the Greatest Value of Human as a way to God:


What do you think about this new religion?

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Philosorapters - Preparing students for the job market [20 Feb 2011|05:23pm]

Hello everyone,

I doubt this is the right place to post this so I apologize if it's wrong.

I recently applied for graduate programs in philosophy all over the US. I realized at some point that I was doing about an hour of research a day and just storing it for myself. This seemed a bit on the selfish side so I decided that I would publish my findings on this blog. This blog is my research into how to survive as a career philosopher.


This blog is designed to keep you updated on professional news and movements in philosophy today, trolled from many site over the internet.
Firstly, particular focus is on the professional aspects of philosophy such as how to create a good C/V, prepare ones application, Publish papers, and understand hiring practices.
Secondly, I'm also quite interested in why philosophy, specifically critical thinking, is not taught in high school, and other issues in the profession.

I will be posting my findings that I think could be beneficial to other undergrads, graduates as well as post-doc students.

Please feel free to comment, criticize, or suggest research material.

Yet again, I apologize if this is posted in the wrong place,

I hope this blog might help philosophy students prepare for the job market if that is where they want to go.

All the best,

William Parkhurst
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[29 Nov 2010|11:40am]

Well it seems like this society is dead and no one is interested in philosophy any more. Is it really so?
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Excerpts from "The Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius [29 Dec 2009|03:07pm]

Hi friends,
If you like philosophy, ethics, and asking questions about what is the best way to live our lives, you will like this!

In the last few months, I've been reading the famous book "The Meditations," by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. He was one of the main followers of Stoic philosophy, a practical way of living that was the most popular philosophy of the ancient Greek and Roman world, centuries before Christianity.

Not only was Marcus one of the most powerful people in the world at the time (about AD 200), he was also known for his integrity and incorruptibility. Few emperors have been like Marcus, close to Socrates' ideal of the "philosopher-king."

"The Meditations" is a wonderful and thoughtful book of Stoic "spiritual exercises" that Emperor Marcus wrote only for himself, to improve his self-discipline. The Stoics were big on strong emotional and mental self-control.

If you or anyone you know is dealing with disaster or misfortune, feels trapped, is depressed, has anger management problems, or who gets easily upset---"The Meditations" has very wise advice that may really help! It teaches you how to resist pain and stay calm throughout any kind of disasters. Maybe now we would call it "cognitive behavioral therapy."

"The Meditations" is not perfect, and I strongly disagree with some parts of it. Yet leaders from politics, business, and the military have read it for centuries with great inspiration. Bill Clinton says he rereads it every year. I feel that Barack Obama, who always seems calm and cool through any disasters or stress, lives in a Stoic way. Whether you are religious or not, you may profit from its wisdom. It's a very practical book.

I've actually read not one, but TWO top translations of "The Meditations" (Hicks and Hays)! My favorite one is by Hicks. It's the clearest.

Since we all are short on time, I've cut and paraphrased the best parts of both translations into one document. It took a few months. I've cut 185 pages to 35.

Here is my condensed version of "The Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius! You may read it in 3 ways:

http://alumni.eecs.berkeley.edu/~rayning/Marcus-Aurelius-Hicks-excerpts.html (HTML)
http://alumni.eecs.berkeley.edu/~rayning/Marcus-Aurelius-Hicks-excerpts.doc (Word document)
http://alumni.eecs.berkeley.edu/~rayning/Marcus-Aurelius-Hicks-excerpts.prc (Kindle/Mobipocket ebook)

Enjoy. Let me know what you think.
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New semiotics community [03 Jan 2009|05:04pm]

Hello, friends.

As the previous maintainer of this community—atacuivel—has graciously granted me maintainership over this community, I am inviting those who are interested to join a newer community I have created called sign_studies. This community will promote semiotic study, the study of signs and semiosis (sign-action, sign-processes). Semiotics offers an inherently interdisciplinary field of inquiry, as well as a perspective that should appeal to anyone interested in philosophy, psychology, phenomenology, cognition, communication, meaning, language, etc., so I hope to attract a diverse group of intelligent and reflective thinkers. Please peruse the community profile for more info.

Since learnphilosophy has been rather inactive of late, I also encourage members to post. Right now.

Your friendly, neighborhood moderator,
Stephen (essius)
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Participate in a Harvard study on moral cognition via e-mail [31 Jul 2008|05:49pm]

Hello all,

As research assistants in Harvard's Cognitive Evolution Lab, we're conducting a study on the psychology of moral decision making. To help us out, you can take either (or both) of our brief (<10 minute) surveys (which are accessible here: http://rivanathans.googlepages.com/dtevsdnpgword_1.doc and here: http://rivanathans.googlepages.com/aohtrj_webstudy_1.doc) and send them to us via e-mail. Full instructions can be found in the text of each survey.

Thanks so much to all those who participate!

Jay Musen and Riva Nathans
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Poesophy part 3 [25 Jul 2008|04:58pm]


This  is experimental direction in a science and the literature through merge of poetry and a science (philosophy). This direction did not exist till now in the pure state. Earlier there was a direction in poetry? Philosophical poetry (Empedocl, V. Solovyov, M.Voloshin, I.Brodsky, O.Khajyam, etc.), but did not exist directions in a science of philosophy?  in  rhyrm philosophical gamble. One of representatives of German classical philosophy F.Schelling, named a similar direction didactic poetry.

The method of rhyming of philosophical positions is entered for popularization and generalization of philosophical questions which arise in connection with disclosing of the basic concepts describing surrounding and a private world of the person. Therefore, in any way it is impossible to name poetry and verses Poesophy, even, in spite of the fact that externally poeses (so I name each separate product in Poesophy) Are similar to verses. In the Poesophy I try to reflect where probably to generalize, and in process of intellectual opportunities to develop, ideas of representatives of philosophy and a science since the most ancient times (an ancient philosophy, and ancient religious doctrines) finishing modern concepts of a postmodernism and poststructuralism and existentialism, not passing thus medieval and German classical philosophy, sociology, Russian historiosophy, and scientific divinity.

By means of poeses, in a cycle Poesophy, I have tried to open such concepts close to everyone person as: time, essence, authority, money, value, conscience, kindly, the true, system, etc. Poesophy is difficult for perception, however it is calculated on the people who are not having intellectual taste to metaphysics in the classical (is textual-speculative) form and to whom it would be reasonably interesting will familiarize with philosophical gamble in more accessible and popular (art) form. Section? Поэсофия? It will be probably interesting to such segment of the reader which is inclined to search for the classical maintenance in the new form.

               I think that Poesophy may be intresting for the mass auditory, and I want to offer you the partnership for publishing of Poesophy. It published in internet in Russian edition (http://www.stihi.ru/readers.html?milosvet), and it published on paper forms in Russia.


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Poesophy. part. 2 [25 Jul 2008|04:57pm]




The authority

The authority this aspiration of force,

will is force of aspiration -

force releases will.

The law of freedom a criterion,

and imperous will forces the expression,

regulate the will under authority.

Authority through value - possession,

value through authority - management.

The order bears authority to people,

people aspires to run into the chaos.

Outside of authority the will is freedom,

but without freedom will - authority.





Money it is a crack,

between authority and freedom -

the authority in money is released.

Incomes for money the purpose,

means for authority - charges,

in authority of money are enthralled.

The price as weight of cost – to finance,

The cost as weight of the price – to Invest.

The price of freedom - the sum of all money

 and cost – zero of nothing.

The purpose of money to save up authority to itself,

the purpose of authority to save up another of money.





The kind  is a pardons consequence,

love the reason of pardon-

it  fondle to an evil.

The evil  is a  revenge’s action,

hate is  the reason of the revenge-

it is indifferent to kind.

Kind as means of a revenge – evil,

evil  as means of clarification - goods.

We come to following true –

in a pardon kindly and a victim  one:

outside of a pardon kindly - unselfishness,

but in a victim unselfishness - kind.




True is a of all points of view

a mirror curve,

the truth and lie in it are deformed:

the first turns in exact

a mirror reflected second –

the true arising revives.

If the reflected truth - the validity,

the reflected lie – the  visibility.

True in moral meaning,

only as the love sensed:

outside of true the truth - error,

but sincerity in the truth -  true.



A space is a hole

among themselves and infinity.

External in a hole fails,

and with internal becoming enen

by  eternity - the space extends.

Inside of a thing space - materiality,

outside of a thing space - importance.

In time space that,

as soul in eternity an empire –

in space emptiness - nothing,

but time as a nothing -  space.




Nothing is not something,

really or probably,

in being transcendentally exist.

Being absent itself in eternal,

reflects existence in false,

denying itself attracting.

Nothing as essence of denying - darkness,

nothing as denying of essence - emptiness.

If the border is reflection

of finiteness in eternity:

time as essence is change,

but time as existence - nothing.





Being is a presence of everything,

at forms of the limited matter,

and at the maintenance of ideal infinity.

The knowledge defines being

as a reality in four measurements

existing between nothing and eternity.

The God without being - everything,

all without the God - nothing.

The eternity is true outside of duration

of the nature that, existing, does not live.

The Universe as essence is the validity,

 the nature as the existence – being.





All rights reserved


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Poesophy part.1 [25 Jul 2008|04:56pm]




Time is something an average  between

that the friend the friend is pregnant:

movement and an idea.

The first the last the clothes called time,

dresses in sense.

Temporariness inside of sense - moves,

immovable in sense - It is thought.

I also do the conclusion

that time is think of a seed:

outside of an idea time - movement,

but in an idea movement - time.



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Baltasar Gracián: "The Art of Worldly Wisdom" (Intro). His 300 Aphorisms. [22 Jul 2008|09:02am]

Read all my Baltasar Gracián posts.

Today, I start a long project on my blog. Over the next months, I plan to gradually post the entire book, The Art of Worldly Wisdom (Oráculo manual y arte de prudencia), by Baltasar Gracián. Even though he wrote it in 1647, his wisdom, wit, and practical advice on living sound unbelievably modern.

He should provoke some lively discussions here (and on my blog), if you guys are willing to have them.

Many have translated this book from Spanish. The versions I own and like best are by Christopher Maurer (1992) and Joseph Jacobs (1892, but modernized in 1993 by Shambhala Publications).

You may read both the full Christopher Maurer version and the full Shambhala version here. I will post BOTH versions daily on my blog. Enjoy!

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Book flap

"Throughout the centuries, mankind has produced three great, timeless wisdom books: Machiavelli's The Prince, Sun Tzu's The Art of War, and Baltasar Gracián's The Art of Worldly Wisdom: A Pocket Oracle....

[It] was written 300 years ago by one of Spain's greatest writers---a worldly Jesuit scholar and keen observer of many in positions of power. Gracián's work draws on careful study of statesmen and potentates who managed to combine ethical behavior with worldly effectiveness. Each of the elegantly crafted maxims in this volume offers valuable insight on the art of living and the practice of achieving.

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The Art of Worldly Wisdom [AOWW] is a book of strategies for knowing, judging, and acting: for making one's way in the world and achieving distinction and perfection. It is a collection of 300 aphorisms too delicious not to share with friends and colleagues, too penetrating not to hide from enemies and rivals. Its ideal reader is someone whose daily occupation involves dealing with others: discovering their intentions, winning their favor and friendship, or defeating their designs and "checkmating their will." Like all aphorisms, these are meant to be read slowly, a few at a time....

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All of Baltasar Gracián's 300 aphorisms:

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Marcus Aurelius (#1): Keeping integrity despite absolute power. Michael Sugrue's lecture. [20 Jun 2008|11:58am]

How Stoicism helps educate and shape our military, my post about Nancy Sherman's article, "Educating the Stoic Warrior."

Read all my posts on Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus.

Let's start off our study of The Meditations. Watch this excellent 1-hour lecture on Stoicism and Marcus Aurelius by Prof. Michael Sugrue, who taught these lectures at Princeton.

Socratic philosophy broke up into 3 main philosophies: Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Skepticism. Sugrue then talks about how amazing and unique a leader Marcus Aurelius was.

Sugrue says in Part 2:
He had absolute power of life and death over everyone in the known world....His word is law....Imagine a man for whom all the restraints of law, and custom, and political order are taken away. He can have whatever he wants. If a man under those circumstances behaves well, you know something about the soul underneath, because no external constraint is making him do what he is doing.

Marcus Aurelius is the ONE example of an absolute ruler who behaves himself in such a way as not to disgrace himself....It's an amazing temptation....Nineteen years controlling the entire world. He can have all the money in the world. That's not an exaggeration....

He can have sex with anyone he wants, whenever he wants, under any circumstances.

If he wants to get drunk, he can have wine brought in by the boatload, infinitely, forever....Imagine anything that the bronze, desiring, emotional, irrational parts of your souls want. And now imagine that you can have it! Imagine that you are forced to bear with this human condition for 19 long years. Now ask yourself, "How many of you would fail to disgrace yourselves?"...

Over the centuries, Marcus Aurelius serves as a standing reproach to our self-indulgence,...If you can deal with temptation at that level, I cannot imagine what is outside the human potential!...

Marcus Aurelius intends to live a life in which he will not have to feel guilty about anything. And he succeeded in doing that, under the most trying possible circumstances.
In 5 parts:

Part 1 (If you lack time, watch Part 2 first.)

Part 2

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Stoic philosophy: Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca [20 Jun 2008|11:50am]

Hi! In February, I posted on this community about Epictetus and The Art of Living.

I'm focused again on Stoic philosophy now. The Stoic Place is a good starting point to learn the basic ideas of Stoic ethics:
by Dr. Jan Garrett

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My original plan was to cover 3 major Stoics. (Only the LATE Stoics, whose ideas I find more practical for today):

1) Epictetus, who taught the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. I posted the best parts of The Art of Living, a paraphrase by Sharon Lebell of his two major works, The Enchiridion and The Discourses.

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Here are all 24 of my Epictetus posts summarizing The Art of Living.

2) Marcus Aurelius, an exceptional ruler who was the last of the "5 Good Emperors." His death ended the 200 year Pax Romana period of the Roman Empire.

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I will post the best parts of The Emperor's Handbook: A New Translation of The Meditations, by C. Scot Hicks and David V. Hicks. I like their translation of Marcus Aurelius's The Meditations best.

3) Seneca the Younger, tutor to the young Emperor Nero. (Nero later ordered him to kill himself.)

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I'll post juicy parts from his Letters from a Stoic, translated by Robin Campbell.

Ready? Let's start talking about Marcus Aurelius!
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Non-philosophy grad seeks inroads to philosophy MA [25 Mar 2008|01:37am]

My wife is an MA student in philosophy. I'm a librarian. I've got a BA in linguistics and MA in library science (so, technically, an MLS). Because I've been engaging in philosophy research to help my wife, I've begun thinking about becoming an academic librarian and working within philosophy -- either as a library liaison to the philosophy department or as a subject-matter expert in the library.

I've got some unofficial background in philosophy, but not so much as a freshman-level course if you look at my transcript. I can hold my own at parties and in discussions in the philosophy grad student lab, but I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to just talk my way into a slot at even an unranked (but accredited) MA program. And I'm pretty sure that I need a philosophy MA to qualify for such jobs.

Where do you think I should start? Should I take a freshman-level class as a non-degree-seeking student? Should I start a bit higher than that, or just start with a really low-level survey of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, ... on up to maybe 19th-20th century, and then later on get into stuff like MacIntyre, Foot, Korsgaard et al.?

EDIT: The GRE wouldn't be a problem. I got 800/800/770 when I took it in 1996, and if nobody trusts a GRE score from 1996 anymore, I'm sure I'd be able to get at least a combined 1400-1500 with a modicum of preparation...
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Addressing this cheerful community of inquirers [06 Mar 2008|04:45am]

Hello, readers of learnphilosophy. I’m a recent newcomer to this community, and hope to generate some fruitful dialogue with and amongst its members. I have noticed the posts in here are somewhat infrequent, and wonder what might be done to increase output. Most of you, like me, post in communities such as this only sporadically. But I wonder if some of us might take it upon ourselves to commit to posting once every couple weeks.

I think it would also profit us to get a feel for what interests us as members of this community. To this end, we could briefly share our interests in philosophy—what we want to learn, what we want to get out of this community, etc. Break up the anonymity; share. Philosophy requires, in Peirce’s words, a “community of inquirers.” Now, I can tell there are some people in here who share a few interests of mine (e.g., Epictetus and Kierkegaard), and I wouldn’t be surprised if others turn up.

A little about my own interests: in other communities, I have explored questions concerning Aristotle’s ethics, Aquinas’s metaphysics, Reformed epistemology (Plantinga’s theory of knowledge), Intelligent Design Theory (in contrast to the Design Argument), and the relationship between divine sovereignty and human freedom. In my personal journal, I have investigated and/or argued about things such as aesthetic realism (beauty ain’t just in the head), Kierkegaard’s indirect communication and use of pseudonyms, his so-called fideism, Martin Buber’s I and Thou, the pertinence of semiotics, and much else besides. My interests may strike some as esoteric, but if any of these things intrigue you, let me know. I would like to post something that catches your eye in some way, or makes you think about things in a new light.

So: What kind of philosophy captivates you? What draws your attention? What (and how) do you want to learn about philosophy? Are you into metaphysics? ethics? philosophy of human nature? philosophy of religion? philosophy of history? history of philosophy? Do you enjoy discussing existentialism? analytic philosophy? phenomenology? neoplatonism? medieval scholasticism? bizarre sex? Let us know!
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Suggestions for books on logic, please! [08 Feb 2008|05:49pm]

[ mood | excited ]

I've had no philosophy classes (yet!!), but I want to get started on reading. I don't know where to begin.

I've been intrigued by logical fallacies lately, so I'd like to have some good, beginner-level (but comprehensive) books on informal logic... Right? I think that's what I would need to read about... Any suggestions?

Also, I'd like suggestions for book on the history of logic (any/all types/subtypes). 

Finally, if there are any introductory books that give a broad overview of logic (any/all types/subtypes), please share!

Many thanks!

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Stoicism. Epictetus: "The Art of Living" by Sharon Lebell. [08 Feb 2008|02:02pm]

Hi friends,

I'm finally done posting the best parts from the book The Art of Living, by Sharon Lebell!

She paraphrases the two major works of the Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus, "The Enchiridion" and "The Discourses."

Please read! I find this advice very very PRACTICAL. I will review it and try to follow it regularly, in my own life.

I summed up the book in 24 entries on my blog:


· Epictetus (#24): Control your tongue. Good habits. Live now.
· Epictetus (#23): Moral intuition. Anger. Why be good? Reason. Self-heal.
· Epictetus (#22): The Virtuous Are Consistent
· Epictetus (#21): Forgive Over and Over and Over
· Epictetus (#20): World citizen. Overvaluing success. Books. Choosing companions.
· Epictetus (#19): Suspicious of convention.
· Epictetus (#18): Self-sufficiency. Baby steps.
· Epictetus (#17): Avoid self-conceit. Stop jabbering, look, and listen.
· Epictetus (#16): Inner serenity. Preventing little things from bothering you.
· Epictetus (#15): Why be good? The real purpose of philosophy
· Epictetus (#14): We are the source of good & bad. Actions. Live your ideals!
· Epictetus (#13): Clear thinking. Using right names. Action, not talk! Live simply.
· Epictetus (#12): Moderation. Inner excellence. False impressions. 2 Handles.
· Epictetus (#11): Avoid immediate gratification. Take a stand. Manners.
· Epictetus (#10): Body. Sex. Dealing with criticism. Dignity.
· Epictetus (#9): Controlling our tongues. Choosing our friends/companions.
· Epictetus (#8): Faithfulness. Events are impersonal. Generosity. Define yourself.
· Epictetus (#7): Stoic comic. Our responsibilities to people close to us
· Epictetus (#6): Focus on what you can control. Reduce your desires.
· Epictetus (#5): Audio versions. Brian Johnson. Zaadz. Thinkarete.
· Epictetus (#4): Why Would Anyone Be a Stoic?
· Epictetus (#3): Happiness---the real purpose of philosophy. Why be virtuous?
· Epictetus (#2): Wholeheartedly commit to your goals
· Epictetus (#1): "The Art of Living" by Sharon Lebell

I hope this wise advice will help you sort through this confusing world, become a better person, and improve your happiness!

Coming soon: I will start posting parts of "The Meditations," by the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. I think this is the best translation of it: The Emperor's Handbook, by C. Scot Hicks and David V. Hicks.


Bill Clinton and other leaders, throughout history, have gained much wisdom, inner peace, and character from studying Marcus Aurelius. We all may do the same.

Please leave comments on my posts. I'd love to have a discussion about their ideas.
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[31 Jan 2008|06:01am]

Hi everyone~total complete newbie here. I've read zero to none philosophy books, so my knowledge of this subject is very limited. Anyway, I'm hoping to start learning a bit more, can anyone recommend some books to read, or any subject area that you find particularly interesting?

Thanks in advance.
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References [28 Jan 2008|03:03pm]

I am not the most learned in the field of Philosophy, but I am changing that. I recently sat down to right an article for a college magazine about the philosophical view and psychological outlook on college relationships. From my general knowledge, I was able to make vast references to Nieztche and others, but I came to a conclusion I would like to see if there was more information on. I came to the conclusion that every single person can act a certain way at anytime when faced with any kind of situation, almost a mathematical equation of the sort. I also came to the conclusion that it may be almost impossible to judge a person by these circumstances, and in fact it is very hard to judge a person at all because of this so called "equation." I was wondering if anyone could suggest something that is close to this theory. I'd like to believe I created it, but I'm sure I didn't at all. Any help is much appreciated.
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Aristotle on Art [23 Jan 2008|10:47pm]

I don;t have a solid background in classical philosophy, just some very episodic knowledge (which is shameful indeed). There is this idea in my head that the definition of art as 'any human activity with a purpose' comes from Aristotle. My online search was fruitless, perhaps someone here can help me with either proving me right, or wrong. thank you.
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Life as a beautiful aesthetic ideal. [08 Dec 2007|06:54pm]

I've read a few passages of Foucault and I've read some of Wilde's works: both suggest that one can (and should) live so that one's life IS a work of art.

For example: It was a question of knowing how to govern one’s own life in order to give it the most beautiful form (in the eyes of others, of oneself, and of the future generations for which one might serve as an example). That is what I tried to reconstitute: the formation and development of a practice of self whose aim was to constitute oneself as the worker of the beauty of one’s own life. (Foucault, ‘The Concern for Truth’, p. 259)

My naive question is: what do they mean when they say 'life'? Do they mean the biographic sum of a person's life (she went to school here, then she met Mr. D, then she went to work in the banking industry for 5 years, before going to live in the Solomons, then she got married to Mr F etc) or the manner in which a person approaches their day-to-day life.

In other words, is it your entire life as it may stand in a biography or a novel that should be aesthetically pleasing, or just how you are living now, in terms of personality?

Also, Wilde suggests that art without meaning is just as valid as art. How does he apply this to a life? Does he wish us to live a life which seems beautiful but actually isn't? Deceit and so on? Style over substance? To me, The Picture of Dorian Gray seems to attack the idea of living such a life - the portrait, after all, becomes ugly.

As you can tell, I'm rather confused about this aestheticism and making your life into a work of art concept of Foucault, Wilde, and some of the other aesthetes. Help! :)
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