The Man Who Pretended to Know Too Much

Austin Bramwell

I am a freelance opinion-monger living in New York City.

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18 Responses

  1. Will says:

    Speaking as someone who routinely pretends to be erudite, I think this is a venial sin, not a moral one.

    I also thought Steorts’ essay on Rand was pretty good.Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    Walter Kaufmann, uninterestingly enough, is my favorite philosopher.

    (Flashback! )

    All that to say, if Kaufmann has been discredited, it’s news to me.

    Indeed, his translations of Nietzsche are very, very good and, lemme check, does Leiter discuss Kaufmann’s *TRANSLATIONS* of Nietzsche in addition to his interpretations of him?

    Why yes, yes he does.

    Would you like to point out what Leiter said about Kaufmann the translator or would doing so “discredit” the portrait you are painting?Report

  3. Jay Daniel says:

    Austin, I’m very glad you are blogging here, and I think you have a lot of interesting things to say. You’re own ideological/philosophical journey is an interesting one — although it is also to some degree archetypical of our times among conservatives of our generation.

    I also agree that NR also publishes a lot worth criticizing. But — and perhaps I’m reading too much into what I know about you and your “public” history — your personal ax to grind with NR gets to be a little much sometimes. This is especially true with a post like this, which seems awfully nitpicky. Steorts is one of the better writers at NR, and I for one am glad he’s there amidst the detestable Andy McCarthys and Kathryn Jean Lopezs. I also second the above-mentioned appreciation of his piece on Ayn Rand.Report

  4. Austin Bramwell says:

    @All. Maybe you guys are right. This was nitpicky and unduly harsh. I stand by it generally, but will to an update to try to soften.Report

  5. Chris says:

    I don’t mean this as a defense of Kaufmann, but Leiter’s criticisms are almost universally exaggerated at best and completely unfair at worst. And while Anglo-American interpretations of Nietzsche, largely from within the analytict tradition, certainly dominate the literature now, that’s as much because they dominate the literature period. Leiter’s Nietzsche is a naturalist, obsessed with and dominated by contemporary scientist. This is convenient, coming from a bunch of philosophers in a naturalist-dominated philosophical tradition. Not saying that Nietzsche didn’t have a naturalist streak, just that the history of Nietzsche scholarship is the history of people seeing what they want to see in Nieztsche, making it difficult not to be skeptical of this sort of convenience.

    Also, it’s clear Steorts has little knowledge of Schopenhauer (who played a big role in making Europeans pay attention to Eastern thought in the 19th century), in addition to Nietzsche. Though the Buddhist nonsense means he must have at least read about Parkes.

    Also, whatever the scholarly worth of Kaufmann’s translations, they remain the most fun to read. Oh, and I loved his intro to Buber as well.Report