Brian Leiter has a post on a recent book by Dreyfus and Kelly:
Back to the Greeks: How to “Whoosh Up”
Judging from these two high-profile, popular reviews, that’s a main theme of Hubert Dreyfus’s and Sean Kelly’s new book All Things Shining, which I’ve not read or seen in draft. Comments from readers who’ve actually read some or all of the book?
I am hard put to explain whooshing, but the articles Leiter linked have a good go at it. One of the book’s examples, which a lot of commentators referred to, is getting whooshed up at a sports game. Another is a gourmet restaurant. One might worry that there’s a concentration on the public life in discussing the significance of a life.
And the idea that life’s significance lies in the public domain is a cliche that is supposed to be dying out, isn’t it? One reason men won’t do housework is that they don’t feel domestic life has any significance. Except isn’t that changing?
I am hardly in a position to say whether the book embraces the old cliche. Just to raise the question, I thought I’d search of the book on Amazon.com for some words to see if the concentration on the public sphere is as dominant as reviewers’ comments suggest. So I searched for these:
The total hits for these words? Zero.
Let know if you’ve read the book and what the answer to the question of its emphasis is.
To some extent, the significance of seeing life as significant principally or only on the public level may be changing. In fairly pre-feminist days, I certainly read books for men, as this may be, when I was a student, and I think they can do a good job of making some people feel the production of culture lies in others’ hands. At least we can hope that young women today who read about life’s significance being found in the public sphere may not feel so excluded. That, however, doesn’t solve the other problem, that of including family, children and sex.
That all said, this is a book based on much in the traditional canon of Western Literature. Perhaps they consider a female author, but there’s no indication of that in the reviews.