Monthly Archives: July 2013

“The Great Gatsby” and Aristotle’s Four Causes

The Penguin Critical Studies Guide to The Great Gatsby has an interesting analysis of locations in Fitzgerald’s masterpiece —probably the standard interpretation of the symbolism of West Egg, East Egg, the valley of ashes, and New York City.  Since this is, no doubt, well understood, I leave it to the interested reader to look into said interpretation.  The purpose of this blog post is to explore a different interpretation, an Aristotelian interpretation of the feature locations in the book.  Admittedly, I am not particularly familiar with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s extended biography, and especially not his intellectual influences.  Yet, having done some research, I have not found an Aristotelian interpretation of any kind pertaining to Fitzgerald’s writings.  This is intriguing, because, as will be seen, imposing Aristotelian causes, as symbolism, onto the book makes for a consistent reading, and I would not be surprised to find that Fitzgerald did have some such symbolism in mind.  Continue reading

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Filed under Literature, Philosophy

Some First Impressions of “Being and Time” and a Few Suggestions for Studying It

I took quite a while in going through Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit (Being and Time).  Part of the reason was to give time to digest it, but another part was that Heidegger’s approach can make the head ache.  In particular, the language, which is often noted for its difficulty, whether one is reading it in English or German, is very cumbersome and makes for slow reading.  I think that a second reading of the text would go much more smoothly than the first, and, more than likely, two readings is necessary for the task of getting a grip of Heidegger’s ideas.  In the second part of this blog, I’ll give some suggestions for how one might make Heidegger more approachable and easier to understand, though it still requires one’s willingness to be highly involved with the text.  Continue reading

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Filed under Philosophy