Author Archives: Abigail

About Abigail

Abigail Rosenthal is Professor Emerita of Philosophy, Brooklyn College of CUNY. She is the author of A Good Look at Evil, a Pulitzer Prize nominee, now available in an expanded, revised second edition. Its thesis is that good people try to live out their stories while evil people aim to mess up good people’s stories. Her next book, Confessions of a Young Philosopher, forthcoming, provides multiple illustrations from her own life. She writes a weekly column for her blog, “Dear Abbie: The Non-Advice Column” (www.dearabbie-nonadvice.com) where she explains why women's lives are highly interesting. She’s the editor of the posthumously published Consolations of Philosophy: Hobbes’s Secret; Spinoza’s Way by her father, Henry M. Rosenthal. Her next book project will be Conversations with My Father, the "Genius" Among the Giants. Some of her articles can be accessed at https://brooklyn-cuny.academia.edu/AbigailMartin . She is married to Jerry L. Martin, also a philosopher. They live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

The Good Book

The Good Book We’ve been away in California for the past week, to allow me another round of the neuropathy treatments available only at a clinic in Loma Linda. The friends and family we usually see there are now under … Continue reading

Posted in Academe, Action, Afterlife, Alienation, Anthropology, Art, Art of Living, Atheism, Autonomy, beauty, Bible, Biblical God, books, Chivalry, Christianity, Cities, Class, conformism, Contemplation, Contradictions, Cool, Courage, Courtship, Cultural Politics, Culture, Desire, dialectic, Erotic Life, Eternity, Ethics, Evil, Existentialism, Faith, Fashion, Femininity, Freedom, Friendship, Gender Balance, Guilt and Innocence, Health, Heroes, hidden God, History, history of ideas, Ideality, Identity, Idolatry, Immorality, Jews, Judaism, Law, Legal Responsibility, life and death struggle, Literature, Love, Masculinity, Memoir, memory, Modernism, Moral action, Moral evaluation, Moral psychology, morality, nineteenth-century, novels, Ontology, Past and Future, Peace, Philosophy, Poetry, Political, politics, politics of ideas, Power, presence, Psychology, Public Intellectual, Reading, Reductionism, relationships, Religion, Roles, Romance, scientism, secular, self-deception, Sexuality, social construction, Social Conventions, social ranking, spiritual journey, spiritual not religious, Spirituality, status, status of women, Suffering, The Examined Life, The Problematic of Men, The Problematic of Woman, the profane, the sacred, Theism, Theology, Time, twentieth century, twenty-first century, Violence, War, Work, Writing, Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Matters

Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius by Ray Monk Good biographies of philosophers are a rarity.  The reason is that philosophers, more than other people, take ideas and the whole realm of thought terribly seriously.  Just as we would expect … Continue reading

Posted in book reviews, books | Tagged | Leave a comment

How A Woman Can Be Liberated

How A Woman Can Be Liberated When I started this column a few years ago, I vowed not to give advice.  I even put that in our subtitle: “The Non-Advice Column.”  So why am I about to give some?  Well, … Continue reading

Posted in "Absolute Freedom and Terror", Absurdism, Academe, Action, Alienation, American Politics, Anthropology, Art, Art of Living, Autonomy, beauty, books, Childhood, Chivalry, Cities, Class, conformism, Contemplation, Contradictions, Cool, Courage, Courtship, cults, Cultural Politics, Culture, Desire, dialectic, Erotic Life, Ethics, Evil, Existentialism, exploitation, Faith, Fashion, Female Power, Femininity, Feminism, Freedom, Friendship, Gender Balance, glitterati, Gnosticism, Guilt and Innocence, Health, hegemony, Heroes, hierarchy, History, history of ideas, ID, Idealism, Ideality, Identity, Ideology, Idolatry, Immorality, Institutional Power, Journalism, Legal Responsibility, life and death struggle, Literature, Love, Male Power, Masculinity, master, master/slave relation, Memoir, memory, Messianic Age, Mind Control, Modern Women, Modernism, Moral action, Moral evaluation, Moral psychology, morality, motherhood, novels, Ontology, Oppression, Past and Future, Philosophy, politics of ideas, post modernism, Power, presence, promissory notes, Propaganda, Psychology, public facade, Public Intellectual, radicalism, Reading, Reductionism, relationships, Roles, Romance, Romantic Love, secular, Seduction, self-deception, Sex Appeal, Sexuality, social climbing, social construction, Social Conventions, social ranking, Sociobiology, spiritual journey, spiritual not religious, Spirituality, status, status of women, Suffering, The Examined Life, The Problematic of Men, The Problematic of Woman, the profane, the sacred, Time, twentieth century, twenty-first century, Utopia, victimhood, victims, Work, Writing, Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Virtue Epistemology and Feeling Normal

Virtue Epistemology and Feeling Normal I’ve got a funny feeling this is not a trendy topic. Oh well. Here goes. Epistemology, the logos of episteme, is philosophy’s term for theory (or theories) of knowledge.  In modern times (that is, from … Continue reading

Posted in "Absolute Freedom and Terror", Absurdism, Academe, Action, Alienation, American Politics, Anthropology, Art of Living, Autonomy, books, Cities, Class, conformism, Contemplation, Contradictions, Cool, Courage, Cultural Politics, Culture, Desire, dialectic, Erotic Life, Eternity, Ethics, Evil, Existentialism, exploitation, Faith, Fashion, Femininity, Feminism, Freedom, Friendship, Gender Balance, glitterati, Gnosticism, Guilt and Innocence, Health, Hegel, hegemony, Heroes, hidden God, hierarchy, History, history of ideas, Idealism, Ideality, Identity, Ideology, Idolatry, Immorality, Industrial Revolution, Institutional Power, Jews, Judaism, Law, Legal Responsibility, life and death struggle, Literature, Love, Male Power, Martyrdom, Masculinity, master, Memoir, memory, Mind Control, Modernism, Moral action, Moral evaluation, Moral psychology, morality, novels, Ontology, Oppression, Past and Future, Phenomenology of Mind, Philosophy, Political Movements, politics of ideas, post modernism, Power, presence, promissory notes, Propaganda, Psychology, public facade, Public Intellectual, Reading, Reductionism, relationships, Religion, Roles, scientism, secular, Seduction, self-deception, seventeeth century, social climbing, social construction, Social Conventions, social ranking, spiritual journey, spiritual not religious, Spirituality, status, Suffering, Terror, The Examined Life, The Problematic of Men, The Problematic of Woman, the profane, the sacred, Theology, Time, TV, twentieth century, twenty-first century, victimhood, victims, Violence, War, Work, Writing, Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How’s the Eternal Feminine Doing These Days?

How’s the Eternal Feminine Doing These Days?  When I started this blog – lo! some years back – I was moved by a concern about women.  We are being bombarded by half-truths.  And if we women start down one of … Continue reading

Posted in Absurdism, Academe, Action, Afterlife, Alienation, American Politics, Anthropology, Art, Art of Living, Atheism, Autonomy, beauty, books, bureaucracy, Childhood, Chivalry, Christianity, Class, conformism, Contemplation, Contradictions, Cool, Courage, Courtship, Cultural Politics, Culture, Desire, dialectic, Erotic Life, Eternity, Ethics, Evil, Existentialism, exploitation, Faith, Fashion, Female Power, Femininity, Feminism, Freedom, Friendship, Gender Balance, glitterati, Gnosticism, Guilt and Innocence, Health, hegemony, Heroes, hidden God, hierarchy, History, history of ideas, ID, Idealism, Ideality, Identity, Ideology, Idolatry, Immorality, Institutional Power, Journalism, Legal Responsibility, life and death struggle, Literature, Love, Male Power, Masculinity, master/slave relation, Memoir, memory, Mind Control, Modern Women, Modernism, Moral action, Moral evaluation, Moral psychology, morality, Mortality, motherhood, nineteenth-century, non-violence, novels, Ontology, Oppression, Past and Future, Peace, Phenomenology of Mind, Philosophy, Poetry, Political Movements, politics of ideas, post modernism, Power, presence, promissory notes, Propaganda, Psychology, public facade, Public Intellectual, radicalism, Reading, Reductionism, relationships, Religion, Roles, Romance, Romantic Love, Romanticism, scientism, secular, Seduction, self-deception, Sex Appeal, Sexuality, social climbing, social construction, Social Conventions, social ranking, Sociobiology, spiritual journey, spiritual not religious, Spirituality, status, status of women, Suffering, The Examined Life, The Problematic of Men, The Problematic of Woman, the profane, the sacred, Theology, Time, twentieth century, twenty-first century, Utopia, victimhood, victims, Violence, Work, Writing, Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who or What Were Adam and Eve?

Who or What Were Adam and Eve?  Unless you believe that the entire universe actually came into being at the divine summons 5,781 years previous to the New Year of September, 2020, with the two parents of the human race … Continue reading

Posted in "Absolute Freedom and Terror", Absurdism, Academe, Action, Afterlife, Alienation, Anthropology, Art, Art of Living, Atheism, Autonomy, beauty, Bible, Biblical God, books, Christianity, Contemplation, Contradictions, Courage, Courtship, Cultural Politics, Culture, Desire, dialectic, Erotic Life, Eternity, Ethics, Evil, Existentialism, exploitation, Faith, Femininity, Feminism, Freedom, Gender Balance, Gnosticism, Guilt and Innocence, Hegel, hegemony, Heroes, hidden God, hierarchy, History, history of ideas, ID, Idealism, Ideality, Identity, Ideology, Idolatry, Immorality, Immortality, Institutional Power, Jews, Judaism, Law, Legal Responsibility, life and death struggle, Literature, Love, Male Power, Masculinity, master, master/slave relation, memory, Messianic Age, Mind Control, Modernism, Moral action, Moral evaluation, Moral psychology, morality, Mortality, motherhood, novels, Ontology, Oppression, Past and Future, Phenomenology of Mind, Philosophy, Poetry, Political, politics of ideas, post modernism, Power, presence, Propaganda, Psychology, Public Intellectual, radicalism, Reading, Reductionism, relationships, Religion, Roles, Romance, Romantic Love, scientism, secular, Seduction, self-deception, Sex Appeal, Sexuality, slave, social climbing, social construction, Social Conventions, social ranking, Sociobiology, spiritual journey, spiritual not religious, Spirituality, status, status of women, Suffering, Terror, The Examined Life, The Problematic of Men, The Problematic of Woman, the profane, the sacred, Theism, Theology, Time, twenty-first century, Utopia, victimhood, War, Work, Writing, Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can a Philosopher Be a Novelist?

Can a Philosopher Be a Novelist? These days I’ve been working on a paper to be delivered (in no more than 15 minutes) at the September (virtual) Meetings of the Eric Voegelin Society.  Cutting it down while still retaining meaningful … Continue reading

Posted in Absurdism, Academe, Action, Alienation, Art, Art of Living, Atheism, Autonomy, beauty, books, Cities, Class, conformism, Contemplation, Contradictions, Cool, Courage, cults, Cultural Politics, Culture, Desire, dialectic, Erotic Life, Existentialism, exploitation, Faith, Fashion, Femininity, Feminism, Freedom, Friendship, Gender Balance, glitterati, Gnosticism, Guilt and Innocence, Health, Hegel, hegemony, Heroes, hidden God, hierarchy, history of ideas, ID, Idealism, Ideality, Identity, Ideology, Idolatry, Immorality, Institutional Power, Jews, Judaism, Law, Legal Responsibility, life and death struggle, Literature, Love, Male Power, Masculinity, Memoir, memory, Mind Control, Modernism, Moral action, Moral evaluation, Moral psychology, morality, novels, Ontology, Oppression, Past and Future, Phenomenology of Mind, Philosophy, Poetry, Political, Political Movements, politics of ideas, post modernism, Power, presence, promissory notes, Propaganda, Psychology, public facade, Public Intellectual, Reading, Reductionism, relationships, Religion, Roles, scientism, secular, Seduction, self-deception, Sex Appeal, social climbing, social construction, Social Conventions, social ranking, spiritual journey, spiritual not religious, Spirituality, status, status of women, Suffering, The Examined Life, The Problematic of Men, The Problematic of Woman, the profane, the sacred, Time, twentieth century, twenty-first century, Work, Writing, Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So Long As You’re Healthy

  So Long As You’re Healthy Of course I’m not referring to the pandemic.  We’re all suffering from that.  I’m looking at the larger question of health — starting with my own, since I know its story best. How did … Continue reading

Posted in Absurdism, Academe, Action, Alienation, Anthropology, Art of Living, Atheism, Autonomy, bad faith, beauty, books, Chivalry, Class, conformism, Contemplation, Contradictions, Cool, Courage, Courtship, Cultural Politics, Culture, Desire, dialectic, Erotic Life, Ethics, Evil, Existentialism, exploitation, Faith, Fashion, Femininity, Feminism, Freedom, Friendship, Gender Balance, Guilt and Innocence, Health, hegemony, Heroes, hidden God, hierarchy, history of ideas, ID, Idealism, Ideality, Identity, Ideology, Immorality, Institutional Power, Jews, Judaism, Legal Responsibility, life and death struggle, Love, Male Power, Martyrdom, Masculinity, master/slave relation, Memoir, memory, Mind Control, Moral action, Moral evaluation, Moral psychology, morality, non-violence, Ontology, Oppression, pacifism, Past and Future, Peace, Phenomenology of Mind, Philosophy, Political Movements, politics of ideas, post modernism, Power, presence, promissory notes, Propaganda, Psychology, public facade, radicalism, Reading, Reductionism, relationships, Religion, Roles, Romantic Love, scientism, secular, Seduction, self-deception, Sex Appeal, Sexuality, social construction, Social Conventions, social ranking, Sociobiology, spiritual journey, spiritual not religious, Spirituality, status, status of women, Suffering, Terror, The Examined Life, The Problematic of Men, The Problematic of Woman, the profane, the sacred, Theism, Theology, Time, twenty-first century, Utopia, victimhood, victims, Work, Writing, Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“What Are We Really Arguing About Now?”

“What Are We Really Arguing About Now?” My recent columns were about “argument” in the philosopher’s sense of reasoning.  Thinking they might find them of special interest, I’ve sent the columns to philosopher friends.  And was pleased, but not surprised, … Continue reading

Posted in "Absolute Freedom and Terror", Absurdism, Academe, Action, Alienation, Art, Art of Living, Atheism, Autonomy, beauty, books, Cities, Class, conformism, Contemplation, Contradictions, Cool, Courage, Cultural Politics, Culture, Desire, dialectic, Erotic Life, Eternity, Ethics, Evil, Existentialism, exploitation, Faith, Fashion, Femininity, Feminism, Freedom, Friendship, Gender Balance, glitterati, Gnosticism, Guilt and Innocence, Health, Hegel, hegemony, Heroes, hidden God, hierarchy, history of ideas, Idealism, Ideality, Identity, Ideology, Idolatry, Institutional Power, Legal Responsibility, life and death struggle, Literature, Male Power, Masculinity, Memoir, memory, Mind Control, Modernism, Moral action, Moral evaluation, Moral psychology, morality, Mortality, Ontology, Past and Future, Phenomenology of Mind, Philosophy, politics of ideas, post modernism, Power, presence, promissory notes, public facade, Public Intellectual, Reading, Reductionism, relationships, secular, Seduction, self-deception, social construction, Social Conventions, social ranking, spiritual journey, spiritual not religious, status, status of women, The Examined Life, The Problematic of Men, The Problematic of Woman, the profane, the sacred, Theology, Time, twentieth century, twenty-first century, Utopia, Work, Writing, Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For Love of the Argument

For Love of the Argument I first met Bryan Magee when he was visiting Sidney University’s Department of Traditional and Modern Philosophy.  My then husband was teaching there and I had been granted a nice little niche as “Research Affiliate.” … Continue reading

Posted in "Absolute Freedom and Terror", Absurdism, Academe, Action, Afterlife, Alienation, Art of Living, Atheism, Autonomy, books, Class, conformism, Contemplation, Contradictions, Cool, Courage, Cultural Politics, Culture, Desire, dialectic, Erotic Life, Eternity, Ethics, Evil, Existentialism, Fashion, Feminism, Freedom, Friendship, Gender Balance, glitterati, Health, hegemony, Heroes, hidden God, hierarchy, history of ideas, Idealism, Ideality, Identity, Ideology, Institutional Power, Journalism, Literature, Love, Male Power, Masculinity, Memoir, memory, Modernism, Moral action, Moral evaluation, Moral psychology, morality, novels, Ontology, Past and Future, Philosophy, politics of ideas, post modernism, Power, presence, promissory notes, Psychology, public facade, Public Intellectual, Reading, Reductionism, relationships, secular, self-deception, social climbing, social construction, Social Conventions, social ranking, spiritual journey, spiritual not religious, Spirituality, status, status of women, Suffering, The Examined Life, The Problematic of Men, The Problematic of Woman, the profane, the sacred, Time, TV, twentieth century, twenty-first century, Work, Writing, Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment