Tuesday, October 6, 2009

China - Rear Vision

The dynastic empires of China succeeded each other until 1912. The People's Republic of China started in 1949. What happened in between? What is this China that bridged the old and the new empire? Where do emperor and chairman connect? Rear Vision brought a program which the history of this China (China before Mao) was discussed.

This is the China of Sun Yat Sen. This is the China that wrestled with the power of European colonials. This is the China that was led by a coalition of nationalists and various sorts of liberals and socialists. The communists were in that coalition. And the communists were divided, divided on their alliance to the Soviet Union, divided on their strategies. Should revolution come from the proletariat in the cities, or from the countryside?

And so this is also the story of how one flank of the communists, those led by Mao, who thought that revolution should come from the countryside, eventually seize full power. Ultimately, this is so much, it almost necessarily falls short. But it is fascinating, no less.

More Rear Vision:
A history of the Israeli-Arab conflict,
Fish depletion,
Follow up on Iran and Versailles,
Versailles 1919,
Iran 1953.

Nietzsche repossessed - Philosophy Bites

Philosophy Bites is not the first philosophy podcast Brian Leiter appears in to speak on Friedrich Nietzsche. Just a month ago we noticed him on Elucidations where he reconstructed Nietzsche's views on morality. Already there I noted my reservations. I am in no way knowledgeable, but the in the way of presentation Leiter leaves on me the impression he is bent on presenting his interpretation of Nietzsche, rather than delivering what is broadly held to be the interpretation of Nietzsche.

When Leiter speaks at Philosophy Bites on myths around Nietzsche it should therefore come as no surprise that his recurring point is that widely held ideas on what Nietzsche's ideas should entail are in fact mistaken. Then he presents an adjusted view and thus, in a way, repossesses Nietzsche. Not only does he pull him away from accusations of Nazi sympathy or antisemitism, but also from fields where he is popular and thought to be influential.

Again, I find it impossible to verify whether Leiter is being particular about Nietzsche or especially insightful. By all means, the appearance on Philosophy Bites was very interesting and informative and even if faulty, I feel, is very helpful in getting a grip on this elusive philosopher, Nietzsche.

More Philosophy Bites:
What can you do with philosophy?,
Morality without God,
Pascal's Pensées,
Fourth Revolution,
Michael Sandel on what cannot be sold.