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Death of the Soul: Philosophical Thought from Descartes to the Computer

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  76 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Barrett's newest study explores philosophy's most fundamental question: Does the human soul exist? Tracing the relationship of philosophy to the scientific and spiritual worlds, this book illuminates the ever-widening gap between theory and life and explains why the soul seems so unimportant to today's technocratic intellectuals.
Published (first published 1986)
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Szplug
May 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Metaphysical patchouli.

Much as in Irrational Man, William Barrett proves himself here to possess an immensely readable philosophical voice—reasonable, measured, sober while yet so with the timbre of an easy jocularity, and endowed with a rich passion and warmth that is both indicative of and provisioned by a deep and earnest humanity. I languidly make my way through his books with an unabated pleasure, drinking of the decanted detailing of a learned and lucid wise man. Barrett practices what he
...more
Tanya
Oct 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i LOVE barrett!
Barak
Mar 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
In Death of the Soul, Barrett takes a brave excursion through the western intellectual history of mankind, via some of its prominent philosophers, in order to expose, examine, and explain the surprising chasm between the academic, over-intellectual and the common-sense, true to real-life perceptions of consciousness, the first one of suspicion and incredulity (giving birth to semi-philosophical debates like The Problem of Other Minds), the latter, one of obviousness and transparency.

This project
...more
David Rush
Barrett covers a lot of philosophical territory with pithy conceptualization of many big name philosophers. He is not trying to give a survey or even highlights of these philosophical giants, rather he only focuses on how their views affect his main concern.

Here I boldly state what I think is his “deal”... Barrett wants to save the very idea of the individual self, which is really the very notion of the soul. For him most modern philosophy and scientism (NOT science itself, mind you) AND the eve
...more
Rick
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Descartes did not create consciousness, but he certainly made us conscious of consciousness. And ever since Descartes we have tried to reduce its importance and vitality. Barrett says that the history of civilization since the 17th century has been an "effort to undermine in one way or another the spiritual status of the human person." (p. 157) How is this done? We have let our tools (machines, inventions, technology, computers) take over our soul(s). We have become tools of our tools, as Thorea ...more
Daniel Chow
For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the world, and lose his own soul?
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William Christopher Barrett (1913 – 1992) was a professor of philosophy at New York University from 1950 to 1979. Precociously, he began post-secondary studies at the City College of New York when 15 years old. He received his PhD at Columbia University. He was an editor of Partisan Review and later the literary critic of The Atlantic Monthly magazine. He was well-known for writing philosophical w ...more
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“We have to be who we are, however we may seek eventually to transform ourselves.” 0 likes
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