Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel – Pascal Mercier

As someone who totally enjoys their philosophy Huxley style, i found this book absolutely wonderful and incredibly thought provoking.

I really do love good philosophers who are able to place deep philosophical discourse into novels that can either be read just as stories and/or as works of philosophy. Aldous Huxley was a master at this after becoming annoyed that only academia would ever read his philosophy papers and wishing for a far further reaching demographic than academia – which Huxley certainly achieved. Peter Bieri, AKA Pascal Mercier, while not having written as much as Huxley certainly matches him, IMHO, for depth of thinking and skill of writing.

What i really enjoy about the philosophical novel is that, to my mind, it frees up the thinking of the philosopher to say much much more than if they were simply writing an academic paper. In the novel form the philosopher can ascribe thoughts and ideas to fictional characters and not then have to carry any burden for holding such a view point themselves, whether they do or not, they can simply blame it upon the character and distance themselves from it entirely. While in academic philosophy what is written is pretty much always blamed on the philosopher and history has shown that philosophers have expressed certain views while muting others in order to appease and placate the ruling powers of their societies, peers and academia. The philosophical novel, is in my opinion, far more honest than the academic paper.

Anyways, get your thinking cap on if you want to read this one. It’ll certainly get the neurons fired up.

Pascal’s Page

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