Philosophical Portraits: Descartes & Nietzsche
A historian and philosopher reflect on the lives and afterlives of two thinkers who mark the beginning and end of modern philosophy. Presented in partnership with the Center for the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Hosted by Steve Paulson with an introduction by Sara Guyer.
Steven Nadler is William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of The Philosopher, the Priest, and the Painter: A Portrait of Descartes. A unique combination of philosophy, biography, and art history, The Philosopher, the Priest, and the Painter investigates the remarkable individuals and circumstances behind a small portrait. Through this image--and the intersecting lives of a brilliant philosopher, a Catholic priest, and a gifted painter--Steven Nadler opens up a fascinating portal into Descartes's life and times, skillfully presenting an accessible introduction to Descartes's philosophical and scientific ideas, and an illuminating tour of the volatile political and religious environment of the Dutch Golden Age.
Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen is Merle Curti Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His Ideas. In American Nietzsche, Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen delves deeply into Nietzsche's philosophy, and America’s reception of it, to tell the story of his curious appeal. Beginning her account with Ralph Waldo Emerson, whom the seventeen-year-old Nietzsche read fervently, she shows how Nietzsche’s ideas first burst on American shores at the turn of the twentieth century, and how they continued alternately to invigorate and to shock Americans for the century to come.