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Midlife: A Philosophical Guide di Kieran…
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Midlife: A Philosophical Guide (originale 2017; edizione 2017)

di Kieran Setiya (Autore)

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Philosophical wisdom and practical advice for overcoming the problems of middle age How can you reconcile yourself with the lives you will never lead, with possibilities foreclosed, and with nostalgia for lost youth? How can you accept the failings of the past, the sense of futility in the tasks that consume the present, and the prospect of death that blights the future? In this self-help book with a difference, Kieran Setiya confronts the inevitable challenges of adulthood and middle age, showing how philosophy can help you thrive. You will learn why missing out might be a good thing, how options are overrated, and when you should be glad you made a mistake. You will be introduced to philosophical consolations for mortality. And you will learn what it would mean to live in the present, how it could solve your midlife crisis, and why meditation helps. Ranging from Aristotle, Schopenhauer, and John Stuart Mill to Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir, as well as drawing on Setiya's own experience, Midlife combines imaginative ideas, surprising insights, and practical advice. Writing with wisdom and wit, Setiya makes a wry but passionate case for philosophy as a guide to life.… (altro)
Utente:RickKrause
Titolo:Midlife: A Philosophical Guide
Autori:Kieran Setiya (Autore)
Info:Princeton University Press (2017), 200 pages
Collezioni:La tua biblioteca
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Midlife: A Philosophical Guide di Kieran Setiya (2017)

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If the asymmetry problem — that is, the fact that we often display contrasting responses to our pre-natal non-existence and our non-existence subsequent to our death — captures the frame or extent of our lives, then, I suppose, all of our life is effectively midlife. Here, philosopher Kieran Setiya narrows his focus to what 20th century psychologists and popular imagination identify as the midlife crisis, which typically occurs some time after one’s 35th year. Whether it is induced by an anxiety about the future (Is that all there is?) or regret about the past, whether actions or choices, Setiya argues that the midlife crisis is a real phenomenon. It is, he confesses, one that he faces himself. Fortunately Setiya has access to a philosophical tradition, practice, and insight that, he thinks, will help him deal with this potentially egoistical problem.

Setiya writes with confidence and clarity. Whenever he restricts himself to philosophical matters, I find him clear headed and persuasive. Unfortunately, his goal here lies outside philosophy. What he really wants is to write a self-help book. In the latter portions of the book he repeatedly misapplies the phrase “philosophical therapy” treating it as a synonym for psychological therapy. But traditionally (as least in the anglo-analytic tradition) philosophy serves as a cure for specifically philosophical conundrums. To assuage one’s anxiety, it is generally thought more efficacious to partake of pharmaceuticals or to watch cricket. Thus what starts out as an interesting discussion of a collection of related philosophical problems degenerates into handwaving fluff and adjurements to live in the moment and transform one’s telic activities into atelic practices. Sigh.

What disappoints most of all is that this book is published by Princeton University Press and labelled as “Philosophy” on its back cover. Yes, philosophy, not self-help, self-improvement, or pop psychology.

It’s entirely possible that some readers will find this book helpful. But, I would argue, that it’s also entirely possible they might get just as much (and much the same kind of ) help by watching cricket.

Not recommended. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Jan 5, 2021 |
A very mixed bag. Found the section on "missing out" or the life not lived most useful as someone in their late 30s. The conclusion, although interesting in some respects (reframing from goal orientation for satisfaction to pleasure in performing the quotidian) was a disappointment, essentially recommending mindfulness techniques. ( )
  arewenotben | Jul 31, 2020 |
Más tarde o más temprano surgen en nuestra vida una serie de interrogantes a los que no es fácil dar respuesta. ¿Cómo reconciliarnos con las vidas que no hemos podido vivir, con los caminos que no tomamos, con la nostalgia del pasado? ¿Cómo aceptar nuestros fracasos, la futilidad de las tareas que consumen nuestro presente o la propia mortalidad? La mayor parte de la gente empieza a plantearse estas cuestiones cuando más o menos ha llegado a la mitad de su vida, cuando la juventud está todavía cerca pero puede otear ya la muerte al final del trayecto.

En este brillante libro, a medio camino entre el ensayo filosófico y el libro de autoayuda, Kieran Setiya –profesor de filosofía en el MIT– afronta los retos de la vida adulta y la madurez y nos propone un paseo –de Aristóteles a Schopenhauer, de Virginia Woolf a Simone de Beauvoir– por distintas obras filosóficas y literarias que nos ayudan a entender qué es la crisis de la mediana edad y cómo podemos hacerle frente. Un libro que, en realidad, como dice su autor, «no es solo para quienes se encuentran en la mediana edad, sino para cualquiera que esté lidiando con la irreversibilidad del tiempo».
  bibliotecayamaguchi | Nov 13, 2019 |
Best for:
Those who enjoy a philosophical approach to things, and those who are approaching middle age.

In a nutshell:
Philosopher Kieran Setiya, as he approached mid-life, decided to explore ways philosophy might help him power through — or even stave off — a crisis.

Worth quoting:
“I recognize the luxury of the midlife crisis, with a degree of guilt and shame. Why can’t I be more grateful for what I have? But this is my life.”
“There is consolation in the fact that missing out is an inexorable side effect of the richness of human life.”
“There is no more to going for a walk than what you are doing right now. You are not on the way to achieving a goal. You are already there.”

Why I chose it:
I’m turning 40 next year and I enjoy studying philosophy.

Review:
This fairly short exploration of mid-life is lightly humorous and well-written. Author Setiya is approaching 40 and has started to feel what many do when they approach mid-life: a sense of malaise. As he is a philosophy professor, he is, one could argue, fairly well-suited to explore the larger questions around life and what it means as we continue into the second half of our lives.

And I think he is. This is a largely successful book if one is looking not so much for all the answers, but for some ideas of how to change one’s thinking about this time in life. Setiya looks at the big issues that crop up around middle age: regret / paths not taken; fear of death; and wondering what to do next when you’ve completed most of the standard life projects.

The section on regret is interesting, as it forces a rational approach to the issue. Namely, that even if you could start over and do things completely differently, that would mean wiping out who you are now. Do you really want that? Do any of us? Sure, it’s understandable to spend some time wondering about different choices, but you can’t do anything about it. I found this section … not that helpful for me. I don’t have large life regrets or anything like that (though I’ve gone back-and-forth on career choices basically since leaving university) but I don’t think I followed Setiya’s process here.

The fear of mortality section was also a bit of a challenge for me, as his main point seemed to be (if I’m understanding it) that we shouldn’t focus on not being around after death because we weren’t around before birth, and they’re ultimately the same thing. There’s also something here about putting more emphasis on the future than the past, but I had some trouble following it.

The section I found most helpful was the one dealing with the challenges of what happens when you’ve met most of the life goals society sets out for us. For me, that included going to university, meeting a life partner, and buying a home, all of which I’ve done. What happens after that? What about all the other projects we work on, that are also bound to finish (like, hopefully, my book)? What do we do then? Setiya’s suggestion is we focus on all the things that are not bound by a start an end, instead looking at the process. His example is enjoying a walk for the walk’s sake. Not because we are using it as a means to an end. That is a way of thinking that I could definitely incorporate into my daily life.

Overall, would I recommend it to my peers? Eh, probably not, but mostly because I think it’s a little heavier on the philosophy than they’d like.

Keep it / Pass to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it:
Donate it ( )
  ASKelmore | Apr 28, 2019 |
En este brillante libro, a medio camino entre el ensayo filosófico y el libro de autoayuda, Kieran Setiya–profesor de filosofía en el MIT–afronta los retos de la vida adulta y la madurez y nos propone un paseo–de Aristóteles a Schopenhauer, de Virginia Woolf a Simone de Beauvoir–por distintas obras filosóficas y literarias que nos ayudan a entender qué es la crisis de la mediana edad y cómo podemos hacerle frente. Un libro que, en realidad, como dice su autor, «no es solo para quienes se encuentran en la mediana edad, sino para cualquiera que esté lidiando con la irreversibilidad del tiempo».
  bibliest | Jan 23, 2019 |
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Philosophical wisdom and practical advice for overcoming the problems of middle age How can you reconcile yourself with the lives you will never lead, with possibilities foreclosed, and with nostalgia for lost youth? How can you accept the failings of the past, the sense of futility in the tasks that consume the present, and the prospect of death that blights the future? In this self-help book with a difference, Kieran Setiya confronts the inevitable challenges of adulthood and middle age, showing how philosophy can help you thrive. You will learn why missing out might be a good thing, how options are overrated, and when you should be glad you made a mistake. You will be introduced to philosophical consolations for mortality. And you will learn what it would mean to live in the present, how it could solve your midlife crisis, and why meditation helps. Ranging from Aristotle, Schopenhauer, and John Stuart Mill to Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir, as well as drawing on Setiya's own experience, Midlife combines imaginative ideas, surprising insights, and practical advice. Writing with wisdom and wit, Setiya makes a wry but passionate case for philosophy as a guide to life.

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