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Reading Darwin, Reading with Philosophers

For an intellectual historian, relationships with philosophers can be rewarding and maddening at the same time. As a species, philosophers, particularly of the Continental variety, show a pronounced tendency to stick to the forest and shun the trees. They prefer heights and abstraction, but then they read far more closely than the rest of us, burrowing down into texts with real enthusiasm. Intellectual historians can seem crabbed or narrow when we meet philosophers in their environs, because we tend to sound off about things like “context.” This calling of ours disturbs and puzzles the philosopher, not the least because the Read more