By John Kaag

The epic knowledge contained in a misplaced library is helping the writer flip his lifestyles around

John Kaag is a dispirited younger thinker at sea in his marriage and his occupation while he stumbles upon West Wind, a spoil of an property within the hinterlands of recent Hampshire that belonged to the eminent Harvard thinker William Ernest Hocking. Hocking used to be one of many final actual giants of yankee philosophy and an immediate highbrow descendent of William James, the daddy of yank philosophy and psychology, with whom Kaag feels a deep kinship. it really is James’s query “Is existence worthy living?” that courses this outstanding book.

The books Kaag discovers within the Hocking library are crawling with bugs and whole of mould. yet he resolves to revive them, as he instantly acknowledges their value. not just does the library at West Wind comprise handwritten notes from Whitman and inscriptions from Frost, yet there are startlingly infrequent first versions of Hobbes, Descartes, and Kant. As Kaag starts off to catalog and skim via those useful volumes, he embarks on an exhilarating trip that leads him to the life-affirming tenets of yank philosophy—self-reliance, pragmatism, and transcendence—and to an excellent younger Kantian who joins him within the recovery of the Hocking books.

Part highbrow heritage, half memoir, American Philosophy is finally approximately love, freedom, and the function that knowledge can play in turning one’s lifestyles around.

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