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The View of Life

Four Metaphysical Essays with Journal Aphorisms

Translated by John A. Y. Andrews and Donald N. Levine, with an Introduction by Donald N. Levine and Daniel Silver

The View of Life

Four Metaphysical Essays with Journal Aphorisms

Translated by John A. Y. Andrews and Donald N. Levine, with an Introduction by Donald N. Levine and Daniel Silver

Published in 1918, The View of Life is Georg Simmel’s final work. Famously deemed “the brightest man in Europe” by George Santayana, Simmel addressed diverse topics across his essayistic writings, which influenced scholars in aesthetics, epistemology, and sociology. Nevertheless, certain core issues emerged over the course of his career—the genesis, structure, and transcendence of social and cultural forms, and the nature and conditions of authentic individuality, including the role of mindfulness regarding mortality. Composed not long before his death, The View of Life was, Simmel wrote, his “testament,” a capstone work of profound metaphysical inquiry intended to formulate his conception of life in its entirety.
Now Anglophone readers can at last read in full the work that shaped the argument of Heidegger’s Being and Time and whose extraordinary impact on European intellectual life between the wars was extolled by Jürgen Habermas. Presented alongside these seminal essays are aphoristic fragments from Simmel’s last journal, providing a beguiling look into the mind of one of the twentieth century’s greatest thinkers.


240 pages | 1 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2010

Philosophy: History and Classic Works, Philosophy of Society

Religion: Philosophy of Religion, Theology, and Ethics

Sociology: General Sociology

Reviews

“Although Simmel has written the most profound and stimulating book in sociology, in my opinion, that has ever been written, he was not in the first instance a sociologist but a philosopher.”

Robert E. Park

“Following World War II, neither in Germany nor the United States did Simmel achieve an intellectual presence that would lead one to suspect the extent of the influence he exerted on his contemporaries.”

Jürgen Habermas

“Simmel is the only social theorist one can read anymore.”

Max Horkheimer

Table of Contents

Introduction

Note on the Translation

I.         Life as Transcendence

II.      The Turn toward Ideas

III.    Death and Immortality

IV.  The Law of the Individual

Appendix: Journal Aphorisms, with an Introduction

Notes from Simmel’s "Metaphysics" File

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