Book Review: The Paradox of the Actor

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The Paradox of the actor (annotated): Le paradoxe sur le com├ędien (Humanities Collections Book 21)The Paradox of the actor (annotated): Le paradoxe sur le com├ędien by Denis Diderot
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Investigating the concept, l’esprit de l’escalier, led me to this book, but the reading of it yielded no insight. Diderot was a French philosopher and seemingly the incarnation of modernity. He was a passionate moralist, but his mechanistic view of the universe left him without any moral footing. He seems also to have practically invented modern internet discourse with his penchant for stream of consciousness composition, aversion to editing, resorting to inflamed outbursts when his reasoning failed to persuade, and his satisfaction with his rough draft if it amused himself and his friends. For Diderot, the beginning of wisdom was “not to reproach others for anything, not to repent of anything.” Henri Meister remembered Dierot as “rich, fertile, abounding in germs of every sort, but without any dominating principle, without a master and without a God.” Not quite Meister. Clearly, Diderot was his own god.

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