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Why Grow Up?

Subversive Thoughts for an Infantile Age

Susan Neiman

$30.95

Paperback

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Penguin
28 January 2016
In Why Grow Up, the latest volume in the Philosophy in Transit series, world-renowned philosopher Susan Neiman looks at growing up as an ideal with urgent relevance today Becoming an adult today can seem a grim prospect. As you grow up, you are told to renounce most of the hopes and dreams of your youth, and resign yourself to a life that will be a pale dilution of the adventurous, important and enjoyable life you once expected. But who wants to do any of that? No wonder we live in a culture of rampant immaturity, argues internationally-renowned philosopher Susan Neiman, when maturity looks so boring.

In Why Grow Up, Neiman explores the forces that are arrayed against maturity, and shows how philosophy can help us want to grow up. Travel, both literally and as a metaphor, has been seen as a crucial step to coming of age by thinkers as diverse as Kant, Rousseau, Hume and Simone de Beauvoir. Neiman discusses childhood, adolescence, sex, and culture, and asks how the idea of travel can help us build a model of maturity that makes growing up a good option and leaves space in our culture for grown-ups. Refuting the widespread belief that the best time of your life is the decade between sixteen and twenty-six, she argues that being grown-up is itself an ideal: one that is rarely achieved in its entirety, but all the more worth striving for.
By:   Susan Neiman
Imprint:   Penguin
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 15mm
Weight:   191g
ISBN:   9780141982496
ISBN 10:   0141982497
Pages:   256
Publication Date:   28 January 2016
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Susan Neiman is an American philosopher, cultural commentator and essayist. She writes for wide-ranging international audiences on the juncture between Enlightenment moral philosophy, metaphysics and politics. Formerly a professor of philosophy at Yale University and Tel Aviv University, she is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences. Her previous books, translated into many languages, include Slow Fire: Jewish Notes from Berlin, The Unity of Reason, Evil in Modern Thought, Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-up Idealists and Why Grow Up? She currently lives in Berlin, Germany, where she is the director of the Einstein Forum.

Reviews for Why Grow Up?: Subversive Thoughts for an Infantile Age

An excellent work ... Parts are as thought-provoking as reading Kant himself - and a damned sight easier Independent Exemplary ... Genuinely subversive -- A. O. Scott New York Times A spirited defence of the aspiration to maturity. As Neiman sagely observes, by clinging impotently to youth, we impoverish youth and maturity alike ... Neiman is an impassioned and lucid expositor of some very recondite concepts, with that rare ability ... to convey the continued relevance and urgency of philosophy for our distracted times -- Josh Cohen Guardian [Neiman] is not only a fine analyst but an acute stylist too, both scintillating and self-disciplined - a very rare thing in a philosopher -- Jonathan Ree Times Literary Supplement This elegant and accessible book is the philosophical kick up the arse my generation desperately needs -- Tom Slater Spiked To the barricades, armed with reason: Susan Neiman makes the case for toppling society's infantilism. Plumbing the depths of philosophy, she has written the most important book of the hour -- Katrin Schuhmacher MDR Figaro Neiman makes the case not only for thinking but for political engagement. Her passion eliminates any sort of pedantry -- Birgit Schmidt Tagesanzeiger The way Neiman interprets the Kantian idea of growing up - that of a never-ending task - has something subversive, and that's almost enough to make one young again -- Peter Praschl Die Welt Neiman's view on using philosophy to guide ourselves into adulthood is a wonderful example of how the writings of past philosophers can be applied to our current lives. Her writing is accessible for those without a background in philosophy, and her book is a pleasant introduction to those unfamiliar with Kant and Rousseau -- Scott Duimstra Library Journal [A] small book of big ideas -- Kate Tuttle Boston Globe Beautiful and luminous -- James Wood Philosophy doesn't get much better than this ... Neiman's sense of humour is a plus, but her greatest strength is her ability to distill centuries of thought to their essence, provoking her readers along the way. Neiman convincingly makes the case that growing up is not tantamount to inevitable decline, and that the hard work to make maturity fulfilling is worth the effort Publishers Weekly Philosopher Susan Neiman restores some measure of sanity to the discussion of age, infantilism, growing up, and all of its attendant fussing. Hopefully this considered, often brilliant book will shape the discourse on maturity for the foreseeable future -- Jonathan Sturgeon Flavorwire Neiman's view on using philosophy to guide ourselves into adulthood is a wonderful example of how the writings of past philosophers can be applied to our current lives. Her writing is accessible for those without a background in philosophy, and her book is a pleasant introduction to those unfamiliar with Kant and Rousseau -- Scott Duimstra Library Journal Neiman's book is a pleasure to read because she writes well and thinks lucidly and because her values are invigorating -- Vivian Gornick Boston Review This is the most positive description of adulthood I have ever encountered. One that is about strength and thought, not about the sage bodycon or even the houses and children. We can get there. Are you ready yet? -- Anna Fielding Emerald Street Stirring stuff ... [Neiman is] impassioned and thorough, alive with curiosity, devilishly well read, fairminded, and funny. Her writing is strongest when she employs her good humour and graciousness ... The philosophers' calls to grow up, and grow up well, are frequent, and in Neiman's hands surprising and moving -- Katie Haegele Philly.com Star philosopher Susan Neiman makes a stand for maturity, and that is refreshing de Volkskrant Wonderful ... Surely a small treasure every bit as interesting as Bertrand Russell's gem What is Philosophy? Wichita Eagle Neiman knows how to keep philosophy fresh and contemporary De Standaard


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