Saturday, March 07, 2009



“Let Us Philosophize: Second Revised Edition,” by D.R. Khashaba. ISBN 978–1-60264–232–4. 272 pages. $14.95.

This is a revised edition of a book that first appeared in 1998. The author has since published three other books, yet “Let Us Philosophize” remained the one that gives the author’s philosophy as an integrative whole. It presents a philosophy developed over a lifetime, in which questions about ultimate reality, knowledge, and values are interrelated in a coherent system. This is an approach frowned upon by most present-day academic and professional philosophers. The book indeed seeks to challenge the dominant analytic approach which has reduced philosophy to specialized disciplines and techniques which cannot approach the ultimate questions that originally gave rise to philosophy. Only by audaciously daring to philosophize ‘in the grand manner’ can philosophy once more be meaningfully relevant to life and human needs. However, in raising ultimate questions, the author does not pretend to offer acceptable solutions or ‘true’ answers. A philosophy that professes to offer truth on a platter is worse than worthless. This book seeks to provoke readers to question themselves and question the world and to venture on the soul-searching travail necessary for understanding their own mind and building up their own philosophy.

"Plato: An Interpretation" by D.R. Khashaba. ISBN 978-1-58939-721-7. $15.95. Softcover. 320 Pages.

Our understanding of Plato and our understanding of the nature of philosophy are two sides of a coin. The dominant academic conception of the nature of philosophical thinking vitiates both our understanding of philosophy and our interpretation of Plato. Plato gave us the profoundest truths about ourselves and about Reality in winged myths. Our learned scholars turn the myths into silly dogmata, into transparently erroneous doctrines, and all is lost: the inspirational core, the inspired insight, is dissipated when its housing shell of myth is shattered.
No one is entitled to claim a monopoly on understanding Plato's 'true' meaning, and I certainly make no claim. I neither pretend nor intend to arrive at what Plato thought or taught. Plato has left us some thirty pieces of verbal composition, which he created for his own amusement. I enter into living dialogue with the living Plato and offer the understanding I come out with for myself from that dialogue, not claiming any authority or veracity for my interpretation. I do what Plotinus did; I draw from the flowing founts of Plato to water my own garden and offer my version of Platoism for what it may be worth intrinsically.

"Socrates' Prison Journal" by D.R. Khashaba. ISBN 1-58939-848-3. Softcover. $13.95. 220 pages.

Socrates spent thirty days in prison awaiting execution. The author makes Socrates keep a prison journal in which he seeks to sum up the meaning of his life and his life's work. In imaginative reminiscences, meditations and fictional conversations Socrates discusses aspects of his philosophy, clears up misunderstandings and answers objections - misunderstandings and objections that are as rife today as they were among Socrates' contemporaries and immediate followers.
With Aspasia, the beautiful and gifted wife of Pericles, Socrates discusses Protagoras' agnostic stance regarding the existence of the gods. Repeatedly he voices his hopes and his fears about what might become of his philosophy in the hands of Plato. In a prophetic dream Socrates even discusses with Aristotle the latter's criticisms of Socrates' moral philosophy. In conversations with Diotima of Mantinea the author creatively develops aspects of Socrates' and Plato's philosophy.
The notes appended to the journal explain for the benefit of the lay reader biographical and historical allusions and expand somewhat upon certain issues. An Appendix deals with Plato's account of the last moments of Socrates, which has been questioned by some scholars. Within its fictional framework, the book offers a philosophy addressing the human situation in the twenty-first century.

"Hypatia's Lover" by D. R. Khashaba. ISBN #1-58939-973-0, softcover, $13.95.

This is a fictionalized account of the last days of Hypatia’s life, leading to her brutal murder during Lent, 415 AD. The fictional love story is treated allusively, in very light touches, mostly through fleeting recollections evoked by incidents in the sad love stories of two of her students. The tragic tale is followed by a collection of imaginary excerpts from lectures and speeches of Hypatia. In the story line the author has not tampered with any known facts. The philosophy presented in the imaginary lectures and speeches is confessedly the author’s own. This is rendered pardonable and necessary by the fact that, thanks to the Church, Hypatia’s philosophical works have been completely lost to us. If the moving portrayal of Hypatia’s tragedy is met with ire in some quarters, the author offers no apology and has no regret. Hypatia’s atrocious slaughter is a sore wound in the human conscience that must be kept smarting if it is not to fester and poison the whole human body.

"The Sphinx and the Phoenix," by D. R. Khashaba. ISBN 978-1-60264-309-3, $15.95, softcover. 376 pages.

This is a collection of philosophical essays, gropings for light in the dark den of life, so why the Sphinx and the Phoenix? To philosophize is to question everything, to subject all things to What? And to Why? There you have the Sphinx. What about the Phoenix? Philosophy is concerned with the ultimate mysteries of being, understanding, and value. In seeking to represent the ultimate and the absolute in finite and determinate formulations of thought, philosophy can only speak in allegory, metaphor, and myth and must constantly, as Plato insisted, destroy its own foundational postulates. True philosophy must burn in the fire of dialectic that from the ashes, Phoenix-like, new intelligible worlds may arise bringing with them enlightenment and insight. The essays range widely from the nature of philosophical thinking to the problem of free will, from Kant and Plato to Wittgenstein and Russell, from the objectivity of values to a critique of religion, from the creationism-evolutionism controversy to the brain-mind riddle, and together they reflect an integrative philosophy that the author characterizes as an original version of Platonism.


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