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Frank Cioffi: The Philosopher in Shirt-Sleeves

Author: David Ellis and Nicholas Bunnin  

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An elegant, original insight into the thoughts, opinions and work of Frank Cioffi, presenting a complete picture of the man and the philosopher.

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PRODUCT INFORMATION

Summary

An elegant, original insight into the thoughts, opinions and work of Frank Cioffi, presenting a complete picture of the man and the philosopher.

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Description

A high school drop-out who served in the American army and then managed to slip into Oxford on the G.I. bill, Frank Cioffi gained a considerable public reputation in Freudian and Wittgensteinian circles. Frank Cioffi: The Philosopher in Shirt-Sleeves is an account of his conversation written in a Boswellian spirit, capturing the sharp intelligence, boisterous sense of humour and wealth of illustration Cioffi was able to bring to bear on life's biggest problems when he was, as it were, off-duty.

Tackling subjects such as the unruly body, the challenge of art, dealing with failure, the lure of science, the meaning of life, our understanding of others, depression, the case for suicide, and death, David Ellis describes how a philosopher who was profoundly influenced by Wittgenstein dealt with general issues and creates a vivid impression of an unusual and gifted individual. This portrait is followed by a post-script in which Nicholas Bunnin, who worked in the philosophy department at Essex when Cioffi was a professor there, situates him in a more strictly academic context and discusses his less well-known essays on literary criticism and the behavioural sciences, arguing for Cioffi's potential to inspire those seeking a role for analytic philosophy within the broader scope of humanistic philosophy.

A mixture of personal portrait and academic introduction, Frank Cioffi: The Philosopher in Shirt-Sleeves provides an elegant and enjoyable tribute to Cioffi as both man and philosopher.

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Critic Reviews

“Frank Cioffi was a charismatic, practising, speaking philosopher. In meeting him, one felt philosophy was palpable in the room, as alive as you could ever experience it. Ellis's book puts this across. It captures the peripatetic, eclectic, vibrant and synthesizing genius that was Cioffi; and this is more difficult to do than to list his special theoretical achievements (which it also does).”

The Philosopher in Shirt-Sleeves is a readable and affectionate memoir. ... I never met Cioffi, but having read this book I wish I had. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews Ellis's book should promote renewed interest in Frank's published works. But even more, it should prompt us to engage in the sort of reflective concern with human life which was Frank's passion. Philosophical Investigations Frank Cioffi was a charismatic, practising, speaking philosopher. In meeting him, one felt philosophy was palpable in the room, as alive as you could ever experience it. Ellis's book puts this across. It captures the peripatetic, eclectic, vibrant and synthesizing genius that was Cioffi; and this is more difficult to do than to list his special theoretical achievements (which it also does). -- Daniele Moyal-Sharrock, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Hertfordshire, UK Philosophy began, and still thrives best, in the medium of conversation. This book provides an affectionate but clear-eyed and penetrating portrait of a philosopher whose distinctive talents found their best expression in that medium. I very much hope that this engaging conspectus of Frank Cioffi's life-long preoccupation with the various modes of human understanding will encourage a renewed interest in his under-appreciated body of work. -- Stephen Mulhall, Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy, New College, Oxford University, UK David Ellis has written a fascinating and intensely humane portrait of the philosopher Frank Cioffi, which is completed by Nicholas Bunnin's extremely helpful chapter on the philosophical context for Cioffi's work. Frank Cioffi was an extraordinarily gifted teacher and the man who, in 1983, persuaded me to study philosophy. I very much hope that this book persuades many others to read Cioffi's work and take up his compelling vision of the philosophical life. -- Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy, the New School, USA The fullest expression of Frank Cioffi's manifold talents was in the art of conversation - after an hour with Frank, the world seemed more vivid, ideas seemed to dance with life, and laughter echoed even amidst the ruins. In this admirable and charming book, David Ellis captures the vibrant qualities of Frank Cioffi's conversation, his joy in ideas, his perpetual probing and questioning, and his intellectual passion. To those who knew him, this volume will be a treasured memorial - to those who were unacquainted with him, it will be a delightful memoir of a remarkable man. -- Peter Hacker, Emeritus Research Fellow of Philosophy, University of Oxford, UK

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About the Author

Frank Cioffi was an American philosopher educated in New York and Oxford. He taught at the University of Singapore, the University of Kent and the University of Essex, where he was a founding member of the Department of Philosophy. His work centered on Sigmund Freud, psychoanalysis and Ludwig Wittgenstein. He died in January 2012.

David Ellis is Emeritus Professor of Literature at the University of Kent, UK. He is author of Memoirs of a Leavisite: The decline and fall of Cambridge English (2013) and The Truth about William Shakespeare: Fact, fiction and modern biographies (2012).

Nicholas Bunnin is the Director of the Philosophy Project at the Institute for Chinese Studies in Oxford and a Visiting Professor of Chinese Philosophy at King's College, London. He is an editor of Blackwell's Companion to Philosophy and their Dictionary of Western Philosophy.

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More on this Book

A high school drop-out who served in the American army and then managed to slip into Oxford on the G.I. bill, Frank Cioffi gained a considerable public reputation in Freudian and Wittgensteinian circles. This account of his conversation is written in a Boswellian spirit, and captures the sharp intelligence, boisterous sense of humour and wealth of illustration Cioffi was able to bring to bear on life's biggest problems when he was, as if were, off-duty. Tackling subjects such as the unruly body, the challenge of art, dealing with failure, the lure of science, the meaning of life, our understanding of others, depression, the case for suicide, and death, David Ellis describes how a philosopher who was profoundly influenced by Wittgenstein dealt with general issues and creates a vivid impression of an unusual and gifted individual. This portrait is followed by a post-script in which Nicholas Bunnin, who worked in the philosophy department at Essex when Cioffi was a professor there, situates him in a more strictly academic context and discusses his less well-known essays on literary criticism and the behavioural sciences, arguing for Cioffi's potential to inspire those seeking a role for analytic philosophy within the broader scope of humanistic philosophy. This mixture of personal portrait and academic introduction provides an elegant and enjoyable tribute to Cioffi as both man and philosopher.

See more

Product Details

Publisher
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC | Bloomsbury Academic
Published
21st September 2017
Pages
208
ISBN
9781472590121
$79.09
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