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Pascal Bruckner

Pascal Bruckner

One of the best European philosophers
Languages : English, French

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Pascal Bruckner is a French writer and is part of the Cercle de l'Oratoire think tank.

After studies at the university Paris I and Paris VII, subsequently at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, he became maître de conférences at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, and collaborator at the « Nouvel Observateur ».
A prolific writer, Pascal Bruckner began writing in the vein of the so-called « nouveaux philosophes » and counts among their best known French proponents. He published 'Parias, ou

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Pascal Bruckner is a French writer and is part of the Cercle de l'Oratoire think tank.

After studies at the university Paris I and Paris VII, subsequently at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, he became maître de conférences at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, and collaborator at the « Nouvel Observateur ».
A prolific writer, Pascal Bruckner began writing in the vein of the so-called « nouveaux philosophes » and counts among their best known French proponents. He published 'Parias, ou la tentation de l'Inde' ('Parias, or the temptation of India'), 'Lunes de Fiel' (adapted to film by Roman Polanski) and 'Les voleurs de beauté' (The beauty stealers) (Prix Renaudot in 1997). Among essays, 'La tentation de l'innocence' (Temptation of innocence) (Prix Médicis in 1995) and, famously, 'Le Sanglot de l'Homme blanc' ('The Cry of the White Man'), and more recently 'La tyrannie de la pénitence' (2006), an essay on the West's endless self-criticism.
In May 1983 he published 'Le Sanglot de l'Homme blanc' ('The Tears of the White Man'), subtitled 'Third World, culpability and self-hatred', an attack against narcistic and destructive policies in the interest for the Third World, which was a controversial opus. Bruckner describes what he sees as a pro-Third-World sentimentalism of part of the Western Left-wing and its cheap self-culpabilisation; the essay had an influence on a whole trend of thought.
His polemic stance against multiculturalism has kindled an international debate. The article titled 'Enlightenment fundamentalism or racism of the anti-racists?', defended Ayaan Hirsi Ali by criticizing other articles by Ian Buruma and Timothy Garton Ash. Bruckner attacks the Enlightenment, utilizing modern philosophers ranging from Heidegger to Gadamer, Derrida, Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno. They all mention how "all the evils of our epoch were spawned by this philosophical and literary episode: capitalism, colonialism, totalitarianism,".
However, Bruckner does say that there is a preferable form of Enlightenment, as opposed to Anglo-Saxon Enlightenment: "Denouncing the excesses of the Enlightenment in the concepts that it forged means being true to its spirit."
Pascal Bruckner is an interesting speaker, used to open discussion while making others think. Bruckner engages in lively, interesting conversation and applies his thoughts to current, national and international affairs.
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Cover van The Temptation of Innocence

The Temptation of Innocence

Title: The Temptation of Innocence — Living in the Age of Entitlement
Author: Pascal Bruckner
Publisher: Algora Publishing
Language: English
Paperback: 300 pages
ISBN: 978-18-929-4156-5

Prolific essayist and novelist Bruckner (a winner of France's prestigious Medici Prize) offers a gracefully erudite, deliciously mordant critique of a recent species of human self-deception: infantilism and victimization, the idea that powerlessness is a virtue without responsibility. Among those skewered by Bruckner's biting wit are parents who identify with the children they pamper, feminists who bastardize men, and ethnic nationalities (most especially the Serbs) who tout past sufferings as warrant for persecuting others. Bruckner's European education, which he wears lightly; his unpreachy, aphoristic style; and his obvious delight in paradox save this book from the ranks of a tedious diatribe against permissiveness. Citings of Europe's philosophical and literary masters (Rousseau, Hegel, Nietzsche among many others) help Bruckner, who is French (this admirable translation is not, alas, credited), make the case that the modern individual, weakened by responsibilities of freedom too great to bear, finds freedom in weakness itself: the freedom from moral constraint. In consequence, the distinction between genuine weakness, which merits compassion, and self-promoting distortions of it is obscured. Bruckner's paradigmatic antidote to resentment is decidedly French: the inventive lover for whom suffering is less a virtue than an unavoidable risk, made bearable not by self-deception but by acknowledging and tolerating ambiguity. In a final variation on Bruckner's theme of things becoming their opposites (e.g., victims who persecute), a childlike Cupid points individuals, social groups and nations away from childish self-pity into responsible relations with others. Bruckner should find a ready audience among philosophically inclined readers who bring a skeptical eye to contemporary trends and agree that freedom from responsibility is no freedom at all.

Cover van The Tears of the White Man

The Tears of the White Man

Title: The Tears of the White Man — Compassion As Contempt
Author: Pascal Bruckner
Publisher: The Free Press, A Division of Macmillan Inc.
Language: English
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN: 978-00-290-4160-4

In this imaginatively argued essay Bruckner lambasts Western attitudes toward the Third World as being characterized by guilt, hypocrisy, and paternalism. Bruckner is exasperated by those who unquestioningly label the industrial nations 'exploiters' and the underdeveloped countries 'exploited'. Further, he decries left-wing intellectuals' selective championing of Third World causes, and their attempts to mask realities that do not fit their personal ideology. Too often, insists Bruckner, we sentimentalize the Third World instead of subjecting it to rational analysis. A hard-hitting, important book.

Cover van La tyrannie de la pénitence

La tyrannie de la pénitence

Title: La tyrannie de la pénitence — Essai sur le masochisme occidental
Author: Pascal Bruckner
Publisher: Grasset & Fasquelle
Language: French
Paperback: 258 pages
ISBN: 978-22-466-4161-2

Le monde entier nous hait et nous le méritons bien: telle est la conviction d'une majorité d'Européens, du moins à l'Ouest. Depuis 1945, en effet, notre continent est habité par les tourments du repentir. Ressassant ses abominations passées, les guerres incessantes, les persécutions religieuses, l'esclavage, l'impérialisme, le fascisme, le communisme, il ne voit dans sa longue histoire qu'une continuité de tueries, de pillages qui ont abouti à deux conflits mondiaux, c'est-à-dire à un suicide enthousiaste. À ce sentiment de culpabilité, toute une élite intellectuelle et politique donne ses lettres de noblesse, appointée à l'entretien du remords comme jadis les gardiens du feu. Dans cette rumination morose, les nations européennes oublient qu'elles, et elles seules, ont fait l'effort de surmonter leur barbarie pour la penser et se mettre à distance d'elle, construisant un monde de paix et de prospérité. L'Europe a sans doute enfanté des monstres, elle a du même coup enfanté les théories qui permettent de détruire les monstres.

Curieusement nous vivons aujourd'hui une situation de repentir à sens unique: celui-ci n'est exigé que d'un seul camp, le nôtre, et jamais des autres cultures, des autres régimes qui se drapent dans leur pureté supposée pour mieux nous accuser. Mais l'Europe accepte trop volontiers le chantage à la faute; si nous adorons nous flageller et nous couvrir la tête de cendres, n'est-ce pas que notre souhait secret est de sortir de l'Histoire, de nous abriter peinards, dans le cocon de la contrition, pour ne plus agir, échapper à nos responsabilités? La repentance n'est peut-être rien d'autre que le triomphe de l'esprit d'abdication.