Why Philosophize? is a series of lectures given by Jean-Francois Lyotard to students at the Sorbonne embarking on their university studies.
The circumstances obliged him to be both clear and concise: at the same time, his lectures offer a profound and far-reaching meditation on how essential it is to philosophize in a world where philosophy often seems irrelevant, outdated, or inconclusive.
Lyotard begins by drawing on Plato, Proust and Lacan to show that philosophy is a never-ending desire - for wisdom, for the other .
In the second lecture he draws on Heraclitus and Hegel to explore the close relation between philosophy and history: the same restlessness, the same longing for a precarious unity, drives both.
In his third lecture, Lyotard examines how philosophy is a form of utterance, both communicative and indirect.
Finally, he turns to Marx, exploring the extent to which philosophy can be a transformative action within the world.
These wonderfully accessible lectures by one of the most influential philosophers of the last 50 years will attract a wide readership, since, as Lyotard says, How can one not philosophize?They are also an excellent introduction to Lyotard s mature thought, with its emphasis on the need for philosophy to bear witness, however obliquely, to a recalcitrant reality.