Wednesday, August 6, 2008

death of philosophy

Philosophers, despite everything, die too. Some of them have done so in spectacularly odd ways. Simon Critchley, a British philosopher and failed activist, punk musician and poet, has collected some of the more outlandish tales of philospher's meeting their end (an end that doesn't necessarily mean a cessation of consciousness, according to AJ Ayer--number 9 on the list). The Guardian has Critchley's top ten posted on their website. Francis Bacon (1561-1626) comes in at number six (pardon the British punctuation):
During a particularly cold winter, Bacon was travelling with a Scottish physician and fell upon the idea that flesh might as well be preserved in snow as in salt. They got out of the carriage at the foot of Highgate Hill and bought a hen from a poor woman who lived there. Bacon then stuffed the hen with snow and was immediately taken ill with a chill. Unable to return home, he was put to bed at the Earl of Arundel's house in Highgate. Sadly, the bed was so damp that his condition worsened and, according to Hobbes, "in 2 or 3 days, he dyed of Suffocation".

(via The New Yorker's Book Bench)

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