EIGHT WAYS OF LOOKING AT SAMUEL BECKETT

Screen-Shot-2017-12-31-at-12.01.42-AMJ.M. Coetzee at Literary Hub:

As Hugh Kenner explained to us long ago in his essay “The Cartesian Centaur,” Samuel Beckett is a philosophical dualist. Specifically, Beckett writes as if he believes that we are made up of, that we are, a body plus a mind. Even more specifically, he writes as if he believes that the connection between mind and body is mysterious, or at least unexplained. At the same time Beckett—that is to say, Beckett’s mind—finds the dualistic account of the self ludicrous. This split attitude is the source of much of his comedy.

According to this standard account, Beckett believes that our constitution is dual, and that our dual constitution is the fons et origo of our unease in the world. He also believes there is nothing we can do to change our constitution, least of all by philosophical introspection. This plight renders us absurd.

But what is it exactly that is absurd: the fact that we are two different kinds of entity, body and mind, linked together; or the belief that we are two different kinds of entity linked together?

more here.

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