Leonard Cohen as a Guide to Life

In Jason Holt (ed.), Leonard Cohen and Philosophy: Various Positions. Open Court. pp. 3-15 (2014)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
As any fan of Leonard Cohen will tell you, many of his songs are deeply “philosophical,” in the sense that they deal reflectively and intelligently with the many of the basic issues of everyday human life, such as death, sex, love, God, and the meaning of life. It may surprise these same listeners to discover that much of academic philosophy (both past and present) has relatively little in common with this sort of introspective reflection, but is instead highly abstract, methodologically complex, and filled with technical terminology that can make it inaccessible to anyone except specialists. This is not true of all philosophy, however, and Cohen’s focus on the immediate problems facing ordinary humans has much in common with the theories and ideas proposed by the Hellenistic philosophers who dominated the intellectual life of Greek- and Roman-influenced Europe for almost a thousand years. In this essay, I’ll use Cohen’s songs to examine the three major branches of Hellenistic thought: Stoicism (That’s No Way to Say Goodbye, If It Be Your Will), Epicureanism (Everybody Knows, Closing Time), and Skepticism (Famous Blue Raincoat, Different Sides).
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
Archival date: 2019-11-03
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
118 ( #41,147 of 2,448,492 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
18 ( #34,069 of 2,448,492 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.