Saturday, 31 January 2015 19:00

2. "Minor" and "Major" texts

Written by

In one of his essays, Gerd B. Achenbach makes an astonishing remark. Philosophers considered ‘minors’ by the academic philosophy can be of a major importance for philosophical practice. His example is Seneca, a much known philosophical author, who is not important for academic philosophy.

Could be Achenbach’s remark be applied in the textual field? Can ‘minor’ texts from the perspective of academic philosophy be of major importance for philosophical practice? I think yes. But only if we use this contrast in terms of a narrative, and not in an axiological sense. According to this distinction, a ‘minor’ text would be a letter, a fragment, a diary note; a ‘major’ text an opus magnum or another important work.

Philosophical practice is primarily unconditioned dialogue, no doubt. Nevertheless, engaging with texts is also a very important part of philosophical practice. ‘Minor’ texts have a major advantage: They are often short and, therefore, handy. Their brevity releases more space for dialogue without obliging to long term close readings of classical seminars and academic lectures. Apart from their handiness, ‘minor’ texts carry plenty of advantages: They function complementary to philosophical key ideas of a philosopher, and clarify them from a fresh point of view; they are perfect for surprises because they lack concrete intentions and are, thus, open for wonder based interactions. Most important, as forms of spontaneous self-reflection, they get personal often whispering “Do I live what I am writing about?”

Read 2146 times
Manos Perrakis

I am a philosophical practitioner from Athens, Greece, based in Berlin, where I received my Ph.D. from Humboldt University. My areas of interest are History of Philosophy, Contemporary Philosophy, Aesthetics (Philosophy of Music), Philosophical Anthropology and Practical Philosophy.

As a philosophical practitioner, I offer education and consulting services for individuals and organizations. I have conducted philosophical cafés for the wide public and workshops for counseling professionals. My current focus lies on the development of education and consulting formats inspired by philosophy and literature.

My book publications include a monograph on Nietzsche’s philosophy of music in German, a novel in Greek, and an anthology of Early German Romanticism.

For more information, please visit Contact: