Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

What Is Pure Obedience?

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

What Is Pure Obedience?

Article excerpt

What is pure obedience? ··· Dimitris Vardoulakis. Freedom from the Free Will: On Kafkas Laughter. Albany: SUNY Press 2017. ISBN: 978-1-4384-6240-0.

A philosophical study that argues that Kafka's plots of confinement are a way to satirically express the character's lack of free will. The book's description then argues that Kfka is "a critic of the free will," instead supporting the freedom of limited personal experience. I disagree with the notion that Kafka did not believe in free will, as his examples of confinement are satires on the lack of free will people have in society. It's a reversal to say that Kafka is against people having free will. The only explanation that makes some sense is when Vardoulakis brings in Kafka's theological background, as an orthodox Jew. Religious, in theory, restricts free will, and shifts this responsibility onto God, at least that's how the Judeo-Christian texts are frequently interpreted by the devout. The book is divided into sections on confinement, judgement, ethics, Spinoza, and violence in the law and government. Each of the five sections is a chapter with a few sub-sections. The section headings are cryptic and confusing, so it is difficult to navigate through this book in a logical way, if you are searching for something specific about Kafka and free will. The Index is only a few pages long. It's mostly populated with the names of the people and books discussed in the book, without subjects like "freedom" or "will. …

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