Graham Parkes


How to Think about the Climate Crisis

A Philosophical Guide to Saner Ways of Living
by Graham Parkes

Coping with the climate crisis is the greatest challenge we face as a species. We know the main task is to reduce our emissions as rapidly as possible to minimise the harm to the world's population now and for generations to come. What on earth can philosophy offer us?

In this compelling account of a problem we think we know inside out, the philosopher Graham Parkes outlines the climatic predicament we are in and how we got here, and explains how we can think about it anew by considering the relevant history, science, economics, politics and, for the first time, the philosophies underpinning them. Introducing the reality of global warming and its increasingly dire consequences, he identifies the immediate obstructions to coping with the problem, outlines the libertarian ideology behind them and shows how they can be circumvented.

Drawing on the wisdom of the ancients in both the East-Asian and Western traditions (as embodied in such figures as Confucius, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Dogen, Plato, Epicurus, Marcus Aurelius and Nietzsche), Parkes shows how a greater awareness of non-Western philosophies, and especially the Confucian political philosophy advocated by China, can help us deal effectively with climate change and thrive in a greener future. If some dominant Western philosophical ideas and their instantiation in politics and modern technology got us into our current crisis, Parkes demonstrates persuasively that expanding our philosophical horizons will surely help get us out.

London & New York: Bloomsbury, 2020 - 288 pages
Cover drawing: 'Gaia Rising over Prometheus Punished' by Setsuko Aihara

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

By Friedrich Nietzsche
Translated and edited by Graham Parkes
lllustrated by Peter Suart
London: The Folio Society, 2012

Reading Zen in the Rocks

The Japanese 'Dry Landscape' Garden
By François Berthier
Translated and with a Philosophical Essay by Graham Parkes
The Japanese dry landscape garden has long attracted—and long baffled—viewers from the West. While museums across the United States are replicating these "Zen rock gardens" in their courtyards and miniature versions of the gardens are now office decorations, they remain enigmatic, their philosophical and aesthetic significance obscured. Reading Zen in the Rocks, the classic essay on the karesansui garden by French art historian François Berthier, has now been translated by Graham Parkes, giving English-speaking readers a concise, thorough, and beautifully illustrated history of these gardens.
Berthier’s guided tour of the famous garden of Ryoanji (Temple) in Kyoto leads him into an exposition of the genre, focusing on its Chinese antecedents and affiliations with Taoist ideas and Chinese landscape painting. He traces the roles of Shinto and Zen Buddhism in the evolution of the garden and also considers how manual laborers from the lowest classes in Japan had a hand in creating some of its highest examples. Parkes contributes an equally original and substantive essay which delves into the philosophical importance of rocks and their "language of stone," delineating the difference between Chinese and Japanese rock gardens and their relationship to Buddhism. Together, the two essays compose one of the most comprehensive and elegantly written studies of this haunting garden form.
Reading Zen in the Rocks is fully illustrated with photographs of all the major gardens discussed, making it a handsome addition to the library of anyone interested in gardening, Eastern philosophy, and the combination of the two that the karesansui so superbly represents.
179 pages | 37 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2000

Heidegger's Hidden Sources

East Asian Influences on His Work
by Reinhard May
Translated, with a complementary essay, by Graham Parkes
London: Routledge, 1996

Composing the Soul

Reaches of Nietzsche’s Psychology
by Graham Parkes
Nietzsche wrote in Ecce Homo (1888), 'That a psychologist without equal speaks from my writings—this is perhaps the first insight gained by a good reader. . . . Who among the philosophers before me was in any way a psychologist? Before me there simply was no psychology.'
Composing the Soul is the first study to pay sustained attention to this pronouncement and to examine the contours of Nietzsche's psychology in the context of his life and psychological makeup. Beginning with essays from Nietzsche's youth, Graham Parkes shows the influence of such figures as Goethe, Byron, and Emerson on Nietzsche's formidable and multiple talents. Parkes goes on to chart the development of Nietzsche's psychological ideas in terms of the imagery, drawn from the dialogues of Plato as well as from Nietzsche's own quasi-mystical experiences of nature, in which he spoke of the soul. Finally, Parkes analyzes Nietzsche's most revolutionary idea—that the soul is composed of multiple 'drives', or 'persons', within the psyche. The task for Nietzsche's psychology, then, was to identify and order these multiple persons within the individual—to compose the soul.
Featuring all new translations of quotations from Nietzsche's writings, Composing the Soul reveals the profundity of Nietzsche's lifelong personal and intellectual struggles to come to grips with the soul. Extremely well-written, this landmark work makes Nietzsche's life and ideas accessible to any reader interested in this much misunderstood thinker.
The University of Chicago Press, 1994, 496 pages
Cover drawing: 'The Composition of Nietzsche's Soul' by Setsuko Aihara
"Seele, the German word we translate as both 'soul' and 'psyche,’ was at the center of Nietzsche's brilliant ruminations on the construction and deconstruction of the self. Trenchantly analyzing the polyphonic structure and dissonant harmonies of Nietzsche's 'soul music,' Graham Parkes provides a strikingly new account of the greatest psychologist before Freud." Martin Jay, University of California, Berkeley
"The Nietzsche that Parkes reveals is amazing and fresh. This is a work of stupendous scholarship and enlightened erudition. A terrific read." Sheila Grimaldi-Craig, Spring Journal
“A penetrating and imaginative work that opens new territory for understanding and appreciating Nietzsche’s thought. Parkes provides a comprehensive account of Nietzsche as psychologist, student of the human soul in history culture, and himself." Laurence Lampert, author of Nietzsche's Teaching and Nietzsche and Modern Times.
“An intriguing, polished, and constructive interpretation of Nietzsche's pluralistic account of the complexity of the self. Highly recommended." Choice
"With this book Parkes shows himself to be a Nietzsche scholar of the first rank." Volker Gerhardt, Humboldt University, Berlin.

The Self-Overcoming of Nihilism

Translated by Graham Parkes with Setsuko Aihara
Introduction and notes by Graham Parkes
Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1990

Heidegger and Asian Thought

Edited by Graham Parkes
University of Hawaii Press, 1 Sep 1987 - Philosophy - 292 pages