Diving For Pearls: Exploring Philosophy With My Father

Diving for Pearls: Exploring Philosophy With My Father introduces philosophy through the life story and thought of Paul Brockelman, as seen through the eyes of his son, Tom. Himself a professor of philosophy, Tom draws us into Paul’s vision, presenting its themes as a series of “meditations” on what makes a life feel worthwhile. Paul Brockelman’s vision centers on concrete, existential themes that will have a broad appeal, as will the biography in which it rests.

Thomas Brockleman’s Diving For Pearls is, in his telling, a meditation, an examination, a story of a philosophical life. And that is true. It is all of these, and written in a way that respectfully nods to the great philosophical writers and works upon which Brockleman has drawn. But it is in its sweep something so much more. In this lyrical and heartfelt narrative, Brockleman searches for the meaning of his father’s own searched-for purpose in a life spent studying, teaching, and writing philosophy. And what he finds is not simply the arc of one man’s career. He finds the meaning of a son’s love for his father, and that father’s love for his son, in their mutually shared need to live an examined life, from beginning, to middle, to end. In a voice as poignant and tender as it is curious and questioning, Brockleman’s story will, at one turn, lead you to re-read some of the great philosophers and theologians of our time, and at another, leave you weeping for what the love of that pursuit leaves behind. Everyone and anyone who has wondered “How should I live?” or “Am I living an honest and worthy life?” should read this book. Each chapter, each page, each idea these men share in their struggle and their journey is as humble, beautiful, and worthy of reflection as anything written that asks “Why?”

– Andrew Krivak, author of The Bear, The Signal Flame, and the Chautauqua Prize-winning novel, The Sojourn

Diving for Pearls is an eloquent testimony to a father by his son—both accomplished philosophers. But it is also a bold foray into a new genre of philosophical writing. Weaving a captivating life-tale with threads of revelation and self-discovery on every page, Brockelman carries out the most essential of human tasks, which is to make meaning of our lives. Forming a profoundly intimate reflection on his filial relationship, these meditations invite us to explore singular experiences that occupy the human heart: mystery, passion, love, friendship, fragility, death, wonder, vocation, and faith. This searching dialogue is indeed a string of pearls.

Anthony J. Steinbock, Director of the Phenomenology Research Center, Stony Brook University, Editor-in-Chief, Continental Philosophy Review, author of Moral Emotions: Reclaiming the Evidence of the Heart

Tom Brockelman is Professor of Philosophy at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY. He is the former Director of the Core Curriculum and Interim Provost there.

Books by Tom Brockelman

Translations by Tom Brockelman

Cover of book Language and the Unconscious: Lacan's Hermeneutics of Psychoanalysis
Language and the Unconscious: Lacan's Hermeneutics of Psychoanalysis