Brandon of the blog named Siris wrote a post on Immanuel Kant’s guide to a good dinner party.
On Kant’s view dining alone is bad for a philosopher: it encourages ‘intellectual self-gnawing’ that leads to a lack of vitality. Eating with at least one other companion, on the other hand, allows for a good interchange of ideas.
I’m sure I would have avoided some of my madness if I did have regular dinner parties or more directly duelled with others on some of the ideas of those months. Academic life’s deadline didn’t permit me that luxury though, I felt. More from Brandon’s post, Kant on philosophy induced insanity:
He sharply criticizes the practice of reading or trying to think through philosophical questions while dining alone; he thinks that, by forcing reason ever inward on itself, it creates pathological conditions of thought and a sort of hypochondria, whether literal or figurative. It creates disorder and pushes you toward insanity.
Kant’s advice on what makes a good dinner party is rather entertaining — go read Brandon’s post. I hope Germans don’t find it offensive that reading that dinner party advice, I thought “he must have been a German”. (Kant was German, during the “Age of Enlightenment”, the 18th century.)