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Philosophy and Literature reflective play of imagination likened to a "pure post-aesthetic relation" or a "pure filmic disinterestedness" (p. 77). Wurzer happens to be describing conditions of creative spectatorship. He endows the viewer with philosophical means to work free of agencies that produce subjectivity. If the book studied how a viewer gains such "purposiveness " in the crude work of cognition, it would probably take up deep focus and the dissolution of recessional planes in the frame; lap-dissolves or fades that loosen the grip ofnarrative; relations ofsynchrony used to produce illusions oforder; writing as a heterogenous form in die visual field; montage as a closed system of logical paradoxes. Students of film and philosophy would therefore welcome specific means—of the kind Mark Crispin MUler studies in Seeing Through the Movies—that can lead to Wurzer's end. The book only promises a mode of viewing in light of what it extracts from the philosophical canon. The strengths of the readings are sometimes diluted by velleities of analysis. Following Susan Sontag, one must argue that, despite Wurzer's wish to givejudgment strength such that "Auschwitz will not be filmed again" (p. 8), in no way can The Triumph of the Will—a masterpiece of pornographic rubbish—be redeemed as deconstructive "laughter that saves the image from the domination of a diseased political imagination" (p. 112). The book screens itself from labors of close cinematic analysis. If, in a second volume, Wurzer can find ways to have his readers gain access to a practice of filming and judgment, he will bind a rich tradition of speculation to the politics he seeks in the relations of philosophy to film. University of Wisconsin-MadisonTom Conley Three Rival Traditions of Moral Enquiry: Encyclopaedia, Genealogy, and Tradition, by Alasdair Maclntyre; ? 8c 241 pp. South Bend, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1990, $24.95. The lectures that constitute this book were given as Gifford Lectures at Edinburgh University in 1988. Maclntyre's topic is the conflict between three "traditions," each "stemming from a seminal late nineteenth-century text: the Ninth Edition ofthe EncyclopaediaBritannica, Nietzsche's Zur Genealogie derMoral, and the encyclical letter of Pope Leo XIII, Aeterni Patris" (p. 2). Maclntyre endorses "genealogy"-based criticisms of encyclopedic conceptions of enquiry (Chapter II), and offers "tradition"-based criticisms of encyclopedic and genealogical conceptions (Chapters VIII and IX). The central chapters are de- Reviews339 voted to articulating the distinctive virtues of the tradition exemplified individuallyby Aquinas and institutionally by the UniversityofParis in the thirteenth century, in which "fundamentally conflicting and incommensurable standpoints "—Augustinianism and Aristotelianism—were unified in an "overall synthetic and systematic mode of thought and practice, embodied within the continuities of a tradition" (p. 165). The final chapter suggests that neither the liberal university (with its encyclopedic rationale) nor its recent critics from the academic left (with their genealogical program) are in a position to offer cogent remarks about the university as an institution. The university must be "reconceived " in ways for which only the Thomistic tradition provides adequate resources . On Maclntyre's view encyclopedists err in thinking that objectivity entails "freedom from the partialities of all [moral and religious] communities," and that reason is "impersonal, impartial, disinterested, uniting, and universal" (p. 59). Encyclopedists fail to see that "commitment to some particular theoretical or doctrinal standpoint may be a prerequisite for—rather than a barrier toan ability to characterize data in a way which will enable enquiry to proceed" (P- 17). Genealogists err in an opposite direction. For genealogists, reason is "the unwitting representative of particular interests, masking their drive to power by its false pretensions to neutrality and disinterestedness" (p. 59). Instead of a single framework there is "a multiplicity of perspectives within each of which truth-from-a-point-of-view may be asserted, but no truth-as-such," and instead of rules of rationality "there are rather strategies of insight and strategies of subversion" (p. 42). For Maclntyre, Thomism's strength is that it takes rival philosophical conceptions and their incommensurability seriously, something Maclntyre argues neither encyclopedic nor genealogical conceptions can do. This involves knowing rival traditions, their strengths, weaknesses, and standards of rationality, "from within" (pp. 1 15—16). Maclntyre...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 338-340
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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