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222Philosophy and Literature ing is not an elevation of ordinary objects to the status of art works (or ofcritical discourse to the status of literature) but the reduction of everything to the flatness of a single text. He sees a democratic-egalitarian motive behind the rejection of the elite object but believes this motive is based on a false equation of qualitative discrimination in art with elitism in social and political matters. For Krieger, what is at stake in the debates over the status of the art object is nothing less dian the existence of art as we have known it. The heart of his case against the current tendencies he abhors is less an argument than a restatement of the Kantian codification of the autonomy of the art object, an object which fulfills "the demands of a total internal purposiveness" (p. 10). He grants that the elite art object has become sacralized and the museum a kind of "secular church." He also grants that the elite art object has become a fetishized commodity of the capitalist marketplace. Yet these occurrences are for him by-products and not causes of the formal autonomy of the art object and should not lead us to attack the uniqueness of art within culture. Although there is considerable general discussion of visual art and interesting parallels are drawn between the attack on the visual and verbal art object, Krieger's real preoccupation is with what he sees as the excesses of post-structuralist literary criticism. The entire second chapter is devoted to the question ofwhether criticism is really on the same "level" as the literature it criticizes and to a reassertion of the traditional view that criticism is secondary and referential to the original work. Moreover, Krieger also reaffirms the function of criticism as helping the reader understand the formal coherence of the work. If there is to be any "leveling" for Krieger it is that the critic will help raise some ofhis readers up to the peaks of great works of literature. Although he occasionally sets up a straw man in his exposition of post-structuralist positions, Krieger's tone is happily unpolemical. He grants a cautionary and corrective value to contemporary critiques of the elite art object but suggests we can only entertain these critiques because we know the elite art objects will still be there to satisfy our need for order after our latest binge of iconoclasm. Sangamon State UniversityLarry Shiner Structuralism and Hermeneutics, by T. K. Seung; xii & 310 pp. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982, $22.50. As its title indicates, this work conjoins and examines two of the leading continental movements in philosophy, the social sciences, and literary criticism that dominated interpretative practices in general during roughly the middle third of the century. This period begins with the appearance of Heidegger's Being and Time and ends with Lévi-Strauss's The Savage Mind and the works it influenced. In light of what Dilthey before them called the Geisteswissenschaften, the author provides a lucid, well-informed explication of these often separated traditions. He does so with a sense that is both critical and historical, cognizant of the significance of their impact upon contemporary thought. Central authors studied include in addition to the above, figures such as Althusser, Derrida, Bardies, Gadamer, Habermas, and Apel. Reviews223 The general thrust of this work can be seen to formulate an important appraisal of the research programs dominating these approaches. Like Gadamer's critic, Emilio Betti, or Derrida's critics, Paul Ricoeur or John Searle, Seung claims that "the overriding importance of reference and its presumed objectivity" (p. 236) has been lost. Hermeneutics lost sight of justification and objectivity through a subjectification and contextualization of interpretative acts, while structuralism and methodologies emphasizing the formal constraints on interpretation jettisoned any presumption of reference. The reduction of subjective effects makes all interpretations blind, entrapped within the formal grids of which they are the functions. The reduction of all statements to interpretative, historical contexts , dissolves all claim to truth, including its own. While the paths were quite different, the results were the same: relativism, blind contextualism, irrationalism. Seung believes that a return to something like Husserl...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 222-223
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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