Vegetative Soul, The
From Philosophy of Nature to Subjectivity in the Feminine
Publication Year: 2002
Published by: State University of New York Press
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In a preface, written, naturally, when the rest of the work has already been done, one is often at pains to bring together the way in which the work was initially projected with its present form, as if one had known from the outset in what particular ways it would...
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In “Orpheus, Eurydice, Hermes,” Rainer Maria Rilke tells an allegory of nature rather than a narrative in his version of the story of Orpheus’s descent to Hades to find his dead wife, Eurydice.1 Rilke begins with the descent of Orpheus and Hermes “like veins of silver ore” into Tantalus, the realm of stone, also called “the deep uncanny mine of souls.” Blood...
1 The English Garden
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We cannot help admitting that [Kant] entirely lacks grand, classical simplicity, na�vet�, ing�nuit�, candeur. His philosophy has no analogy with Greek architecture that presents large, simple proportions revealing themselves at once to the glance; on the contrary, it reminds us very strongly of the Gothic style of architecture. For an...
2 The Metamorphosis of Plants
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Up to this point we have concentrated on the importance of form in Kant’s technic of nature. Reflective judgment must proceed, when examining organisms, on the assumption that basic organizational frameworks inherited or constructed by natural scientists, such as system, purpose, and order, correspond to empirical reality, although this unity cannot be...
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Nature,” Klingsohr replied, “is to our soul [Gemüt] what a body is to light. [The body] restrains [the light], refracts it into particular colors; it kindles on its surfaces or in its interior a light such that when the light equals its darkness, it makes the body clear or...
4 FIGURES OF PLANT VULNERABILITY Empedocles and the Tragic Christ
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Initially, nothing seems more distant from the tragic insights of Hölderlin than the optimistic philosophy of Hegel’s dialectic. We will ultimately characterize Hegel’s method as a repudiation of the vegetative soul, a replacement of the unconscious vulnerability of the plant trope by the...
5 HEGEL The Self-Sacrifice of the Innocent Plant
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The poem with which we open is one of Hegel’s lesser known literary efforts. It has none of the poignancy of “Eleusis,” dedicated to Hölderlin, nor the innocence of some of his more lyrical nature poems. One of Hegel’s biographers describes the poem as an interplay of “playful freedom, natural necessity, estrangement of self and return to self.”1 On this ...
6 The Ivy and the Vine
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It might initially seem surprising to include Nietzsche in a discussion about the philosophy of nature and its effects on historical conceptions of subjectivity. Yet Nietzsche is as well known for his critique of the ego and of the primacy accorded to consciousness as for his indictment of modern science and of uncritical assumptions of teleology in nature, and...
Conclusion Dissemination, Rhizomes, Efflorescence The Legacy of the Vegetative Soul in Twentieth-Century Thought
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Nineteenth-century German literary and philosophical thought sowed the seeds of the displacement of binary metaphysical oppositions and the questioning of the atomistic conception of the subject that became such important focal points for twentieth-century Continental philosophy...
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Page Count: 260
Publication Year: 2002
Series Title: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Series Editor Byline: Dennis J. Schmidt