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Thinking about Thinking:What Kind of Conversation is Philosophy?

What Kind of Conversation is Philosophy?

Adriaan T. Peperzak

Publication Year: 2012

Thinking about Thinking examines philosophy from a variety of perspectives as a the practice realized by persons who communicate with one another while reflecting about the meaning of human life and thought.Without forgetting the logical and methodological conditions of systematic thought, the author insists on the intimate connections that tie all philosophical texts and conversations to the lives from which they emerge. As product of an individual thinker, who, thanks to individual teachers, has been familiarized with particular traditions of a particular culture, each philosophy is unique. If it is a good one, it is also revealing for many--perhaps even for all--other philosophers. At the same time, all thinking is addressed to individual interlocutors, each of whom responds to it by transforming it into a different philosophy. This fact invites us to explore the dialogical dimension of thinking, which, in turn, refers us to the communitarian and historical contexts from which solitude, as well as solidarity, competition, alliances, and friendships in thought emerge.After the collapse of modern autonomy, the question of philosophy's dependence on prephilosophical conditions is a basic question of metaphilosophy -- especially if a philosophy is always entangled with or even rooted in some belief or trust or faith.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-viii

Living with philosophy implies many hours of reflection about the conditions and connections of the life one lives and the thinking (or rethinking) one performs. How does the practice of thinking relate to a philosopher’s life, and what sort of questions emerge from the alliance...


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pp. ix-xii

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1. That We Are a Conversation

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pp. 1-21

Philosophy is sometimes presented as a system of propositions. The fundamental model is then a legein ti kata tinos.1 “Saying something about something” would be paradigmatic of every philosophy. Hegel and other thinkers, however, have pointed out various difficulties inherent...

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2. On the Unity of Thematic Philosophy and the History of Thought

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pp. 22-37

Some decades ago, the very complete bibliographic Repertorium of the Revue Philosophique de Louvain listed more than two-thirds of all recent publications in philosophy as dedicated to historical subjects and less than one-third to thematic ones. The proportions might have changed...

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3. The Relevance of Intersubjectivity for First Philosophy and the History of Philosophy

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pp. 38-57

If all attempts to reach an altogether pure, free, or transcendental viewpoint in philosophy are condemned to fail, the idea of a discipline called “fi rst philosophy” also seems to be indefensible.1 The transcendental Ego so ardently sought, the search itself, perhaps even...

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4. Education: Responsive Tradition

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pp. 58-73

Education is the basic activity through which civilizations assure their continuation. It presupposes educators and pupils who are able to communicate with one another. Belonging to historical communities similar enough to permit mutual understanding, they transmit a specific...

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5. Philosophy: Wise about Friendship?

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pp. 74-96

To broach a discussion about the relationships between philosophy and friendship, I begin by asking: to what extent should friendship play a role in philosophy, and to what extent can philosophy play a role in friendship?...

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6. Vocative

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pp. 97-105

You smiled at me; you uttered words to me; you addressed me. Me? The baby I was could not yet designate himself as a me or I. You awakened the slumbering I in me, who already answered your smiling, your talking, before I became aware of myself. By addressing me, you...

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7. Philosophy versus Faith?

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pp. 106-122

If philosophy is a way of life,1 the lives philosophers live—before, during, and after becoming philosophers—are relevant for the orientation and the content of their philosophies. Although much of a philosopher’s personal and historical past can be forgotten, transformed...

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8. The Universality of a Christian Philosophy

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pp. 123-148

Two central questions that I will engage in this chapter are: (1) To what extent is philosophy necessarily universal? And (2) does the philosophy of those who belong to the worldwide community of Christians (the Catholica) distinguish itself in this respect? Beginning with...

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9. Sacrificium Laudis—Sacrificium Intellectus

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pp. 149-161

Can philosophers offer their work to God as an expression of recognition, gratitude, reconciliation, and participation in the spirit of a sacrificial liturgy? Or, in Christian terms, are philosophers invited to the wedding of the slaughtered Lamb?...

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10. Philosophy as Mediation between Faith and Culture

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pp. 162-196

Mediation is needed when two or more parties are engaged in a conflict that they cannot overcome by their own efforts alone. Are Catholic faith and the dominant culture of our epoch engaged in such a conflict, and is philosophy capable of playing a role in its resolution?...


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pp. 197-202


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pp. 203-212

E-ISBN-13: 9780823249534
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823240173
Print-ISBN-10: 0823240177

Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2012