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Fiction, far from being the opposite of truth, is wholly bent on finding it out, and writing novels is a way to know the real world as objectively as possible. In Five Fictions in Search of Truth, Myra Jehlen develops this idea through readings of works by Flaubert, James, and Nabokov. She invokes Proust's famous search for lost memory as the exemplary literary process, which strives, whatever its materials, for a true knowledge. In Salammbô, Flaubert digs up Carthage; in The Ambassadors, James plumbs the examined life and touches at its limits; while in Lolita, Nabokov traces a search for truth that becomes a trespass.
In these readings, form and style emerge as fiction's means for taking hold of reality, which is to say that they are as epistemological as they are aesthetic, each one emerging by way of the other. The aesthetic aspects of a literary work are just so many instruments for exploring a subject, and the beauty and pleasure of a work confirm the validity of its account of the world. For Flaubert, famously, a beautiful sentence was proven true by its beauty. James and Nabokov wrote on the same assumption--that form and style were at once the origin and the confirmation of a work's truth.
In Five Fictions in Search of Truth, Jehlen shows, moreover, that fiction's findings are not only about the world but immanent within it. Literature works concretely, through this form, that style, this image, that word, seeking a truth that is equally concrete. Writers write--and readers read--to discover an incarnate, secular knowledge, and in doing so they enact a basic concurrence between literature and science.
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A Fundamental Concept of Aesthetic Anthropology
This book reconceives modern aesthetics by reconstructing its genesis in the 18th century, between Baumgarten's Aesthetics and Kant's Critique of Judgment. Force demonstrates that aesthetics, and hence modern philosophy, began twice. On the one hand, Baumgarten's Aesthetics is organized around the new concept of the "subject": as a totality of faculties; an agent defined by capabilities; one who is able. Yet an aesthetics in the Baumgartian manner, as the theory of the sensible faculties of the subject, at once faces a different aesthetics: the aesthetics of force. The latter conceives the aesthetic not as sensible cognition but as a play of expression--propelled by a force that, rather than being exercised like a faculty, does not recognize or represent anything because it is obscure and unconscious: the force of what in humanity is distinct from the subject. The aesthetics of force is thus a thinking of the nature of man: of aesthetic nature as distinct from the culture acquired by practice. It founds an anthropology of difference: between force and faculty, human and subject.
A Theological Aesthetic
While philosophy believes it is impossible to have an experience of God without the senses, theology claims that such an experience is possible, though potentially idolatrous. In this engagingly creative book, John Panteleimon Manoussakis ends the impasse by proposing an aesthetic allowing for a sensuous experience of God that is not subordinated to imposed categories or concepts. Manoussakis draws upon the theological traditions of the Eastern Church, including patristic and liturgical resources, to build a theological aesthetic founded on the inverted gaze of icons, the augmented language of hymns, and the reciprocity of touch. Manoussakis explores how a relational interpretation of being develops a fuller and more meaningful view of the phenomenology of religious experience beyond metaphysics and onto-theology.
Mutuality and Moral Living According to John Duns Scotus
In The Harmony of Goodness, Ingham presents the ethical vision of John Duns Scotus (1265-1308) in an integrated manner, bringing together aspects of virtue, moral reasoning, free choice, rational judgment, and spirituality as parts of a whole human life. This work examines the ethical thought of Scotus according to his notion of mutuality or relationship. This study brings to light Scotus’ integrated vision of human moral living.
Toward a New Poetics of Dasein
Heidegger's interpretations of the poetry of Hlderlin are central to Heidegger's later philosophy and have determined the mainstream reception of Hlderlin's poetry. Gosetti-Ferencei argues that Heidegger has overlooked central elements in Hlderlin's poetics, such as a Kantian understanding of aesthetic subjectivity and a commitment to Enlightenment ideals. These elements, she argues, resist the more politically distressing aspects of Heidegger's interpretations, including Heidegger's nationalist valorization of the German language and sense of nationhood, or Heimat.In the context of Hlderlin's poetics of alienation, exile, and wandering, Gosetti-Ferencei draws a different model of poetic subjectivity, which engages Heidegger's later philosophy of Gelassenheit, calmness, or letting be. In so doing, she is able to pose a phenomenologically sensitive theory of poetic language and a new poetics of Dasein,or being there.
Karl Morrison discusses historical writing at a turning point in European culture: the so-called Renaissance of the twelfth century. Why do texts considered at that time to be masterpieces seem now to be fragmentary and full of contradictions? Morrison maintains that the answer comes from ideas about art. Viewing histories as artifacts made according to the same aesthetic principles as paintings and theater, he shows that twelfth-century authors and audiences found unity not in what the reason read in a text but in what the imagination read into it: they prized visual over verbal imagination and employed a circular, or nuclear, spectator-centered perspective cast aside in the Renaissance of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
Twelfth-century writers assimilated and transformed a tradition of the conceptual unity of all the arts and attributed that unity to the fact that art both conceals and discloses. Recovering that tradition, especially the methods and motives of concealment, provides extraordinary insights into twelfth-century ideas about the kingdom of God, the status of women, and the nature of time itself. It also identifies a strain in European thought that had striking affinities to methods of perception familiar in Oriental religions and that proved to be antithetic to later humanist traditions in the West.
Originally published in 1990.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
Eco-ontology and the Aesthetics of Existence
The Human Eros: Eco-ontology and the Aesthetics of Existence explores themes in classical American philosophy, primarily that of John Dewey, but also in the thought of Ralph Waldo Emerson, George Santayana, and Native American traditions. The primary claim is that human beings exist with a need for the experience of meaning and value, a “Human Eros.” Our various cultures are symbolic environments or “spiritual ecologies” within which the Human Eros can thrive. This is how we inhabit the earth. Encircling and sustaining our cultural existence is nature. Western philosophy has not generally provided adequate conceptual models for thinking ecologically. Thus the idea of “eco-ontology” undertakes to explore ways in which this might be done beginning with the primacy of Nature over Being, but also including the recognition of possibility and potentiality as inherent aspects of existence. I argue for the centrality of Dewey for an effective ecological philosophy. Both “pragmatism” and “naturalism” need to be contextualized within an emergentist, relational, non-reductive view of nature and an aesthetic, imaginative, non-reductive view of intelligence.
Wittgenstein, Anxiety, and Performance Behavior
In this highly original study of the nature of performance, Spencer Golub uses the insights of Ludwig Wittgenstein into the way language works to analyze the relationship between the linguistic and the visual in the work of a broad range of dramatists, novelists, and filmmakers, among them Richard Foreman, Mac Wellman, Peter Handke, David Mamet, and Alfred Hitchcock. Like Wittgenstein, these artists are concerned with the limits of language’s representational capacity. For Golub, it is these limits that give Wittgenstein’s thought a further, very personal significance—its therapeutic quality with respect to the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder from which he suffers.
Underlying what Golub calls “performance behavior” is Wittgenstein’s notion of “pain behavior”—that which gives public expression to private experience. Golub charts new directions for exploring the relationship between theater and philosophy, and even for scholarly criticism itself.
It is commonly supposed that certain elements of medieval philosophy are uncharacteristically preserved in modern philosophical thought through the idea that mental phenomena are distinguished from physical phenomena by their intentionality, their intrinsic directedness toward some object. The many exceptions to this presumption, however, threaten its viability._x000B__x000B_This volume explores the intricacies and varieties of the conceptual relationships medieval thinkers developed among intentionality, cognition, and mental representation. Ranging from Aquinas, Scotus, Ockham, and Buridan, through less familiar writers, the collection sheds new light on the various strands that run between medieval and modern thought, and bring us to a number of fundamental questions in the philosophy of mind as it is conceived today. _x000B__x000B_