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Heideggerian Reflections on Literature, Architecture, and Film
Much recent philosophical work proposes to illuminate dilemmas of human existence with reference to the arts and culture, often to the point of submitting particular works to preconceived formulations. In this examination of three texts that respond to loss, Robert Mugerauer responds with close, detailed readings that seek to clarify the particularity of the intense force such works bring forth. Mugerauer shows how, in the face of what is irrevocably taken away as well as of what continues to be given, the unavoidable task of interpretation is ours alone._x000B__x000B_Mugerauer examines works in three different forms that powerfully call on us to respond to loss: Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing, Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum Berlin, and Wim Wenders’s film Wings of Desire. Explicating these difficult but rich works with reference to the thought of Martin Heidegger, Jean-Luc Marion, Hannah Arendt, and Immanuel Levinas, the author helps us to experience the multiple and diverse ways in which all of us are opened to the saturated phenomena of loss, violence, witnessing, and responsibility._x000B_
Conceptual Issues in the Quest for Social Order and National Integration
Rethinking Security in Nigeria adopts an alternate conceptual and methodological framework for rethinking national security in Nigeria by using the humanities' multidisciplinary perspective against the backdrop of the hitherto restrictive analysis of the nature of national security. By expounding the largely unexplored cosmological, conceptual, ethical and aesthetic dimensions as key contributors to national survival and social integration, the volume argues systematically for a basic redefinition of the meanings of security, the value of life, government action and social re-engineering in order to create a new system of social order an integration. The authors attempt to extend the boundaries of previous theorizing on security by identifying alternate ethical and aesthetic approaches to national reconciliation and human development in present-day Nigeria, which faces major security challenges requiring the clarification of the basis for developing a just and harmonious society. The study is a contribution to the quest for defining the vital socio-cultural norms and doctrinal imperatives needed for responsible cooperative human action. It examines the roles of dominant works of philosophy, literature, plays and performances in the creation of a basis for political stability and social reconciliation in the society. It extends the boundaries of previous aesthetic studies and redefines the roles of ethics and aesthetics as crucial contributors to security, human development and world civilisation.
Music, Aesthetics, Politics
Renowned for his influence as a political philosopher, a writer, and an autobiographer, Jean-Jacques Rousseau is known also for his intense interest in music. He composed operas and other musical pieces,invented a system of numbered musical notation, engaged in public debates about music, and wrote at length about musical theory. Critical analysis of Rousseau’s work in music has been principally the domain of musicologists, rarely pervading the work of scholars of political theory or literary studies. In Rousseau Among the Moderns, Julia Simon argues for new interpretations of The Social Contract, The Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, and The Confessions, as well as other texts, linking Rousseau’s understanding of key concepts in music, such as tuning, harmony, melody, and form, to the crucial problem of the individual’s relationship to the social order. The choice of music as the privileged aesthetic object enables Rousseau to gain insight into the role of the aesthetic realm in relation to the social and political body in ways often associated with later thinkers. Simon argues that much of Rousseau’s “modernism” resides in the unique role that he assigns to music in forging communal relations through the aesthetic.
Theorizing Sexuality and Materiality in Renaissance Representations
The title of this book translates one of the many ways in which Lucretius names the basic matter from which the world is made in De rerum natura. In Lucretius, and in the strain of thought followed in this study, matter is always in motion, always differing from itself and yet always also made of the same stuff. From the pious Lucy Hutchinson's all but complete translation of the Roman epic poem to Margaret Cavendish's repudiation of atomism (but not of its fundamental problematic of sameness and difference), a central concern of this book ishow a thoroughgoing materialism can be read alongside other strains in the thought of the early modern period, particularly Christianity.A chapter moves from Milton's monism to his angels and their insistent corporeality. Milton's angels have sex, and, throughout, this study emphasizes the consequences for thinking about sexuality offered by Lucretian materialism. Sameness of matter is not simply a question of same-sex sex, and the relations of atoms in Cavendish and Hutchinson are replicated in the terms in which they imagine marriages of partners who are also their doubles. Likewise, Spenser's knights in the 1590 Faerie Queene pursue the virtues of Holiness, Temperance, and Chastity in quests that take the reader on a path of askesis of the kind that Lucretiusrecommends and that Foucault studied in the final volumes of his history of sexuality.Although English literature is the book's main concern, it first contemplates relations between Lucretian matter and Pauline flesh by way of Tintoretto's painting The Conversion of St. Paul. Theoretical issues raised in the work of Agamben and Badiou, among others, lead to a chapter that takes up the role that Lucretius has played in theory, from Bergson and Marx to Foucault and Deleuze.This study should be of concern to students of religion, philosophy, gender, and sexuality, especially as they impinge on questions of representation.
A seminal figure in the philosophy of history, culture, and language, Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803) also produced some of the most important and original works in the history of aesthetic theory. A student of Kant, he spent much of his life striving to reconcile the opposing poles of Enlightenment thought represented by his early mentors. His ideas influenced Hegel, Schleiermacher, Nietzsche, Dilthey, J. S. Mill, and Goethe.
This book presents most of Herder's important writings on aesthetics, including the main sections of one of his major untranslated works, Kritische Wälder (Critical Forests). These notes, essays, and treatises, the majority of which appear here in English for the first time, show this idiosyncratic thinker both deeply rooted in the controversies of his day and pointing the way to future developments in aesthetics. Chosen to reflect the extent and diversity of Herder's concerns, the texts cover such topics as the psychology and physiology of aesthetic perception, the classification of the arts, taste, Shakespeare, the classical tradition, and the relationship between art and morality.
Few thinkers have reflected so sensitively and productively on the cultural, historical, anthropological, ethical, and theological dimensions of art and the creative process. With this book, the importance of aesthetics to the evolution and texture of Herder's own thought, as well as his profound contribution to that discipline, comes fully into view.
Philosophical Analyses of Holocaust Art
Holocaust artworks intuitively must fulfill at least two criteria: artistic (lest they be merely historical documents) and historical (lest they distort the Holocaust or become merely artworks). The Sense of Semblance locates this problematic within philosophical aesthetics, as a version of the conflict between aesthetic autonomy and heteronomy, and argues that Adorno's dialectic of aesthetic semblance describes the normative demand that artworks maintain a dynamic tension between the two. The Sense of Semblance aims to move beyond familiar debates surrounding postmodernism by demonstrating the usefulness of contemporary theories of meaning and understanding, including those from the analytic tradition. Pickford shows how the causal theory of names, the philosophy of tacit knowledge, the analytic philosophy of quotation, Sartre's theory of the imaginary, the epistemology of testimony, and Walter Benjamin's dialectical image can help explicate how individual artworks fulfill artistic and historical desiderata. In close readings of Celan's poetry, Holocaust memorials in Berlin, the quotational artist Heimrad Backer, Claude Lanzmann's film Shoah, and Art Spiegelman's graphic novel Maus, Pickford offers interpretations that, in their precision, specificity, and clarity, inaugurate a dialogue between contemporary analytic philosophy and contemporary art. The Sense of Semblance is the first book to incorporate contemporary analytic philosophy in interpretations of art and architecture, literature, and film about the Holocaust.
German Music and Philosophy
The rich conceptual and experiential relays between music and philosophy—echoes of what Theodor W. Adorno once called Klangfiguren, or "sound figures"—resonate with heightened intensity during the period of modernity that extends from early German Idealism to the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School. This volume traces the political, historical, and philosophical trajectories of a specifically German tradition in which thinkers take recourse to music, both as an aesthetic practice and as the object of their speculative work.
The contributors examine the texts of such highly influential writers and thinkers as Schelling, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Bloch, Mann, Adorno, and Lukács in relation to individual composers including Beethoven, Wagner, Schönberg, and Eisler. Their explorations of the complexities that arise in conceptualizing music as a mode of representation and philosophy as a mode of aesthetic practice thematize the ways in which the fields of music and philosophy are altered when either attempts to express itself in terms defined by the other.
Contributors: Albrecht Betz, Lydia Goehr, Beatrice Hanssen, Jost Hermand, David Farrell Krell, Ludger Lütkehaus, Margaret Moore, Rebekah Pryor Paré, Gerhard Richter, Hans Rudolf Vaget, Samuel Weber
Challenging prevailing trends toward aesthetic neutrality, James S. Hans argues that there is such a thing as good and bad taste, that taste is something one is born with, and that it is firmly rooted in the mechanics of biology. _x000B__x000B_Taste is everything, Hans says, for it produces the primary values that guide our lives. Taste is the fundamental organizing mechanism of human bodies, a lifelong effort to fit one's own rhythms to the rhythms and patterns of the natural world and the larger human community. It is an aesthetic sorting process by which one determines what belongs in--a conversation, a curriculum, a committee, a piece of art, a meal, a logical argument--and what should be left out. On the one hand, taste is the source of beauty, justice, and a sense of the good. On the other hand, as an arbiter of the laws of fair and free play, taste enters into more ominous and destructive patterns--but patterns nonetheless--of resentment and violence._x000B__x000B_Hans develops his conception of taste through astute readings of five literary landmarks: Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Sophocles' Oedipus the King, William Faulkner's Light in August, and the poetry of Emily Dickinson and the Polish Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz. These texts explore the art of soulmaking and the quest for personal expression: the costs as well as the fruits that come from acceding to the imperatives of one's being. They also reveal how the collision of personal and collective rhythms, whether in the Greek citadel or the Mississippi countryside, leads to violence and ritualized sacrifice. _x000B__x000B_Elegant, principled, and provocative, The Sovereignty of Taste is an essential book that restores taste to its rightful place of influence, shoring up the ground beneath civilization's feet and offering hope for the future of integrity, value, and aesthetic truth.