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Becoming a Self

by Merold Westphal

Becoming a Self provides a reader's guide to the book often taken to be Kierkegaard's most important contribution to philosophy and theology.

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The Beginning of Western Philosophy

Interpretation of Anaximander and Parmenides

Translated by Richard Rojcewicz. Martin Heidegger

Volume 35 of Heidegger’s Complete Works comprises a lecture course given at the University of Freiburg in 1932, five years after the publication of Being and Time. During this period, Heidegger was at the height of his creative powers, which are on full display in this clear and imaginative text. In it, Heidegger leads his students in a close reading of two of the earliest philosophical source documents, fragments by Greek thinkers Anaximander and Parmenides. Heidegger develops their common theme of Being and non-being and shows that the question of Being is indeed the origin of Western philosophy. His engagement with these Greek texts is as much of a return to beginnings as it is a potential reawakening of philosophical wonder and inquiry in the present.

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Being and Truth

Martin Heidegger. Translated by Gregory Fried and Richard Polt

In these lectures, delivered in 1933-1934 while he was Rector of the University of Freiburg and an active supporter of the National Socialist regime, Martin Heidegger addresses the history of metaphysics and the notion of truth from Heraclitus to Hegel. First published in German in 2001, these two lecture courses offer a sustained encounter with Heidegger's thinking during a period when he attempted to give expression to his highest ambitions for a philosophy engaged with politics and the world. While the lectures are strongly nationalistic and celebrate the revolutionary spirit of the time, they also attack theories of racial supremacy in an attempt to stake out a distinctively Heideggerian understanding of what it means to be a people. This careful translation offers valuable insight into Heidegger's views on language, truth, animality, and life, as well as his political thought and activity.

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Being, Man, and Death

A Key to Heidegger

James M. Demske

Death, a perennial problem for philosophers and theologians, is especially crucial in the thought of Martin Heidegger. This penetrating commentary presents the concept of death as a unifying motif that illuminates many of the difficulties and obscurities of Heidegger's philosophy. Heidegger comes to see death as revealing the ultimate meaning not only of human existence, but of being itself. He thus confers upon the concept a force and sharpness, an ontological depth which is found in perhaps no other philosopher.

This study corroborates the much-debated "turning" in Heidegger's philosophy. Demslce finds death to be the key not only to Heidegger's treatment of man and being, but also the key to his shift of focus from man to being. All Heidegger's various approaches to the theme of death are considered -- his existential-phenomenological analysis of Dasein, his discussions of art, poetry, history, and language, and his new phenomenological approach to the ordinary things of life.

The author approaches Heidegger on his own terms, allowing the philosopher to speak for himself. The present reading of Heidegger grows smoothly out of Heidegger's own intentions. The result is a revealing study of Heidegger's philosophy in its entirety, which answers some persistently perplexing questions about this difficult modern philosopher.

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Belief and Its Neutralization

Husserl's System of Phenomenology in Ideas I

Presenting the first step-by-step commentary on Husserl’s Ideas I, Marcus Brainard’s Belief and Its Neutralization provides an introduction not only to this central work, but also to the whole of transcendental phenomenology. Brainard offers a clear and lively account of each key element in Ideas I, along with a novel reading of Husserl, one which may well cause scholars to reconsider many long-standing views on his thought, especially on the role of belief, the effect and scope of the epoché, and the significance of the universal neutrality modification.

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Between Chora and the Good

Metaphor's Metaphysical Neighborhood

Charles Bigger

Plato's chora as developed in the Timaeus is a creative matrix in which things arise and stand out in response to the lure of the Good. Chora is paired with the Good, its polar opposite; both are beyond beingand the metaphors hitherto thought to disclose the transcendent. They underlie Plato's distinction of a procreative gap between being and becoming. The chiasmus between the Good and chora makes possible their mutual participation in one another. This gap makes possible both phenomenological and cosmological interpretations of Plato. Metaphor is restricted to beings as they appear in this gap through the crossing of metaphor's terms, terms that dwell with, rather than subulate, one another. Hermeneutically, through its iswe can see something being engendered or determined by that crossing.Bigger's larger goal is to align the primacy of the Good in Plato and Christian Neoplatonism with the creator God of Genesis and the God of love in the New Testament.

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Between Nihilism and Politics

The Hermeneutics of Gianni Vattimo

Essays describe Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo’s unique and radical hermeneutic philosophy. This is the first collection of essays in English that deals directly with the philosophy of Gianni Vattimo from a purely critical perspective, further establishing his rightful place in contemporary European philosophy. Vattimo, who first came to prominence as the translator of Gadamer’s Truth and Method into Italian, is now considered to be more than a philosopher and prolific author. As a former member of the European Parliament (1999–2004), he is also a public intellectual. This book takes up his call to advance the crucial active and affirmative engagement with thinking and society. More than just interpretations of Vattimo’s thinking, these essays are expressions of the new impetus given to hermeneutic philosophy by “weak thought,” the term he coined for how we think now in the wake of Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Gadamer. The development of Vattimo’s thinking is reflected in the organization of the volume, divided into three main parts: Hermeneutics and Nihilism, Metaphysics and Religion, and Politics and Technology.

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Between Word and Image

Heidegger, Klee, and Gadamer on Gesture and Genesis

Dennis J. Schmidt

Engagement with the image has played a decisive role in the formulation of the very idea of philosophy since Plato. Identifying pivotal moments in the history of philosophy, Dennis J. Schmidt develops the question of philosophy's regard of the image in thinking by considering painting—where the image most clearly calls attention to itself as an image. Focusing on Heidegger and the work of Paul Klee, Schmidt pursues larger issues in the relationship between word, image, and truth. As he investigates alternative ways of thinking about truth through word and image, Schmidt shows how the form of art can indeed possess the capacity to change its viewers.

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Between You and I

Dialogical Phenomenology

Beata Stawarska

Classical phenomenology has suffered from an individualist bias and a neglect of the communicative structure of experience, especially the phenomenological importance of the addressee, the inseparability of I and You, and the nature of the alternation between them. Beata Stawarska remedies this neglect by bringing relevant contributions from cognate empirical disciplines—
such as sociolinguistics and developmental psychology, as well as the dialogic tradition in philosophy—to bear on phenomenological inquiry. Taken together, these contributions substantiate an alternative view of primary I-You connectedness and help foreground the dialogic dimension of both prediscursive and discursive experience. Between You and I suggests that phenomenology is best practiced in a dialogical engagement with other disciplines.

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Binding Words

Conscience and Rhetoric in Hobbes, Hegel, and Heidegger

Feldman, Karen S.

In a work that brings a new field altering perspective as well as new tools to the history of philosophy, Karen S. Feldman offers a powerful and elegantly written account of how philosophical language appears to "produce" the very thing here, "conscience" that it seems to be discovering or describing. Conscience, as Binding Words convincingly argues, can only ever be understood, interpreted, and made effective through tropes and figures of language. The question this raises, and the one that interests Feldman here is: If conscience has no tangible, literal referent to which we can apply, then where does it get its "binding force?"

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