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Earth, Air, Fire, and Water as Environmental Ideas
Explores the ancient and perennial notion of the four elements as environmental ideas. Bachelard called them “the hormones of the imagination.” Hegel observed that, “through the four elements we have the elevation of sensuous ideas into thought.” Earth, air, fire, and water are explored as both philosophical ideas and environmental issues associated with their classical and perennial conceptions. David Macauley embarks upon a wide-ranging discussion of their initial appearance in ancient Greek thought as mythic forces or scientific principles to their recent reemergence within contemporary continental philosophy as a means for understanding landscape and language, poetry and place, the body and the body politic. In so doing, he shows the importance of elemental thinking for comprehending and responding to ecological problems. In tracing changing views of the four elements through the history of ideas, Macauley generates a new vocabulary for and a fresh vision of the environment while engaging the elemental world directly with reflections on their various manifestations.
Of Poetry and the Experience of Language after Heidegger, Holderlin, and Blanchot
What is the nature of poetic language when its experience involves an encounter with finitude; with failure, loss, and absence? For Martin Heidegger this experience is central to any thinking that would seek to articulate the meaning of being, but for Friedrich Hölderlin and Maurice Blanchot it is a mark of the tragic and unanswerable demands of poetic language. In Ellipsis, a rigorous, original study on the language of poetry, the language of philosophy, and the limits of the word, William S. Allen offers the first in-depth examination of the development of Heidegger’s thinking of poetic language—which remains his most radical and yet most misunderstood work—that carefully balances it with the impossible demands of this experience of finitude, an experience of which Hölderlin and Blanchot have provided the most searching examinations. In bringing language up against its limits, Allen shows that poetic language not only exposes thinking to its abyssal grounds, but also indicates how the limits of our existence come themselves, traumatically, impossibly, to speak.
From the Body to the Body Politic
How does the body politic reflect the nature of human embodiment? To pursue this question in a new and productive way, James Mensch employs a methodology consistent with the fact of our embodiment; he uses Merleau Ponty’s concept of "intertwining"—the presence of one’s self in the world and of the world in one’s self—to understand the ideas that define political life.
Jacques Derrida and the Development of Deconstruction
However widely and differently Jacques Derrida may be viewed as a "foundational" French thinker, the most basic questions concerning his work still remain unanswered: Is Derrida a friend of reason, or philosophy, or rather the most radical of skeptics? Are language related themes writing, semiosis his central concern, or does he really write about something else? And does his thought form a system of its own, or does it primarily consist of commentaries on individual texts? This book seeks to address these questions by returning to what it claims is essential history: the development of Derrida's core thought through his engagement with Husserlian phenomenology. Joshua Kates recasts what has come to be known as the Derrida/Husserl debate, by approaching Derrida's thought historically, through its development. Based on this developmental work, Essential History culminates by offering discrete interpretations of Derrida's two book length 1967 texts, interpretations that elucidate the until now largely opaque relation of Derrida's interest in language to his focus on philosophical concerns.
Communication, Seduction, and Death in Hegel and Kierkegaard
This is a book about the ethics of authorship. Most directly, it explores different conceptualizations of the responsibilities of the author to the reader. But it also engages the question of what styles of authorship allow these responsibilities to be met. Style itself is an ethical issue, since the relation between the writing subject and the reader--and the dynamics of authority and influence, of gift giving and friendship in this relation--have as much to do with how one writes as what one says.The two writers who serve as the main subjects for this work, the German idealist philosopher G. W. F. Hegel and the Danish Christian existentialist Sren Kierkegaard, invite us to confront particularly challenging questions about the ethics of authorship. Each in his own way explores styles of authorship that employ a variety of strategies of seduction in order to entice the reader into his narratives, strategies that at least on the surface appear to be fundamentally manipulative and unethical. Further, both seek to enact their own deaths as authors, effectively disappearing as reliable guides for the reader. That might also seem to be ethically irresponsible, an abandonment of the reader, who has been seduced only to be deserted.This is the first work to undertake a sustained questioning of Kierkegaard's central distinction between his own indirectstyle of communication and the (purportedly) directstyle of Hegel's philosophy. Hegel was in fact a much more subtle practitioner of style than Kierkegaard represents him as being, indeed, a practitioner whose style is in the service of an ambitious reconceptualization of the ethics of authorship. As for Kierkegaard, his own indirect style raises a whole series of ethical questions about how the reader is imagined in relation to the author. There is finally an either/or between Hegel and Kierkegaard, just not the one Kierkegaard proposes as between an author devoid of ethics and one who makes possible a true ethics of authorship. Rather, the either/or is between two competing practices of authorship, one daunting with the cadences of a highly technical style, the other delightful for its elegance and playfulness--but both powerful experiments in the ethics of style.
Rethinking an Aristotelian Legacy
Concerned with the meaning and function of principles in an era that appears to have given up on their possibility altogether, Christopher P. Long traces the paths of Aristotle’s thinking concerning finite being from the Categories, through the Physics, to the Metaphysics, and ultimately into the Nicomachean Ethics. Long argues that a dynamic and open conception of principles emerges in these works that challenges the traditional tendency to seek security in permanent and eternal absolutes. He rethinks the meaning of Aristotle’s notion of principle (arche) and spans the divide of analytic and continental methodological approaches to ancient Greek philosophy, while connecting Aristotle’s thinking to that of Levinas, Gadamer, and Heidegger.
Martin Heidegger’s The Event offers his most substantial self-critique of his Contributions to Philosophy: Of the Event and articulates what he means by the event itself. Richard Rojcewicz’s elegant translation offers the English-speaking reader intimate contact with one of the most basic Heideggerian concepts. This book lays out how the event is to be understood and ties it closely to looking, showing, self-manifestation, and the self-unveiling of the gods. The Event (Complete Works, volume 71) is part of a series of Heidegger's private writings in response to Contributions.
Philosophy, Literary Criticism, History, and the Work of Deconstruction
How to interpret Derrida's work now after so much commentary has been devoted to his thought, and his own astonishing productivity has come to an end? In this groundbreaking collection, Joshua Kates argues that we must begin from a different frame than Derrida himself provides, by inserting his work into already existing fields, by "fielding Derrida." Is Derrida a skeptic? Does he subscribe to a death of meaning (and the "I") at the hands of a sign? Is his thought at all proximate to contemporary Marxian/post-Marxist thinking? Thanks to placing Derrida's texts in broader fields (such as Husserlian phenomenology and analytic philosophy of language) and subsequently nuancing what such comparisons yield, Kates's work capture Derrida's stances on these and other questions with a new concreteness and an unprecedented scope, forging links to vital debates across the humanities today.; "Offers creative and well-defended new interpretations of Derrida's familiar texts."
In Four Seminars, Heidegger reviews the entire trajectory of his thought and offers unique perspectives on fundamental aspects of his work. First published in French in 1976, these seminars were translated into German with Heidegger's approval and reissued in 1986 as part of his Gesamtausgabe, volume 15. Topics considered include the Greek understanding of presence, the ontological difference, the notion of system in German Idealism, the power of naming, the problem of technology, danger, and the event. Heidegger's engagements with his philosophical forebears—Parmenides, Heraclitus, Kant, and Hegel—continue in surprising dialogues with his contemporaries—Husserl, Marx, and Wittgenstein. While providing important insights into how Heidegger conducted his lectures, these seminars show him in his maturity reflecting back on his philosophical path. An important text for understanding contemporary philosophical debates, Four Seminars provides extraordinarily rich material for students and scholars of Heidegger.