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Between Kierkegaard and Derrida
Pursuing Jacques Derrida's reflections on the possibility of "religion without religion," John Llewelyn makes room for a sense of the religious that does not depend on the religions or traditional notions of God or gods. Beginning with Derrida's statement that it was Kierkegaard to whom he remained most faithful, Llewelyn reads Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Feuerbach, Heidegger, Sartre, Levinas, Deleuze, Marion, as well as Kierkegaard and Derrida, in original and compelling ways. Llewelyn puts religiousness in vital touch with the struggles of the human condition, finding religious space in the margins between the secular and the religions, transcendence and immanence, faith and knowledge, affirmation and despair, lucidity and madness. This provocative and philosophically rich account shows why and where the religious matters.
A Phenomenology of the Uncanny
From the frozen landscapes of the Antarctic to the haunted houses of childhood, the memory of places we experience is fundamental to a sense of self. Drawing on influences as diverse as Merleau-Ponty, Freud, and J. G. Ballard, The Memory of Place charts the memorial landscape that is written into the body and its experience of the world. Dylan Trigg’s The Memory of Place offers a lively and original intervention into contemporary debates within “place studies,” an interdisciplinary field at the intersection of philosophy, geography, architecture, urban design, and environmental studies. Through a series of provocative investigations, Trigg analyzes monuments in the representation of public memory; “transitional” contexts, such as airports and highway rest stops; and the “ruins” of both memory and place in sites such as Auschwitz. While developing these original analyses, Trigg engages in thoughtful and innovative ways with the philosophical and literary tradition, from Gaston Bachelard to Pierre Nora, H. P. Lovecraft to Martin Heidegger. Breathing a strange new life into phenomenology, The Memory of Place argues that the eerie disquiet of the uncanny is at the core of the remembering body, and thus of ourselves. The result is a compelling and novel rethinking of memory and place that should spark new conversations across the field of place studies. Edward S. Casey, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Stony Brook University and widely recognized as the leading scholar on phenomenology of place, calls The Memory of Place “genuinely unique and a signal addition to phenomenological literature. It fills a significant gap, and it does so with eloquence and force.” He predicts that Trigg’s book will be “immediately recognized as a major original work in phenomenology.”
The work of French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty touches on some of the most essential and vital concerns of the world today, yet his ideas are difficult and not widely understood. Lawrence Hass redresses this problem by offering an exceptionally clear, carefully argued, critical appreciation of Merleau-Ponty's philosophy. Hass provides insight into the philosophical methods and major concepts that characterize Merleau-Ponty's thought. Questions concerning the nature of phenomenology, perceptual experience, embodiment, intersubjectivity, expression, and philosophy of language are fully and systematically discussed with reference to main currents and discussions in contemporary philosophy. The result is a refreshingly jargon-free invitation into Merleau-Ponty's important and transformational way of understanding human experience.
An Essay on Birth and Resurrection
This book starts off from a philosophical premise: nobody can be in the world unless they are born into the world. It examines this premise in the light of the theological belief that birth serves, or ought to serve, as a model for understanding what resurrection could signify for us today. After all, the modern Christian needs to find some way of understanding resurrection, and the dogma of the resurrection of the body is vacuous unless we can relate it philosophically to our own world of experience. Nicodemus first posed the question "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" This book reads that problem in the context of contemporary philosophy (particularly the thought of Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and Deleuze). A phenomenology of the body born "from below" is seen as a paradigm for a theology of spiritual rebirth, and for rebirth of the body from "on high." The Resurrection changes everything in Christianity--but it is also our own bodies that must be transformed in resurrection, as Christ is transfigured. And the way in which I hope to be resurrected bodily in God, in the future, depends upon the way in which I live bodily today.
Jacques Derrida and the Two Sources of Religion, Science, and the Media
Miracle and Machine is a sort of "reader's guide" to Jacques Derrida's 1994 essay "faith and knowledge," his most important work on the nature of religion in general and on the unprecedented forms it is taking today through science and the media. It provides essential background for understanding Derrida's essay, commentary on its unique style and its central figures (e.g., Kant, Hegel, Bergson, and Heidegger), and assessment of its principal philosophical claims about the fundamental duplicity of religion and the ineluctably autoimmune relationship among religion, science, and the media. Along the way it offers in-depth analysis of Derrida's treatment of everything from the nature of religious revelation, faith, prayer, sacrifice, testimony, messianicity, fundamentalism, and secularism to the way religion is today being transformed by globalization, technoscience, and worldwide telecommunications networks.But Miracle and Machine is much more than a commentary on a single Derrida text. Through references to scores of other works by Derrida, both early and late, it also provides a unique introduction to Derrida's work in general. It demonstrates that one of the very best ways to understand the terms, themes, claims, strategies, and motivations of Derridean deconstruction from the early 1960s through 2004 is to read critically and patiently, in its spirit and in its letter, an exemplary text such as "Faith and Knowledge." Finally, Miracle and Machine attempts to put Derrida's ideasabout religion to the test by reading alongside "Faith and Knowledge" an already classic work of American fiction that is more or less contemporaneous with it, Don DeLillo's 1997 Underworld, a novel that explores the same relationship between faith and knowledge, religion and science, religious revelation and the World Wide Web,messianicity, and weapons of mass destruction in a word, in two words, miracles and machines.
Interrogating stories told about life after deconstruction, and discovering instead a kind of afterlife of deconstruction, Daniel Punday draws on a wide range of theorists to develop a rigorous theory of narrative as an alternative model for literary interpretation. Drawing on an observation made by Jean-François Lyotard, Punday argues that at the heart of narrative are concrete objects that can serve as “lynchpins” through which many different explanations and interpretations can come together. Narrative after Deconstruction traces the often grudging emergence of a post-deconstructive interest in narrative throughout contemporary literary theory by examining critics as diverse as Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Elizabeth Grosz, and Edward Said. Experimental novelists like Ronald Sukenick, Raymond Federman, Clarence Major, and Kathy Acker likewise work through many of the same problems of constructing texts in the wake of deconstruction, and so provide a glimpse of this post-deconstructive narrative approach to writing and interpretation at its most accomplished and powerful.
Discerning Bodies and Non-dualism
In Nietzsche and Embodiment Kristen Brown reveals the smartness of bodies, challenging the traditional view in the West that bodies are separate from and morally inferior to minds. Drawing inspiration from Nietzsche, Brown vividly describes why the interdependence of mind and body matters, both in Nietzsche’s writings and for contemporary debates (non-dualism theory, Merleau-Ponty criticism, and metaphor studies), activities (spinal cord research and fasting), and specific human experiences (menses, trauma, and guilt). Brown’s theories about the dynamic relationship between body and mind provide new possibilities for self-understanding and experience.
A Buddhist Engagement with the Ontology of Jean-Paul Sartre
Using Buddhist thought, explores and challenges the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre. This sustained and distinctively Buddhist challenge to the ontology of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness resolves the incoherence implicit in the Sartrean conception of nothingness by opening to a Buddhist vision of emptiness. Rooted in the insights of Madhyamika dialectic and an articulated meditative (zen) phenomenology, Nothingness and Emptiness uncovers and examines the assumptions that sustain Sartre’s early phenomenological ontology and questions his theoretical elaboration of consciousness as “nothingness.” Laycock demonstrates that, in addition to a “relative” nothingness (the for-itself) defined against the positivity and plenitude of the in-itself, Sartre’s ontology requires, but also repudiates, a conception of “absolute” nothingness (the Buddhist “emptiness”), and is thus, as it stands, logically unstable, perhaps incoherent. The author is not simply critical; he reveals the junctures at which Sartrean ontology appeals for a Buddhist conception of emptiness and offers the needed supplement.
The Hermeneutical and Philosophy
Appearing for the first time in English, Günter Figal’s groundbreaking book in the tradition of philosophical hermeneutics offers original perspectives on perennial philosophical problems. Günter Figal has long been recognized as one of the most insightful interpreters working in the tradition of philosophical hermeneutics and its leading themes concerned with ancient Greek thought, art, language, and history. With this book, Figal presses this tradition of philosophical hermeneutics in new directions. In his effort to forge philosophical hermeneutics into a hermeneutical philosophy, Figal develops an original critique of the objectification of the world that emerges in modernity as the first stage in his systematic treatment of the elements of experience hermeneutically understood. Breaking through the prejudices of modernity, but not sacrificing the importance and challenge of the objective world that confronts us and is in need of interpretation, Figal reorients how it is that philosophy should take up some of its most longstanding and stubborn questions. World, object, space, language, freedom, time, and life are refreshed as philosophical notions here since they are each regarded as elements of human life engaged in the task assigned to each of us—the task of understanding ourselves and our world.