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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.
In Occasional Deconstructions, Julian Wolfreys challenges the notion that deconstruction is a critical methodology, offering instead a number of reintroductions or reorientations to the texts of Jacques Derrida and the idea or possibility of deconstructions. Proceeding from specific readings of various texts (both film and literary), as well as mobilizing a number of issues from Derrida’s recent work surrounding questions of ethics, politics, and identity, Wolfreys considers the role of deconstruction in broader academic and institutional contexts, and questions whether, in fact, deconstruction can be called upon to function as theory at all. In this book, Wolfreys suggests that the patient, necessary work of reading, in which response and responsibility to the other has a chance to manifest itself, is necessary to the always political and ethical tracing of the material and the historical. He also contends that reading should be an encounter that gives place to an acknowledgment of the other, and that this singular act by which one is introduced to the other can never be programmed.
"Baracchi has identified pivotal points around which the Republic operates; this allows a reading of the entire text to unfold.... a very beautifully written book." -- Walter Brogan
"... a work that opens new and timely vistas within the Republic.... Her approach... is thorough and rigorous." -- John Sallis
Although Plato's Republic is perhaps the most influential text in the history of Western philosophy, Claudia Baracchi finds that the work remains obscure and enigmatic. To fully understand and appreciate its meaning, she argues, we must attend to what its original language discloses. Through a close reading of the Greek text, attentive to the pervasiveness of story and myth, Baracchi investigates the dialogue's major themes. The first part of the book addresses issues of generation, reproduction, and decay as they apply to the founding of Socrates' just city. The second part takes up the connection between war and the cycle of life, employing a thorough analysis of Plato's rendition of the myth of Er. Baracchi shows that the Republic is concerned throughout with the complex but intertwined issues of life and war, locating the site of this tangled web of growth and destruction in the mythical dimension of the Platonic city.
Tragedy and Ethical Life
On Germans and Other Greeks
Tragedy and Ethical Life
Dennis J. Schmidt
What Greek tragedy and German philosophy reveal about the meaning of art for ethical life.
"Schmidt's investigation of tragedy is a highly
significant, powerful work, one with far-reaching consequences. It bears on our
understanding of the role of the arts and of philosophical thinking in our
-- Rodolphe Gasché
In this illuminating work, Dennis J. Schmidt examines tragedy as one of the highest forms of human expression for both the ancients and the moderns. While uncovering the specifically Greek nature of tragedy as an exploration of how to live an ethical life, Schmidt's elegant and penetrating readings of Greek texts show that it was the beauty of Greek tragic art that led Kant and other German thinkers to appreciate the relationship between tragedy and ethics. The Germans, however, gave this relationship a distinctly German interpretation. Through the Greeks, the Germans reflected on the enigmas of ethical life and asked innovative questions about how to live an ethical life outside of the typical assumptions and restrictions of traditional Western metaphysics. Schmidt's engagements with Schelling, Hegel, Hölderlin, Nietzsche, and Heidegger show how German philosophical appropriations of Greek tragedy conceived of ethics as moving beyond the struggle between good and evil toward the discovery of community truths. Enlisting a wide range of literary and philosophical texts, some translated into English for the first time, Schmidt reveals that contemporary notions of tragedy, art, ethics, and truth are intimately linked to the Greeks.
Dennis J. Schmidt is Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University. He is author of The Ubiquity of the Finite and translator of Ernst Bloch's Natural Law and Human Dignity.
Studies in Continental
Thought -- John Sallis, general editor May 2001
432 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4, bibl., index
cloth 0-253-33868-9 $49.95 L /