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Kant in the Land of Extraterrestrials Cover

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Kant in the Land of Extraterrestrials

Cosmopolitical Philosofictions

Peter Szendy is Professor of Aesthetics in the Philosophy Department of the University of Nanterre. The most recent of his books are Hits: Philosophy in the Jukebox and Prophecies of Leviathan: Reading (Past) Melville (both Fordham).

“Yes, Kant did indeed speak of extraterrestrials.” This phrase could provide the opening for this brief treatise of philosofiction (as one speaks of science fiction). What is revealed in the aliens of which Kant speaks—and he no doubt took them more seriously than anyone else in the history of philosophy—are the limits of globalization, or what Kant called cosmopolitanism. Before engaging Kantian considerations of the inhabitants of other worlds, before comprehending his reasoned alienology, this book works its way through an analysis of the star wars raging above our heads in the guise of international treaties regulating the law of space, including the cosmopirates that Carl Schmitt sometimes mentions in his late writings. Turning to track the comings and goings of extraterrestrials in Kant’s work, Szendy reveals that they are the necessary condition for an unattainable definition of humanity. Impossible to represent, escaping any possible experience, they are nonetheless inscribed both at the heart of the sensible and as an Archimedean point from whose perspective the interweavings of the sensible can be viewed. Reading Kant in dialogue with science fiction films (films he seems already to have seen) involves making him speak of questions now pressing in upon us: our endangered planet, ecology, a war of the worlds. But it also means attempting to think, with or beyond Kant, what a point of view might be.

Kierkegaard's Romantic Legacy Cover

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Kierkegaard's Romantic Legacy

Two Theories of the Self

Anoop Gupta

In Kierkegaard's Romantic Legacy, Anoop Gupta develops an original theory of the self based on Kierkegaard's writings. Gupta proceeds by historical exegesis and considers several important ways of thinking about self outside of the natural sciences. His study moves theories of the self from theology toward sociology, from a God-relationship to a social one, and illustrates how a loss in theological underpinnings partly contributes to the rise in the popularity of cultural relativism. By drawing on Kierkegaard's writings, Gupta develops a metaphysical account of the self that provides an alternative to the idea that there is no such thing as human nature.

Kindness and the Good Society Cover

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Kindness and the Good Society

Connections of the Heart

Kindness and the Good Society utilizes phenomenology and a wide variety of traditional and non-traditional sources to provide the first comprehensive account of kindness in any genre of philosophy. Remarkably rich in descriptive detail and drawing upon a wide range of examples, including literary sources, current affairs, and traditional philosophical texts, Hamrick’s book rescues kindness from the purposeful neglect of deontological and utilitarian ethical theories. Beginning with an account of the personal and social areas of ethical and moral comportment, Hamrick addresses what is not intuitively obvious about kindness and its opposite, details a critical kindness that avoids both naiveté as well as popular cynicism, and guides us toward a new notion of aesthetic humanism.

Lacan and the Limits of Language Cover

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Lacan and the Limits of Language

Charles Shepherdson

This book weaves together three themes at the intersection of Jacques Lacan and the philosophical tradition. The first is the question of time and memory. How do these problems call for a revision of Lacan's purported ahistoricism,and how does the temporality of the subject in Lacan intersect with the questions of temporality initiated by Heidegger and then developed by contemporary French philosophy? The second question concerns the status of the body in Lacanian theory, especially in connection with emotion and affect, which Lacanian theory is commonly thought to ignore, but which the concept of jouissance was developed to address. Finally, it aims to explore, beyond the strict limits of Lacanian theory, possible points of intersection between psychoanalysis and other domains, including questions of race, biology, and evolutionary theory.By stressing the question of affect, the book shows how Lacan's position cannot be reduced to the structuralist models he nevertheless draws upon, and thus how the problem of the body may be understood as a formation that marks the limits of language. Exploring the anthropological category of racewithin a broadly evolutionary perspective, it shows how Lacan's elaboration of the imaginaryand the symbolicmight allow us to explain human physiological diversity without reducing it to a cultural or linguistic construction or allowing raceto remain as a traditional biological category. Here again the questions of history and temporality are paramount, and open the possibility for a genuine dialogue between psychoanalysis and biology.Finally, the book engages literary texts. Antigone, Ovid's Metamorphoses, Hamlet, and even Wordsworth become the muses who oblige psychoanalysis and philosophy to listen once again to the provocations of poetry, which always disrupts our familiar notions of time and memory, of history and bodily or affective experience, and of subjectivity itself.

Language after Heidegger Cover

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Language after Heidegger

Krzysztof Ziarek

Working from newly available texts in Heidegger’s Complete Works, Krzysztof Ziarek presents Heidegger at his most radical and demonstrates how the thinker’s daring use of language is an integral part of his philosophical expression. Ziarek emphasizes the liberating potential of language as an event that discloses being and amplifies Heidegger’s call for a transformative approach to poetry, power, and ultimately, philosophy.

Levinas and the Crisis of Humanism Cover

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Levinas and the Crisis of Humanism

Claire Elise Katz

Reexamining Emmanuel Levinas's essays on Jewish education, Claire Elise Katz provides new insights into the importance of education and its potential to transform a democratic society, for Levinas's larger philosophical project. Katz examines Levinas's "Crisis of Humanism," which motivated his effort to describe a new ethical subject. Taking into account his multiple influences on social science and the humanities, and his various identities as a Jewish thinker, philosopher, and educator, Katz delves deeply into Levinas's works to understand the grounding of this ethical subject.

Levinas and the Wisdom of Love Cover

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Levinas and the Wisdom of Love

The Question of Invisibility

Corey Beals

Directly challenging the prevailing interpretation, Corey Beals explores the ideas of twentieth-century philosopher Emmanuel Levinas's concept of love, love's relation to wisdom, and how love makes the Other visible to us. Distinguishing love from other types of wisdom, Beals argues that Levinas's"wisdom of love"is a real possibility, one which grants priority to ethics over ontology.

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Levinasian Meditations

Ethics, Philosophy, and Religion

By Richard A. Cohen

A prominent scholar of the life and work of Emmanuel Levinas, Richard A. Cohen collects in this volume the most significant of his writings on Levinas over the past decade. With these essays, Cohen not only clearly explains the nuances of Levinas’s project, but he attests to the importance of Levinas’s distinctive insights for philosophy and religion. Divided into two parts, the book’s part one considers Levinas’s philosophical project by bringing him into dialogue with Western thought, including Plato, Aristotle, Kant, even Shakespeare, as well as twentieth century thinkers such as Heidegger, Husserl, Sartre, and Buber among others. In part two, Cohen addresses Levinas’s contribution to religious thought, particularly regarding his commentary on and approach to Judaism, by using the interpretive lens of Levinas’s Talmudic writing, “A Religion for Adults.”

Throughout the book, these seminal essays provide a thorough illumination of Levinas’s most original insight and significant contribution to Husserlian phenomenology — which permeates both his philosophical and religious works — that signification and meaning are ultimately based on an ethically structured intersubjectivity that cannot be understood in terms of language and being. Cohen succeeds in defending and clarifying Levinas’s commitment to the primacy of ethics, his “ethics as first philosophy,” which was the hallmark of the French phenomenologist’s intellectual career.

Levinas's Philosophy of Time Cover

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Levinas's Philosophy of Time

Gift, Responsibility, Diachrony, Hope

by Eric Severson

Over the course of six decades, Emmanuel Levinas developed a radical understanding of time. Like Martin Heidegger, Levinas saw the everyday experience of synchronous time marked by clocks and calendars as an abstraction from the way time functions more fundamentally. Yet, in a definitive break from Heidegger’s analysis of temporality, by the end of his career Levinas’s philosophy of time becomes the linchpin for his argument that the other person has priority over the self. For Levinas, time is a feature of the self’s encounter with the face, and it is his understanding of time that makes possible his radical claim that ethics is first philosophy. Levinas’s Philosophy of Time takes a chronological approach to examine Levinas’s deliberations on time, noting along the way the ways in which his account is informed by aspects of Judaism and by other thinkers: Rosenzweig, Bergson, Husserl, Heidegger. The progression in Levinas’s account, Severson argues, moves through his viewing time as a gift or a responsibility in earlier works and culminates in the groundbreaking expressions of his later works in which he rests his resounding philosophy of radical responsibility on an understanding of time as diachrony. Further, by focusing on this progression in Levinas’s thought, Severson brings new insight to a number of aspects in Levinas studies that have consistently troubled readers, including the differences between his early and later writings, his controversial invocation of the feminine, and the blurry line between philosophy and religion in his work. Finally, drawing on Levinas’s own acknowledgment that significant work remained to be done on the concept of time, Severson considers the problems and benefits of Levinas’s understanding of time and ultimately suggests some possibilities for thinking about time after Levinas. In particular, he reconsiders Levinas’s account of the feminine and gender, identifies an implicit “fourth person” that functions behind the scenes of Levinas’s work, and highlights the concept of hope in both a future justice and the possibility of a restoration that is not egocentric but for-the-other.

Life Drawing Cover

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Life Drawing

A Deleuzean Aesthetics of Existence

Gordon C.F. Bearn

Deleuze's publications have attracted enormous attention, but scant attention has been paid to the existential relevance of Deleuze's writings. In the lineage of Nietzsche, Life Drawing develops a fully affirmative Deleuzean aesthetics of existence.For Foucault and Nehamas, the challenge of an aesthetics of existence is to make your life, in one way or another, a work of art. In contrast, Bearn argues that art is too narrow a concept to guide this kind of existential project. He turns instead to the more generous notion of beauty, but he argues that the philosophical tradition has mostly misconceived beauty in terms of perfection. Heraclitus and Kant are well-known exceptions to this mistake, and Bearn suggests that because Heraclitean becoming is beyond conceptual characterization, it promises a sensualized experience akin to what Kant called free beauty. In this new aesthetics of existence, the challengeis to become beautiful by releasing a Deleuzean becoming: becoming becoming. Bearn's readings of philosophical texts--by Wittgenstein, Derrida, Plato, and others--will be of interest in their own right.

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