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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 /
"Everyone complains about what is lost in translations. This is the first account I have seen of the potentially positive impact of translation, that it represents... a genuinely new contribution." -- Drew A. Hyland
In his original philosophical exploration of translation, John Sallis shows that translating is much more than a matter of transposing one language into another. At the very heart of language, translation is operative throughout human thought and experience. Sallis approaches translation from four directions: from the dream of nontranslation, or universal translatability; through a scene of translation staged by Shakespeare, in which the entire range of senses of translation is played out; through the question of the force of words; and from the representation of untranslatability in painting and music. Drawing on Jakobson, Gadamer, Benjamin, and Derrida, Sallis shows how the classical concept of translation has undergone mutation and deconstruction.
The Decentering of the Modern Subject in Recent French Phenomenology
Explores and critiques the so-called “decentering of the subject” in French phenomenology. This incisive work examines questions of ontotheology and their relation to the so-called “theological turn” of recent French phenomenology. Joeri Schrijvers explores and critiques the decentering of the subject attempted by Jean-Luc Marion, Jean-Yves Lacoste, and Emmanuel Levinas, three philosophers who, inspired by their reading of Heidegger, attempt to overturn the active and autonomous subject. In his consideration of each thinker, Schrijvers shows that a simple reversal of the subject-object distinction has been achieved, but no true decentering of the subject. For Lacoste, the subject becomes God’s intention; for Marion, the subject becomes the object and objective of givenness; and for Levinas, the subject is without secrets, like an object, before a greater Other. Critiquing the axioms and assumptions of contemporary philosophy, Schrijvers argues that there is no overcoming ontotheology. He ultimately proposes a more phenomenological and existential approach, a presencing of the invisible, to address the concerns of ontotheology.
Edmund Husserl and Jacob Klein
Burt C. Hopkins presents the first in-depth study of the work of Edmund Husserl and Jacob Klein on the philosophical foundations of the logic of modern symbolic mathematics. Accounts of the philosophical origins of formalized concepts—especially mathematical concepts and the process of mathematical abstraction that generates them—have been paramount to the development of phenomenology. Both Husserl and Klein independently concluded that it is impossible to separate the historical origin of the thought that generates the basic concepts of mathematics from their philosophical meanings. Hopkins explores how Husserl and Klein arrived at their conclusion and its philosophical implications for the modern project of formalizing all knowledge.
François Raffoul approaches the concept of responsibility in a manner that is distinct from its traditional interpretation as accountability of the willful subject. Exploring responsibility in the works of Nietzsche, Sartre, Levinas, Heidegger, and Derrida, Raffoul identifies decisive moments in the development of the concept, retrieves its origins, and explores new reflections on it. For Raffoul, responsibility is less about a sovereign subject establishing a sphere of power and control than about exposure to an event that does not come from us and yet calls to us. These original and thoughtful investigations of the post-metaphysical senses of responsibility chart new directions for ethics in the continental tradition.
Philosophy Interpreting Art Interpreting Literature
A provocative examination of the artistic interpretation of twelve of Borges' most famous stories. In Painting Borges, Jorge J. E. Gracia explores in depth the artistic interpretation of fiction using a novel and philosophically sophisticated approach. The book presents a provocative theory of the artistic interpretation of literature, thus contributing both to aesthetics and hermeneutics; it provides original artistic and philosophical interpretations of twelve of Borges's most famous stories, thus making new inroads in to the understanding of Borges's work; and it introduces readers to recent figurative Argentinean and Cuban art, two of the most vibrant artistic currents today. The book breaks new ground because, although the artistic interpretation of literature is nothing new in the history of art, the philosophical exploration of how artists have interpreted literature is a topic that has been largely ignored.