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Philosophical and Literary Sightings of the Unseen
In spite of the injunction of philosophy to “know oneself,” we realize that we often act from motives that are obscure; we realize that we often do not fully understand how we feel or react. In short, we understand ourselves as not completely knowable. In attempting to know ourselves, we recognize that some aspects of ourselves—not unlike when we try to know others—are hidden from us. In Hiddenness and Alterity, Mensch seeks to define how the hidden shows itself. In pursuing this issue, Mensch also raises a parallel one regarding the nature and origin of our self-concealment. In developing the theme of the exceeding quality of selfhood, in which part of our self is truly “other,” Mensch presents a unified theory of alterity. He examines how our acknowledgment (and suppression) of the other shapes our thought in ethics, politics, epistemology and theology. Further, he demonstrates such “sightings of the unseen” through original readings of the major figures of the phenomenological movement: Husserl, Levinas, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, Nietzsche, Lacan and Fackenheim. He draws further on works by Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad to examine the inherent alterity of our flesh and its implications for the ways in which we relate to the world around us.
Historicizing Theory provides the first serious examination of contemporary theory in relation to the various twentieth-century historical and political contexts out of which it emerged. Theory—a broad category that is often used to encompass theoretical approaches as varied as deconstruction, New Historicism, and postcolonialism—has often been derided as a mere “relic” of the 1960s. In order to move beyond such a simplistic assessment, the essays in this volume examine such important figures as Harold Bloom, Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Stephen Greenblatt, and Edward Said, situating their work in a variety of contexts inside and outside of the 1960s, including World War II, the Holocaust, the Algerian civil war, and the canon wars of the 1980s. In bringing us face-to-face with the history of theory, Historicizing Theory recuperates history for theory and asks us to confront some of the central issues and problems in literary studies today.
The History of Beyng belongs to a series of Martin Heidegger's reflections from the 1930s that concern how to think about being not merely as a series of occurrences, but as essentially historical or fundamentally as an event. Beginning with Contributions to Philosophy (Of the Event), these texts are important for their meditations on the oblivion and abandonment of being, politics, and race, and for their incisive critique of power, force, and violence. Originally published in 1998 as volume 69 of Heidegger's Complete Works, this English translation opens new avenues for understanding the trajectory of Heidegger's thinking during this crucial time.
Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) is one of the previous century's most important thinkers. Often regarded as the "Father of phenomenology," this collection of essays reveals that he is indeed much more than that. The breadth of Husserl's thought is considerable and much remains unexplored. An underlying theme of this volume is that Husserl is constantly returning to origins, revising his thought in the light of new knowledge offered by the sciences.
Paths Toward Trancendental Phenomenology
In a penetrating and lucid discussion of the enigmatic relationship between the work of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, Steven Galt Crowell proposes that the distinguishing feature of twentieth century philosophy is not so much its emphasis on language as its concern with meaning. Arguing that transcendental phenomenology is indispensable to the philosophical explanation of the space of meaning, Crowell shows how a proper understanding of both Husserl and Heidegger reveals the distinctive contributions of each to that ongoing phenomenological project.
Husserl's Missing Technologies looks at the early-twentieth-century "classical" phenomenology of Edmund Husserl, both in the light of the philosophy of science of his time, and retrospectively at his philosophy from a contemporary "postphenomenology." Of central interest are his infrequent comments upon technologies and especially scientific instruments such as the telescope and microscope. Together with his analysis of Husserl, Don Ihde ventures through the recent history of technologies of science, reading and writing, and science praxis, calling for modifications to phenomenology by converging it with pragmatism. This fruitful hybridization emphasizes human-technology interrelationships, the role of embodiment and bodily skills, and the inherent multistability of technologies. In a radical argument, Ihde contends that philosophies, in the same way that various technologies contain an ever-shortening obsolescence, ought to have contingent use-lives.
The year 2011 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Emmanuel Levinas’s Totality and Infinity, which now stands as one of the classic texts of the second half of the twentieth century. At this anniversary, this collection of essays suggests that a revitalized understanding of the text is needed. While readers can easily fall into routine readings and discussions of this originally provocative—even intoxicating—text, Totality and Infinity at 50 invites students of Levinas to explore new avenues into the work by charting a map of Levinas scholarship for the next 50 years. From the problem of the other, the emphasis of ethics as first philosophy, the text’s theological implications, and the focus on the role of the feminine, Totality and Infinity has been the subject of a wide range of interpretations and scholarly interests since its publication. While these various emphases have contributed to a greater understanding of Levinas’s philosophy, they can also have the cumulative effect of leading us to believe that all of the different options have been explored. In contrast, this volume argues that there is still more to be said about this seminal book, inspiring readers to look beyond routine readings and worn themes of Totality and Infinity. As a result, these Levinas scholars provide essays that offer a fresh account of the argument and purpose of Totality and Infinity; draw parallels between Levinas and other thinkers including Marx, Stanley Cavell, and Édouard Glissant; consider Levinas’s relationship to other disciplines such as nursing, psychotherapy, and law; and bring this seminal text to bear on specific, concrete issues of present-day concern. With this focus, Totality and Infinity at 50 envisions a renewed and newly invigorated relationship with Totality and Infinity, so that Levinas’s philosophy might remain a vital companion to us in the next half-century.
Kant's Theory of Sensibility
Angelica Nuzzo offers a comprehensive reconstruction of Kant's theory of sensibility in his three Critiques. By introducing the notion of "transcendental embodiment," Nuzzo proposes a new understanding of Kant's views on science, nature, morality, and art. She shows that the issue of human embodiment is coherently addressed and key to comprehending vexing issues in Kant's work as a whole. In this penetrating book, Nuzzo enters new terrain and takes on questions Kant struggled with: How does a body that feels pleasure and pain, desire, anger, and fear understand and experience reason and strive toward knowledge? What grounds the body's experience of art and beauty? What kind of feeling is the feeling of being alive? As she comes to grips with answers, Nuzzo goes beyond Kant to revise our view of embodiment and the essential conditions that make human experience possible.
With particular focus on imagination, Bernard Freydberg presents a close reading of Kant's second critique, The Critique of Practical Reason. In an interpretation that is daring as well as rigorous, Freydberg reveals imagination as both its central force and the bridge that links Kant's three critiques. Freydberg's reading offers a powerful challenge to the widespread view that Kant's ethics calls for rigid, self-denying obedience. Here, to the contrary, the search for self-fulfillment becomes an enormously creative endeavor once imagination is understood as the heart of Kantian ethics. Seasoned scholars and newer students will find a surprising and provocative view of Kant's ethics in this straightforward and accessible book.
Metapsychology and the Analytic A Posteriori
Andrew Cutrofello's book performs a psychoanalytic inversion of transcendental philosophy, taking Kant's synthetic a prior judgments and reading them in terms of a foreclosed Kantian category that of the analytic a posteriori. Working primarily out of Freudian and Lacanian problematics, Cutrofello not only subjects Kantian thought to psychoanalytic questioning, but also develops a systematic critique of metapsychology itself, disclosing and assessing its own paralogisms, antinomies, ideal, and ethics. This is a provocative reflection on the tensions between the Enlightenment project of critique and psychoanalytic theory.