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The Helmholtz Curves

Tracing Lost Time

Henning Schmidgen, Translated by Nils F. Schott

This book reconstructs the emergence of the phenomenon of “lost time,” by engaging with two of the most significant time experts of the nineteenth century: the German physiologist Hermann von Helmholtz and the French writer Marcel Proust. _x000B__x000B_Its starting point is the archival discovery of curve images that Helmholtz produced in the context of pathbreaking experiments on the temporality of the nervous system in 1851. With a “frog drawing machine” Helmholtz established the temporal gap between stimulus and response that has remained a core issue in debates between neuroscientists and philosophers._x000B__x000B_When naming the recorded phenomena, Helmholtz introduced the term temps perdu, or lost time. Proust had excellent contacts with the biomedical world of late-nineteenth-century Paris, and he was familiar with this term and physiological tracing technologies behind it. Drawing on the machine philosophy of Deleuze, Schmidgen highlights the resemblance between the machinic assemblages and rhizomatic networks within which Helmholtz and Proust pursued their respective projects._x000B_

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Hiddenness and Alterity

Philosophical and Literary Sightings of the Unseen

By James Richard Mensch

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.

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Historicizing Theory

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.

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The History of Beyng

Translated by William McNeill and Jeffrey Powell. Martin Heidegger

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.

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Human Existence and Transcendence

Jean Wahl

William C. Hackett’s English translation of Jean Wahl’s Existence humaine et transcendence (1944) brings back to life an all-but-forgotten book that provocatively explores the philosophical concept of transcendence. Based on what Emmanuel Levinas called “Wahl’s famous lecture” from 1937, Existence humaine et transcendence captured a watershed moment of European philosophy. Included in the book are Wahl's remarkable original lecture and the debate that ensued, with significant contributions by Gabriel Marcel and Nicolai Berdyaev, as well as letters submitted on the occasion by Heidegger, Levinas, Jaspers, and other famous figures from that era. Concerned above all with the ineradicable felt value of human experience by which any philosophical thesis is measured, Wahl makes a daring clarification of the concept of transcendence and explores its repercussions through a masterly appeal to many (often surprising) places within the entire history of Western thought. Apart from its intrinsic philosophical significance as a discussion of the concepts of being, the absolute, and transcendence, Wahl's work is valuable insofar as it became a focal point for a great many other European intellectuals. Hackett has provided an annotated introduction to orient readers to this influential work of twentieth-century French philosophy and to one of its key figures.

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Husserl and the Sciences

Selected Perspectives

Richard Feist

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.

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Husserl, Heidegger, and the Space of Meaning

Paths Toward Trancendental Phenomenology

Steven Galt Crowell

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.

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Husserl's Missing Technologies

Don Ihde

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.

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Ideal Embodiment

Kant's Theory of Sensibility

Angelica Nuzzo

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.

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Imagination in Kant's Critique of Practical Reason

Bernard Freydberg

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.

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