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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.
Toward a New Concept of Life
The Implications of Immanence develops a philosophy of life in opposition to the notion of bio-power,which reduces the human to the question of power over what Giorgio Agamben terms bare life,mere biological existence. Breaking with all biologism or vitalism, Lawlor attends to the dispersion of death at the heart of life, in the minuscule hiatusthat divides the living present, separating lived experience from the living body and, crucially for phenomenology, inserting a blind spot into a visual field.Lawlor charts here a post-phenomenological French philosophy. What lies beyond phenomenologyis life-ism,the positive working out of the effects of the minuscule hiatusin a thinking that takes place on a plane of immanence,whose implications cannot be predicted. Life-ism means thinking life and death together, thinking death as dispersed throughout life. In carefully argued and extensively documented chapters, Lawlor sets out the surpassing of phenomenology and the advent of life-ism in Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, and Foucault, with careful attention to the writings by Husserl and Heidegger to which these thinkers refer.A philosophy of life has direct implications for present-day political and medical issues. The book takes its point of departure from the current genocide in Darfur and provides conceptual tools for intervening in such issues as the AIDS epidemic and life-support for the infirm. Indeed, the investigations contained in The Implications of Immanence are designed to help us emerge once and for all out of the epoch of bio-power.Lawlor's novel way of treating the concept of life is stimulating, original, and necessary for the social well being of our time.-Fred Evans, Duquesne UniversityThe Implications of Immanence continues the most promising, rigorous, and fruitful ongoing research project among scholars of twentieth-century philosophy. . . .A wonderful new book.-John Protevi, Louisiana State University
The Earth, Animals, and the Body in Heidegger's Thought
The Incarnality of Being addresses Martin Heidegger’s tendency to neglect the problem of the body, an omission that is further reflected in the field of Heidegger scholarship. By addressing the corporeal dimension of human existence, author Frank Schalow uncovers Heidegger’s concern for the materiality of the world. This allows for the ecological implications of Heidegger’s thought to emerge, specifically, the kinship between humans and animals and the mutual interest each has for preserving the environment and the earth. By advancing the theme of the “incarnality of being,” Schalow brings Heidegger’s thinking to bear on various provocative questions concerning contemporary philosophy: sexuality, the intersection of human and animal life, the precarious future of the earth we inhabit, and the significance that reclaiming our embodiment has upon ethics and politics.
The Lessons of Hegel's Science of Experience
Infinite Phenomenology builds on John Russon’s earlier book, Reading Hegel’s Phenomenology, to offer a second reading of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. Here again, Russon writes in a lucid, engaging style and, through careful attention to the text and a subtle attunement to the existential questions that haunt human life, he demonstrates how powerfully Hegel’s philosophy can speak to the basic questions of philosophy. In addition to original studies of all the major sections of the Phenomenology, Russon discusses complementary texts by Hegel, namely, the Philosophy of Spirit, the Philosophy of Right, and the Science of Logic. He concludes with an appendix that discusses the reception and appropriation of Hegel’s Phenomenology in twentieth-century French philosophy. As with Russon’s earlier work, Infinite Phenomenology will remain essential reading for those looking to engage Hegel’s essential, yet difficult, text.
Phenomenology and the Pittsburgh Neo-Hegelians
World-renowned analytic philosophers John McDowell and Robert Brandom, dubbed “Pittsburgh Neo-Hegelians,” recently engaged in an intriguing debate about perception. In The Intentional Spectrum and Intersubjectivity Michael D. Barber is the first to bring phenomenology to bear not just on the perspectives of McDowell or Brandom alone, but on their intersection. He argues that McDowell accounts better for the intelligibility of empirical content by defending holistically functioning, reflectively distinguishable sensory and intellectual intentional structures. He reconstructs dimensions implicit in the perception debate, favoring Brandom on knowledge’s intersubjective features that converge with the ethical characteristics of intersubjectivity Emmanuel Levinas illuminates.
Jean-Luc Marion, Saturated Phenomena, and Hermeneutics
JJean-Luc Marion's theory of saturated phenomena is one of the most exciting developments in phenomenology in recent decades. It opens up new possibilities for understanding phenomena by beginning from rich and complex examples such as revelation and works of art. Rather than being curiosities or exceptions, these excessiveor saturatedphenomena are, in Marion's view, paradigms. He understands more straightforward phenomena, such as the objects of the natural sciences, as reduced and impoverished versions of the excess given in saturated phenomena.Interpreting Excess is a systematic and comprehensive study of Marion's texts on saturated phenomena and their place in his wider phenomenology of givenness, tracing both his theory and his examples across a wide range of texts spanning three decades.The author argues that a rich hermeneutics is implicit in Marion's examples of saturated phenomena but is not set out in his theory. This hermeneutics makes clear that attempts to overthrow the much-criticized sovereignty of the Cartesian ego will remain unsuccessful if they simply reverse the subject-object relation by speaking of phenomena imposing themselves with an overwhelming givenness on a recipient. Instead, phenomena should be understood as appearing in a hermeneutic space already opened by a subject's active reception. Thus, a phenomenon's appearing depends not only on its givenness but also on the way it is interpreted by the receiving subject. All phenomenology is, therefore, necessarily hermeneutic.Interpreting Excess provides an indispensable guide for any study of Marion's saturated phenomena. It is also a significant contribution to ongoing debates about philosophical ways of thinking about God, the relation between hermeneutics and phenomenology, and philosophy after the subject.