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A Route to Hermeneutics and Open Poetics
This ambitious work provides a systematic study of Chinese theories of reading and writing in intellectual thought and critical practice. The author maintains that there are two major hermeneutic traditions in Chinese literature: the politico-moralistic mainstream and the metaphysico-aesthetical undercurrent. In exploring the interaction between the two, Ming Dong Gu finds a movement toward interpretive openness. In this, the Chinese practice anticipates modern and Western theories of interpretation, especially literary openness and open poetics. Classic Chinese works are examined, including the Zhouyi (the I Ching or Book of Changes), the Shijing (the Book of Songs or Book of Poetry), and selected poetry, along with the philosophical background of the hermeneutic theories. Ultimately, Gu relates the Chinese practices of reading to Western hermeneutics, offering a cross-cultural conceptual model for the comparative study of reading and writing in general.
A Positive Theory of Political Behavior
Rational choice theory has become the basis for much of the recent work done in political science. Yet explanations of many political phenomena elude rational choice theorists. Robert Grafstein offers a modification to rational choice theory that extends its ability to explain social behavior. Grafstein argues that, instead of basing the analysis on the assumption that an actor will maximise her expected utility or her utility given the probability that the event will happen, we should define rationality as the maximisation of expected utility conditional on the probability that her act will bring the event about. This definition of utility, based on the work of Richard Jeffrey, restores the consequences of an individual's act to rational choice analysis. For example, in making a decision to vote, a conditional expected utility maximiser will compare the likelihood of victory for her preferred candidate given her own participation with the likelihood of a victory given her abstention. The author shows the theoretical implications of this new definition of rationality and then uses it to explain certain aspects of ethnic identity and mobilization, ideology, and altruism and intertemporal choice. He then explores the implications of this idea for policy analysis and econometrics. This book will provoke a debate about how work based in rational choice theories is done. Robert Grafstein is Professor of Political Science, University of Georgia.
On Beginning in Plato's Timaeus
"This excellent work... deserves the serious consideration of all who are interested in contemporary philosophy as well as those who concern themselves with ancient philosophy, especially Plato." -- Review of Metaphysics
In Chorology, John Sallis takes up one of the most enigmatic discourses
in the history of philosophy. Plato's discourse on the chora -- the chorology -- forms the pivotal moment in the Timaeus. The implications of the chorology are momentous and communicate with many of the most decisive issues in contemporary philosophical discussions.
Within the familiar clash of religious conservatism and secular liberalism Paul Maltby finds a deeper discord: an antipathy between Christian fundamentalism and the postmodern culture of disenchantment. Arguing that each camp represents the poles of America's virulent culture wars, he shows how the cultural identity, lifestyle, and political commitments of many Americans match either the fundamentalist profile of one who cleaves to metaphysical and authoritarian beliefs or the postmodern profile of one who is disposed to critical inquiry and radical-democratic values.
Maltby offers a critique that operates in both directions. His use of the resources of postmodern theory to contest fundamentalism's doctrinal claims, ultra-right politics, anti-environmentalism, and conservative aesthetics informs his engagement with contemporary fundamentalist painting, spiritual warfare fiction, dominionist attitudes to nature, and a profoundly undemocratic interpretation of Christianity. At the same time, Maltby identifies some of fundamentalism’s legitimate spiritual concerns, assesses the cost of perpetual critique, and exposes the deficit of spiritual meaning that haunts the culture of disenchantment.
Classical Themes and Modern Developments
What is secularity? Might it yield or define a distinctive form of reasoning? If so, would that form of reasoning belong essentially to our modern age, or would it instead have a considerably older lineage? And what might be the relation of that form of reasoning, whatever its lineage, to the Christian thinking that is often said to oppose it? In the present volume, these and related questions are addressed by a distinguished group of scholars working primarily within the Roman Catholic theological tradition and from the perspectives of Continental philosophy. As a whole, the volume constitutes a conversation among thinkers who agree in their concerns but not necessarily their conclusions. Taken individually, each essay concentrates on a range of historical developments with close attention to their intellectual and sometimes pedagogical implications. Secular reason, they argue, is neither the antipode of Christian thought nor a stable and well-resolved component of it. Christian thinking may engage with secular reason as the site of profound difficulties, but on occasion will also learn from it as a source of new insight.
Cicero’s Practical Philosophy marks a revival over the last two generations of serious scholarly interest in Cicero’s political thought. Its nine original essays by a multidisciplinary group of distinguished international scholars manifest close study of Cicero’s philosophical writings and great appreciation for him as a creative thinker, one from whom we can continue to learn. This collection focuses initially on Cicero’s major work of political theory, his De Re Publica, and the key moral virtues that shape his ethics, but the contributors attend to all of Cicero’s primary writings on political community, law, the ultimate good, and moral duties. Room is also made for Cicero’s extensive writings on the art of rhetoric, which he explicitly draws into the orbit of his philosophical writings. Cicero’s concern with the divine, with epistemological issues, and with competing analyses of the human soul are among the matters necessarily encountered in pursuing, with Cicero, the large questions of moral and political philosophy, namely, what is the good and genuinely happy life and how are our communities to be rightly ordered.
The Crisis of Prophetic Black Politics
Within the discipline of American political science and the field of political theory, African American prophetic political critique as a form of political theorizing has been largely neglected. Stephen Marshall, in The City on the Hill from Below, interrogates the political thought of David Walker, Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. DuBois, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison to reveal a vital tradition of American political theorizing and engagement with an American political imaginary forged by the City on the Hill.
Originally articulated to describe colonial settlement, state formation, and national consolidation, the image of the City on the Hill has been transformed into one richly suited to assessing and transforming American political evil. The City on the Hill from Below shows how African American political thinkers appropriated and revised languages of biblical prophecy and American republicanism.
Philosophy in the Narratives of Maurice Blanchot
Maurice Blanchot is perhaps best known as a major French intellectual of the twentieth century: the man who countered Sartre’s views on literature, who affirmed the work of Sade and Lautréamont, who gave eloquent voice to the generation of ’68, and whose philosophical and literary work influenced the writing of, among others, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, and Michel Foucault. He is also regarded as one of the most acute narrative writers in France since Marcel Proust. In Clandestine Encounters, Kevin Hart has gathered together major literary critics in Britain, France, and the United States to engage with Blanchot’s immense, fascinating, and difficult body of creative work. Hart’s substantial introduction usefully places Blanchot as a significant contributor to the tradition of the French philosophical novel, beginning with Voltaire’s Candide in 1759, and best known through the works of Sartre. Clandestine Encounters considers a selection of Blanchot’s narrative writings over the course of almost sixty years, from stories written in the mid-1930s to L’instant de ma mort (1994). Collectively, the contributors’ close readings of Blanchot’s novels, récits, and stories illuminate the close relationship between philosophy and narrative in his work while underscoring the variety and complexity of these narratives.
or, On Nature's Connection to the Spirit World
This is the first English translation of Schelling’s novel, most likely written after the death of his first wife, Caroline, the former wife of August Wilhelm Schlegel. Although only a fragment, Clara remains unique. Part novella, part philosophical tome, its central theme is the connection between this world and the next. Schelling masterfully weaves together his knowledge of animal magnetism, literary techniques, and his doctrine of the potencies to make his philosophy accessible to all. Steinkamp addresses the main issues concerning the dating of the work—many commentators have deemed Clara to be a sketch for Schelling’s The Ages of the World or an outline for the third, missing book of that work—and provides a short biography of Schelling with particular emphasis on events claimed to play a role in the conception of Clara, such as the deaths of both Caroline and her daughter, Auguste. She also shows how passages in Clara are strikingly similar to the content of Schelling’s touching letters mourning Caroline, written to Pauline, the daughter of Caroline’s best friend and the woman who would become his second wife. Clara, strongly influenced by the Romantic movement, is an early illustration of Schelling’s attempt to unite his positive and negative philosophy.
Critical scholarly edition of J. G. Fichte’s Closed Commercial State. Appearing for the first time in a complete English translation, The Closed Commercial State represents the most sustained attempt of J. G. Fichte, the famed author of The Doctrine of Science, to apply idealistic philosophy to political economy. In the accompanying interpretive essay, Anthony Curtis Adler challenges the conventional scholarly view of The Closed Commercial State as a curious footnote to Fichte’s thought. The Closed Commercial State, which Fichte himself regarded as his “best, most thought-through work,” not only attests to a life-long interest in economics, but is of critical importance to his entire philosophical project. Carefully unpacking the philosophical nuances of Fichte’s argument and its complex relationship to other texts in his oeuvre, Adler argues that The Closed Commercial State presents an understanding of the nature of history, and the relation of history to politics, that differs significantly from the teleological notions of history advanced by Schelling and later Hegel. This critical scholarly edition includes a German-English glossary, annotations, and page references to both major German editions.