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Essays on Beauvoir’s influences, contemporary engagements, and legacy in the philosophical tradition. Despite a deep familiarity with the philosophical tradition and despite the groundbreaking influence of her own work, Simone de Beauvoir never embraced the idea of herself as a philosopher. Her legacy is similarly complicated. She is acclaimed as a revolutionary thinker on issues of gender, age, and oppression, but although much has been written weighing the influence she and Jean-Paul Sartre had on one another, the extent and sophistication of her engagement with the Western tradition broadly goes mostly unnoticed. This volume turns the spotlight on exactly that, examining Beauvoir’s dialogue with her influences and contemporaries, as well as her impact on later thinkers—concluding with an autobiographical essay by bell hooks discussing the influence of Beauvoir’s philosophy and life on her own work and career. These innovative essays both broaden our understanding of Beauvoir and suggest new ways of understanding canonical figures through the lens of her work.
The Matter of the Medieval Child
Becoming Human argues that human identity was articulated and extended across a wide range of textual, visual, and artifactual assemblages from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries. J. Allan Mitchell shows how the formation of the child expresses a manifold and mutable style of being. To be human is to learn to dwell among a welter of things.
A searching and provocative historical inquiry into human becoming, the book presents a set of idiosyncratic essays on embryology and infancy, play and games, and manners, meals, and other messes. While it makes significant contributions to medieval scholarship on the body, family, and material culture, Becoming Human theorizes anew what might be called a medieval ecological imaginary. Mitchell examines a broad array of phenomenal objects—including medical diagrams, toy knights, tableware, conduct texts, dream visions, and scientific instruments—and in the process reanimates distinctly medieval ontologies.
In addressing the emergence of the human in the later Middle Ages, Mitchell identifies areas where humanity remains at risk. In illuminating the past, he shines fresh light on our present.
Dilemmas of a Philosopher and Naturalist
As one of America's "public intellectuals," John Dewey was engaged in a lifelong struggle to understand the human mind and the nature of human inquiry. According to Thomas C. Dalton, the successful pursuit of this mission demanded that Dewey become more than just a philosopher; it compelled him to become thoroughly familiar with the theories and methods of physics, psychology, and neurosciences, as well as become engaged in educational and social reform. Tapping archival sources and Dewey's extensive correspondence, Dalton reveals that Dewey had close personal and intellectual ties to scientists and scholars who helped form the mature expression of his thought. Dewey's relationships with F. M. Alexander, Henri Matisse, Niels Bohr, Myrtle McGraw, and Lawrence K. Frank, among others, show how Dewey dispersed pragmatism throughout American thought and culture.
Assessing Contemporary Virtue Ethics
Jonathan Sanford finds that despite the common origins of contemporary virtue ethics in Anscombe, the literature varies widely not just in its scope but in its basic commitments. What exactly is contemporary virtue ethics? In Before Virtue, Sanford develops strategies for describing contemporary virtue ethics accurately. He then assesses contemporary virtue approaches by the Anscombean dual standard which inspired them: the degree to which they avoid the pitfalls of modern moral philosophy and the extent to which they exemplify a successful recovery of an Aristotelian approach to ethics.
Interpretation of Anaximander and Parmenides
Volume 35 of Heidegger’s Complete Works comprises a lecture course given at the University of Freiburg in 1932, five years after the publication of Being and Time. During this period, Heidegger was at the height of his creative powers, which are on full display in this clear and imaginative text. In it, Heidegger leads his students in a close reading of two of the earliest philosophical source documents, fragments by Greek thinkers Anaximander and Parmenides. Heidegger develops their common theme of Being and non-being and shows that the question of Being is indeed the origin of Western philosophy. His engagement with these Greek texts is as much of a return to beginnings as it is a potential reawakening of philosophical wonder and inquiry in the present.
Psychopathy and Moral Incapacity
A Systematic Approach in Confrontation with Martin Heidegger, Émmanuel Lévinas, and Jean-Luc Marion
Being and God argues that defensible philosophical theorization concerning the topic “God” is both possible and necessary within the framework of an adequate systematic philosophy—which must include a theory of Being—but is not possible in the absence of such a framework.
In these lectures, delivered in 1933-1934 while he was Rector of the University of Freiburg and an active supporter of the National Socialist regime, Martin Heidegger addresses the history of metaphysics and the notion of truth from Heraclitus to Hegel. First published in German in 2001, these two lecture courses offer a sustained encounter with Heidegger's thinking during a period when he attempted to give expression to his highest ambitions for a philosophy engaged with politics and the world. While the lectures are strongly nationalistic and celebrate the revolutionary spirit of the time, they also attack theories of racial supremacy in an attempt to stake out a distinctively Heideggerian understanding of what it means to be a people. This careful translation offers valuable insight into Heidegger's views on language, truth, animality, and life, as well as his political thought and activity.
Ethics, Environment, and Our Place in the World
Being Human examines the complex connections among conceptions of human nature, attitudes toward non-human nature, and ethics. Anna Peterson proposes an "ethical anthropology" that examines how ideas of nature and humanity are bound together in ways that shape the very foundations of cultures. Peterson discusses mainstream Western understandings of what it means to be human, as well as alternatives to these perspectives, and suggests that the construction of a compelling, coherent environmental ethics will revise our ideas not only about nature but also about what it means to be human.