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The Animal That Therefore I Am

Jacques Derrida

The Animal That Therefore I Am is the long-awaited translation of the complete text of Jacques Derrida's ten-hour address to the 1997 Crisy conference entitled The Autobiographical Animal,the third of four such colloquia on his work. The book was assembled posthumously on the basis of two published sections, one written and recorded session, and one informal recorded session.The book is at once an affectionate look back over the multiple roles played by animals in Derrida's work and a profound philosophical investigation and critique of the relegation of animal life that takes place as a result of the distinction-dating from Descartes-between man as thinking animal and every other living species. That starts with the very fact of the line of separation drawn between the human and the millions of other species that are reduced to a single the animal.Derrida finds that distinction, or versions of it, surfacing in thinkers as far apart as Descartes, Kant, Heidegger, Lacan, and Levinas, and he dedicates extended analyses tothe question in the work of each of them.The book's autobiographical theme intersects with its philosophical analysis through the figures of looking and nakedness, staged in terms of Derrida's experience when his cat follows him into the bathroom in the morning. In a classic deconstructive reversal, Derrida asks what this animal sees and thinks when it sees this naked man. Yet the experiences of nakedness and shame also lead all the way back into the mythologies of man's dominion over the beastsand trace a history of how man has systematically displaced onto the animal his own failings or btises. The Animal That Therefore I Am is at times a militant plea and indictment regarding, especially, the modern industrialized treatment of animals. However, Derrida cannot subscribe to a simplistic version of animal rights that fails to follow through, in all its implications, the questions and definitions of lifeto which he returned in much of his later work.

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Anorexia and Mimetic Desire

René Girard

René Girard shows that all desires are contagious—and the desire to be thin is no exception. In this compelling new book, Girard ties the anorexia epidemic to what he calls mimetic desire: a desire imitated from a model. Girard has long argued that, far from being spontaneous, our most intimate desires are copied from what we see around us. In a culture obsessed with thinness, the rise of eating disorders should be no surprise. When everyone is trying to slim down, Girard asks, how can we convince anorexic patients to have a healthy outlook on eating? Mixing theoretical sophistication with irreverent common sense, Girard denounces a “culture of anorexia” and takes apart the competitive impulse that fuels the game of conspicuous non-consumption. He shows that showing off a slim physique is not enough—the real aim is to be skinnier than one’s rivals. In the race to lose the most weight, the winners are bound to be thinner and thinner. Taken to extremes, this tendency to escalation can only lead to tragic results. Featuring a foreword by neuropsychiatrist Jean-Michel Oughourlian and an introductory essay by anthropologist Mark R. Anspach, the volume concludes with an illuminating conversation between René Girard, Mark R. Anspach, and Laurence Tacou.

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Anselm of Canterbury and the Desire for the Word

Eileen C. Sweeney

Sweeney's study offers a comprehensive picture of Anselm's thought and its development, from the early, intimate, monastically based meditations to the later, public, proto-scholastic disputations

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Anthology of Kokugaku Scholars

1690 to 1868

by John R. Bentley

Kokugaku “national study” is an academic field of study that spans a number of disciplines, including philology, poetry, literature, linguistics, history, religion, and philosophy. It began as a movement to recapture a sense of Japanese uniqueness, by focusing on Japanese poetic and linguistic elements found in the earliest surviving texts. As the movement grew, there was an attempt to separate native religious elements from Buddhist elements. This expanded to a vigorous attempt to weed out Confucian (and by extension anything “Chinese”) elements from native elements. This began as an investigation into the earliest anthology, Man’yōshū, which some Kokugaku scholars argued preserved a pristine picture of the “true heart” of the ancients. Kokugaku matured under the tutelage of Kamo no Mabuchi and Motoori Norinaga, and expanded to include literary, linguistic, and historical analysis. With the death of Norinaga the philosophy of the movement fractured, and under Hirata native religious elements were amplified, with an advance toward nationalism. This anthology contains 26 essays by 13 influential Kokugaku scholars, covering roughly two centuries of thought, from 1690 down to the beginning of the Meiji Restoration in 1868. The volume is arranged according to four subjects: poetry, literature, scholarship, and religion/Japan (as a state).

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Anthropocene Feminism

Richard Grusin

What does feminism have to say to the Anthropocene? How does the concept of the Anthropocene impact feminism? This book is a daring and provocative response to the masculinist and techno-normative approach to the Anthropocene so often taken by technoscientists, artists, humanists, and social scientists. By coining and, for the first time, fully exploring the concept of “anthropocene feminism,” it highlights the alternatives feminism and queer theory can offer for thinking about the Anthropocene. 

Feminist theory has long been concerned with the anthropogenic impact of humans, particularly men, on nature. Consequently, the contributors to this volume explore not only what current interest in the Anthropocene might mean for feminism but also what it is that feminist theory can contribute to technoscientific understandings of the Anthropocene. With essays from prominent environmental and feminist scholars on topics ranging from Hawaiian poetry to Foucault to shelled creatures to hypomodernity to posthuman feminism, this book highlights both why we need an anthropocene feminism and why thinking about the Anthropocene must come from feminism. 

Contributors: Stacy Alaimo, U of Texas at Arlington; Rosi Braidotti, Utrecht U; Joshua Clover, U of California, Davis; Claire Colebrook, Pennsylvania State U; Dehlia Hannah, Arizona State U; Myra J. Hird, Queen’s U; Lynne Huffer, Emory U; Natalie Jeremijenko, New York U; Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Columbia U; Jill S. Schneiderman, Vassar College; Juliana Spahr, Mills College; Alexander Zahara, Queen’s U.

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The Anticipatory Corpse

Medicine, Power, and the Care of the Dying

Jeffrey P. Bishop

In this original and compelling book, Jeffrey P. Bishop, a philosopher, ethicist, and physician, argues that something has gone sadly amiss in the care of the dying by contemporary medicine and in our social and political views of death, as shaped by our scientific successes and ongoing debates about euthanasia and the “right to die”—or to live. The Anticipatory Corpse: Medicine, Power, and the Care of the Dying, informed by Foucault’s genealogy of medicine and power as well as by a thorough grasp of current medical practices and medical ethics, argues that a view of people as machines in motion—people as, in effect, temporarily animated corpses with interchangeable parts—has become epistemologically normative for medicine. The dead body is subtly anticipated in our practices of exercising control over the suffering person, whether through technological mastery in the intensive care unit or through the impersonal, quasi-scientific assessments of psychological and spiritual “medicine.”

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Antifoundationalism

"[The book] illuminate[s] the philosophical urge to attain certainty and system, and especially system that is based on certain and indubitable ground. The historical approach works well.... This collection makes no pretensions, yet manages to deliver important contributions to the continuing inquiry." —John Lachs, Vanderbilt University The debate over foundationalism, the viewpoint that there exists some secure foundation upon which to build a system of knowledge, appears to have been resolved and the antifoundationalists have at least temporarily prevailed. From a firmly historical approach, the book traces the foundationalism/antifoundationalism controversy in the work of many important figures—Animaxander, Aristotle and Plato, Augustine, Descartes, Hegel and Nietzsche, Habermas and Chisholm, and others—throughout the history of philosophy. The contributors, Joseph Margolis, Ronald Polansky, Gary Calore, Fred and Emily Michael, William Wurzer, Charlene Haddock Siegfried, Sandra B. Rosenthal, Kathleen Wallace, and the editors present well the diversity, interest, and roots of antifoundationalism.

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Antiques

The History of an Idea

by Leon Rosenstein

The notion of retrieving a bit of the past-by owning a material piece of it-has always appealed to humans. Often our most prized possessions are those that have had a long history before they came into our hands. Part of the pleasure we gain from the encounter with antiques stems from the palpable age and the assumed (sometimes imaginary) cultural resonances of the particular object. But precisely what is it about these objects that creates this attraction? What common characteristics do they share and why and how do these traits affect us as they do?

In Antiques: The History of an Idea, Leon Rosenstein, a distinguished philosopher who has also been an antiques dealer for more than twenty years, offers a sweeping and lively account of the origin and development of the antique as both a cultural concept and an aesthetic category. He shows that the appeal of antiques is multifaceted: it concerns their value as commodities, their age and historical and cultural associations, their uniqueness, their sensuous and tactile values, their beauty. Exploring how the idea of antiques evolved over time, Rosenstein chronicles the history of antique collecting and connoisseurship. He describes changing conceptions of the past in different epochs as evidenced by preservations, restorations, and renascences; examines shifting attitudes toward foreign cultures as revealed in stylistic borrowings and the importation of artifacts; and investigates varying understandings of and meanings assigned to their traits and functions as historical objects.

While relying on the past for his evidence, Rosenstein approaches antiques from an entirely original perspective, setting history within a philosophical framework. He begins by providing a working definition of antiques that distinguishes them from other artifacts in general and, more distinctly, both from works of fine art and from the collectible detritus of popular culture. He then establishes a novel set of criteria for determining when an artifact is an antique: ten traits that an object must possess in order to elicit the aesthetic response that is unique to antiques. Concluding with a provocative discussion of the relation between antiques and civilization, this engaging and thought-provoking book helps explain the enduring appeal of owning a piece of the past.

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Apocalypses in Context

Apocalyptic Currents through History

edited by Kelly J. Murphy and Justin Jeffcoat Schedtler

Apocalypses in Context is designed for just such a classroom, bringing together the insights of scholars in various fields and using different methods to discuss the manifestations of apocalyptic enthusiasm in different ages (Part I: Ancient Apocalyptic Literature; Part II: Apocalypticism through the Ages; Part III: Apocalypticism in the Contemporary World). This approach enables the instructor to make connections and students to recognize continuities and contrasts across history. Apocalypses in Context features illustrations, graphs, study questions, and suggestions for further reading after each chapter, as well as recommended media and artwork to support the college classroom.

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The Apologetics of Evil

The Case of Iago

Richard Raatzsch

This book is a concise philosophical meditation on Iago and the nature of evil, through the exploration of the enduring puzzle found in Shakespeare's Othello. What drives Iago to orchestrate Othello's downfall? Instead of treating Iago's lack of motive as the play's greatest weakness, The Apologetics of Evil shows how this absence of motive is the play's greatest strength. Richard Raatzsch determines that Iago does not seek a particular end or revenge for a discrete wrong; instead, Iago is governed by a passion for intriguing in itself. Raatzsch explains that this passion is a pathological version of ordinary human behavior and that Iago lacks the ability to acknowledge others; what matters most to him is the difference between himself and the rest of the world.

The book opens with a portrait of Iago, and considers the nature and moral significance of the evil that he represents. Raatzsch addresses the boundaries dividing normality and pathology, conceptualizing evil as a pathological form of the good or ordinary. Seen this way, evil is conceptually dependent on the ordinary, and Iago, as a form of moral monster, is a kind of nonbeing. Therefore, his actions might be understood and defended, even if they cannot be justified. In a brief epilogue, Raatzsch argues that literature's presentation of what is monstrous or virtuous can constitute an understanding of these concepts, not merely illustrate them.

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