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Merleau-Ponty's Philosophy of Imagination
Imagining Bodies demonstrates how Merleau-Ponty’s understanding of the body has broad implications for philosophy, aesthetics and the social sciences. By examining Merleau-Ponty’s analysis of the body as a dialectic of habituation and creativity, Steeves unveils a deeper relation between self and world that is mediated by images of embodiment. Imagining Bodies is a testament to the importance of the body and the imagination in our perception of reality at a time when the philosophy of the body is associated with metaphysical presence.
The book also amends traditional theories of imagination by suggesting a new approach to determining what it is and how it functions. The imagination is not only extended beyond the realm of fanciful thinking but is restored as being essentially spatial and embodied; there is a primacy of the imaginary within perceptual experience. Further, Steeves demonstrates a stronger connection between Merleau-Ponty’s early works on the body and perception and his later works on aesthetic and social theory and on the ontology of the ‘flesh.’ He also provides a fresh and concrete interpretation of the later philosophy, and explains in what ways the imagining body relates to Being and to the natural environment. Finally, Steeves answers to recent criticisms of Merleau-Ponty’s work from postmodernism, deconstructionism, and feminism, paving the way toward a new understanding of perception and ontology.
A Theoretical Base for Eclectic Practice
Responding to what he perceives as the ever-increasing medicalization of psychotherapy in recent decades, whereby clients are seen as mostly passive recipients of services, Alphons J. Richert offers therapists a collaborative theory that reasserts the importance of a client-centered approach to therapy. To be most useful to the client, he maintains, therapists must not be entirely tied to a particular school or approach, but must have a guiding framework that enables them to work flexibly, engaging in different activities at different times and with different clients, but always with a clear understanding of why they are doing so.
Rooted in a primarily constructivist framework, Richert sets out to develop an approach that uses both existential and narrative thinking regarding the process of change. After each of these approaches — including the similarities and major differences between them — are outlined, a more integrative method can be described, as Richert focuses on the interplay of bodily, lived experience and socially constructed meaning in the creation of the person’s self and world. A client is best served, he argues, when the therapist attends carefully to such meaning-making processes, and a creative synthesis of existential and narrative approaches grants particular emphasis to the human process of meaning-making on both these internal and interpersonal levels.
As a scholar and a practitioner, Richert also discusses the implications of this integrative position for the actual practice of therapy. Acknowledging the variety of needs, difficulties, and complex cases therapists must often address, this approach offers a systematic and purposeful approach to psychotherapy that simultaneously equips the therapist to adapt to the constantly developing therapeutic enterprise and to flexibly engage different clients with a diverse assortment of activities, interventions, and methods of treatment. Integrating Existential and Narrative Therapy will be of special interest to scholars and clinical psychologists who pursue either of these approaches to psychotherapy, as well as to those who seek to enhance a variety of other methodologies.
Levinas and Infinite Responsibility
“The essential theme of my research is the deformalization of the notion of time,” asserted Emmanuel Levinas in a 1988 interview, as he approached the end of his long philosophical career. But while the notion of time is fundamental to the development of every key theme in Levinas’s thought — the idea of the infinite, the issue of the alterity of the other, the face of the other, the question of our ethical relations with other people, the role of fecundity, speech and language, and radical responsibility — his view of time remains obscure. Yael Lin’s exhaustive look at Levinas’s primary texts, both his philosophical writings and his writings on Judaism, brings together his various perspectives on time. Lin concludes that we can, indeed, extract a coherent and consistent conception of time from Levinas’s thought, one that is distinctly political. First situating Levinas’s views against the background of two of his most influential predecessors, Henri Bergson and Martin Heidegger, The Intersubjectivity of Time demonstrates that Levinas’s interpretation of time seeks to fill a void created by the egological views those thinkers emphasized. For Levinas, time is neither considered from the perspective of the individual nor is it a public dimension belonging to everyone, but it occurs in the encounter between the self and the other person, and the infinite responsibility inherent in that relation. Yet Levinas himself is surprisingly vague as to how exactly this relation to the other person creates time’s structure or how it is experienced in our everyday lives, and he does not make an explicit move from this intersubjective ethical dimension to the broader collective-political dimension. Lin offers a unique perspective to address this crucial question of the political dimension of Levinas’s project. By turning to Levinas’s talmudic writings and examining aspects of Jewish life, traditions of communal prayer, and ritual, Lin sketches out a multivocal account of time, deepening Levinas’s original claim that time is constituted via social relationships. This imaginative and evocative discussion truly opens the subject to further research.
In a systematic and comprehensive manner, this book was the first to sketch out a full picture of the field of phenomenological psychology for those coming to it from other perspectives. The first chapter discusses the influence of the nineteenth century on psychology in general, after which Kruger characterizes aspects of behaviorism and depth psychology. The second chapter comprises a fluent review of the philosophical prehistory of phenomenological psychology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The third chapter deals with perception, memory, and imagination and provides a phenomenological interpretation of the unconscious. Chapter four introduces the reader to the field of phenomenological, empirical, and experimental research. Chapter five comprises a summary of the meaning of phenomenology for psychopathology and for psychotherapy. The last chapter provides the reader with a defense of the standpoint taken up by the phenomenologist, namely, that psychology concerns itself with interpersonal events—that is, never with intrapsychic ones.
An Annotated Bibliography of Modern Criticism, 1979-1995
This comprehensive bibliography covers a 17-year period (1979–1995) in John Donne studies and criticism. This third bibliography on Donne is a continuation of two bibliographies previously compiled by noted Donne scholar John R. Roberts, spanning the years 1912–1978. Included here are more than 1,600 entries of descriptive annotations wherein Roberts quotes extensively from each item in order to convey a sense of its approach and the level of its critical sophistication and complexity. Entries are organized chronologically, and within each year, alphabetically by author. The bibliography contains annotations on books, monographs, essays, editions, poetry, prose, and notes specifically on Donne published between 1979 and 1995; discussions of Donne that appear in studies not centrally concerned with him that add to our knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of his life and work; translations into foreign languages; and editions and translations of Donne's own works as well as criticism and interpretation of Donne. The informative and concise annotations provide not only a summary of content but also indicate the critical approaches and themes under discussion. Usability is enhanced by means of three detailed indexes (author, subject, and works mentioned in the annotations) and cross-references.
An Annotated Bibliography, 1989–1999
This comprehensive bibliography covers a ten-year period (1989-1999) in Milton studies and criticism, a period notable for both the quality and quantity of Milton scholarship produced, as well as for the many critical methodologies employed to examine and interpret Milton and his writings. This bibliography annotates over 2,400 works, surveying books, articles, collections, and dissertations, as well as editions and translations of Milton’s own works. This study also documents thousands of reviews of Milton scholarship from this period. The third and final volume of Calvin Huckabay’s celebrated series of Milton bibliographies of twentieth century Milton scholarship, this particular bibliography stands out for its unique combination of comprehensive coverage and exceptionally detailed and thorough annotations.
While influential works have been devoted to comparative studies of various Asian philosophies and continental philosophers such as Nietzsche, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Derrida, this collection is the first to fully treat the increased interest in intercultural and interdisciplinary studies related to the work of Emmanuel Levinas in such a context. Levinas and Asian Thought seeks to discover common ground between Levinas’s ethical project and various religious and philosophical traditions of Asia such as Mahāyāna Buddhism, Theravādic Buddhism, Vedism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Islam. In these 13 essays, contributors draw on resources as diverse as the self-sacrificial ethic of bushidō, Islamic jurisprudence, and contemporary research in cognitive science. The essays are organized around three primary themes of enduring ethical, political, and religious importance. The first set of essays considers a dialogue between Levinasian and Asian accounts of the self, others, and the intersubjective relationship. Through a conversation with a variety of non-Western traditions, the second group of essays addresses the question of Levinas’s extreme portrayal of the self’s responsibility to the other and its potential limits. Finally, the collection ends with essays that utilize Asian thought and culture to consider ways in which Levinas’s ethics of alterity might be put into practice in the sphere of politics, social norms, and institutions. Levinas and Asian Thought is not only a comprehensive attempt to bring Levinas into conversation with the philosophies of Asia, but it also represents a focused effort to recognize, address, and overcome Levinas’s own Eurocentrism. Overall, the thoughtful investigations collected here chart new territory, pushing Levinas’s practice of philosophy outside its familiar European and Jewish contexts, expanding our understanding of key Levinasian terms, thus furthering the thinking necessary for ethics as first philosophy. This volume will be of interest to a wide range of scholars and students, as it builds connections among Levinas studies, Asian philosophy, comparative philosophy, continental philosophy, and ethics.
Dialogue and Difference
Emmanuel Levinas and Martin Buber—considered by many the most important Jewish philosophers since the twelfth century sage Maimonides—knew each other as associates and friends. Yet although their dialogue was certainly instructive at times, and demonstrated the esteem in which Levinas held Buber, in particular, their relationship just as often exhibited a failure to communicate. This volume of essays is intended to resume the important dialogue between Levinas and Buber. Thirteen essays by a wide range of scholars do not attempt to assimilate the two philosophers’ respective views of each other, rather, these discussions provide an occasion to examine their genuine differences—differences that both Levinas and Buber agreed were required for genuine dialogue to begin.
The "Difficult Reading" of English and Rabbinic Texts
This collection of essays puts into dialogue the ethical philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas with a variety of English and rabbinic writings from the Middle Ages, when literature was regarded as ethical discourse, and reading itself, when rightly performed, was seen as a moral act.
Levinas and Medieval Literature takes the unique approach of connecting Christian allegory, talmudic hermeneutics, and Levinasian interpretation. Levinas’s philosophy illuminates what it means to classify medieval texts as profoundly ethical; and the medieval works, in their aurality, fragmentation, and layered narrative structures, provide a crucial context for understanding Levinas’s “difficult reading” and his underappreciated aesthetics.
These discussions draw inspiration from Levinas who, as a philosopher and talmudic commentator, continues premodern traditions in a postmodern key. In their view, Levinas’s “postmodern” method of reading, his ethical sensibilities, his very language, appear anachronistically medieval. At the same time, they discover that Levinas hyperbolically amplifies the themes with which medieval writings resonate: hospitality, onto(theo)logy, infinity, theodicy, Creation, eros, the maternal, the Face, substitution, and pardon. They find in medieval interpretive practices the very concerns with ethical reading that powerfully engaged Levinas.
Encountered dialogically, these mutual themes and concerns of the medievals and Levinas inform and transform our sense of intellectual history.