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Levinas, Ethics and the Practice of Psychology
This book is a systematic and broad-based attempt to bring to psychology the intriguing work of French phenomenologist, Emmanuel Levinas. Because contemporary psychology, in its adherence to the philosophical and methodological underpinnings of naturalistic science, too often abandons questions about morality and ethical obligation, Levinas’s writings about the experience of the face of the other person and the ethical obligation therein become particularly relevant. In ten original essays by distinguished scholars—some philosophers, some clinicians, and some academic psychologists—the potential and the experiential impact of Levinas’s work in the understanding of our fundamental human nature and the practice of psychotherapy are explored. Ultimately, the intention is to create a new discipline of psychology: namely, a “science of the ethical.”
A masterful survey, Psychotherapy as a Human Science provides a critical and clinical introduction to the core themes and influential thinkers that helped to shape contemporary human science approaches to psychotherapy. Daniel Burston and Roger Frie present an excellent and concise journey through the historical background that informs the development of psychotherapy, and then proceed to deal with many of the important facets of modern psychology and psychiatry from Dilthey and Husserl to the postmodern. Perennial issues in philosophy—the nature and scope of self, knowledge and self-deception, the roots of inner and interpersonal conflicts, the nature of love and reason, the relationship between reason and faith and imagination—took on new depth and meaning in light of nineteenth and twentieth century concepts of the unconscious, alienation, authenticity, alterity and the like. Burston and Frie not only demonstrate that European philosophers laid the foundations for the way many contemporary clinicians think and practice today but provide a theoretical orientation that is too often missing in today’s medicalized practice environment. This book invites readers to delve deeply into the history and theory of existentialism, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, depth psychology and humanistic psychology. The authors both explore the implications of these approaches for clinical practice and assert the significance of theory for clinical endeavors, encouraging mental health professionals, students and theorists to widen the scope of psychotherapy practice and training.
An Invitation to a Human Science Approach
This volume, edited by three leading proponents and practitioners of human science psychology, advocates a perspective rooted in human experience to discuss issues such as empathy, cultural history, apartheid, sexual assault, fetishes, and our natural environment.
Form and Content in Levinas's Talmudic Readings
Originally published in Hebrew, Reading between the Lines takes up philosopher Emmanuel Levinas's fascinating contributions to Jewish thought, concentrating specifically on his talmudic readings in the context of "contemporary midrash." Herself a scholar and teacher of the Talmud, Elisabeth Goldwyn finds Levinas's approach to study and interpretation to be both bold and original, and here she seeks to examine the importance of his methodology and its relationship to the content he intends to convey. Among his chief aims, Levinas emphasized the philosophical value of talmudic study as a practice to be pursued, with all its ethical and religious meanings; its role in the shaping and rejuvenation of Judaism in times of crisis; and the Torah's universal appeal and the human values that it teaches. His talmudic commentary proposes a humanistic Judaism that is connected to its roots and immersed in Western culture, albeit from a critical perspective. His is thus an important alternative to the many diverse voices currently being asserted in the Jewish world. This is a new midrash, or exposition and interpretation of the biblical stories, for contemporary society: talmudic study that is connected to life's most urgent questions, offering deeply meaningful answers. Additionally, LevinasÕs many comments on methodological issues indicate that he was not only consciously aware of the principles guiding his learning, but he also viewed the method to be intimately connected to the content, as an issue itself worthy of careful thought. Likewise, GoldwynÕs approach to LevinasÕs talmudic readings is primarily an interpretation of these lessons by following a similar method to that used by Levinas himself in his discussions. As a result, readers of Reading between the Lines will find important and meaningful tools for understanding both the midrashic dimension of LevinasÕs writings and the spiritual significance that Jewish cultural discourse has in the broader societyÑin Israel and beyond, and in both religious and secular contexts.
Toward a Religion <i>with</i> Religion
Reexamining Deconstruction and Determinate Religion addresses the conventional conflicts between those who desire a more objective, determinate, and quasi-evidentialist perspective on faith and religious truth and those who adopt a more poetic, indeterminate, relativistic, and radical one. Drawing on both continental and analytic philosophy, this unique volume offers a sustained challenge to the prominent paradigm of a “religion without religion,” proposed in a deconstructive philosophy of religion. Articulated by Jacques Derrida and advanced by John D. Caputo, “religion without religion” challenges the epistemic certainty, political exclusivism, and theological absolutism with which specific religious traditions have tended to operate and recommends rejecting or maintaining an ironic distance from the determinate truth-claims and practices of particular religious communities. Without simplistically rejecting deconstruction, Simmons and Minister maintain that a specifically deconstructive approach to religion does not necessarily dictate the complete indeterminancy of a “religion without religion.” Rather, “religion with religion” is offered as a particular way of practicing determinate religions that rejects binary options between undecidability and safety, or between skepticism and dogmatism. Thus, the truths of determinate religions are not assumed, but their possibility is embraced, which invites vigorous and charitable dialogue. Within this framework, the contributors assert that postmodern religious identity is necessary for contemporary ethical and political existence. Organized in what might be called a “polylogue,” chapters 1–5 function dialogically, including two response essays to each of the primary essays. In these chapters, the authors explore topics including politics, faith, and biblical interpretation, but ultimately focus on the philosophical basis for a “religion with religion” and the practice or application of it. Finally, the book ends with two important new essays by Merold Westphal and John D. Caputo, respectively, that consider the conversation of the book as a whole and the very idea of “religion with religion.” Westphal’s essay offers a rigorous analysis and productive response to the essays by the other contributing authors, while Caputo’s lengthy chapter offers a clear and accessible introduction to his philosophical theology. While especially relevant to anyone interested in an overview of and constructive dialogue with deconstructive philosophy of religion, Reexamining Deconstruction and Determinate Religion will be of interest to scholars and students interested in all areas of continental philosophy of religion and its potential benefit to determinate faith practices.
The Poems of John Donne, Aemilia Lanyer, and John Milton
Theresa M. DiPasquale’s study of John Donne, Aemilia Lanyer, and John Milton demonstrates how each of these seventeenth century English poets revised, reformed, and renewed the Judeo-Christian tradition of the sacred feminine. The central figures of this tradition—divine Wisdom, created Wisdom, the Bride, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Ecclesia—are essential to the works of Donne, Lanyer, and Milton. All three poets are deeply invested in the ancient, scripturally authorized belief that the relationship between God and humankind is gendered: God is father, bridegroom, king; the human soul and the church as corporate entity are daughter, bride, and consort.
This important text not only casts new light on these poets and on the history of Christian doctrine and belief, but also makes enormous contributions to our understanding of the feminine more broadly. It will be of interest to scholars who study the literature, religion, and culture of early modern England, to feminist theologians, and to any reader grappling seriously with gender issues in Christian theology and spirituality.
The Cultural Imagination of Early Modern England
Tropes provide access into habits of thought and worldviews—they express a climate of opinion and a hermeneutical context. Focusing on the textual activity of major cultural tropes, this study demonstrates the ways in which they enunciate and transform the cultural imagination on matters of love and power in the world, the body politic, and the rising sphere of personal life in early modern England. In 12 essays, prominent Renaissance scholars extend the theoretical analysis and application of the four tropes identified by Gale Carrithers and James Hardy: theater, moment, journey, and ambassadorship.
Renaissance tropologies and habits of thought are here demonstrated through exegesis of the works of Shakespeare, Vaughan, and especially John Donne, whose writings, because they explore the most provocative issues of his day, are a lens through which one can understand the surrounding culture. The text itself is organized around the four tropes, and their cross-disciplinary approach to cultural phenomenon is part of the move toward a more fully historicized rhetorical analysis of texts.
The Aesthetics of Doubt in the Sonnets and Plays
In this original and compelling new study, Suzanne M. Tartamella casts new light on seemingly quite familiar material — Shakespeare’s Sonnets and a number of his plays, including Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, and Antony and Cleopatra. By placing the Sonnets within the context of the literary history of praise poetry, and exploring the underlying influence of early modern skepticism on Shakespeare’s writing, this book truly enhances our understanding of the subtleties and complexities in all of Shakespeare’s work. In our own contemporary culture of doubt and anxiety, investigating the classical skepticism present in Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays deepens our sense of his relevance, suggesting that he could just as easily have traded ideas with Friedrich Nietzsche as with Ben Jonson or John Donne. To truly consider this Renaissance philosophy of doubt, Tartamella traces Shakespeare’s relations with his poetic precursors, including Petrarch, Dante, and Sidney. During the Reformation, then, an age of radical experimentation and reform, Shakespeare revised conventional methods of praise by doing more than simply mocking or challenging these literary precursors; rather, he transformed a poetics of praise into a poetics of appraisal. Tartamella’s approach here encompasses both new historicism and a wide-ranging history of ideas. As a result, perhaps the most intriguing demonstration of this poetics and its manifestations are Tartamella’s cross-genre examinations of the Sonnets and some of Shakepeare’s best-known dramatic characters, drawing unique and original correlations. The sonnets to the young man, with their melancholy tenor, are linked to the ghost in Hamlet, while the more physical and combative sonnets to the dark lady are related to Katerina in The Taming of the Shrew. These complex relationships, further considered in her final discussion of Antony and Cleopatra and the ways in which it harmonizes the characteristic problems of both sonnet sequences, are truly at the heart of Shakespearean tragedy and comedy. Students of both literature and philosophy will find this book important, as it offers a nuanced analysis of the intersections between literature and intellectual history, a comprehensive examination of Shakespeare’s poetry and plays, the history of epideictic poetry, and an exploration of the impact of skepticism on the whole of Renaissance literature.
Ancient Rhetorical Theory and Contemporary Communication
Rhetoric and the Gift, taking as its starting point the Homeric idea of the gift and Aristotle’s related rhetorical theory, explores rhetoric not only at the level of the artful response but at the level of the call and response. Mari Lee Mifsud takes up a number of questions crucial to thinking about contemporary communication: What does it mean that communication is a system of exchange with others? How are we to deal with questions of ethics in an economic system of power and authority? Can exchange ever be truly generous, and can communication, then, ever be free? Is there a more ethical way of relating and communicating, and might there be a different self-other relationship more conducive to a free people? As a historian of ancient Greek rhetorical theory, Mifsud examines these questions of contemporary significance by turning first to Aristotle’s many citations of and references to Homer in order to discern the emergence of a system of exchange thought to be appropriate for a democratic polis. As she elucidates, the Homeric system of exchange — gift-giving — was used by Aristotle as a metaphor for rhetoric’s function, as he distinguished the gift as a system of exchange within the functioning of the polis, operating between individuals and society to bind people to people and cultures to cultures. These ancient ideas are shown to relate directly to our modern arguments concerning exception and exceptionalism as they play out in politics, law, and culture. Such questions of exchange, thus, are shown to reverberate and continue to circulate through conversations in philosophy and communication, ranging across a great deal of recent study. Mifsud’s discussion of a variety of contemporary thinkers, together with her historical and theoretical approach, offers rich possibilities for new trajectories of relating the self and other, providing the critical, hermeneutical, and theoretical resources for thinking otherwise about rhetorical conceptions of relational ethics in communication, on both a personal and political level.