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Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

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Counter-Institutions

Jacques Derrida and the Question of the University

Simon Morgan Wortham

This book provides a definitive account of Jacques Derrida's involvement in debates about the university. Derrida was a founding member of the Research Group on the Teaching of Philosophy (GREPH), an activist group that mobilized opposition to the Giscard government's proposals to rationalizethe French educational system in 1975. He also helped to convene the Estates General of Philosophy, a vast gathering in 1979 of educators from across France. Furthermore, he was closely associated with the founding of the International College of Philosophy in Paris, and his connection with the International Parliament of Writers during the 1990s also illustrates his continuing interest in the possibility of launching an array of literary and philosophical projects while experimenting with new kinds of institutions in which they might take their specific shape and direction. Derrida argues that the place of philosophy in the university should be explored as both a historical question and a philosophical problem in its own right. He argues that philosophy simultaneously belongs and does not belong to the university. In its founding role, it must come from outsidethe institution in which, nevertheless, it comes to define itself. The author asks whether this irresolvable tension between belongingand not belongingmight not also form the basis of Derrida's political thinking and activism where wider issues of contemporary significance are concerned. Key questions today concerning citizenship, rights, the nation-state and Europe, asylum, immigration, terror, and the returnof religion all involve assumptions and ideas about belonging; and they entail constitutional, legal, institutional and material constraints that take shape precisely on the basis of such ideas. This project will therefore open up a key question: Can deconstruction's insight into the paradoxical institutional standing of philosophy form the basis of a meaningful political response by theoryto a number of contemporary international issues?

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Crossover Queries

Dwelling with Negatives, Embodying Philosophy's Others

Edith Wyschogrod

Exploring the risks, ambiguities, and unstable conceptual worlds of contemporary thought, Crossover Queries brings together the wide-ranging writings, across twenty years, of one of our most important philosophers.Ranging from twentieth-century European philosophy-the thought of Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida, Levinas, Janicaud, and others-to novels and artworks, music and dance, from traditional Jewish thought to Jain andBuddhist metaphysics, Wyschogrod's work opens radically new vistas while remaining mindful that the philosopher stands within and is responsible to a philosophical legacy conditioned by the negative.Rather than point to a Hegelian dialectic of overcoming negation or to a postmetaphysical exhaustion, Wyschogrod treats negative moments as opening novel spaces for thought. She probes both the desire for God and an ethics grounded in the interests of the other person, seeing these as moments both of crossing over and of negation. Alert to the catastrophes that have marked our times, she exposes the underlying logical structures of nihilatory forces that have been exerted to exterminate whole peoples. Analyzing the negationsof biological research and cultural images of mechanized and robotic bodies, she shows how they contest the body as lived in ordinary experience.Crossover Queries brings together important essays on a remarkable range of topics by one of our most insightful cultural critics. Commenting on philosophical and theological issues that have shaped the recent past as well as scientific and technological questions that will preoccupy us in the near future, Wyschogrod consistently alerts us to the urgency of problems whose importance few recognize. To avoid the challenge these essays pose is to avoid responsibility for a future that appears to be increasingly fragile.-Mark C. Taylor, Columbia University

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Debates in Continental Philosophy

Conversations with Contemporary Thinkers

Richard Kearney

This important book brings together in one volume a collection of illuminating encounters with some of the most important philosophers of our age-by one of its most incisive and innovative critics.For more than twenty years, Richard Kearney has been in conversation with leading philosophers, literary theorists, anthropologists, and religious scholars. His gift is eliciting memorably clear statements about their work from thinkers whose writings can often be challenging in their complexity. Here, he brings together twenty-one originally published extraordinary conversations-his 1984 collection Dialogues: The Phenomenological Heritage, his 1992 Visions of Europe: Conversations on the Legacy and Future of Europe, and his 1995 States of Mind: Dialogues with Contemporary Thinkers. Featured interviewees include Stanislas Breton, Umberto Eco, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Herbert Marcus, George Steiner, Julia Kristeva, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jean-Fran?ois Lyotard. To this classic core, he adds recent interviews, previously unpublished, with Paul Ricoeur, Jean-Luc Marion, Jacques Derrida, and George DumZzil, as well as six colloquies about his own work.Wide-ranging and accessible, these interviews provide a fascinating guide to the ideas, concerns, and personalities of thinkers who have shaped modern intellec-tual life. This book will be an essential point of entry for students, teachers, scholars, and anyone seeking to understand contemporary culture.ContentsPrefacePart One: Recent DebatesJacques Derrida: Terror, Religion, and the New PoliticsJean-Luc Marion: The Hermeneutics of RevelationPaul Ricour: (a) On Life Stories (b) On The Crisis of Authority (c) The Power of the Possible (d) Imagination, Testimony, and TrustGeorges Dumzil: Myth, Ideology, SovereigntyPart Two: From Dialogues: The Phenomenological Heritage, 1984Emmanuel Levinas: Ethics of the InfiniteHerbert Marcuse: The Philosophy of Art and PoliticsPaul Ricour: (a) The Creativity of Language (b) Myth as the Bearer of Possible WorldsStanislas Breton: Being, God, and the Poetics of RelationJacques Derrida: Deconstruction and the OtherPart Three: From States of Mind, 1995Julia Kristeva: Strangers to Ourselves: The Hope of the SingularHans Georg Gadamer: Text MattersJean-Franois Lyotard: What Is Just?George Steiner: Culture-The Price You PayPaul Ricour: Universality and the Power of DifferenceUmberto Eco: Chaosmos: The Return to the Middle AgesPart Four: Colloquies with Richard KearneyVillanova Colloquy: Against OmnipotenceAthens Colloquy: Between Selves and OthersHalifax Colloquy: Between Being and God Stony Brook Colloquy: Confronting ImaginationBoston Colloquy: Theorizing the GiftDublin Colloquy: Thinking Is DangerousAppendix: Philosophy as Dialogue

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Derrida From Now On

Michael Naas

Written in the wake of Jacques Derrida's death in 2004, Derrida From Now On attempts both to do justice to the memory of Derrida and to demonstrate the continuing significance of his work for contemporary philosophy and literary theory. If Derrida's thought is to remain relevant for us today, it must be at once understood in its original context and uprooted and transplanted elsewhere. Michael Naas thus begins with an analysis of Derrida's attachment to the French language, to Europe, and to European secular thought, before turning to Derrida's long engagement with the American context and to the ways in which deconstruction allows us to rethink the history, identity, and promise of post-9/11 America. Taking as its point of departure several of Derrida's later works (from Faith and Knowledgeand The Work of Mourning to Rogues and Learning to Live Finally), the book demonstrates how Derrida's analyses of the phantasms of sovereignty, the essential autoimmunity of democracy or religion, or the impossible mourning of the nation-state can help us to understand what is happening today in American culture, literature, and politics. Though Derrida's thought has always lived on only by being translated elsewhere, his disappearance will have driven home this necessity with a new force and an unprecedented urgency. Derrida From Now On is an effect of this force and an attempt to respond to this urgency.

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Derrida Vis--vis Lacan

Interweaving Deconstruction and Psychoanalysis

Andrea Hurst

Derrida and Lacan have long been viewed as proponents of two opposing schools of thought. This book argues, however, that the logical structure underpinning Lacanian psychoanalytic theory is a complex, paradoxical relationality that corresponds to Derrida's plural logic of the aporia.Andrea Hurst begins by linking this logic to a strand of thinking (in which Freud plays a part) that unsettles philosophy's transcendental tradition. She then shows that Derrida is just as serious and careful a reader of Freud's texts as Lacan. Interweaving the two thinkers, she argues that the Lacanian Real is another name for Derrida's diffrance and shows how Derrida's writings on Heidegger and Nietzsche embody an attitude toward sexual difference and feminine sexuality that matches Lacanian insights. Derrida's plural logic of the aporia,she argues, can serve as a heuristic for addressing prominent themes in Lacanian psychoanalysis: subjectivity, ethics, and language. Finally, she takes up Derrida's prejudicial reading of Lacan's Seminar on 'The Purloined Letter,'which was instrumental in the antagonism between Derrideans and Lacanians. Although acknowledging the injustice of Derrida's reading, the author brings out the deep theoretical accord between thinkers that both recognize the power of psychoanalysis to address contemporary political and ethical issues.

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Difficulties of Ethical Life

Shannon Sullivan

This book brings the powerful insights of Continental philosophy to bear on some of the most challenging difficulties of ethical life. Currently philosophy is being radically transformed by questions of how to live well. What does such a way of life mean? How are we to understand the meaning of ethicality? What are the obstacles to ethical living? And should we assume that an ethical life is a betterlife? The movement of history and the developments of culture and knowledge seem to have outstripped the capacity of traditional forms of reflection upon ethical life to understand how we might answer these questions. Ranging from existentialism to deconstruction, phenomenology to psychoanalytic theory, and hermeneutics to post-structuralism, the twelve essays in this volume take up a wide but clearly connected set of issues relevant to living ethically: race, responsibility, religion, terror, torture, technology, deception, and even the very possibility of an ethical life. Some of the questions addressed are specific to our times; others are ancient questions but with quite contemporary twists. In each case, they concern the philosophical significance of ongoing historical, cultural, and political transformations for ethical living and thinking.

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The Early Heidegger's Philosophy of Life:

Facticity, Being, and Language

Scott M. Campbell

In his early lecture courses, Martin Heidegger exhibited an abiding interest in human life. He believed that human life has philosophical import while it is actually being lived; language has philosophical import while it is being spoken. In this book, Scott Campbell traces the development of Heidegger's ideas about factical life through his interest in Greek thought and its concern with Being. He contends that Heidegger's existential concerns about human life and his ontological concerns about the meaning of Being crystallize in the notion of Dasein as the Being of factical human life. Emphasizing the positive aspects of everydayness, Campbell explores the contexts of meaning embedded within life; the intensity of average, everyday life; the temporal immediacy of life in early Christianity; the hermeneutic pursuit of life's self-alienation; factical spatiality; the temporalizing of history within life; the richness of the world; and the facticity of speaking in Plato and Aristotle. He shows how Heidegger presents a way of grasping human life as riddled with deception but also charged with meaning and open to revelation and insight.

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The End of the World and Other Teachable Moments

Jacques Derrida's Final Seminar

Michael Naas

The End of the World and Other Teachable Moments follows the remarkable itinerary of Jacques Derrida’s final seminar, The Beast and the Sovereign (2001–3), as the explicit themes of the seminar—namely, sovereignty and the question of the animal—come to be supplemented and interrupted by questions of death, mourning, survival, the archive, and, especially, the end of the world. _x000B__x000B_The book begins with Derrida’s analyses, in the first year of the seminar, of the question of the animal in the context of his other published works on the same subject. It then follows Derrida through the second year of the seminar, presented in Paris from December 2002 to March 2003, as a very different tone begins to make itself heard, one that wavers between melancholy and an extraordinary lucidity with regard to the end. Focusing the entire year on just two works, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Martin Heidegger’s seminar of 1929–30, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, the seminar comes to be dominated by questions of the end of the world and of an originary violence that at once gives rise to and effaces all things. _x000B__x000B_The End of the World and Other Teachable Moments follows Derrida as he responds from week to week to these emerging questions, as well as to important events unfolding around him, both world events—the aftermath of 9/11, the American invasion of Iraq—and more personal ones, from the death of Maurice Blanchot to intimations of his own death fewer than two years away. All this, the book concludes, makes this final seminar an absolutely unique work in Derrida’s corpus, one that both speaks of death as the end of the world and itself now testifies to that end—just one, though hardly the least, of its many teachable moments.

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The Exorbitant

Emmanuel Levinas Between Jews and Christians

Kevin Hart

We are exorbitant, and rightly so, when we cut any link we may have to cosmological powers. Levinas invites us to be exorbitant by distancing ourselves from visions of metaphysics, epistemology, and theology. We begin to listen well to Levinas when we hear him inviting us to break completely with the pagan world in which the gods are simply the highest beings in the cosmos and learn to practice an adult religion in which God is outside cosmology and ontology. God comes to mind neither in our attempts to think him as the creator of the cosmos nor in moments of ecstasy but in acts of genuine holiness, such as sharing a piece of bread with someone in a time of desperate need. Levinas, in short, enjoins us to be exorbitant in our dealings with one another. This book asks how the betweenof Levinas's thinking facilitates a dialogue between Jews and Christians. In one sense, Levinas stands exactly between Jews and Christians: ethics, as he conceives it, is a space in which religious traditions can meet. At the same time, his position seems profoundly ambivalent. No one can read a page of his writings without hearing a Jewish voice as well a a philosophical one. Yet his talk of substitution seems to resonate with Christological themes. On occasion, Levinas himself sharply distinguishes Judaism from Christianity--but to what extent can his thinking become the basis for a dialogue between Christians and Jews? This book, with a stellar cast of contributors, explores these questions, thereby providing a snapshot of the current state of Jewish-Christian dialogue.

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The Experience of God

A Postmodern Response

Kevin Hart

The book provides a series of approaches to the ancient question of whether and how God is a matter of experience,or, alternately, to what extent the notion of experience can be true to itself if it does not include God. On the one hand, it seems impossible to experience God: the deity does not offer Himself to sense experience. On the other hand, there have been mystics who have claimed to have encountered God. The essays in this collection seek to explore the topic again, drawing insights from phenomenology, theology, literature, and feminism. Throughout, this stimulating collection maintains a strong connection with concrete rather than abstract approaches to God.The contributors: Michael F. Andrews, Jeffrey Bloechl, John D. Caputo, Kristine Culp, Kevin Hart, Kevin L. Hughes, Jean-Yves Lacoste, Crystal Lucky, Renee McKenzie, Kim Paffenroth, Michael Purcell, Michael J. Scanlon, O.S.A., James K. A. Smith. Kevin Hart is Notre Dame Professor of English and Concurrent Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame; among his many books are The Trespass of the Sign: Deconstruction, Theology, and Philosophy (Fordham), and The Dark Gaze: Maurice Blanchot and the Sacred. His most recent collection of poems is Flame Tree: Selected Poems. Barbara Wall is Special Assistant to the President for Mission Effectiveness and Associate Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University. She is co-editor of The Journal of Catholic Social Thought and The Journal of Peace and Justice Studies.

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