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Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

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Fielding Derrida

Philosophy, Literary Criticism, History, and the Work of Deconstruction

Joshua Kates

How to interpret Derrida's work now after so much commentary has been devoted to his thought, and his own astonishing productivity has come to an end? In this groundbreaking collection, Joshua Kates argues that we must begin from a different frame than Derrida himself provides, by inserting his work into already existing fields, by "fielding Derrida." Is Derrida a skeptic? Does he subscribe to a death of meaning (and the "I") at the hands of a sign? Is his thought at all proximate to contemporary Marxian/post-Marxist thinking? Thanks to placing Derrida's texts in broader fields (such as Husserlian phenomenology and analytic philosophy of language) and subsequently nuancing what such comparisons yield, Kates's work capture Derrida's stances on these and other questions with a new concreteness and an unprecedented scope, forging links to vital debates across the humanities today.; "Offers creative and well-defended new interpretations of Derrida's familiar texts."

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Futurity in Phenomenology

Promise and Method in Husserl, Levinas, and Derrida

Neal DeRoo

From Husserl's account of protention to the recent turn to eschatology in "theological" phenomenology, the future has always been a key aspect of phenomenological theories of time. This book offers the first sustained reflection on the significance of futurity for the phenomenological method itself. In tracing the development of this theme, the author shows that only a proper understanding of the two-fold nature of the future (as constitution and as openness) can clarify the way in which phenomenology brings the subject and the world together. Futurity therefore points us to the centrality of the promise for phenomenology, recasting phenomenology as a promissory discipline.Clearly written and carefully argued, this book provides fresh insight into the phenomenological provenance of the "theological" turn and the phenomenological conclusions of Husserl, Levinas, and Derrida. Closely examining the themes of protention, eschatology, and the messianic, it will be essential reading for anyone interested in phenomenology, philosophy of religion, deconstruction, or philosophical theology.

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Gazing Through a Prism Darkly

Reflections on Merold Westphal's Hermeneutical Epistemology

B. Keith Putt

Merold Westphal has been in the foremost ranks of philosophers who proclaim a new postsecular philosophy. By articulating an epistemology sensitive to the realities of cognitive finitude and moral weakness, he defends a wisdom that begins in both humility and commitment, one that always confesses that human beings can encounter meaning and truth only as human beings, never as gods.The present volume focuses on this wisdom of humility that characterizes Westphal's thought and explores how that wisdom, expressed through the redemptive dynamic of doubt, can contribute to developing a postsecular apologetic for faith.This book can function both as an accessible introduction to Westphal for those who have not read him extensively and also as an informed critical appreciation and extension of his work for those who are more experienced readers.

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Givenness and God

Questions of Jean-Luc Marion

Ian Leask

After the subject and beyond Heideggerian ontology,Marion suggests, there is the sheer givenness ofphenomena without condition. In theology, this liberationmeans rethinking God in terms of phenomena such aslove, gift, and excess. In addition to an important essayby Marion, The Reason of the Gift, and a dialoguebetween Marion and Richard Kearney, this book containsstimulating essays by ten other contributors: Lilian Alweiss,Eoin Cassidy, Mark Dooley, Brian Elliott, Ian Leask,Shane Mackinlay, Derek Morrow, John O'Donohue,Joseph S. O'Leary, and Felix a Murchadha. After the subject and beyond Heideggerian ontology, Marion suggests, there is the givenness of phenomena without condition. In theology, this liberation means rethinking God in terms of phenomena such as love, gift, and excess. In addition to an important essay by Marion, The Reason of the Gift, and a dialogue between Marion and Richard Kearney, this book contains stimulating essays by ten other contributors: Lilian Alweiss, Eoin Cassidy, Mark Dooley, Brian Elliott, Ian Leask, Shane Mackinlay, Derek Morrow, John O'Donohue, Joseph S. O'Leary, and Felix a Murchadha.

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The God Who Deconstructs Himself

Sovereignty and Subjectivity Between Freud, Bataille, and Derrida

Nick Mansfield

No topic has caused more discussion in recent philosophy and political theory than sovereignty. From late Foucault to Agamben, and from Guantanamo Bay to the 'war on terror,' the issue of the extent and the nature of the sovereign has given theoretical debates their currency and urgency. New thinking on sovereignty has always imagined the styles of human selfhood that each regime involves. Each denomination of sovereignty requires a specific mode of subjectivity to explain its meaning and facilitate its operation. The aim of this book is to help outline Jacques Derrida's thinking on sovereignty - a theme which increasingly attracted Derrida towards the end of his career - in its relationship to subjectivity. It investigates the late work Rogues: Two Essays on Reason, as not only Derrida's fullest statement of his thinking on sovereignty, but also as the destination of his career-long interest in questions of politics and self-identity. The book argues that in Derrida's thinking of the relationship between sovereignty and subjectivity - and the related themes of unconditionality and ipseity - we can detect the outline of Bataille's adaptation of Freud. Freud completed his 'metapsychology,' by defining the 'economic' nature of subjectivity. In Bataille's hands, this economic theory became a key to the nature of inter-relationship in general, specifically the complex and shifting relationship between subjectivity and power. In playing with Bataille's legacy, Derrida connects not only with the irrepressibly outrageous thinking of philosophy's most self-consciously transgressive thinker, but with the early twentieth century scientific revolution through which 'energy' became ontology. As with so many of the forebears who influenced him, Derrida echoes and adapts Bataille's thinking while radically de-literalising it. The results are crucial for understanding Derrida's views on power, subjectivity and representation, as well as all of the other key themes in late Derrida: hospitality, justice, otherness and the gift.

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Heidegger, Holderlin, and the Subject of Poetic Language

Toward a New Poetics of Dasein

Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei

Heidegger's interpretations of the poetry of Hlderlin are central to Heidegger's later philosophy and have determined the mainstream reception of Hlderlin's poetry. Gosetti-Ferencei argues that Heidegger has overlooked central elements in Hlderlin's poetics, such as a Kantian understanding of aesthetic subjectivity and a commitment to Enlightenment ideals. These elements, she argues, resist the more politically distressing aspects of Heidegger's interpretations, including Heidegger's nationalist valorization of the German language and sense of nationhood, or Heimat.In the context of Hlderlin's poetics of alienation, exile, and wandering, Gosetti-Ferencei draws a different model of poetic subjectivity, which engages Heidegger's later philosophy of Gelassenheit, calmness, or letting be. In so doing, she is able to pose a phenomenologically sensitive theory of poetic language and a new poetics of Dasein,or being there.

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The Implications of Immanence

Toward a New Concept of Life

Leonard Lawlor

The Implications of Immanence develops a philosophy of life in opposition to the notion of bio-power,which reduces the human to the question of power over what Giorgio Agamben terms bare life,mere biological existence. Breaking with all biologism or vitalism, Lawlor attends to the dispersion of death at the heart of life, in the minuscule hiatusthat divides the living present, separating lived experience from the living body and, crucially for phenomenology, inserting a blind spot into a visual field.Lawlor charts here a post-phenomenological French philosophy. What lies beyond phenomenologyis life-ism,the positive working out of the effects of the minuscule hiatusin a thinking that takes place on a plane of immanence,whose implications cannot be predicted. Life-ism means thinking life and death together, thinking death as dispersed throughout life. In carefully argued and extensively documented chapters, Lawlor sets out the surpassing of phenomenology and the advent of life-ism in Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, and Foucault, with careful attention to the writings by Husserl and Heidegger to which these thinkers refer.A philosophy of life has direct implications for present-day political and medical issues. The book takes its point of departure from the current genocide in Darfur and provides conceptual tools for intervening in such issues as the AIDS epidemic and life-support for the infirm. Indeed, the investigations contained in The Implications of Immanence are designed to help us emerge once and for all out of the epoch of bio-power.Lawlor's novel way of treating the concept of life is stimulating, original, and necessary for the social well being of our time.-Fred Evans, Duquesne UniversityThe Implications of Immanence continues the most promising, rigorous, and fruitful ongoing research project among scholars of twentieth-century philosophy. . . .A wonderful new book.-John Protevi, Louisiana State University

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Interpreting Excess

Jean-Luc Marion, Saturated Phenomena, and Hermeneutics

Shane Mackinlay

JJean-Luc Marion's theory of saturated phenomena is one of the most exciting developments in phenomenology in recent decades. It opens up new possibilities for understanding phenomena by beginning from rich and complex examples such as revelation and works of art. Rather than being curiosities or exceptions, these excessiveor saturatedphenomena are, in Marion's view, paradigms. He understands more straightforward phenomena, such as the objects of the natural sciences, as reduced and impoverished versions of the excess given in saturated phenomena.Interpreting Excess is a systematic and comprehensive study of Marion's texts on saturated phenomena and their place in his wider phenomenology of givenness, tracing both his theory and his examples across a wide range of texts spanning three decades.The author argues that a rich hermeneutics is implicit in Marion's examples of saturated phenomena but is not set out in his theory. This hermeneutics makes clear that attempts to overthrow the much-criticized sovereignty of the Cartesian ego will remain unsuccessful if they simply reverse the subject-object relation by speaking of phenomena imposing themselves with an overwhelming givenness on a recipient. Instead, phenomena should be understood as appearing in a hermeneutic space already opened by a subject's active reception. Thus, a phenomenon's appearing depends not only on its givenness but also on the way it is interpreted by the receiving subject. All phenomenology is, therefore, necessarily hermeneutic.Interpreting Excess provides an indispensable guide for any study of Marion's saturated phenomena. It is also a significant contribution to ongoing debates about philosophical ways of thinking about God, the relation between hermeneutics and phenomenology, and philosophy after the subject.

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Interstices of the Sublime

Theology and Psychoanalytic Theory

Clayton Crockett

Interstices of the Sublime represents a powerful theological engagement with psychoanalytic theory in Freud, Lacan, Kristeva and Zizek, as well as major expressions of contemporary Continental philosophy, including Deleuze, Derrida, Marion, and Badiou. Through creative and constructive psycho-theological readings of topics such as sublimation, schizophrenia, God, and creation ex nihilo, this book contributes to a new form of radical theological thinking that is deeply involved in the world. Here the idea of the Kantian sublime is read into Freud and Lacan, and compared with sublimation. The sublime refers to a conflict of the Kantian faculties of reason and imagination, and involves the attempt to represent what is intrinsically unrepresentable. Sublimation, by contrast, involves the expression and partial satisfaction of primal desires in culturally acceptable terms. The sublime is negatively expressed in sublimation, because it is both the sourceof sublimation as well as that which resists being sublimated. That is, the Freudian sublime is related to the process of sublimation, but it also distorts or disrupts sublimation, and invokes what Lacan calls the Real. The effects of the sublime are not just psychoanalytic but, importantly, theological, because the sublime is the main form that Godtakes in the modern world. A radical postmodern theology attends to the workings of the sublime in our thinking and living, and provides resources to understand the complexity of reality. This book is one of the first sustained theological readings of Lacan in English.

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The Intrigue of Ethics

A Reading of the Idea of Discourse in the Thought of Emmanuel Levinas

Jeffrey Dudiak

This work explains how human beings can live more peacefully with one another by understanding the conditions of possibility for dialogue. Philosophically, this challenge is articulated as the problem of: how dialogue as dia-logos is possible when the shared logos is precisely that which is in question. Emmanuel Levinas, in demonstrating that the shared logos is a function of interhuman relationship, helps us to make some progress in understanding the possibilities for dialogue in this situation. If the terms of the argument to this point are taken largely from Levinas's 1961 Totality and Infinity, Dudiak further proposes that Levinas's 1974 Otherwise than Being can be read as a deepening of these earlier analyses, delineating, both the conditions of possibility and impossibility for discourse itself. Throughout these analyses Dudiak discovers that in Levinas's view dialogue is ultimately possible, only for a gracious subjectivity already graced by God by way of the other, but where the word God is inseparable from my subjectivity as graciousness to the other. Finally, for Levinas, the facilitation of dialogue, the facilitation of peace, comes down to the subject's capacity and willingness to be who he or she is, to take the beautiful risk of a peaceful gesture offered to the other, and that peace, in this gesture itself. As Levinas himself puts it: Peace then is under my responsibility. I am a hostage, for I am alone to wage it, running a fine risk, dangerously.Levinas's philosophical discourse is precisely itself to be read as such a gesture.

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