This essay examines two ways in which the humanities thinks about the future. It first explores different page designs, especially the contrast of a commentary text and a “humanist” page, in order to discuss the way that modernity depends on a sense of contemporaneity with the author, creating a present that can absorb the past and future. It then explores a series of philosophical reflections on humanism and the metaphysics of the future. Here, too, the present is interrogated, and with the help of dictionary definitions it traces a path from Heidegger through Derrida to Levinas and to Hermann Cohen. In doing so, an account of a “Posthumous humanism” emerges which is focused on a future that is not controlled by the present—an image of a messianic humanism.


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pp. 241-279
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