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Profile: Antony Aumann (Northern Michigan University)
  1. Antony Aumann (2014). The Relationship Between Aesthetic Value and Cognitive Value. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 72 (2):117-127.
    It is sometimes held that “the aesthetic” and “the cognitive” are separate categories. Enterprises concerning the former and ones concerning the latter have different aims and values. They require distinct modes of attention and reward divergent kinds of appreciation. Thus, we must avoid running together aesthetic and cognitive matters. In this paper, I challenge the independence of these categories, but in unorthodox fashion. Most attempts proceed by arguing that cognitive values can bear upon aesthetic ones. I approach from the opposite (...)
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  2. Antony Aumann (2014). Emotion, Cognition, and the Value of Literature: The Case of Nietzsche's Genealogy. Journal of Nietzsche Studies 45 (2):182-195.
    Near the end of the Republic, Plato challenges defenders of poetry to explain how it “not only gives pleasure but is beneficial . . . to human life.”1 We sometimes hear a heightened version of this demand. Partisans not just of poetry but also of literature in general are asked to establish that the arts they celebrate possess a distinctive or unique value. In other words, they must show that poetry and literature are irreplaceable and that we would lose some (...)
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  3. Antony Aumann (2014). On the Validity of Pascal's Wager. Heythrop Journal 55 (1):86-93.
    Recent scholarship has shown that the success of Pascal’s wager rests on precarious grounds. To avoid notorious problems, it must appeal to considerations such as what probability we assign to the existence of various gods and what religion we think provides the greatest happiness in this life. Rational judgments concerning these matters are subject to change over time. Some claim that the wager therefore cannot support a steadfast commitment to God. I argue that this conclusion does not follow. By drawing (...)
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  4. Antony Aumann (2013). Kierkegaard, Paraphrase, and the Unity of Form and Content. Philosophy Today 57 (4):376-387.
    On one standard view, paraphrasing Kierkegaard requires no special literary talent. It demands no particular flair for the poetic. However, Kierkegaard himself rejects this view. He says we cannot paraphrase in a straightforward fashion some of the ideas he expresses in a literary format. To use the words of Johannes Climacus, these ideas defy direct communication. In this paper, I piece together and defend the justification Kierkegaard offers for this position. I trace its origins to concerns raised by Lessing and (...)
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  5. Antony Aumann (2013). Self-Love and Neighbor-Love in Kierkegaard's Ethics. Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook 2013 (1):197–216.
    Kierkegaard faces an apparent dilemma. On the one hand, he concurs with the biblical injunction: we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. He takes this to imply that self-love and neighbor-love should be roughly symmetrical, similar in kind as well as degree. On the other hand, he recommends relating to others and to ourselves in disparate ways. We should be lenient, charitable, and forgiving when interacting with neighbors; the opposite when dealing with ourselves. The goal of my paper is (...)
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  6. Antony Aumann (2012). The “Death of the Author” in Hegel and Kierkegaard. Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 32 (2):435-447.
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  7. Antony Aumann (2011). The ‘Death of the Author’ in Hegel and Kierkegaard: On Berthold’s 'The Ethics of Authorship'. Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 32 (2):435-447.
    In The Ethics of Authorship, Daniel Berthold depicts G. W. F. Hegel and Søren Kierkegaard as endorsing two postmodern principles. The first is an ethical ideal. Authors should abdicate their traditional privileged position as arbiters of their texts’ meaning. They should allow readers to determine this meaning for themselves. Only by doing so will they help readers attain genuine selfhood. The second principle is a claim about language. To wit, language cannot express an author’s thoughts. I argue that if the (...)
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  8. Antony Aumann (2010). Kierkegaard on Indirect Communication, the Crowd, and a Monstrous Illusion. In Robert L. Perkins (ed.), International Kierkegaard Commentary: Point of View. Mercer University Press.
    Following the pattern set by the early German Romantics, Kierkegaard conveys many of his insights through literature rather than academic prose. What makes him a valuable member of this tradition is the theory he develops to support it, his so-called “theory of indirect communication.” The most exciting aspect of this theory concerns the alleged importance of indirect communication: Kierkegaard claims that there are some projects only it can accomplish. This paper provides a critical account of two arguments Kierkegaard offers in (...)
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  9. Antony Aumann (2009). Kierkegaard's Case for the Irrelevance of Philosophy. Continental Philosophy Review 42 (2):221-248.
    This paper provides an account of Kierkegaard’s central criticism of the Danish Hegelians. Contrary to recent scholarship, it is argued that this criticism has a substantive theoretical basis and is not merely personal or ad hominem in nature. In particular, Kierkegaard is seen as criticizing the Hegelians for endorsing an unacceptable form of intellectual elitism, one that gives them pride of place in the realm of religion by dint of their philosophical knowledge. A problem arises, however, because this criticism threatens (...)
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  10. Antony Aumann (2008). Kierkegaard on the Need for Indirect Communication. Dissertation, Indiana University
    This dissertation concerns Kierkegaard’s theory of indirect communication. A central aspect of this theory is what I call the “indispensability thesis”: there are some projects only indirect communication can accomplish. The purpose of the dissertation is to disclose and assess the rationale behind the indispensability thesis. -/- A pair of questions guides the project. First, to what does ‘indirect communication’ refer? Two acceptable responses exist: (1) Kierkegaard’s version of Socrates’ midwifery method and (2) Kierkegaard’s use of artful literary devices. Second, (...)
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  11. Antony Aumann (2006). Sartre's View of Kierkegaard as Transhistorical Man. Journal of Philosophical Research 31:361-372.
    This paper illuminates the central arguments in Sartre's UNESCO address, 'The Singular Universal." The address begins by asking whether objective facts tell us everything there is to know about Kierkegaard. Sartre's answer is negative. The question then arises as to whether we can lay hold of Kierkegaard's "irreducible subjectivity" by seeing him as alive for us today, i.e., as transhistorical. Sartre's answer here is affirmative. However, a close inspection of this answer exposes a deeper level to the address. The struggle (...)
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