The book is about three things. First, how Ancient thinkers perceived humans as like or unlike other animals; second about the justification for taking a humane attitude towards natural things; and third about how moral claims count as true, and how they can be discovered or acquired. Was Aristotle was right to see continuity in the psychological functions of animal and human souls? The question cannot be settled without taking a moral stance. As we can either focus on continuity or (...) on discontinuities, how should natural science draw the boundaries? Moral agents act and react in a world that they see under a certain description, and there is no value free science that can settle what is the correct description. This book asks us to think about where moral justification could come from, and suggests that the supposed ‘moral status’ of the object cannot provide the answer. For the moral status of the object is a product of our own imagination, and once we see that, we also see that there remains the question where we ought to have the will to see it. Furthermore, since the perception of moral truth involves the development of imagination and will, the means to attain it will be better served by engagement with poetry and literature than with enquiries that seek to exclude the engagement of the imagination, or any appeal to the beauty of nature or the love of one's fellow creatures. (shrink)
Figuring Animals is a collection of fifteen essays concerning the representation of animals in literature, the visual arts, philosophy, and cultural practice. At the turn of the new century, it is helpful to reconsider our inherited understandings of the species, some of which are still useful to us. It is also important to look ahead to new understandings and new dialogue, which may contribute to the survival of us all. The contributors to this volume participate in this dialogue in (...) a variety of ways--through personal experience, natural history, cultural studies, philosophical inquiry, art history, literary analysis, film studies, and theoretical imagining, and through a combination of these trains of thought. The essays expose weaknesses in western epistemological frames of reference that for centuries have limited our views and, thus, our experiences of animal being, including our own. (shrink)
Numinous spaces in British literature from William Wordsworth to Samuel Beckett -- Jesus figures in American literature from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Edward Albee -- Using Bakhtin's definitions to discover ethical voices in Solzhenitsyn and Tolstoy -- René Girard's categories of scapegoats in literature of the American South -- Hopkins's metaphysics of nature as sacred disclosure -- The book of job as mirrored in Hopkins's metaphysics -- Beckett's mythos of the absence of God.
Is it possible for postmodernism to offer viable, coherent accounts of ethics? Or are our social and intellectual worlds too fragmented for any broad consensus about the moral life? These issues have emerged as some of the most contentious in literary and philosophical studies. In Renegotiating Ethics in Literature, Philosophy, and Theory a distinguished international gathering of philosophers and literary scholars address the reconceptualisations involved in this 'turn towards ethics'. An important feature of this has been a renewed (...) interest in the literary text as a focus for the exploration of ethical issues. Exponents of this trend include Charles Taylor, Bernard Williams, Iris Murdoch, Cora Diamond, Richard Rorty and Martha Nussbaum, the latter a contributor and a key figure in this volume. This book assesses the significance of this development for ethical and literary theory and attempts to articulate an alternative postmodern account of ethics which does not rely on earlier appeals to universal truths. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Acknowledgments; Introduction: scales of identification; 1. Democratic expansionism, gothic geographies, and Charles Brockden Brown; 2. Urban apartments, global cities: the enlargement of private space in Poe and James; 3. Cultural orphans: domesticity, missionaries, and China from Stowe to Sui Sin Far; 4. 'The Checkered Globe': cosmopolitan despair in the American Pacific; 5. Literature and regional production; Epilogue: scales of resistance.
This paper examines the complexity and fluidity of maternal identity through an examination of narratives about "real motherhood" found in children's literature. Focusing on the multiplicity of mothers in adoption, I question standard views of maternity in which gestational, genetic and social mothering all coincide in a single person. The shortcomings of traditional notions of motherhood are overcome by developing a fluid and inclusive conception of maternal reality as authored by a child's own perceptions.
What role can literature and the visual arts play in philosophical practice? This article argues that psychological approaches to art therapy fail to do justice to the many different ways in which art and literature can help us to understand and to ameliorate the human condition. It outlines seven leading models, suggested by the philosophical literature, for understanding the role the humanities might play in philosophical counseling and consulting. The seven models are: the representational, the expressive, the (...) phenomenologial, the narrative, the developmental, the transformative, and the revolutionary. Case material is supplied to illustrate how these models have proved useful in my own counseling and consulting work. (shrink)
Featuring new selections chosen by coeditor Lewis Vaughn, the third edition of Louis P. Pojman's The Moral Life: An Introductory Reader in Ethics and Literature brings together an extensive and varied collection of ninety-one classical and contemporary readings on ethical theory and practice. Integrating literature with philosophy in an innovative way, the book uses literary works to enliven and make concrete the ethical theory or applied issues addressed in each chapter. Literary works by Camus, Hawthorne, Hugo, Huxley, Ibsen, (...) Le Guin, Melville, Orwell, Styron, Tolstoy, and many others lead students into such philosophical concepts and issues as relativism; utilitarianism; virtue ethics; the meaning of life; freedom and autonomy; sex, love, and marriage; animal rights; and terrorism. Once introduced, these topics are developed further through readings by philosophers including Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Nozick, Singer, and Sartre. This unique anthology emphasizes the personal dimension of ethics, which is often ignored or minimized in ethics texts. It also incorporates chapter introductions, study questions, suggestions for further reading, and biographical sketches of the writers. The third edition brings the collection up-to-date, adding selections by Jane English, William Frankena, Don Marquis, John Stuart Mill, Mary Midgley, Thomas Nagel, Judith Jarvis Thomson, and J.O. Urmson. It also features a new chapter on euthanasia with essays by Dan W. Brock, J. Gay-Williams, and James Rachels. Ideal for introductory ethics courses, The Moral Life, Third Edition, also provides an engaging gateway into personal and social ethics for general readers. (shrink)
Now in its fourth edition, Louis P. Pojman and Lewis Vaughn's acclaimed The Moral Life: An Introductory Reader in Ethics and Literature brings together an extensive and varied collection of eighty-five classical and contemporary readings on ethical theory and practice. Integrating literature with philosophy in an innovative way, the book uses literary works to enliven and make concrete the ethical theory or applied issues addressed. Literary works by Angelou, Camus, Hawthorne, Huxley, Ibsen, Le Guin, Melville, Orwell, Styron, Tolstoy, (...) and many others lead students into such philosophical concepts and issues as relativism; utilitarianism; virtue ethics; the meaning of life; freedom and autonomy; sex, love, and marriage; animal rights; and terrorism. These topics are developed further through readings by philosophers including Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Singer, Sartre, Nagel, and Thomson. This unique anthology emphasizes the personal dimension of ethics, which is often ignored or minimized in ethics texts. It also incorporates chapter introductions, study questions, suggestions for further reading, and biographical sketches of the writers. The fourth edition features five new readings--by James Rachels, Alasdair MacIntyre, Michael Levin, John Corvino, and Stephen Nathanson--and a new appendix on how to write a philosophy paper. A new Companion Website features resources for both students and instructors including reading summaries; true/false, multiple-choice, and essay questions; and PowerPoint slides. Ideal for introductory ethics courses, The Moral Life, Fourth Edition, also provides an engaging gateway into personal and social ethics for general readers. (shrink)
It is widely held in theories of narrative that all works of literary narrative fiction include a narrator who fictionally tells the story. However, it is also granted that the personal qualities of a narrator may be more or less radically effaced. Recently, philosophers and film theorists have debated whether movies similarly involve implicit audio-visual narrators. Those who answer affirmatively allow that these cinematic narrators will be radically effaced. Their opponents deny that audio-visual narrators figure in the ontology of (...) movies at all, and many have argued that the ‘effaced’ literary narrator is an illusion as well. In this paper, I attempt to sort out the central issues that arise in these debates, defending the existence of effaced narrators in both literature and film. (shrink)
Robert Abrams argues that new concepts of space and landscape emerged in mid-nineteenth-century American writing, marking a linguistic and interpretative limit to American expansion. Abrams supports the radical elements of antebellum writing, where writers from Hawthorne to Rebecca Harding Davis disputed the naturalizing discourses of mid-nineteenth century society. Whereas previous critics find in antebellum writing a desire to convert chaos into an affirmative, liberal agenda, Abrams contends that authors of the 1840s and 50s deconstructed more than they constructed.
While individuals presented in central texts of the period are indeed often alone or separated from others, Yousef regards this isolation as a problem the texts attempt to illuminate, rather than a condition they construct as normative or ...
Applying ideas drawn from contemporary critical theory, this book historicizes psychoanalysis through a new and significant theorization of the Gothic. The central premise is that the nineteenth-century Gothic produced a radical critique of accounts of sublimity and Freudian psychoanalysis. This book makes a major contribution to an understanding of both the nineteenth century and the Gothic discourse which challenged the dominant ideas of that period. Writers explored include Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Bram Stoker.
The year 1492 is only the last in a series of “ends” that inform the representation of medieval Spain in modern Jewish historical and literary discourses. These ends simultaneously mirror the traumas of history and shed light on the discursive process by which hermetic boundaries are set between periods, communities, and texts. This book addresses the representation of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries as the end of al-Andalus (Islamic Spain). Here, the end works to locate and separate Muslim from (...) Christian Spain, Jews from Arabs, philosophy from Kabbalah, Kabbalah from literature, and texts from contexts. The book offers a reading of texts that emerge from its Andalusi, Jewish, and Arabic cultural sphere: Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed; the major text of Kabbalah, the Zohar; and the Arabic rhymed prose narrative of Ibn al-Astarkuwi. The author argues that these texts are written in a language that disrupts the possibility of locating it in a pre-existing cultural situation, a recognizable literary tradition, or a particular genre. At stake are issues – texts and contexts – that have gained particular urgency in the writings of such recent thinkers as Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Giorgio Agamben, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Avital Ronell. The book reads the place and taking place of language, interrogating the notion of disappearing contexts and the view that language is derivative of its true place, the context that, having ended, is mourned as silent and lost. (shrink)
Borges, Calvino, and Eco are as noted for the intriguing philosophical puzzles they present as they are for their inventive literary styles. In their writings, sequences of causality are reversed, individuals switch identities, and stories of one person mirror those of others. Literary Philosophers brings together a group of distinguished philosophers, literary scholars, and comparativists to explore and debate the relationship between philosophy and literature in the works of these brilliant figures.
Traditionally, comparative literature has focused on the study of influences between texts and it is only recent work that has explored the analogies and affinitiesof historically independent cultures. In this spirit, this paper develops methods for a structured poetic analysis and applies them to a systematic comparison of thepoem “Niǎo Mǐng Jiàn” from the 8th-century Chinese poet Wáng Wéi and the program piece of Paul Celan’s Atemwende: “Du Darfst,” based upon a detailed analysis of their poetics. The analysis and (...) translation reveals how both poems employ words and images as signs without reference, and create dialogical gaps through ambiguity and impersonality. Thus, despite their cultural and historical separation, both poetic texts become “hermetic,” and both poets apply the “hermetic” as a method of inquiry into truth, a truth that cannot be simply pronounced, but needs to be cowitnessed, or heard in silence. It is through this meaningful “silence” that their poetry invites readers and translators all the more perceptively to engage in meaningful conversations. These results entail encouraging perspectives for the question of the limits of translation, especially with regard to east-western studies and for crosscultural comparative literature. Thus, the paper supports Prof. Li Qingben’s and Prof. Guo Jinghua’s claim for a multi-dimensional framework in the study of East-West cultural influences. (shrink)
Introduction -- The muse of paralysis -- Horizon of conquest: Eugene Fromentin's Algerian narratives -- Slow progress: Jean Paulhan and Madagascar -- Frustration: Michel Leiris -- Atopia: Roland Barthes -- The wake of Ulysses.