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Profile: William Franke (Vanderbilt University)
  1. William Franke (2014). All or Nothing?--Nature in Chinese Thought and the Apophatic Occident. Comparative Philosophy 5 (2).
    This paper develops an interpretation of nature in classical Chinese culture through dialogue with the work of François Jullien. I understand nature negatively as precisely what never appears as such nor ever can be exactly apprehended and defined. For perception and expression entail inevitably human mediation and cultural transmission by semiotic and hermeneutic means that distort and occult the natural in the full depth of its alterity. My claim is that the largely negative approach to nature that Jullien finds in (...)
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  2. William Franke (2013). Apophasis as the Common Root of Radically Secular and Radically Orthodox Theologies. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 73 (1):57-76.
    On the one hand, we find secularized approaches to theology stemming from the Death of God movement of the 1960s, particularly as pursued by North American religious thinkers such as Thomas J.J. Altizer, Mark C. Taylor, Charles Winquist, Carl Raschke, Robert Scharlemann, and others, who stress that the possibilities for theological discourse are fundamentally altered by the new conditions of our contemporary world. Our world today, in their view, is constituted wholly on a plane of immanence, to such an extent (...)
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  3. William Franke (2012). Apophatic Paths: Modern and Contemporary Poetics and Aesthetics of Nothing. Angelaki 17 (3):7-16.
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  4. William Franke (2012). Dante's Deconstruction and Reconstruction of Prophetic Voice and Vision in the Malebolge (Inferno XVIII–XXIII). Philosophy and Literature 36 (1):111-121.
    By exposing itself as fiction, Dante’s poetry becomes true. Especially the Malebolge stages a relentless self-critique by Dante of his prophetic voice and the presumption of a human poet who imitates divine prophecy through merely human counterfeits. This self-deconstruction opens the poem to being informed from above and beyond itself by an authority not its own: divine grace can work the revelation of truth directly within interpretive acts of readers focused on the “doctrine hiding beneath the veil of the strange (...)
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  5. William Franke (2012). The Place of the Proper Name in the Topographies of the Paradiso. Speculum 87 (4):1089-1124.
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  6. William Franke (2011). Involved Knowing: On the Poetic Epistemology of the Humanities. The European Legacy 16 (4):447 - 467.
    The humanities represent a type of knowledge distinct from, and yet encompassing, scientific knowledge. Drawing on philosophical hermeneutics in the tradition of the Geisteswissenschaften, as well as on the Latin rhetorical tradition and on Greek paideia, this essay presents humanities knowledge as "involved knowing." Science, in principle, abstracts from the subjective, psychological conditions of knowing, including its emotional and willful determinants, as introducing personal biases, and it attempts also to neutralize historical and cultural contingencies. Humanities knowledge, in contrast, focuses attention (...)
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  7. William Franke (2011). On Doing the Truth in Time: The Aeneid's Invention of Poetic Prophecy. Arion 19 (1):53-63.
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  8. William Franke (2010). On the Poetic Truth That is Higher Than History. International Philosophical Quarterly 50 (4):415-430.
    Porphyry‘s “On the Cave of the Nymphs” inaugurates a style of philosophicoallegorical interpretation of literary texts that flourished in antiquity and finds analogues in criticism down to the present. It is distinguished by its use of literary interpretation to think through speculative problems of philosophy and theology. Although it became suspect in terms of Enlightenment philological principles prescribing interpretation of the text “on its own terms,” this kind of criticism reveals the originally philosophical motives and purpose of literary criticism and (...)
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  9. William Franke (2009). Dante's Inferno as Poetic Revelation of Prophetic Truth. Philosophy and Literature 33 (2):pp. 252-266.
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  10. William Franke (2008). Equivocations of “Metaphysics”. Philosophy and Theology 20 (1/2):29-52.
    Western intellectual tradition is brought to focus through the lens of Dante’s Comedia around the idea of the identity of being and intellect. All reality is dependent on God as pure Being, pure actuality of self-awareness (“thought thinking itself ”); everything else is or,equivalently, has form by its participation in this Being which is Intellect. The human soul can experience itself as divine by realizing this identity of Being with Intellect through its own being refined to pure intellect and form. (...)
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  11. William Franke (2008). Poetry and Apocalypse: Theological Disclosures of Poetic Language. Stanford University Press.
    Poetry and Apocalypse provides a theological reading of poetic language in the Christian epic tradition from the Bible and Dante to James Joyce and furnishes a critical negative theology of poetic language.
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  12. William Franke (2007). Hermeneutics, Historicity, and Poetry as Theological Revelation in Dante's Divine Comedy. In Jan Lloyd Jones (ed.), Art and Time. Australian Scholarly Publishing. 39.
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  13. William Franke (2006). Apophasis and the Turn of Philosophy to Religion: From Neoplatonic Negative Theology to Postmodern Negation of Theology. [REVIEW] International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 60 (1/3):61 - 76.
    This essay represents part of an effort to rewrite the history metaphysics in terms of what philosophy never said, nor could say. It works from the Neoplatonic commentary tradition on Plato's Parmenides as the matrix for a distinctively apophatic thinking that takes the truth of metaphysical doctrines as something other than anything that can be logically articulated. It focuses on Damascius in the 5—6th century AD as the culmination of this tradition in the ancient world and emphasizes that Neoplatonism represents (...)
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  14. William Franke (2006). Praising the Unsayable. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 11 (1):141-171.
    This essay represents a contribution to rewriting the history metaphysics in terms of what philosophy never said, nor could say. It works from the Neoplatonic commentary tradition on Plato’s Parmenides as the matrix for a distinctively apophatic thinking that takes the truth of metaphysical doctrines as something other than anything that can be logically articulated. The hymn is taken to epitomize the kind of discourse that arises in the wake of apophatic negation and witnesses to what the Logos cannot say. (...)
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  15. William Franke (2005). Varieties and Valences of Unsayability. Philosophy and Literature 29 (2):489-497.
    Examples of unsayability of the most disparate sorts are cited from literature (Shakespeare, Melville, James, Aeschylus, and others) in order to suggest the uncircumscribable diversity of motives for unsayability. The question is whether they all have anything in common. When something cannot be said because of politeness or obscenity or deceit or strategy, does this have anything to do with the metaphysical motives for unsayability? These things are not per se unsayable but only conditionally so, under certain circumstances. The problem (...)
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  16. William Franke (2005). Virgil, History, and Prophecy. Philosophy and Literature 29 (1):73-88.
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  17. William Franke (2004). Of the Ineffable: Aporetics of the Notion of an Absolute Principle. Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics 12 (1):19-40.
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  18. William Franke (2001). Warren Ginsberg, Dante's Aesthetics of Being. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press, 1999. Pp. Xv, 175. $42.50. [REVIEW] Speculum 76 (3):727-729.
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  19. William Franke (2000). Apocalypse and the Breaking-Open of Dialogue: A Negatively Theological Perspective. [REVIEW] International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 47 (2):65-86.
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  20. William Franke (2000). Metaphor and the Making of Sense: The Contemporary Metaphor Renaissance. Philosophy and Rhetoric 33 (2):137-153.
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  21. William Franke (1998). Psychoanalysis as a Hermeneutics of the Subject: Freud, Ricoeur, Lacan. Dialogue 37 (01):65-.