_On Being in the World_, first published in 1990, illumines a neglected but important area of Wittgenstein’s philosophy, revealing its pertinence to the central concerns of contemporary analytic philosophy. The starting point is the idea of ‘continuous aspect perception’, which connects Wittgenstein’s treatment of certain issues relating to aesthetics with fundamental questions in the philosophy of psychology. Professor Mulhall indicates parallels between Wittgenstein’s interests and Heidegger’s _Being and Time_, demonstrating that Wittgenstein’s investigation of aspect perception is designed to cast light (...) on much more than a bizarre type of visual experience: in reality, it highlights what is distinctively _human _about our behaviour in relation to things in the world, what it is that distinguishes our practical activity from that of automata. On Being in the World remains an invaluable resource for students of Wittgenstein’s philosophy, as well as anyone interested in negotiating the division between analytic and continental philosophy. (shrink)
What does it mean to think of philosophy in the condition of modernism, in which its relation to its past and future has become a relevant problem? This book argues that the writings of Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and Kierkegaard are best understood as responsive (each in their own way) to such questions. Through detailed analysis of these authors' most influential texts, Stephen Mulhall reorients our sense of the philosophical work each text aims to accomplish, engendering a critical dialogue between them from (...) which the elements of a new conception of philosophy might emerge. (shrink)
In this significantly expanded new edition of his acclaimed exploration of the four Alien movies, Stephen Mulhall adds several new chapters on Steven Spielberg’s Mission: Impossible trilogy and Minority Report . The first part of the book discusses the four Alien movies. Mulhall argues that the sexual significance of the aliens themselves, and of Ripley’s resistance to them, takes us deep into the question of what it is to be human. At the heart of the book is a highly original (...) and controversial argument that films themselves can philosophize. Mulhall then applies his interpretative model to another sequence of contemporary Hollywood movies: the Mission: Impossible series. A brand new chapter is devoted to each of the three films in the series, and to other films by the relevant directors that cast light on their individual contribution to it. In this discussion, the nature of television becomes as central a concern as the nature of cinema; and the shift in generic focus from science fiction to thriller also makes room for a detailed reading of Spielberg’s Minority Report . On Film, Second Edition is essential reading for anyone interested in philosophy, film theory and cultural studies, and in the way philosophy can enrich our understanding of cinema. (shrink)
Heidegger is one of the most controversial thinkers of the twentieth century. A difficult and powerful philosopher, his work requires careful reading. _Being and Time_ was his first major book and remains his most influential work. _Heidegger and Being and Time_ introduces and assesses: Heidegger's life and the background of _Being and Time_; the ideas and text of _Being and Time_; Heidegger's importance to philosophy and to the intellectual life of this century. Ideal for anyone coming to Heidegger for the (...) first time, this guide will be vital for all students of Heidegger in philosophy and cultural theory. (shrink)
Stephen Mulhall presents the first full philosophical study of the work of Stanley Cavell. Cavell, a leading contemporary American thinker, is best known for his highly influential contributions to the fields of film studies, Shakespearian literary criticism, and the confluence of psychoanalysis and literary theory; Mulhall examines the broad spectrum of his thought, elucidating its essentially philosophical roots and trajectory.
Stephen Mulhall offers a new way of interpreting one of the most famous and contested texts in modern philosophy: remarks on "private language" in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. He sheds new light on a central controversy concerning Wittgenstein's early work by showing its relevance to a proper understanding of the later work.
Did post-Enlightenment philosophers reject the idea of original sin and hence the view that life is a quest for redemption from it? In Philosophical Myths of the Fall, Stephen Mulhall identifies and evaluates a surprising ethical-religious dimension in the work of three highly influential philosophers--Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Wittgenstein. He asks: Is the Christian idea of humanity as structurally flawed something that these three thinkers aim simply to criticize? Or do they, rather, end up by reproducing secular variants of the same (...) mythology? Mulhall argues that each, in different ways, develops a conception of human beings as in need of redemption: in their work, we appear to be not so much capable of or prone to error and fantasy, but instead structurally perverse, living in untruth. In this respect, their work is more closely aligned to the Christian perspective than to the mainstream of the Enlightenment. However, all three thinkers explicitly reject any religious understanding of human perversity; indeed, they regard the very understanding of human beings as originally sinful as central to that from which we must be redeemed. And yet each also reproduces central elements of that understanding in his own thinking; each recounts his own myth of our Fall, and holds out his own image of redemption. The book concludes by asking whether this indebtedness to religion brings these philosophers' thinking closer to, or instead forces it further away from, the truth of the human condition. (shrink)
_The Routledge Guidebook to Heidegger’s Being and Time_ examines the work of one of the most controversial thinkers of the twentieth century. Heidegger’s writings are notoriously difficult, requiring careful reading. This book analyses his first major publication, _Being and Time_, which to this day remains his most influential work. The Routledge Guidebook to Heidegger’s Being and Time explores: The context of Heidegger’s work and the background to his writing Each separate part of the text in relation to its goals, meanings (...) and impact The reception the book received when first seen by the world The relevance of Heidegger’s work to modern philosophy, its legacy and influence. Following Heidegger’s original work closely, this guidebook examines the two central themes of scepticism and death. Mulhall skilfully examines the relationship between the book’s two parts, making it essential reading for all students of philosophy, and all those wishing to get to grips with this classic work. (shrink)
Can we talk meaningfully about God? The theological movement known as Grammatical Thomism affirms that religious language is nonsensical, because the reality of God is beyond our capacity for expression. Stephen Mulhall critically evaluates the claims of this movement to be a legitimate inheritor of Wittgenstein's philosophical methods as well as Aquinas's theological project. The major obstacle to this claim is that Grammatical Thomism makes the nonsensicality of religious language when applied to God a touchstone of Thomist insight, whereas 'nonsense' (...) is standardly taken to be solely a term of criticism in Wittgenstein's work. Mulhall argues that a place can be found in both his early work and his later writings for a more positive role to be assigned to nonsensical utterances--one which depends on exploiting an analogy between religious language and riddles. This allows us to see various ways in which his later work has a perfectionist dimension, and results in a radical reconception of the role of analogous usage in language, and in the relation between philosophy and theology. (shrink)
By entitling her recent collection of essays on philosophy and literature Love's Knowledge , Martha Nussbaum signals her commitment to giving a positive answer to the question posed by the title of this paper. If love can deliver or lay claim to knowledge, then moods must be thought of as having a cognitive significance, and so must not only permit but require the attentions of the epistemologist. As Nussbaum points out, such a conclusion runs counter to a central strand of (...) thinking in both ancient and modern philosophy. The rational or cognitive side of human nature is often defined in contrast to its affective or emotional side, the latter being understood as having no role to play in the revelation of reality. On the contrary, where reason and the senses can combine to disclose the way things are, moods typically cloud that cognitive access by projecting a purely subjective colouration onto the world and leading us to attribute properties or qualities to it which have at best a purely personal and internal reality. (shrink)
Stephen Mulhall presents a series of multiply interrelated essays which explore the idea of selfhood as a matter of non-self-identity: for example, as becoming or self-overcoming, or as being doubled or divided. He draws on Nietzsche, Sartre, and Wittgenstein, but also on works of opera, cinema, and fiction.
Introduction: discursive conditions -- Language, philosophy, and sophistry -- Contributions to a conversation about the conversation of humanity: Heidegger and Gadamer, Oakeshott and Rorty -- Lectures and letters as conversation: Cavell as educator in Cities of words -- Conclusion: redeeming words.
Abstract This paper examines a number of ways in which Wittgenstein's later philosophical method has been appropriated for moral philosophy. The work of Paul Johnston, Sabina Lovibond and Cora Diamond is discussed in relation to the following questions. Is there a sustainable distinction between ethics and meta-ethics (in the form, say, of distinctively ethical language games and grammatical reminders about them)? What role does the imagination, and hence the domain of literature, play in ethical understanding? How far does ethical discourse (...) presuppose, and hence find itself constrained by, the shared natural reactions of a specific culture or form of life? (shrink)
The view that matters of fact and matters of value are categorically distinct, and that any credible account of ethics must begin from an acknowledgement of that distinction, has been a constant topic of debate in analytical moral philosophy throughout the twentieth century. It is not, however, as simple as it may at first appear to establish an uncontroversial articulation of the view under discussion, because in the course of the debate's evolution that view has been defined in a number (...) of very different and not obviously equivalent ways. (shrink)
Nathan Andersen 'Is Film the Alien Other to Philosophy?: Philosophy *as* Film in Mulhall's _On Film_' _Film-Philosophy_, vol. 7 no. 23, August 2003 Julian Baggini 'Alien Ways of Thinking: Mulhall's _On Film_' _Film-Philosophy_, vol. 7 no. 24, August 2003.
This article compares Wittgenstein and Heidegger with respect to three inter-related issues: 1) The relation between their use of equimental metaphors and the role of the concept of seeing-as in their visions of the human relation to the world. 2) Their linking the correct method in philosophy to establishing an appropriate relationship to the ordinary or the everyday. 2) Their status as representatives of what Stanley Cavell has called the tradition of Moral Perfectionism, as manifest in the spiritual goals they (...) see for their writing and its intended effect upon their readers. (shrink)
This paper critically evaluates the work of Charles Taylor and Alasdair MacIntyre by comparing their understanding of the narrative structure of selfhood with paradigms derived from three other sources: Heidegger’s conception of human being as Dasein; Rowan Williams’ interpretation of Dostoevsky’s theology of narrative; and Kierkegaard’s project of reading the Old Testament narrative of Abraham and Isaac as part of the Christian God’s autobiography. These comparisons suggest that Taylor and MacIntyre’s own narratives of Western culture lack a certain, theologically required (...) openness to a variety of specific ways in which both individuality and history resist understanding in narrative terms as much as they demand it. (shrink)
My title is intended to invoke at least two primary reference points or associations. The first, and most obvious, is a question that is very often assumed to be exemplary of the kind of bewildering puzzles that philosophers are distinctively preoccupied with – the question ‘why is there something rather than nothing?’ The second is perhaps less easy to identify. A set of lectures delivered by Heidegger in the short period between his restoration to the academic life after the Second (...) World War and his final retirement from it was published under the title ‘Wass Heisst Denken?’ Its English translation was given the title ‘What is Called Thinking?’; and if that title does not explicitly carry the same layers of significance evident in the German original, the concept of a ‘call’ at least keeps open the possibility of recovering many of them. For when Heidegger asks ‘what is called thinking?’, he means to imply, first, that not everything which gets called thinking really merits that honorific label; second, that it is therefore worth thinking about what form of human activity or passivity would really call for the use of that term; third, that this in turn will involve thinking about what, in our present and conceivable forms of inhabiting the world, really calls out for or provokes such a thoughtful response; and fourth that we will thereby find ourselves thinking about whether, and if so how and why, genuine thoughtfulness can find a home in the university, and thereby a place in the broader economy of a culture – whether anything recoverable from the venerable traditions of philosophy in the name of thinking might still be something for which any university, and any human cultural form, can see any call for. (shrink)
Tom Phillips' painting for the dustjacket of the hardback edition of Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals depicts a faintly translucent, darkly-coloured, multi-layered lattice of letters, in which each character abuts directly upon others above, below and beside it, each overwrites or is overwritten by others of varying dimensions, but none is immediately decipherable as part of a word; and at the centre of this array is a geometrically precise, illuminated circle—perhaps emanating from a light located behind or under the (...) layers of letters, perhaps from one directed at them from above. This image is open to many interpretations. It could represent the sun from Plato's myth of the cave shining through the dialogue in which he presents it ; it could also represent the light of Miss Murdoch's attention playing over the palimpsest of texts that make up the Western tradition of metaphysical thought. But for anyone encountering it upon closing the book after a first reading, it may also seem very precisely to crystallize one's initial impression of that text. (shrink)