Goethe and Wittgenstein -- Criticism without theory -- Wittgenstein's romantic inheritance -- Arnold and the socratic personality -- The dissolution of goodness : measure for measure and classical ethics -- Lamarque and Olsen on literature and truth -- The definition of 'art' -- Poetry and abstraction -- Larkin's 'Aubade'.
This volume brings together Nussbaum's published papers on the relationship between literature and philosophy, especially moral philosophy. The papers, many of them previously inaccessible to non-specialist readers, explore such fundamental issues as the relationship between style and content in the exploration of ethical issues; the nature of ethical attention and ethical knowledge and their relationship to written forms and styles; and the role of the emotions in deliberation and self-knowledge. Nussbaum investigates and defends a conception of ethical (...) understanding which involves emotional as well as intellectual activity, and which gives a certain type of priority to the perception of particular people and situations rather than to abstract rules. She argues that this ethical conception cannot be completely and appropriately stated without turning to forms of writing usually considered literary rather than philosophical. It is consequently necessary to broaden our conception of moral philosophy in order to include these forms. Featuring two new essays and revised versions of several previously published essays, this collection attempts to articulate the relationship, within such a broader ethical inquiry, between literary and more abstractly theoretical elements. (shrink)
German classicist's monumental study of the origins of European thought in Greek literature and philosophy. Brilliant, widely influential. Includes "Homer's View of Man," "The Olympian Gods," "The Rise of the Individual in the Early Greek Lyric," "Pindar's Hymn to Zeus," "Myth and Reality in Greek Tragedy," and "Aristophanes and Aesthetic Criticism.".
A collection of the author's most influential essays and short works includes her critique of existentialism, her two dialogues on art and religion, key texts on the continuing importance of the sublime, the concept of love, and more.
Being in Time is a provocative and accessible essay on the fragmentation of the self as explored in philosophy and literature. This original study is unique in its focus on the literary aspects of philosophical writing and their interactions with philosophical content. It explores the emotional aspects of the human experience of time commonly neglected in philosophical investigation by looking at how narrative creates and treats the experience of the self as fragmented and the past as "lost." Genevieve (...) Lloyd demonstrates the continuities and the contrasts between modern philosophic discussions of the instability of the knowing subject, treatments of the fragmentation of the self in the modern novel, and older philosophical discussions of the unity of consciousness. Combining theoretical discussion with human experience, Being in Time will be important reading to anyone interested in the relationship between philosophy and literature, as well as to more general audience of readers who share Augustine's experience of time as making him a "problem to himself.". (shrink)
This essay demonstrates that in his 1999–2000 Death Penalty Seminar Jacques Derrida pursues the deconstruction of political theology that he had been pursuing in a more or less explicit fashion for more than two decades. Derrida's interest in the theme of the death penalty can be traced back in large part, it is argued, to the theological and essentially Judeo-Christian origins that Derrida finds in discourses both for and against the death penalty. This emphasis on the theological origins of the (...) death penalty helps explain why Derrida spends much more time questioning the principles, rhetoric, and images of abolitionist discourses than pro–death penalty discourses. For Derrida, this essay concludes, a critique or deconstruction of discourses surrounding the death penalty is never more critical than in a putatively postreligious, secular age. In the end, Derrida hopes to provide what may be the very first philosophical abolitionist discourse, one that argues against the death penalty without relying on the language, tropes, symbols, and images of Judeo-Christian theology. (shrink)
Plato's rhetorical gesture invoking a 'quarrel' between philosophy and poetry points to a deep problem in our conception of rational discourse, often obscured or displaced in the history of philosophy's relations with imaginative literature, especially with respect to analytic philosophy in the first half of the twentieth century. Recent developments have helped focus attention on the overlap between philosophy and literature, which the contemporary retreat from philosophy's 'narrative turn' does little to undermine. Further (...) work in the philosophy of language, the logic of the imagination, and the relations between dialectic and rhetoric promise to throw light on that ancient problem. (shrink)
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)
What is philosophy and literature? It is (or at least ought to be) a truth universally acknowledged that this is a question to which there are no easy answers. Does philosophy and literature constitute a subdiscipline of philosophy, as logic, epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of science, and even philosophy of religion do? Alternatively: ought it constitute a subdiscipline of philosophy if it does not already do so? What is the nature of the (...) relationship between philosophy and literature and literary and philosophical studies? Where might its limits be located? These are some of the important questions that intellectuals who have worked in this field from its inception have sought to address. The answers yielded thus far by their combined efforts, however, have been unsatisfying. The purpose of this essay therefore is to attempt to shed further light on the nature of the field of philosophy and literature and its limits, with the accompanying hope that, as philosophy and literature gains in coherence, rigor, and organization, its credibility as a field will be raised in some modest measure among my philosophical colleagues. (shrink)
How best to introduce philosophical ideas? Is the best and only way by studying the history of philosophy and its rational arguments and discussions? But can literature, usually hived off from philosophy, be used instead and can this be as effective as rational argument? This paper explores these questions. First it considers a text which introduces philosophy through the analysis of literature, in particular James Joyce's 'Araby', arguing that the traditional analytic approach employed by the (...) text, by concentrating on epistemology, obscures other philosophical insights offered by Joyce. It then turns to French philosophy and literature and suggests that Sartre, Beauvoir and Camus by 'blurring' the analytic distinction between philosophy and literature have much to offer to the grasping and understanding of philosophical ideas and principles. (shrink)
According to what I call the ‘Discontinuity Thesis’, literature can never count as genuine philosophizing: there is an impermeable barrier separating it from philosophy. While philosophy presents logically valid arguments in favor of or against precisely formulated statements, literature gives neither precisely formulated theses nor arguments in favor of or against them. Hence, philosophers don’t lose out on anything if they don’t read literature. There are two obvious ways of questioning the Discontinuity Thesis. First, arguing (...) that literature can indeed do what philosophy is generally taken to do. Second, arguing that philosophy is not, in fact, the presentation of logically valid arguments in favor or against precisely formulated statements – what it does is closer to what literature is generally taken to do. I use a combination of these two strategies and argue that philosophy is not as intellectually straightforward as it is advertized to be and literature is not as intellectually impoverished as it is generally taken to be. (shrink)
This article reviews a number of recent books and practices that address a renewed interest in the role that philosophy might play in the living of a rich and fulfilling life. The review looks at books addressed to the general public as well as books which discuss such classical and Hellenistic philosophers as took their task to be helping people achieve happiness in life. It then turns to contemporary studies of the self and of wisdom and turns finally to (...) some newly emerging philosophical practices such as philosophical counselling and philosophical discussion groups of various kinds in order to explore whether philosophy can still be a source of consolation or guidance in contemporary life. (shrink)
It is quite clear to me that there is nothing presently available to rival this book." —Wlad Godzich, University of Geneva "Hamacher's Premises is the heir and successor to the most important theoretical and critical work done in American ...
Language and imagination play a prominent role in Merleau-Ponty’s early reflections on literature. The “literary use of language” is opposed to usual or ordinary language, and it is also assigned the task of rejuvenating the latter. Merleau-Ponty is here openly inspired by Saussure and more secretly by Bergson. Poetic language is said to effect a coherent deformation of a linguistic code and to liberate signifiers from their subordination under a subjective meaning that directly refers to external objects. Literature (...) also illustrates, in exemplary fashion, the creative power of imagination and the effective force of fictions. This is where the discussion with Sartre comes into the picture. The article explores, in particular, what personal identity and the meaning of real facts owe not only to language but also to the imagination of possibilities. It further investigates the different notions of truth that apply to literary works of art. Literature is also shown to undermine the conception of the relation between fact and meaning, actuality and possibility, reality and fiction, truth and semblance in terms of dual oppositions. Most importantly, literary fictions and narratives can make a real change in the life of writers and readers by unfolding their unrealized personal potentialities, by refining their emotional sensibility, and by distancing them from themselves. In all this, an imaginative mode of ‘projection’ plays a central role. Le langage et l’imagination jouent un rôle de premier plan dans les réflexions de Merleau-Ponty sur la littérature. « L’usage littéraire du langage » est opposé au langage usuel ou ordinaire, et la tâche lui est également dévolue de rajeunir ce dernier. Merleau-Ponty s’inspire ouvertement de Saussure et plus secrètement de Bergson. Le langage poétique est dit effectuer une déformation cohérente du code linguistique et libérer les signifiants de leur subordination à une signification subjective qui réfère directement aux objets externes. La littérature illustre également, de manière exemplaire, la puissance créatrice de l’imagination et la force effective de la fiction. Ici la discussion avec Sartre entre en jeu. Mon article explore en particulier ce que l’identité personnelle et la signification des faits réels doit non seulement au langage, mais également à l’imagination des possibilités. Il discute également les différentes notions de vérité qui s’appliquent aux oeuvres d’art littéraires. Je montre aussi que la littérature empêche de concevoir comme des oppositions duelles les relations entre fait et signification, actualité et possibilité, réalité et fiction, vérité et vraisemblance. Par dessus tout, les fictions et narrations littéraires peuvent provoquer de réels changements dans la vie des écrivains et des lecteurs en déployant leurs potentialités personnelles non réalisées, en affinant leur sensibilité émotionnelle et en se distanciant d’eux-mêmes. Dans tout cela, le mode imaginatif de la projection joue un rôle central.Linguaggio e immaginazione rivestono un ruolo centrale nelle prime riflessioni di Merleau-Ponty sulla letteratura. L’“uso letterario del linguaggio” viene opposto al linguaggio ordinario o quotidiano e al primo viene inoltre assegnato l’incarico di rinnovare il secondo; in questo, Merleau-Ponty si ispira apertamente a Saussure e, in modo meno manifesto, a Bergson. Il linguaggio poetico è ritenuto in grado di imprimere una deformazione coerente a un determinato codice linguistico e di liberare i significanti dalla loro subordinazione a un significato soggettivo che si riferisce direttamente a oggetti esterni. La letteratura, inoltre, illustra in modo esemplare il potere creativo dell’immaginazione e la forza effettiva della finzione letteraria. È qui che entra in gioco la discussione con Sartre. Questo articolo esplora, in particolare, ciò che l’identità personale e il significato dei fatti reali debba non solamente al linguaggio, ma anche all’immaginazione delle possibilità; indaga inoltre le diverse nozioni di verità che possono essere applicate all’opera d’arte letteraria. L’articolo mostra poi come la letteratura possa mettere in discussione il carattere di opposizione binaria della relazione tra fatto e significato, attualità e possibilità, realtà e finzione, verità e verisimiglianza. In maniera significativa, le finzioni e le narrazioni letterarie possono cambiare la vita di scrittori e lettori svelando le loro potenzialità personali irrealizzate, raffinando la loro sensibilità emotiva e ponendoli a distanza da se stessi. In tutto questo, una modalità immaginativa di “proiezione” svolge un ruolo di primaria importanza. (shrink)
Gerald Dworkin's influential account of Personal Autonomy offers the following two conditions for autonomy: Authenticity - the condition that one identify with one's beliefs, desires and values after a process of critical reflection, and Procedural Independence - the identification in must not be "influenced in ways which make the process of identification in some way alien to the individual" . I argue in this thesis that there are cases which fulfil both of Dworkin's conditions, yet are clearly not cases of (...) autonomy. Specifically, I argue that we can best assess the adequacy of Dworkin's account of autonomy through literature, because it provides a unique medium for testing his account on the very terms he sets up for himself - ie. that autonomy apply to, and make sense of, persons leading lives of a certain quality. The examination of two novels - Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day and Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady - shows that Dworkin's explanation of identification and critical reflection is inadequate for capturing their role in autonomy and that he does not pay enough attention to the role of external factors in preventing or supporting autonomy. As an alternative, I offer the following two conditions for autonomy: critical reflection of a certain kind - radical reflection, and the ability to translate the results of into action - competence. The novels demonstrate that both conditions are dependent upon considerations of the content of one's beliefs, desires, values etc. Certain of these will prevent or hinder the achievement of autonomy because of their content, so autonomy must be understood in relation to substantial considerations, rather than in purely formal terms, as Dworkin argues. (shrink)
My writing is simply a set of experiments in life—an endeavour to see what our thought and emotion may be capable of—what stores of motive, actual or hinted as possible, give promise of a better after which we may strive—what gains from past revelations and discipline we must strive to keep hold of as something more than shifting theory. I became more and more timid—with less daring to adopt any formula which does not get itself clothed for me in some (...) human figure and individual experience, and perhaps that is a sign that if I help others to see at all it must be through the medium of art. George Eliot. In his inaugural lecture, given in Birkbeck College in 1987, Roger Scruton, who has done as much as anyone else in recent years to bring the importance of art in general and literature in particular to the attention of philosophers, contends that ‘philosophy severed from literary criticism is as monstrous a thing as literary criticism severed from philosophy’. The first, he argues, aims to be science: strives after theoretical truth which it can never attain; and results in banality clothed in pseudo-scientific technicalities: while the second is liable to find consolation in the kind of nonsense which pretends that in the study of literature we are confronted with nothing other than an author-less, unreadable, ‘text’. Philosophy, he maintains, ‘must return aesthetics to the place that Kant and Hegel made for it: a place at the centre of the subject, the paradigm of philosophy and the true test of all its claims’. (shrink)
This is an original reading of Mikhail Bakhtin in the context of Western philosophical traditions and counter-traditions. The book portrays Bakhtin as a Modernist thinker torn between an ideological secularity and a profound religious sensibility, invariably concerned with questions of ethics and impelled to turn from philosophy to literature as another way of knowing. Most major studies of Bakhtin highlight the fragmented and apparently discontinuous nature of his work. Erdinast-Vulcan emphasizes, instead, the underlying coherence of the Bakhtinian project, (...) reading its inherent ambivalences as an intersection of philosophical, literary, and psychological insights into the dynamics of embodied subjectivity. Bakhtin's turn to literature and poetry, as well as the dissatisfactions that motivated it, align him with three other "exilic" Continental philosophers who were his contemporaries: Bergson, Merleau-Ponty, and Levinas. Adopting Bakhtin's own open-ended approach to the human sciences, the book stages a series of philosophical encounters between these thinkers, highlighting their respective itineraries and impasses, and generating a Bakhtinian synergy of ideas. (shrink)
Literature, like the visual arts, poses its own philosophical problems. While literary theorists have discussed the nature of literature intensively, analytic philosophers have usually dealt with literary problems either within the general framework of aesthetics or else in a way that is accessible only to a philosophical audience. The present book is unique in that it introduces the philosophy of literature from an analytic perspective accessible to both students of literature and students of philosophy. (...) Specifically, the book addresses: the definition of literature, the distinction between oral and written literature and the identity of literary works the nature of fiction and our emotional involvement with fictional characters the concept of imagination and its role in the apprehension of literary works theories of metaphor and postmodernist theory on the significance of the authors' intentions to the interpretationof their work an examination of the relevance of thruth and morality to literary appreciation Lucid and well organised and free from jargon, hilosophy of Literature: An Introduction offers fresh approaches to traditional problems and raises new issues in the philosophy of literature. (shrink)