A Pitch of Philosophy

autobiographical exercises

A Pitch of Philosophy


Constellations of a Contemporary Romanticism

Constellations of a Contemporary Romanticism

Constellations of a Contemporary Romanticism takes its title and point of departure from Walter Benjamin’s concept of the historical constellation, which puts both “contemporary” and “romanticism” in play as period designations and critical paradigms. Featuring fascinating and diverse contributions by an international roster of distinguished scholars working in and out of romanticism—from deconstruction to new historicism, from queer theory to postcolonial studies, from visual culture to biopolitics—this volume makes good on a central tenet of Benjamin’s conception of history: These critics “grasp the constellation” into which our “own era has formed with a definite earlier one.” Each of these essays approaches romanticism as a decisive and unexpired thought experiment that makes demands on and poses questions for our own time: What is the unlived of a contemporary romanticism? What has romanticism’s singular untimeliness bequeathed to futurity? What is romanticism’s contemporary “redemption value” for painting and politics, philosophy and film?

Emerson's English Traits and the Natural History of Metaphor

Emerson's English Traits and the Natural History of Metaphor

Metaphors are ubiquitous and yet-or, for that very reason-go largely unseen. We are all variously susceptible to a blindness or blurry vision of metaphors; yet even when they are seen clearly, we are left to situate the ambiguities, conflations and contradictions they regularly present-logically, aesthetically and morally. David LaRocca's book serves as a set of 'reminders' of certain features of the natural history of our language-especially the tropes that permeate and define it. As part of his investigation, LaRocca turns to Ralph Waldo Emerson's only book on a single topic, English Traits (1856), which teems with genealogical and generative metaphors-blood, birth, plants, parents, family, names and race. In the first book-length study of English Traits in over half a century, LaRocca considers the presence of metaphors in Emerson's fertile text-a unique work in his expansive corpus, and one that is regularly overlooked. As metaphors are encountered in Emerson's book, and drawn from a long history of usage in work by others, a reader may realize (or remember) what is inherent and encoded in our language, but rarely seen: how metaphors circulate in speech and through texts to become the lifeblood of thought.

Stanley Cavell and the Education of Grownups

Stanley Cavell and the Education of Grownups

What could it mean to speak of philosophy as "the education of grownups"? This book takes Stanley Cavell's much-quoted, yet enigmatic phrase as the provocation for a series of explorations into themes of education that run throughout his work - through his response to Wittgenstein, Austin and ordinary language philosophy, through his readings of Thoreau and of the moral perfectionism he identifies with Emerson, through his discussions of literature and film. Hilary Putnam has described Cavell not only as one of the most creative thinkers of today but as amongst the few contemporary philosophers to explore the territory of philosophy as education. Yet in mainstream philosophy his work is apt to be referred to rather than engaged with, and the full import of his writings for education is still to be appreciated. Cavell engages in a sustained exploration of the nature of philosophy, and this is not separable from his preoccupation with what it is to teach and to learn, with the kinds of transformation these might imply, and with the significance of these things for our language and politics, for our lives as a whole. In recent years Cavell's work has been the subject of a number of books of essays, but this is the first to address directly the importance of education in his work. Such matters cannot fail to be of significance not only for the disciplinary fields of philosophy and education, but in politics, literature, and film studies - and in the humanities as a whole. A substantial introduction provides an overview of the philosophical purchase of questions of education in his work, while the essays are framed by two new pieces by Cavell himself. The book shows what it means to read Cavell, and simultaneously what it means to read philosophically, in itself a part of our education as grownups.

Stanley Cavell's American Dream

Shakespeare, Philosophy, and Hollywood Movies

Stanley Cavell's American Dream

This book states that, after Cavell's celebrated reading of 'King Lear' turned into a nightmarish meditation on Vietnam, he found a more audible voice. Here, the poetry of ideas and presence of mind that animate Cavell's writing receive readings attuned to the spirit of their composition and its enlivening powers.

The Death of Philosophy

Reference and Self-reference in Contemporary Thought

The Death of Philosophy

Philosophers debate the death of philosophy as much as they debate the death of God. Kant claimed responsibility for both philosophy's beginning and end, while Heidegger argued it concluded with Nietzsche. In the twentieth century, figures as diverse as John Austin and Richard Rorty have proclaimed philosophy's end, with some even calling for the advent of "postphilosophy." In an effort to make sense of these conflicting positions which often say as much about the philosopher as his subject Isabelle Thomas-Fogiel undertakes the first systematic treatment of "the end of philosophy," while also recasting the history of western thought itself. Thomas-Fogiel begins with postphilosophical claims such as scientism, which she reveals to be self-refuting, for they subsume philosophy into the branches of the natural sciences. She discovers similar issues in Rorty's skepticism and strands of continental thought. Revisiting the work of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century philosophers, when the split between analytical and continental philosophy began, Thomas-Fogiel finds both traditions followed the same path the road of reference which ultimately led to self-contradiction. This phenomenon, whether valorized or condemned, has been understood as the death of philosophy. Tracing this pattern from Quine to Rorty, from Heidegger to Levinas and Habermas, Thomas-Fogiel reveals the self-contradiction at the core of their claims while also carving an alternative path through self-reference. Trained under the French philosopher Bernard Bourgeois, she remakes philosophy in exciting new ways for the twenty-first century.

Fackenheim's Jewish Philosophy

An Introduction

Fackenheim's Jewish Philosophy

Emil L. Fackenheim, one of the most significant Jewish thinkers of the twentieth century, is best known for his deep and rich engagement with the implications of the Nazi Holocaust on Jewish thought, Christian theology, and philosophy. However, his career as a philosopher and theologian began two decades prior to his first efforts to confront that horrific event. In this book, renowned Fackenheim expert Michael L. Morgan offers the first examination of the full scope of Fackenheim’s 60-year career, beyond simply his work on the Holocaust. Fackenheim’s Jewish Philosophy explores the most important themes of Fackenheim’s philosophical and religious thought and how these remained central, if not always in immutable ways, over his entire career. Morgan also provides insight into Fackenheim’s indebtedness to Kant, Hegel, and rabbinic midrash, as well as the changing character of his philosophical “voice.” The work concludes with a chapter evaluating Fackenheim’s legacy for present and future Jewish philosophy and philosophy more generally.

Sounding the Abyss

Readings Between Cavell and Derrida

Sounding the Abyss

Sounding the Abyss achieves an analysis that extends Cavell's already rich range of work into surprising new directions in postcolonialism, multiculturalism, and general cultural criticism. The work never strays from its concern with reassessing the divide between philosophy's analytic and Continental factions.

Encyclopedia of Educational Theory and Philosophy

Encyclopedia of Educational Theory and Philosophy

Education is a field sometimes beset by theories-of-the-day and with easy panaceas that overpromise the degree to which they can alleviate pressing educational problems. The two-volume Encyclopedia of Educational Theory and Philosophy introduces readers to theories that have stood the test of time and those that have provided the historical foundation for the best of contemporary educational theory and practice. Drawing together a team of international scholars, this invaluable reference examines the global landscape of all the key theories and the theorists behind them and presents them in the context needed to understand their strengths and weaknesses. In addition to interpretations of long-established theories, this work offers essays on cutting-edge research and concise, to-the-point definitions of key concepts, ideas, schools, and figures. Features: Over 300 signed entries by trusted experts in the field are organized into two volumes and overseen by a distinguished General Editor and an international Editorial Board. Entries are followed by cross references and further reading suggestions. A Chronology of Theory within the field of education highlights developments over the centuries; a Reader’s Guide groups entries thematically, and a master Bibliography facilitates further study. The Reader’s Guide, detailed index, and cross references combine for strong search-and-browse capabilities in the electronic version. Available in a choice of print or electronic formats, Encyclopedia of Educational Theory and Philosophy is an ideal reference for anyone interested in the roots of contemporary educational theory.

Encountering Religion

Responsibility and Criticism After Secularism

Encountering Religion

Tyler Roberts encourages scholars to abandon rigid conceptual oppositions between "secular" and "religious" to better understand how human beings actively and thoughtfully engage with their worlds and make meaning. The artificial distinction between a self-conscious and critical "academic study of religion" and an ideological and authoritarian "religion," he argues, only obscures the phenomenon. Instead, Roberts calls on intellectuals to approach the field as a site of "encounter" and "response," illuminating the agency, creativity, and critical awareness of religious actors. To respond to religion is to ask what religious behaviors and representations mean to us in our individual worlds, and scholars must confront questions of possibility and becoming that arise from testing their beliefs, imperatives, and practices. Roberts refers to the work of Hent de Vries, Eric Santner, and Stanley Cavell, each of whom exemplifies encounter and response in their writings as they traverse philosophy and religion to expose secular thinking to religious thought and practice. This approach highlights the resources religious discourse can offer to a fundamental reorientation of critical thought. In humanistic criticism after secularism, the lines separating the creative, the pious, and the critical themselves become the subject of question and experimentation.