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As a playwright, novelist, political theorist, literary critic and philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre remains an iconic figure. This book examines his philosophical ideas and methods. As an introductory guide for the reader who wishes to understand Sartres philosophical argumentation, it reconstructs in plain language key instances of Sartres philosophical reasoning at work and shows how certain questions arise for Sartre and what philosophical tools he uses to address those questions. Readers are able to get a real understanding of Sartres approach to the activity of philosophizing and how his method favours certain types of philosophical analysis. Each chapter considers a range of issues in the Sartrean corpus, including intentionality, perception, emotion, imagination, being, existence and essence, which are also topics of concern to contemporary philosophical inquiry. In this way, Hatzimoysis is able to show how the Sartrean approach can advance our understanding of the current debates surrounding those issues.
The Philosophy of Heidegger is a readable and reliable overview of Heideggers thought, suitable both for beginning and advanced students. Strikingly free from jargon, with many illustrations and concrete examples, the book provides a very accessible introduction to key Heideggerian notions, such as thrownness, the clearing, authenticity, falling, moods, nullity, temporality, Ereignis, enframing, dwelling and Gelassenheit. Organized under clear headings, Watts exposition avoids complicated involvement with the secondary literature, or with wider philosophical debates, which gives his writing a fresh, immediate character. Ranging widely across Heideggers numerous writings, the book displays an impressively thorough knowledge of his corpus, navigating the difficult relationship between earlier and later Heidegger texts, and giving the reader a strong sense of the fundamental motives and overall continuity of Heideggers thought. With a comprehensive glossary of Heideggerian terms, the book will be an asset for any student grappling with Heidegger's challenging work.
As the founding father of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl has been hugely influential in the development of contemporary continental philosophy. Burt Hopkins's new book is a significant and important work of fresh interpretation and synthesis of the whole of Husserl's phenomenology as it is presented in the published corpus that will be required reading for all students and scholars of phenomenology. The first part of the book explores his early investigations into the formation of mathematical and logical concepts in our cognitive life, which sparked the development of his method of "descriptive psychology". In Part 2 Hopkins investigates his Cartesian formulation of conceiving phenomenology as an attempt to overcome deficiencies in both empiricism and rationalism. Part 3 discusses Husserl's analysis of temporal experience and his consideration of the historical aspects of cultural formation to arrive at a mature formulation of transcendental phenomenology. By following Husserl's own personal trajectory in this way and his own attempts at explaining his approach, Hopkins is able to show the unity of Husserl's philosophical enterprise from beginning to end. Hopkins situates Husserl's salient discoveries in relation to traditional philosophy, in particular to the beginnings of ancient Greek and modern philosophy, and shows how Husserl's influential critics Heidegger and Derrida have misinterpreted Husserl's project.
Giorgio Agamben has gained widespread popularity in recent years for his rethinking of radical politics and his approach to meta-physics and language. However, the extraordinary breadth of historical, legal and philosophical sources which contribute to the complexity and depth of Agambens thinking can also make his work intimidating. Covering the full range of Agambens work, this critical introduction outlines Agambens key concerns: metaphysics, language and potentiality, aesthetics and poetics, sovereignty, law and biopolitics, ethics and testimony, and his powerful vision of completed humanity. Highlighting the novelty of Agambens approach while also situating it in relation to the work of other continental thinkers, The Philosophy of Agamben presents a clear and engaging introduction to the work of this original and influential thinker.
Few philosophers can induce as much puzzlement among students as Hegel. His works are notoriously dense and make very few concessions for a readership unfamiliar with his systematic view of the world. Allen Speights introduction to Hegels philosophy takes a chronological perspective on the development of Hegels system. In this way some of the most important questions in Hegelian scholarship are illuminated by examining in their respective contexts works such as the Phenomenology and the Logic. Speight begins with the young Hegel and his writings prior to the Phenomenology focusing on the notion of positivity and how Hegels social, economic and religious concerns became linked to systematic and logical ones. He then examines the Phenomenology in detail, including its treatment of scepticism, the problem of immediacy, the transition from consciousness to self-consciousness, and the emergence of the social and historical category of Spirit. The following chapters explore the Logic, paying particular attention to a number of vexed issues associated with Hegels claims to systematicity and the relation between the categories of Hegels logic and nature or spirit (Geist). The final chapters discuss Hegels ethical and political thought and the three elements of his notion of absolute spirit: art, religion and philosophy, as well as the importance of history to his philosophical approach as a whole.
For more than forty years Jacques Derrida unsettled and disturbed the presumptions underlying many of our most fundamental philosophical, political, and ethical conventions. In The Philosophy of Derrida, Mark Dooley and Liam Kavanagh examine Derridas large body of work to provide a succinct overview of his core philosophical ideas and a balanced appraisal of their lasting impact. The authors make accessible Derridas writings by discussing them in a vernacular that renders them less opaque and nebulous, and by situating Derrida squarely in the tradition of historicist, hermeneutic and linguistic thought, his objectives and those of deconstruction are rendered considerably more convincing. From his early work on Husserl, Hegel and de Saussure, to his final writings on justice, hospitality and cosmopolitanism, Derrida is shown to have been grappling with the vexed question of national, cultural and personal identity and asking to what extent the notion of a pure identity has any real efficacy. Viewed from this perspective Derrida appears less as a wanton iconoclast, for whom deconstruction equals destruction, but as a sincere and sensitive writer who encouraged us to shed light on our historical constructions so as to reveal that there is much about ourselves that we do not know.
Michel Foucault's historical and philosophical investigations have gone through many phases: the archaeological, the genealogical, and the ethical among them. What remains constant, however, is the question that motivates them: "who are we?" Todd May follows Foucault's itinerary from his early history of madness to his posthumously published Collège de France lectures and shows how the question of who we are shifts and changes but remains constantly at or just below the surface of his writings. By approaching Foucault's work in this way, May is able to offer readers an engaging and illuminating way to understand Foucault. Each of Foucault's key works Madness and Civilization, The Archaeology of Knowledge, The Order of Things, Discipline and Punish and the multi-volume History of Sexuality are examined in detail and situated in an historical context that makes effective use of comparisons with other thinkers such as Freud, Nietzsche and Sartre. Throughout the book May strikes a balance between sympathetic presentation and criticism of Foucault's ideas and in so doing exposes Foucault's contributions of lasting value. The Philosophy of Foucault is an accessible and stimulating introduction to one of the most popular and influential thinkers of recent years and will be welcomed by students studying Foucault as part of politics, sociology, history and philosophy courses.
Although the ideas of Soren Kierkegaard played a pivotal role in the shaping of mainstream German philosophy and the history of French existentialism, the question of how philosophers should read Kierkegaard is a difficult one to settle. His intransigent religiosity has led some philosophers to view him as essentially a religious thinker of a singularly anti-philosophical attitude. In this major new survey of Kierkegaard's thought, George Pattison addresses this question head on to show that although it would be difficult to claim a "philosophy of Kierkegaard" as one could a philosophy of Kant, or of Hegel, there are nevertheless significant points of common interest between Kierkegaard's central thinking and the questions that concern philosophers today. The most important of these is what it is to be a self or person and what might be the best form of life for a self thus constituted. Pattison shows that the challenge of self-knowledge in an age of moral and intellectual uncertainty lies at the heart of Kierkegaard's writings and his ideas have much to offer contemporary philosophy.
This comprehensive introduction to the thought of Jurgen Habermas covers the full range of his ideas from his early work on student politics to his recent work on communicative action, ethics and law. Andrew Edgar examines Habermas's key texts in chronological order, revealing the developments, shifts and turns in Habermas's thinking as he refines his basic insights and incorporates new sources and ideas. Some of the themes discussed include Habermas's early reshaping of Marxist theory and practice, his characterization of critical theory, his conception of universal pragmatics, his theories of communicative action and discourse ethics, and his defence of the project of modernity. Edgar offers much more than a schematic run through of Habermas's big ideas. He deals in detail with Habermas's arguments in order to demonstrate how he weaves together multiple strands of thought, and he usefully situates Habermas's ideas within the contexts of the history of German philosophy, the history of sociology, and within contemporary debates in both continental and analytic philosophy. By engaging with some of Habermas's key critics and contrasting his views with the ideas of contemporaries, Edgar is able to give a clear sense of Habermas's place and importance in contemporary philosophy and social theory.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) crafted one of the most comprehensive philosophical systems the world has ever seen. He weaved together the ideas of Plato, Kant and Asian religions into an encyclopedic worldview that combines the empirical science of his day with Eastern mysticism in a radically idealist metaphysics and epistemology. In The Philosophy of Schopenhauer, Dale Jacquette assesses Schopenhauer's philosophical enterprise and the astonishing array of implications it has for metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics, philosophy of logic, science and religion. Jacquette provides clear exposition and analysis of the central topics in Schopenhauer's philosophy including his so-called pessimistic philosophical appraisal of the human condition, his examination of the concept of death, his dualistic analysis of free will, and his simplified non-Kantian theory of morality. His metaphysics of the world as representation and Will; his most important and controversial contribution to philosophy; is discussed in depth and the arguments by which he hopes to prove that thing-in-itself is Will are evaluated. The legacy of Schopenhauer's ideas, and in particular his influence on Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, is explored in the final chapter.
This important new introduction to Nietzsche's philosophical work provides readers with an excellent framework for understanding the central concerns of his philosophical and cultural writings. It shows how Nietzsche's ideas have had a profound influence on European philosophy and why, in recent years, Nietzsche scholarship has become the battleground for debates between the analytic and continental traditions over philosophical method. The book is divided into three parts. In the first part, the author discusses morality, religion and nihilism to show why Nietzsche rejects certain components of the Western philosophical and religious traditions as well as the implications of this rejection. In the second part, the author explores Nietzsche's ambivalent and sophisticated reflections on some of philosophy's biggest questions. These include his criticisms of metaphysics, his analysis of truth and knowledge, and his reflections on the self and consciousness. In the final section, Welshon discusses some of the ways in which Nietzsche transcends, or is thought to transcend, the Western philosophical tradition, with chapters on the will to power, politics, and the flourishing life.
The ideas of the German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer (19002002) have had considerable influence, both in their own right as the leading modern exposition of philosophical hermeneutics and in interpreting the works of others, especially Heidegger, Hegel and Plato. This introduction provides authoritative interpretation and exposition of Gadamer's monumental work, Truth and Method (1960). With exemplary clarity Grondin presents the key themes of the book method, humanism, aesthetic judgement, truth, the work of history and provides readers with an unrivalled guide through Gadamer's often complex and difficult ideas. Of particular value is the way in which Grondin situates Gadamer's concerns within the wider context of traditional philosophical issues, showing, for example, how Gadamer both continues, and significantly modifies, the philosophical problem of the method as it begins with Descartes, and how he advances rather than simply follows Heidegger's treatment of the relationship of thinking and language. In this way Grondin shows how the issues of philosophical hermeneutics are relevant for contemporary concerns in science and history. The Philosophy of Gadamer is essential reading for all students, beginning or experienced, setting out to tackle Gadamer's challenging body of work.
In this introduction to the life and thought of one of the most important French thinkers of the twentieth-century Eric Matthews shows how Merleau-Ponty has contributed to current debates in philosophy, such as the nature of consciousness, the relation between biology and personality, the historical understanding of human thought and society, and many others. Surveying the whole range of Merleau-Ponty's thinking, the author examines his views about the nature of phenomenology and the primacy of perception; his account of human embodiment, being-in-the-world, and his understanding of human behaviour; his conception of the self and its relation to other selves; and his views on society, politics, and the arts. A final chapter considers his later thought, published posthumously. The ideas of Merleau-Ponty are shown to be of immense importance to the development of French philosophy and the author evaluates his distinctive contributions and relates his thought to that of his predecessors, contemporaries and successors, both in France and elsewhere. This unrivalled introduction will be welcomed by philosophers and cognitive scientists as well as students taking courses in contemporary continental philosophy.
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