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David Kellogg Lewis (1941-2001) was one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. He made significant contributions to almost every area of analytic philosophy including metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science, and set the agenda for various debates in these areas which carry on to this day. In several respects he remains a contemporary figure, yet enough time has now passed for historians of philosophy to begin to study his place in twentieth century thought. His philosophy was constructed and refined not just through his published writing, but also crucially through his life-long correspondence with fellow philosophers, including leading figures such as D.M. Armstrong, Saul Kripke, W.V. Quine, J.J.C. Smart, and Peter van Inwagen. His letters formed the undercurrent of his published work and became the medium through which he proposed many of his well-known theories and discussed a range of philosophical topics in depth. A selection of his vast correspondence over a 40-year period is presented here across two volumes. Structured in three parts, Volume 2 explores Lewis' contributions to philosophical questions of mind, language, and epistemology respectively. The letters address Lewis's answer to the mind-body problem, propositional attitudes and the purely subjective character of conscious experience, meaning and reference as well as grammar in language, vagueness, truth in fiction, the problem of scepticism, and Lewis's work on decision theory and rationality, among many other topics. This volume is a testament to Lewis' achievement in these areas and will be an invaluable resource for those exploring contemporary debates concerning mind, language, and epistemology.
David Kellogg Lewis (1941-2001) was one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. He made significant contributions to almost every area of analytic philosophy including metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science, and set the agenda for various debates in these areas which carry on to this day. In several respects he remains a contemporary figure, yet enough time has now passed for historians of philosophy to begin to study his place in twentieth century thought. His philosophy was constructed and refined not just through his published writing, but also crucially through his life-long correspondence with fellow philosophers, including leading figures such as D.M. Armstrong, Saul Kripke, W.V. Quine, J.J.C. Smart, and Peter van Inwagen. His letters formed the undercurrent of his published work and became the medium through which he proposed many of his well-known theories and discussed a range of philosophical topics in depth. A selection of his vast correspondence over a 40-year period is presented here across two volumes. As metaphysics is arguably where Lewis made his greatest contribution, this forms the focus of Volume 1. Arranged under the broad areas of Causation, Modality, and Ontology, the letters offer an organic story of the origins, development, breadth, and depth of his metaphysics in its historical context, as well as a glimpse into the influence of his many interlocutors. This volume will be an indispensable resource for contemporary metaphysics and for those interested in the Lewisian perspective.
Theodor W. Adorno and Siegfried Kracauer were two of the most influential philosophers and cultural critics of the 20th century. While Adorno became the leading intellectual figure of the Frankfurt School, Kracauer's writings on film, photography, literature and the lifestyle of the middle classes opened up a new and distinctive approach to the study of culture and everyday life in modern societies. This volume brings together for the first time the long-running correspondence between these two major figures of German intellectual culture. As left-wing German Jews who were forced into exile with the rise of Nazism, Adorno and Kracauer shared much in common, but their worldviews were in many ways markedly different. These differences become clear in a correspondence that ranges over a great diversity of topics, from the nature of criticism and the meaning of utopia to the work of their contemporaries, including Bloch, Brecht and Benjamin. Where Kracauer embraced the study of new mass media, above all film, Adorno was much more sceptical. This is borne out in his sharp criticism of Kracauer's study of the composer Offenbach, which Adorno derided as musically illiterate, as well as his later criticism of Kracauer's Theory of Film. Exposing the very different ways that both men were grappling intellectually with the massive transformations of the 20th century, these letters shed fresh light on the principles shaping their work at the same time as they reveal something of the intellectual brilliance and human frailties of these two towering figures of 20th century thought. This unique volume will be of great value to anyone interested in critical theory and in 20th century intellectual and cultural history.
This book contextualises philosophy by bringing Judith Butler's critique of identity into dialogue with an analysis of the transgressive self in dramatic literature. The author draws on Butler's reflections on human agency and subjectivity to offer a fresh perspective for understanding the political and ethical stakes of identity as formed within a complex web of relations with human and non-human others. The book first positions a detailed analysis of Butler's theory of subject formation within a broader framework of feminist philosophy and then incorporates examples and case studies from dramatic literature to argue that the subject is formed in relation to external forces, yet within its formation lies a space for transgressing the same environments and relations that condition the subject's existence. By virtue of a fundamental dependency on conditions and relations that bring human beings into existence, they emerge as political and ethical agents capable of resisting the formative forces of power and responding - ethically - to the call of others.
'Not to be born is undoubtedly the best plan of all. Unfortunately it is within no one's reach.' In The Trouble With Being Born, E. M. Cioran grapples with the major questions of human existence: birth, death, God, the passing of time, how to relate to others and how to make ourselves get out of bed in the morning. In a series of interlinking aphorisms which are at once pessimistic, poetic and extremely funny, Cioran finds a kind of joy in his own despair, revelling in the absurdity and futility of our existence, and our inability to live in the world. Translated by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and critic Richard Howard, The Trouble With Being Born is a provocative, illuminating testament to a singular mind.
The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms is a milestone in twentieth century philosophy. Promoting a philosophical vision informed by Kant, it incorporates the philosophical advances achieved in the nineteenth century by German Idealism and Neo-Kantianism, whilst acknowledging the contributions made by his contemporary phenomenologists. It also encompasses empirical and historical research on culture and the most contemporary work on myth, linguistics and psychopathology. As such, it ranks in philosophical importance along with other major works of the twentieth century, such as Edmund Husserl's Logical Investigations, Martin Heidegger's Being and Time, and Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. In the first volume, Cassirer explores the symbolic form of language. Already recognized by thinkers in the tradition of German Idealism, such as Wilhelm von Humboldt, language is the primary medium by which we interact with others and form a common world. As Cassirer emphasizes in the famous Davos Debate with Heidegger, 'there is one objective human world, in which a bridge is built from individual to individual. That I find in the primal phenomenon of language.' The famous trias Cassirer discerns in the functioning of language - the functions of expression (Ausdruck), presentation (Darstellung), and signification (Bedeutung) - has become paradigmatic for accounts of language, philosophical, linguistic, and anthropological alike. Sebastian Luft, Professor of Philosophy, Marquette University, USA. This new translation makes Cassirer's seminal work available to a new generation of scholars. Each volume includes a translator's introduction by Steve G. Lofts, a foreword by Peter E. Gordon, a glossary of key terms, and an index.
The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms is one of the landmarks of twentieth-century philosophy. Drawing from the influential work of Wilhelm Dilthey, it transformed neo-Kantianism into a new robust philosophy of culture. The second volume, on Mythical Thinking, analyzes the fundamental layers of perception and expression as well as the articulations with religion and the dialectic with other forms, essentially language and art. The intellectual breadth of the volume is remarkable. It initiated the debate with Martin Heidegger and prompted a long-lasting meditation by Hans Blumenberg. We are only beginning to recognize its importance for our understanding of the power of images in the construction of aesthetics, the self, and the socio-political world. It initiated a discussion within French sociology (Emile Durkheim, Marcel Mauss) that ultimately resurfaced in Pierre Bourdieu, while today it is considered as a resourceful path for cultural and critical theory (Drucilla Cornell and Kenneth M. Panfilio). Finally, this volume also offers solid grounds for a political critique of Nazism - specifically: Alfred Rosenberg's Myth of the 20th Century and Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf - as well as the new emerging totalitarian ideologies. Fabien Capeilleres, Professor of Philosophy, editor of the French edition of Cassirer's Works. This new translation makes Cassirer's seminal work available to a new generation of scholars. Each volume includes a translator's introduction by Steve G. Lofts, a foreword by Peter E. Gordon, a glossary of key terms, and an index.
Ernst Cassirer occupies a unique space in twentieth-century philosophy. A great liberal humanist, his multi-faceted work spans the history of philosophy, the philosophy of science, intellectual history, aesthetics, epistemology, the study of language and myth, and more. Cassirer's thought also anticipates the renewed interest in the origins of analytic and continental philosophy in the Twentieth Century and the divergent paths taken by the 'logicist' and existential traditions, epitomised by his now legendary debate in 1929 with the philosopher Martin Heidegger, over the question What is the Human Being? The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms is Cassirer's most important work. It was first published in German in 1923, the third and final volume appearing in 1929. In it Cassirer presents a radical new philosophical worldview - at once rich, creative and controversial - of human beings as fundamentally symbolic animals , placing signs and systems of expression between themselves and the world. This major new translation of all three volumes, the first for over fifty years, brings Cassirer's magnum opus to a new generation of students and scholars. Taken together, the three volumes of The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms are a vital treatise on human beings as symbolic animals and a monumental expression of neo-Kantian thought. Correcting important errors in previous English editions, this translation reflects the contributions of significant advances in Cassirer scholarship over the last twenty to thirty years. Each volume includes a new introduction and translator's notes by Steve G. Lofts, a foreword by Peter E. Gordon, a glossary of key terms, and a thorough index.
In his Phenomenology of Cognition, Cassirer provides a comprehensive and systematic account of the dynamic process involved in the whole of human culture as it progresses from the world of myth and its feeling of social belonging to the highest abstractions of mathematics, logic and theoretical physics. Cassirer engages with the most sophisticated and cutting-edge work in fields ranging from ethnology to classics, egyptology and assyriology to ethology, brain science and psychology to logic, mathematics and theoretical physics. His command of philosophy, literature, and the arts is superb. Echoing his work on Kant, Cassirer begins The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms with the problem posed by the meaning of being for philosophy since Plato. But Cassirer also shows that this problem gains new significance with Kant and with the development of modern culture. Cassirer weaves his conception of the development of knowledge into a broadly Kantian and German idealist dynamic-historical conception of significance and of experience that refuses to accept a fundamental opposition between literary, philosophical and scientific culture. In consequence of his great vision grounded in careful reflection and argument, Cassirer's systematic conception of the Copernican cosmopolitan-cosmological revolution is still philosophically and scientifically unmatched in contemporary philosophy on both sides of the Atlantic and of the Pacific. Pierre Keller, Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Riverside, USA. This new translation makes Cassirer's seminal work available to a new generation of scholars. Each volume includes a translator's introduction by Steve G. Lofts, a foreword by Peter E. Gordon, a glossary of key terms, and an index.
Is postmodernity over? Does postmodernism still have anything important to say? Pragmatism, Technology, and the Persistence of the Postmodern argues yes to both. Despite the claims of a number of scholars that postmodern is over and done with, Andrew Wells Garnar demonstrates its continued relevance by carefully examining the use of information and communication technologies. These technologies illustrate many important postmodern concepts, thus showing the continued significance of postmodern philosophy. Garnar reconstructs these concepts with the tools of classical pragmatism. By engaging with pragmatists as well as with the thought of Jean-Francois Lyotard, Albert Borgmann, and others, this book produces a revitalized vision of both pragmatism and the postmodern. This version of pragmatism reflects the tenor of the times in a more nuanced way, while also showing how the postmodern continues to play out in contemporary life. Pragmatism, Technology, and the Persistence of the Postmodern shows how a pragmatic conception of technology opens up possibilities for working within postmodernity to materially address social and technical problems.
In Rationalist Pragmatism: A Framework for Moral Objectivism, Mitchell Silver draws from a wide array of philosophical fields to formulate a comprehensive theory of ethics. He argues that an understanding of justification rooted in pragmatism leads to practical principles that apply to all those we would recognize as persons. The account bears implications for the nature of selfhood, the freedom of the will, the meaning of moral terms, the power of moral principles to motivate, conceptions of truth, the nature of value, and the use and abuse of abstract moral theorizing. Rationalist Pragmatism develops its pragmatically informed morality in light of prominent ethical schools, as well as relevant topics in the philosophy of language, metaphysics, and epistemology, including the correspondence theory of truth, inferentialist semantics, motivational internalism, the source of value, and experimental philosophy. Finally, Silver explores concrete moral and political implications of his theory, demonstrating that metaethics can affect positions regarding the morality of personal relations; the treatment of animals; and political assessments of democracy, socialism, and nationalism. Silver maintains that our interest in truth--our rational nature as practical and theoretical beings--forms us as a community of mutually recognizing truth seekers.