Geoffrey Bennington and Jacques Derrida University of Chicago Press, 1993 Library of Congress B2430.D484B4613 1993 | Dewey Decimal 194
This extraordinary book offers a clear and compelling biography of Jacques Derrida along with one of Derrida's strangest and most unexpected texts. Geoffrey Bennington's account of Derrida leads the reader through the philosopher's familiar yet widely misunderstood work on language and writing to the less familiar themes of signature, sexual difference, law, and affirmation. In an unusual and unprecedented "dialogue," Derrida responds to Bennington's text by interweaving Bennington's text with surprising and disruptive "periphrases." Truly original, this dual and dueling text opens new dimensions in Derrida's thought and work.
"Bennington is a shrewd and well-informed commentator whose book should do something to convince the skeptics . . . that Jacques Derrida's work merits serious attention."—Christopher Norris, New Statesman & Society
"Geoffrey Bennington and Jacques Derrida have presented a fascinating example of what might be called post-structuralist autobiography."—Laurie Volpe, French Review
"Bennington's account of what Derrida is up to is better in almost all respects—more intelligent, more plausible, more readable, and less pretentious—than any other I have read."—Richard Rorty, Contemporary Literature
In Jacques Maritain: An Intellectual Profile, Jude P. Dougherty shares his lifetime interest in and study of Maritain with readers. He offers the most complete introduction to Maritain yet to be published, highlighting Maritain's many contributions to philosophy.
Best known in the English-speaking world for his book The Postmodern Condition, Jean-François Lyotard was one of the most important and complex French thinkers of the twentieth century. In this new critical biography, Kiff Bamford traces the multi-faceted, sometimes surprising, journey of Lyotard’s life and work.
Bamford’s book is the first to consider Lyotard’s work and ideas in the wider context of his life and times. He unravels the thrust of Lyotard’s main philosophical arguments, his struggle with thinking, and his confrontation with the task of writing and thinking differently about philosophy. Bamford takes care to situate each of these in their particular context: the Algerian war; the experimental university at Vincennes; and within Lyotard’s sustained engagement with the visual arts. The philosopher’s own suspicion of easy narratives and rejection of self-determination help to frame the book. It is only by following these prescribed cautions that Bamford is able to present a compelling portrait of a challenging subject.
In the first volume of his trilogy, noted political philosopher Maurice Cranston draws from original manuscript sources to trace Rousseau's life from his birth in provincial obscurity in Geneva, through his youthful wanderings, to his return to Geneva in 1754 as a celebrated writer and composer.
"[An] admirable biography which is as meticulous, calm, reasonable, and judicious as its subject is passionate and tumultuous."—Keith Michael Baker, Washington Post Book World
"The definitive biography, as scholarly as it is entertaining."—The Economist
"Exceptionally fresh . . . . [Cranston] seems to know exactly what his readers need to know, and thoughtfully enriches the background—both physical and intellectual—of Rousseau's youthful peregrinations . . . . He makes the first part of Rousseau's life as absorbing as a picaresque novel. His fidelity to Rousseau's ideas and to his life as it was lived is a triumph of poise."—Naomi Bliven, The New Yorker
"The most outstanding achievement of Professor Cranston's own distinguished career."—Robert Wokler, Times Literary Supplement
Maurice Cranston (1920-1993), a distinguished scholar and recipient of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his biography of John Locke, was professor of political science at the London School of Economics. His numerous books include The Romantic Movement and Philosophers and Pamphleteers, and translations of Rousseau's The Social Contract and Discourse on the Origins of Inequality.
“What I have just written is false. True. Neither true nor false, like everything one writes about madmen, about men.” With these sentences, Jean-Paul Sartre undermines the truthfulness of his own autobiography, Les Mots. Undeterred by such circumlocutions, Andrew Leak here cuts through Sartre’s own disavowals to unearth the man behind the literary and philosophical giant.
This biographical study integrates Sartre’s works into his personal life, revealing the intimate contexts in which his philosophy developed. From Sartre’s beginnings as a bright and precocious student, Leak explores how he struggled against the repressive strictures of bourgeois expectations, endured cruelty at the hands of schoolmates, and forged his conflicted personality within a fragmented family life. The book probes his particularly influential relationships with a range of people—from Simone de Beauvoir to Gaston Gallimard—and how Sartre was transformed by historical events, in particular his service in World War II.
Telling anecdotes, personal correspondence, and archival photographs expose how Sartre’s own challenges emerged as predominant themes in his works—such as the often blurred delineation between the real and imaginary, and his preoccupation with definitions of “madness” in the individual. Leak’s astute and provocative examination of Sartre himself challenges the philosopher’s assertion about the limits of knowledge of the other.
Countless biographers have tried to unveil the real Jean-Paul Sartre without his consent or cooperation. Only John Gerassi—the "non-godson" of Sartre, an atheist—was honored with the responsibility of being Sartre's official biographer. After drafting the commission with Sartre on the back of a menu at La Coupole, Gerassi recorded over one hundred hours of interviews with him between 1974 and 1979, and another hundred hours with Sartre's friends, colleagues, and enemies. Gerassi also immersed himself in Sartre's literary, philosophical, and personal writings. Gerassi had access to all of Sartre's files, unpublished manuscripts, and extensive notes for planned but undelivered lectures. Simone de Beauvoir gave many of Sartre's unpublished letters to Gerassi as well. Sartre trusted the integrity of Gerassi so completely that he considered Gerassi's biography to be the continuation of his own autobiography, Les mots. As a personal friend, Gerassi writes with advantages shared by no other biographer of Sartre.
One of America’s preeminent educational philosophers and public intellectuals, John Dewey is perhaps best known for his interest in the study of pragmatic philosophy and his application of progressive ideas to the field of education. Carrying his ideas and actions beyond the academy, he tied his philosophy to pacifist ideology in America after World War I in order to achieve a democratic world order. Although his work and life have been well documented, his role in the postwar peace movement has been generally overlooked.
In John Dewey, America’s Peace-Minded Educator, authors Charles F. Howlett and Audrey Cohan take a close look at John Dewey’s many undertakings on behalf of world peace. This volume covers Dewey’s support of, and subsequent disillusionment with, the First World War as well as his postwar involvement in trying to prevent another world war. Other topics include his interest in peace movements in education, his condemnation of American military intervention in Latin America and of armaments and munitions makers during the Great Depression, his defense of civil liberties during World War II, and his cautions at the start of the atomic age. The concluding epilogue discusses how Dewey fell out of favor with some academics and social critics in the 1950s and explores how Dewey’s ideas can still be useful to peace education today.
Exploring Dewey’s use of pragmatic philosophy to build a consensus for world peace, Howlett and Cohan illuminate a previously neglected aspect of his contributions to American political and social thought and remind us of the importance of creating a culture of peace through educational awareness.
An engaging account of the titan of political philosophy and the development of his most important work, A Theory of Justice, coming at a moment when its ideas are sorely needed.
It is hard to overestimate the influence of John Rawls on political philosophy and theory over the last half-century. His books have sold millions of copies worldwide, and he is one of the few philosophers whose work is known in the corridors of power as well as in the halls of academe. Rawls is most famous for the development of his view of “justice as fairness,” articulated most forcefully in his best-known work, A Theory of Justice. In it he develops a liberalism focused on improving the fate of the least advantaged, and attempts to demonstrate that, despite our differences, agreement on basic political institutions is both possible and achievable.
Critics have maintained that Rawls’s view is unrealistic and ultimately undemocratic. In this incisive new intellectual biography, Andrius Gališanka argues that in misunderstanding the origins and development of Rawls’s central argument, previous narratives fail to explain the novelty of his philosophical approach and so misunderstand the political vision he made prevalent. Gališanka draws on newly available archives of Rawls’s unpublished essays and personal papers to clarify the justifications Rawls offered for his assumption of basic moral agreement. Gališanka’s intellectual-historical approach reveals a philosopher struggling toward humbler claims than critics allege.
To engage with Rawls’s search for agreement is particularly valuable at this political juncture. By providing insight into the origins, aims, and arguments of A Theory of Justice, Gališanka’s John Rawls will allow us to consider the philosopher’s most important and influential work with fresh eyes.
John Venn: A Life in Logic
Lukas M. Verburgt
University of Chicago Press, 2022 Library of Congress B1669.V54V47 2022 | Dewey Decimal 192
The first comprehensive history of John Venn’s life and work.
John Venn (1834–1923) is remembered today as the inventor of the famous Venn diagram. The postmortem fame of the diagram has until now eclipsed Venn’s own status as one of the most accomplished logicians of his day. Praised by John Stuart Mill as a “highly successful thinker” with much “power of original thought,” Venn had a profound influence on nineteenth-century scientists and philosophers, ranging from Mill and Francis Galton to Lewis Carroll and Charles Sanders Peirce. Venn was heir to a clerical Evangelical dynasty, but religious doubts led him to resign Holy Orders and instead focus on an academic career. He wrote influential textbooks on probability theory and logic, became a fellow of the Royal Society, and advocated alongside Henry Sidgwick for educational reform, including that of women’s higher education. Moreover, through his students, a direct line can be traced from Venn to the early analytic philosophy of G. E. Moore and Bertrand Russell, and family ties connect him to the famous Bloomsbury group.
This essential book takes readers on Venn’s journey from Evangelical son to Cambridge don to explore his life and work in context. Drawing on Venn’s key writings and correspondence, published and unpublished, Lukas M. Verburgt unearths the legacy of the logician’s wide-ranging thinking while offering perspective on broader themes in religion, science, and the university in Victorian Britain. The rich picture that emerges of Venn, the person, is of a man with many sympathies—sometimes mutually reinforcing and at other times outwardly and inwardly contradictory.
Nicholas Rescher presents the first comprehensive chronology of philosophical anecdotes, spanning from antiquity to the current era. He introduces us to the major thinkers, texts, and historical periods of Western philosophy, recounting many of the stories philosophers have used over time to engage with issues of philosophical concern: questions of meaning, truth, knowledge, value, action, and ethics. Rescher’s anecdotes touch on a wide range of themes—from logic to epistemology, ethics to metaphysics—and offer much insight into the breadth and depth of philosophical inquiry. This book illustrates the various ways philosophers throughout history have viewed the issues in their field, and how anecdotes can work to inform and encourage philosophical thought.
This volume, the original version of which was published in 1988, brings to a close the autobiographical writings of a modern Christian philosopher who lived through the two World Wars and the ecclesiastical upheaval in the Catholic Church in the context of the Second Vatican Council. What stamps this philosopher throughout the course of his life – with all its social and political uncertainties – is his constant dedication to truth and his manifest unswerving integrity.
Themes with which the reader of his previous works would be well acquainted recur in this volume. The dedicated Catholic philosopher, who preferred his independence as a trainer of teachers to the less independent role of a professor in a Catholic university, was quite prepared to criticize developments in the Church which resulted from Vatican II. In his defense of the sacred, which he deemed threatened by popularizing trends in the Church, he criticized what he saw as the watered down language in modern German translations of Church liturgical texts; the growing preference for secular garb; and the compromising developments which saw the sacramental signs – surrounding baptism, for instance – being reduced to such an extent that they no longer had the power to signify their sacred meaning even to a well-intentioned congregation.
A great lover of the philosophy of Plato, Augustine, and Aquinas – among many others –, Pieper highlighted the need for living a life of truth. He did not consider truth to be merely something abstract but as something to be lived existentially. While he could explain his philosophy in clear rational terms, something which especially stood to him in his post-war lectures to eager students who were hungry for intellectual guidance and leadership, the great interest of his philosophy was, possibly, his preoccupation with mystery – that which impinges on our inner lives but frustrates all our attempts to account for it in purely rational terms.
As a philosopher – one might say a Christian philosopher – Pieper seems to have observed the traditional boundaries drawn between philosophy and theology. His generation was exposed to the modernist debates in the Church. It would have been deemed heretical to say that the Divine could be grasped by our purely human thought processes – access to the Divine being only possible through faith and grace. Pieper was no heretic. But he was also not altogether conservative. In fact, his philosophy, closely allied to existentialism – despite his care, for instance, to distance himself from the negative existentialism of Sartre – focused on the individual’s inner existential grasp of the most profound reality. Truth is to be found within us, even if it remains a mystery. What lies beyond death is, for the individual, the ultimate mystery.