The Face of Janus: Encyclopedia and the End of Philosophy

Dissertation, Depaul University (1996)

Authors
David Gunkel
Northern Illinois University
Abstract
The Face of Janus: Encyclopedia and the End of Philosophy investigates the encyclopedia projects instituted within the discipline of philosophy at the apex of the modern era. The dissertation considers the works of Diderot and D'Alembert, Kant, Hegel, and Bataille and Derrida. Like two-faced Janus, these encyclopedic endeavors are discovered to have a bifacial character. As such, they occupy a unique position on the boundary between philosophy and its other. The investigation endeavors to trace the epistemological contours of encyclopedic knowledge and to take an account of its curious bifacial texture. In particular, it examines how and why encyclopedia comes to occupy this seemingly contradictory position and considers the consequences of this janitorial structure with respect to modern philosophy and its aftermath
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