"... thought-provoking and meditative, Lingis’s work is above all touching, and offers a refreshingly idiosyncratic antidote to the idle talk that so often passes for philosophical writing." —Radical Philosophy "... striking for the ...
Ò. . . a more compelling reading of Kant than any I have ever seen.Ó ÑDavid Farrell Krell In this provocative book, Alphonso Lingis argues that not only our thought is governed by an imperative, as Kant had maintained, but, rather, our ...
Foreign Bodies analyzes how our culture elaborates for us the bodies we have by natural evolution. Calling on the new means contemporary thinkers have used to understand the body, Alphonso Lingis explores forms of power, pleasure and pain, and libidinal identity. The book contrasts the findings of theory with the practice of the body as formulated in quite different kinds of language--the language of plastic art (the artwork body builders make of themselves), biography, anthropology and literature. Lingis explains how we (...) experience our own powers of perception, our postures, attitudes, gestures and purposive action; how our susceptibility to pain and excitability by pleasure acquiesce in and resist the ways they are identified and manipulated today; how cultures code our sensuality with phallic and with fluid identities; how others dress appeals to and puts demands on us. (shrink)
_The Visible and the Invisible _contains the unfinished manuscript and working notes of the book Merleau-Ponty was writing when he died. The text is devoted to a critical examination of Kantian, Husserlian, Bergsonian, and Sartrean method, followed by the extraordinary "The Intertwining--The Chiasm," that reveals the central pattern of Merleau-Ponty's own thought. The working notes for the book provide the reader with a truly exciting insight into the mind of the philosopher at work as he refines and develops new pivotal (...) concepts. (shrink)
Alphonso Lingis is an original among American philosophers. An eloquent and insightful commentator on continental philosophers, he is also a phenomenologist who has gone to live in many lands. Dangerous Emotions continues the line of inquiry begun in Abuses, taking the reader to Easter Island, Japan, Java, and Brazil as Lingis poses a new range of questions and brings his extraordinary descriptive skills to bear on innocence and the love of crime, the relationships of beauty with lust and of joy (...) with violence and violation. He explores the religion of animals, the force in blessings and in curses. When the sphere of work and reason breaks down, and in catastrophic events we catch sight of cosmic time, our anxiety is mixed with exhilaration and ecstasy. More than acceptance of death, can philosophy understand joy in dying? Haunting and courageous, Lingis's writing has generated intense interest and debate among gender and cultural theorists as well as philosophers, and Dangerous Emotions is certain to introduce his work to an ever broader circle of readers. (shrink)
Lingis contests holistic conceptions of phenomenology and existential philosophy, and he refutes the primacy of perception and the practicable world. By contrast, he seeks to elucidate the substantive body. He shows that in contact with other sentient beings, an imperative that is addressed to us precedes and makes possible their capacity to order us with the meanings of their words and gestures. Written in clear, vivid language free of all unnecessary technical jargon.
Alphonso Lingis’s singular works of philosophy are not so much written as performed, and in The First Person Singular the performance is characteristically brilliant, a consummate act of philosophical reckoning. Lingis’s subject here, aptly enough, is the subject itself, understood not as consciousness but as embodied, impassioned, active being. His book is, at the same time, an elegant cultural analysis of how subjectivity is differently and collectively understood, invested, and situated. The subject Lingis elaborates in detail is the passionate subject (...) of fantasy, of obsessive commitment, of noble actions, the subject enacting itself through an engagement with others, including animals and natural forces. This is not the linguistic or literary subject posited by structuralism and post-structuralism, nor the rational consciousness posited by post-Enlightenment philosophy. It is rather a being embodied in both a passionate, intensifying activity and a cultural collective made up of embodied others as well as the social rituals and practices that comprise this first person singular. (shrink)
Part 1. Spaces within spaces -- 1. Extremes -- 2. Nature abhors a vacuum -- 3. Space travel -- 4. Learn to say -- 5. Metaphysical habitats -- 6. Departures -- 7. Plumage and talismans -- 8. Inner space -- Part 2. Snares for the eyes -- 9. The fallen giant -- 10. The stone -- 11. The voices of things -- 12. Nature and art -- 13. Nature -- 14. In touch -- Part. 3. The sacred -- 15. Sacrilege (...) -- Part 4. Violence -- 16. Material culture -- 17. Orders -- 18. Filth -- 19. Fake fetishes, disrobed mannequins -- 20. Wallowing in glory -- 21. The art of war -- Part 5. Splendor -- 22. The face of death -- 23. The emergence of dance -- 24. Collective performances -- 25. War and splendor. (shrink)
Trust binds us to another with an intoxicating energy; it is brave, giddy, joyous, and lustful. A sudden attraction careens into sexual surrender, and trust becomes unconditional. Trust laughs at danger and leaps into the unknown.
Part travelogue, part meditation, _Abuses_ is a bold exploration of central themes in Continental philosophy by one of the most passionate and original thinkers in that tradition writing today. A gripping record of desires, obsessions, bodies, and spaces experienced in distant lands, Alphonso Lingis's book offers no less than a new approach to philosophy—aesthetic and sympathetic—which departs from the phenomenology of Levinas and Merleau-Ponty. "These were letters written to friends," Lingis writes, "from places I found myself for months at a (...) time, about encounters that moved me and troubled me.... These writings also became no longer my letters. I found myself only trying to speak for others, others greeted only with passionate kisses of parting." Ranging from the elevated Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, to the living rooms of the Mexican elite, to the streets of Manila, Lingis recounts incidents of state-sponsored violence and the progressive incorporation of third-world peoples into the circuits of exchange of international capitalism. Recalling the work of such writers as Graham Greene, Kathy Acker, and Georges Bataille, _Abuses_ contains impassioned accounts of silence, eros and identity, torture and war, the sublime, lust and joy, and human rituals surrounding carnival and death that occurred during his journeys to India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Bali, the Philippines, Antarctica, and Latin America. A deeply unsettling book by a philosopher of unusual imagination, _Abuses_ will appeal to readers who, like its author, "may want the enigmas and want the discomfiture within oneself.". (shrink)
The intentional analysis devised by phenomenology was first used to explain the meaningfulness of expressions; it aimed at exhibiting the original primary substrates that expressions refer to, and at exhibiting the subjective acts that make signs expressive. The explanation of predicative expressions was then extended to the antecedent layer of prepredicative, perceptual experiences, explaining these by locating, with peculiar kinds of immanent intuitions, the original sensile data which evidence the bodily presence of the real - and by reactivating the informin- (...) formulating, interpreting and the informing-forming subjective acts that make of the sensile data, or material, perceived things. Intentional analysis explains by decomposing the derivate references back to the original references, and by leading the mind's intentions back to the givens they refer to. Can this kind of explanation be extended? The investigations of this book have taken this question in different directions. Can phenomenological explanation be extended to exhibit not only the act-character of the mind, but its substance, its affective materiality, its locomotion, its impressed haecceity, in short, its corporeality (Chapter I)? Shall not the explanation explain that if the terra firma of being, in the maximum proximity where distance no longer introduces indeterminability, is never reached, this is not because of the defects and the finitude of our mind, but because being itself is not there as the answer, positive and affirmative - being itself is in the interrogative mood (Chapter II)? If the given being itself is in the x Preface. (shrink)
When someone there is standing before us, we have been cautioned that he is not speaking with his own voice but speaking the language of his gender, his family, his class, his education, his culture, his economic and political interests, his unconscious drives, indeed his state of physical health and alertness. Are we then doing no more than interpreting what he says and does? Do we ever make contact with what he means for himself when he says “I”—with his visions, (...) the story he tells himself of his life? (shrink)
Alphonso Lingis's engaging book studies the phenomenological and postphenomenological theories of sexuality of six contemporary French philosophers: Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-François Lyotard, Gilles ...
To what extent is truth required for reconciliation of peoples in conflict? What kind of truth? Objective truth, subjective truth? Maybe reconciliation require that the pursuit of truth be limited? The trial of the former “Khmer Rouge” leaders in Cambodia for crimes against humanity provides a case where these issues are examined.
Through words and gestures we communicate with one another about the outlying environment, and we also form representations of one another. But we also make contact with one another. Through tact we make contact with the anxieties, rage, shame, shyness, and secrecy of another. In caresses we make contact with the pleasure of the other. Our caresses are moved by the other, by the spasms of torment and pleasure in the other.
For Martin Heidegger the death that comes singularly for each of us summons us to exist on our own and speak in our own name. But Gilles Delueze and Félix Guattari argue that it is a specific social machinery that summons us to speak in our own name and answer for what we do and are. This summons is a death sentence. They enjoin us to flee this subjectification, this subjection. They do recognize that the release of becomings in all (...) directions can become destructive and self-destructive. There are several weaknesses in their conception. (shrink)
Levinas’s constitutive analysis conflicts with his phenomenological descriptions. There are problems in his essential theses: Recognizing alterity is recognizing wants and needs. These are said to be unending, infinite. The wholly Other—God—is constitutive of the alterity of the other human. Ethics originates in Jewish religious history. Ethical absoluteness conflicts with political responsibility.
Encounters with Alphonso Lingis is the first extensive study of this American philosopher who is gaining an international reputation to augment his national one. The distinguished contributors to this volume address most of the central themes found in Lingis's writings—including singularity and otherness, death and eroticism, emotions and rationality, embodiment and the face, excess and the sacred. The book closes with a new essay by Lingis himself.
The philosophy of mind envisions belief as a mental act, the individual mindtaking specific propositions to be true. But we, and scientists, do not really“believe” observation-statements about the perceived, and scientificallyobserved world. Michel de Certeau envisions belief as a social act, a sort ofcontract, that has practical effects. De Certeau’s conception of thecontractual and practical nature of belief may illuminate religious belief.Anthropologist Clifford Geertz argues that it is in ritual that the convictionthat religious conceptions are veridical and that religious directives (...) are soundis somehow generated. De Certeau and Geertz show since the 18th centuryreligious belief came to be understood as the intellectual adherence to certainempirically or logically unverified or unverifiable propositions. They showhow this mode of religious belief has lost its credibility.I find some difficulties in de Certeau’s and Geertz’s conceptions.There are also forms of belief that isolate one from others, eventually allothers, and there is a distinctive and fundamental kind of belief that is beliefin oneself.But the harrowing perplexities that confound common sense understandingand threaten the ability of people to orient themselves and act effectively inthe world, and which have led humans to believe in a fundamental reality, ina different sense and a different way from the way the common sense worldis real, have not disappeared. They recur, in new forms. I identify threepractices pursued today outside of common sense, impractical, practices thatare haunted by the intellectual, existential and ethical dilemmas that recur innew forms in our secular, scientific society, our globalized postindustrialsociety. (shrink)
In his latest book, the prolific writer and thinker Alphonso Lingis brings interdisciplinarity and lyrical philosophizing to the weight of reality, the weight of things, and the weight of life itself. Drawing from philosophy, anthropology, psychology, religion, and science, Lingis seeks to uncover what in our reality escapes our attempts at measuring and categorizing. Writing as much from his own experiences and those of others as from his longstanding engagement with phenomenology and existentialism, Irrevocable studies the world in which shadows, (...) reflections, halos, and reverberations count as much as the carpentry of things. Whether describing religious art and ritual, suffering, war and disease, the pleasures of love, the wonders of nature, archaeological findings, surfing, volcanoes, or jellyfish, Lingis writes with equal measures of rigor and abandon about the vicissitudes of our practices and beliefs. Knowing that birth, the essential encounters in our lives, crippling diseases and accidents, and even death are all determined by chance, how do we recognize and understand such chance? After facing tragedies, what makes it possible to live on while recognizing our irrevocable losses? Lingis’s investigations are accompanied by his own vivid photographs from around the world. Balancing the local and the global, and ranging across vast expanses of culture and time, Irrevocable sounds the depths of both our passions and our impassioned bodies and minds. (shrink)