For most philosophers, the work of Edith Stein continues to be eclipsed and relegated to obscurity. This work presents an excellent cross-section of Stein's writings and demonstrates the timeliness and relevance of her ideas for contemporary philosophical scholarship. Antonio Calcagno covers most of Edith Stein's philosophical life, from her early work with Husserl to her later encounters with medieval Christian thought, as well as a critical and analytical reading of major Steinian texts. Stein was an original thinker who challenged not (...) only the direction in which Husserlian phenomenology was progressing but also sought to bring to philosophical light the relevance of certain key questions, including the meaning of what it is to be human, the relevance of metaphysics to science, and fundamental questions about the nature of God. Working to correct the perception that Stein is either an "unfaithful and distorting" phenomenologist or a pious Catholic mystic, Calcagno presents important work that has been neglected by both secular and religious scholars. The essays are not merely expository, but discuss the philosophical questions raised by Stein's work from a contemporary perspective, using Stein's original German texts. In its attention to the breadth and depth of Stein's philosophy from its initial development to its more mature form, The Philosophy of Edith Stein offers a new understanding of an individual who left behind an incredible philosophical and literary legacy worthy of scholarly attention. The book will be of interest not only to Stein scholars, but to feminists, phenomenologists, and Heideggerians. (shrink)
Edith Stein and Gerda Walther explain how community comes to be and how it is structured, but they do not develop significant accounts of how communities disintegrate or die, albeit they make passing allusions to how this may happen. I argue that what makes communities vulnerable to their possible demise, following both Stein’s and Walther’s social ontology, is the breakdown of the sense of the communal bond, that is, the failure of the community members’ ability to make sense of their (...) relationship to one another. Just as sense-making and sense-building can help give birth and meaning to communities, sense disintegration and the dying of the sense of a community bespeak a vulnerability that lies at the very core of all communities. In addition to the vulnerability of sense-making, I argue that the lived-body and habit also pose important challenges to the very possibility of community. (shrink)
Badiou and Derrida have dedicated much of their thought to politics and the nature of the political. Calcagno shows how their views diverge and converge, providing some very intriguing developments in Continental philosophy.
If community is determined primarily in consciousness as a mental state of oneness, can community exist when there is no accompanying mental state or collective intentionality that makes us realise that we are one community? Walther would respond affirmatively, arguing that there is a deep psychological structure of habit that allows us to continue to experience ourselves as a community. The habit of community works on all levels of our person, including our bodies, psyches and spirits. It allows us to (...) continue to be in community even though we are not always conscious of it. Husserl would describe this as part of the passive synthesis of Vergemeinschaftung. Walther’s analysis of the passive structure of habit opens up important possibilities for the inner consciousness of time. Drawing from Husserl’s and Walther’s analyses, I argue for the possibility of a communal inner time consciousness, or an inner awareness of timeconsciousness of the community, which gives rise to three constitutive moments: communal retention or communal memory, a sense of the communal present or a communal “now,” and communal protentions or anticipations. Ultimately, I will show how Walther’s treatment of habit demonstrates that time conditions the lived experience of community. One can, therefore, speak of a time of the community—its past, present and future—even though Walther herself does not explicitly develop this possibility. (shrink)
This paper argues that though Derrida is correct to bring to the fore the undecidability that is contained in his political notion of the democracy to come, his account does not extend the aporia of undecidable politics far enough. Derrida himself makes evident this gap. Though politics may be structured with undecidability, there are times when direct, decisive and definitive political interventions are required. In his campaign against capital punishment, the blitzing campaigns in Bosnia and Iraq, and in his call (...) for les villes-refuges, Derrida makes decisive appeals which somehow seem to contradict the undecidability he sees as arch-structuring. Alain Badiou’s thinking about time as a subjective, decisive intervention executed within his ontological framework of undecidability and multiplicity can serve to extend the aporia of undecidability inherent in politics, ultimately giving an account for both the undecidability that structures politics and the decisive timely interventions that would seem to contradict Derridean undecidability. (shrink)
This article focuses on Michel Foucault’s concepts of authorship and power. Jacques Derrida has often been accused of being more of a literary author than a philosopher or political theorist. Richard Rorty complains that Derrida’s views on politics are not pragmatic enough; he sees Derrida’s later work, including his political work, more as a “private self-fashioning” than concrete political thinking aimed at devising short-term solutions to problems here and now. Employing Foucault’s work around authorship and the origins of power, I (...) show that Derrida is indeed fashioning himself. This self-fashioning is not merely private or fanciful. Rather, I argue that Derrida can be read as employing what Foucault would call “technologies of the self” to not only show the play of possibility and impossibility at work in all politics and thought, but also to use his savoir to create two important and potentially constructive power structures. First, there is the power of deconstruction itself as a “militant critique” that calls for a forceful and irreducible justice. Second, there is the power of Derrida himself, understood as leaving behind a legacy of himself as the “originator” of deconstruction and as a public intellectual. (shrink)
_John Dewey and Continental Philosophy_ provides a rich sampling of exchanges that could have taken place long ago between the traditions of American pragmatism and continental philosophy had the lines of communication been more open between Dewey and his European contemporaries. Since they were not, Paul Fairfield and thirteen of his colleagues seek to remedy the situation by bringing the philosophy of Dewey into conversation with several currents in continental philosophical thought, from post-Kantian idealism and the work of Friedrich Nietzsche (...) to twentieth-century phenomenology, hermeneutics, and poststructuralism. This unique volume includes discussions comparing and contrasting Dewey with the German philosophers G. W. F. Hegel, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, and Hans-Georg Gadamer on such topics as phenomenology, naturalism, organicism, contextualism, and poetry. Others investigate a series of connections between Dewey and contemporary French philosophy, including the notions of subjectivity, education, and the critique of modernity in Michel Foucault; language and politics in Jacques Derrida; and the concept of experience in Gilles Deleuze. Also discussed is the question of whether we can identify traces of _Bildung_ in Dewey’s writings on education, and pragmatism’s complex relation to twentieth-century phenomenology and hermeneutics, including the problematic question of whether Heidegger was a pragmatist in any meaningful sense. Presented in intriguing pairings, these thirteen essays offer different approaches to the material that will leave readers with much to deliberate. _ John Dewey and Continental Philosophy_ demonstrates some of the many connections and opportunities for cross-traditional thinking that have long existed between Dewey and continental thought, but have been under-explored. The intersection presented here between Dewey’s pragmatism and the European traditions makes a significant contribution to continental and American philosophy and will spur new and important developments in the American philosophical debate. (shrink)
Edith Stein came to phenomenology after beginning her university studies in psychology. She struggled with the inability of psychology to justify and delineate its founding principles. She found in Edmund Husserl, though his sustained criticisms of psychologism, the possibility of a phenomenological ground for psychology. This article demonstrates how Stein, drawing from but also distancing herself from Husserl, justifies the possibility of a phenomenological psychology framed within a personalist structure of subjectivity and sociality.
Edith Stein’s early phenomenological texts describe community as a special unity that is fully lived through in consciousness. In her later works, unity is described in more theological terms as participation in the communal fullness and wholeness of God or Being. Can these two accounts of community or human belonging be reconciled? I argue that consciousness can bring to the fore the meaning of community, thereby conditioning our lived-experience of community, but it can also, through Heideggerian questioning, uncover that which (...) remains somewhat hidden from consciousness itself: its own ground or condition of possibility, namely, being—a being that is both one and many, unified, communalised, and very diversified. If my reading of Stein is correct, the traditional understanding of the split between Stein’s strictly Husserlian/phenomenological period and her later Christian philosophical period must be renegotiated, at least when it comes to the philosophical problem of community or human togetherness. (shrink)
The phenomenological movement originates with Edmund Husserl, and two of his young students and collaborators, Edith Stein and Hedwig Conrad-Martius, made a notable contribution to the very delineation of the phenomenological method, which pushed phenomenology in a “realistic” direction. This essay seeks to examine the decisive influence that these two thinkers had on two specific areas: the value of the sciences and certain metaphysical questions. Concerningthe former, I maintain that Stein, departing from a philosophical, phenomenological analysis of the human being, (...) is interested particularly in the formation of the cognitive value of the human sciences. Regarding the latter, Conrad-Martius, given her knowledge of biology, tackled the question of the role and meaning of the sciences of nature. The second question, related to metaphysical themes, became a specific and relevant object of research for both women phenomenologists.It will be investigated by comparing two works, one by each thinker, namely, the Metaphysische Gespräche by Conrad-Martius and Potenz und Akt by Edith Stein. (shrink)
Arendt a écrit deux volumes dédiés à la pensée et la volonté qui sont réunis dans le texte La vie de l’esprit, mais en raison de sa mort inopportune, son travail consacré au jugement, et plus spécialement au jugement politique, n’a jamais été achevé. Cependant, nous disposons d’une quantité significative d’écrits sur ce thème, provenant de ses conférences sur la troisième Critique de Kant. Le jugement et la pensée sont essentiels pour empêcher ce qu’Arendt appelle «la banalité du mal». En (...) s’inspirant de saint Augustin et du travail d’Arendt sur Augustin, cet article entend démontrer qu’une autre forme de mal sérieux trouve sa racine dans ce qu’Augustin appelle la libido habendi et la libido dominandi, le désir ou la pulsion de dominer et posséder. Nous essaierons de montrer que la solution d’Arendt au problème de la banalité du mal peut aussi s’appliquer au désir et au plaisir très humains de causer ou d’infliger du mal. (shrink)
One of the more poignant claims Badiou makes is that the subject develops an understanding of itself as a political subject only by executing decisive political actions or making decisive political interventions. In this article I will argue that in order to have a fuller philosophical conception of political subjectivity, and therefore political agency, one must also hold that, first, political interventions do not necessarily lead to a definition or a further way of referring to and understanding the subject. In (...) fact, political events and interventions may consciously aim at and result in the de-politicizing, de-subjectivating or dehumanizing of the subject. Second, political agency need not result in an event or an intervention in order to be political. In other words, failed or non-interventions may still be considered political. Third, despite Badiou's call for an ethics rooted in truth and fidelity, his political philosophy results in a relativism that can easily lapse into violence and injustice. (shrink)
This article seeks to present for the first time a more systematic account of Edith Stein’s views on death and dying. First, I will argue that death does not necessarily lead us to an understanding of our earthly existence as aevum, that is, an experience of time between eternity and finite temporality. We always bear the mark of our finitude, including our finite temporality, even when we exist within the eternal mind of God. To claim otherwise, is to make identical (...) our eternity with God’s eternity, thereby undermining the traditional Scholastic argument, which Stein holds, that there is no real relation between the being (and, therefore, (a)temporality) of God and the being of human persons. Second, I will argue that Stein excludes the category of potentiality from her discussion of death as a relation between the fullness or actuality of being and nothingness. In fact, death is more a relation between possibility/potentiality and nothingness than a relation between actual fullness and nothingness. What Stein describes as fullness ought to be read as potential. (shrink)
This volume offers a comprehensive guide to the extensive corpus of Jean-Luc Marion’s ideas, including a discussion of contemporary French phenomenology and critical appraisal of Marion’s ideas by leading scholars in the field. The contributors apply Marion’s thought to various fields of study, including theology, art, literature and psychology.
Burned at the stake for heresy, Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) was one of the Renaissance's more controversial thinkers. Current scholarship tends to read Bruno as either a Neo-Platonist who ultimately collapses reality to an overarching unity, or as an eclectic thinker whose disparate and disjointed musings are essentially incoherent. By closely and critically examining Bruno's writings this book demonstrates that Bruno was very much in the spirit of Modernity in that he tried to explain philosophically the possibility of the coexistence of (...) unity and multiplicity (difference) through the «then-scientific» logic of the coincidence of opposites. His metaphysics, cosmology and ethical thinking are to be understood through this underlying logic of coincidence, thereby rendering Bruno neither an absolute Neo-Platonist nor unintelligible. (shrink)
This book explores the philosophical writings of Gerda Walther. It features essays that recover large parts of Walther’s oeuvre in order to show her contribution to phenomenology and philosophy. In addition, the volume contains English translations of her key work. The essays consider the interdisciplinary implications of Gerda Walther’s ideas for sociology, political science, psychology, women’s and gender studies, and religious studies. A student of Edmund Husserl, Edith Stein, and Alexander Pfänder, she wrote foundational studies on the ego, community, mysticism (...) and religion, and consciousness. Walther’s discussion of empathy, identification, the ego and ego-consciousness, alterity, God, mysticism, sensation, intentionality, sociality, politics, and woman is relevant not only to phenomenology and philosophy but also to scholars of religion, sociology, political science, and psychology. Gerda Walther was one of the important figures of the early phenomenological movement. However, as a woman, she could not habilitate at a German University and was, therefore, denied a position. Her complete works have yet to be published. This ground-breaking volume not only helps readers discover a vital voice. It also demonstrates the significant contribution of women to the early phenomenological movement. (shrink)
What is “human being”? In this book, Thomas Langan draws on a lifetime of study to offer a new understanding of this central question of our existence, turning to phenomenology and philosophical anthropology to help us better understand who we are as individuals and communities and what makes us act the way we do. While recognizing the human being as an individual with a particular genetic makeup and history, Langan also probes the real essence of human being that philosophers have (...) tended to ignore. He argues that human being is the result of the experiences of humans throughout time—an ontological reality that not only incorporates our collective memories, institutions, habits, ethical practices, and religious faiths but also unfolds in time with its own history to inform individuals in the present. He provides tools and descriptions for accessing this broader historical and present-day reality, investigating deeper structures of human being to show how those historical roots can be appropriated and made meaningful. Building on Langan’s earlier works, _Human Being_ is also readily accessible on its own. Langan shows how the larger issues discussed in those books, ranging from the Catholic tradition to high technology, relate to being human while he brings to light new philosophical insights and ideas. Because human beings continue to evolve, informing our everyday understanding of the world, Langan shows how vital it is for us to think through the sense of human being and how great a challenge that is in today’s society. His work offers insight into human being that invites readers to think and live more deeply in their humanity—and to face the challenges of a rapidly changing world by reawakening perennial quests for love and the divine, and the very search for meaning itself. (shrink)
Jacques Derrida, Alain Badiou and Sylvain Lazarus have devoted significant consideration to the problem of time and politics, especially in their more recent works. ;For Derrida, the relationship between and time and politics is articulated in his notion of the democracy to come and the undecidability that ensues from the double bind 'folded into' the democracy to come. Sylvain Lazarus argues that in order to think the "interiority" of politics we have to abolish the category of time altogether. Finally, Badiou (...) develops a philosophy of the event. Political events come about through decisive subjective interventions that are described as temporal. Interventions may be seen as representing a theory of subjectivating time. ;Ultimately, my thesis is this: emergent French thought on the nature of politics and time suggests that time conditions politics in such a fashion that time makes accessible the limits of political philosophy/thinking and political decision-making, both as simultaneously possible and impossible . We find ourselves in a state of political undecidability. Yet, this undecidability also brings to light an aporia as evidenced by Derrida's decisive stands on certain political issues. The aporia consists in the fact that in the midst of such undecidability we are called upon or forced to make certain decisive political interventions. Though political situations may be undecidable, we are called to respond to these situations because of their injustice, inhospitality, irresponsibility and terror and violence. Following Badiou, we should think of such decisions as timely interventions that make political events appear and thinkable. Badiou's notion of timely interventions that yield political events can be employed to complete the philosophical account of the aporia. The aporia can never be resolved. It is the philosophical account of the paradoxical situation we find ourselves in and is a philosophical account of the relation that exists between time and politics. This relation is aporetic because it paradoxically brings together two fundamentally human realities, namely, the undecidability of the world we find ourselves in but also the very human reality of decisively thinking politically and making decisive political actions. Yet, such political events are not merely extensions of subjective volition, rather they are also conditioned by a sense of the kairos or extra-subjective or pre-political sense of the "timely" occasion to act. The world may force or elicit us to act, forcing moments to their crisis---a crisis to which the Badiouan subject responds through her interventions. (shrink)
This essay argues that Stein’s view of the state can overcome Husserl’s skepticism about the state being an authentic, intense community rooted in solidarity while not negating his hope for the advent of a genuinely ethical, rational culture. Whereas Husserl places rationality and freedom within the framework of culture proper and not in the state, Stein sees the state as an extension of persons that can give the state its own free, deliberating and rational Ich kann.
In this chapter, I discuss the impact and legacy of Edith Stein’s philosophy in Canada and the United States. I identify three waves of reception of Stein’s philosophical work since her untimely death in 1942. The first phase we can refer to as the “Preservation of Edith Stein’s Legacy.” The second phase consists of a dissemination of her work and the third, more contemporary phase revolves around new scholarship and applications of her thought to various philosophical and social-political questions. Deeply (...) structured and conditioned by Protestant sensibilities, Canada and the United States have divided Stein’s philosophical legacy along two lines: phenomenology and Christian philosophy. (shrink)
In Logics of Worlds, Badiou claims that his concept of inexistence is similar to Derrida’s différance. This paper argues that Derrida’s double bind of possibility and impossibility, which co-constitutes and flows from the spatio-temporising that is différance, is less binary in its logic than Badiou’s notion of inexistence allows. For Badiou, time and the subject are constituted by the event, by a decision and the fidelity to a decision. He has no real sense of Derridean space: Badiou discusses space as (...) localisation, atoms, situations or the containment that is proper to any set. Derridean spatialsing stems from de Saussure and his view of the differentiation between signs and words and phrases that produces meaning. I maintain that though there may be a resemblance between the two philosophers qua what they see is unaccountable or lies closed or hidden yet conditions any given “system” or “meaning-structure,” the way they justify such accounts would suggest a greater gap than what Badiou may be prepared to concede. (shrink)