Friday, May 23, 2008

Wirth, Jason M. "Review of Alison Ross's THE AESTHETIC PATHS OF PHILOSOPHY." NDPR May 23, 2008.

Ross, Alison. The Aesthetic Paths of Philosophy: Presentation in Kant, Heidegger, Lacoue-Labarthe, and Nancy. Stanford: Stanford UP, 2007. Alison Ross has written a fascinating and commendable study in which she pursues the "general claim that the Kantian topic of presentation is an enduring topic within contemporary European thought" (11). Not only does this theme "endure," not only does it place "some of the problems treated in their work in a new light" (11), that is, not only does it recur often in some of the major thinkers in this tradition (Ross details its importance in the work of Kant, Heidegger, Lacoue-Labarthe, and Nancy) without it being fully appreciated, but it also plays a fundamental role in the work of these thinkers. Although the last point is not always argued explicitly and extensively in Ross' study, it is clearly implied, allowing her text to be read on the following levels. 1) It traces and develops an underappreciated but critical theme that develops in Kant's philosophy, and then is radicalized in Heidegger, and then pursued as a decisive issue in the work of Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy, two thinkers whose writings inhabit expansively the space opened up by Heidegger. 2) If one takes these thinkers seriously, the lens of presentation provides an important perspective through which to enter their thinking. 3) It also invites sympathetic readers to think more carefully and fundamentally about how we think when we think philosophically. The question of presentation is not only a philosophical theme among possible philosophical themes, but rather it exposes thinking to what Heidegger once called "the other beginning" of philosophy. In this sense, presentation is not just a problem for philosophy but also the problem of philosophy. It is a reconsideration of die Sache des Denkens, what thinking thinks from and towards. . . . Read the rest here:

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