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Itinerant Philosophy: On Alphonso Lingis

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ISBN: 9780692253397 Year: Pages: 190 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0073.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:41
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Alphonso Lingis is the author of fourteen books and many essays. He is emeritus professor of philosophy at Pennsylvania State University. While many know him only as an eccentric ex-professor or as the translator of Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Pierre Klossowski, he is arguably the most distinctive voice in American continental philosophy. This is no doubt due to the perpetual travel that fuels his arresting written prose and unorthodox public readings. Lingis’s lifelong itinerary includes visits — some brief, others extended or recurring — to 109 countries. Along the way he has photographed innumerable strangers whose faces adorn the pages of his books. Photography is as essential to Lingis’s multidisciplinary philosophical perspective as is his knowledge of phenomenology, anthropology, or psychoanalysis. Some of his photographs have been recently collected and published in the book Contact. Unlike most career academics, Lingis has made a name for himself collecting exotic birds and other creatures, staging performance readings at professional conferences, keeping up a diligent correspondence with friends at home and abroad, and splicing together high theory with intimate autobiography. Those who know him speak of his warmth, sincerity, and noncombative style of argumentation — rare traits among university scholars. Itinerant Philosophy: On Alphonso Lingis gathers a diverse collection of texts on Lingis’s life and philosophy, including poetry, original interviews, essays, book reviews, and a photo essay. It also includes an unpublished piece by Lingis, “Doubles,” along with copies of several of his letters to a friend.

Speculative Medievalisms: Discography

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ISBN: 9780615749532 Year: Pages: 316 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0021.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
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Proceedings from the two Speculative Medievalisms symposia, held at King’s College London (Jan. 2011) and The Graduate Center, City University of New York (Sep. 2011), and organized by The Petropunk Collective (Eileen Joy, Anna Klosowska, Nicola Masciandaro, and Michael O’Rourke). These interdisciplinary events were dedicated to dialogue and cross-contamination between traditional concepts of speculatio, present-minded premodern studies, and contemporary speculative realist and object-oriented philosophies. In its medieval formulation, speculatio signifies the essentially reflective and imaginative operations of the intellect. Here the world, books, and mind itself are all conceived as specula (mirrors) through which the hermeneutic gaze can gain access to what lies beyond it. “To know is to bend over a mirror where the world is reflected, to descry images reflected from sphere to sphere: the medieval man was always before a mirror, both when he looked around himself and when he surrendered to his own imagination” (Giorgio Agamben, Stanzas). Correlatively, speculative realism, as the term suggests, is characterized by the self-contradictory intensity of a desire for thought that can think beyond itself — a desire that proceeds, like all philosophy, in a twisted and productive relation to the phantasm of the word. Aiming to rise above and tunnel below the thought-being or self-world correlation, speculative realism “depart[s] from the text-centered hermeneutic models of the past and engage[s] in daring speculations about the nature of reality itself” (The Speculative Turn). Speculative Medievalisms, like some weird friar-alchemist in an inexistent romance, plays the erotic go-between for these text-centered and text-eccentric intellectual domains by trying to transmute the space between past and present modes of speculation from shared blindness to love at first sight. Possibly succeeding, the volume brings together the work of a motley crew of philosophers and premodernists into prismatic relation.

Philosophy for Militants

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ISBN: 9780998531823 Year: Pages: 80 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0168.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:34
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“No longer imminent, the End is immanent.” “Ends are ends,” Frank Kermode goes on to clarify, “only when they are not negative but frankly transfigure the events in which they were immanent.” From its imminence to its immanence, not “negative,” “no longer,” but transformative, how is “the End” in turn “transfigured”? In what may ending be said then to consist? To “the end times” of apocalypse and eschatology Giorgio Agamben, following Gianni Carchia, opposes messianism and “messianic time”—to the end of time, in a formula, the time of the end. To the writings of those for whom to philosophize is to learn how to die—from Plato to Montaigne and beyond—one may oppose, in like manner, the writings of Spinoza, who “thinks of death least of all things”—“for nature is Messianic by reason of its eternal and total passing away,” as Benjamin writes—and so in whose pages “wisdom,” transfigured, “is a meditation on life.”

Theory Is Like a Surging Sea

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ISBN: 9780692283950 Year: Pages: 104 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0108.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:38
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In a 1917 letter to Gershom Scholem, Walter Benjamin writes, “Theory is like a surging sea.” This small book takes more than its title from that line—it takes that line as a point of departure in Erich Auerbach’s sense, an Ansatzpunkt, as a compositional principle so that what follows can be read in its entirety as a gloss on the remainder of Benjamin’s sentence: “Theory is like a surging sea, but the only thing that matters to the wave […] is to surrender itself to its motion in such a way that it crests and breaks.” That motion, in the pages to follow, takes up in its sweep two threads: it folds an episodic meditation on the negative and the problematic into a series of singular interrogations exemplary of the positive being of the problematic, the objective being of problems and questions, in a movement of implication and explication between poetry and philosophy in the tradition of what’s come to be known as theory. Theory is like a surging sea because it’s as part of a revolutionary tradition that it crests and breaks.

A Rushed Quality

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ISBN: 9780692426562 Year: Pages: 326 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0103.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: History
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:39
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These fragments collected here (in 2 books, “A Rushed Quality” and “Bodying Forth”) belong neither to philosophy nor to poetry — and yet they are for the most part focused on a substantial area of overlap between these two venerable disciplines, vis-à-vis the question, “What is it like to be X?” Philosophers like to fill in the X with something exotic like a bat or a dolphin, or even an Artificial Intelligence, while poets tend to fill it with something else, equally exotic, namely themselves. For the diffident and introspective author of A Rushed Quality and Bodying Forth, the X, while definitely human, is perhaps someone in general, equally distant from and equally intimate with both the writer and the reader in the very moment of their eponymous activity. The start of it all was the perception of what was called the “rushed quality,” as something persistent and bothersome and of which there was no question of its ever being shed. Rather than evaded or denied, it was welcomed because it seemed for the first time since childhood to mark a structural occurrence presenting a new metaphysical datum. As it happened, this quality proved very elusive in its mature bothersomeness and the inquiry into it soon turned into a sort of quasi-theoretical fascination, which took as its main theme the fate of pure subjectivity — the utterly unfunctional, utterly useless, utterly dispensible feeling of being. The rushed quality is perhaps merely the sense of it draining away, or its long-sustained decrescendo.

[Given, If, Then]: A Reading in Three Parts

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ISBN: 9780692298374 Year: Pages: 116 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0090.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:40
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[Given, If, Then] attempts to conceive a possibility of reading, through a set of readings: reading being understood as the relation to an Other that occurs prior to any semantic or formal identification, and, therefore, prior to any attempt at assimilating, or appropriating, what is being read to the one who reads. As such, it is an encounter with an indeterminable Other, an Other who is other than other — an unconditional relation, and thus a relation to no fixed object of relation. The first reading by Jeremy Fernando, “Blind Reading,” unfolds through an attempt to speak of reading as an event. Untheorisable in itself, it is a positing of reading as reading, through reading, where texts are read as a test site for reading itself. As such, it is a meditation on the finitude and exteriority in literature, philosophy, and knowledge; where blindness is both the condition and limit of reading itself. Folded into, or in between, this (re)reading are a selection of photographs from Jennifer Hope Davy’s image archive. They are on the one hand simply a selection of ‘impartial pictures’ taken, and on the other hand that which allow for something singular and, therefore, always other to dis/appear — crossing that borderless realm between ‘some’ and ‘some-thing.’ Eventually, there is a writing on images on writings by Julia Hölzl. A responding to the impossible response, a re-iteration, a re-reading of what could not have been written, a re-writing of what could not have been read; these poems, if one were to name them such, name them as such, answer (to) the impossibility of answering: answer to no call.

Escargotesque, or, What Is Experience

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ISBN: 9780692373880 Year: Pages: 116 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0089.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
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“Experience” is a concept paradoxically deployed to accentuate the aconceptual. Although thinking, knowing, reflecting, and analyzing are kinds of experiences, invocations of “experience” typically direct our attention to what is immediate, embodied, unrepresented, unthought, even unthinkable. And yet, whether by learning experience, traumatic experience, life experience, mystical experience, or all of these, we hope most fervently that our experience will teach us, transform us, become part of us. Why do we strive to find, profit from, and possess experience while insisting upon experience’s intellectual elusiveness? What do we intend when we petition (and re-petition) experience for truth, for growth, for strength? To whom or to what do we sing when we sing experience’s song? Escargotesque, or, What is Experience? asks why both our lived experiences and our mythologies of experience so often fold inward, repeat, return. Departing from his unusual experience of working as a garbage-collector in the West African country of Benin, M.H. Bowker converses with several champions of experience (from Michel de Montaigne to John Dewey, from Søren Kierkegaard to Ralph Waldo Emerson, from Simone Weil to R.D. Laing) to pose radical questions about the intentions and dynamics that guide our quest for experience, intentions and dynamics that are more destructive and more melancholy than celebrants of experience would care to admit. Across Escargotesque’s six loosely linear parts, fragments of prose memoir intersect with poetry, sketch art, philosophical reflection, cultural criticism, and psychological examination in ways that both evoke and unsettle the thinking person’s experience. Escargotesque both testifies to an experience and reveals surprising fantasies driving the modern and postmodern turn to experience as a source of truth and hope. Such fantasies include the sacredness of even the most violent ‘pure experience,’ the necessity of supplicating experience’s objects, and the ultimate demise of the one who experiences.

Pedagogies of Disaster

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ISBN: 9780615898711 Year: DOI: 10.21983/P3.0050.1.00 Language: Albanian|English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Social Sciences
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:43
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We live in an era where the university system is undergoing great changes owing to developments in financing policies and research priorities, as well as changes in the society in which this system is embedded. This change toward a more market-oriented university, which also has immediate effects in academic peripheries such as the Balkans, the Middle East, or South-East Asia, is of great influence for the pedagogical practice of “less profitable” academic areas such as the Humanities: philosophy, languages, sociology, anthropology, history. Because of the absence of a historically grounded establishment of the Humanities, academic peripheries, usually accompanied by a weak civil society infrastructure, seem to offer the most fertile ground for rethinking the Humanities, their pedagogical practice, and their politics, as well as the greatest threats, such as the ongoing capitalization of research, and profitability as the norm of educational achievement. The sprawling presence of for-profit universities and in academic peripheries such as Albania and Kosovo is indicative of this problematic, as are consistent underfunding of universities and the relentless budget cuts in American and English, and to a lesser extent European, universities. Motivations for this ongoing attack on the university are often driven by a political system or a politics with an aggressive stance to critical thought.

Continent. Year 1: A Selection of Issues 1.1–1.4

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ISBN: 9780615736891 Year: Pages: 194 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0016.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:45
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continent. Year 1: A selection of issues 1.1-1.4 collects a variety of thoughts and tropes from the 2011 issues of continent., ranging from work on Greek poetry to deep brain recordings, from speculative realism to the fragments as a unit of prose, and from queer theory to mass murder. This collection presents the fruits of an intense collaboration throughout the different zones of the Academy

Echoes of No Thing: Thinking between Heidegger and Dōgen

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ISBN: 9781950192014 97819501920201 Year: Pages: 210 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0239.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
Added to DOAB on : 2019-03-26 11:21:03
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Echoes of No Thing seeks to understand the space between thinking which Martin Heidegger and the 13th-century Zen patriarch Eihei Dōgen explore in their writing and teachings. Heidegger most clearly attempts this in Contributions to Philosophy (of the Event) and Dōgen in his Shōbōgenzō, a collection of fascicles which he compiled in his lifetime. Both thinkers draw us towards thinking, instead of merely defining systems of thought. Both Heidegger and Dōgen imagine possibilities not apparent in the world we currently inhabit, but notably, find possible, through a refashioning of thinking as a soteriological reimagining that clears space for the presencing of an authentic experience in the space which emerges between certainties. Jenkins elucidates this soteriological reimagining through a close reading of both authors’ conceptions of time and space, and by developing a practice of listening that is attuned to the echoes that resonate between the two thinkers. While Heidegger often wrote about new beginnings (as well as about gathering oneself, preparing the site, clearings, and practicing) in preparation for the evental un-concealing of truth, nowhere is this as present as in the enigmatic, difficult, and in fact beautiful, Contributions. To call a text beautiful, especially a work of philosophy, risks committing an act of disingenuity, and yet Contributions, like Jacques Derrida’s Glas or Walter Benjamin’s unfinished Arcades Project, rises to this acclaim through its very resistance to a system, its refusal to be easily digested, or even understood. Contributions is unfinished, partial, even at times muttered; it is the beginning of a thinking which takes place on a path and as such cannot imagine—or refuse—its final destination. It invites us to take up towards, but not to insist on, its thinking; it is a “turn” away from the reason and logic of a technologized world and returns philosophy—as a thinking—to a place of wonder and awe. Dōgen’s Shōbogenzō, from another culture and time entirely, is also a beautiful text, for similar reasons. The Shōbogenzō, gathered first as a series of talks given by Eihei Dōgen (and later composed as written texts) details the process of understanding which leads, for Dōgen, to a position of pure seeing, or satori, and yet these talks are not simply rules for monks, nor merely imprecations and demands for a laity; rather, they open a being’s thinking to the possibility of something purely other and work as a transition across worlds that also opens us to an other world. What both thinkers illustrate, as do the other thinkers drawn on in this project—most notably, those philosophers associated with the Kyoto School, who were both intimately aware of Dōgen’s work, and studied, or studied with, Heidegger—is that world is not a fixed, stable entity; rather it is a fugal composition of possibility, of as yet untraversed—and at times un-traversable—spaces. Echoes of No Thing seeks to examine, within the lacunal eddies of be-coming’s arrival, that space between which both thinkers point towards as possible sites of new beginnings.

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