Doubt, Time, Violence
by Piotr Hoffman
University of Chicago Press, 1987
Cloth: 978-0-226-34791-2
Library of Congress Classification BD215.H65 1986
Dewey Decimal Classification 121.5

In this work of original philosophy, Piotr Hoffman focuses on two of the central concerns of modern philosophy—doubt and time. He argues that both concerns stem from a suppressed but underlying feeling that life is an all-out, unrestrained struggle and that violence is inherent in the human condition.

According to Hoffman, modern philosophy becomes fully intelligible and coherent only when the notion of human violence is given paramount importance. After briefly pointing out some significant parallels between Hobbes and Descartes, Hoffman undertakes a careful examination of ideas about doubt and time in the works of Descartes and Hegel, and, above all, in Heidegger's Being and Time. In a chapter on doubt, Hoffman shows that the skeptical predicament into which man is placed by Descartes's "evil demon" and Heidegger's "death" is grounded in the notion of complete vulnerability to an "other," a vulnerability revealed only in violent confrontation. Hoffman then compares Hegel's and Heidegger's views on time, showing that they presuppose the possibility of viewing the present as a complete break with the past. This possibility is again grounded in the experience of violent struggle with another human being. Hoffman concludes by linking philosophical concepts of doubt and time to ordinary experience.

A lucid, intelligent, and persuasive work, firmly grounded in the texts it considers, Doubt, Time, Violence will challenge philosophers and interest all who ponder the significance of violence.

See other books on: Belief and doubt | Doubt | Epistemology | Time | Violence
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