In Foucault’s Discipline, John S. Ransom extracts a distinctive vision of the political world—and oppositional possibilities within it—from the welter of disparate topics and projects Michel Foucault pursued over his lifetime. Uniquely, Ransom presents Foucault as a political theorist in the tradition of Weber and Nietzsche, and specifically examines Foucault’s work in relation to the political tradition of liberalism and the Frankfurt School. By concentrating primarily on Discipline and Punish and the later Foucauldian texts, Ransom provides a fresh interpretation of this controversial philosopher’s perspectives on concepts such as freedom, right, truth, and power. Foucault’s Discipline demonstrates how Foucault’s valorization of descriptive critique over prescriptive plans of action can be applied to the decisively altered political landscape of the end of this millennium. By reconstructing the philosopher’s arguments concerning the significance of disciplinary institutions, biopower, subjectivity, and forms of resistance in modern society, Ransom shows how Foucault has provided a different way of looking at and responding to contemporary models of government—in short, a new depiction of the political world.
Michael Jackson has spent much of his career elaborating his rich conception of lifeworlds, mining his ethnographic and personal experience for insights into how our subjective and social lives are mutually constituted.
In How Lifeworlds Work, Jackson draws on years of ethnographic fieldwork in West Africa to highlight the dynamic quality of human relationships and reinvigorate the study of kinship and ritual. How, he asks, do we manage the perpetual process of accommodation between social norms and personal emotions, impulses, and desires? How are these two dimensions of lived reality joined, and how are the dual imperatives of individual expression and collective viability managed? Drawing on the pragmatist tradition, psychology, and phenomenology, Jackson offers an unforgettable, beautifully written account of how we make, unmake, and remake, our lifeworlds.
Husserl and Transcendental Intersubjectivity analyzes the transcendental relevance of intersubjectivity and argues that an intersubjective transformation of transcendental philosophy can already be found in phenomenology, especially in Husserl. Husserl eventually came to believe that an analysis of transcendental intersubjectivity was a conditio sine qua non for a phenomenological philosophy. Drawing on both published and unpublished manuscripts, Dan Zahavi examines Husserl's reasons for this conviction and delivers a detailed analysis of his radical and complex concept of intersubjectivity, showing that precisely his reflections on transcendental intersubjectivity are capable of clarifying the core-concepts of phenomenology, thus making possible a new understanding of Husserl’s philosophy.
Against this background the book compares his view with the approaches to intersubjectivity found in Heidegger, Sartre, and Merleau-Ponty, and it then attempts to establish to what extent the phenomenological approach can contribute to the current discussion of intersubjectivity. This is achieved through a systematic confrontation with the language-pragmatical positions of Apel and Habermas.
World-renowned analytic philosophers John McDowell and Robert Brandom, dubbed “Pittsburgh Neo-Hegelians,” recently engaged in an intriguing debate about perception. In The Intentional Spectrum and Intersubjectivity Michael D. Barber is the first to bring phenomenology to bear not just on the perspectives of McDowell or Brandom alone, but on their intersection. He argues that McDowell accounts better for the intelligibility of empirical content by defending holistically functioning, reflectively distinguishable sensory and intellectual intentional structures. He reconstructs dimensions implicit in the perception debate, favoring Brandom on knowledge’s intersubjective features that converge with the ethical characteristics of intersubjectivity Emmanuel Levinas illuminates.
Phenomenology becomes the third partner in this debate between two analytic philosophers, critically mediating their discussion by unfolding the systematic interconnectionamong perception, intersubjectivity, metaphilosophy, and ethics.
The postmodern opposition between theory and lived reality has led in part to an anthropological turn to "dialogic" or "reflexive" approaches. Michael Jackson claims these approaches are hardly radical as they still drift into such abstractions as "society" or "culture." His Minima Ethnographica proposes an existential anthropology that recognizes even abstract relationships as modalities of interpersonal life.
Written in the style of Theodor Adorno's Minima Moralia, Jackson's work shows how general ideas are always anchored in particular social events and critical concerns. Emphasizing the intersubjective encounter over objective descriptions of the whole historical and contemporary situation of a given people, he illustrates the power and originality of existential anthropology through a series of vignettes from his fieldwork in Sierra Leone and Australia. An award-winning poet, novelist, and anthropologist, Jackson offers a timely critique of conventions that dull our sense of the links between academic study and lived experience.
One of the foremost religious and social philosophers of the twentieth century, Martin Buber also wrote extensively on sociological subjects, particularly as these affected his philosophical concerns. Collected here, these writings offer essential insights into the human condition as it is expressed in culture and society.
Buber's central focus in his sociological work is the relation between social interaction, or intersubjectivity, and the process of human creativity. Specifically, Buber seeks to define the nature and conditions of creativity, the conditions of authentic intersubjective social relations that nurture creativity in society and culture. He attempts to identify situations favorable to creativity that he believes exist to some extent in all cultures, though their fullest development occurs only rarely.
Buber considers the combination of open dialogue between human and human and a dialogue between man and God to be necessary for the crystallization of the common discourse that is essential for holding a free, just, and open society together.
Important for an understanding of Buber's thought, these writings—touching on education, religion, the state, and charismatic leadership—will be of profound value to students of sociology, philosophy, and religion.
M. C. Dillon (1938–2005) was widely regarded as a world-leading Merleau-Ponty scholar. His book Merleau-Ponty’s Ontology (1988) is recognized as a classic text that revolutionized the philosophical conversation about the great French phenomenologist. Dillon followed that book with two others: Semiological Reductionism, a critique of early-1990s linguistic reductionism, and Beyond Romance, a richly developed theory of love. At the time of his death, Dillon had nearly completed two further books to which he was passionately committed. The first one offers a highly original interpretation of Nietzsche’s ontology of becoming. The second offers a detailed ethical theory based on Merleau-Ponty’s account of carnal intersubjectivity. The Ontology of Becoming and the Ethics of Particularity collects these two manuscripts written by a distinguished philosopher at the peak of his powers—manuscripts that, taken together, offer a distinctive and powerful view of human life and ethical relations.
During the Middle Ages, philosophers and theologians argued over the extramental reality of universal forms or essences. In the early modern period, the relation between subjectivity and objectivity, the individual self and knowledge of the outside world, was a rich subject of debate. Today, there is considerable argument about the relation between spontaneity and determinism within the evolutionary process, whether a principle of spontaneous self-organization as well as natural selection is at work in the aggregation of molecules into cells and the development of primitive forms of life into complex organisms. In Subjectivity, Objectivity and Intersubjectivity, Joseph A. Bracken proposes that what is ultimately at stake here is the age-old problem of the relationship between the One and the Many, universality and particularity on different levels of existence and activity within nature.
Bracken rejects traditional models of this relationship, wherein either the One or the Many is presupposed to have priority over the other. He instead suggests that a new social ontology—one that is grounded in a theory of universal intersubjectivity—protects both the concrete particularity of individual entities in their specific relations to one another and their enduring corporate reality as a stable community or environment within Nature.
What emerges is a bold reimagining of the sometimes strained relationship between religion and science. Bracken's clear writing, sophisticated philosophical analysis, and exemplary scholarship will lend this new work an enthusiastic appreciation by readers with deep interests in philosophy and philosophical theology.
Suture and Narrative: Deep Intersubjectivity in Fiction and Film by George Butte offers a new phenomenological understanding of how fiction and film narratives use particular techniques to create and represent the experience of community. Butte turns to the concept of suture from Lacanian film theory and to the work of Merleau-Ponty to contribute a deeper and broader approach to intersubjectivity for the field of narrative theory.
Butte’s approach allows for narratives that represent insight as well as blindness, love, and loss, locating these connections and disconnections in narratological techniques that capture the crisscrossing of perspectives, such as those in fiction’s free indirect discourse and in the oblique angle of film’s shot/reverse shot convention. Butte studies the implications of this chiasmus in the novels and film adaptations of later Henry James works, Barrie’s Peter Pan tales and film adaptations, and the films Silence of the Lambsand Nothing But a Man. Suture’s story in the twentieth century, according to Butte, is a story of the loss of immediacy and community. Yet in concluding this, Butte finds optimism in the Coen brothers’ Raising Arizona as well as in Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson and Marc Webb’s film (500) Days of Summer.
Time and the Shared World challenges the common view that Heidegger offers few resources for understanding humanity’s social nature. The book demonstrates that Heidegger’s reformulation of traditional notions of subjectivity has wide-ranging implications for understanding the nature of human relationships. Irene McMullin shows that, contrary to entrenched critiques, Heidegger’s characterization of selfhood as fundamentally social presupposes the responsive acknowledgment of each person’s particularity and otherness.
In doing so, McMullin argues that Heidegger’s work on the social nature of the self must be located within a philosophical continuum that builds on Kant and Husserl’s work regarding the nature of the a priori and the fundamental structures of human temporality, while also pointing forward to developments of these themes to be found in Heidegger’s later work and in such thinkers as Sartre and Levinas. By developing unrecognized resources in Heidegger’s work, Time and the Shared World is able to provide a Heidegger-inspired account of respect and the intersubjective origins of normativity.