The ASCP community is prolific in producing work that encompasses a variety of areas of scholarship in Continental Philosophy. The following book descriptions provide some recent examples of this work published in 2016.
Daniel Brennan, The Political Thought of Václav Havel: Philosophical influences and contemporary applications (Brill: 2016)
The book considers Václav Havel’s body of writing as a cohesive whole offering a consistent political philosophy. This bold claim is backed up through a close examination of Havel’s plays, letters, essays and aphorisms. The political philosophy that a close reading of Havel reveals is a liberal one. However, Havel is not the run-of the-mill liberal having influences from the field of phenomenology, Masaryk, Husserl, Levinas Patočka and Heidegger which give him a nuanced view of the self. Havel sees the self as something always being formed. Hence for Havel man has an ability to ‘shake’ his current state and invite transcendence into his life. This agonistic process reveals our responsibility and liberates the self from forces which coerce behaviour.
Joanne Faulkner, Young and Free: [Post]colonial Ontologies of Childhood, Memory and History in Australia (Rowman & Littlefield: 2016)
Tracing the complex yet intimate relationship between a present-day national obsession with childhood and a colonial past with which Australia as a nation has not adequately come to terms, Young and Free draws on philosophy, literature, film and testimony. The result is a demonstration of how anxiety about childhood has become a screen for more fundamental and intractable issues that vex Australian social and political life. Joanne Faulkner argues that by interpreting these anxieties in their relation to settler-colonial Australia’s unresolved conflict with Aboriginal people, new ways of conceiving of Australian community may be opened.
Andrew Inkpin, Disclosing the World: On the Phenomenology of Language (MIT: 2016)
In this book, Andrew Inkpin considers the disclosive function of language—what language does in revealing or disclosing the world. His approach to this question is a phenomenological one, centering on the need to accord with the various experiences speakers can have of language. With this aim in mind, he develops a phenomenological conception of language with important implications for both the philosophy of language and recent work in the embodied-embedded-enactive-extended (4e) tradition of cognitive science.
Inkpin draws extensively on the work of Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, showing how their respective conceptions of language can be combined to complement each other within a unified view. From the early Heidegger, Inkpin extracts a basic framework for a phenomenological conception of language, comprising both a general picture of the role of language and a specific model of the function of words. Merleau-Ponty’s views are used to explicate the generic “pointing out”—or presentational—function of linguistic signs in more detail, while the late Wittgenstein is interpreted as providing versatile means to describe their many pragmatic uses. Having developed this unified phenomenological view, Inkpin explores its broader significance. He argues that it goes beyond the conventional realism/idealism opposition, that it challenges standard assumptions in mainstream post-Fregean philosophy of language, and that it makes a significant contribution not only to the philosophical understanding of language but also to 4e cognitive science.
Jane Lymer, The Phenomenology of Gravidity: Reframing Pregnancy and the Maternal through Merleau-Ponty, Levinas and Derrida (Rowman & Littlefield: 2016)
The Phenomenology of Gravidity explores Continental philosophy of feminism and offers a voice that articulates the specific process of gestation and the concrete experiences of pregnant women as both gendered and particular. Jane Lymer develops the philosophical and ethical implications of an understanding of embodied gestation in feminist philosophy which acknowledges the developmental importance of the maternal-foetal relation to human cognition and our intersubjective relations. Through an engagement with the work of Merleau-Ponty, Levinas and Derrida, The Phenomenology of Gravidity outlines the role of maternal embodiment in our development. It offers a feminist and ethical framework for a hospitality of gravidity which welcomes the place of the pregnant mother in all her guises.
Christopher Mayes, The Biopolitics of Lifestyle: Foucault, Ethics and Healthy Choices (Routledge: 2016)
The rationale for this book follows Michel Foucault’s approach of problematization, addressing the way lifestyle is problematized as a biopolitical domain in neoliberal societies. Mayes argues that in response to the threat of obesity, lifestyle has emerged as a network of disparate knowledges, relations and practices through which individuals are governed toward the security of the population’s health. Although a central focus is government health campaigns, this volume demonstrates that the network of lifestyle emanates from a variety of overlapping domains and disciplines, including public health, clinical medicine, media, entertainment, school programs, advertising, sociology and ethics.
This book offers a timely critique of the continued interventions into the lives of individuals and communities by government agencies, private industries, medical and non-medical experts in the name of health and population security.
Daniel McLoughlin (ed.), Agamben and Radical Politics: 11 essays on Giorgio Agamben's thinking about economy and government, revolt and revolution (Edinburgh: 2016)
Giorgio Agamben's analysis of sovereignty was profoundly influential for critical theory as it grappled with issues of security and state violence in the wake of September 11 2001. But what does his work have to say in an age of economic crises and political revolts? The essays in this volume analyse Agamben's recent work on government and his relationship to the revolutionary tradition. They shed new light upon Agamben’s thought, and open up new ways of thinking about economy and action, two issues that have become crucial for politics and critical theory in the post-financial crisis world. Includes a new essay by Agamben entitled 'Capitalism as Religion.'
Jack Reynolds & Richard Sebold (eds.) Phenomenology and Science: Confrontations and Convergences (Palgrave Macmillan: 2016)
This book investigates the complex, sometimes fraught relationship between phenomenology and the natural sciences. The contributors attempt to subvert and complicate the divide that has historically tended to characterize the relationship between the two fields. Phenomenology has traditionally been understood as methodologically distinct from scientific practice, and thus removed from any claim that philosophy is strictly continuous with science. There is some substance to this thinking, which has dominated consideration of the relationship between phenomenology and science throughout the twentieth century. However, there are also emerging trends within both phenomenology and empirical science that complicate this too stark opposition, and call for more systematic consideration of the inter-relation between the two fields. These essays explore such issues, either by directly examining meta-philosophical and methodological matters, or by looking at particular topics that seem to require the resources of each, including imagination, cognition, temporality, affect, imagery, language, and perception.
Ľubica Učník, The Crisis of Meaning and the Life-World: Husserl, Heidegger, Arendt, Patočka, (Ohio University Press: 2016)
In The Crisis of Meaning and the Life-World, Ľubica Učník examines the existential conflict that formed the focus of Edmund Husserl's final work, which she argues is very much with us today: how to reconcile scientific rationality with the meaning of human existence. To investigate this conundrum, she places Husserl in dialogue with three of his most important successors: Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, and Jan Patočka.
For Husserl, 1930s Europe was characterized by a growing irrationalism that threatened to undermine its legacy of rational inquiry. Technological advancement in the sciences, Husserl argued, had led science to forget its own foundations in the primary "life-world": the world of lived experience. Renewing Husserl's concerns in today's context, Učník first provides an original and compelling reading of his oeuvre through the lens of the formalization of the sciences, then traces the unfolding of this problem through the work of Heidegger, Arendt, and Patočka.
Although many scholars have written on Arendt, none until now has connected her philosophical thought with that of Czech phenomenologist Jan Patočka. Učník provides invaluable access to the work of the latter, who remains understudied in the English language. She shows that together, these four thinkers offer new challenges to the way we approach key issues confronting us today, providing us with ways to reconsider truth, freedom, and human responsibility in the face of the postmodern critique of metanarratives and a growing philosophical interest in new forms of materialism.
Saige Walton, Cinema's Baroque Flesh: Film, Phenomenology and the Art of Entanglement (Amsterdam University Press and University of Chicago Press: 2016)
In Cinema's Baroque Flesh, Saige Walton draws on the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty to argue for a distinct aesthetic category of film and a unique cinema of the senses: baroque cinema. Combining media archaeological work with art history, phenomenology, and film studies, the book offers close analyses of a range of historic baroque artworks and films, including Caché, Strange Days, the films of Buster Keaton, and many more. Walton pursues previously unexplored connections between film, the baroque, and the body, opening up new avenues of embodied film theory that can make room for structure, signification, and thought, as well as the aesthetics of sensation.