CAVELL CONDITIONS HANDSOME AND UNHANDSOME PDF

Emerson, Dewey, and Cavell. Review of Richard Eldridge Ed. Science Logic and Mathematics. Find it on Scholar. The Constitution of Emersonian Perfectionism Review.

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By Alexander E. Marashian Stanley Cavell has done it again. As usual, just what he has done is hard to say, but anyone who reads Conditions Handsome and Unhandsome with the commitment it demands and deserves will percieve that that is part of its point.

In the lengthy introduction, Cavell presents his conception of Emersonian or Moral Perfectionism. Resisting the possibility of an "essential definition" of Perfectionism, Cavell seeks to establish "an open-ended thematics.

Instead, it constitutes a dimension of the moral life founded on the possibility of self-knowledge and transformation. Perfectionism receives extensive treatment in the writings of Emerson.

The first lecture, on "Aversive Thinking," is discursive, provocative and nearly impossible to synthesize. In his efforts to retrieve Emerson from the longtime neglect of professional philosophy, Cavell locates him in the center of a dialogue involving Nietzsche whom Emerson influenced profoundly and Heidegger influenced, in turn, by Nietzsche.

Here Cavell aligns his Emerson with Heidegger. Advertisement In part, the first two lectures provide the common ground for this crucial conversation, which Cavell undertakes in the third. Here he is at his most engaging, most provocative and most discursive, drawing erratically on his film studies, readings of Shakespeare, interpretation of Rawls and other varied interests. Cavell is an excellent conversationalist. It presupposes considerable familiarity with Emerson, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein and Rawls.

As Cavell himself notes, the lectures are open-ended--their achievement, in part, lies in the relations they establish and the foundations they lay. For anyone who suspects a poverty in contemporary American philosophy, Conditions provides a welcome relief. Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

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Stanley Cavell Knows Emerson

But what else should one expect? My recommendation is bound to be based — unless it is to multiply impertinence — on something as yet unfamiliar in Emerson, as if I am claiming him to remain a stranger. In that case to soften his strangeness would be pointless — which is no excuse, I do realize, for hardening it. About my own sound it may help to say that while I may often leave ideas in what seems a more literary state, sometimes in a more psychoanalytic state, than a philosopher might wish — that is, that a philosopher might prefer a further philosophical derivation of the ideas — I mean to leave everything I will say, or have, I guess, ever said, as in a sense provisional, the sense that it is to be gone on from.

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