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Bearing Witness to Epiphany: Persons, Things, and the Nature of Erotic Life (Suny Series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy)

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ISBN-13: 978-1438425030
ISBN-10: 1438425031
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

In this probing sequel to the popular and award-winning Human Experience, John Russon asks, "What is it to be a person?" The answer: the key to our humanity lies in our sexuality, where we experience the freedom to shape identities creatively in cooperation with another. With grace and philosophical rigor, Russon shows that an exploration of sexuality not only illuminates the psychological dimensions of our interpersonal lives but also provides the basis for a new approach to ethics and politics. Responsibilities toward others, he contends, develop alongside our personal growth. Bearing Witness to Epiphany brings to light the essential relationship between ethical and political bonds and the development of our powers of expression, leading to a substantial study of the nature and role of art in human life.

"Bearing Witness to Epiphany is another beautifully written book by John Russon, a companion to his excellent Human Experience. While continental philosophy has relentlessly deconstructed the classical form of the philosophy book, Russon has revived this form in a most compelling way. Russon's writing is so lucid, that the book seems to read itself. More importantly, like Human Experience, Bearing Witness to Epiphany is the expression of profound thinking. This book should make it clear to everyone that John Russon is one of the few original voices working in continental philosophy today." -- Leonard Lawlor, coeditor of The Merleau-Ponty Reader

About the Author

John Russon is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Guelph and the author of Human Experience: Philosophy, Neurosis, and the Elements of Everyday Life, also published by SUNY Press.

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Product Details

  • Series: Suny Series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
  • Hardcover: 156 pages
  • Publisher: State Univ of New York Pr (May 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1438425031
  • ISBN-13: 978-1438425030
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,838,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I have a passion for philosophy. Studying philosophy has been one of the most rewarding and valuable practices of my life, and I write my books in an attempt to help others experience the riches that philosophy has to offer to anyone's life. My books _Human Experience_ and _Bearing Witness to Epiphany_ are about how we develop as persons, and about how to understand and deal with the important issues--and problems--that occur in our relationships with others. These books (as well as my more scholarly books on the philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel) have been used frequently in university courses, but they are also intended for general readers who are interested in really thinking about their lives. I also love teaching. I have been a university teacher for many years (currently at the University of Guelph), and I also regularly teach private philosophy seminars in Toronto, Canada, where I live. One great thing about living in Toronto is its vibrant music scene, and I take advantage of that by performing regularly with my jazz quartet (in which I play guitar). I expect to record a CD later this year. I always love to hear from my readers, and I'd be very happy to have people come out to hear my band!

Please check out my website: You can also read more about me on Wikipedia or on the webpage from the Philosophy Department at the University of Guelph.

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"Bearing Witness to Epiphany" aims to clarify, bear witness to, and urge the recognition of the dynamic character of the experiential world. Russon begins by attending to rhythm and music, and develops out of our capacity to experience rhythm and be moved by music a very useful and vivid articulation of the structural and temporal dimensions of embodied experience. Music is not something "out there" apart from us, a mere "object" to which we can remain indifferent. To hear music as music is to be solicited to dance, to be called upon bodily. In general, Russon argues, experience is never a matter of subjects confronting objects, but of interaction, of reciprocity, of engagement that can perhaps best be described in musical terms. There is always an established and familiar repeating context (rhythm), that is given significance by the various ongoing projects that work with and against that background, defining the character of experience (harmony), and serving as background for the current and developing concerns (melody).

The things of our world are not detached realities, existing in their own right as "things in themselves," but appear only in relation to us and on our terms, against the backdrop of our developing character, and in terms of our capacities for interacting with and making sense of them. They appear, for us, only insofar as we are capable of making contact with them, only insofar as we have acquired the bodily capacity for interacting with and interpreting them. At the same time, we cannot be indifferent to things, as they solicit us to act upon and witness to them, since "we" are not anything at all within experience, or for ourselves, except the open potential realized through such interactions, through this interplay and dance.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Real R. Fillion on April 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a book for all those who seek in vain in contemporary works of philosophy for that which stirred them when they first encountered Plato's dialogues. It is true philosophy that indeed bears witness to the musicality of our lives, inviting us to express the creative thoughtfulness that animates us at our core. A profoundly compelling work, it challenges all those who do philosophy for a living to respond to the unease they feel with the complacent expertise that structures their profession and reminds us all of the pedagogical imperatives at the heart of living itself.
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