- Paperback: 199 pages
- Publisher: Stanford University Press (September 10, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0804759545
- ISBN-13: 978-0804759540
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,829,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Arts and the Definition of the Human: Toward a Philosophical Anthropology
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
"In search of the distinctively human as a key to understanding language, culture, history, agency, creativity and responsibility, Margolis rejects the oppositions that have shaped discourse about these central philosophical topics since the time of the pre-Socratics. Breathtaking in its panoramic sweep of the Western tradition, admirably informed about the ideological dimensions of classical and contemporary aesthetics, Margolis's rethinking of basic issues in the intersection between knowledge, imagination, and art in all its expressive manifestations is certain to spark vitally innovative discussions as it carries forward ongoing disputes in important new directions." (Dale Jacquette, University of Bern Switzerland)
"Margolis is in the unique position of knowing both contemporary continental and analytical philosophy, and one of the great merits of this book is its creative bridging of the two. The Arts and the Definition of the Human is a signal work of very high accomplishment that crowns the career of a distinguished philosopher justly celebrated for his many substantial contributions to the philosophy of art and to many other philosophical domains." (Edward S. Casey)
About the Author
Joseph Margolis is the Laura H. Carnell Professor of Philosophy at Temple University. His most recent book is Moral Philosophy after 9/11(2004).
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Here's the summary. (Terms you may not understand are usually defined in other parts of the book, except sittlich which, although normally translated at "moral" seems to refer to Hegel's idea of the ethical life as bridging individual feelings and general rights.) His view [which he associates here with Darwinism] "would outflank reductionism and dualism at a stroke; confirm the advantage of a phenomenological model of perception over any empirical alternative; account for the encultured nature of human understanding in every sector of inquiry; confirm (accordingly) the inseparability of metaphysics and epistemology; comply with the decisive innovations introduced by Kant and Hegel in (our) overcoming the paradoxes of twentieth- and twenty-first century Anglo-American philosophy (aesthetics, for the moment) as easily as those of the pre-Kantian Cartesian world (since they are basically the same); demonstrate the thoroughly naturalistic status of the concepts and processes of an emergent cultural world; reject (as a consequence) any disjunction between the work of the physical and human sciences as well as any privileging of non-Intentional inquiry over Intentionally informed inquiry; and (therefore) validate the prospects of objective inquiries of a thoroughly cultural sort (the description and interpretation of artworks for instance, the description and explanation of human life and history) in virtue (at the very least) of the thoroughly Intentional nature of the physical sciences as science..." (115)
Here is another list that will give you an idea of the full scope (and importance!) of Margolis's thinking:
In talking about Socratic elenchus and Hegelian dialectic, he says that he views them as related strategies of inquiry (preferred by him) "that are (1) presuppositionless; (2) sittlich (in a generous 'anthropological' sense; (3) free of Parmenidean infection of any kind; (4) lacking any formal or criterial method; (5)cast as forms of discursive reason; (6) inherently incapable of claiming or validating any unique correct analysis of whatever sector of the world they choose to examine; (7) committed only to what, as a practical matter, is adequate to our salient interests from time to time - or committed in such a way that theoretical inquiry is seen to be dependent on, or derivative from, or internal to, our practices of discursive inquiry; (8) applied to what is intrinsically interpretable without end; (9) unable to discover in any simple or direct way the objective (or telic) structures of the independent world; (10) hence, applied to what is culturally constituted or constructed relative to our evolving experience of the world; (11) applied to what is local, contexted, not strictly universalizable, validated in sittlich ways; (12) historicized and known to be such; and (13( insuperably phenomenological, that is, grounded in and restricted to our encultured experience of the world (in something closer to Hegel's than to Husserl's sense." (11) All of this, he thinks, bears on defining what it is to be a human being. He uses this to show "the abiding failure of the first two thousand years of Western philosophy!" which, as I mentioned earlier, I think is way overdone. Nonetheless, philosophy, in my view, does not get better than this.
The book is actually a collection of previously published essays or presented papers not all of which are clearly related. Margolis attempts to tie them together by way of his "Prologue: The Definition of the Human." Chapter one deals with the perception of paintings as paintings. Here, Margolis defends a position very similar to that of Marx Wartofsky (who was, by the way, my much admired thesis adviser), who he credits at one point (36-9), that perception is conditioned by history: on Margolis's view all perception of art is penetrated by cultural experience in historical ways.
I plan to write some more comments about this book on my blog at [...]