Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226569567 Will Publish December 2018
E-book $35.00 Available for pre-order. ISBN: 9780226569734 Will Publish December 2018

Philosophy, Writing, and the Character of Thought

John T. Lysaker

Philosophy, Writing, and the Character of Thought

John T. Lysaker

224 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2018 
Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226569567 Will Publish December 2018
E-book $35.00 ISBN: 9780226569734 Will Publish December 2018
Philosophy’s relation to the act of writing is John T. Lysaker’s main concern in Philosophy, Writing, and the Character of Thought. Whether in Plato, Montaigne, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, or Derrida, philosophy has come in many forms, and those forms—the concrete shape philosophizing takes in writing—matter. Much more than mere adornment, the style in which a given philosopher writes is often of crucial importance to the point he or she is making, part and parcel of the philosophy itself.

​Considering each of the ways in which writing influences philosophy, Lysaker explores genres like the aphorism, dialogue, and essay, as well as logical-rhetorical operations like the example, irony, and quotation. At the same time, he shows us the effects of these rhetorical devices through his own literary experimentation. In dialogue with such authors as Benjamin, Cavell, Emerson, and Lukács, he aims to revitalize philosophical writing, arguing that philosophy cannot fulfill its intellectual and cultural promise if it keeps to professional articles and academic prose. Instead, philosophy must embrace writing as an essential, creative activity, and deliberately reform how it approaches its subject matter, readership, and the evolving social practices of reading and reflection.
Contents
Gambits and Gambles
Iron Filings
Pardon the Interruption
Content and Form
Form and Content
In the Beginning Was the Deed
Reworking Making
Deliberate Writing
Mistaking Instrumental Reason
Fits and Starts
A Cultivar
Quotation beyond Quotas
For Examples
In Nuce
Irony
Message in a Bottle
The Hour of the Wolf
It’s the Gesture That Counts
Furnishing the Space of Reasons
A Struggle with Ourselves
Who’s on First
Every One Is Everybody
The Secret Addressee
When We Undo Things with Words
Unknown Friends
Resoundingly Reticent
Provocation/Demonstration
Among the Pros (and Cons)
A: “O my friend, there are no friends.” B: “At least we’ve got each other.”
Then Came History
Equal to the Moment
Unequal to the Moment
After Beauvoir
Property Is Theft
Strange Alchemy
Public Commitment
Propagation without Propaganda
Bit by Bit
Taking Stances
Character Studies
Where Do We Find Ourselves
Acknowledgments
Notes
References
Index
Review Quotes
Eddie Glaude, Princeton University
"Philosophy, Writing, and the Character of Thought is a bold and courageous book. John Lysaker, at the level of form and in the substance of his powerful writing, shows us what philosophy can be and what it can do."
Eduardo Mendieta, Pennsylvania State University
“This is one of the best books I have read in a while. Powerful and original, it is about writing and not knowing how to write. It is about displacement, and being uprooted, and disorientation. About stuttering, about not knowing one’s way in an argument or how to say it, so that it is to the height of what it is being expressed. It is about how philosophy is homeless, and how just as it has no mother tongue, it also has no distinct or owned, sovereign, genre. This is a book about how to philosophize that requires that we create new ways, forms, genres, “styles,” gestures, of writing and communicating. But, the book is more than that; it is also a reflection on how thought is impacted by its mode of delivery. The thought is its own expression, or mode of presentation.”
Edward S. Casey, State University of New York at Stony Brook
“This book is a profound meditation on what it means to write philosophy in all the remarkable diversity of ways in which this has happened. Examples abound from a rich tapestry composed of figures from Plato through Emerson and Thoreau, into Heidegger, Cavell, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein. Lysaker’s own text defies all standard genres—it is itself sui generis—as it creates its own original unique mixture of reflection and critique. Showing how philosophy must move beyond traditional aims of demonstration and validity, it concerns itself not just with the relationship between the philosophical text and the reader but also, and especially, with the times in which it exists: it must be ‘equal to the moment.’ Lysaker shows that philosophy at its best is an experimentation and a provocation; and his own text, at once learned and wry, humorous and dead serious, eloquent and forceful, is both of these at once.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://www.press.uchicago.edu
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