Cover of Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy
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1. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Nancy Tuana, Charles Scott

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2. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Dennis J. Schmidt Orcid-ID

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3. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Charles Scott

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Dennis Schmidt is developing a way of thinking that has at its core his understanding of "idiom," especially in what he calls "original ethics" and "idiomatic truth." This paper engages that understanding, distinguishes linguistic idioms and "event idioms," shows the transformative effects in both his thought and his life that his focus on idioms has had and is having in the present direction of his constructive philosophy, and further shows that this direction has the potential to change considerably major aspects of contemporary continental philosophy.
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4. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
John Sallis

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This essay is a response to Dennis Schmidt’s call for a reanimating of the philosophical imagination and for the inception of an original ethics. In this connection it undertakes an extended examination of the various meanings that the word ἦèïò has in a number of ancient texts. Passages are cited at length (and in translations as close as possible to the Greek) from Homer’s Odyssey, Hesiod’s Works and Days, a fragment by Empedocles, a tragic drama by Aeschylus, Xenophon’s Symposium, and Plato’s Republic, Symposium, Phaedrus, and Laws. Each passage is discussed in detail with specific focus on the meaning that the passage accords to ἦèïò.
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5. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Walter Brogan

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In this essay, I attempt to explore Dennis Schmidt’s pervasive claim throughout his work of a deep affinity between aesthetic experience and ethical life. In a discussion of what Schmidt calls the intensification of life, the essay shows how for Schmidt birth and death are moments that have a peculiar capacity to reveal what he calls the idiom of the ethical. At the end of the essay, I turn to Schmidt’s discussion of Greek tragedy as an exemplary site for his unique sense of original ethics.
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6. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Theodore George

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In this essay, the author argues that Dennis Schmidt’s considerations of ethical life, when taken together, comprise a prescient and distinctive response to Heidegger’s call to pursue an ‘original ethics.’ In this, Schmidt disavows discourses within the discipline of ethics that seek to establish an ethical theory or position, arguing instead that the demands of ethical life require us to focus on the incalculable singularity of the factical situations in which we find ourselves. The author suggests that Schmidt’s contributions to such an original ethical turns on Schmidt’s claims that the context of ethical life is fraught because bound up with radical finitude—though, for that very reason, also tender because marked by the need to care for one another in our vulnerability and fragileness.
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7. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Peg Birmingham

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This essay explores Dennis Schmidt’s notion of an “original ethics,” asking how language, freedom and history are at work in this original ethics. The essay first examines Schmidt’s claim that philosophy has traditionally understood ethical and political life as rooted in a subject ruled entirely by what he calls “the law of the common.” The essay specifically looks at how Plato and Hobbes embrace the law of the common, expelling thereby the law of the idiom from their respective ethical and political thought. The essay then turns to an examination of Schmidt’s “original ethics” which he claims offers a way out from the law of the common and the logic of Machenschaft that animates this law. In conclusion, the essay expresses a concern on whether Schmidt can move as seamlessly as he seems to claim from an original ethics to political being in common, asking of the role of judgment in Schmidt’s original ethics.
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8. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Andrew Benjamin

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Of the many elements within Schmidt’s work that warrant discussion the attempt to differentiate the ethical from the conceptual is one of the most significant. That it is in part grounded in a reading of Kant makes it even more important. The aim of this essay is to question the way this differentiation is established and then justified. Part of the argument is to show the limits within Schmidt’s way of addressing what is central to any philosophical anthropology namely a concern with the being of being human.
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9. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
James Risser

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This paper attempts to define Dennis J. Schmidt’s distinctive contribution to philosophy and to contemporary hermeneutics in particular under the heading of an ethical hermeneutics. The idea of an ethical hermeneutics is considered in relation to four aspects: 1) the element of practice as the constitutive element of ethical hermeneutics; 2) the force of practice: finitude; 3) the idiom as the place of finitude; 4) ethical hermeneutics and the domain of the common. The fourth aspect constitutes the critical engagement with the idea of an ethical hermeneutics, arguing that the notion of the common, which is underdeveloped in Schmidt’s writings, serves as a practical “concept” that takes the place of the theoretical concept in an ethical hermeneutics.
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10. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
María del Rosario Acosta López

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In this article I address the question of writing and philosophical style as it is reflected on, and staged, by Dennis Schmidt’s work. I emphasize the relationship between Schmidt’s insistence on preserving a conception of beauty as productive for our current philosophical insights, and the way in which this is related to the call for, and implementation of, a “beautiful” style of philosophizing. In order to exemplify what I mean by this, I support some of my arguments with Friedrich Schiller’s reflections on philosophical style and his controversy around this issue with J. Gottlieb Fichte.
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11. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Jeffrey T. Nealon

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This essay traces an astonishing shift in Denny Schmidt’s work, from his emphasis on tragedy and death in 2005’s Lyrical and Ethical Subjects, to an emphasis on the comic possibilities of life in Between Word and Image (2012). Simply put, his earlier book pivots most decisively on language and, as he writes, the ways that language “bears witness to finitude” (2). Between Word and Image, on the other hand, pivots decisively on the image and reveals for us the possibility that “painting is at its heart the presentation of the movement of life” (96). The essay ends with some questions about the specifically political upshot of Schmidt’s work on the relations among aesthetic experience and “life.”
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12. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Shannon M. Mussett

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This paper explores a dimension of the contemporary western understanding of nature as it has been shaped by the thought of Hegel. Emblematic of a tradition that struggles to think nature on its own terms but which, more often than not, formulates it as the ground upon which human progress is built, Hegel’s philosophy sacrifices nature to spiritual progress. Orienting this study through Dennis J. Schmidt’s work on death and sacrifice in the dialectic, I trace Hegel’s formulation of the natural to show how the denigration of nature plays into a larger pattern evident in the western tradition, one that that positions the natural as somehow “outside” the political and spiritual, thereby subjecting it to mischaracterization and misuse. I conclude with a call for a post-sacrificial understanding of the natural world in an effort to help challenge the destructive force inherited by this tradition.
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13. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
David Wood

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This presentation is something of a performative response to the thrust and promise of Dennis Schmidt’s work in Between Word and Image, especially his reference to art as an ethopoetic event. My own art practice has led me to ask when art happens, about the event of art. Rilke was right: “you must change your life.” This means a break with the dominance of representation, calculation and Machenschaft. The idea that this means a renewal of dwelling, and that art can help, is for Denny the ethical promise of art. We here take up questions he sets aside—that of Nature and that of the possibility/efficacy of art today (Hegel/Adorno). I claim that earth art has distinctive ways of recalibrating our understanding of and engagement with space and time, which feed into what we mean by dwelling, our bearing in the world. This transforms how we think of questions of control with respect to Nature.
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14. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Dennis J. Schmidt Orcid-ID

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The purpose of this essay is to take up the question of how an ethical con­sciousness emerges, that is where ethics might begin, and to ask about some of the consequences one might draw from this beginning. The essay argues that one site for thinking through such a beginning is the consciousness of mortality. To unpack such a claim, the essay takes up Heidegger’s discussion of this point in Being and Time as well as Derrida’s discussion of this consciousness in his seminar on Beast and Sovereign and his essay “Béliers.” The final stage of the argument concerns the sameness of birth and death for an understanding of ethical sense: both speak to the vulnerability and the absoluteness that expose the questions of ethical life, and both intensify a sense of what is at stake in such a life.
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