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Jonathan Ree teaches philosophy at Middlesex University. A reviewer for "The Times Literary Supplement" & "The London Review of Books," he is also the author of "Philosophical Tales" & "Heidegger." He lives in Oxford, England. (Bowker Author Biography)

Omfatter også følgende navne: Jonathan Rée, Jonathan Rée

Værker af Jonathan Ree

Heidegger (1999) 50 eksemplarer
Descartes (1974) 21 eksemplarer
Kierkegaard: A Critical Reader (1998) 7 eksemplarer
Philosophy and Its Past (1978) 7 eksemplarer
Julia Kristeva 2 eksemplarer
Filozófiai kisenciklopédia (1993) 2 eksemplarer

Associated Works

Frygt og bæven (1843) — Introduktion, nogle udgaver3,956 eksemplarer

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A polarized collection (most are). Several mediocre essays buoyed by the humorous (brilliant) piece by Garff and an exacting treatment by Ricoeur.

1. Philosophy after Kierkegaard - Paul Ricoeur
perhaps the only essay which grasps (is a serious treatment of the material rather than an occasion to reiterate the same 'important points' which have been decided in advance) - add here hegels dialectic on "ethics" religion and graven images (hegel) vs kierkegaardian necessity (this dialectic is inferior to the previous). appropriate (earnest) critique of S.K. from a hegelian perspective which one has to admit if approaching the material earnestly. pre-emptively critiques conceptual "post-kierkegaardian existentialism" and "the end of philosphy", which are naively put forth in subsequent essays in this collection.

2. Existence and Ethics - Levinas
highly metaphorical writing (visual light/landscape/bodily sensation , these images are distracting).
"revleation itself does not contradict the essence of the crucified truth, and whether the suffering of God and and the total misrecognition of truth might not reach their sublime fulfillment in total lack of recognition, an incognito"
[levinas actually makes the point (in response to S.K.'s rhetorical flourishes regarding the Biblical Incarnation as the 'greatest imaginable paradox' that a still greater paradox can be imagined: that of the Incarnation which goes unrecognized. I had made this exact point in my notes when first reading the S.K. texts, and to read it again in print had me hooting.]

"But one may wonder whether the authenticity which kierkeaard succeeded in promoting does not bring with it a certain forgetting or rpression of Kierekegaardian subjectivitiy in tension over itself, and whether a certain self-renunciation ought not to accompany that concern for salvation which systematic philosophyizing tends to make too cheap."

rhetorical flourishes (which don't always make sense / ungrounded). "Belief [...], a condition of absolute poverty, a poverty which is radicall yand irremediably poor - poor with the absolute hunger which, in the final analysis, is the meaning of sin"
--> "This kind of existence, whose inwardness exceeds exteriority and cannot be contained by it, thus participates in the violence of themodern world, with its cult of Passion and Fury [sic]. It bring irresponsibility in its wake and a ferment of destruction."

" 'being a self', this irruption of selfhood or ipseity into being, is equivalent to an explosion of responsiblity"

regarding Nietzsche (and Heidegger): This hard and aggressive style of thinking, which ahs always been associatd with the most unscrupulous and cynical forms of action, could now be taken seriously as a kind of justification for violence and terror"
attempted elevation of the ethical to ultimate category (necessary for selfhood) ultimately falls into the same dialectic (by not disrupting the religious teleology and instead hypostatizing it as an aethetic-ethical relation). also taking the double movement from complete abnegation in the teleological suspension of the ethical to the absolute arrogance it implies, and then applying that absolute arrogance to suspend the ethical as a category of action for all without restraint as if it were the primary movement involved in the dialectic.
--> "The self is infinitely responsible when it stands before Others. The Other is poor and destitute, and nothing that touches this Stranger can be indifferent to the Self. It reaches the peak of its existence as a Self precisely when it relates to everything as Others." (response: this just is not true imo)

ostensibly repudiates SK's harsh 'hammering' religious ferver, but then re-instates an even harsher criterion for judgment. if teleological emphasis is placed on the Ethical Obligation to the Other 'over which death has no power', this is not 'mutual respect among mankind' (the lax interpretation), but stricto sensu re-instates S.K.'s repudiated stringency (one can always be doing more) i.e. 'no such an one was ever comforted by the phrase "one does what one can"' and in addition must necessitate the confidence to know precisely what 'ethical action' consists of in a given instance. when transcendence is repudiated (as in this anlysis), when situating onself to make an 'ethical judgment' one immediately becomes 'the highest' and is then guilty of the passing critique of kierkegaard in this essay 'that he had made himself into god'.

3. Kierkegaard on Death and Dying - Wilhelm Anz
Sunday-school sermon

4. Thinking God in the Wake of Kieregaard - David Wood
erudite, well-intenetioned Tripe
An interesting prelude becomes Madlibs because it ends up applying to every Fact: "No knowledge could ever communicate directly (because no historical advance could recuperate it): failure lived in despair. Those who died of anguish, of hunger, of exhaustion, those defeated in the past by force of arms, are so many gaps in our knowledge in so far as they existed: Subjectivity constitutes nothing for objective knowledge since it is a non-knowledge, and yet failure demonstrates that it has an absolute existence. IN this way Soren Kierekgaard [replace with any name], conquered by death and recuperated by historical knowledge, triumphs at the very moment he fails, by demonstrating that History cannot recover him. As a dead man, he remains the insurpassable scandal of subjectivity; though he may be known through and through, he eludes History by the very fact that it is History that constitutes his defeat and that he lived it in anticipation. In short, he eludes History because he is historical."

5. The Eyes of Argus - Joakim Garff
By far the best essay in this collection. Opens up the dialectic on The Point of View of My Work as an Author (heretofore one of S.K.'s most boring works) by reading Kierkegaard against Kierekegaard. Excellent sense of humor, which the other essays in this collection conspicuously lack.

6. The Wound of Negativity (two kierkegaardian texts) - George Steiner
wikipedia-level analysis. the essay raises the interesting question of whether the author has actually read the 'two texts' which feature so prominently in the title of the essay.

7. Kierkegaard and the Novel - Gabriel Josipovici
takes as its material precisely the humorous (and excellent) introduction to The Book on Adler which the previous essay has conspicuously omitted. although to apply this analysis toward the stock post-modernist conclusion (the signified is not indicated by the signifier) and the biographical focus on questions of authorship (is S.K. the real subject of the discourse? why write at all?) is played-out.
"Such a thinker, he says, is conscious of 'the negativity of the infinite in existence; he always keeps open the wound of negativity, which at times is a saving factor.' The others let the wound heal over and become positive; they cease to be learners and become teachers."

p123-124 possiblitiy and actuality of thought (mental objects are always false) although this does not take my line which proceeds in reverse (the construction of real mental objects)

8. We are not Sublime - Sylviane Agacinski
though in being 'cleverer than the professor' in many ways, this makes all the more transparent as mercenary argument the literalist interpreation of johannes climacticus as "one not capable of becoming the knight of faith" (with, again, reference to Regine) -thereby attempting to capture it within 'the realm of aesthetics'. does not confront the obvious socratic interpretation "i know nothing" in a didactic/ironic sense. subsequently the confident relegation of the pseudonymn (and his entire production) to the sphere of aesthetics is curious in light of S.K.'s discussion of aesethetic production with relation to the ethical and religious subject (herein, or is it elsewhere?). per S.K. the ethical cannot be conveyed in the aesthetic context (this is to distort the ethical), yet, paradoxically, the religious, by relating itself directly to the absolute, can come authentic contact with the aethetic (apologia for the Bible - post-hoc). this also appears to coincide with Hegel's concept of religious represented in poetry (mentioned in this very essay) yet the author does not extend the analysis to so-called 'Johannes's poetry of the religious' - though it almost begs the question.
- making every sacrifice (losing the sublime) to recover love, but only in the form of its manifestation as "common sense" - to explain the phenomenon which persists in a (low) unreflected state

9. Whom to Give to - Derrida
passable summary of the material of the text with supplemental information/interpretation. has the benefit of giving the effect of not actually believing what he is saying (contrast with the fawning preface/introduction)
- schopenhaauer's trick of re-constituting experienc extactly as it currently exists (th latter books of will and represeentation), performed here: ethical duty vs absolute duty - ethical duty to those close to us vs those unknown/far away (everyone equally) -> the impossiblity of fulfilling ethical duty -> actually every individual is 'the absolute other' --> normal behavior (which is dutiful towards those one knows) is actually fulfillment of the Absolute above the universal (compressing the polemic) --> normal behavior explained by a grand underpinning which outsizes it.
- explicit mention of socratic irony (extending it with reference to Bartleby 'i would prefer not to') though neglecting to mention this with respect to Kierkegaard's pseudonymous narrator (I believe he intentionally does not critique it in this way so he can make the rhetorical point 'none of us can be sure about faith/the-other')................
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Joe.Olipo | Nov 26, 2022 |
Probably only for those with a decent amount of philosophy in their past, but with that caveat, this is one of the best histories of philosophy you're likely to read. It's beautifully written, and also 'innovative,' a term that I don't usually use. Ree aspires to write a less top-down history, and more or less succeeds, particularly in the first few chapters. Each chapter is nicely structured: an individual is the focus, and Ree branches out from there, showing, as best he can, what philosophy was like in the Anglosphere during that person's life. This is quite a literary feat, and for that alone, anyone who writes anything should have a look at the book.

Intellectually, too, it's compelling, particularly because Ree just admits that most of the history of philosophy has been adjacent to religion and religious questions.

I dock a star for the last chapters. I can just about see why one would choose William James and Wittgenstein as your representatives of early and mid twentieth century philosophy, but both chapters are too long and too focused on those two men. That's a particular shame for James, since his thought is really more representative of recent philosophy than the thinking of his time, and something on the growth of analytic philosophy (about which Ree is rightly ambivalent) would have been more interesting. The Wittgenstein was just too long, and has been told so often that it was hard to care about this particular version of it.
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stillatim | 2 andre anmeldelser | Oct 23, 2020 |
I'm re-reading “Witcraft: The Invention of Philosophy in English” by Jonathan Rée. One of his theses is that philosophy has long been a multilingual study, and much of its peculiar character derives from attempts by speakers of one language to make sense of terms used in another. For example, scholars of Latin who knew no Greek might not realize that the terms they were coming across, oratio, definitio, ratiocinatio, sermo, disputatio, verbum and proportio, were all translations of a single Greek word, logos. And when literacy spread, and there were for the first time readers of English who knew no other languages wanting to read about ideas, this presented a problem for authors: should they use "inkhorn terms", anglicizations of the Latin technicalities, like "proposition" or "accident", or something more English-sounding? One writer who chose the latter option was Ralph Lever, who rendered the principle "every proposition is either an affirmation or a negation" as "every simple shewsay is either a yeasay or a naysay". Ree's title Witcraft is taken from that of Lever's book, an anglicized version of the word 'philosophy'.

Rée deliberately includes the lesser-known thinkers along with the big names, but it's very noticeable when someone comes along who changes the way everyone else thinks. Descartes is the first such figure in the book, looking at the material world in a proto-scientific way while trying to be true to his sense of spiritual reality. People reacted with astonishment at his dualism. A Jesuit called Gabriel Daniel wrote a satirical novel in which Descartes, bored with life at court, leaves his body behind and takes his soul on "a little turn for Recreation-sake". When he gets back he discovers that the court physician, assuming his body was ill, has subjected it to bloodletting and cupping and other unpleasant treatments of the time, leaving it damaged beyond repair. But this only confirms him in his view of the superiority of the soul.

I've now got on to another big name, John Locke. I had no idea that he invented both the use of "self" as a noun and the phrase "personal identity", which must have seemed an obscure technical concept or inkhorn term when he first used it. (Come to think of it, an idea itself was an inkhorn term at the time.) Anyway, the book is fascinating and I'm learning a lot from it.
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antao | 2 andre anmeldelser | Oct 10, 2020 |
This is an excellent history with a unique approach and some interesting choices of protagonists. There is an oversampling of quotations, which can make the book feel long-winded; however, there are enough juxtapositions of philosophers and ideas to make the loquacity worth enduring.
le.vert.galant | 2 andre anmeldelser | Nov 19, 2019 |

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