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Demonstrates the significance of the concepts of madness and death for the history of philosophy.
Ferit Güven illuminates the historically constitutive roles of madness and death in philosophy by examining them in the light of contemporary discussions of the intersection of power and knowledge and ethical relations with the other. Historically, as Güven shows, philosophical treatments of madness and death have limited or subdued their disruptive quality. Madness and death are linked to the question of how to conceptualize the unthinkable, but Güven illustrates how this conceptualization results in a reduction to positivity of the very radical negativity these moments represent. Tracing this problematic through Plato, Hegel, Heidegger, and, finally, in the debate on madness between Foucault and Derrida, Güven gestures toward a nonreducible, disruptive form of negativity, articulated in Heidegger's critique of Hegel and Foucault's engagement with Derrida, that might allow for the preservation of real otherness and open the possibility of a true ethics of difference.
"The brilliant rethinking of the problem of negativity in Hegel and Heidegger is intellectually important. It is convincing, clear, and truly interesting. In addition, it is pivotal to clarifying Heidegger's contribution to contemporary thought. This reading is also valuable because, implicitly, it shows how mistaken the Frankfurt School is in its response to Heidegger, since this response is largely based on the supposed absence of negativity in his work. Güven's excellent reading proves that such critiques have no basis in Heidegger's work." Krzysztof Ziarek, author of Inflected Language: Toward a Hermeneutics of Nearness: Heidegger, Levinas, Stevens, Celan
"An excellent exposition of a much-neglected area in philosophy, this is a very important and timely work." Jon Mills, author of The Unconscious Abyss: Hegel's Anticipation of Psychoanalysis
Ferit Güven is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Earlham College.
Table of Contents
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
Madness and Death
1. Plato: Death and Madness in the Phaedo and Phaedrus
2. Hegel: The Madness of the Soul and the Death of the Spirit
3. Heidegger: Death as Negativity
4. Heidegger: Madness, Negativity, Truth, and History