Synopses & Reviews
In Reshaping Reason, John McCumber advocates new life for American philosophy. At present, McCumber believes, American philosophy is ready to go in new directions, but American philosophers remain hopelessly divided between analytic or Continental approaches. There seems to be no middle ground, and the debate between the two traditions has created indifference to the field, both in wider intellectual culture and among philosophers themselves. Here, McCumber brings together aspects of analytic and Continental philosophy to give, for the first time, a fully temporalized account of reason. He proposes an expanded set of rational tools for reason and with these tools takes a fresh look at key issues in ontology, ethics, and social philosophy. This is a gutsy and ambitious book that not only shows philosophy's achievements and failures in cold light, but suggests how philosophy might become more rigorous and relevant to society at large.
"This is one of the most important books in philosophy in the 21st century. McCumber (German, UCLA) develops a new vocabulary and a new way of thinking outside the box concerning seven traditional ontologies, beginning with Plato. He rejects both what he calls the fantasy island of analytic philosophy carried on in the timeless present and the endless struggle of postmodern Continental philosophies, in order to advocate a philosophy that is both postanalytic and metacontinental--and relevant! He is not alone. McCumber says that a whole posse of contemporary American philosophers is now riding to philosophy's rescue, so he joins them and articulates his thinking in terms of logic, ontology, and ethics. This is not his first book to address the situation of American philosophy. There was Metaphysics and Oppression: Heidegger's Challenge to Western Philosophy (CH, Apr'00, 37--4434, Outstanding Academic Title), Philosophy and Freedom: Derrida, Rorty, Habermas, Foucault (2000), and then Time in the Ditch: American Philosophy and the McCarthy Era (CH, Oct'01, 39--0867), each getting more confident and daring. Now, in the final chapter of this lively, original, and provocative book, McCumber attains a new level of ethics and politics, and addresses the current world situation. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-level undergraduates and above." --R. E. Palmer, emeritus, MacMurray College, Choice, October 2005
"McCumber's work provokes debate about the nature and the direction of philosophy itself, and so, in that sense, it is something of a meta-critique of the quietism many philosophers have resigned themselves to in the face of the encroaching metaphysical-absolutism of the scientific world-view. As agent-provocateur, McCumber's text is indeed a worthy effort...." --Perspectives, Vol.1 2008 Indiana University Press
About the Author
John McCumber is Professor of German at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is author of Metaphysics and Oppression (IUP, 1999) and Philosophy and Freedom (IUP, 2000).
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations
1. Historico-Philosophical Prologue
2. Enlarging the Philosophical Toolbox
3. From Metaphysics to Ontologies
4. The Edge of Ethics