Stanley Cavell
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Stanley Cavell : Skepticism, Subjectivity, and the Ordinary

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Stanley Cavell is a leading figure in American philosophy and one of the most exhilarating and wide--ranging intellectuals of our time. In this book Espen Hammer offers a lucid and thorough account of the development of Cavella s work, from his early writings on ordinary language philosophy and skepticism to his most recent contributions to film studies, literary theory, romanticism, ethics, and politics. The book traces the many lines of skepticism occurring in Cavella s work and shows how they amount to a rich and subtle picture of human subjectivity. Hammer explores Cavella s passionate engagement with Austin and Wittgensteina s visions of language, and his uncovering of conceptions of the ordinary in Emerson and Thoreau. Central sections of the book are devoted to the tragic and the comic as these modes of existence come into play in Shakespeare and Hollywood cinematic drama. In elaborating Cavella s responses to thinkers such as Heidegger, Levinas, and Derrida, the author situates Cavella s writing within the wider context of contemporary continental philosophy. Hammer clearly reveals the existential dimensions of Cavella s thought.
He argues that his variant of ordinary language philosophy is a vital stimulus to self--transformation in cognitive, aesthetic, ethical, and political domains, contributing significantly to a rethinking of issues such as responsibility and autonomy, and the relationship between philosophy and literature. A critical introduction to the thought of an inordinately complex writer, this book will be of great interest to students and scholars in philosophy, literary theory, cultural theory, comparative literature, and media and cultural studies.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 216 pages
  • 149.86 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 385.55g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0
  • 0745623573
  • 9780745623573

Back cover copy

Stanley Cavell is a leading figure in American philosophy and oneof the most exhilarating and wide-ranging intellectuals of ourtime. In this book Espen Hammer offers a lucid and thorough accountof the development of Cavell's work, from his early writings onordinary language philosophy and skepticism to his most recentcontributions to film studies, literary theory, romanticism, ethics, and politics.


The book traces the many lines of skepticism occurring inCavell's work and shows how they amount to a rich and subtlepicture of human subjectivity. Hammer explores Cavell's passionateengagement with Austin and Wittgenstein's visions of language, andhis uncovering of conceptions of the ordinary in Emerson andThoreau. Central sections of the book are devoted to the tragic andthe comic as these modes of existence come into play in Shakespeareand Hollywood cinematic drama. In elaborating Cavell's responses tothinkers such as Heidegger, Levinas, and Derrida, the authorsituates Cavell's writing within the wider context of contemporarycontinental philosophy.


Hammer clearly reveals the existential dimensions of Cavell'sthought. He argues that his variant of ordinary language philosophyis a vital stimulus to self-transformation in cognitive, aesthetic, ethical, and political domains, contributing significantly to arethinking of issues such as responsibility and autonomy, and therelationship between philosophy and literature.


A critical introduction to the thought of an inordinatelycomplex writer, this book will be of great interest to students andscholars in philosophy, literary theory, cultural theory, comparative literature, and media and cultural studies.
show more

Table of contents

Acknowledgements. Abbreviations. Preface. Chapter 1 Ordinary Language Philosophy. Chapter 2 Skepticism: Criteria and the External World. Chapter 3 The Other. Chapter 4 Art and Aesthetics. Chapter 5 Ethics and Politics. Chapter 6 Between Philosophy and Literature: Deconstruction and Romanticism. Epilogue. Notes. Bibliography. Index
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Review quote

'Surveying the whole range of Cavell's thought, Espen Hammer has produced an immensely lucid and compelling overview of the fundamental gestures of, arguably, the most distinctive and original American philosopher now writing.' -- Jay Bernstein, The New School for Social Research, New York 'Epsen Hammer's lucid and engaging account of Cavell's inheritance of Austin and Wittgenstein is particularly successful in showing how it might make possible genuinely productive encounters between the "analytic" and the "Continental" philosophical traditions.' -- Stephen Mulhall, New College, University of Oxford
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About Espen Hammer

Epsen Hammer is a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Essex
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Rating details

8 ratings
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