Transcendence and the Concrete

Transcendence and the Concrete : Selected Writings

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Jean Wahl (1888-1974), once considered by the likes of Georges Bataille, Gilles Deleuze, Emmanuel Levinas, and Gabriel Marcel to be among the greatest French philosophers, has today nearly been forgotten outside France. Yet his influence on French philosophical thought can hardly be overestimated. Levinas wrote that "during over a half century of teaching and research, [Wahl] was the life force of the academic, extra-academic, and even, to a degree anti-academic philosophy necessary to a great culture." And Deleuze, for his part, commented that "Apart from Sartre, who remained caught none the less in the trap of the verb to be, the most important philosopher in France was Jean Wahl."

Besides engaging with the likes of Bataille, Bergson, Deleuze, Derrida, Levinas, Maritain, and Sartre, Wahl also played a significant role, in some cases almost singlehandedly, in introducing French philosophy to movements like existentialism, and American pragmatism and literature, and thinkers like Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Jaspers, and Heidegger. Yet Wahl was also an original philosopher and poet in his own right. This volume of selections from Wahl's philosophical writings makes a selection of his most important work available to the English-speaking philosophical community for the first time.

Jean Wahl was Professor of Philosophy at the Sorbonne from 1936 to 1967, save during World War II, which he spent in the United States, having escaped from the Drancy internment camp. His books to appear in English include The Pluralist Philosophies of England and America (Open Court, 1925), The Philosopher's Way (Oxford UP, 1948), A Short History of Existentialism (Philosophical Library, 1949), and Philosophies of Existence (Schocken, 1969).
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 20.32mm | 430.91g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0823273024
  • 9780823273027
  • 629,089

Table of contents

1. Existence, Experience, and Transcendence: An Introduction to Jean Wahl 2. Preface to Toward the Concrete 3. Commentary on a Passage in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit 4. Hegel and Kierkegaard 5. Heidegger and Kierkegaard: An Investigation into the Original Elements of Heidegger's Philosophy 6. The Problem of Choice: Existence and Transcendence in Jaspers's Philosophy 7. Subjectivity and Transcendence Appendix: A Letter to Heidegger 8. Nietzsche and the Death of God: A Note on Jaspers's Nietzsche 9. Poetry and Metaphysics 10. Order and Disorder in Nietzsche's Thought 11. Experience and Transcendence Acknowledgments Notes Bibliography of Works by Jean Wahl Index
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Review quote

Schrift and Moore's edition of Wahl's selected writings will be useful for those interested in French philosophy in translation as well as for others who seek to understand an important French thinker in the surrounding context. * Review of Metaphysics * Overall, Transcendence and the Concrete makes an important contribution to the study of the life and thought of Jean Wahl and his contemporaries. Its transcript of the 1937 session and detailed biographical essay will be of particular value scholars and students working in the field. * Phenomenological Reviews * The great value of this anthology lies in the way it illuminates for us the work and evident influence of this important philosopher. * Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews * "Emmanuel Levinas likened the thought of Jean Wahl to 'a child's question coming from the lips of the wisest of philosophers,' with the potential to disrupt and reorient thanks to its unexpected combination of innocence and intelligence. One of the most interesting and original thinkers of his time, Wahl helped invent existentialism and exerted influence on a host of canonical French philosophers of the twentieth century. Thanks to the marvelous editorial work of Ian Moore and Alan Schrift, this collection of Wahl's writings recovers him for a new generation of readers."----Samuel Moyn, Harvard University, author of Origins of the Other: Emmanuel Levinas between Revelation and Ethics "In everything that was important before and after the war, there are signs of Jean Wahl." -- Gilles Deleuze
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About Jean Wahl

Jean Wahl was Professor of Philosophy at the Sorbonne from 1936 to 1967, save during World War II, which he spent in the United States, having escaped from the Drancy internment camp. His books to appear in English include The Philosopher's Way, A Short History of Existentialism, and Philosophies of Existence. Alan D. Schrift is F. Wendell Miller Professor of Philosophy at Grinnell College. He is General Editor of The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche and the 8-volume History of Continental Philosophy. Ian Alexander Moore is a Ph.D. candidate at DePaul University and associate editor of
Philosophy Today.
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