A New Way of Thinking: Generative Anthropology in Religion, Philosophy, Art

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9781934542255: A New Way of Thinking: Generative Anthropology in Religion, Philosophy, Art
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A New Way of Thinking locates the major areas of human representation, religion, philosophy and art in the context of the originary hypothesis: given the scenic nature of all the forms of human culture, the human is best understood as having its roots in a scene of origin. When prehuman intelligence outgrows the peacekeeping capacity of the ape pecking order, humanity begins as a community symmetrically arrayed around a central desire-object whose very desirability makes it sacred and therefore forbidden. The reconceptualization of the forms of human culture in scenic terms provides a new approach to the tired controversy of whether or how we can speak of God. It explains the limits of philosophy and situates its project within rather than above that of universal morality. Finally, it elaborates a scenic theory of art and explains in its terms the difference between “popular” and “high” art, and the reasons why it finds this distinction increasingly less useful. The book includes a running footnote dialogue with fellow Generative Anthropologist Adam Katz.

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About the Author:

Eric Gans received his doctorate in Romance Languages in 1966 under the direction of René Girard. He has taught French literature, critical theory, and film at UCLA since 1969, and published books and articles on aesthetic theory as well as Flaubert, Musset, Racine, and other French writers. Beginning with The Origin of Language (1981), Gans developed the concept of Generative Anthropology and has written several other books on the subject, including Science and Faith (1990), Originary Thinking (1993), Signs of Paradox (1997), and The Scenic Imagination: Originary Thinking from Hobbes to the Present Day (2007). Carole Landis: A Most Beautiful Girl, a life of the American actress (1919-1948), appeared in 2008. In 1995 Gans founded the electronic journal Anthropoetics: The Journal of Generative Anthropology (www.anthropoetics.ucla.edu), which he has continued to edit through 33 semi-annual issues; he has also written over 400 web essays in the associated series of Chronicles of Love and Resentment.

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