The Things Themselves

Steeves, H. Peter

Published by SUNY Press
ISBN 10: 0791468542 / ISBN 13: 9780791468548
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Synopsis: Essays on phenomenological encounters with the world.

Taking Edmund Husserl’s dictum to heart yet finding in it a new direction, The Things Themselves is an attempt to return philosophy to the world and, in so doing, know ourselves and our place in that world anew. The book deals with the myriad ways in which a phenomenological approach to philosophy can inform commonplace experiences and understanding. From a trip to Disneyland to a morning spent watching television exercise shows, from the commitment to become a vegetarian to the choice to become a political revolutionary, this book breaks down the barrier between theory and praxis, demanding that we both investigate and hold ourselves accountable to this world. Written in an accessible yet philosophically rigorous style, H. Peter Steeves not only attempts to return philosophy to the world but also to return philosophy to the nonspecialist, to those simply interested in the simplest things, the things themselves that fill our lives but inevitably, and most wondrously, prove anything but simple.

The Things Themselves is a collection of essays dealing with the experiential dimensions of popular culture. H. Peter Steeves is a phenomenologically oriented hybrid of Roland Barthes and Jean Baudrillard, and not only is he quite as good as they are, his writing also offers a strong argument for why we need to expand the reach of phenomenology rather than set it aside. Steeves has an extraordinary eye for the revealing empirical detail. His essays on Disneyland and Las Vegas are masterpieces in the hermeneutics of irreality. His powers of observation are those of a writer or a painter, and his essay on Cézanne is quite as revealing as Merleau-Ponty’s classic. This is a highly original book, full of ideas, and it brilliantly applies phenomenology to our real (and unreal) experience. It will have a major impact on the field.” — David Wood, author of The Step Back: Ethics and Politics after Deconstruction

“H. Peter Steeves’ extraordinary book is phenomenology at its very best.” — David Farrell Krell, DePaul University

From the Back Cover: Taking Edmund Husserl’s dictum to heart yet finding in it a new direction, The Things Themselves is an attempt to return philosophy to the world and, in so doing, know ourselves and our place in that world anew. The book deals with the myriad ways in which a phenomenological approach to philosophy can inform commonplace experiences and understanding. From a trip to Disneyland to a morning spent watching television exercise shows, from the commitment to become a vegetarian to the choice to become a political revolutionary, this book breaks down the barrier between theory and praxis, demanding that we both investigate and hold ourselves accountable to this world. Written in an accessible yet philosophically rigorous style, H. Peter Steeves not only attempts to return philosophy to the world but also to return philosophy to the nonspecialist, to those simply interested in the simplest things, the things themselves that fill our lives but inevitably, and most wondrously, prove anything but simple.

"The Things Themselves is a collection of essays dealing with the experiential dimensions of popular culture. H. Peter Steeves is a phenomenologically oriented hybrid of Roland Barthes and Jean Baudrillard, and not only is he quite as good as they are, his writing also offers a strong argument for why we need to expand the reach of phenomenology rather than set it aside. Steeves has an extraordinary eye for the revealing empirical detail. His essays on Disneyland and Las Vegas are masterpieces in the hermeneutics of irreality. His powers of observation are those of a writer or a painter, and his essay on Cézanne is quite as revealing as Merleau-Ponty’s classic. This is a highly original book, full of ideas, and it brilliantly applies phenomenology to our real (and unreal) experience. It will have a major impact on the field." — David Wood, author of The Step Back: Ethics and Politics after Deconstruction

"H. Peter Steeves’ extraordinary book is phenomenology at its very best." — David Farrell Krell, DePaul University

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Title: The Things Themselves
Publisher: SUNY Press
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