Infinity and Perspective

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9780262082921: Infinity and Perspective

Bronze Award Winner for Philosophy in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

Much postmodern rhetoric, suggests Karsten Harries, can be understood as a symptom of our civilization's discontent, born of regret that we are no longer able to experience our world as a cosmos that assigns us our place. But dissatisfaction with the modern world may also spring from a conviction that modernism has failed to confront the challenge of an inevitably open future. Such conviction has frequently led to a critique of modernity's founding heroes. Challenging that critique, Harries insists that modernity is supported by nothing other than human freedom.

But more important to Harries is to show how modernist self-assertion is shadowed by nihilism and what it might mean to step out of that shadow. Looking at a small number of medieval and Renaissance texts, as well as some paintings, he uncovers the threshold that separates the modern from the premodern world. At the same time, he illuminates that other, more questionable threshold, between the modern and the postmodern.

Two spirits preside over the book: Alberti, the Renaissance author on art and architecture, whose passionate interest in perspective and point of view offers a key to modernity; and Nicolaus Cusanus, the fifteenth-century cardinal, whose work shows that such interest cannot be divorced from speculations on the infinity of God. The title Infinity and Perspective connects the two to each other and to the shape of modernity.

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About the Author:

Karsten Harries is Professor of Philosophy at Yale University.

From Publishers Weekly:

Postmodern philosophy rests its assumptions on perspectivism, a view supported by various readings of Nietzsche, who argued against the existence of absolute, objective Truth (i.e., the infinite or God) and in favor of relative, subjective truths (i.e., perspective). Indeed, long before Nietzsche, Copernicus and others challenged the medieval theocentric view of the world and established a modern anthropocentric view, initiating a revolution that proffered epistemological relativism as a method of reading the world and God. Yet, as Harries, professor of philosophy at Yale, observes, both moderns and postmoderns engage in a quest for knowledge and truth: "Truth requires objectivity; objectivity requires freedom from particular points of view. Reality discloses itself to us only in the spirit's more objective reconstructions of what the senses present to us." Harries's wide-ranging intellectual history pursues this thesis through close readings of medieval philosopher Nicolaus Cusanus, the Renaissance architect Alberti, Copernicus, Aristotle, Descartes, Galileo and modern philosopher of science Hans Blumenberg. He concludes that the greatest desire of human nature is to know and that people's "own nature calls them again and again beyond the points of view and perspectives assigned to them by their place in the world." Harries's demanding exploration of the study of knowledge offers an affirmation of human freedom and a rejection of nihilism that truth has no meaning because there are so many meanings of truth. Given this perspective, Harries's well-positioned and clearly presented history of ideas will generate a great deal of controversy among a select audience of scholars. Color and b&w illus. not seen by PW.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Harries, Karsten
Editorial: The MIT Press (2001)
ISBN 10: 0262082926 ISBN 13: 9780262082921
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Murray Media
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Descripción The MIT Press, 2001. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110262082926

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Karsten Harries
Editorial: The MIT Press (2001)
ISBN 10: 0262082926 ISBN 13: 9780262082921
Nuevos Tapa dura Cantidad: 1
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Descripción The MIT Press, 2001. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0262082926

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