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The Birth to Presence (Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics) Paperback – 30 Sep 1993

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Product details

  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press (30 Sept. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804721890
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804721899
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.8 x 21.3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 469,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By barryb - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
WHEN JEAN-LUC TRANSITIONED FROM HEGEL TO HIMSELF: In 1997, Jean-Luc actually had compiled a complete philosophical system of his own making. But he did not begin that way. He began as an expositor of Hegel. This book from 1993 reveals to us the emergence of Jean-Luc's own voice. The "Birth to Presence" could be subtitled as his own birth. But his unique post-modern position will arise quickly here and it is very informative for understanding his later work:

This book actually includes two books within its cover: 1st book is "existence". Pp. 1-207. The 2nd book is "poetry". Pp. 211-395. This will be a review of the first book : "EXISTENCE".

1. BIRTH OF THE SOUL: pp.9-36. The "soul" for Jean-Luc is equated with the explored unconscious mind. This unconscious mind is destined to become the motivational "pulsating-unconscious-soul". It arrives here by passing through: 1. The indifferent soul; 2. The hypnotized soul; 3. And the affected soul. Every moment is dealt with in detail and immediately directs us to the meeting of "borders" at the limit-point; which we have become accustomed to in Jean-Luc. Each stage will present its: aspects; state; tendency; and "knowing". There is no transition to consciousness here. The soul resides exclusively in the unconscious.

2. BIRTH OF "PHONOLOGY". Pp. 36-48 : In this "book-of-births", Jean-Luc next introduces the reader to the task of consciousness. He has given us a soul; and now it is time to go to work. Within consciousness, the self finds itself situated in "abandonment". We are left in a state of "suspension", where metaphysical meanings and language no longer apply. We must turn to a new idea of love as "inversion". We take up the task of defining the idea of "being-in-the-world"; which emphasizes the sensate-side of existence. We are given the task of "LISTENING". TO THE: "voice-of-sensate-ordering". This leads us to appropriating the "infinity" within finitude itself. This is called "phonology"; not ontology.

3. BIRTH OF THE "PARALYZED GOD" pp. 48-58.: With the task of "phonology" ahead of us; and our stance of "abandonment; we find ourselves also confronting a mediation in externality of "death" itself. Jean-Luc takes us through a triad to articulate this mediation: 1. "God as paralyzed" means that with metaphysics out of the way and in the absence of all ontologies, we are confronted with "absolute presence", in itself; which is beyond language and beyond measurability. Infinity has a paralyzed voice that cannot relate to us. 2. "Suspension of subjectivity in non-identity" tells us that our radical "alterity" in the world now consists of "nullity" and the absence of any appearance of an epiphany. 3. "Synthesis of madness" tells us that even though we face a total "effacement-of-inscription"; the self still strives to persist as a "living-substance". It does so by positing a hermeneutic of "inversion"; where the abandonment of infinity constitutes an emptying of infinity into finitude and its abandonment. An incarnation that reaches the depth of abandonment.

4. BIRTH TO PRESENCE: pp. 82-110. : this is the essay that defines the title of the book. Here, jean-Luc gives us the 7-step methodology on how the realm of circulating sense is actually formed. In other words, it is a concise 28 page ontology; or "phonology", using jean-Luc's own concept. The 7 steps are: 1. Self-understanding; 2. Mutual-communication; 3. Uprooting and primary exposition; 4. Suspension and primary-constitution; 5. Positing of genuine-constitution; 6. Decision; 7. Lifting and com-position. By far, one of jean-Luc's most important essays.

5. Final brief comment: I consider this first book on "existence" to be the best exposition of Nancy's appropriation of Heidegger and one of his best presentations of his ontology. An excellent work from 1993 that tells us everything about his evolving thought. Buy the book just for this first book and get the 2nd as a free bonus.
4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The Birth to Presence and the Presence to Birth 1 July 2005
By Tony See - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Jean-Luc Nancy is one of the leading philosophers in Europe today. What one encounters in his work is an intensity of thought, a path of thinking, that reaches into the question of birth and presence. Together with his other works such as The Sense of the World, Being Singular Plural, this constitutes one of those "must-reads" for students of continental philosophy.
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