Bearing Witness to Epiphany

Persons, Things, and the Nature of Erotic Life

By John Russon

Subjects: Continental Philosophy, Phenomenology, Ethics, Social Philosophy, Ancient Greek Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438425047, 166 pages, January 2009
Hardcover : 9781438425030, 166 pages, January 2009

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Part I. The Epiphany of the Real
1. Initiations: On Method
The Music of Everyday Life
The Bodily a Priori
2. Ambiguity: On Metaphysics
The Body
Our World
3. Learning and Insight: On Epistemology
Learning as Growth
Humanity and Tragedy
Humanity and Learning
Humanity and Art
Part II. Bearing Witness
4. Responsibility: On Ethics
Sexuality and Responsibility
The Growth of Interpersonal Responsibility
The Ethical Field
Honesty and Betrayal
Property and Universality
Property and Honesty
Property and Creation
Art, Philosophy, and the Imperative to the World
5. Art and Philosophy
Polytemporality and Self-Transformation
Art in Human Development
Property and Self-Transformation

Makes the novel argument that erotic life is the real sphere of human freedom.


In this probing sequel to the popular and award-winning Human Experience, John Russon asks, "What is it to be a person?" The answer: the key to our humanity lies in our sexuality, where we experience the freedom to shape identities creatively in cooperation with another. With grace and philosophical rigor, Russon shows that an exploration of sexuality not only illuminates the psychological dimensions of our interpersonal lives but also provides the basis for a new approach to ethics and politics. Responsibilities toward others, he contends, develop alongside our personal growth. Bearing Witness to Epiphany brings to light the essential relationship between ethical and political bonds and the development of our powers of expression, leading to a substantial study of the nature and role of art in human life.

John Russon is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Guelph and the author of Human Experience: Philosophy, Neurosis, and the Elements of Everyday Life, also published by SUNY Press.


"…a broadly stroked, philosophically unconventional, Heidegger-inspired, phenomenological descriptive-interpretative story of 'all there is' in the world of lived (rather than ideal/abstract/logical existence) relationships involving one's everyday experiential participation in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, art, and psychology. " — CHOICE

"Bearing Witness to Epiphany is another beautifully written book by John Russon, a companion to his excellent Human Experience. While continental philosophy has relentlessly deconstructed the classical form of the philosophy book, Russon has revived this form in a most compelling way. Russon's writing is so lucid, that the book seems to read itself. More importantly, like Human Experience, Bearing Witness to Epiphany is the expression of profound thinking. This book should make it clear to everyone that John Russon is one of the few original voices working in continental philosophy today. " — Leonard Lawlor, coeditor of The Merleau-Ponty Reader