Sense and Finitude

Encounters at the Limits of Language, Art, and the Political

By Alejandro A. Vallega

Subjects: Phenomenology, Aesthetics, Hermeneutics, Continental Philosophy, Comparative Literature
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438425108, 222 pages, January 2010
Hardcover : 9781438425092, 222 pages, March 2009

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

Part I: Unbounded Thoughts: Fecund Overflowing in Philosophy’s Finitude
1. Four Meditations on Heidegger’s Undergoing of Thought’s Finitude
2. Second Meditation: Machination, The Decomposition of an Illusion and the Fecundity of Thinking
3. Third Meditation: Thought’s Sensibility in its Finitude and its Exposed Word
4. Fourth Meditation: Thought’s Ambiguous Finitude: Between Abyssal Fecund Thought and the Historical Destiny of the West
5. Exposed Memories: Towards Reading the History of Philosophy Beyond its Historical Destiny in the West
Part II: Unbounded Words: Language in its Ephemeral and Concrete Finitude
6. Ephemeral Concrete Words: the Translucence of the Philosophical Logos in Plato’s Phaidros
7. The Tactility of Words (from Silent Gestures): Gadamer’s Reading of Paul Celan’s Atemkristall

8. Quand un Corps se met en Œuvre: The Word in the Flesh, at the Limit of Derrida’s Reading of Antonin Artaud
Part III: Unbounded Finitudes: Thought’s Sensibility in Art and Politics
9. The Sensibility of Art in its Finitude: Undergoing the Disaster Through Benjamin’s “Politics of Art”
10. Unbounded Spirits: From Solitude to Ethical Words in Hegel, Fanon, and Gabriel García Márquez
11. Towards a Politics of Lightness

Takes Heidegger’s later thought as a point of departure for exploring the boundaries of post-conceptual thinking.


Sense and Finitude interrogates one of continental philosophy's central insights: the temporality or finitude of philosophical thought. Juxtaposing the views of such philosophers as Plato, Heidegger, Walter Benjamin, Gadamer, and Derrida on art, poetry, and non-Western cultures with the insights of those very artists, poets, and cultures interpreted by them, Alejandro A. Vallega elucidates a certain sensibility fundamental to philosophical thought once it has come face-to-face with its concrete finitude—in the sense that philosophical ideas are always exposed to interpretation, transformation, and loss. By addressing philosophy's exposure to experience beyond its own delimitations, Vallega shows how such investigations can enrich the philosophical enterprise.

Alejandro A. Vallega is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Latin American Studies at California State University Stanislaus. He is the author of Heidegger and the Issue of Space: Thinking on Exilic Grounds.