The Gift of Kinds
The Good in Abundance / an ethic of the earth
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Explores the idea of human and natural kinds, pursuing an ethics of the earth responsive to social, political, and environmental issues.
In this fourth volume of Stephen David Ross's ongoing project reexamining the Western philosophical tradition, The Gift of Kinds explores the order of things, linking the kinds of the natural world to disciplinary distinctions and to social divisions by gender, race, class, and nationality. It pursues a local and contingent ethics that pervades human life and the earth that responds to the expressiveness of things everywhere, resisting the tyranny of kinds, human and otherwise.
The book examines the idea of natural and human kinds as requisite to any thought of heterogeneity and any resistance to neutrality, developed in relation to ecological and environmental issues. The giving of the good is understood in terms of species and kinds, linked with genealogy: family, gender, race, kin, and kind. Levinas's sense of exposure–expression and proximity–is interpreted as propinquity. Kinds are interpreted as intermediary figures between histories of domination and celebrations of responsibility, between essentialism and identity politics.
Stephen David Ross is Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature at State University of New York at Binghamton. He is the author of many books including The Gift of Beauty: The Good as Art; The Gift of Truth: Gathering the Good; The Gift of Touch: Embodying the Good; and editor of Art and Its Significance: An Anthology of Aesthetic Theory, all published by SUNY Press.
"I am impressed with Ross's ability to construct an intricate framework of philosophic and literary figures and issues. The textual involvements Ross explicates and utilizes are clearer and better 'represented' in this book than in any of the previous books in the series. Professor Ross's gift is of a kind that stimulates and enlivens active philosophical inquiry." —Gayle L. Ormiston, coeditor of Transforming the Hermeneutic Context: From Nietzsche to Nancy
"Ross deals with enormously difficult questions in an accessible philosophical style (even for readers unfamiliar with the many sources he works with). The scholarship is extensive, comprehensive, and marvelously brought together in support of the project. The Gift of Kinds not only breaks fresh ground, but offers an exciting framework for reconsidering the importance of the abundance of things and the overwhelming reality that 'nature everywhere expresses.' For readers who have escaped the hold of 'intellectual analyticity,' The Gift of Kinds is a sheer delight. I find it powerful, catalytic, and exciting." —Max Oelschlaeger, editor of Postmodern Environmental Ethics