The Step Back

Ethics and Politics after Deconstruction

By David Wood

Subjects: Political Philosophy, Ethics, Environmental Philosophy, Continental Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791464649, 248 pages, January 2006
Hardcover : 9780791464632, 248 pages, May 2005

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Table of contents


INTRODUCTION: Towards a Negative Capability

PART I: Philosophy and Violence


1. Identity and Violence
2. The Philosophy of Violence: The Violence of Philosophy
3. Where Levinas Went Wrong


PART II: Singular Encounters


4. The First Kiss: Tales of Innocence and Experience
5. Thinking God in the Wake of Kierkegaard
6. Dionysus in America


PART III: Ethics and Politics after Deconstruction


7. Notes toward a Deconstructive Phenomenology
8. Responsibility Reinscribed (and How)
9. What Is Ecophenomenology?
10. Globalization and Freedom


POSTSCRIPT: Philosophy: The Antioxidant of Higher Education



Explores the ethical and political possibilities of philosophy after deconstruction.


This original contribution to the ethical and political significance of philosophy addresses a number of major themes—identity, violence, the erotic, freedom, responsibility, religious belief, globalization—and critically engages with the work of Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Derrida, and Levinas. It promotes a unique blend of deconstructive critique and a certain English skepticism, leading to the affirmation of a negative capability—a patience and vigilance in the face of both human folly and philosophy's own homegrown pathologies. The author argues for the extension of our sense of openness and responsibility to animal life, and indeed life in general, and not just to the human.

David Wood is Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. His many books include Thinking After Heidegger.