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Toward a Philosophy of the Act

Toward a Philosophy of the Act

Translation and Notes by VADIM LIAPUNOV
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  • Book Info
    Toward a Philosophy of the Act
    Book Description:

    Rescued in 1972 from a storeroom in which rats and seeping water had severely damaged the fifty-year-old manuscript, this text is the earliest major work (1919-1921) of the great Russian philosopher M. M. Bakhtin.Toward a Philosophy of the Actcontains the first occurrences of themes that occupied Bakhtin throughout his long career. The topics of authoring, responsibility, self and other, the moral significance of "outsideness," participatory thinking, the implications for the individual subject of having "no-alibi in existence," the difference between the world as experienced in actions and the world as represented in discourse-all are broached here in the heat of discovery. This is the "heart of the heart" of Bakhtin, the center of the dialogue between being and language, the world and mind, "the given" and "the created" that forms the core of Bakhtin's distinctive dialogism.

    A special feature of this work is Bakhtin's struggle with the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Put very simply, this text is an attempt to go beyond Kant's formulation of the ethical imperative. mci will be important for scholars across the humanities as they grapple with the increasingly vexed relationship between aesthetics and ethics.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79273-9
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-xvi)

    In his long life under Soviet rule, Bakhtin experienced the whole range of effects an author can produce, from censorship, imprisonment, and banishment to fame and adulation. The shock of his arrest during Stalin’s terror made him extremely cautious in later years. It was with the greatest difficulty that a group of young admirers in the early 1960s convinced him to publish again. And it was only after he achieved international acclaim as a result of these publications, and at a time when he knew his death was imminent, that he confessed to his supporters the existence of a cache...

  4. Translator’s Preface
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  5. Introduction to the Russian Edition
    (pp. xxi-xxvi)

    Among Bakhtin’s works published posthumously in the collection of his essaysEstetika slovesnogo tvorchestva[The Aesthetics of Verbal Creation] (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1979) the text of central importance is the treatise “Author and Hero in Aesthetic Activity.”¹ Bakhtin worked on this treatise at the beginning of the 1920s but did not finish it; it has been published from a manuscript which was preserved (unfortunately, in an incomplete form) among his papers. Bakhtin’s papers also included the manuscript of another philosophical treatise which is quite similar in its problematics, basic ideas, and language to “Author and Hero in Aesthetic Activity.” This manuscript...

  6. Toward a Philosophy of the Act
    (pp. 1-76)

    [ . . . ] Aesthetic activity as well is powerless to take possession of that moment of Being which is constituted by the transitiveness and open event-ness of Being.¹ And the product of aesthetic activity is not, with respect to its meaning, actual Being in process of becoming, and, with respect to its being, it enters into communion with Being through a historical act of effective aesthetic intuiting.² Aesthetic intuition is unable to apprehend the actual event-ness of the once-occurrent event, for its images or configurations are objectified, that is, with respect to their content, they are placed outside...

  7. Notes
    (pp. 77-100)
  8. Index
    (pp. 101-110)