Critique of Rationality, John Eustice O’Brien proposes a fascinating rectification for the distortion of technical necessity in Western Society due to unbridled instrumental reason. He begins with a review of this issue first raised by the Early German Romantics as discussed by Isaiah Berlin and Walter Benjamin. Following French social philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s radically different apperceptive epistemology, he explores the possibility of a social world in which each is anchored by a préobjective disposition to meaning based on the intersubjective presence of all. This justifies the postulate of aesthetic-consciousness as the site of socialization in communities of meaning, as a frame for judgment and creativity. The struggle must continue for awakening that consciousness if an open society is to be realized.
John Eustice O'Brien, Ph.D. (Wisconsin, 1971), formerly Professor of Sociology and Urban Studies, Portland State University, Oregon, now independent researcher in Paris, recently published,
Critical Practice from Voltaire to Foucault (Brill, 2014) and two articles on the Global Political Economy in
Critical Sociology (2015 & 2016).
Table of contents
List of Figures
PART I: WHAT CRISIS OF RATIONALITY?
Socrates, Make Music...
Social Restructuring of Judgment
Political Aesthetics after Marx
2. Meaning As Critical for Social Sciences
The Origin of Meaning
Merleau-Ponty’s Apperceptive Project
Préobjectivity: A Better Ambiguity?
Theoretical Voices on Deep Structure
3. Isaiah Berlin’s Romantic Uncertainty
Western Rationality’s Limits?
Children of Two Worlds
From Hume to the Germans?
Schiller’s Tragic Romanticism
Fichte’s Freedom As Necessity
The French Revolution and Goethe
Against Old Fashioned Virtue?
4. Walter Benjamin’s Aesthetic Critique
Benjamin’s Doctoral Trial
What Does the Figure, Aesthetic-Critique, Intend?
Pure Language or Creative Expression?
Historical-Materialism or Historical-Idealism?
Lost In The Paris Arcades
Hegel and History
Benjamin’s Leap into Being
What Is Mental Reflection?
What Is a History of Problematics?
Knowledge of Nature
Benjamin’s Translator Emerges
Three Principles of Judgment
Productivity of Bad Art
Were the Early Romantics Misread?
Irony of Ironies: There Are Two
The Paradox of Irony
From Disqualified Illusion to Potent Fetish
Between the Seams with Irony
On the Impossibility of Ironic Suicide
There Is Form and There is Form...
The Idea of Art, Then
Unity and Diversity
Symbolic Form as Fact and Manner
Novel Supremacy as Romantic Poetry
The Intention of Prose
Romanticism as Cultural Figure
Prosaic Appreciation Outmaneuvers Bourgeois Beauty
Each Critic for Herself
Closing on Isaiah Berlin
Closing on Walter Benjamin
What’s To Be Done?
PART-II PHENOMENAL APPERCEPTION
5. The Crisis Of Western Rationality
Existence as Fine Art?
6. Phenomenology of Perception
What is Phenomenology?
What is Perception?
Historical Materialism of Social Being
Existential Conception of History
Dialectics from the Greeks to Marx
7. Merleau-Ponty’s Sociology
Anthropology and Psychoanalytics
Appreciation before Comprehension
Historical Relativism as Anthropological Fact
Philosophy and Sociology
Being Expressed as Phenomenological Method
8. Merleau-Ponty Shadow’s Husserl
Husserl’s Intellectualist Phenomenology
Merleau-Ponty’s Engaged Phenomenology
In the Wake of the Negative
Intersubjective Flash of Meaning
Mobius Ribbon of Being
Intentionality and Constitution
9. Aesthetic Consciousness
Consciousness and Bodily-Being
Consciousness as Active Presence
10. Closing Issues: Consciousness over Mind?
Meaning: The Material of History
Rational Analytics of Brain
Consciousness Is More Than What You Think
An Appeal to Social-Philosophy
Consciousness vs Conscious-Access
The Risk of Systemic Exuberance
Intuition and Public Choice
The Elusive Seat of Consciousness
Summarizing Our Bi Studies
Political Aesthetics: Consciousness and Society
All interested in the question of rational judgment for research, politics and culture: institutes, laboratories, policy centers, NGOS; students facing thesis challenge; professors teaching social research design and their libraries.