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Richard Kearney


This essay examines the recent critical debate on the hermeneutics of hospitality. It explores the philosophical and ethical implications of Paul Ricoeur’s notion of linguistic hospitality as a translation between host and guest, enemy and friend, and compares it to Derrida’s notion of impossible hospitality.

Nothing Else Matters

Towards an Ontological Concept of the Materiality of the Earth in the Age of Global Warming

Vincent Blok


If the world in which we are intentionally involved is threatened by climate change, this raises the question about our place on Earth. In this article, we argue that the ecological crisis we face today draws our attention to the Earth as ontic-ontological condition of our being-in-the-world. Because the Earth is often reflected upon in relation to human existence, living systems or material entities in the philosophical tradition, we argue for an ontological concept of the materiality of the Earth as un-correlated being in this article. We develop five principles of the materiality of the Earth: the conativity, non-identity, responsiveness, performativity and eventuality of the Earth. We will argue that it is this notion of Earth that matters to us in the age of global warming.

Peter Warnek


The article takes up the question of the “truth” of images by means of a somewhat playful reflection upon our human kinship with canine life and by considering the (perhaps surprisingly) recurrent images of dogs of all shapes and sizes within the philosophical tradition. Here there is occasion to consider both Socrates and Confucius, who had a special fondness for dogs and who were at times compared to dogs themselves. The paper begins with a reading of Kant’s schematism in the First Critique, as an operation that would establish a mediating relation between the concepts of the understanding and sensible intuitions, and ends with a meditation upon the dog-themed painting, “Dark Room,” by the contemporary artist, Alan Loehle. Kant accounts for our ability to grasp that we see a dog (his example!) by introducing a mysterious distortional skewing or Verzeichnung, which as a power of the imagination is able to freely sketch what appears for it within the sensible. The sense of this Kantian skewing or sketching thereby anticipates what Heidegger names the essential Verunstaltung belonging originally to the event of truth. The last half of the paper turns to Jean-Luc Nancy’s difficult but provocative work on the abysmal ground of images and attempts to show in this way how our human kinship with canine life exposes us to what Nancy would think, following Heidegger, as the elemental strife between earth and sky.

Mark J. Thomas


The success of the early music movement raises questions about performing historical works: Should musicians perform on period instruments and try to reconstruct the original style? If a historically “authentic” performance is impossible or undesirable, what should be the goal of the early music movement? I turn to Gadamer to answer these questions by constructing the outlines of a hermeneutics of early music performance. In the first half of the paper, I examine Gadamer’s critique of historical reconstruction and argue that this critique sheds light on mistaken tendencies and misunderstandings within the early music movement, but it does not discredit the movement as such. In the second half of the paper, I attempt to show how Gadamer’s dialogical account of historical consciousness provides a framework for understanding what historically informed performance is seeking to accomplish, as well as its advantage over a Nietzschean approach.

Intangible Matters

On Color and Sound in Art (James Turrell, Morton Feldman)

Günter Figal


This paper is on matter and on art. Based on the assumption that the everyday attitude toward the world is a kind of materialistic realism and that philosophers, from the beginning of philosophy on, have objected to the plausibility of epistemological reliance on matter, I make attempts to investigate what matter is. I suggest doing this in reference to art. In particular I discuss works of art representing kinds of matter so extraordinary that their material character even could be doubted: light and sound. An installation by James Turrell and a piece of music composed by Morton Feldman, Rothko Chapel, function as paradigms to demonstrate the material character of light and sound and also the affinity of matter to space. Having qualities, matter proves to be different from space; being amorphous, however, matter as such has no distinct appearance, but, like space, enables appearance.

Musical “Covers” and the Culture Industry

From Antiquity to the Age of Digital Reproducibility

Babette Babich


This essay foregrounds “covers” of popular recorded songs as well as male and female desire, in addition to Nietzsche’s interest in composition, together with his rhythmic analysis of Ancient Greek as the basis of what he called the “spirit of music” with respect to tragedy. The language of “sonic branding” allows a discussion of what Günther Anders described as the self-creation of mass consumer but also the ghostly time-space of music in the broadcast world. A brief allusion to Rilke complements a similarly brief reference to Jankelevitch’s “ineffable.”