Dennis J. Schmidt

Dennis J. Schmidt is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Binghamton.

  • The Ubiquity of the Finite

    The Ubiquity of the Finite

    Hegel, Heidegger, and the Entitlements of Philosophy

    Dennis J. Schmidt

    What are the assumptions and tasks hidden in contemporary calls to "overcome" the metaphysical tradition? Reflecting upon the internal contradictions of the notions of "tradition" and "finiteness," Dennis J. Schmidt offers novel insights into how philosophy must relate to its traditions if it is to retain a vital sense of the plurality of "edges" that constitute its finiteness. He does this through a close examination of issues found in the work of Hegel and Heidegger, two philosophers who made the ideas of both tradition and finiteness the center of their concern. Schmidt begins by asking how Heidegger can claim to have destroyed metaphysics despite Hegel's claim to have perfected its possibilities. Systematically following the development of Heidegger's critique of Hegel, Schmidt generates a dialogue between them. The topic of that dialogue is the nature of finiteness as it is articulated in time, nothing, the dialectical and hermeneutical circles, and in the notions of experience, work, technology, history, and preSocratic thought.Beginning with Heidegger's critique of Hegel in Being and Time, Schmidt's strategy is to disclose the complexities of philosophical discourse about the finite by drawing out the proximities between Hegel and Heidegger. The dialogue that results presents novel portraits of both philosophers. It also reveals that Heidegger's early, unacknowledged failure to separate himself from the Hegelian dialectic is the motive behind many of the turns and decisions of his later career. In concluding, Schmidt offers an interpretation of the wider significance of the results of that dialogue, and connects his study to other contemporary discussions of postmodernism. He expands upon the idea of the plurality of edges opened by finiteness, arguing that philosophy only understands its own past and future once it recognizes the meaning of its own finiteness.

    The Ubiquity of the Finite is included in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy.

    • Hardcover $27.50
    • Paperback $32.00 £25.00

Contributor

  • Natural Law and Human Dignity

    Natural Law and Human Dignity

    Ernst Bloch

    Ernst Bloch (1885-1977), one of the most original and influential of contemporary European thinkers and a founder of the Frankfurt School, has left his mark on a range of fields from philosophy and social theory to aesthetics and theology. Natural Law and Human Dignity, the first of his major works to appear in English is unique in its attempt to get beyond the usual oppositions between the natural law and social utopian traditions, providing basic insights on the question of human rights in a socialist society. Natural Law and Human Dignity is a sweeping yet synthetic work that critically reviews the great legal philosophies, from Plato to the present, in order to uncover and clarify the normative features of true socialism. Along the way it offers thoughtful reflections on topics as diverse as the abolition of poverty and degradation, the nature of the state, and the installation of freedom and dignity. Taking the idea of natural law as his guiding thread, Bloch argues that revolution and right, rather than being antagonistic, are fundamentally interconnected. With their emphasis on human dignity, the traditions of natural law have an irreplaceable contribution to make to the socialist vision of a more humane society. In his effort to wed the demands of law and right to the agenda of social revolution, Bloch offers a radical restructuring of our understanding of the social world. This rethinking of the fundamental principles of political philosophy is the product of a long personal and philosophical odyssey. Bloch lived as a writer in Munich, Bern, and Berlin until he was forced to emigrate to Czechoslovakia and then to the United States during World War 11. After the war he returned to East Germany, where he held a chair in philosophy at the University of Leipzig. He emigrated to the west as the Berlin Wall was being built (carrying the manuscript of this book under his arm), and he taught at the University of Tübingen until his death. Natural Law and Human Dignity is included in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy.

    • Hardcover $32.50
    • Paperback $35.00 £27.00