Karsten Harries

Karsten Harries is Professor of Philosophy at Yale University.

  • Infinity and Perspective

    Infinity and Perspective

    Karsten Harries

    A philosophical exploration of the origin and limits of the modern world.

    Much postmodern rhetoric, suggests Karsten Harries, can be understood as a symptom of our civilization's discontent, born of regret that we are no longer able to experience our world as a cosmos that assigns us our place. But dissatisfaction with the modern world may also spring from a conviction that modernism has failed to confront the challenge of an inevitably open future. Such conviction has frequently led to a critique of modernity's founding heroes. Challenging that critique, Harries insists that modernity is supported by nothing other than human freedom. But more important to Harries is to show how modernist self-assertion is shadowed by nihilism and what it might mean to step out of that shadow. Looking at a small number of medieval and Renaissance texts, as well as some paintings, he uncovers the threshold that separates the modern from the premodern world. At the same time, he illuminates that other, more questionable threshold, between the modern and the postmodern.

    Two spirits preside over the book: Alberti, the Renaissance author on art and architecture, whose passionate interest in perspective and point of view offers a key to modernity; and Nicolaus Cusanus, the fifteenth-century cardinal, whose work shows that such interest cannot be divorced from speculations on the infinity of God. The title Infinity and Perspective connects the two to each other and to the shape of modernity.

    • Hardcover $62.50
    • Paperback $40.00 £32.00
  • The Ethical Function of Architecture

    The Ethical Function of Architecture

    Karsten Harries

    Can architecture help us find our place and way in today's complex world? Can it return individuals to a whole, to a world, to a community? Developing Giedion's claim that contemporary architecture's main task is to interpret a way of life valid for our time, philosopher Karsten Harries answers that architecture should serve a common ethos. But if architecture is to meet that task, it first has to free itself from the dominant formalist approach, and get beyond the notion that its purpose is to produce endless variations of the decorated shed.

    In a series of cogent and balanced arguments, Harries questions the premises on which architects and theorists have long relied—premises which have contributed to architecture's current identity crisis and marginalization. He first criticizes the aesthetic approach, focusing on the problems of decoration and ornament. He then turns to the language of architecture. If the main task of architecture is indeed interpretation, in just what sense can it be said to speak, and what should it be speaking about? Expanding upon suggestions made by Martin Heidegger, Harries also considers the relationship of building to the idea and meaning of dwelling.

    Architecture, Harries observes, has a responsibility to community; but its ethical function is inevitably also political. He concludes by examining these seemingly paradoxical functions.

    • Hardcover $55.00 £45.00
    • Paperback $50.00 £40.00

Contributor

  • Reading Heidegger's Black Notebooks 1931–1941

    Reading Heidegger's Black Notebooks 1931–1941

    Ingo Farin and Jeff Malpas

    Heidegger scholars consider the philosopher's recently published notebooks, including the issues of Heidegger's Nazism and anti-Semitism.

    For more than forty years, the philosopher Martin Heidegger logged ideas and opinions in a series of notebooks, known as the “Black Notebooks” after the black oilcloth booklets into which he first transcribed his thoughts. In 2014, the notebooks from 1931 to 1941 were published, sparking immediate controversy. It has long been acknowledged that Heidegger was an enthusiastic supporter of the Nazi Party in the early 1930s. But the notebooks contain a number of anti-Semitic passages—often referring to the stereotype of “World-Jewry”—written even after Heidegger became disenchanted with the Nazis themselves. Reactions from the scholarly community have ranged from dismissal of the significance of these passages to claims that the anti-Semitism in them contaminates all of Heidegger's work. This volume offers the first collection of responses by Heidegger scholars to the publication of the notebooks. In essays commissioned especially for the book, the contributors offer a wide range of views, addressing not only the issues of anti-Semitism and Nazism but also the broader questions that the notebooks raise.

    Contributors Babette Babich, Andrew Bowie, Steven Crowell, Fred Dallmayr, Donatella Di Cesare, Michael Fagenblat, Ingo Farin, Gregory Fried, Jean Grondin, Karsten Harries, Laurence Paul Hemming, Jeff Malpas, Thomas Rohkrämer, Tracy B. Strong, Peter Trawny, Daniela Vallega-Neu, Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann, Nancy A. Weston, Holger Zaborowski

    • Hardcover $40.00 £32.00
    • Paperback $25.00 £20.00
  • Division III of Heidegger's Being and Time

    Division III of Heidegger's Being and Time

    The Unanswered Question of Being

    Lee Braver

    Leading philosophers and scholars speculate on what Heidegger's unfinished masterpiece might have said, why Heidegger didn't publish it, and what being actually means.

    Heidegger's Being and Time is one of the most influential and important books in the history of philosophy, but it was left unfinished. The parts we have of it, Divisions I and II of Part One, were meant to be merely preparatory for the unwritten Division III, which was to have formed the point of the entire book when it turned to the topic of being itself. In this book, leading Heidegger scholars and philosophers influenced by Heidegger take up the unanswered questions in Heidegger's masterpiece, speculating on what Division III would have said, and why Heidegger never published it.

    The contributors' task—to produce a secondary literature on a nonexistent primary work—seems one out of fiction by Borges or Umberto Eco. Why did Heidegger never complete Being and Time? Did he become dissatisfied with it? Did he judge it too subjectivistic, not historical enough, too individualistic, too existential? Was abandoning it part of Heidegger's “Kehre”, his supposed turning from his early work to his later work? Might Division III have offered a bridge between the two phases, if a division exists between them? And what does being mean, after all? The contributors, in search of lost Being and Time, consider these and other topics, shedding new light on Heidegger's thought.

    Contributors Alain Badiou, Lee Braver, Daniel Dahlstrom, Charles Guignon, Graham Harman, Karsten Harries, Ted Kisiel, Denis McManus, Eric S. Nelson, Richard Polt, François Raffoul, Thomas Sheehan, Iain Thomson, Kate Withy, Julian Young

    • Hardcover $19.75 £15.99
    • Paperback $30.00 £25.00