Based on a detailed analysis of gender in Stanley Cavell's treatment of the skeptical problem, this book addresses the relationship between gender and religion in modern skepticism. Engaging in dialogue with Julia Kristeva's philosophy, Viefhues claims that a religious problem underlies Cavell's understanding of the feminine. The feminine which the skeptic fears is construed as a placeholder for the beyond, marking the transcendence of our origins which are elusive yet at the same time part of ourselves. It is argued that a religious question of origins thus lies at the heart of the modern skeptical problem.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Cavell on language: what is it in language that makes the skeptical worry possible?; Cavell on possessing language: what makes the skeptical worry unavoidable?; Beyond the singing body? gender and skepticism; Beyond the philosopher's fear: nostalgia for mothers and other origins; Bibliography; Index.
'Beyond the Philosopher’s Fear is I believe the first extended study published of my writing that brings to it a systematically religious perspective. I find the result heartening and productive, in two principal ways. First, this perspective allows a continuous stance from which to look back, as from its beyond, on the writing’s claims to the philosophical, to follow its intent to enter and sustain philosophy’s questioning of itself, of ourselves. Second, this perspective, in Ludger Viefhues-Bailey’s scrupulous and ambitious undertaking, allows for the trajectory of half a century of writing to be taken as, let us say, one unfolding project, something always ahead of itself, unfinished, from various beginnings to various ends, perpetually - so far as talent has permitted it to be - tentative, exploratory, meditative. It joins the circle of reflections on these years of work - and extensions along the lines of it, and points of departure from it - for which I feel the clearest gratitude.' Stanley Cavell, Harvard University, USA