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Commonplace Commitments

Thinking through the Legacy of Joseph P. Fell

Edited by Peter S. Fosl; Michael J. McGandy and Mark D. Moorman - Contributions by Kenneth L. Anderson; Scott D. Churchill; Vincent M. Colapietro; Joseph P. Fell; Richard Fleming; Peter S. Fosl; Jeff Malpas; Michael J. McGandy; Mark D. Moorman; Dennis Schmidt; Gary Steiner; Katie Terezakis; Jeff Turner and David Weinberger

Joseph P. Fell proposes that the solution to the problem of nihilism is found in the common experience of persons and the everyday commitments that one makes to people, practices, and institutions. In his landmark 1979 book Heidegger and Sartre, and in his subsequent essays, Fell describes a quiet but radical reform in the philosophical tradition that speaks to perennial dilemmas of thought and pressing issues for action.

Since Descartes, at least, we have been puzzled as to what we can know, how we should act, and what we should value. The skeptical influence of modern dualism—distilled in the mind-body problem at arose with the assertion “I think, therefore I am”—has shot through not just philosophy and psychology, but also society, politics, and culture. With dualism arose radical subjectivism and the concomitant problems of nihilism and alienation. The broad aim of phenomenology is to repair the rupture of self and world. Announced by Edmund Husserl and developed by Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Heidegger, and John William Miller, who drew from the North American tradition, this is the project to which Fell has devoted more than a half century of reflection and technical elaboration.

In this volume, an array of scholars consider, criticize, and cultivate Fell’s key contributions to the phenomenological project. Ranging from analyses of key texts in Fell’s phenomenology to probing examinations of his crucial philosophical presuppositions to the prospects for Fell’s call to find the solution to nihilism in everyday experience—these essays gather the work of the authors thinking with and through Fell’s key works on Sartre, Heidegger, and Miller. Also included are seminal statements from Fell on his pedagogical practice and his conception of philosophy.
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University Press Copublishing Division / Bucknell University Press
Pages: 324Size: 6 x 9
978-1-61148-730-5 • Hardback • September 2016 • $95.00 • (£65.00)
978-1-61148-731-2 • eBook • September 2016 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
Peter S. Fosl is professor of philosophy and chair of PPE at Transylvania University.

Michael J. McGandy is senior editor with Cornell University Press.

Mark D. Moorman is an independent scholar.
by Peter S. Fosl, Michael J. McGandy, and Mark D. Moorman
Introduction: Joseph P. Fell and the Traditions of Phenomenological Existentialism in America
by Michael J. McGandy
Part 1. Orientations
  1. What is Philosophy?
by Joseph P. Fell
  1. Joseph Fell as Teacher
by Mark D. Moorman
  1. Style in Teaching Philosophy
by Peter S. Fosl
  1. The Eclipse and Rebirth of American Philosophical Pluralism
by Armen T. Marsoobian
Part 2. The European Tradition
  1. An Aristotelian Argument against the Inquiring of the Nicomachean Ethics
by Jeffrey S. Turner
  1. Why Heidegger?
by David Weinberger
  1. Placing Common Life: Fell and Skepticism
by Peter S. Fosl
  1. “Honoring one’s commitments….”
by Dennis Schmidt
Part 3. Joining the American Tradition
  1. From Place to Midworld: A Key Development in the Philosophy of Joseph P. Fell
by Mark D. Moorman
  1. The Reclamation of History: Does Miller’s Philosophical Project Preclude a “Radical Will?”
by Vincent M. Colapietro
  1. Ordinary Studies: Conceptual Brackets—Textual Moments
by Richard Fleming
Part 4. Prospects
  1. Re-Orienting Thinking: Philosophy in the Midst of the World
by Jeffery Malpas
  1. Heideggerian Pathways through Existential Crisis: A “Hermeneutics of Facticity”
by Scott D. Churchill
  1. The Humanity of the Severely Handicapped within Sartre’s Ethics
by Kenneth L. Anderson
  1. The Integrity of Finitude: Existential Reckoning in the Work of John William Miller
by Katie Terezakis
  1. Descartes, Nihilism, and Jonas's "Third Road"
by Gary Steiner
Coda: More I Cannot Wish You
by Joseph P. Fell
A Bibliography of Joseph Fell’s Work