Does interpretation go all the way down?
Is there such a thing as a pure fact that is interpretation-free? If not, how are we supposed to know what to think and do?
These tantalizing questions are tackled by renowned American thinker John D Caputo in this wide-reaching exploration of what the traditional term 'hermeneutics' can mean in a postmodern, twenty-first century world. As a contemporary of Derrida's and longstanding champion of rethinking the disciplines of theology and philosophy, for decades Caputo has been forming alliances across disciplines and drawing in readers with his compelling approach to what he calls "radical hermeneutics." In this new introduction, drawing upon a range of thinkers from Heidegger to the Parisian "1968ers" and beyond, he raises a series of probing questions about the challenges of life in the postmodern and maybe soon to be 'post-human' world.'
Riding to work in the morning has has become commonplace. We ride everywhere. Physicians and public health officials plead with us to get out and walk, to get some exercise. People used to live within walking distance to the fields in which they worked, or they worked in shops attached to their homes. Now we ride to work, and nearly everywhere else. Which may seem an innocent enough point, and certainly not one on which we require instruction from the philosophers. But, truth be told, it has in fact precipitated a crisis in our understanding of truth.
Arguing that our transportation technologies are not merely transient phenomena but the vehicle for an important metaphor about postmodernism, or even constitutive of postmodernism, John D. Caputo explores the problems posited by the way in which science, ethics, politics, art and religion all claim to offer us (the) "truth", defending throughout a "postmodern", or "hermeneutic" theory of truth,
and posits his own surprising theory of the many notions of truth.
John D. Caputo is a specialist in contemporary hermeneutics and deconstruction with a special interest in religion in the postmodern condition. The Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion Emeritus at Syracuse University and the David R. Cook Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Villanova University, he has spearheaded an idea he calls weak theology.
"Writing in the form of his ideas, Caputo offers the reader a truly exquisite reading experience.... his iconic style mirrors a truly refreshing honesty that draws the reader in to play." -- Quarterly Journal of Speech
"Against Ethics is, in my judgment, one of the most important works on philosophical ethics that has been written in recent years.... Caputo speaks with a passion and a concern that are rare in academic philosophy. His profound sense of humor deepens the passion of the viewpoints he develops." -- Mark C. Taylor
"Obligation happens!" declares Caputo in this brilliant and witty postmodern critique of ethics, framed as a contemporary restaging of Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling.