Chapter

Resisting <i>Auflösung</i>

Daniel H. Weiss

in Paradox and the Prophets

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199895908
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949854 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199895908.003.0004
Resisting Auflösung

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This chapter begins by situating Cohen’s project in relation to his earlier philosophical system, and then goes on to examine his introductory, single-voiced attempt to address the conceptual content of the sphere of religion. He emphasizes the ways in which the method of philosophical Ethics, if systematically and thoroughly applied, will distort key ethico-religious ideas such as the You, the unique God, and the individual self as an I. However, he does not reject the method of Ethics and its quest for totality, nor does he compromise its primacy. Because his twin commitments to both religion and Ethics remain theoretically incompatible with one another, his attempt at directly explicating the sphere of religion tends to break down into irony and apophatic negation. Such a result, it will be argued, is the necessary consequence of trying to convey religious ideas in a single consistent voice. The communicative challenges that Cohen faces in his introduction therefore serve to underscore the necessity of the “inconsistent,” multi-voiced style that he will subsequently adopt in the main body of his text.

Keywords: system; method; ethics; religion; you; irony; voice; individual; self; totality

Chapter.  10975 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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