Laughing, Praying, Weeping before God

John D. Caputo

in Styles of Piety

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780823225002
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237081 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Laughing, Praying, Weeping before               God

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This chapter responds to the three preceding analyses of Prayers and Tears, which it says can be reduced to Augustine's question, “When I love God, what do I love?” As a practical response to that question, Caputo responds to key points raised by the three analysts. First, David Wood's criticism of autobiographical philosophizing is countered by the possibility of universal truths, while his point about deconstructionism voiding religion is valid for nihilists, but invalid for affirmative deconstructionists seeking the existence of the impossible. Second, Edith Wyschogrod has made valuable clarifications regarding: the irreducibility of ethics to a mere social contract; the legitimacy of Nietschean–Levinasian dualism; the meta-phenomenological nature of Caputo's deconstruction; and Caputo's preoccupation with seeing the sublime in everyday life. Finally, Francis Ambrosio's comparison of Derrida and Dante is essentially correct, but Derrida's chora derives from darkness, not light, and this difference may be systemic.

Keywords: Derrida; deconstruction; nihilism; David Wood; Edith Wyschogrod; Prayers and Tears; God; prayer; Caputo; phenomenology

Chapter.  7464 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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