Chapter

Between Swooners and Cynics

Edith Wyschogrod

in Crossover Queries

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226061
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235148 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823226061.003.0022

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Between Swooners and Cynics

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The wide-eyed ecstatic, or the “swooner”, asks, “Ah, what is beauty really”, while the doubting protester, called the “cynic” in conformity with an ancient philosophical tradition, inquires disparagingly, “What is beauty anyway?”. This chapter focuses on the world orientations or dispositions of the questioner, the “Ah” of the swooner and the “anyway” of the cynic, as each encounters the referent of the term “beauty”. By tracking the philosophical matrices from which these perspectives derive, the chapter hopes to show that swooners and cynics cannot do without one another if the extremes of naivete and nihilism are to be avoided and that each must be taken into account in speaking about God. Having traced the route of the swooner to the threshold of postmodernity, this chapter explores whether cynicism is a necessary moment that disrupts the swoon.

Keywords: swooners; beauty; cynics; nihilism; God; cynicism; postmodernity

Chapter.  5948 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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