Hearing the Voices of the Dead

John D. Caputo

in Saintly Influence

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230877
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235612 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Hearing the Voices of the Dead

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This chapter stages an Auseinandersetzung between the historian and the phenomenologist, akin to the altercation announced in the title of Van Harvey's The Historian and the Believer in 1966. It is the existential phenomenologist who shows the historian that descriptions of history are always already situated by a stance towards the world (or in more Husserlian language, that the so-called “natural attitude” is not properly basic to consciousness, but indeed already framed by consciousness's meaning-giving acts). This stance is framed by the passions and concerns that the subject brings to the description; memory is the transcendental condition for the possibility of history. This is not an excuse for tendentious history; rather, it is an explanation for how we have come to value neutrality in historiography, a value that the chapter accuses Megill of improperly naturalizing, thus ignoring the passageway of history to a different future.

Keywords: Edith Wyschogrod; historiography; historian; natural attitude; consciousness; possibility of history

Chapter.  6470 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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