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In this rich collection of philosophical writings, Stanley Rosen addresses a wide range of topics -from eros, poetry, and freedom to problems like negation and the epistemological status of sense perception. Though diverse in subject, Rosen's essays share two unifying principles: there can be no legitimate separation of textual hermeneutics from philosophical analysis, and philosophical investigation must be oriented in terms of everyday language and experience, although it cannot simply remain within these confines. Ordinary experience provides a minimal criterion for the assessment of extraordinary discourses, Rosen argues, and without such a criterion we would have no basis for evaluating conflicting discourses: philosophy would give way to poetry.
Philosophical problems are not so deeply embedded in a specific historical context that they cannot be restated in terms as valid for us today as they were for those who formulated them, the author maintains. Rosen shows that the history of philosophy -- a story of conflicting interpretations of human life and the structure of intelligibility -- is a story that comes to life only when it is rethought in terms of the philosophical problems of our own personal and historical situation.
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