Toward a Philosophy of the Act (University of Texas Press Slavic Series, No. 10)

Toward a Philosophy of the Act (University of Texas Press Slavic Series, No. 10)

M.M. Bakhtin

Language: English

Pages: 132

ISBN: 029270805X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Rescued in 1972 from a storeroom in which rats and seeping water had severely damaged the fifty-year-old manuscript, this text is the earliest major work (1919-1921) of the great Russian philosopher M. M. Bakhtin. Toward a Philosophy of the Act contains the first occurrences of themes that occupied Bakhtin throughout his long career. The topics of authoring, responsibility, self and other, the moral significance of "outsideness," participatory thinking, the implications for the individual subject of having "no-alibi in existence," the difference between the world as experienced in actions and the world as represented in discourse—all are broached here in the heat of discovery. This is the "heart of the heart" of Bakhtin, the center of the dialogue between being and language, the world and mind, "the given" and "the created" that forms the core of Bakhtin's distinctive dialogism.

A special feature of this work is Bakhtin's struggle with the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Put very simply, this text is an attempt to go beyond Kant's formulation of the ethical imperative. mci will be important for scholars across the humanities as they grapple with the increasingly vexed relationship between aesthetics and ethics.













epistemology or of theoretical [I illegible word]28 (of various kinds-biological, physical, etc.). It would be an injustice to think that this represents the predominant tendency in the history of philosophy; it is rather a specific peculiarity of modern times, and one could even say a peculiarin' of the nineteenth and nventieth centuries exclusively. Participative thinking 29 predominates in all great systems of philosophy, either consciously and distinctly (especially in the Middle Ages) or in

appreciate the great importance of what modern philosophy has achieved in developing methodology for particular domains of culture. One can and should acknowledge that in the domain of the special tasks it sets itself modern philosophy (and NeoKantianism in particular) has obviously attained great heights and has been able, finally, to work out perfectly scientific methods (something that positivism in all its varieties, including pragmatism, was unable to do). Our time deserves to be given full

its content, value as valid in itself, truth [istina], the good, the beautiful, etc.-all these are only possibilities which could be actualized only in an actually performed act on the basis of an acknowledgment of my unique participation. The transition from possibility to once-occurrent actuality is impossible from within content/sense itself. The world of content/sense is infinite and selfsufficient; its being valid in itself makes me myself useless, and my acts or deeds are fortuitous from

the sense of its being a small scrap of the space and time of the large spatial and temporal whole, or by giving it a symbolic interpretation. What happens in all these cases is that the living, compellent, and inescapable uniqueness of our actual life is diluted with the water of merely thinkable empty possibility. Loving[?] corporeality[?] 133 is declared to be valid only as a moment of infinite matter, toward which we are indifferent, or as an exemplar of Homo sapiens, or as a representative

Intelligible World, pp. 109ff., 150ff. (discusses Rickert's key concepts); and Iso Kern, Husserl und Kant (The Hague: M. Nijhoft~ 1964), part 2, section 2, ##34-37 (ex• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •• NOTES TO PAGE 4 amines Husserl's reading of Rickert and, in doing so, clarifies Rickert's key concepts and positions). The literature on Rickert available in English and French focuses above all on his theory of historical cognition: F. M. Fling, The Writing of History (New Haven: Yale

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