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Material Phenomenology


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About the Author

Michel Henry (1922-2002) was Professor of Philosophy at the Universite Paul Valery, Montpelier. Among his many works are The Essence of Manifestation (Nijhoff , 1973), Incarnation. Une philosophie de la chair (Seuil, 2000), I Am the Truth (2002), Material Phenomenology (2008), Seeing the Invisible: On Kandinsky (Bloomsbury, 2009), and From Communism to Capitalism (Bloomsbury, 2014). Scott Davidson is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Oklahoma City University.


A very important contribution to the foundation and the method of philosophy. -- -Adriaan Peperzak * Loyola University, Chicago *
. . . Henry's book is a powerful advocate for life and affectivity, showing repeatedly that the dominant mode of phenomenology (and Western philosophy in general) priviledges ek-stasis and objectification at the expense of absolute subjectivity. * -Christianity and Literature *

Michel Henry's re-definition of Husserl's phenomenology can be compared only with that of Levinas. He was able to uncover some possibilities actually reached by Husserl, but kept hidden by his idealist turn, as in the primacy of Leib, the originarity of the self-affection of the self, and the limits of intentionality. This led him to reach one of the very few rigorous concepts of life ever
achieved in philosophy. It is time to pay serious attention to one of the most important philosophers of the last century.

-- -Jean-Luc Marion * Universite Paris-Sorbonne, University of Chicago *
This book will be of great value and interest to those interested in Henry's philosophy of life, Husserlian scholars, ad for thos interested in the future of phenomenology. * -Kinesis *
Translation of a 1990 work by the French philosopher (1922-2002). * -The Chronicle of Higher Education *
Published originally in French in 1990, this book is an important contribution to phenomenology. Henry (1922-2002; formerly, Univ. Paul Valery) argues that phenomenology must be grounded in the radical immanence of life. He elaborates on this argument through a careful, detailed analysis of Husserlian conceptions of hyle (matter), the method of phenomenological reductions, and intersubjectivity in chapters 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Henry consistently responds to phenomenological claims of transcendence with his own claims of immanence focusing on the "pathos of life." He defines the substance of the material phenomenology of the title as "the pathetic immediacy in which life experiences itself." So where Husserl speaks of reduction to a sphere of pure phenomenological seeing, Henry counters that such a reduction focuses too much on what is outside, visible, and at a distance, rather than on the materiality and self-affectivity of life. The analysis presumes significant knowledge of Husserlian phenomenology, but is an original and creative contribution to phenomenological research. Davidson (Oklahoma City Univ.) provides a clear translation of this work and an elucidating introduction. Summing Up: Recommended. Advanced undergraduates through faculty/researchers. * -Choice *

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