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Philosophy and Literature in Times of Crisis: Challenging Our Infatuation with Numbers

Mack, Michael

Philosophy and Literature in Times of Crisis: Challenging Our Infatuation with Numbers Thumbnail


Michael Mack


Highlighting literature and philosophy's potential impact on economics, health care, bioethics, public policy and theology, this book analyses the heuristic value of fiction. It alerts us to how we risk succumbing to the deceptions of fiction in our everyday lives, because fictional representations constantly feign to be of the real and claim a reality of their own. Philosophy and literature disclose how the substantive sphere of social, economic and medical practice is sometimes driven and shaped by the affect-ridden and subjective. Analysing a wide range of literature-from Augustine, Shakespeare, Spinoza and Deleuze to Kafka, Sylvia Plath, Philip Roth, W. G. Sebald and Jonathan Littell-Michael Mack rethinks ethical attitudes towards the long or eternal life. In so doing he shows how philosophy and literature turn representation against itself to expose the hollowness of theologically grand concepts that govern our secular approach towards ethics, economics and medicine. Philosophy and literature help us resist our current infatuation with numbers and the numerical and contribute towards a future politics that is at once singular and diverse.


Mack, M. (2014). Philosophy and Literature in Times of Crisis: Challenging Our Infatuation with Numbers. Bloomsbury

Book Type Authored Book
Online Publication Date Apr 10, 2014
Publication Date Apr 10, 2014
Deposit Date Jan 21, 2014
Publicly Available Date Nov 4, 2014
Publisher Bloomsbury
Keywords Economics, S. Plath, E. L. Doctorow, Spinoza, Deleuze, Shakespeare, Malamud, P. Roth, Jonathan Littell, Augustine, E. Perlman, Medicine, Philosophy.
Publisher URL
Additional Information Erudite and incisive, Michael Mack crucially poises literary and philosophical events and contestations. The book explores rhetorical as well as conceptual operations capable of taking out some of our abiding--and culturally pernicious--attachment disorders. -- Avital Ronell, University Professor of the Humanities, and Professor of Comparative Literature and German, New York University, USA Philosophy and Literature in Times of Crisis is a stunningly brilliant analysis of our increasingly digitalized culture that celebrates the quantifiable conceptions of the good life. Drawing upon a polymathic erudition, Mack challenges the regnant epistemological and disciplinary dichotomies that sustain an opposition between subjectivity and objectivity, which, in turn, sponsor fetishistic adoration of the scientific and economic paradigms that has led to the eclipse of the ethical as the ultimate arbiter of a life worth living. -- Paul Mendes-Flohr, Professor of Modern Jewish Thought, the Divinity School, University of Chicago, USA, and Professor Emeritus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel


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