Metaphysics in Ordinary Language

Stanley Rosen

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January 11, 1999
304 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
ISBN: 9780300074789
Cloth

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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.

Stanley Rosen is Borden Parker Bowne Professor of Philosophy at Boston University. He is also the author of The Ancients and the Moderns, Plato’s Sophist, Plato’s Statesman, Plato’s Symposium, and The Question of Being, all published by Yale University Press.

“The Collection ends with a fascinating “memoir” of the often overlooked but nonetheless influential French philosopher Kojève. This book should be of interest to those concerned with how philosophy is related to everyday life, language, postmodernism, the Platonic tradition, and the Socratic love of truth.”—David H. J. Larmour, Religious Studies Review



“In everything Rosen writes, he opens up unexpected vistas, and this book is no exception to the rule. Anyone interested in the fate of philosophy, and in the life of philosophy in the contemporary world, will want to read and reread this book.”—Kenneth Hart Green, University of Toronto


"A grand, synoptic philosophic vision, a distinctive, dialectical prose style, deep and broad erudition, wit, intellectual courage—the many virtues that typify Stanley Rosen’s work—are all on view in this very fine new collection. The 'ordinary’ has never benefited so much from such extraordinary, original reflection."—Robert B. Pippin, Raymond W. and Martha Hilpert Gruner Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought, the Department of Philosophy, and the College Chair, Committee on Social Thought


“Stanley Rosen’s fourth collection of essays and lectures, Metaphysics in Ordinary Language is a rich and provocative discussion of many of the themes and problems that have concerned him throughout his career. . . . Metaphysics in Ordinary Language should be of great interest to all who are skeptical of, or even just concerned with, the reports of the death of metaphysics. . . . Rosen’s articulation of the necessity of the metaphysical project is timely and will contribute significantly to the task of rethinking the destiny of metaphysics in the history of Western philosophy.”—Colin A. Anderson, Philosophy in Review


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