Eros for the Other: Retaining Truth in a Pluralistic World

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Eros for the Other takes up the problem of how truth claims and ethical norms can survive the increasingly radical recognition of the historical, cultural, pluralistic, and often ideological character of human experience. Sharing with postmodernism a suspicion of totalizing forms of knowledge and practice, Wendy Farley parts with postmodernism in defending the possibility of truth and ethics. Arguing that reality occurs in the concrete existence of actual beings (human and otherwise), she develops an interpretation of the nature of knowledge as an eros for the other--as an openness to the distinctive beauties and fragilities of other creatures. Employing Plato, Levinas, Hannah Arendt, Iris Murdoch, Anne Carson, and representatives of Continental philosophy and feminist theory, Eros for the Other constructs an original argument for the interdependence of truth, ethics, and pluralism. Through dialogues with Western thought and its critics an original vision emerges of the way reason discerns reality, experiences beauty, and lives compassionately in the midst of the plurality of concrete, historical existence.