The World on Edge

The World on Edge

The World on Edge

The World on Edge


From one of continental philosophy's most distinctive voices comes a creative contribution to spatial studies, environmental philosophy, and phenomenology. Edward S. Casey identifies how important edges are to us, not only in terms of how we perceive our world, but in our cognitive, artistic, and sociopolitical attentions to it. We live in a world that is constantly on edge, yet edges as such are rarely explored. Casey systematically describes the major and minor edges that configure the human and other-than-human realms, including our everyday experience. He also explores edges in high- stakes situations, such as those that emerge in natural disasters, moments of political and economic upheaval, and encroaching climate change. Casey's work enables a more lucid understanding of the edge-world that is a necessary part of living in a shared global environment.


In part one, I undertake close descriptions of certain basic sorts of edge in order to set forth a nomenclature on which author and reader can converge—which is important in view of the nebulous niche that the term edge inhabits in the collective linguistic consciousness of English speakers. in common usage, “edge” signifies such things as “the outermost part of an object” or “the abrupt termination of something”—casual meanings that unduly restrict the idea of edge, leading us to overlook the fact that there is a plurality of edge types, each of which calls for its own description. I take up a number of these in the first chapter of this part and in three interludes; they range from borders to boundaries, rims to margins, gaps to picture frames, cusps to veils. the descriptions I give are designed to convey the diversity of edges that form part of human experience. the interludes, in particular, detail the considerable range of edges that human beings (and other animals) routinely encounter in their respective life-worlds.

A second chapter in this part takes up two pairs of terms: edges and surfaces, and edges and limits. the first pair exhibits a mutual indissociability; just as there is no surface that does not have an edge of some sort, so there is no edge that does not belong to some kind of surface. the second pair, edges and limits, manifest a basic difference in kind despite their being run together in ordinary language. I argue that we need to recognize this difference in kind if we are to do justice to what is uniquely true of edges.

On this clarified basis, the last chapter of this part extends the scope of edges to include edges of places as well as events. Every place has its characteristic edges, beyond which it is no longer that place, or any place at all. the same holds for events; these, too, run out, and they do so in time as well as space: where and when they come to an end, there is their edge. Not only is this extension of edges to places and events descriptively demanded, it has the merit of expanding the scope of what counts as an edge beyond the edges of finite things. in this context, I contest the hegemony of things (material substances, reified particulars, res extensa) that has dominated Western metaphysics since Aristotle. Places and events are ontological domains that call for their own accounting and recognition as distinct realms of being. a crucial aspect of this accounting and recognition is that any given place comes with its own edges, without which it wouldn’t be that place. Similarly, events come edged in certain unique ways that I spelalism

This is a book about Jacques Derrida. in it I try to open up some new ways to read his philosophy by focusing on his emphasis on religion and politics toward the end of his career, and then using this to develop a more materialist reading of Derrida. I have had a lot of inspiration for this project, including the work of John D. Caputo, Catherine Malabou, and Karen Barad . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.