Sites of Exposure: Art, Politics, and the Nature of Experience

Sites of Exposure: Art, Politics, and the Nature of Experience

Sites of Exposure: Art, Politics, and the Nature of Experience

Sites of Exposure: Art, Politics, and the Nature of Experience

Synopsis

John Russon draws from a broad range of art and literature to show how philosophy speaks to the most basic and important questions in our everyday lives. In Sites of Exposure, Russon grapples with how personal experiences such as growing up and confronting death combine with broader issues such as political oppression, economic exploitation, and the destruction of the natural environment to make life meaningful. His is cutting-edge philosophical work, illuminated by original and rigorous thinking that relies on cross-cultural communication and engagement with the richness of human cultural history. These probing interpretations of the nature of phenomenology, the philosophy of art, history, and politics, are appropriate for students and scholars of philosophy at all levels.

Excerpt

It is sometimes difficult to introduce one person to another. the difficulty lies in finding a description that seems true to the person. We want to express her life and personality, but we settle for a name and some stale, superficial descriptions: “This is Judith, from Montreal. She’s a geography major at Concordia, and she’s a good friend of Mei.” Ultimately, we want to communicate what it is like to know this person and how she makes something exciting and unique out of her engagement with the world, but our sentences cannot really convey that. Instead, they simply list static features, intended to spark interest. Indeed, what we really want to say is “You should get to know her”: it is only through living interaction with her that our friend can truly reveal herself, and we make our introductions to facilitate such an interaction. the introduction, in other words, is not meant as a true portrayal, but only as a prompt to draw another person in and as an exhortation for the two to engage with each other; it is be discarded as quickly as possible in favor of actual immersion in dialogue.

Introducing a work of philosophy poses similar difficulties. Like another person, a work of philosophy is not a static assembly of facts, but is something with which one must develop a personal relationship: it is only philosophy if it speaks directly to you. Like another person, philosophy is something that can change one, and, also like a person, it is something that can reveal its meaning only in and through one’s interaction with it: the meaning of the work cannot be adequately portrayed in advance or in a series of superficial descriptions, but will reveal itself only through one’s . . .

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