Paperback : 9780791468548, 266 pages, August 2006
Hardcover : 9780791468531, 266 pages, August 2006

Taking Edmund Husserl’s dictum to heart yet finding in it a new direction, The Things Themselves is an attempt to return philosophy to the world and, in so doing, know ourselves and our place in that world anew. The book deals with the myriad ways in which a phenomenological approach to philosophy can inform commonplace experiences and understanding. From a trip to Disneyland to a morning spent watching television exercise shows, from the commitment to become a vegetarian to the choice to become a political revolutionary, this book breaks down the barrier between theory and praxis, demanding that we both investigate and hold ourselves accountable to this world. Written in an accessible yet philosophically rigorous style, H. Peter Steeves not only attempts to return philosophy to the world but also to return philosophy to the nonspecialist, to those simply interested in the simplest things, the things themselves that fill our lives but inevitably, and most wondrously, prove anything but simple.

The Things Themselves is a collection of essays dealing with the experiential dimensions of popular culture. H. Peter Steeves is a phenomenologically oriented hybrid of Roland Barthes and Jean Baudrillard, and not only is he quite as good as they are, his writing also offers a strong argument for why we need to expand the reach of phenomenology rather than set it aside. Steeves has an extraordinary eye for the revealing empirical detail. His essays on Disneyland and Las Vegas are masterpieces in the hermeneutics of irreality. His powers of observation are those of a writer or a painter, and his essay on Cézanne is quite as revealing as Merleau-Ponty’s classic. This is a highly original book, full of ideas, and it brilliantly applies phenomenology to our real (and unreal) experience. It will have a major impact on the field.” — David Wood, author of The Step Back: Ethics and Politics after Deconstruction

“H. Peter Steeves’ extraordinary book is phenomenology at its very best.” — David Farrell Krell, DePaul University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

     Section I: The Animal as First Philosophy

1. Monkey See

2. Illicit Crossings: The Familiar Other and the Feral Self

3. Lost Dog

     Section II: The Good, the True, and the Beautiful

4. Being Beautiful Abs: Kiana, Christ, and the Gang at ESPN2

5. Cézanne’s Out

6. She Knows What You Did Last Summer: Feminist Epistemology and the Scientific Ideal

     Section III: Away from Home

7. Mars Attacked! Interplanetary Environmental Ethics and the Science of Life

8. A Phenomenologist in the Magic Kingdom: Experience, Meaning, and Being at Disneyland

9. Las Vegas, Las Vegas

10. These Hits to the Body 



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