Beyond Transcendence in Law and Philosophy
Psychology Press, 2005 - 250 pages
What is the law of the law? What produces our craven subservience to linguistic norms, and our shocking indifference to the phenomenon of universal suffering? In a path-breaking new work of philosophy, Louis Wolcher seeks to answer these questions from the standpoint of Zen Buddhism.
Bringing an Eastern sensibility into contact with three of the most important themes in Western philosophy, Beyond Transcendence in Law and Philosophy meticulously investigates three of the twentieth century's most important philosophers: Martin Heidegger - on being, Emmanuel Levinas - on ethics, and Ludwig Wittgenstein - on language. In the context of the larger Western obsession with transcending the ordinary, Louis Wolcher argues that the yearning for transcendence is born of the illusion that there is a fundamental difference between the ordinary and the profound.
Employing Zen koans and stories to advance a 'deflationary' view of language and knowledge, he goes on to argue that the norms of transcendence to which we cling are not eternal truths but artefacts of desperate minds adrift on a sea of impermanence. What used to seem so majestically True, Right and Just thus shows itself to be utterly mundane: as merely true, right and just. What is left, however, is not nihilism - for clinging to a view of 'nothingness' is just as deluded as clinging to a view of 'somethingness' - but rather a new beginning of compassionate concern for the suffering of others.
Beyond Transcendence in Law and Philosophy is a strikingly original synthesis of Eastern and Western thought. It will enlighten philosophers and legal theorists, as well as those who are interested in or open to the insights of Zen Buddhism.
A Zen Beginning
A Sketch of the Journey
The Deflationary View of Language
Mountains and Rivers
Three Conventional Forms of Transcendence
Platos Paper Cave
Ethics and Transcendence
Justice and Immanence
A Phenomenological Interpretation of Distress
The Problem of the Passage
Wittgensteins Noisy Silence
Tracing the Movements of the Lecture
The Lecture as an Ethical Deed
A Zen Reading of Wittgensteins Thesis of Silence
Heideggers Groundless Ground
Being as Ground
To be Capable of Failing
Freedom as Freedom for Ground
The History of Being
the Disunity of the Ground
A Rough Idea
Levinass Problem of the Passage
Suffering as Such
Levinass Useless suffering