Reasoning in Three Stages
A programmatic statement by Steven Kepnes
writes on Philo of Alexandria:
Philo of Alexandria is a thinker who defies taxonomy. The taxonomists in religious
studies class him as a "Jewish philosopher," implying that both his Judaism
and his philosophy are paramount to his identity, yet his "philosophy" seems
almost non-rational, and his Judaism non-traditional at best. I suggest that
the best way to understand Philo's writings and motivations is to loosen the
modern attempt at classification and try to apprehend him on his own terms.
For the full
text of the essay, please go here.
Otherwise Than Testimony, or: How Might Testimony Testify?
This paper was originally presented at an International Association for
Philosophy and Literature Annual Conference panel in May, 1996. The title
and theme of the panel was "Post-Testimonial Holocaust Writing". In this title
(and in the other papers presented), I heard these implicit questions: "What
are we to do and think in this time, as the era of direct testimonial transmission
from survivors of the Holocaust comes to a close with their passing away?
What are we to make of literature that is about the Holocaust but that no
longer comes from the testimony of survivors?" Listening with my own ear,
however, attuned as it has been by the poetry of Paul Celan and the writings
of Emmanuel Levinas, I thought that, in a very different sense, we have perhaps
always been "post-testimonial". In what time have we ever had testimony as
something clearly available to us? With this question in mind, I consider
two poems by Celan and passages from Levinas' Otherwise than Being
that indicate a phenomenology of testimony oriented towards the vanishing
trace of a word that indexes memory and suffering precisely inasmuch as it
fails to properly remember. In other words, I consider testimonial speaking
in the mode of something for which we will have been always too late to properly
For the full
text of the paper, click here.
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