Philosophy

Poststructuralist Feminisms

“The question of gender is a question of language.” This statement is Barbara Johnson’s (World 37), and her succinct formulation of the relationship between gender and language does much to characterize the approach of a group of feminists who draw… Read More ›

Discourse Analysis

For many years, discourse analysis was less an explicit “theory” than a practical and empirical approach for supporting field work on relatively little-recorded languages and cultures (see, e.g., Grimes, Longacre, Malinowski, Pike). One domain of early work that attracted notice… Read More ›

Historical Criticism

Historical theory and criticism embraces not only the theory and practice of literary historiographical representation but also other types of criticism that, often without acknowledgment, presuppose a historical ground or adopt historical methods in an ad hoc fashion. Very frequently,… Read More ›

New Historicism

In 1982 Stephen Greenblatt edited a special issue of Genre on Renaissance writing, and in his introduction to this volume he claimed that the articles he had solicited were engaged in a joint enterprise, namely, an effort to rethink the… Read More ›

Phenomenology

Phenomenology is a philosophy of experience. For phenomenology the ultimate source of all meaning and value is the lived experience of human beings. All philosophical systems, scientific theories, or aesthetic judgments have the status of abstractions from the ebb and… Read More ›

Textual Criticism

Textual criticism provides the principles for the scholarly editing of the texts of the cultural heritage. In the Western world, the tradition and practice of collecting, tending, and preserving records was first instituted in the Hellenistic period. The great library… Read More ›

Value Theory

The study of value, called axiology, has three main branches: ethics, concerning the morally good; political theory, concerning the social good; and aesthetics, concerning the beautiful, or taste. One might perhaps add another branch, pragmatics, which concerns the utilitarian good… Read More ›

Reception Theory

Reception theory, the approach to literature that concerns itself first and foremost with one or more readers’ actualization of the text, is based on a collective enterprise that has had far-reaching institutional consequences. Hans Robert Jauss, with his University of… Read More ›

The Philosophy of Buddha

The person known as “the Buddha” (c.480–400 bce) was Siddhattha Gotama (in Pali; in Sanskrit Siddhartha Gautama). “Buddha” means “Awakened One” or “Enlightened One,” and is a descriptive title rather than a name. Gotama lived in north-east India at a… Read More ›

Key Theories of Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) was the leading analytical philosopher of the twentieth century. His two philosophical masterpieces, the Tractatus Logico-philosophicus (1921) and the posthumous Philosophical Investigations (1953), changed the course of the subject. The first was the primary origin of the… Read More ›