Issues surrounding precarity, debility and vulnerability are now of central concern to philosophers as we try and navigate an increasingly uncertain world. Matthew R. McLennan delves into these subjects enthusiastically and sensitively, presenting a vision of the discipline of philosophy which is grounded in real, lived experience.
Developing an invigorating, if at times painful, sense of the finitude and fragility of human life, Philosophy and Vulnerability provocatively marshals three disciplinary “nonphilosophers” to make its argument: French filmmaker and novelist Catherine Breillat, journalist and masterful cultural commentator Joan Didion and feminist poet and civil rights activist Audre Lorde. Through this encounter, this book suggests ways in which rigorous attention to difference and diversity must nourish a militant philosophical universalism in the future.
“Against the androcentric myth of the independent command of rationality, terribly central to philosophy’s conception of itself, Matthew R. McLennan has produced an adept introspection on philosophy as dependent and vulnerable––a practice that is the “mastery of being mastered”. To explore this theme of vulnerability, as both philosophical object and philosophy itself, Philosophy and Vulnerability methodically but beautifully develops its themes through the work of Catheriene Breillat, Joan Didion, and Audre Lorde. Treating these figures as “pre-disciplinary philosophers” who “hit up against a wall of finitude” and “struggle from within that finitude,” McLennan succeeds in crafting a work of gracefully fragile militancy. This book indeed contributes to the survival and democratization of philosophy in the face of the closure of thought.” ―J. Moufawad-Paul, Professor of Philosophy, York University, Toronto, Canada
About the Author
Matthew R. McLennan is Assistant Professor in the School of Ethics, Social Justice and Public Service, Saint Paul University / Université Saint-Paul, Canada.