Highlighting literature and philosophy's potential impact on economics, health care, bioethics, public policy and theology, this book analyses the heuristic value of fiction.
It alerts us to how we risk succumbing to the deceptions of fiction in our everyday lives, because fictional representations constantly feign to be of the real and claim a reality of their own. Philosophy and literature disclose how the substantive sphere of social, economic and medical practice is sometimes driven and shaped by the affect-ridden and subjective. Analysing a wide range of literature-from Augustine, Shakespeare, Spinoza and Deleuze to Kafka, Sylvia Plath, Philip Roth, W. G. Sebald and Jonathan Littell-Michael Mack rethinks ethical attitudes towards the long or eternal life. In so doing he shows how philosophy and literature turn representation against itself to expose the hollowness of theologically grand concepts that govern our secular approach towards ethics, economics and medicine. Philosophy and literature help us resist our current infatuation with numbers and the numerical and contribute towards a future politics that is at once singular and diverse.
Michael Mack (PhD. Cambridge) is Reader in English Literature and Medical Humanities at Durham University, UK. Formerly he has been a Visiting Professor at Syracuse University, a Fellow at the University of Sydney, and lecturer and research fellow at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Spinoza and the Specters of Modernity (2010), German Idealism and the Jew (2003), which was shortlisted for The Koret Jewish Book Award 2004, and Anthropology as Memory (Niemeyer, 2001, Conditio Judaica Series).
Contents Acknowledgments Introduction: Objects and number: Our Current Infatuation Chapter 1. What is it about Numbers? Chapter 2. Playing the Numbers: Ethics and Economics. Chapter 3. Certainty and the Predictability of Numbers: the question of Literary Ethics. Chapter 4. A Disenchantment with Numbers: Philosophy and Literature. Chapter 5. Medicine and the Limits of Numbers. Chapter 6. Towards a Numerical Ambiguity. Conclusion: From Numbers to the Individual: A New Ethics of Subjectivity. Bibliography Index