“Presence” in the Broad Present. Gumbrecht, H. U. (2020). Production of Presence. What Meaning Cannot Convey. Kharkiv: IST Publishing.

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DOI:

https://doi.org/10.31649/sent40.01.067

Keywords:

Dewey, aesthetic experience, meaning, oscillation

Abstract

This review of the Ukrainian translation of H. U. Gumbrecht’s best-known work brings out the strengths and weaknesses of the translation and the peculiar reception of Gumbrecht’s key ideas (“presence” and “the broad present”) in Ukraine. It also critically assesses Gumbrecht’s own original and often contradictory points. I question the relevance of Gumrecht’s meaning / presence distinction for reconstructing the history of the philosophical tradition, as well as for analysing our complex relation to the world. I also demonstrate the weakness of his biased attempts to paint his opponents as relativists. Besides, I contrast Gumbrecht’s meaning / presence dualism with John Dewey’s theory of experience. The latter conceives experience as a dialectical relation between “doing” and “undergoing”. This juxtaposition shows that Gumbrecht’s theory cannot give a satisfactory account of the mechanisms of everyday or aesthetic experience due to its lack of consistent “everyday” epistemology. Moreover, his vague concept of “presence” and its unequivocal appraisal conflict with his own concept of the chronotope of “broad” or “complex” present, as presented in the selected essays of The Time Is Out of Joint. Eventually, I conclude that Gumbrecht’s eclectic terminological apparatus, as well as uncritical and biased reconstruction of the tradition preclude any serious philosophical engagement. However, it does not undermine the significance of his particular insights and theoretical instruments (such as “the broad present”) for cultural analysis.

Author Biography

Victor Chorny, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

undergraduate student

References

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Published

2021-04-01

How to Cite

Chorny, V. (2021). “Presence” in the Broad Present. Gumbrecht, H. U. (2020). Production of Presence. What Meaning Cannot Convey. Kharkiv: IST Publishing. Sententiae, 40(1), 67–78. https://doi.org/10.31649/sent40.01.067

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