1st Edition

Concentric Space as a Life Principle Beyond Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Ricoeur Inclusion of the Other

By Paul Downes Copyright 2020
    200 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    200 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Concentric Space as a Life Principle beyond Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Ricoeur invites a fresh vision of human experience and search for life meanings in terms of potential openings through relational space. Offering a radical spatial rereading of foundational ideas of influential thinkers Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Ricoeur, it argues that these ideas can be rethought for a more fundamental understanding of life, self and other.

    This book offers a radical reconceptualisation of space as an animating principle for life through common, although previously hidden, features across the thought of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Ricoeur. It offers a fresh spatial interpretation of key themes in these thinkers’ works, such as compassion, will to life, Dionysian rapture, will to power, selfovercoming, re-valuation of values, eternal recurrence, living metaphor and intersubjectivity. It proposes a spatial restructuring of experience from diametric spaces of exclusion towards concentric spaces of inclusion for an experiential restructuring towards unifying modes of experience. This spatial rereading of these major figures in philosophy directly challenges many previous understandings, to offer a distinctive spatial-phenomenological framework for examining a life principle.

    This book will appeal to academics, researchers and postgraduates engaged in the study of philosophy, wellbeing, education and human development. The book’s interdisciplinary scope ensures that it is also of interest for those in the fields of psychology, anthropology, psychoanalysis and culture studies.


    Chapter 1 Introduction

    A Proto-Language of Space as Concentric and Diametric Space

    Space and a Life Principle

    Chapter 2 Features of the Spatial Proto-Language of Concentric and Diametric Space

    Concentric and Diametric Space as a Proto-language of Relation: Beyond Space as a Shadow Text

    Diametric and concentric projected spatial structures of relation: Assumed separation and assumed connection

    Diametric Space as Mirror Image Inversion and its Relation with Concentric Space

    Third entailment of the relative differences between concentric and diametric spaces: Foreground-background interaction versus noninteraction

    Gestalt Figure-Ground Spatial Relations as a Variant of Diametric Space

    Chapter 3 Compassion and Space

    The reduction of Schopenhauer’s distinctive concept of compassion to egoism: A debate resting on primordial spatial assumptions of concentric and diametric space

    Compassion as concentric projected spatial structures of relation in contrast to egoism as diametric space – a spatial proto-language of connection and the thick partition of separation

    Diametric space as illusion and obstacle

    Compassion within the determinism of the empirical world: Background conditions of space

    Compassion: A different kind of rationality

    Foreground-Background Interaction

    Chapter 4 Rapture and Space

    Rapture as an Experiential Expansion in Dionysian Music: Tentative Nietzschean Steps towards Concentric Space as Opened Boundaries in his Gloss on Schopenhauer’s Principium Individuationis

    The Issue of Crossing in Experience from Foreground to Background Space: A Proto-language of Monism, Concentric Spatial Relation and Diametric Spatial Opposition

    The Prerepresentative Mode of Music as a Concentric Spatial Dimension Restructuring Experience

    Critique of Heidegger’s Interpretation of Nietzsche’s Rapture


    Chapter 5 The Spatial Background between Dionysian and Apollonian Myths

    A Prior Spatial Proto-language in Nietzsche’s Dionysus-Apollo Relation as an Optic of Life: Diametric Space as Figure/Ground Contrasts and Monism that Lack an Inclusion Principle

    Promissory Notes towards a Concentric Spatial Relation ? A Transformational Relation Short of Dissolving

    The Void

    Hermeneutic Approaches in a Spatial-Phenomenological Reading of Nietzsche

    Chapter 6 Power and Space

    Nietzsche’s Will to Power as a Diametric Spatial Inversion of a Life Principle

    The mirror image inversion of diametric space as a spatial process of turning: A reversal of life towards destruction

    Diametric Space in the Historical Myth of Dionysus

    Will to Power: Hemiplegia of the Connective Will

    Chapter 7 Space as Freedom in Experience

    Differing Dionysian Visions and Conceptions of Bounded Freedom in Nietzsche’s Work

    Beyond Reevaluation of Values to Restructuring Habits of Emotion and Experience: An Emergent Vision of "freedom for"

    Chapter 8 Space as Movement: Eternal Recurrence beyond Homogenous Time

    Eternal Recurrence as Concentric Space Interacting with the Diametric Space of Will to Power

    The relationship between eternal recurrence and will to power in primordial spatial terms

    Taylor’s Carnival Inversion as a Diametric Mirror Image Space for Play: Search for a Life Principle Prior to a Homogenous Space as Monism

    Vertical Interplay between Concentric and Diametric Space as Eternal Recurrence Includes a Horizontal Movement Towards Flattened Homogenous Space as Monism for Experience of Time

    Chapter 9 Space Prior to Metaphor

    At The Threshold of Ricœur’s Concerns in La Métaphore Vive: A Concentric and Diametric Spatial Discourse Building on Lévi-Strauss and early Heidegger

    Ricœur’s Objections to Heidegger’s Critique of the Metaphysical within the Metaphorical and to Jakobson’s Selection-Combination Binarism: Issues for the Proposed Spatial Discourse of Concentric and Diametric Structures of Relation

    Beyond metaphor to concentric and diametric space as a system of meaning prior to language as protolanguage

    Chapter 10 Space and Internalisation of the Other

    A Living Spatial Movement of Relation – Reconceptualising Ricoeur’s Oneself as Another and Heidegger’s Being and Time

    Beyond Lévi-Strauss’ Structuralism to the Interplay between Diametric and Concentric Spaces as Pure Spatial Movement in Heidegger’s Being and Time

    Diametric Space as Assumed Separation and Closure: A Discourse Anticipated by Ricoeur


    Paul Downes is Associate Professor of Psychology, School of Human Development, Institute of Education, Dublin City University, Ireland. He has over 100 international peer-reviewed publications across areas of philosophy, psychology, education, law, anthropology and social policy and has given keynotes and invited presentations in 29 countries.

    "Paul Downes' book is a rich meditation on how the question of being is at one level the question of well-being, and he explores this in an original and engaging way by investigating the interplay of what he calls the 'diametric' and 'concentric' space-time that structures our existence. He contends that it is 'concentric space' in particular that has been increasingly closed off in the contemporary world, and his aim is to open up this space again so that we may breathe more deeply--or in Heidegger's language, so that we may dwell more fully as mortals upon the earth under the sky in the presence of others, the divinities, and all beings and things."

    Richard Capobianco, Professor of Philosophy, Stonehill College, and author of Engaging Heidegger and Heidegger's Way of Being.

    "Downes offers an excitingly nontraditional study in dialogue with mainstream authors, reading Heidegger -- Downes contends that the concentric ‘is’ the authentic -- along with an inventive account of space, tackling Nietzschean mountains along the way."

    Professor Babette Babich, Professor of Philosophy, Fordham University, New York, USA

    "Many scholars have examined the numerous, fascinating connections between Schopenhauer and Nietzsche on points of art, ethics, and metaphysics. Many, too, have done so with the aim of locating both figures in their shared intellectual and historical milieu. Paul Downes’s Concentric Space as a Life Principle Beyond Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Ricoeur: Inclusion of the Other, does both of these things, with an eye to philosophical ambitions of its own that make the work remarkably original. Downes is not interested only in telling us what these three key post-Kantian European figures think, but, more vitally, in getting us to identify and think about the important subtleties they themselves have left unthought, or at least unsaid.. Through a series of close and constructive readings of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche and Ricoeur too (among others like Kant, Lévi-Strauss, and Heidegger to name a few), Downes undertakes a comprehensive analysis of the relation between oneself and the other, a spatial alterity ethics, as it were… Downes’s book [is] enjoyably challenging. In a time when the space of discourse is increasingly less a space of reasons, a work as this, sensitive and subtle and deeply humane, is a thoughtful refuge from the shrill and shallow…"

    Steven DeLay, Christ Church, Oxford, Phenomenological Reviews 2020