Author: Axel Hutter
This book is a critical inquiry into three ideas that have been at the heart of philosophical reflection since time immemorial: freedom, God and immortality. Their inherent connection has disappeared from our thought. We barely pay attention to the latter two ideas, and the notion of freedom is used so loosely today that it has become vacuous. Axel Hutter’s book seeks to remind philosophy of its distinct task: only in understanding itself as human self-knowledge that articulates itself in these three ideas will philosophy do justice to its own concept. In developing this line of argument, Hutter finds an ally in Thomas Mann, whose novel Joseph and his Brothers has more to say about freedom, God and immortality than most contemporary philosophy does. Through his reading of Mann’s novel, Hutter explores these three ideas in a distinctive way. He brings out the intimate connection between philosophical self-knowledge and narrative form: Mann’s novel gives expression to the depth of human self-understanding and, thus, demands a genuinely philosophical interpretation. In turn, philosophical concepts are freed from abstractness by resonating with the novel´s motifs and its rich language. Narrative Ontology is both a highly original work of philosophy and a vigorous defense of humanism. It brings together philosophy and literature in a creative way. It will be of great interest to students and scholars in philosophy, literature and the humanities in general.