Hart, David Jeremy
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This study considers the close relationship between philosophy and autobiographical forms of writing. Beginning with a comparison of two autobiographical works, Descartes’s Discourse on Method and Stanley Cavell’s A Pitch of Philosophy-the first publication of the prototype “modern” philosopher and the recent “post-modern” philosophy of the maverick Cavell-I consider the motivations for the autobiographical turn, distinguishing the Cavellian from the Cartesian. Attempting to bridge the gap between the two philosophers, I write my own philosophical autobiography in which philosophy turns out to be a sort of self-reflexive meditation on what it means to write autobiography, i.e. a meditation on the very activity in which it is engaged. Modern philosophy, I suggest, proves to be inseparable from notions of boundary, or rather standing at the boundary. Accordingly, its expression is intrinsically interdisciplinary, bringing together literary criticism, history of philosophy, fiction, and psychological portraiture, among others. My own study moves between these various modes, and in so doing, it constitutes a Baconian portrait of thinking as a process in which the most disparate subjects are juxtaposed without their collapsing into one another.