Vol. 47 No. 1 | March 2021

Deadline for Submissions: June 30, 2020 abstract and full paper

Idealism Revisited



    • Idealism is the philosophy of the immaterial: ideas and forms (Plato's eidos), but also consciousness, reason, experience, will, élan vital, spirit, soul, and mind. Since the rise of analytic philosophy in the early twentieth century, idealism has often been unfairly presented as advocating a dualism that exalts the immaterial (and unverifiable) over the material. But during the past few decades, there has been a flowering of interest in idealisms that attemp to reconcile or explain the nonhierarchical relation between the ideal and material. For instance, a number of contemporary philosophers, including Galen Strawson, Timothy Sprigge, Steven Shaviro, and Freya Mathews, have advocated for panpsychism—the position that all things, even stones and electrons, must have some rudimentary mind or experience. In addition, idealism may be found in seemingly unlikely places: the influential theoretical approach of "new materialism"  argues—in the words of Diana Coole and Samantha Frost—that "there is no definitve break between sentient and nonsentient entities or or between material and spiritual phenomena." Read More...

Vol. 46 No. 2 | September 2020

Deadline for Submissions: August 30, 2019 asbtract and full paper

The Ethical Turn Revisited


  • In the preface for a 1999 PMLA special issue on "Ethics and Literary Study," Lawrence Buell commented on the ethical turn as the "paradigm-defining concept" of the 1990s. Thirty years later, we have witnessed a revival of interest in ethical criticism, in particular among a group of Chinese scholars led by Nie Zhenzhao of Zhejiang University. It is important to note that the Chinese turn to ethics has evolved in a specific historical context of post-revolution China. Against the background of the post-1976 import of western theories to China, Nie advocates critical ethical engagements in both literature and theory. In "Toward an Ethical Literary Criticism," Nie argues that "the primary purpose of literature is not to provide entertainment but to offer moral examples for human beings to follow, to enrich their material and spiritual life with moral guidance, and to achieve their self-perfection with moral experience." Read More...