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EXCERPT

I have been haunted by a single question for the last two years or so: ‘Why are you still writing this, Pete?’ Echoed by friends, family, and my own conscience, it has been a constant refrain. It seems that I am finally in a position to provide an answer— to retrospectively justify the amount of time and effort that has gone into writing this rather unusual book, and to provide some context for those wondering why they should devote their own time and effort to reading it. The fact that this is my first book only exacerbates its eccentricities: it addresses a contemporary and perhaps fleeting philosophical moment, yet it does so by delving deep into the discipline’s past; it speaks of recent developments in the world of ‘Continental’ philosophy, yet it often draws upon ‘analytic’ ideas that are uncomfortably alien to that world; and above all, it undertakes a long and detailed discussion of a single philosopher’s work, and yet it aims to show that his work does not warrant such serious attention. Why read, let alone write, such an odd book? A brief explanation of its origins might shed some light on the matter…