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AfternessFigures of Following in Modern Thought and Aesthetics$
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Gerhard Richter

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231157704

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231157704.001.0001

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Afterness and Modernity

Afterness and Modernity

A Genealogical Note

(p.27) 1 Afterness and Modernity

Gerhard Richter

Columbia University Press

This chapter situates the problem of afterness in the genealogical context of post-Kantian modernity. In particular, it explains the general sense in which the historico-epistemic terms “modern” and “modernity” frame the structural problem of afterness. It argues that afterness as a category hardly can be confined to any single historical episteme or narrowly defined cultural “period.” Its particular logic and structural reach are at once too heterogeneous and too historically persistent for such a delimitation. In the case of modernity, intellectual and cultural historians’ various designations of the term compete. The philosophy and culture of modernity are conceived here as problems that follow from Immanuel Kant’s so-called Copernican turn in thinking in the Critique of Pure Reason (1781), where he proposes that consciousness and its cognitive faculties be called on to provide an account of the ways in which the world of phenomena becomes the object of a consciousness’s mental representation that cannot be fully understood as such.

Keywords:   afterness, modernity, historical episteme, philosophy, culture, Immanuel Kant, Copernican turn, Critique of Pure Reason, consciousness, phenomena

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