Branching out from his earlier works providing a history and a theory of apophatic thinking, William Franke's newest book pursues applications across a variety of communicative media, historical periods, geographical regions, and academic disciplines—moving from the literary humanities and cultural theory and politics to more empirical fields such as historical anthropology, evolutionary biology, and cognitive science. On the Universality of What Is Not: The Apophatic Turn in Critical Thinking is an original philosophical reflection that shows how intransigent deadlocks debated in each of these arenas can be broken through thanks to the uncanny insights of apophatic vision. Leveraging Franke's distinctive method of philosophical, religious, and literary thinking and practice, On the Universality of What Is Not proposes a radically unsettling approach to answering (or suspending) perennial questions of philosophy and religion, as well as to dealing with some of our most pressing dilemmas at present at the university and in the socio-political sphere. In a style of exposition that is as lucid as it is poetic, deep-rooted tensions between alterity and equality in all these areas are exposed and transcended.
William Franke is professor of comparative literature and religious studies at Vanderbilt University. He is the author and editor of numerous books, including A Philosophy of the Unsayable (University of Notre Dame Press, 2014).
“Most impressive is what has now become William Franke’s hallmark: an erudite interdisciplinarity that moves with seeming ease between various disciplines within the humanities in order to reach a more comprehensive position from which to examine any one issue. On the Universality of What Is Not brings a strong career focused on apophatic thinking to an important high point.” —Andrew W. Hass, author of Hegel and the Art of Negation
"Taking his classic work The Philosophy of the Unsayable beyond philosophy, Franke argues that the unsayable can be a universal unground shared by thinking across disciplines, times, and even cultures. What he has to say about what must go unsaid gives both new urgency and new hope to conversations that can reach across boundaries, letting us think together that there is more than thinking can reach." —Karmen MacKendrick, author of Failing Desire
"This magister apophaticus guides the reader on a meditation between and beyond academic disciplines, political identities, and religious and irreligious certitudes. There opens a space, an underground Ungrund, of the 'indefinably common.' Its dark luminosity can illumine unexpected possibilities within our most critical current concerns." —Catherine Keller, author of Political Theology of the Earth