Dastur is well respected in France and Europe for her mastery of phenomenology as a movement and her clear and cogent explications of phenomenology in movement. These qualities are on display in this remarkable set of essays. The book is organized into four areas of inquiry: "Language and Logic," "Ego and Other," "Temporality and History," and "Finitude and Mortality." In each, Dastur guides the reader through a series of phenomenological questions that also serve to call phenomenology itself into question, testing its limits and pushing it in new directions. Taking a cue from Merleau-Ponty, Dastur sees phenomenology not as a doctrine, a catalogue of concepts and catchphrases authored by a single thinker, but rather as a movement in which several thinkers participate, each one contributing to and inflecting the development of the movement in unique ways. She thus draws inspiration from Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, Ricoeur, Gadamer, Fink, and Patocka, moving with ease from one thinker's conceptual vocabulary and outlook to the next's, feeling at home in each, and communicating their central ideas with clarity. Through her critical and productive dialogue with multiple phenomenological thinkers, Dastur concisely shows one thinker's debts to and departures from another, and reveals the limits of one's approach while highlighting the innovation of another's. She does this judiciously, without choosing sides, because for her, phenomenology is above all a way of thinking through a problem and practicing a method. The fecundity of the movement is appreciated only by participating in it--it has always thought of itself as philosophical research undertaken by and through a community of thinkers who share certain fundamental questions and ways of approaching those questions, even if their responses to these questions often differ. In this regard, Dastur is both one of the clearest guides to phenomenology, and one of France's most habile practitioners of phenomenology.
Franoise Dastur is Professeur Emerita at the Universit de Nice. She is the author of many books and countless essays on Husserl, Heidegger, Holderlin, and Merleau-Ponty.
Robert Vallier works at DePaul University. He is the translator of Merleau-Ponty, Nature: Course Notes from the Collge de France.