Title: The Elusive Hermes: Method, Discourse, InterpretingAuthor: Peter CarravettaSeries: Thinking European WorldsImprint: The Davies Group, Publisherssoft cover504 pp.USD 34.00ISBN 978-1934542149May, 2013This is the first of a four volume project under the aegis of the messenger deity Hermes. Volume IV, On the Postmodern, was published in 2009; volume II, Thresholds: Method and Interpretation in Contemporary Italy, is in progress; volume III will focus on humanism.In The Elusive Hermes the author proposes a new general theory of interpretation by taking as a starting point the interconnectedness between Method, Theory, and Discourse. He holds that a worldview requires a way of understanding it, and trying to comprehend something requires that we have some idea of it. In this fashion, Method and Theory are always co-present during interpretation. To explore this bond, the author finds in Discourse the common and indeed primordial material to enable both theorization and methodic inquiry. In a strong reevaluation of rhetoric as philosophy, fertile ground for the thesis is found in the Sophists, Peirce, Ricouer, and Perelman.With these premises established, the book then lays out a flexible model for interpretation anchored to three necessary critical loci: the Work, the Interpreter, and the Interpreting act or process itself. This last element requires the reintroduction of consciousness and taking language as endowed from the start with a pragmatic dimension. The model is put to the test by studying the relation between Method and Discourse in Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and Husserl. Crossing various disciplines, these researches delve into key turning points in the succession of approaches, Descartes that became dominant in determining who or what we are, and how we can know anything at all. The author concludes that the sciences and the humanities are not antithetical, as we have been led to believe throughout Modernity, but rather share common origins, concerns, and discursive practices. Table of ContentsPrologue Acknowledgments Introduction1. Being and Method 2. Theory, Discourse, and Interpretation PART ONE: Method, Theory, and the Problem of Interpretation1. On Methodological Relativity2. On Theoretical Relativity3. Terms, Field, and Figures of the Argument4. Summary: The Elements of the Model5. Further Considerations PART TWO: Method Through HistorySection I. The Struggle of Method vs. Rhetoric from Antiquity to the Renaissance1. Before Method: Myth, Philosophy, and Rhetoric2. The Originary Dislocation: Method and Rhetoric in Plato3. The Triumph of Method: Aristotle4. Developments from Cicero to Ramus: A synopsisSection II. Supremacy of Method in the Early Modern Age5. Conceptual Revolutions6. The Descartes EnigmaSection III. Reification and Crises of Method in Late Modernity7. Introduction: The Late Nineteenth/Early Twentieth Century8. Continental Perspectives9. Angloamerican Perspectives10. General Remarks on the Crises of MethodPART THREE: Theory and Discourse1. Rhetoric Between Method, Theory, and Interpretation2. Perelman and the Rhetoric of Argument3. Gadamer: Myth of Dialogue and Limits of Truth4. The Challenge of the Rhetorical in Ricoeur’s Hermeneutics Coda1. Of Interpreting2. Of Hermes: symbolic, historical, existential3. Of the Elusive HermesNotesBibliographyIndex of NamesIndex of TermsWhat they said:In this opening salvo of a monumental project that will encompass four volumes, Peter Carravetta takes up with brio the ancient debate, first surfacing in Plato’s attempt to refute the Sophists and Protagoras, regarding the relationship of discourse, theory, and Being in Western thought. He shows convincingly how the post-Cartesian obsession with a reductive method calls for a reconsideration of the first principles of scientific, philosophical, and literary inquiries…. Offering fresh readings of figures as diverse as Aristotle and Peirce, Descartes and Perelman, the sparkling prose of this ambitious, comprehensive text inspires the reader to re-think the very foundations of language and the premises on which it rests. In the age of postmodernist anxiety and anomie, The Elusive Hermes offers timely hope for a renewal of the humanities in close communication with the sciences.— Edward S. Casey, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at SUNY, Stony Brook; author, most recently, of The World at a Glance and the forthcoming The World on Edge.This is a discourse on the rhetoric of method that investigates the often hidden relations between ontology and epistemology—between “a vision of being” and “a means to get to know it”—as those relations are articulated in our complex methodological languages. Articulated, but also shrouded, bound up, and hermetically sealed: the book’s title implies the difficulty involved in untying and disclosing these relations. This is one of the most significant contributions to the theory of interpretation since Gadamer’s Truth and Method. It bears on the interpretive strategies of contemporary metaphysics, sociological analysis, literary theory and criticism, and historical investigation, and suggests how to translate our findings “into meaningful, effective forms for a broader understanding of human experience,”… while elusive Hermes, the god of continuous transition, is always (at least) one inspired step ahead of us.— John Paul Russo, Professor of English and of Classics, University of Miami, author of The Future without a Past: The Humanities in a Technological Society (Thomas N. Bonner Award, 2006)About the Author:Peter Carravetta is Alfonse M. D’Amato Professor in Italian and Italian American Studies at Stony Brook University, NY, in the Department of European Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. Author of several works in critical methods and the interpretation of contemporary culture, including Prefaces to the Diaphora (1991) and Del postmoderno (2009), he has written on poetics, history of ideas, migration, and aspects of postcolonial thought. He is also the author of a collection of poems, The Sun and Other Things (1997).