Review of Claude Romano’s book, There is, in NDPR


P.-J. Renaudie, Review of C. Romano, There is, The Event and the Finitude of Appearing (Fordham University Press), in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 07/2016

This is the third volume (originally published in French as Il y a, 2003) in Claude Romano’s ‘evential hermeneutics’ project. It evolved from Event and World (2009; L’événement et le monde, 1998) and Event and Time (2014; L’événement et le temps, 1999).  This third volume laid the groundwork for Romano’s major work,  At the Heart of Reason (2015; Au cœur de la raison, la phénoménologie, 2010). In that later work, Romano developed an in-depth confrontation between phenomenology and its analytic criticisms, and he argued for the legitimacy of a renewal of phenomenology that addresses some of the main challenges of contemporary thought. With the translation of these four books, English speakers have access to the core of Romano’s philosophical thought and can grasp what is at stake in his intellectual journey.

Why an ‘evenential hermeneutics’? What are its purpose and its tasks? Romano’s philosophical project (introduced in Event and Time and Event and World) analyses the impact of fundamental events on a person’s existence. These events contribute to configuring the meaning of the world within which her decisions, actions, understanding of herself, and more generally her life, takes place. This project is phenomenological insofar as it aims at analysing the conditions of the appearing of such events. It draws on the main figures of the phenomenological tradition (Husserl and Heidegger first and foremost, but also their French inheritors: Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, Ricœur, Maldiney, and Levinas) in order to unveil the temporal structures and bring out the existential meaning that the “coming about” of the event involves…

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