Ephemera: Visual and non-Visual Impressions



Coming up to Syracuse yesterday on rt. 17 along the lower rim of the Catskills, I was struck by the visual match between: [1] the road covered in a thick residue of road salt [2] the slate grey sky and [3] dried out, frosted grasses, and [4] white birch (?) in browned out forest.

The non-visual cues carried along this particular stretch inside and outside the cabin of the car included: acoustic cello loops by Bach, the aftertaste of morning coffee, the feel of cold damp air, the smell of dirt and urine.

These are glories of sensation. With Kant, I try to remember that concepts without intuition are empty. These are types of intuition that contribute to the peculiar form of Jewish philosophy here at “Jewish Philosophy Place.”

Glories of sensation (ephemera) focus thought around materiality and modal form of contingencies, not around rules of abstract reason and modal necessity. They evoke the event-dynamic at the complex interface between things, images, non-intentional brain function, and phenomenal states of consciousness.


About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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