by Mark C. Taylor
University of Chicago Press
Nots is a virtuoso exploration of negation and negativity in theology, philosophy, art, architecture, postmodern culture, and medicine. In nine essays that range from nihility in Buddhism to the embodiment of negativity in disease, Mark C. Taylor looks at the surprising ways in which contrasting concepts of negativity intersect.
In the first section of this book, Taylor discusses the question of the “not” in the religious thought of Anselm, Hegel, Derrida, and Nishitani. In the second part, he analyzes artistic efforts “to figure not” in the work of artists Arakawa and Madeline Gins, architect Daniel Libeskind, pop artist David Sallee, and pop icon Madonna. The final section consists of a deeply personal and scientifically informed chapter that discusses the workings of negativity in immunology and illness.
Taylor’s essays work toward a sense of the not as unnameable as it is irrepressible–an “unthinkable third” that falls between being and nonbeing. Bringing together concerns that span Taylor’s early investigations of Hegel and Kierkegaard and recent studies of art and architecture, Nots is an important contribution by one of the most original and distinctive voices now writing on the American scene.