The Philosophy of Improvisation

The Philosophy of Improvisation

Gary Peters

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226662787

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

Improvisation is usually either lionized as an ecstatic experience of being in the moment or disparaged as the thoughtless recycling of clichés. Eschewing both of these orthodoxies, this book ranges across the arts—from music to theater, dance to comedy—and considers the improvised dimension of philosophy itself in order to elaborate an innovative concept of improvisation. The author turns to many of the major thinkers within continental philosophy—including Martin Heidegger, Friedrich Nietzsche, Theodor Adorno, Immanuel Kant, Walter Benjamin, and Gilles Deleuze—offering readings of their reflections on improvisation and exploring improvisational elements within their thinking. The author's wry, humorous style offers an antidote to the frequently overheated celebration of freedom and community that characterizes most writing on the subject. Expanding the field of what counts as improvisation, this book will be welcomed by anyone striving to comprehend the creative process.