The introduction examines why Cavell’s contribution to our understanding of politics and practical philosophy has not yet received extensive examination in book form and why it merits such examination and such a book. It then briefly reviews Cavell’s unique approach to philosophy in general and to practical philosophy in particular. It concludes by summarizing the five chapters of the book, and their accounts of Cavell’s understanding of, in turn, ordinary language, skepticism, the nature of political claims, Thoreau’s achievement in Walden, and the manner in which what he terms Emersonian perfectionism represents a radical reworking of Kant’s theory of autonomy.
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