Lambert Wiesing


(German title: Luxus)
ca. 223 pages
Lambert Wiesing
Foto: Lambert Wiesing
© Jürgen Bauer

Lambert Wiesing, born in 1963, is Professor of Philosophy, Image Theory and Phenomenology at the Friedrich Schiller University, Jena. His areas of specialisation are phenomenology, cognitive and image theory, and aesthetics. From 2005 to 2008 Wiesing was president of the German Society for Aesthetics. In 2015, he was awarded the Aby Warburg Foundation Prize, in 2018 the Research Prize of the State of Thuringia.

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English world rights (Routledge)

What is luxury? How is it experienced?
The first monograph on the phenomenology of luxury

»Luxury is the Dadaism of possession.«


Luxury – even the word itself gives rise to a variety of mental images: of expensive gadgets, excess and waste, of wealth, comfort, conspicuous consumption and status symbols. And it seems to provoke polarised opinions, for luxury is usually the object of either sharp condemnation or vehement defence. But do the many critics and apologists of luxury really know whereof they speak? There is no »luxuriology« in place that could determine, systematically and before any valuation, what luxury is.

Lambert Wiesing’s latest book is a pioneering work of scholarship, for in it he answers this question using decidedly phenomenological means. He shows how luxury cannot be seen as a specific quality of things or actions, but rather emerges through private aesthetic experience: the experience of possessing something that perhaps fulfils a specific purpose but is not exhausted by it. When the fact of possessing something immoderate, excessive or irrationally elaborate is perceived by an autonomous subject as an idiosyncratic release from the all-consuming tyranny of purposive rationalism and efficiency – that is Luxury.


Praise for The Philosophy of Perception:

»Wiesing provides a subtle, original, and erudite assessment of the situation in contemporary philosophy of perception, along with a bold proposal for reorienting the field. Written in an inviting style-and nicely translated-this book reaches out both to phenomenologists and those unfamiliar with what phenomenology has to offer. Wiesing cares deeply about what philosophy is and ought to be, and anyone with similar concerns will find this an engaging read.« John Kulvicki, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dartmouth College

»This radical rethinking of the philosophy of perception fascinates by casting old issues in a new light and giving prominence to topics - such as the perception of images - that orthodox thinking is condemned to treat as marginal. The book is bold, original, full of challenging ideas and makes a powerful case for changing our approach to this central philosophical problem.« Robert Hopkins, Professor of Philosophy, New York University

»Lambert Wiesing not only provides an original and illuminating treatment of the core issues in the philosophy of perception he radically recasts the terms of the debate and extends the field of enquiry, including a thought-provoking discussion of the transformation brought about by the perception of images. It is a major achievement that this important book has now made been made available to English-speaking readers.« Jason Gaiger, University of Oxford

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