, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 153-159

Anne O’Byrne: Natality and finitude

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With great clarity and depth, Anne O’Byrne’s new book, Natality and Finitude, explores a wide variety of themes, including birth, life, death, temporality, history, embodiment and reproduction. While O’Byrne never loses sight of the importance of identifying and exploring these themes as they occur throughout the Western philosophical tradition, her arguments are guided by the recent work on natality and finitude by Martin Heidegger, Wilhelm Dilthey, Hannah Arendt, and Jean-Luc Nancy. Most generally stated, O’Byrne’s considerations lie at the intersection of ontology, phenomenology, philosophical anthropology, feminism, and social and political philosophy. More precisely—and herein lies the relevance of the work—O’Byrne’s analysis creates important new points of contact between these distinct philosophical themes and approaches. A promising avenue for analyzing this rich work is to consider the multi-faceted concept of generation which serves as one of the many anchoring concepts deplo