This retitled excerpt from Frank Kermode’s introduction to the symposium “Beyond Post-: A Revaluation of the Revaluation of All Values” (Common Knowledge 1:3 [Winter 1992]: 10–12) is republished here in a special issue of representative pieces from the journal’s first twenty-five years. Kermode had called for papers in the journal’s inaugural issue (1:1 [Spring 1992]: 5–6) on “the question of value” and was to a degree disappointed with the results. He had wanted the ensuing symposium to treat and even focus on axiology in the arts, but the papers answering his call mainly dealt with political and ethical matters. In this introduction he replies chiefly to pieces by the philosophers Richard Rorty and Paul Feyerabend dealing with poverty, famine, sickness, and environmental concerns, but Kermode also addresses and mostly agrees with arguments made in Common Knowledge 1:1 by the philosopher Bernard Williams. (Williams’s article, “Left-Wing Wittgenstein,” is likewise reprinted in the 2019 anniversary issue.) Kermode’s piece concludes by restating the hope of his call for papers that “the matter of literary value” will be treated “in the broad context” that Common Knowledge provides “for discussion of the philosophy of value. Precedence must obviously be given to a planet at risk, but to lose what has been valued in literature is a sure way of increasing the unpleasantness of the future.”

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.