Rée, Jonathan 1948-

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RÉE, Jonathan 1948-

PERSONAL: Born March 4, 1948, in Bradford, England; son of Harry (a teacher) and Hetty (Vine) Rée. Education: University of Sussex, B.A. (first class honors), 1969; Oxford University, B.Phil., 1971, B.Litt., 1973. Politics: Socialist.

ADDRESSES: Home—Oxford, England. Office—Humanities Resource Centre, Middlesex Polytechnic at Hendon, London NW4 4BT, England. Agent—John Wolfers, 3 Regent Sq., London WC1, England.

CAREER: Middlesex Polytechnic at Hendon, London, England, lecturer in philosophy, 1972.


Descartes, Allen Lane (London, England), 1974, Pica Press (New York, NY), 1975.

(With Michael Ayers and Adam Westoby) Philosophy and Its Past, Humanities Press (Atlantic Highlands, NJ), 1978.

Proletarian Philosophers: Problems in Socialist Culture in Britain, 1900–1940, Clarendon Press (New York, NY), 1984.

Philosophical Tales: An Essay on Philosophy and Literature, Methuen (New York, NY), 1987.

(Editor, with J. O. Urmson) The Concise Encyclopedia of Western Philosophy and Philosophers, Unwin Hymen (Boston, MA), 1989, 3rd edition, 2004.

(Editor, with Jane Chamberlain) Kierkegaard: A Critical Reader, Blackwell (Malden, MA), 1998.

Heidegger, Routledge (New York, NY), 1999.

I See a Voice: Deafness, Language, and the Senses—A Philosophical History, Metropolitan Books (New York, NY), 1999, published in England as I See a Voice: A Philosophical History of Language, Deafness and the Senses, HarperCollins (London, England), 1999.

(Editor, with Jane Chamberlain) The Kierkegaard Reader, Blackwell (Malden, MA), 2001.

Coordinating editor of Radical Philosophy.

SIDELIGHTS: Jonathan Rée took a complex look at the human senses and their relationship to philosophy in his book I See a Voice: Deafness, Language, and the Senses—A Philosophical History. Focusing mainly on sight and hearing, Rée devotes the first third of the book to a history of metaphysics, describes the properties of the senses, and concludes with what he calls a "philosophical history." The first and third sections are best read as "reflections on the phenomena of sight and hearing, what it is like to see and feel, the shared experiences, the ways these two senses are encoded in language," reported Ian Hacking in the London Review of Books. Philosophers who posed questions regarding the senses are introduced, such as John Locke and Bishop Berkeley. Rée also addresses "voice" and its contribution to human nature, and the ways in which deafness affects humans. Hacking commented that "one of the pleasures of the book is that its topics are made personal. They are not the topics formally studied in the schools, but the thoughts of fascinated (and fascinating) individuals with childlike curiosities." In the end, Hacking felt that Rée falls somewhat short of his goals, for "philosophical history does not spring into being on these pages." Nevertheless, the reviewer concluded, "We have wonderful scenes, exhibits to listen to. We have a generous and gentle meditation on the senses. We have a caring account of the faltering but uplifting progress of an applied science, a pedagogy that changes the life of those born deaf."

Rée once told CA: "My main motivation is hatred of the whole institution of academic philosophy, and more positively, to make philosophy serviceable to socialist movements."



London Review of Books, July 1, 1999, Ian Hacking, review of I See a Voice: Deafness, Language, and the Senses—A Philosophical History, pp. 15-16.