Publication of the book “Phenomenology of Surprise: A Cardial Subject” by Natalie Depraz (Buenos Aires: SB Editorial, 2023)

11 de August de 2023

The book “Phenomenology of Surprise: A Cardial Subject” by Natalie Depraz (Buenos Aires: SB Editorial, 2023) is now available. The volume’s translation was handled by Professor Francisco Javier Parra Bernal (Complutense University of Madrid), and the foreword was written by Professor Rosemary Rizo-Patrón (PUCP).

About the Book

Surprises are omnipresent in our lives. They are like mini startles, micro awakenings that pull us out of order, routine, habit, or boredom. They turn us into unpretentious, open individuals who embrace the risk of not knowing, of getting lost, of being stripped of our certainties, of collapsing in our innermost core. Surprise, be it small or grand, confronts us with the incomprehensible and imposes a lack of meaning, even if it entails a rush, a vertigo, a desperation.

But what is truly surprising is that surprise is a matter that has scarcely required the attention of Philosophy. Too ordinary, too anecdotal: minimal.

Does it perhaps challenge it? Does it bring it down from its pedestal? Natalie Depraz presents a hypothesis: surprise, far from being reserved for the subject (surprised) or limited to the object (surprising), resides in a dynamic. It is not just an instant but a process, inscribed in time, its guiding thread. This dynamic, supported by its experiential structures—attention and emotion—bestows upon it a specific philosophical content, which the author elucidates with great mastery and clarity. The “cardial” subject is a new center for contemplating the unity of the subject’s experience.

Surprise, attention, and emotion are so integral to our daily lives that we take them for granted, not questioning their importance. However, this book aims to raise awareness that surprise constitutes a fundamental question.

Surprise propels us out of ourselves, compelling us to confront otherness. That of the other, of course, but also the otherness of that more intimate self whom we often know very little about… Otherness that precisely belongs to our own temporal being—partly already passed—but above all, the one that is perpetually approaching: the future.

About the Author

Natalie Depraz holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Paris Nanterre. She is a professor of contemporary philosophy and German philosophy at the University of Rouen, a university member of the Husserl Archives (ENS/CNRS) in Paris, the founder of the Rouen School of Phenomenology, and the director of “Alter,” Revue de Phénoménologie. Since 2020, she has held the Excellence Chair in Philosophy at Galatasaray University in Istanbul. An internationally recognized specialist in phenomenology, she is associated with research in cognitive sciences, psychopathology, neuroscience, art, and religion. She worked closely with Francisco Varela and has translated authors such as Husserl or Fink into French. Among her numerous publications, “Attention et vigilance, à la croisée de la phénoménologie et des sciences cognitives” stands out.