Filozófia (Hírfigyelő)

Does Leibniz Have Any Place in a History of Racism? - 2017. november 17. 09:02
I claim that a genealogy of the philological racism known as ‘orientalism’ should include Leibniz as a founding figure. This argument is framed and motivated by recent publications that seek to exclude Leibniz from the history of race and racism by arguing that he insists on a linguistic, rather than ‘racial,’ schematic of human diversity. A survey of nineteenth-century race theory reveals that this distinction is not only specious, but these recent defenses only further implicate Leibniz in the linguistic tradition that is orientalist racism.

Race, Reason, and Cultural Difference in the Work of Emmanuel Eze - 2017. november 17. 09:02
This article argues for the importance of the work of Emmanuel Eze as a resource for confronting the relationship between philosophy and cultural difference. Eze is one of few philosophers to have contributed important research in the three main areas relevant to the relationship between philosophy and cultural difference: 1) analysis of the formation of philosophy as exclusively European, through his work on race and the Enlightenment; 2) engagement with the philosophies of other cultures, through his work in African philosophy; 3) direct discussion of the relationship between universality and diversity, prominent in his final book, On Reason: Rationality in a World of Cultural Conflict and Racism. This article follows the various lines of Eze’s work, concentrating on its relevance for the project of doing philosophy across cultural borders.

Logics of Scission - The Subject as "Limit of the World" in Badiou and Wittgenstein - 2017. november 17. 09:02
Badiou and Wittgenstein focus in their works on potentialities of innovation in the realm of thought as well as in the realm of politics. These innovations manifest themselves especially when two seemingly contrasting jurisdictions of thought—present in politics and logic—meet and merge. For Badiou a set-theoretical process of enforcement may change pre-established templates of a political doxa. For Wittgenstein it is the spontaneity of concept-formations that crisscross referential relations within the “space of reasons” and through performative enactments make visible unexpected places of unprompted innovation. For both Wittgenstein and Badiou, the subject is of vital importance in this union of politics and logic. It is both a “limit of the world” as well as a “supernumerary agency.” Characterized as such, it can provoke new worlds to appear with the aid of what I will call self-proclaimed logics of scission.

Lacan and the Philosophical Soul - 2017. november 17. 09:02
By closely reading Lacan’s references to the way philosophers (primarily Kant and Aristotle) use the notion of the “soul,” this paper suggests that the soul represents whatever in the body is unattainable to thought. The paper aims to reveal the philosophical moment in which a soul distinguishes itself from both mind and body and to show that this moment, in which a soul is summoned by philosophers, is needed in order to overcome the fundamental alienation of the body with regard to thought. Lacan’s way of addressing the soul along these lines suggests why having a soul carries ethical implications.

Responsibility and the Physical Body - Paul Ricoeur on Analytical Philosophy of Language, Cognitive Science, and the Task of Phenomenological Hermeneutics - 2017. november 17. 09:02
This article examines Paul Ricoeur’s discussion of analytical philosophy of language. I argue that Ricoeur’s idea of responsibility is exemplary for understanding this discussion and for understanding how Ricoeur conceives of the task of phenomenological hermeneutics in relation to analytical philosophy and cognitive science. According to Ricoeur, analytical philosophy of language explains how we use ordinary language for ascribing responsibility to the actions of agents (e.g., X is responsible for giving a speech). I argue that Ricoeur shows that the task of cognitive science is similar: explaining the causal relation between human action and the physical body (e.g., the debate on responsibility and neuroscience). Yet analytical philosophy of language insufficiently understands responsibility, for Ricoeur, in making an abstraction of the question of what it means to be responsible. Whereas analytical philosophy of language explains the causes of human action, so Ricoeur contends, it does not explain its motives, because these are not empirical relations that we can identify by means of common language. The task of phenomenological hermeneutics consists then, so I aim to demonstrate in line with Ricoeur, in understanding the motives of human action, which implies interpretation of text and of the self’s narrative identity: in narratives we learn the reasons for being responsible.

Camus and the Virtues (with and beyond Sherman) - 2017. november 17. 09:02
Albert Camus can be meaningfully read as an agent-focussed virtue ethicist, as David Sherman has suggested. Yet moving far beyond Sherman’s version of this claim, we show here how Camus accepts what are four definitive parameters of the classical authors’ conception of the virtues—the last of which takes him beyond today’s recognised “virtue ethicists.” Firstly, he understands the virtues as lasting, beneficent dispositions to think, feel, and act in certain ways. Secondly, he conceives the virtues as mastering the untethered passions: the sources of epistemic partiality and behavioural excess (démesure). Thirdly Camus conceives of the virtues (led by his versions of the four cardinals: courage, mesure, justice and a directive “lucidity”) as necessary accomplishments if people are to live fulfilled lives. Finally—and here bidding farewell to a solely theoretical approach—Camus appreciates that such self-mastery can only be achieved through education and habituation (an “ascesis” or “a difficult science of living”), and through the imitation of the kind of exemplars he holds up before us in his literary fiction.

An Arendtian Recognitive Politics - The Right to Have Rights as a Performance of Visibility - 2017. november 17. 09:02
Working with Hannah Arendt’s implicit argument about place and visibility, this article develops an account of recognition in order to rethink the nature of community. I argue for an Arendtian recognitive politics, a two-tiered account of recognition, which takes into account social identities as the condition of possibility for the free political action that so animated Arendt. If we require a place to act freely, in other words, we are visible to another in that place. Claims such as Arendt’s “right to have rights” consequently understate the vital conditions of visibility and the role such visibility plays in the political sphere where agents are recognized as equals. The two-tiered account of recognition developed in this article allows me to argue that (1) the performance of visibility in relation to the recognition of one’s social identity is what in turn allows for (2) the possibility of recognizing one’s unique political identity in the political space.

From Eyesight to Insight - Descartes’s Dream of a World without Images - 2017. november 17. 09:02
Descartes’s work as a philosopher was inspired by three dreams he had on November 10, 1619, and yet the philosophy that Descartes produced in response to this inspiration included an argument that all dreams are deceptive. This particular incongruity is indicative of a more general ambivalence and anxiety in Descartes’s thought concerning images, which creates a tension that is never fully resolved. In this essay I focus primarily on one side of that tension: the part of Descartes’s philosophy that is distrustful of images. To do this I first reconstruct Descartes’s theory of images, drawing from several of his lesser-known writings on optics, and then I consider how that theory of images leads Descartes to conceptualize true vision as a matter of “insight” rather than “eyesight” and to argue that the blind actually see better than those with working eyes. In the final part of the essay I briefly consider some of the consequences of Descartes’s theory of vision and the suspicion of images that animates it.

Humans and Animals - Way of Life as Transcendence - 2017. november 17. 09:02
This article is a further philosophical engagement with the human-animal relation. The argument presented is that neither animals nor humans can be reduced to a biological essence characterised as ‘bare life,’ but live according to the call of a way of life. Heidegger’s thinking on the polis in terms of the animal-human relation is addressed in order to show how he reduces animality to a biological sub-stratum, while the human becomes the privileged bearer of the word. Heidegger’s deep-seated humanism is thus exposed, as is that of Bataille. The latter’s Hegelian stance on animality and humanity is revealed as the embodiment of the dialectic of necessity and freedom. The article is a critique of the view that freedom and transcendence can only be arrived after so-called basic biological needs (the needs of ‘bare life,’ or necessity) have been satisfied.

Differences in Becoming - Gilbert Simondon and Gilles Deleuze on Individuation - 2017. november 17. 09:02
For a long time, Gilbert Simondon’s work was known only as either a philosophy restricted to the problem of technology or as an inspirational source for Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy of difference. As Simondon’s thinking is now finally in the process of being recognized in its own right as one of the most original philosophies of the twentieth century, this also entails that some critical work needs to be done to disentangle it from an all too hasty identification with (or even subsumption under) Deleuzian categories. While both Simondon and Deleuze have made crucial contributions towards a theory of differential individuation that significantly diverges from other authors associated with French poststructuralism insofar as they insist on the dynamic and vital dimension of difference, they also differ on crucial points. Whereas Simondon sees the process of becoming as transductive amplification, Deleuze theorizes it as intensifying involution, leading to two notably distinct concepts of difference.

The Education of Philosophy - From Canguilhem and The Teaching of Philosophy to Foucault’s Discipline and Punish - 2017. november 17. 09:02
This paper questions the widespread assumption that education can and should mold students to socially desirable ends. It proceeds by sketching an important part of the intellectual history informing Foucault’s genealogy of this assumption’s emergence in a disciplinary society. This history involves Georges Canguilhem, Foucault’s elective master. And in the relation between the writings of master and student, we find a different exemplification of education, namely, as a thoroughly dialogical and philosophical activity undertaken for the sake of freedom. Examining this historical relation also: 1) establishes Canguilhem’s international importance as a philosopher because of his role in the 1953 UNESCO report on The Teaching of Philosophy; 2) helps clarify Foucault’s understanding of philosophical activity as problematization and his understanding of normativity; 3) helps think about education and the history of philosophy without looking for master theorists, but rather philosophical schools.

Some Ways to Speculative Aesthetics - 2017. november 17. 09:02
Continental philosophy is witnessing a global renaissance of speculative philosophy. And while some corners of this movement are gaining traction in art- and architecture-theoretical circles, its application to philosophical aesthetics has been forestalled in favor of metaphysical and, secondarily, epistemological inquiry. This essay tracks some of the ways that speculative aesthetics is emerging, and opening new pathways, within the renaissance. It accomplishes three primary tasks. First, it enumerates several of the ways that the name “speculative aesthetics” has been mobilized in contemporary speculative philosophy. Second, it presents and develops one approach to speculative aesthetics, namely Graham Harman’s, and highlights its indebtedness to Levinas. Third, it briefly endorses a particular way forward for speculative aesthetics, one that is object-oriented (like Harman’s) and articulated in a recent essay by N. Katherine Hayles, the work of Steven Shaviro, and my book Plastic Bodies.

Understandings and Standings Under - Hermeneutics, the New Realisms, and Our (Baconian) Idols - 2017. november 17. 09:02
Scholars—philosophers and scientists alike—have recently reintroduced the New Realism movement, which has its roots in the soil of early twentieth-century philosophy, as a challenge to continental philosophy. This essay will propose a “BLT correction” (Bacon, lecture, theatre) in order to criticize, instead of support, the current tendency to underestimate the insightfulness of phenomenological and hermeneutical philosophy. The paper will discuss a hermeneutic of Idols proposed by Francis Bacon, and will conclude by proposing Paul Ricoeur’s correlating inclusion of objectifying explanation (expliquer/comprendre) as a necessary phase in interpretative action.

Italian New Realism and Transcendental Philosophy - A Critical Account - 2017. november 17. 09:02
By recognizing Immanuel Kant as the founder of the so-called being-knowing fallacy, the Italian new realism proposed and defended by Maurizio Ferraris argues for the autonomy of ontology from epistemology. The dependence of reality on our conceptual framework would in fact transform our world in a system of beliefs that loses its connection with the “hardness” of the given data. This paper discusses Ferraris’s claims by maintaining that they are based upon an insufficient reading of history of philosophy, particularly, upon a misinterpretation of Kant’s philosophy. Firstly, we shortly analyze the relationship between transcendental philosophy and post-modernism through a comparison with Friedrich Nietzsche: we criticize their conflation. Secondly, we take into consideration Kant’s arguments about science and answer a particular objection of Ferraris by investigating how we can legitimately acquire knowledge in the deep past without contradicting Kantianism. In this sense, we believe that the new realism presents inconsistent arguments.

The Undesirable & The Adesirable

The guise of the good thesis can be understood as an attempt to distinguish between human motivations that are intelligible as desires and those that are not. I propose, first, that we understand the intelligibility at stake here as the kind necessary for the experience of reactive attitudes, both negative and positive, to the behavior and motivations of an agent. Given this, I argue that the thesis must be understood as proposing substantive content restrictions on how human agents perceive objects of their desires; it cannot be a purely formal constraint. Moreover, while proponents of the guise of the good thesis who posit substantive content restrictions on human desire are right to do so, they are mistaken to claim that we always desire the apparently good. Instead, I propose a different limit: the naturally attractive. This alternative to the guise of the good thesis nonetheless captures the compelling idea that human desires are intelligent, quasi-perceptual responses to the world.

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