This "open letter" examines Agnes Heller's seemingly ambivilent position on feminism, as well as her pedegogy, her reading of Plato, her "ethics of personality," and her positions on critique and on "everyday life.".
One of the many themes to which Agnes Heller's philosophy returns again and again is the theme of the home of the moderns. Although not necessarily her central philosophical theme, nonetheless, it opens onto the existential and multi-dimensional nature of the human condition in modernity, which her work permanently addresses.
Agnes Arber (1879-1960) was a British botanist who was a leading plant morphologist during the first half of the 20th century. She also wrote on the history and philosophy of botany. I argue in this article that her philosophical work on form and on how the work of the mind and the eye relate to each other in morphological research are relevant to the science of today. Arber's unusual blend of interests - in botany, history, philosophy, and art - put (...) her in a unique position to examine issues of form. Even her unorthodox ideas on evolution can now be seen as fitting in well with discussions of natural selection as the predominant engine of evolutionary change. Arber's views also throw light on present work dealing with developmental plant genetics and with the study of protein form. I will further argue that her marginal position relative to institutional science, while it may have left her vulnerable to criticism, also made possible her deep philosophical reflections on morphology. (shrink)
Through a discussion of Agnès Varda's career from 1954 to 2008 that focuses particularly on La Pointe Courte (1954), L'Opéra-Mouffe (1958), The Gleaners and I (2000), and The Beaches of Agnes (2008), this article considers the connections between Varda's filmmaking and her femaleness. It proposes that two aspects of Varda's cinema—her particularly perceptive portrayal of a set of geographical locations, and her visual and verbal emphasis on female embodiment—make a feminist existential-phenomenological approach to her films particularly fruitful. Drawing both (...) directly on the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and on some recent film- and feminist-theoretical texts that have employed his insights, it explores haptic imagery and feminist strategy in The Gleaners and I, the materialization of space characterizing Varda's blurring of fiction and documentary, and the dialectical relationship of people with their environment often observed in her cinema. It concludes that both Varda's female protagonists and the director herself may be said to perform feminist phenomenology in her films, in their actions, movement, and relationship to space, and in the carnality of voice and vision with which Varda's own subjectivity is registered within her film-texts. (shrink)
This article focuses on images of walking in Agnès Varda's films – Cléo de 5 à 7 (1962), Sans toit ni loi (1985), and Les Plages d’Agnès (2008). The activity of walking (as urban flânerie, circular travelling or walking backwards) is central to these films, and can be seen as a corporeal practice that not only interweaves striated and smooth spaces but also offer a gender-sensitive, political contemplation on the forces of striation and smoothing as well as a (...) re-invention of space. The women in movement in Varda's films embody a transgression of stratified territories such as the image-oriented society of the spectacle in Cléo, myths of adolescence and settled living in Sans toit ni loi, or the boundaries of aging in Les Plages d'Agnès. (shrink)
Agnes Heller is one of the leading thinkers to come out of the tradition of critical theory. Her awesome intellectual range and output includes ethics, philosophical anthropology, political philosophy and a theory of modernity and its culture. Hungarian by birth, she was one of the best known dissident Marxists in central Europe in the 1960's and 1970's. Since her forced immigration she has held visiting lectureships all over the world and has been the Hannah Arendt Professor of Philosophy at the (...) New School in New York for the last twenty years. This introduction to her thought is ideal for all students of philosophy, political theory and sociology. Grumley explores Heller's early work, elaborating her relation to Lukacs and the evolution of her own version of Marxism. He examines the subsequent break with Marxism and the initial development of an alternative radical philosophy. Finally, he explains and assesses her mature reflective post-modernism, a perspective that is both sceptical and utopian, that upholds a critical humanist perspective just as it critiques contemporary democratic culture. (shrink)
Agnes Arber's international reputation is due in part to her exceptional ability to interpret the German tradition of scholarship for the English-speaking world. The Mind and the Eye is an erudite book, revealing its author's familiarity with philosophy from Plato and Aristotle through Aquinas to Kant and Hegel; but it is not dull, because the quiet enthusiasm of the author shines through. In this book she turns from the work of a specialist in one science to those wider questions which (...) any scientist must ask at intervals. What, in short, is the relationship between the eye that sees and the mind that weighs and pronounces? An important feature of this Cambridge Science Classics reissue is the introduction provided by Professor P. R. Bell, who as a Cambridge botany student at the time that Agnes Arber was writing The Natural Philosopby of Plant Form, is uniquely able to set The Mind and the Eye in the context of contemporary biological research. (shrink)
While Shakespeare's historical and political imagination mainly centres on the traditional character of the stranger or exile, The Merchant of Venice and Othello stand out as dramas about a new figure, the absolute stranger. The absolute stranger belongs to a new situation Shakespeare found in cosmopolitan Venice. Through Shylock and Othello, Shakespeare encounters the drama of the outsider's failed assimilation into cosmopolitan life. For Shakespeare, the figure of the absolute stranger is a representative illusion, and these two plays are dramas (...) about the modern world. (shrink)
It is widely believed that platonists face a formidable problem: that of providing an intelligible account of mathematical knowledge. The problem is that we seem unable, if the platonist is right, to have the causal relationships with the objects of mathematics without which knowledge of these objects seems unintelligible. The standard platonist response to this challenge is either to deny that knowledge without causation is unintelligible, or to make room for causal interactions by softening the platonism at issue. In this (...) essay I argue that the idea of causal relations with fully platonist objects is unproblematic. I would like to thank Agnes Gellen Callard, Josh Sheptow, and Palle Yourgrau for helpful discussions of the ideas presented here. (shrink)
Agnes's brakes fail. Should she continue straight into the busy intersection or should she swerve into the field? Add to the story, what Agnes does not and cannot know, that continuing into the intersection will cause no harm, whereas swerving into the apparently empty field will cause a death. I evaluate arguments for the claim that she should enter the intersection, i.e. for objectivism about right and wrong; and arguments for the claim that she should swerve, i.e. for subjectivism about (...) right and wrong, and conclude that subjectivism is more plausible. I also consider the view that ‘ought’ and ‘wrong’ are systematically ambiguous, that she subjectively ought to swerve and that she objectively ought to enter the intersection. I argue that most versions of this suggestion are unworkable, and that even the best version is less plausible than pure subjectivism. (shrink)
In this essay I want to show that while the concept of autonomy can hardly make a meaningful contribution to the understanding of contemporary artworks, the concept of the dignity of artwork can make such a contribution.
Suppose that a very large number of people, say one billion, will suffer a moderately severe headache for the next twenty-four hours. For these billion people, the next twenty-four hours will be fairly unpleasant, though by no means unbearable. However, there will be no side-effects from these headaches; no drop in productivity in the work-place, no lapses in concentration leading to accidents, no unkind words spoken to loved ones that will later fester. Nonetheless, it is clearly desirable that these billion (...) people avoid the headaches. Even though the headaches are moderate, they are impervious to pain-killing drugs, acupuncture, transcendental meditation, and just about any other remedy. In fact, there is only one way in which the headaches can be avoided. In a remote South American village, a young woman, Agnes, is suffering from a fever. A simple dose of antibiotics will save her life, otherwise she will die. If, and only if, she dies, the billion headaches will be prevented. You just happen to be passing through the village, in full knowledge of the circumstances. Although not a doctor (and therefore not bound by codes of professional ethics, Hippocratic oaths, etc.), you possess the requisite dose of antibiotics, for which you have no other use, and which will become useless, if not used in the next two hours. (shrink)
This book is the first comprehensive guide and introduction to the central theorists in the post-marxist intellectual tradition. In jargon free language it seeks to unpack, explain, and review many of the key figures behind the rethinking of the legacy of Marx and Marxism in theory and practice. Key thinkers covered include Cornelius Castoriadis, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Deleuze and Guattari, Laclau and Mouffe, Agnes Heller, Jacques Derrida, Jurgen Habermas and post-Marxist feminism. Underlying the whole text is the central question: What is (...) Post-Marxism? Each chapter covers a key thinker or contribution and thus can be read as a stand alone introduction to the principal aspects of their approach. Each chapter is also followed by a summary of key points with a guide to further reading. Key Thinkers from Critical Theory to Post-Marxism provides an ideal introduction to a hitherto complex subject and will be essential reading for all students of contemporary social and political inquiry today. (shrink)
The author discusses two questions, the relation between liberalism and democracy, and the relation between ethics, morality and law. As to the first question, she argues that neither liberalism nor democracy are merely formal. Roughly spoken, it can be said that liberalism stands for negative liberties, whereas democracy stands for positive ones. She observes a non-contingent tension between the ethos of liberalism (personal freedom) and the ethos of democracy (equality; majority rule). It is the task of morality to maintain and (...) restore the balance between these two kinds of ethos. As to the second question, she is worried about the balance between law (legal regulation), ethics, and morality. On the one hand, abolishing legal regulations would amount to abolishing the freedom of the moderns. On the other hand, the substitution of legal regulations for ethical regulations would lead to a similar result: the end of the freedom of the moderns through the homogenisation of life. In the former case, personal support, charity, magnanimity, and caring would get lost, while in the latter there would be no escape from community pressure towards uniformity. (shrink)
Two decades of research on euthanasia in the Netherlands have resulted into clear insights in the frequency and characteristics of euthanasia and other medical end-of-life decisions in the Netherlands. These empirical studies have contributed to the quality of the public debate, and to the regulating and public control of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. No slippery slope seems to have occurred. Physicians seem to adhere to the criteria for due care in the large majority of cases. Further, it has been shown (...) that the majority of physicians think that the euthanasia Act has improved their legal certainty and contributes to the carefulness of life-terminating acts. In 2005, eighty percent of the euthanasia cases were reported to the review committees. Thus, the transparency envisaged by the Act still does not extend to all cases. Unreported cases almost all involve the use of opioids, and are not considered to be euthanasia by physicians. More education and debate is needed to disentangle in these situations which acts should be regarded as euthanasia and which should not. Medical end-of-life decision-making is a crucial part of end-of-life care. It should therefore be given continuous attention in health care policy and medical training. Systematic periodic research is crucial for enhancing our understanding of end-of-life care in modern medicine, in which the pursuit of a good quality of dying is nowadays widely recognized as an important goal, in addition to the traditional goals such as curing diseases and prolonging life. (shrink)
In this paper, I take scientific models to be epistemic representations of their target systems. I define an epistemic representation to be a tool for gaining information about its target system and argue that a vehicle’s capacity to provide specific information about its target system—its informativeness—is an essential feature of this kind of representation. I draw an analogy to our ordinary notion of interpretation to show that a user’s aim of faithfully representing the target system is necessary for securing this (...) feature. (shrink)
For over half a century market segments have been considered objective groupings of individuals which marketers identify, understand, and target with advertising messages. The process of market segmentation has, therefore, occupied a position of moral neutrality. An increasingly popular method of segmentation is by consumer personality, with advertisers targeting messages to specific personality types. This paper explores personality segmentation, and presents empirical evidence to support the proposition that personality metrics that are used to assign individuals to segments may, in fact, (...) be manipulable by advertising executions themselves. Quite apart from the implications that this has for the business efficacy of the segmentation process, the ethical implications – particularly as applied to children – are considerable. (shrink)
This essay argues that Popper's work, seen from the vantage point of increasing historical distance, can be viewed as the first attempt to understand the grand narrative as the adjustment of metaphysics to the modern world. When viewed from such a distance enduring questions regarding holism, identity, essentialism, and truth can once again be thrown into relief, together with the pressing issues of the paradox of freedom and sovereignty.
One of the fundamental questions raised by Ruchkin, Grafman, Cameron, and Berndt's (Ruchkin et al.'s) interpretation of no distinct specialized neural networks for short-term storage buffers and long-term memory systems, is that of the link between perception and memory processes. In this framework, we take the opportunity in this commentary to discuss a specific working memory task involving percept formation, temporary retention, auditory imagery, and the attention-based maintenance of information, that is, the verbal transformation effect.
Psychological theory and research in ethical decision making and ethical professional practice are presently hampered by a failure to take appropriate account of an extensive background in moral philosophy. As a result, attempts to develop models of ethical decision making are left vulnerable to a number of criticisms: that they neglect the problems of meta-ethics and the variety of meta-ethical perspectives; that they fail clearly and consistently to differentiate between descriptive and prescriptive accounts; that they leave unexplicated the theoretical assumptions (...) derived from the underlying moral theories; and that they fail to accommodate the complexity and comprehensiveness of the processes involved in the making and implementing of ethical decisions. Many of these problems also have implications for the methodological domain. This paper offers an analysis of the difficulties, and makes a number of recommendations for future theory, research and practical applications, including: the need for training in moral philosophy; clarification of the status of Professional Codes in decisional models; the development of theoretically comprehensive prescriptive models; and the testing of these models in ways that do justice to their dimensional scope and theoretical complexity. (shrink)
The issue of openness/secrecy has not received adequate attention in current discussion on the public sphere. Drawing on ideas in critical theory, political sociology, and cultural sociology, this article explores the cultural and political dynamics involved in the public sphere in modern society vis-a-vis the practice of open/secret politics by the state. It argues that the media, due to their publicist quality, are situated at the interface between publicity and secrecy, which thereby allows for struggles over the boundary of state (...) openness/secrecy in the public sphere. A theory of boundary politics is introduced that is contextualized in the relationship among state forms, the means of making power visible/invisible (media strategies), and symbolic as well as discursive practices in the public sphere. In explaining the dynamics of boundary politics over openness/secrecy, three ideal-types of boundary creation are conceptualized: open politics, secrecy, and leak. The theory is illustrated with a case study of the Patten controversy in Hong Kong. (shrink)
In order to make an attempt at grouping the various aspects of brain functional imaging (fMRI, MRS, EEG-MEG, ...) within a coherent frame, we implemented a model consisting of a system of differential equations, that includes: (1) sodium membrane transport, (2) Na/K ATPase, (3) neuronal energy metabolism (i.e. glycolysis, buffering effect of phosphocreatine, and mitochondrial respiration), (4) blood-brain barrier exchanges and (5) brain hemodynamics, all the processes which are involved in the activation of brain areas. We assumed that the correlation (...) between brain activation and metabolism could be due to either changes in the concentrations of ATP and ADP following activation of Na/K ATPase that result from the changes in ion concentrations, or the involvement, in different phases of metabolism, of a second messenger such as calcium. In this article, we show how this type of model enables interpretation of MRS and fMRI published data that were obtained during prolonged stimulations. (shrink)
There has been a recent renaissance in civics and moral education in the Asia-Pacific region. The need to incorporate the notion of emotional literacy into such programmes is discussed and results from the analysis of the influence that emotional literacy has on problem behaviours in Malaysian secondary school students are presented. Results indicated that emotional literacy, measured in terms of emotional intelligence, was linked to internalising and externalising problem behaviours. Emotional literacy also served as a moderating factor between parental monitoring (...) and externalising problem behaviours. The need for developing emotional literacy programmes utilising the pedagogy of multiliteracies is discussed. (shrink)
Although in core business practice most leaders are aware of the fact that information needs to be acquired from a wide range of sources, decision makers in corporate enterprises seem to forget this and all they do, in most cases, is ask their consumers and potential customers in the course of planning their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities. There are only few companies where managers refer to ethical principles as an argument for social contribution and the connection between CSR and (...) sustainability is being rarely explored. This article is based on research (interviews and questionnaires), observations and continuous action research carried out by the Kurt Lewin Foundation. The study focuses on the communication of social responsibility since according to our experience in most cases companies undertake causes in order to improve their own image and for marketing reasons. This article concludes that the reason for difficulties in finding the best CSR solutions for enterprises and creating the commitment of their employees for the undertaken cause is that they do not think of CSR as a consequence of ethical core business process, but rather as a separate task they try to complete aiming at short-term results and maximum benefits. (shrink)
Gliomas can display marked changes in the concentrations of energy metabolism molecules such as creatine (Cr), phosphocreatine (PCr) and lactate, as measured using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Moreover, the BOLD (blood oxygen level dependent) contrast enhancement in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can be reduced or missing within or near gliomas, while neural activity is not significantly reduced (so-called neurovascular decoupling), so that the location of functionally eloquent areas using fMRI can be erroneous. In this paper, we adapt a previously (...) developed model of the coupling between neural activation, energy metabolism and hemodynamics, by including the venous dilatation Balloon model of Buxton and Frank. We show that decreasing the cerebral blood flow (CBF) baseline value, or the CBF increase fraction, results in a decrease of the BOLD signal and an increase of the lactate peak during a sustained activation. Baseline lactate and PCr levels are not significantly affected by CBF baseline reduction, but are altered even by a moderate decrease of mitochondrial respiration. Decreasing the total Cr and PCr concentration reduces the BOLD signal after the initial overshoot. In conclusion, we suggest that the coupled use of BOLD fMRI and MRS could contribute to a better understanding of the neurovascular and metabolic decoupling in gliomas. (shrink)
The main concern of this contribution is Focus in Hungarian. The first section reviews the arguments in Roberts (1998) that Hungarian Focus does not encode a discourse function that is independent from the discourse function of intonationally marked Focus in languages like English (contra ´.
With a global commitment to scaling up AIDS care and treatment in resource-poor settings for some of the most HIV-affected countries in Africa, availability of antiretroviral treatment is no longer the principal obstacle to expanding access to treatment. A shortage of trained healthcare personnel to initiate treatment and manage patients represents a more challenging barrier to offering life-saving treatment to all patients in need. Physician-centered treatment policies accentuate this challenge. Despite evidence that task shifting for nurse-centered AIDS patient care is (...) effective and can alleviate severe physician shortages that currently obstruct treatment scale-up, political commitment and policy action to support task shifting models of care has been slow to absent. In this paper we review the evidence in support of task shifting for AIDS treatment in Africa and argue that continued policy inaction amounts to unwarranted healthcare rationing and as such is ethically untenable. (shrink)
This paper considers Agnes Heller's attempt to construct a post Marxist radical philosophy. It examines the two main phases of this project: beginning with her late seventies A Radical Philosophy, it charts her development towards the position she now characterises as reflective post-modernism. It shows that despite a constant commitment to rational critique, Heller's concept of philosophical radicalism has shifted from an emphasis on total critique to that of maintaining balance between the rival technological and historical imaginations that exercise a (...) 'double-bind' over the modern individual. The paper explains the rationale of this evolution, highlights the features of each phase and critically analyses their weaknesses. Finally it argues that Heller's contemporary position represents a sophisticated attempt to overcome the limitations of former left radicalism and address the continuing need for orientation in contemporary modernity. (shrink)
In vocational rehabilitation, empowerment is understood as the notion that people should make an active, autonomous choice to find their way back to the labour process. Following this line of reasoning, the concept of empowerment implicitly points to a specific kind of activation strategy, namely labour participation. This activation approach has received criticism for being paternalistic, disciplining and having a one-sided orientation on labour participation. Although we share this theoretical criticism, we want to go beyond it by paying attention to (...) the practical consequences of understanding empowerment as an activation strategy. Inspired by the field of Science and Technology Studies, we will explore the meaning of empowerment and activation in concrete practices of vocational rehabilitation in the Netherlands. Our analysis is based on the narratives of people with a work disability about their lives and the vocational rehabilitation programmes they participated in. We present five illustrative cases that how empowerment is ‘done’ in the practice of vocational rehabilitation and its unintended effects. Our analysis demonstrates that activation strategies seem to be caught in a paradox: instead of including people in society, they have excluding consequences. Vocational rehabilitation professionals can go beyond this paradox by learning from the ways in which empowerment is ‘done’ by clients in vocational rehabilitation programmes. (shrink)
We consider arrow logics (i.e., propositional multi-modal logics having three -- a dyadic, a monadic, and a constant -- modal operators) augmented with various kinds of infinite counting modalities, such as 'much more', 'of good quantity', 'many times'. It is shown that the addition of these modal operators to weakly associative arrow logic results in finitely axiomatizable and decidable logics, which fail to have the finite base property.
There exist around the notion of the public three different yet overlapping dichotomies posed on different levels of analysis: public (sphere) versus private (sphere), public versus mass, and publicness versus privacy/secrecy. Habermas's book (1989) incorporates all the three sets of dichotomy without resolving the contradictory meanings and bridging the gaps among them. As a result, his conception of the public sphere becomes paradoxical in terms, and it undertheorizes the cultural property of publicness. This article proposes an alternative conception of the (...) public that may encompass the structural, institutional, and cultural levels of theorization in a more precise and coherent way. It is argued that the public is an imagined category about citizen membership that is attached to both institutions of state and civil society. In political practices, a symbolic "public" is institutionalized through an open communicative space where it is called upon, constructed, and contested as the central source of cultural references. In this connection, a notion of public credibility is introduced as an attempt to bring forth a richer and more dynamic conception about the role of culture in democratic struggles than that of critical rationality by Habermas. (shrink)
Modern medicine provides unprecedented opportunities in diagnostics and treatment. However, in some situations at the end of a patient’s life, many physicians refrain from using all possible measures to prolong life. We studied the incidence of different types of treatment withheld or withdrawn in 6 European countries and analyzed the main background characteristics.
We give an overview of decidability results for modal logics having a binary modality. We put an emphasis on the demonstration of proof-techniques, and hope that this will also help in finding the borderlines between decidable and undecidable fragments of usual first-order logic.