Why read Walter Benjamin today? There as many answers to this question as there are "Walter Benjamins"--Benjamin as critic, Benjamin as modernist, Benjamin as marxist, Benjamin as Jew. . . . Yet it is Benjamin as philosopher that in one way or another stands behind all these. This collection explores, in Adorno's description, Benjamin's "philosophy directed against philosophy." The essays cover all aspects of Benjamin's writings, from his early work in the philosophy (...) of art and language, through his cultural criticism, to his final reflections on the concept of history. The experience of time and the destruction of false continuity are identified as the key themes in Benjamin's understanding of history--an understanding that illuminates recent debates about the postmodernist attitude towards modernity. Contributors: Andrew Benjamin, Rebecca Comay, Howard Caygill, Alexander Garcia Duttman, Rodolphe Gasche, Werner Hamacher, Gertrud Koch, John Kraniauskas, Peter Osborne, Irving Wohlfarth. (shrink)
Critique as a philosophical concept needs to be recast once it is linked to the possibility of a productive opening. In such a context critique has an important affinity to destruction and forms of inauguration. Working through writings of Marx and Walter Benjamin, specifically Benjamin's 'The Meaning of Time in the Moral World', destruction and inauguration are repositioned in terns of othering and the caesura of allowing.
Walter Benjamin’s writings on fashion need to be read as engagements with the problem of historical time and a related politics of time. The aim of this article is to develop this position. Its point of orientation is Thesis XIV from the Theses on the Philosophy of History. What is argued is that close attention to the temporality of change and novelty within fashion may allow an insight into a conception of interruption and the ‘new’, however, it cannot yield (...) a politics. Moreover, the link between fashion and utopianism allows for the development of a critique of the utopian dimension of Benjamin’s thought. The basis of that critique is the inherent politics of time in his own writings. (shrink)
Introduction: education, philosophy and politics -- Writing the self: Wittgenstein, confession and pedagogy -- Nietzsche, nihilism and the critique of modernity: post-Nietzschean philosophy of education -- Heidegger, education and modernity -- Truth-telling as an educational practice of the self: Foucault and the ethics of subjectivity -- Neoliberal governmentality: Foucault on the birth of biopolitics -- Lyotard, nihilism and education -- Gilles Deleuze's 'societies of control': from disciplinary pedagogy to perpetual training -- Geophilosophy, education and the pedagogy of the concept - (...) Humanism, Derrida and the new humanities -- Politics and deconstruction: Derrida, neoliberalism and democracy -- Neopragmatism, ethnocentrism and the politics of the ethnos: Rorty's 'postmodernist bourgeois liberalism' -- Achieving America: postmodernism and Rorty's critique of the cultural left -- Deranging the investigations: Cavell on the philosophy of the child -- White philosophy in/of America. (shrink)
Art, Mimesis and the Avant-Garde explores the relationship between art and philosophy. Andrew Benjamin argues for a reworking of the task of philosophy in terms of the centrality of ontology. It is in relation to this centrality, understood through the differences between modes of being, that art, mimesis, and the avant-garde come to be presented. A fundamental part of this book is the original interpretations of important contemporary painters and their themes: Lucian Freud's self-portraits, Francis Bacon's use of (...) mirrors, R. B. Kitaj and Jewish identity, Anselm Kiefer and iconoclasm. Apart from painting, Benjamin considers architecture, literature, and the philosophical writings of Walter Benjamin and Descartes in elaborating the various aspects of ontological difference. Benjamin develops the theory of the avant-garde as a philosophical category rather than a historical marker, thus bringing the worlds of contemporary art criticism and contemporary philosophy closer together. (shrink)
Present Hope is a compelling exploration of how we think philosophically about the present. Andrew Benjamin considers examples in philosophy, architecture and poetry to illustrate crucial themes of loss, memory, tragedy, hope and modernity. The book uses the work of Walter Benjamin and Martin Heidegger to illustrate the ways the notion of hope was weaved into their philosophies. Andrew Benjamin maintains that hope is a vital part of the present, rather than an expression only of the future. (...) Present Hope shows how Judaism and philosophy interact; how the Holocaust provides an important link between modernity and the present. Benjamin's writings on the significance of the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the poetry of Paul Celan unite toward understanding the present. (shrink)
Shadow of the Other is a discussion of how the individual has two sorts of relationships with an "other"--other individuals. The first regards the other as a s work apart is her brilliant utilization of a systematic dialectical approach to her subject, always maintaining the delicate balance between opposing tensions: masculinity and femininity, subjectivity and objectivity, passivity and activity, love and aggression, fantasy and reality, modernism and postmodernism, the intrapsychic and the intersubjective. Benjamin s work apart is her brilliant (...) utilization of a systematic dialectical approach to her subject, always maintaining the delicate balance between opposing other as a mental repository fo unwanted characteristics cast from the self. Jessica benjamin shows the implications of this dual relationship for male/female hierarchy and offers a possibility for balancing the two. This book continues the author's well-known explorations of the themes of intersubjectivity and gender, taking up issues at the forefront of contemporary debates in feminist theory and psychoanalysis. (shrink)
Nothing is more simple or more complicated than the event. In recent years, the attack on any attempts to provide a foundation for philosophy has focused on the "logic of the event." In The Plural Event , Andrew Benjamin reconsiders and reworks philosophy in terms of events and how they are judged. Benjamin offers a sustained philosophical reworking of ontology, providing important readings of key canonical texts in the history of philosophy. In order to avoid the charge of (...) positivism, he provides a cogent interpretation of the process of thinking through while allowing the process to reveal itself in the interpretation of central philosophical texts. The effective presence of ontology, defined as "anoriginal difference," will be familiar to readers of his earlier writings. The Plural Event represents Andrew Benjamin's most thorough and original contribution to contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
Quantification is a topic which brings together linguistics, logic, and philosophy. Quantifiers are the essential tools with which, in language or logic, we refer to quantity of things or amount of stuff. In English they include such expressions as no, some, all, both, and many. Peters and Westerstahl present the definitive interdisciplinary exploration of how they work - their syntax, semantics, and inferential role. Quantifiers in Language and Logic is intended for everyone with a scholarly interest in the exact (...) treatment of meaning. It presents a broad view of the semantics and logic of quantifier expressions in natural languages and, to a slightly lesser extent, in logical languages. The authors progress carefully from a fairly elementary level to considerable depth over the course of sixteen chapters; their book will be invaluable to a broad spectrum of readers, from those with a basic knowledge of linguistic semantics and of first-order logic to those with advanced knowledge of semantics, logic, philosophy of language, and knowledge representation in artificial intelligence. (shrink)
Technology has a history structured by discontinuities. The first important philosophical expression of such a conception of technology was advanced by Walter Benjamin when he defined art works in relation to specific techniques of production. At the present art and architecture occur within an age defined by the move from ’technical reproducibility’ to digital reproducibility. The move has an impact on how technology is understood and its relation to architecture conceived. Adapting Walter Benjamin’s work in this area provides (...) the basis for a response to Soren Riis’ important treatment of the relationship between architecture and technology in his paper “Dwelling in-between walls: the architectural surround”. (shrink)
This book offers a comprehensive roadmap for determining when and how to regulate risky reproductive technologies on behalf of future children. First, it provides three benchmarks for determining whether a reproductive practice is harmful to the children it produces. This framework synthesizes and extends past efforts to make sense of our intuitive, but paradoxical, belief that reproductive choices can be both life-giving and harmful. Next, it recommends a process for reconciling the interests of future children with the reproductive liberty of (...) prospective parents. The author rejects a blanket preference for either parental autonomy or child welfare and proposes instead a case-by-case inquiry that takes into account the nature and magnitude of the proposed restrictions on procreative liberty, the risk of harm to future children, and the context in which the issue arises. Finally, he applies this framework to four past and future medical treatments with above average risk, including cloning and genetic engineering. Drawing lessons from these case studies, Peters criticizes the current lack of regulatory oversight and recommends both more extensive pre-market testing and closer post-market monitoring of new reproductive technologies. His moderate pragmatic approach will be widely appreciated. (shrink)
JPVA Journal of Philosophy and the Visual Arts No 6 Complexity Architecture / Art / Philosophy 'Beginning with complexity will involve working with the recognition that there has always been more than one. Here however this insistent "more than one" will be positioned beyond the scope of semantics; rather than complexity occurring within the range of meaning and taking the form of a generalised polysemy, it will be linked to the nature of the object and to its production. Complexity, therefore, (...) will be inextricably connected to the ontology of the object. What this means is that complexity, in resisting the hold of a semantic idealism on the one hand, and the attempt to give to it the position of being the basis of a new foundationalism on the other, becomes a way of thinking both the presence and the production of objects.' Andrew Benjamin The Journal of Philosophy and the Visual Arts has set new standards in its exploration of themes central to philosophy's relation to the visual arts, illuminating areas of art criticism, architecture, feminism as well as philosophy itself. Rather than simply reflecting current trends it provides a forum in which the real developments in the analysis of the visual arts and its larger cultural and political context can be presented. Articles by well known philosophers and theorists, as well as some lesser known, together with writings by artists and architects allow a strong interdisciplinary approach reflecting the Journal's roots in post-structural theory. Previous issues include: Philosophy & the Visual Arts (No 1) Philosophy & Architecture (No 2) Architecture, Space, Painting (No 3) The Body (No 4) Abstraction (No 5). (shrink)
Ludwig Wittgenstein suggests that ?A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes?. The idea for this dialogue comes from a conversation that Michael Peters and Morwenna Griffiths had at the Philosophy of Education of Great Britain annual meeting at the University of Oxford, 2011. It was sparked by an account of an assessment of a piece of work where one of the external examiners unexpectedly exclaimed ?I knew Jean-Paul Sartre?, trying to trump the discussion. (...) This conversation is a dialogue about comedy and humor as a basis for philosophy, education and pedagogy that provides an introduction to recent works and a context for ongoing research. The concluding section provides further reflection on some of the main themes, drawing attention to the significance of humor in dialogues within philosophy and education, and suggesting that it has a particular role in resisting managerialism at all levels of educational institutions. (shrink)
Responding to Jacques Derrida's vision for what a "new" humanities should strive toward, Peter Trifonas and Michael Peters gather together in a single volume original essays by major scholars in the humanities today. Using Derrida's seven programmatic theses as a springboard, the contributors aim to reimagine, as Derrida did, the tasks for the new humanities in such areas as history of literature, history of democracy, history of profession, idea of sovereignty, and history of man.
Benjamin Franklin's social and political thought was shaped by contacts with and knowledge of ancient aboriginal traditions. Indeed, a strong case can be made that key features of the social structure eventually outlined in the United States Constitution arose not from European sources, and not full-grown from the foreheads of European-American "founding fathers", but from aboriginal sources, communicated to the authors of the Constitution to a significant extent through Franklin. A brief sketch of the main argument to this effect (...) is offered in this essay. (shrink)
In the early twentieth century Walter Benjamin introduced the idea of epochal and ongoing progression in interaction between mind and the built environment. Since early antiquity, the present study suggests, Benjamin’s notion has been manifest in metaphors of gender in city-form, whereby edifices and urban voids have represented masculinity and femininity, respectively. At the onset of interaction between mind and the built environment are prehistoric myths related to the human body and to the sky. During antiquity gender projection (...) can be detected in western perceptions linking natural and built environments, commencing with Plato’s Atlantis and his Myth of Er, and later as a likely import of the Chinese yin-yang mythology. Culminating with the Age of Discovery, alongside advances in experiential awareness of the Earth’s sphericity, respective feminine and masculine earmarks can be detected in early modern perspicacity of the Earth’s southern and northern hemispheres. Our conceptions of natural and built environments inherently continue to contain gender traits. Yet urban voids, as the feminine face of city-form, have been severely understated in the built environment. Through design and configuration of urban voids, allegories of femininity in city-form ought to be celebrated, not discarded. (shrink)
We have two main objections to Kerr and Godfrey-Smith's (2002) meticulous analysis. First, they misunderstand the position we took in Unto Others – we do not claim that individual-level statements about the evolution of altruism are always unexplanatory and always fail to capture causal relationships. Second, Kerr and Godfrey-Smith characterize the individual and the multi-level perspectives in terms of different sets of parameters. In particular, they do not allow the multi-level perspective to use the individual fitness parameters i and i. (...) We don't see why the multi-level perspective prevents one from thinking in these terms. Kerr and Godfrey-Smith's argument that Uyenoyama and Feldman's (1980, 1992) definition of altruism belongs more to the individualist perspective than it does to the multi-level perspective is an artifact of their choice of parameters; the same point applies to their argument about the individualism inherent in the idea of Class I and Class II fitness structures. (shrink)
The article analyses relationships between profane and religious illumination, materialism and theology, politics and religion, Marxism and Messianism. For Walter Benjamin, every second is “the small gateway in time through which the Messiah might enter”. This is the starting point in the reading of Benjamin’s works, where we confront various liaisons and couplings of radical politics and messianic events. Through the reading of Benjamin and through the analysis of his conceptions of history and time, the article addresses (...) the question what is possible in the world. (shrink)
Focusing on Walter Benjamin's earliest pieces dedicated to school reform and the student movement, this article traces the basic critical approaches informing his mature thought back to his struggle to critically implement and transform the theory of concept formation and value presentation developed by his Freiburg teacher, Heinrich Rickert. It begins with an account of Rickert's work, specifically of the concept of Darstellung (presentation) and its central role in Rickert's postmetaphysical theory of historical research (which he characterizes as exclusively (...) concerned with the Kantian quid juris). It shows that Rickert develops a speculative but practical theory of value recognition, which nevertheless leaves the status of value itself undetermined. Contra Rickert, Benjamin returns to the ignored quid facti, or origin of value, and shows that a metacritical, postmetaphysical approach such as Rickert's ultimately limits possible experience rather than grounding it. This basic insight, it is argued, is the cornerstone of Benjamin's concept of critique. (shrink)
Walter Benjamin tried to get in touch with Panofsky and the Warburg’s circle, but the attempt failed. This article examines the chapter on melancholy of Benjamin’s The Origin of the German Tragic Drama (1928) and his main sources, i. e. Warburg’s essay Pagan-Antique Prophecy in Words and Images in the Age of Luther (1920) and Panofsky-Saxl’s work Dürers Melencolia I (1923). Benjamin interpreted the melancholy of the German Tragic Drama as a jump back to the deadly sin (...) of sloth: he saw the saturnine melancholy under the sign of the medieval acedia. (shrink)
Many words extracted from the electric-electronic dictionary could be useful to understand a nexus between Warburg and Benjamin. Memory as accumulator is the link that connects these two collectors –and coordinators- of impressions. Science of Art, Mythology of Life, allegorical distance and mimetical proximity, traces of memory and power of interpretation: hence overflow Pathosformel and Dialectical Image . Here are the sparks of Polarisation.
In order to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of Benjamin's death, the conference "Dialectic images and sudden constellations: Warburg, Benjamin, Adorno" was held in Florence. The idea, common to the three authors, of a truth content that can only be realised in its concrete and istantaneous configuration, was embodied here in the form of a "philosophical concert", where contributions by philosophers, philologists and historians of arts and architecture succeeded each other.
Starting from Warburg, the distinguishing mark of an image, considered as identity-difference of visible and invisible, is its offering itself as an implementation of a temporality, and at the same time of a memory that is immanent in the sensible structure of the image. It’s what we find both in Benjamin and in Adorno: in both cases, it is just because the image is marked by a “internal time” that it is able to have a critical function towards reality, (...) and at the same time an utopian character that is all the same with its non-renounceable testimonial task. (shrink)
The paper intends to draw some topics about relationship between word and image in works and thinking of Aby Warburg and Walter Benjamin. In recent history of ideas, word and image are frequently interpreted as alternative ways to express reality. In both, Warburg and Benjamin, and in spite of their very different methods of approaching history of art and history of culture, we can find a similar idea of the connection between word and image. The two authors deem (...) that this relationship is necessary to understand historical facts and legacy. (shrink)
O artigo examina a interpretação feita por Walter Benjamin dos poemas de Charles Baudelaire marcados pela noção de ideal, a qual se opõe ao spleen. Benjamin encontra aí o esforço de rememoração de uma experiência plena, a qual constituiria, por sua vez, um elemento essencial à compreensão da modernidade como impossibilidade desta forma de experiência. Com as noções de beleza e de aura, o artigo busca ainda salientar a importância da categoria da distância para a configuração desta forma (...) de experiência. (shrink)
This article highlights the dialect of failure and hope you can find in the oppressed, which every utopical thought should take into consideration. To justify it, we start from Walter Benjamin’s ideas on History, and in particular, we consider the perspective of the oppressed in Kafka’s literature, although he considered hope as a weak hint among catastrophe. And finally, we show this dialect as a specific and explicit place of the Liberation Theology.
This study points out the methodological centrality assumed by the notion of “physiognomy”, both in Benjamin and in Adorno, namely the idea that the forms of the works of art, and generally those of the visual phenomena, are direct “expression”, in a micro-monadological way, of an historical-social sense, not otherwise attainable. On the one hand Benjamin’s physiognomy shows a particular interpretative “openness” to its objects, on the other that of Adorno remains subjected to an epistemological model of “totality”, (...) from the Hegelian-Marxian tradition, which risks compromising the hermeneutic efficacy of its own original philosophical approach. (shrink)
In the context of the late modernity, both Warburg and Benjamin put themselves on a borderline position. From that point of view, they show a common methodological and heuristic issue, consisting in creating “spaces for thinking” ( Denkräume ) from where it would be possible to redraw in a newly conceived “topography” the metaphysical maps by means of which we have represented our world. This kind of critical operation requires a different focus on the relathionships between writing and image, (...) space and time, and it cannot be separated from an experience (even in a biographical sense) of “ownness” and “extraneity”. Thanks to this experience, the event of discovery outlines itself as an act of remembrance and, at the same time, as a promise for the future. (shrink)
En estas páginas se trata de explicar, a partir de la reflexión de Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), en qué sentido el espacio mercantil puede comprenderse en términos epistemológicos y ontológicos. Más específicamente, constituye un dominio calculable de los objetos propio de la modernidad capitalista. Se persigue enlazar esa problemática con la cuestión filosófica del tiempo y con la teoría crítica de la industria cultural.
Both Walter Benjamin and Theodor W. Adorno consider ‘aesthetical experience’ as an “image experience” assuming a power of images “to set free forces” directed to produce or support aesthetical-political (Benjamin) or aesthetical-critical (Adorno) requirements. Profane illumination, ‘thinkimages’, phantasmagory, dialectical images, decayed ‘aura’ and technicalized images in Benjamin’s theory of aesthetical modernity. Expressive feature or “mimetic” eloquence in nature and art countering reality, dismantled ‘aura’ in contemporary desacralized work of art, but also persisting ‘aura’ in its meaningful dimension (...) in Adorno’s aesthetical theory. (shrink)
As an exemplum of that kind of “modern” art, in terms of Adorno, Kafka’s work is marked not only by its strictly “realistic” character, but also by the unavoidable critical and testimonial value of that realism. According to this perspective, both in Adorno and in Benjamin the testimonial aspect of Kafkian writing – that is of a writing as “dialectical image”, as memory of the unfullfilled possibility – it’s all the same not with its symbolical or “epiphanical” aspect but (...) instead with its “allegorical” one. (shrink)
Benjamin Libet, Do we have free will? -- Adina L. Roskies, Why Libet's studies don't pose a threat to free will? -- Alfred r. mele, libet on free will : readiness potentials, decisions, and awareness? -- Susan Pockett and Suzanne Purdy, Are voluntary movements initiated preconsciously? : the relationships between readiness potentials, urges, and decisions? -- William P. Banks and Eve A. Isham, Do we really know what we are doing? : implications of reported time of decision for theories (...) of volition? -- Elisabeth Pacherie and Patrick Haggard, What are intentions? -- Mark Hallett, Volition : how physiology speaks to the issue of responsibility? -- John-Dylan Haynes, Beyond Libet : long-term prediction of free choices from neuroimaging signals? -- F. Carota, M. Desmurget, and A. Sirigu, Forward modeling mediates motor awareness? -- Tashina Graves, Brian Maniscalco, and Hakwan Lau, Volition and the function of consciousness? -- Deborah Talmi and Chris D. Frith, Neuroscience, free will, and responsibility? -- Jeffrey P. Ebert and Daniel M. Wegner, Bending time to one's will? -- Thalia Wheatley and Christine Looser, Prospective codes fulfilled : a potential neural mechanism of the will? -- Terry Horgan, The phenomenology of agency and the libet results? -- Thomas Nadelhoffer, The threat of shrinking agency and free will disillusionism? -- Gideon Yaffe, Libet and the criminal law's voluntary act requirement? -- Larry Alexander, Criminal and moral responsibility and the libet experiments? -- Michael S. Moore, Libet's challenge(s) to responsible agency? -- Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Lessons from Libet?. (shrink)
Pretende-se explorar alguns aspectos da obra de Franz Kafka que vinculam as experiências do escritor às experiências do homem das grandes cidades modernas, e, por outro lado, colocam essas mesmas experiências “sob violenta tensão em relação às místicas”. Alguns elementos da obra de Kafka, como a impessoalidade, o anonimato, os inúmeros corredores ou repartições sufocantes, representam um diagnóstico, tido muitas vezes como sombrio, mas essencialmente crítico da modernidade. A partir da parábola Diante da Lei, inserida no romance O Processo e (...) contada ao protagonista como uma forma de ligar sua experiência à tradição, procurar-se-á discutir tanto o papel da crítica à modernidade como o papel desempenhado pela tradição (a teologia judaica), além das noções de culpa e lei, natural e sobrenatural. (shrink)
Introduction : the course of the argument -- Substance poem versus function poem : two poems of Friedrich Hölderlin -- Entering the phenomenological school and discovering the color of shame -- Existence toward space : two "Rainbows" from around 1916 -- The problem of historical time : conversing with Scholem, criticizing Heidegger in 1916 -- Meaning in the proper sense of the word : "On language as such and on human language" and related logico-linguistic studies -- Pure knowledge and the (...) continuity of experience : "On the program of the coming philosophy" and its supplements -- The political counterpart to pure practical reason : from Kant's doctrine of right to Benjamin's category of justice -- Conclusion : the shape of time. (shrink)
Speech act theory has taught us 'how to do things with words'. Arresting Language turns its attention in the opposite direction - toward the surprising things that language can undo and leave undone. In the eight essays of this volume, arresting language is seen as language at rest, words no longer in service to the project of establishing conventions or instituting legal regimes. Concentrating on both widely-known and seldom-read texts from a variety of philosophers, writers, and critics - from Leibniz (...) and Mendelssohn, through Kleist and Hebel, to Benjamin and Irigaray - the book analyzes the genesis and structure of interruption, a topic of growing interest to contemporary literary studies, continental philosophy, legal studies, and theological reflection. Arresting Language identifies critical moments in philosophical and literary texts during which language itself - without any identifiable speaker - arrests otherwise continuous processes and procedures, including the process of representation and procedures for its legitimization. (shrink)
Andrew Benjamin’s book Disclosing Spaces (2004) presents a theory of painting. The theory is developed via a meticulous analysis of a series of individual artworks. The pivot of Benjamin’s theory of painting is the idea of relationality. The theory is critically reviewed with reference to the works of Edward Hopper, Gerhard Richter and Jacques-Louis David.
In the English-language context, Benjamin's influence continues to grow, along with the already massive secondary literature on his writings. This collection brings together a selection of the most critically important items published in the literature on Benjamin, across the full range of his cultural-theoretical interests, from all periods of the reception of his writings, but focusing upon the most recent, to produce a near-definitive overview of the best critical literature. The main national contexts of reception represented are German, (...) French and Anglo-American, but also included are some important items from Italy, Spain, Portugal, Latin America and East-Asia. These are mainly in English translation, with many new translations appearing here for the first time. (shrink)