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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
This article aims to highlight why R. S. Peters' conceptual analysis of ‘education’ was such an important contribution to the normative field of philosophy of education. In the article, I do the following: 1) explicate Peters' conception of philosophy of education as a field of philosophy and explain his approach to the philosophical analysis of concepts; 2) emphasize several (normative) features of Peters' conception of education, while pointing to a couple of oversights; and 3) suggest how (...) class='Hi'>Peters' analysis might be used to reinvigorate a conversation on one central educational aim—that of how we might educate citizens for the 21st century. (shrink)
In this major reinterpretation, Howard Caygill argues that all of Benjamin's work is characterized by its focus on a concept of experience derived from Kant but applied by Benjamin to objects as diverse as urban experience, visual art, literature and philosophy. The book analyzes the development of Benjamin's concept of experience in his early writings showing that it emerges from an engagement with visual experience, and in particular the experience of colour. By representing Benjamin as (...) primarily a thinker of the visual field, Caygill is able to bring forward previously neglected texts on inscription and the visual field and to cast many of his more familiar texts, for instance the Work of Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction in a new light. (shrink)
Both Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin borrow from Freudian theory in their analyses of fetishism’s relation to the contemporary reception of cultural products. I will argue that both authors have confused the Marxian and Freudian theories of fetishism, resulting in mistaken conclusions about artistic reception. By disentangling the Marxian and Freudian elements in both authors’ positions, I want to show that 1) Adorno’s characterization of regressive listening implies, contrary to his intentions, that the current reception of artwork is in (...) fact antagonistic to fetishism, and that 2) his criticism of Benjamin’s optimism toward “reception in distraction” is nevertheless justified. If I am correct, it may be necessary to reassess Adorno’s demand for asceticism in advanced art. The current danger may not be “fetishism” at all, but rather the troublesome consequences of fetishism’s decline. (shrink)
Benjamin Libet and also Libet and collaborators claim to advance a single hypothesis, with important consequences, about the time of a conscious experience in relation to the time when there occurs a certain physical condition in the brain. This condition is spoken of as
_adequacy_ for the experience, or, as we can as well say, _neural adequacy_ .5 This finding has been taken to throw doubt on theories that take neural and mental events to be in (...) necessary or lawlike connection, and also certain identity theories of mind and brain, as well as determinist theories. (shrink)
This article examines the work of R. S. Peters on moral development and moral education, as represented in his papers collected under that name, pointing out that these writings have been relatively neglected. It approaches these writings through the lens of the ‘familiar story’ that philosophical work on this topic switched during, roughly, the 1980s from an emphasis on rational principles to an emphasis on virtues and care. Starting from what Peters called ‘the paradox of moral education’—roughly, that (...) a rational morality must be developed in part through habit—the article discusses not only Peters' rational morality of principles and rules but also elements of his thought concerning virtues and care. Running through the discussion is the question of whether Peters, in drawing for instance on Aristotle as well as Kohlberg, is attempting to combine incompatible ideas. Against this, it is suggested that in reading Peters now we can learn from his explicit claim that we need a pluralistic, not a monolithic, approach to moral development and moral education. (shrink)
The essay shows the common ground between music and philosophy from the origin of Western philosophy to the crisis of metaphysical thinking, in particular with Nietzsche and Benjamin. At the beginning, the relationship between philosophy and music is marked by the hegemony of the word on the sound. This is the nature of the Platonic idea of music. With Nietzsche and Benjamin this hegemony is denied and a new vision of the relationship becomes possible. The sound is the (...) origin both of language and of music. In thinking about this origin, philosophy shows that “thinking about music” is “thinking in music”, and that this thinking is the origin of philosophy itself. (shrink)
Richard Peters pioneered a form of philosophical analysis in relation to educational discourse that was criticised by some at the time and is today somewhat out of fashion. This paper argues that much of the objection to Peters' methodology is based on a misunderstanding of what it does and does not involve, that consequently philosophical analysis is often wrongly seen as one of a number of comparable alternative traditions or approaches to philosophy of education between which one needs (...) to choose, and that, partly consequentially, there is a relative lack of philosophical expertise among today's ‘philosophers of education’. Furthermore, his methodology vindicated, it can be said that Peters was indeed ‘nearly right about education’, perhaps more so than he has subsequently come to believe himself. (shrink)
The essence of the moral luck question is whether the responsibility of persons is determined only in light of actions that are within their control or also in light of factors, such as the consequences of their actions, which are beyond their control. Most people seem to have contrasting intuitions regarding this question. On the one hand, there is a common intuition that the responsibility of persons should be judged only in light of what is within their control. On the (...) other hand, there is a strong intuition that the consequences of actions sometimes affect the responsibility of agents even when these consequences depend on factors that are beyond their control. A parallel dilemma is present in the law. Legal rules, particularly criminal law rules and tort rules, often differentiate between agents in light of factors that are beyond their control, and in this sense involve legal luck. Of course, factors beyond the control of persons, including the consequences of their actions, can be significant, with respect to the evaluation of the responsibility of persons for instrumental or epistemic reasons. The question is thus only with respect to the independent significance of factors beyond the control of agents, and particularly the consequences of actions, to the evaluation of the (extent of the) responsibility of agents. Benjamin Zipursky offers an interesting argument in order to support the intuition in favor of moral and legal luck, particularly with regard to consequences, especially the rule according to which the punishment of completed offences is more severe than the punishment of attempts and the rule that tort liability applies only to actions that have caused harm. The aim of this Comment is to evaluate this argument. I will try to consider to what extent Zipursky's explanation merely reiterates the familiar intuition that the normative evaluation of the conduct of persons should be influenced by consequential luck, and to what extent it provides new insights that might appeal also to those who are more forcefully drawn to the contrasting intuition that we should judge people only in light of factors that are within their control. I argue that while Zipursky's suggestions might appeal to those who already share the intuition in favor of (consequential) moral and legal luck, they would not convince those who have doubts regarding moral and legal luck. (shrink)
Bovens (2010) points out that there is a structural analogy between the Judy Benjamin problem (JB) and the Sleeping Beauty problem (SB). On grounds of this structural analogy, he argues that both should receive the same solution, viz. the posterior probability of the eastern region of the matrix in Table 1 should equal 1/3. Hence, P*(Red) = 1/3 in the JB and P*(Heads) = 1/3 in the SB. Bovens’s argument rests on a standard error in implementing Bayesian updating, which (...) is spelled out in Shafer 1985. When we are informed of some proposition, we do not only learn the proposition in question, but also that we have learned the proposition as one of the many propositions that we might have learned. The information is generated by a protocol, which determines the various propositions that we might learn. We should then update not on the proposition in question, but rather on the fact that we learned this proposition as one of the many propositions that we might have learned. A well-known application of this insight is the Monty Hall problem (MH) as Speed (1985: 276) points out in a discussion of Shafer 1985. As an illustration, let us apply Shafer’s insight to the MH. In the MH, the contestant in a game show learns that there is a goat behind two of three doors X, Y and Z and a car behind one door. She is asked to pick one of the three doors. The contestant picks door X. Monty will then open one of the remaining doors, which he knows to have a goat behind it. Suppose Monty opens door Y. The contestant is then asked whether she wants to …. (shrink)
Richard Peters argued for a general education based largely on the study of truth-seeking subjects for its own sake. His arguments have long been acknowledged as problematic. There are also difficulties with Paul Hirst's arguments for a liberal education, which in part overlap with Peters'. Where justification fails, can historical explanation illuminate? Peters was influenced by the prevailing idea that a secondary education should be based on traditional, largely knowledge-orientated subjects, pursued for intrinsic as well as practical (...) ends. Does history reveal good reasons for this view? The view itself has roots going back to the 16th century and the educational tradition of radical Protestantism. Religious arguments to do with restoring the image of an omniscient God in man made good sense, within their own terms, of an encyclopaedic approach to education. As these faded in prominence after 1800, old curricular patterns persisted in the drive for ‘middle-class schools’, and new, less plausible justifications grew in salience. These were based first on faculty psychology and later on the psychology of individual differences. The essay relates the views of Peters and Hirst to these historical arguments, asking how far their writings show traces of the religious argument mentioned, and how their views on education and the development of mind relate to the psychological arguments. (shrink)
In this essay Kelvin Beckett argues that Richard Peters's major work on education, Ethics and Education, belongs on a short list of important texts we can all share. He argues this not because of the place it has in the history of philosophy of education, as important as that is, but because of the contribution it can still make to the future of the discipline. The limitations of Peters's analysis of the concept of education in his chapter on (...) “Criteria of Education” are well known. In the chapter on “Education as Initiation,” however, Peters offered a synthetic sketch of education that, Beckett argues, points us toward a more comprehensive definition of education, one which, he maintains, can be accepted by all philosophers, regardless of the tradition they work in. (shrink)
The concept of respect plays a central role in several recent attempts to re-actualise the programme of a critical social theory. In Axel Honneth's most prominent version of that concept, respect is closely tied to the sphere of law, and it is limited to the recognition of a Kantian-type moral autonomy of the individual. So interpreted, the concept of respect can only have a very limited application in the field of education, where concern for the particular desires, intentions and beliefs (...) of mostly immature persons is at stake.However, more than forty years ago R. S. Peters did develop an extended concept of respect as a central component in education. This concept focuses exactly on those desires, intentions and beliefs, instead of on the very demanding capability of practical reasoning orientated towards the Kantian Categorical Imperative. My task in this paper is to explore the potential of Peters' concept of respect for the identification and description of educational pathologies and ultimately for the founding of a critical theory of education. (shrink)
I. Introduction Most philosophers today have never heard of Benjamin Whichcote (1609-83), and most of the few who have heard of him know only that he was the founder of Cambridge Platonism.1 He is well worth learning more about, however. For Whichcote was a vital influence on both Ralph Cudworth and the Third Earl of Shaftesbury, through whom he helped shape the views of Clarke and Price, on the one hand, and Hutcheson and Hume, on the other. Whichcote should (...) thus be seen as a grandparent of both the rationalist and the sentimentalist strands of eighteenth century British ethical theory. In this paper, I will elucidate the particular ethical positions of Whichcote’s that played such an important role. Whichcote’s thought is interesting in its own right, moreover, as a lens for examining the implications of certain prevalent religious and moral commitments. In what follows, then, I will also seek to show that Whichcote’s profoundly theistic view of human nature is ultimately incompatible with the belief that is fundamental to his Christianity. Perhaps the idea of an irresolvable conflict between Whichcote’s Christianity and his theism sounds at first a bit paradoxical. I hope, though, that by the end of this paper it will be clear how, for many 17th century rationalists, such a conflict was virtually inevitable. (shrink)
The commonplace image of Heidegger is of a philosopher firmly rooted, not in the city of Freiburg in which much of his life was spent, but in the Alemannic-Schwabian countryside around the village of Messkirch in which he was born. It would seem that the distance between Heidegger and Benjamin, between Messkirch and Berlin or Paris could not be greater. But to what extent are Heidegger's own personal predilections for the provincial and the bauerlich actually tied to the (...) philosophical positions that he developed? Might it be the case that the city, perhaps even more than the countryside, has to play a central role in any serious attempt to think through the implications of Heidegger's thought of being? This presentation will explore how Heidegger might find h imself in Benjamin's city, and of the place of the city in Heidegger's own thought, with the aim of shedding light, not only on Heidegger's thought, but also on that of Benjamin himself. (shrink)
Van Fraassen's Judy Benjamin problem has generally been taken to show that not all rational changes of belief can be modelled in a probabilistic framework if the available update rules are restricted to Bayes's rule and Jeffrey's generalization thereof. But alternative rules based on distance functions between probability assignments that allegedly can handle the problem seem to have counterintuitive consequences. Taking our cue from a recent proposal by Bradley, we argue that Jeffrey's rule can solve the Judy Benjamin (...) problem after all. Moreover, we show that the specific instance of Jeffrey's rule that solves the Judy Benjamin problem can be underpinned by a particular distance function. Finally, we extend the set of distance functions to ones that take into account the varying degrees to which propositions may be epistemically entrenched. (shrink)
This article uses Walter Benjamin's theoretical claims in the 'Critique of violence' to shed light on some current conceptualisations of terrorism. It suggests an understanding of terrorism as an essentially contested concept. If the theorist uncritically adopts the state's account of terrorism, she occludes an important dimension of the phenomenon that allows for a rethinking of the state's claim to a monopoly on legitimate violence. Benjamin's essay conceptualises the state as resulting from a conjunction of violence, law, legitimacy (...) and power that rests on mythical ideas about nature and history. It shows why the state claims to be justified in taking exceptional measures when this link is challenged and when its prerogative to the legitimate use of force is called into question. This, I argue, is what terrorism does. Thus, Benjamin's essay adds to a more nuanced and less one-sided understanding of both terrorism and state violence. (shrink)
In discussing the cultural history of the 19th century, Walter Benjamin diagnosed the emergence of the modern novel and its form of narration as the sign of a fracturing experience. The split in experience is related to the scattering of a homogeneous idea of space and time, constituted especially during the Enlightenment and in the German historicism. Benjamin's claim reflected the fracturing temporality of modern communities as well as the transformations in the understanding of the meaning of tradition. (...) Here, I begin by discussing Benjamin's conceptions of experience and memory in detail. Secondly, I consider his ideas on history in the framework of challenging the new forms of narration. In the end, I consider the loss of a unified community, especially by indicating ways in which the after-modern community reflects the relationship between aesthetics and politics in Jean-François Lyotard's thought. Key Words: Benjamin community experience history Lyotard memory narrative remembrance time. (shrink)
On several occasions in his work, R. S. Peters identifies a difficulty inherent in teaching that underscores the complexity of this relationship: the teacher has the task of passing on knowledge while at the same time allowing knowledge that is passed on to be criticised and revised by the learner. This inquiry asks: first, how does Peters envisage these two tasks coming together in teaching, and, second, does he go far enough in developing what it means for the (...) teacher to recognise the difference and otherness of the learner? At the heart of the matter in answering these questions is how to conceive of the connection between learning and the transformation of the individual. Before turning to Peters, this inquiry begins by discussing connections between transformation and learning in classical and contemporary philosophical discourse. In this context, notions of discontinuity and interruption are shown to be central to understanding transformational learning processes. Peters' thought is then located within this discourse and taken up in three central ways: (1) by analysing his notion of teaching (2) by examining the ideas of learning and transformation embedded in his concept of teaching, and (3) by inquiring into how these issues relate to his idea of philosophy of education as a central part of teacher education. (shrink)
The paper explores the role played by concepts of temporality in shaping the self's identity and its moral responsibility. This theme is examined in both Kant and Benjamin, two theorists who view the modern self as an essentially historical being. For Kant, teleological and uniform time shoulders the heightening of the self's universal attributes and the constant expansion of a moral community. The desired end is the establishment of an integrated and homogeneous human space, a cosmopolitan stage wherein history (...) is finally redeemed. This progressive notion of time is seen as dangerous by Benjamin, since it generates forgetfulness and inner impoverishment of the self. Instead, Benjamin advances a fragmented conception of time, one allowing conversation between distant moments and grounding identity in concrete images. While the poetic recovery of memory leads to the distinct and exclusive, Benjamin follows Kant in demanding universal moral responsibility of the self. However, Benjamin's strategy, so to speak, is the integration of our temporal - not spatial - experience. Key Words: Benjamin history Kant nation-state space time. (shrink)
This article reconstructs R. S. Peters' underlying theory of ritual in education, highlighting his proposed link between ritual and the imitation of teachers. Rituals set the stage for the imitation of teachers and they invite students to experience practices whose value is not easily discernable from the outside. For Peters, rituals facilitate the transmission of values across time, create unity in schools, and affirm authority relations. There is a tension, however, between this view of ritual and imitation, on (...) the one hand, and Peters' views of liberal education and the ‘criteria of an educational process’, on the other. This article suggests how the processes of ritual and imitation can be reconciled with liberal education, and it identifies school rampage shootings as an area in which Peters' work on ritual might prove useful. (shrink)
Assembled here for the first time in English translation, Sigrid Weigel and Georgina Paul offer illuminating new insights into Benjamin's theory, combining impulses from post-structuralism, feminism, cultural anthropology and psychoanalysis.
Richard Peters has been praised for the authenticity of his philosophy, and inquiry into aspects of the development of his philosophy reveals a profound authenticity. Yet authenticity is something he seems not to favour. The apparent paradox is resolved by observing historical changes in the understanding of authenticity as an important value. Possibilities are noted for further explorations as to how to understand and value it as an educational ideal.
On 9 December 1930, Walter Benjamin sent a copy of his book The Origin of German Tragic Drama to Carl Schmitt, accompanied by a letter in which he expressed his indebtedness to Schmitt: "You will very quickly recognize how much my book is indebted to you for its presentation of the doctrine of sovereignty in the seventeenth century. Perhaps I may say, in addition, that I have also derived from your later works, especially Die Diktatur, a confirmation of my (...) modes of research in the philosophy of art from yours in the philosophy of the state. If the reading of my book allows this feeling to emerge in an intelligible fashion, then the purpose of my sending it to you will be achieved" (qtd. in Weber 1992, 5). As .. (shrink)
The point of departure of this study is Walter Benjamin’s last text, “Theses on the Philosophy of History.” Benjamin appeals to the significance of theology for historical materialism in order to overcome one of the decisive reasons why Marx’s unique theoretical project, in its positivistic interpretations, was not understood with the necessary radicality and had been in danger of losing its explanatory power and revolutionary impulse. The necessity of looking back to the past constitutes the basic theme of (...) the study, and it is analyzed at the epistemological, ontological and political levels. The view backwards is also necessary because the past shows how all its atrocities, which we think have been overcome, may at any time return in a way which we are unable to imagine. (shrink)
This essay discusses Walter Benjamin's development of 'dream' as a model for understanding 19th- and 20th-century urban culture. Following Bergson and surrealist poetics, Benjamin used 'dream' in the 1920s as an heuristic analogy for investigating child hood memories, kitsch art and literature; during the early 1930s, he also developed it into an historiographic concept for studying 19th- century Parisian culture. Benjamin's interpretative use of the dream cuts across Ricoeur's distinction between the hermeneutics of 'recol lection' and the (...) hermeneutics of 'suspicion'. The political dream analyst seeks to discharge the 'fatal powers' of the ideological dream, while at the same time fostering the experience of waking in which dream elements may recollectively be grasped. Benjamin extends this dialectic of dreaming, interpreting and waking to the relation between historical epochs and the tasks of the materialist historian. Puzzling out the recent past's dreamlike rebuses may serve in the task of a present historical awakening. Key Words: Walter Benjamin city dream hermeneutics surrealism. (shrink)
In Models of God, Ted Peters discusses a methodology for formulating and evaluating models of God, surveys nine models, and proposes one that he entitles Eschatological Panentheism. This paper provides critical comments on Petersâ methodological claims, taxonomy of models of God, and specific proposal. This paper has been delivered during APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God.Both Petersâ Models of God and these comments were presented at the Models of God mini-conference at the Pacific Division Meetings of the (...) American Philosophical Association in April of 2007. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to examine the ateleological moment of learning through imitation. In general, we can learn something new through imitating models we are given, which embody the values of our own society, culture and institutions. This means that imitation is understood in terms of the representation or reproduction of original models. In this understanding of imitation, however, the creative aspect of imitation is missed. In relation to this I shall, first, consider learning through imitation in terms (...) of Walter Benjamin's theory of mimesis discussed in his essay, ‘On the Mimetic Faculty.’ It begins by examining general understanding of the concepts of experience and writing. Second and third, while reconsidering the idea of imitation, I shall bring out the difference between mimesis and copying, based on Plato and Aristotle, and I shall examine the former, especially its involuntary aspect. Fourth, in order to consider the ateleological moment of learning through imitation as mimesis, I discuss the relation between mimesis and the chance event. Fifth, Benjamin's allegorical ‘anti-autobiography’ entitled ‘A Berlin Childhood around 1900’, which ponders the idea of childhood as otherness is considered in order to explore what is happening in the very moment of writing, driven by the chance event. To conclude, I shall show how the very moment of writing involves an unceasing transformation of the self. (shrink)
When political rationality deployed itself on the terrain of the biological life of the human species with the purpose of making this life healthier, more capable, and more "worthy of being lived," it also postulated that some life could be potentiated only at the price of killing off other life. Foucault therefore introduces the idea of biopolitics together with that of thanatopolitics (1990, 137) .Since Foucault, one of the urgent questions has been how biopolitics turns into a thanatopolitics and under (...) what conditions can this turn be prevented or reversed into an affirmative politics of life. In this article I offer a reading of Benjamin's project that leads from thanatopolitics to an affirmative biopolitics. .. (shrink)
This article focuses on the political 'effect' that Arendt wished to achieve with her 'old-fashioned storytelling'. It is argued that she inherited her concept of the 'redemptive power of narrative' (Benhabib) from Walter Benjamin. The close relationship of the two intuitively suggests an affinity between Arendt's concept of a 'fragmented past' and her 'storytelling' and Benjamin's conception of history and narrative. An attempt is made here to determine the amplitude and the meaning of this proximity. An account is (...) provided of Benjamin's and Arendt's shared belief that the past is fragmented and that only fragmented writing, mainly in the form of 'stories', had the capacity to be faithful to its 'ruins'. It is argued that for both Arendt and Benjamin, the purpose of this writing form was not to commemorate the dead, but to show their absence - their invisibility. It is suggested that Arendt and Benjamin held a similar conviction: that stories had the capacity to save the world. Key Words: Arendt Benjamin catastrophe experience fragmented past imagination remembrance revelation standpoint of the defeated storytelling. (shrink)
Autonomy is, among other things, an actual psychological condition, a capacity that can be developed, and an educational ideal. This paper contextualises, analyses, criticises and extends the theory of Richard S. Peters on these three aspects of autonomy.
Where Benjamin attempts an account of social and attention practices surrounding the artwork, Adorno accuses him of not being dialectical enough and of inadequately theorizing the artwork's autonomy.2 Adorno makes the same accusation in those places where Benjamin attempts to disrupt historicism with the "dialectical image." Although Adorno appears to offer the same criticism in both instances, I maintain that Adorno's blanket prescription for more dialectics covers over a chiastic relationship between his reactions in each case. That is, (...) the worries that inform Adorno's reaction to Benjamin's portrayal of the artwork are quite the opposite of the worries that inform his reaction to Benjamin's portrayal of the .. (shrink)
Charles Taylor has recently stated his religious leanings as being at the core of his philosophical vision for a better society. At the heart of this vision is his emphasis on transcendence: that there is something beyond life as we know it. Some years earlier, Taylor had explicitly endorsed the work of Walter Benjamin and Ernst Bloch for the way he wanted to talk about the issue of transcendence; however, neither figures prominently in his recent writings. While there may (...) be differing reasons for this omission, my main concern in this article is to show how the issue of transcendence in Benjamin's and Bloch's writings offers an interesting comparison with Taylor's work on this issue. Moreover, Benjamin and Bloch will be shown to offer ways in which Taylor can more fully express his own undeveloped articulation of transcendence through a consideration of the themes of religion, God, time and death. Key Words: art death God religion time transcendence. (shrink)
I seek to interpret the work of Walter Benjamin in light of the "system programme" of German Idealism, in order to confront an antinomy of contemporary radical thought. Benjamin has been regarded as an anti-Hegelian thinker of the exception. Reading him against the grain, I draw out a concept of counter-tradition that eschews the opposition of intra-historical progress and extra-historical exception. The philological inspiration is a book by Franz Joseph Molitor, student of Schelling and "teacher" of Benjamin: (...) The Philosophy of History, or, On Tradition. (shrink)
Though the work of René Girard has highlighted the interrelations between sacrifice and sacrality in the contemporary world, it has yet to engage the work of Walter Benjamin and his heir, Giorgio Agamben, whose project concerning the Homo Sacer has aroused interest in contemporary political thought. By focusing on Benjamin's early description of mimesis and its relation to language, a position can be elaborated that steers mimesis clear of its indebtedness to language and towards a ‘purer’ realm of (...) gesture. Benjamin's formulation of a more proper ‘divine’ language of gestures could then be said to coalesce with certain historical-religious proclamations, something that Agamben's work challenges us to consider as a viable, albeit ‘profane’, political and ethical option for humanity. (shrink)
Walter Benjamin, Religion, and Aesthetics is an innovative attempt to reconceive the key concepts of religious studies through a reading with, and against, Walter Benjamin. Brent Plate deftly sifts through Benjamin's voluminous writings showing how his concepts of art, allegory, and experience undo traditional religious concepts such as myth, symbol, memory, narrative, creation, and redemption. Recasting religion as religious practice, as process and movement, Plate locates a Benjaminian materialist aesthetics, what the author calls an "allegorical aesthetics," in (...) order to uncover sources and establish a new locus for the study of religion. Placing the concept of an allegorical aesthetics into practice, Plate offers examinations of aesthetic productions such as Daniel Libeskind's architecture and Marcel Duchamp's ready-mades alongside religious developments such as the Hindu Bhakti movement and Jewish Kabbalistic thought. Walter Benjamin, Religion, and Aesthetics will be necessary reading for those interested in religion and the arts, aesthetics, and material culture. (shrink)
Despite his elusiveness on important issues, there is much in Michael Oakeshott's educational vision that Richard Peters quite rightly wishes to endorse. The main aim of this essay is, however, to consider Peters' justifiable critique of three features of Oakeshott's work. These are (1) the rigidity of his distinction between vocational and university education, (2) the lack of clarity and accuracy in his philosophy of teaching and learning, especially the under-conceptualisation of the role of example in teaching, (3) (...) the over-emphasis on tradition in moral and civic learning. (shrink)
Erratum to: Stanley Peters and Dag Westerståhl: Quantifiers in language and logic Content Type Journal Article Category Erratum Pages 1-1 DOI 10.1007/s10988-011-9094-5 Authors Edward L. Keenan, Department of Linguistics, University of California at Los Angeles, 3125 Campbell Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1543, USA Denis Paperno, Department of Linguistics, University of California at Los Angeles, 3125 Campbell Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1543, USA Journal Linguistics and Philosophy Online ISSN 1573-0549 Print ISSN 0165-0157.
The aim of this article is to show how philosopher and critic Walter Benjamin related to the hermeneutical tradition — and tried to move beyond it by ‘redeeming’ human experience, while avoiding the pitfalls of the philosophy of ‘authenticity’. Though convinced that questions relating to historicity were central to any understanding of modern human experience, Benjamin explicitly rejected the Heideggerian alternative, and chose a path closer to Hans-Georg Gadamer’s. He attempted to combine theological interpretation with dialectical materialism, always (...) grounding hermeneutics in the concrete manifestations of social life, inaugurating a method which I suggest could be called ‘hermeneutical materialism’. At stake was a politically motivated defence of the ‘mimetic faculty’ — understood as (re)interpretation — in the modern, technologically organized world. (shrink)
This article develops a sociological reading of Walter Benjamins Arcades Project, or Passagen-werk . Specifically, the essay seeks to make explicit Benjamins non-dualistic account of structure and agency in the urban milieu. I characterize this account as the dialectic of urbanism, and argue that one of the central insights of Benjamins Passagen-werk is that it locates an emergent and innovative cultural form - a distinctive street culture or jointly shared way of modern urban life - within haussmannizing (...) techniques of architectural administration and spatial domination. In the modern metropolis, Benjamin sees a new kind of collective - an embedded and effervescent sociocultural group held together not by the functionalist imperatives of capitalist urban planning but by an improvisational mode of street life. Key Words: agency culture embeddedness structure urbanism. (shrink)
Benjamin has long been known for his literary and aesthetic theory but political theorists, as well as other scholars who are interested in questions of politics, tend to downplay (or simply not notice) his contributions to an actionable rhetorical-political discourse. In terms of a politics that speaks directly to the ongoing crisis of global capitalism, existing power arrangements, and the effective depoliticization of the vast majority of people living under such conditions (very much including advanced liberal capitalist democracies such (...) as the United States), it often seems that Benjamin might not have all that much to say.That, at least, is the way that he is often read. Marxists, if they pay attention to .. (shrink)
Abstract In this article, which is the first of two to examine the ideas of R. S. Peters on moral education, consideration is given to his justificatory arguments found in Ethics and Education. Here he employs presupposition arguments to show to what anyone engaging in moral discourse is committed. The result is a group of procedural principles which are recommended to be employed in moral education. This article is an attempt to examine the presupposition arguments Peters employs, to (...) comment on the procedural principles he believes are presupposed, and to consider the strength of the presupposition argument. My conclusion is that Peters's arguments fail to establish the conclusion he arrives at, and that any gains from the form of argument he uses are hollow. (shrink)
In this article I argue that Outcomes-basedEducation is conceptually trapped in aninstrumentally justifiable view of education. Icontend that the notion of Outcomes-basedEducation is incommensurable with anon-instrumental justification of educationview as explained by RS Peters (1998). Theprocess of specifying outcomes in educationaldiscourse lends itself to manipulation andcontrol and thereby makes the idea ofOutcomes-based Education educationallyimpoverished. In this article an argument ismade for education through rational reflectionand imagination which can complement anOutcomes-based Education system for the reasonthat it finds expression in a (...) non-instrumentaljustifiable view of education. (shrink)
In his 1973 paper ?The Justification of Education? R.S. Peters aspired to give a non-instrumental justification of education. Ever since, his so-called ?transcendental argument? has been under attack and most critics conclude that it does not work. They have, however, thrown the baby away with the bathwater, when they furthermore concluded that Peters? justificatory project itself is futile. This article takes another look at Peters? justificatory project. As against a Kantian interpretation, it proposes an axiological-perfectionist interpretation to (...) bring out the permanent importance of this project and suggests some possible strategies for its successful execution. (shrink)
The following thesis explores the notion of truth as developed in the work of Martin Heidegger and Walter Benjamin. Contrary to the position adopted by many commentators, who seek to drive a wedge between Heidegger's unorthodox phenomenology and the resolutely non -phenomenological Benjamin, I shall want to show how both begin with a rigorously Husserlian conception of truth as an intuition of essence in order, finally, to deviate from it. I argue that, for neither one, can truth be (...) merely one problem or issue taken up by a thinking secure in itself. Rather, from its most classical determination in, for example, the Metaphysics as έπιστήμη της άληθείας, the way in which truth has been determined has itself determined the very project of philosophy. Yet whilst the trajectory of both Heidegger and Benjamin's work can thus be determined in large measure by the question of truth, both are also concerned to re-orient that question in a direction that renders problematic Aristotle's implicit connection of truth to knowledge and knowledge to intuition and presence. I argue that their respective challenges to the location of truth in the act of knowing -a challenge made each time by way of an analytical regression from a propositional understanding of truth (Satzwahrheit) to intuitive truth (Anschauungs-wahrheit) to, finally, its more original character as disclosedness (Erschlossenheit) - remain thoroughly phenomenological before showing how it is in the work of art, and in tragedy in particular, that each one finds the resources for a still more radical understanding of truth. Not in the cognitivist sense that art makes truth claims about the world, but in the sense that it is with the work of art that the historical act of disclosure and world -constitution that Benjamin and Heidegger call truth is most emphatically made. (shrink)
Franz Rosenzweig : the other side of the West -- Dissimilation -- Hegel taken literally -- Utopia and redemption -- Walter Benjamin : the three models of history -- Metaphors of origin : ideas, names, stars -- The esthetic model -- The angel of history -- Gershem Scholem : the secret history -- The paradoxes of messianism -- Kafka, Freud, and the crisis of tradition -- Language and secularization.
Although Walter Benjamin's writings are considered to be among the most powerful theoretical enterprises of the twentieth century, his ideas are resistant to cooptation by the doctrines of various critical programs. These essays engage this resistance by examining the ghostly in Benjamin's work. The contributors show that the haunting truths Benjamin offers point towards new forms of responsibility. These truths reside in a figurative elsewhere, a ghostly space that his texts delimit but never fully inhabit, and these (...) essays seek to do justice to the ghosts of Benjamin. Issues explored include: the status of the image in Benjamin's literary reflections and in his meditations on cinema and visual culture; abiding Benjaminian notions of messianism, aura, reproducibility, semblance, and melancholy; Benjamin's relation to Freud; his innovative rethinking of history, virtuality, and translation; and his reflections on tragedy and prophecy, the geometrical dimensions of writing, and the relation between eros and language. (shrink)
This article evaluates the role of art – particularly mechanically reproduced forms of art – in the writings of Walter Benjamin and Theodor W. Adorno. The central claim is that both thinkers share the same conviction as to the emancipatory potentials of the work of art. Yet, they evaluate the effects of technological innovation differently. The underpinnings of this later resolved discord, however, are philosophical. In contrast to Benjamin’s belief in the possibility of mass mobilization, for Adorno the (...) relevant category remains unequivocally the individual subject. (shrink)
Environmentalists often recount tales of recent extinctions in the form of an allegory of human moral failings. But such allegories install an instrumental relation to the past’s inhabitants, using them to carry moralistic messages. Taking the passenger pigeon as a case in point, I argue for a different, ethical relation to the past’s inhabitants that conserves something of the wonder and “strangeness of the Other.” What Walter Benjamin refers to as the “redemptive moment” sparks a recognition of the Other (...) that allows us to engage in heartfelt mourning for them, rather than falling into the repetitive self-absorption characteristic of Freudian melancholy. This redemptive moment changes forever our relations to the world around us. (shrink)
Major codes adopted by newspapers in recent years show marked similarities to the statements of purpose found in the first (and only) issue of Benjamin Harris? Public Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, published in Boston in 1690. This essay compares the front page statement by Harris with seven other statements about the role or responsibility of the press: The Associated Press Managing Editors Association ?Code of Ethics for Newspapers and their Staffs''; the 1947 report of the Commission on Freedom (...) of the Press; the American Society of Newspaper Editors 1923 Canons of Journalism and 1975 Statement of Principles; the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi Code of Ethics; a memorandum to the staff of The New York Times by A.M. Rosenthal when he became managing editor in 1969; and an article by former Knight?Ridder executive Don Carter. Recurring themes include an emphasis on gathering and reporting news with accuracy, objectivity, truthfulness, and completeness. In addition, Harris led the way with his promises to correct errors when they occur and to allay false rumors and replace them with substantive information. Harris? stated goals, according to this essay, would sit quite comfortably on many American newspaper editorial pages today. (shrink)
The technological transformation of the conduct of war, exemplified by the American employment of drones in Afghanistan and in Iraq, calls for a critical reflection about the fantasies that underpin, and are in turn animated by, the robotic revolution of the military. At play here is a fantasy of a “costless war" or a “sterile war", that is such act of military state violence against the other that is inconsequential for the self. In other words, the seductive appeal of the (...) “costless war’ fantasy rests on the desire to develop a self that is invulnerable in the face of violence. Importantly, it is a desire explicitly projected towards a particular American future (of an imagined warfare, or of a super-power status), but also one that is connected to a lacking critical reflection about the intersubjective aspects of violence in the debates about America’s post-9/11 military involvements. This article reflects critically about the fantasy of the “costless war" and about its underpinning politics of invulnerability from a perhaps unlikely angle of literature. In a close reading of a short story by Benjamin Percy called “Refresh, Refresh" (2008), it explores its narrative insights into how acts of violence, which are undertaken far from home, inevitably return to affect and damage, perhaps beyond repair, the subject at home. Importantly, the return of violence in Percy’s story occurs within the domain of the everyday and the mundane, not of the exceptional, and testifies to the despair experienced by young males “abandoned" by their military fathers. My interpretation draws also on theoretical explorations of the connection between violence, intersubjectivity and vulnerability, based on the ideas of Emmanuel Levinas on the subject's ethical captivity by the suffering of the other, and on Judith Butler's recent “uses" of the Levinasian ethical project in her writing about the post-9/11 America. (shrink)
History is not the record of humanity’s progress through otherwise empty time. It is rather to be conceived messianically, i.e., in terms of God’s eschatological promises and the interruptive capacity of dangerous memories of human suffering. This insight is contained in both the historical philosophy of Walter Benjamin and the political theology of Johann Baptist Metz. Metz’s theological categories also contribute an understanding of messianic history that avoids the dualism of Benjamin’s description of history in both messianic and (...) materialist terms. (shrink)
The most famous man of his age, Benjamin Franklin was an individual of many talents and accomplishments. He invented the wood-burning stove and the lightning rod, he wrote Poor Richard's Almanac and The Way to Wealth, and he traveled the world as a diplomat. But it was in politics that Franklin made his greatest impact. Franklin's political writings are full of fascinating reflections on human nature, on the character of good leadership, and on why government is such a messy (...) and problematic business. Drawing together threads in Franklin's writings, Lorraine Smith Pangle illuminates his thoughts on citizenship, federalism, constitutional government, the role of civil associations, and religious freedom. Of the American Founders, Franklin had an unrivaled understanding of the individual human soul. At the heart of his political vision is a view of democratic citizenship, a rich understanding of the qualities of the heart and mind necessary to support liberty and sustain happiness. This concise introduction reflects Franklin's valuable insight into political issues that continue to be relevant today. (shrink)
Abstract Peters's views on moral education are to be found in several books and articles written over a period of about 20 years. Two essential elements of his ideas are what he calls procedural principles and basic rules. This article is an attempt to consider his recommendations, particularly in terms of any practical assistance that can be derived from them for those interested in moral education. Close examination reveals some inconsistencies, vagueness and difficulties which suggest problems for his procedural (...) approach and raise the issue of whether alternative, more positive efforts should be reconsidered. (shrink)
Jason Peters (ed.): Wendell Berry: Life and Work Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10806-010-9291-1 Authors Jacob Jones, Department of Religion, University of Florida, 107 Anderson Hall, P.O. Box 117410, Gainesville, FL 32611-7410, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
This book explores the persistence of absolute in Benjamin's work by sketching out the relationship between philosphy and theology apparent in his diverse writings, from the early youth movement essays to the later books, essays and fragments. Lane examines Benjamin from two main perspectives: a history-of-ideas approach situating Benjamin in relation to the new German-Jewish thinking at the turn of the twentieth-century, as well as the German youth movements, Surrealism and the "Georgekreis"; and a conceptual approach examining (...) more critical issues in relation to Benjamin and Kant, modern aesthetics and narrative order. (shrink)
If literary avant-garde journals and their communities have been, in the twentieth century, a space for creating, if not sustaining, major political utopias, it should help explain why this “literary communism,” as Jean-Luc Nancy called it, is not a weakened or substitutional form of politics. No myth without narration, no implementation without an instrumentation, no organic unity without a political organ voicing its claim, in short: no organicity without an organon. But can there be a (literary) community that does not (...) aim at the achievement of its own assumed truth, a form of writing in common that does not serve to convey a meaning, but bears witness, in its very form, to the fragmentation of meaning? This essay examines three attempts of an affi rmative answer to this question by reappraising three interrelated experimental cases: Jena around 1800 and the Athenaeum journal of the Early Romantics; Walter Benjamin’s journal projects, from the Angelus Novus to the prison camp journal at the end of his life; Maurice Blanchot and the failed trans-European project of what was arguably the most ambitious intellectual journal enterprise of the century, the Revue internationale in the early 1960s. (shrink)
(2012). Is R.S. Peters' way of mentioning women in his texts detrimental to philosophy of education? Some considerations and questions. Ethics and Education: Vol. 7, Creating spaces, pp. 291-302. doi: 10.1080/17449642.2013.767002.
The paper considers what united and divided Benjamin and Horkheimer-Adorno in terms of their respective confrontations with the question of what it is to articulate the past historically. It presents their shared self-consciousness of the difficult task of responding critically to a problem conceived of as the entanglement of the concept of history with domination. For the problem imbues conceptualization itself and therefore threatens the value of the authoritative statements made in their own critical reflection on it. I show (...) that these thinkers necessarily respond to the problem in confrontation with specific historical contexts: fascism, Soviet communism, German social democracy, and liberal democracy. The challenge they face is how to metabolize thinking in the midst of tendencies that disable it. I compare Benjamin’s solution, the dialectical image, with Horkheimer and Adorno’s solution, the recovery of critical reflection through the fragmentary writing of Dialectic of Enlightenment. (shrink)
I argue that in Julia Kristeva’s concept of negativity, conceived of as the recuperation, through transformation, of a traumatic remnant of the past, we can find a parallel to what Theodor Adorno, following Walter Benjamin, calls a mimesis that in its emphasis on non-identity is able to remain faithful to the ban on graven images interpreted materialistically rather than theologically. A connection between negativity and the theological ban on images is suggested in Adorno’s claim that a ban on positive (...) representations of utopia leads to a practice of negating the negative, that is, of exposing the injustices of modern life. Both Adorno andKristeva discern in contemporary art a capacity to critique modernity and envision a better world, but insist that this art must not represent what it indicates. I alsoexamine Benjamin’s writings on photography in order to argue that a mimesis that respects the ban on graven images moves us beyond the systematic optimismof the Hegelian dialectic, and extends the philosophy of history into the unknown of the unconscious. (shrink)
Walter Benjamin is discussed in this article to speak to the character of our experiences in the world as we try to animate our freedom in the midst of phantasmagoria. While we may indeed be trapped in the slumber of phantasmagoria and its many nightmares of despair, it is still possible to blast away the sands of sleep and awaken to a morally redeemed world fashioned through our engagement with various dreams of freedom. First, this article will explore the (...) concept of phantasmagoria, which is a symbolically rich term used by Benjamin to speak to the complex ways in which we are mired within the combined material and aesthetic trappings of an advanced capitalist world. Such an exploration will consider three archetypes of character (the gambler, the flâneur and the collector) and their corresponding experiences (fashion, boredom and interiority) in an attempt to unite various convolutes from The Arcades Project to consider freedom in a world spectrally haunted by such phantasmagoria. Second, we will consider the possibility of becoming dialectically startled before the angel of history and its potential to animate our weak Messianic power. Such an act must involve the building-up of a redemptive imagination as a means to speak the truth of our place as the makers of value in the world challenged to destine our own journey in the ongoing project of justice. (shrink)
Ezra Heywood helped initiate Benjamin R. Tucker into the world of anarchist activism. Their relationship spanned three decades and during that time, Tucker matured from a student and apprentice of Heywood's to a sophisticated radical intellectual. Although at times they disagreed sharply and their reform efforts came to emphasize different issues, the two viewed one another with mutual respect. An examination of their relationship touches upon some of the central concerns of nineteenth century reform.
Machine generated contents note: Preface (Paul Standish).Introduction: Reading R. S. Peters on Education Today (Stefaan E. Cuypers and Christopher Martin).Part I: The Conceptual Analysis of Education and Teaching.1. Was Peters Nearly Right About Education? (Robin Barrow).2. Learning Our Concepts (Megan Laverty).3. On Education and Initiation (Michael Luntley).4. Ritual, Imitation and Education in R. S. Peters (Bryan Warnick).5. Transformation and Education: the Voice of the Learner in Peters' Concept of Teaching (Andrea English).Part II: The Justification of Educational (...) Aims and the Curriculum.6. R. S. Peters' Normative Conception of Education and Educational Aims (Michael Katz).7. On the Worthwhileness of Theoretical Activities (Michael Hand).8. Why General Education? Peters, Hirst and History (John White).9. The Good, the Worthwhile and the Obligatory: Practical Reason and Moral Universalism in R. S. Peters' Conception of Education (Christopher Martin).10. Overcoming Social Pathologies in Education: On the Concept of Respect in R. S. Peters and Axel Honneth (Krassimir Stojanov).Part III: Aspects of Ethical Development and Moral Education.11. Reason and Virtues: The Paradox of R. S. Peters on Moral Education (Graham Haydon).12. Autonomy in R. S. Peters' Educational Theory (Stefaan E. Cuypers).Part IV: Peters in Context.13. Richard Peters and Valuing Authenticity (Mike Degenhardt).14. Vision and Elusiveness in Philosophy of Education: R. S. Peters on the Legacy of Michael Oakeshott (Kevin Williams).Index. (shrink)
Introduction: divine violence and political fetishism -- The political theology of sovereignty -- In the maw of sovereignty -- Benjamin's dissipated eschatology -- Waiting for justice -- Forgiveness, judgment and sovereign decision -- The Hebrew republic -- Conclusion : the anarchist hypothesis.
"El pensador vagabundo. Estudios sobre Walter Benjamin", de varios autores, más que un libro es un homenaje a la obra de este gran pensador nominado como uno de los más valiosos e influyentes escritores de la humanidad. Walter Benjamin dejó por escrito miles de páginas que trataban de todo lo posible, hablando desde su infancia hasta el cambio que produjo la fotografía en el mundo artístico. Estos textos tienen el propósito de acercar al lector a este magnífico mundo (...) del pensamiento de Walter Benjamin. Los autores van entrelazando las ideas de este filósofo con sus seguidores más lucidos del ámbito de las humanidades, y así construyen un collage de la obra de Walter Benjamin, que por un lado nos acerca a su comprensión de los conceptos básicos, como por ejemplo, el de la historia y, en cambio, por otro establecen semejanzas entre sus escritos y el arte de Andy Warhol o Roberto Bolaño. (shrink)
Benjamin Jowett's translations of Plato have long been classics in their own right. In this volume, Professor Hayden Pelliccia has revised Jowett's renderings of five key dialogues, giving us a modern Plato faithful to both Jowett's best features and Plato's own masterly style. Gathered here are many of Plato's liveliest and richest texts. Ion takes up the question of poetry and introduces the Socratic method. Protagoras discusses poetic interpretation and shows why cross-examination is the best way to get at (...) the truth. Phaedrus takes on the nature of rhetoric, psychology, and love, as does the famous Symposium. Finally, Apology gives us Socrates' art of persuasion put to the ultimate test--defending his own life. Pelliccia's new Introduction to this volume clarifies its contents and addresses the challenges of translating Plato freshly and accurately. In its combination of accessibility and depth, Selected Dialogues of Plato is the ideal introduction to one of the key thinkers of all time. (shrink)
Following the spirit of Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project, this volume acts as a kaleidoscope of change in the 21st century, tracing its different reflections in the international contemporary while seeking to understand both individual and collective reactions and adjustments to change through a series of questions: Is there something significantly different about the way in which ‘change’ occurs in the 21st century?; Is change mainly reflected in the material and visual environment surrounding us or someplace else?; What are the (...) sensibilities through which we perceive change, and more importantly, have those sensibilities been increased or dulled by modern technology? (shrink)
L’industrie de la culture qui est apparue en parallèle avec l’affaiblissement du dipôle travail social – art contemporain, a en même temps affaibli la possibilité des avant‐gardes de constituer une activité purement intellectuelle et artistique. C’est clair que l’apparition de cette culture de masse vient se lier avec l’évincement de l’art moderne authentique et la disparition quasi-totale de la culture populaire. Je pense que c’est indispensable de mentionner les points de vue des philosophes allemands, Theodor Adorno et Walter Benjamin (...) car je considère que malgré leurs limites historiques, ils exercent une influence déterminante sur la pensée contemporaine qui se relate à l’art dans le cadre de la société moderne postindustrielle. (shrink)