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.
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)
When people disagree about what is moral, we face an epistemological challenge—when the answer to a moral question is not obvious, how do we determine who is right? What if, under the circumstances, we do not have the means to show one party or the other is right? In recent years, a number of epistemologists have turned their attention to the general epistemic problem of how to respond reasonably to disagreement, and we can look to their work for guidance. While (...) there remains significant disagreement about how to respond to disagreement, I will focus on what I take to be the best position in the debate, known as the “Conciliatory” position (or “Conciliation” for short), which holds that parties to a disagreement should become less confident of their initial opinions to some degree, according to the credibility of the parties involved. Conciliation, if interpreted straightforwardly, has some counter-intuitive implications for unpopular opinions, including unpopular moral judgments. If a moral non-conformist becomes somewhat less confident of her view in response to each disagreement with a presumed epistemic peer, she will eventually have such a low degree of confidence in her initial view that she will effectively have switched positions. This result is troubling because almost everyone accepts moral views that were non-conforming views at some point in time, and these views probably would not have become widespread if non-conformists had changed their positions. I propose a modified version of Conciliation which would enable moral non-conformists to engage in cautious “experiments in living.” This modified view, I argue, is reasonable for those who are concerned, not only with correcting their own mistaken moral views, but with promoting moral progress in general. (shrink)
Jonathan Lear in "Radical Hope" tackles the idea of cultural devastation, in the specific case of the Crow Indians. What do we mean by "annihilation" of a culture? The moral point of view that he imagines as he reconstructs the eve and aftermath of this annihilation is not second personal, of obligation, but first personal, in the collective and singular, as told by the Crows, with Lear as "analyst." "Radical Hope" is a study of representative character of a people—of virtue, (...) courage, resilience, and hope in the face of cultural collapse. The leading questions are shaped by ancient Greek ethics, but with a twist: On the brink of cultural death, what counts for us as good living and what is the nature of the virtues or excellences that constitute it? How might a leader, a phronimos, exemplify it? This puts it too narrowly. The questions, also, are Wittgensteinian: How does a nation go on, when the concepts and way of life it has lived by for centuries are no more? What does it mean to go on? What does it mean to stop when the marks of going on are no longer? (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)
This book is the first to offer a detailed analysis of Aristotelian and Kantian ethics together, in a way that remains faithful to the texts and responsive to debates in contemporary ethics. Recent moral philosophy has seen a revival of interest in the concept of virtue, and with it a reassessment of the role of virtue in the work of Aristotle and Kant. This book brings that re-assessment to a new level of sophistication. Nancy Sherman argues that Kant preserves (...) a notion of virtue in his moral theory that bears recognisable traces of the Aristotelian and Stoic traditions, and that his complex anthropology of morals brings him into surprising alliance with Aristotle. She develops her argument through close readings of major texts by both Aristotle and Kant, illustrating points of congruence and contrast. (shrink)
Most traditional accounts of Aristotle's theory of ethical education neglect its cognitive aspects. This book asserts that, in Aristotle's view, excellence of character comprises both the sentiments and practical reason. Sherman focuses particularly on four aspects of practical reason as they relate to character: moral perception, choicemaking, collaboration, and the development of those capacities in moral education. Throughout the book, she is sensitive to contemporary moral debates, and indicates the extent to which Aristotle's account of practical reason provides an (...) alternative to theories of impartial reason. (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)
Keller & Miller (K&M) assert that mental disorders could not have evolved as adaptations, but they fail to make their case against the theory of the evolutionary origin of bipolar disorder that I have proposed (Sherman 2001). Such an idea may be unorthodox, but it has considerable explanatory power and heuristic value. (Published Online November 9 2006).
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)
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)
While few soldiers may have read the works of Epictetus or Marcus Aurelius, it is undoubtedly true that the ancient philosophy known as Stoicism guides the actions of many in the military. Soldiers and seamen learn early in their training "to suck it up," to endure, to put aside their feelings and to get on with the mission. Stoic Warriors is the first book to delve deeply into the ancient legacy of this relationship, exploring what the Stoic philosophy actually is, (...) the role it plays in the character of the military (both ancient and modern), and its powerful value as a philosophy of life. Marshalling anecdotes from military history--ranging from ancient Greek wars to World War II, Vietnam, and Iraq--Nancy Sherman illuminates the military mind and uses it as a window on the virtues of the Stoic philosophy, which are far richer and more interesting than our popularized notions. Sherman--a respected philosopher who taught at the US Naval Academy--explores the deep, lasting value that Stoicism can yield, in issues of military leadership and character; in the Stoic conception of anger and its control (does a warrior need anger to go to battle?); and in Stoic thinking about fear and resilience, grief and mourning, and the value of camaraderie and brotherhood. Sherman concludes by recommending a moderate Stoicism, where the task for the individual, both civilian and military, youth and adult, is to temper control with forgiveness, and warrior drive and achievement with humility and humor. Here then is a perceptive investigation of what makes Stoicism so compelling not only as a guiding principle for the military, but as a philosophy for anyone facing the hardships of life. (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)
My goal in this paper is to advance a long-standing debate about the nature of moral rights. The debate focuses on the questions: In virtue of what do persons possess moral rights? What could explain the fact that they possess moral rights? The predominant sides in this debate are the status theory and the instrumental theory. I aim to develop and defend a new instrumental theory. I take as my point of departure the influential view of Joseph Raz, which (...) for all its virtues is unable to meet the challenge to the instrumentalist that I will address: the problem of justifying the enforcement of rights. I then offer a new instrumental theory in which duties are grounded on individuals’ interests, and individuals rights exist in virtue of the duties owed to them. I argue that my theory enables the instrumentalist to give the right sort of justification for enforcing rights. (shrink)
Best known for his book The Postmodern Condition , Jean-Francois Lyotard is one of the leading figures in contemporary French philosophy. This is the first collection of articles to offer an estimation and critique of his work, with particular focus on the importance to Lyotard of the question of judgement. Lyotard's interest in judgement is evident in his continuing engagement with the work of Kant. Lyotard's own essay, Sensus Communis , which opens the volume, investigates through Kant the presuppositions of (...) judgement. Other essays consider how Lyotard has rendered problematic existing forms of aesthetic, ethical, legal and political judgement. Judging Lyotard is an important collection that will reintroduce Lyotard to English-speaking audiences. It is of particular interest to students of philosophy, critical theory, and literary studies. (shrink)
John Hawthorne’s marvelous book contains a wealth of arguments and insights based on an impressive knowledge and understanding of contemporary discussion. We can address only a small aspect of the topic. In particular, we will offer our own answers to two questions about knowledge that he discusses.
Written by a nurse and a philosopher, Ethics in Nursing blends the concrete detail of recurring problems in nursing practice with the perspectives, methods, and resources of philosophical ethics. It stresses the aspects of the nurses role and relations with others -- physicians, patients, administrators, other nurses -- that give ethical problems in nursing their special focus. Among the issues addressed are deception, parentalism, confidentiality, conscientious refusal, nurse autonomy, compromise, and personal responsibility for institutional and public policy. The third edition (...) has been enlarged with new cases and case discussions related to AIDS and an additional chapter on the expanding scope of nursing ethics as it addresses issues related to scarce resources, cost containment, justice, and the possibilities of health care rationing. (shrink)
Jonathan Lear in Radical Hope tackles the idea of cultural devastation, in the specific case of the Crow Indians. What do we mean by “annihilation” of a culture? The moral point of view that he imagines as he reconstructs the eve and aftermath of this annihilation is not second personal, of obligation, but first personal, in the collective and singular, as told by the Crows, with Lear as “analyst.” Radical Hope is a study of representative character of a people—of virtue, (...) courage, resilience, and hope in the face of cultural collapse. The leading questions are shaped by ancient Greek ethics, but with a twist: On the brink of cultural death , what counts for us as good living and what is the nature of the virtues or excellences that constitute it? How might a leader, a phronimos , exemplify it? This puts it too narrowly. The questions, also, are Wittgensteinian: How does a nation go on, when the concepts and way of life it has lived by for centuries are no more? What does it mean to go on? What does it mean to stop when the marks of going on are no longer? (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to develop a new theory of particularity. In so doing it redefines the concepts 'perception' and 'judgment'. The redefinition occurs once perception is understood as recognition. The move to recognition entails the centrality of repetition. Recognition, it is argued, is a form of repetition. Allowing for repetition necessitates changing the way the relationship between universals and particulars is understood. This is developed via an engagement with Hume and Plato. The article concludes with the outline (...) for a rethinking of the metaphysics of particularity. (shrink)
The question of the other appears to be a uniquely human concern. Engagement with the nature of alterity and the quality of the other are philosophical projects that commence with an assumed anthropocentrism. This anthropocentrism will be pursued by way of Hegel's discussion of "disease" in his Philosophy of Nature. Disease is implicitly bound up with race, racial identity and animality, and provides an opening to the question: what if the other were an animal? Any answer to this question should (...) resist a founding anthropocentrism by no longer being limited by the opposition human/non-human. This gives rise to the possibility of engaging philosophically with questions of race and ethnicity. (shrink)
Moral dilemmas and ethical inquiry -- Unavoidable topics in ethical theory -- Nurses and clients -- Recurring ethical issues in interprofessional relationships -- Ethical dilemmas among nurses -- Personal responsibility for institutional and public policy -- Cost containment, justice, and rationing.
Although Adorno criticizes the existential tradition, it is frequently argued that he and Heidegger share a number of theoretical interests. Adorno does come into direct contact with existential thought at certain points, but it is Kierkegaard, not Heidegger, who more closely approaches his concerns. I begin by reviewing Adorno's Kierkegaard: Construction of the Aesthetic. I then argue that, unlike Hegel, who is also criticized by Adorno on various grounds, Kierkegaard has had an influence on Adorno that has been underappreciated. While (...) Adorno criticizes Kierkegaard for breaking off the subject-object dialectic, they converge in their attacks on identity-thinking, the retention of a negative utopian standpoint of critique, and a deliberately provocative style of writing, all of which are marshaled in defense of the individual, who is besieged by modern society. Unlike Kierkegaard, however, and despite the generally accepted view, I conclude by arguing that because Adorno does not break off the subject-object dialectic, he has the necessary theoretical resources to deal with the theory-practice problem. Key Words: Adorno communication dialectic individual Kierkegaard subject-object subjectivity theory-practice. (shrink)
Recent discussions in the area of corporate social responsibility suggest that organizational size has complex meanings and thus requires more scholarly attention. This article explores organizational size in the context of relative power in inter-organizational networks. To shed light on the ways relative power interacts with size we studied social responsibility practices among cleaning subcontractors in three firms of different sizes. Our focus on the network differentiates these firms on the basis of their size and sector. Semi-structured interviews were used (...) to trace cleaning subcontractors' CSR-related practices. We analyzed subjective reports and discursive practices involved in subcontractors' self-presentations. While the economic and philanthropic dimensions of social responsibility were presented by the cleaning subcontractors as independent of network constraints, the findings show that the legal and ethical dimensions were subject to large client-firm pressures. What we learn from our data is that the four dimensions of Carroll's model, the economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic, should all develop from and be evaluated against a fifth root dimension of inter-personal commitment. (shrink)
Authenticity and diversity have both become catch words in contemporary North Atlantic societies. What has not, however, been widely explored is the interrelation ofthese two ideas. To this end, the present article takes up the sometime convergent, sometime divergent writings of Charles Taylor and Martin Heidegger, drawing out their thoughts on authenticity and showing how they can serve as a ground for a new form of cultural diversity. For both, authentic being-in-the-world affords us access to our own deep reservoir of (...) cultural material that is the necessary resource for fruitful engagement with other cultures.L’authenticité et la diversité font aujourd’hui figure de slogans dans les sociétés contemporaines de part et d’autre de l’Atlantique nord. En revanche, on a peu exploré les liens entre ces deux idées. À cette fin, cet article aborde les écrits tantôt convergents, tantôt divergents de Charles Taylor et Martin Heidegger pour prolonger leurs réflexions respectives sur l’authenticité et montrer en quoi elles peuventservir de fondement à une nouvelle forme de diversité culturelle. Pour tous deux, l’etre-au-monde authentique nous permet d’accéder au tréfonds du matériel culturel dont nous devons disposer pour que se nouent des rapports fructueux avec les autres cultures. (shrink)
It is helpful for any enterprise to stop occasionally and examine itself. Science has done this rather infrequently in its long and eventful history, and there has not been, in general, any continuity in these self-examinations. As a result the history of the philosophy of science has been a rather spotty affair. My belief is that the philosophy of science should also, at times, become self-critical. When a study is concerned primarily with methods of other disciplines it tends to underemphasize (...) the role played by the methods which it itself uses. What is the method of the philosophy of science, and is it justifiable? Can there be a satisfactory study of science and can this be scientific? (shrink)
Glenberg's theory is rich and provocative, in our view, but we find fault with the premise that all memory representations are embodied. We cite instances in which that premise mispredicts empirical results or underestimates human capabilities, and we suggest that the motivation for the embodiment idea – to avoid the symbol-grounding problem – should not, ultimately, constrain psychological theorizing.
This paper is an attempt to take up the prompt in Derrida's work concerning the necessity for a deconstruction of anthropocentrism. Working through an example from Hegel's Philosophy of Right concerning animality, the paper takes up Derrida's project and connects it to the larger concern of what happens to the philosophical once it is no longer premised on the animal's exclusion but has to acknowledge the inclusion of an already present thus recalcitrant animality.