In 2004, the Department for Education and Skills in England published its Five Year Strategy for Children and Learners (DfES, 2004). It was preceded by Excellence and Enjoyment: a strategy for primary schools (DfES, 2003). 'Excellence and enjoyment' seems to constitute an ambiguity, even a contradiction. The government's view is otherwise. It states that enjoyment (for pupils) is a consequence of excellent teaching. In turn, excellent teaching is said to be more assured if it is personalised and (...) creative. This official logic is questionable. A different interpretation is offered. Global capitalism is placing fiscal pressures on the public expenditure of the nation-state, and new accommodations and justifications have to be made by government as it continues to re-focus the education system towards an economic purpose. In this endeavour it must gain public and professional assent. Informed by critical theorists, it is argued here that 'excellence' associates with a producer ethic; 'enjoyment' with a consumer ethic. The former enables the capital accumulation process within a social-democratic welfare state; the latter justifies the policies of accumulation. (shrink)
Despite being a seemingly straightforward moral concept (that all humans have certain rights by virtue of their humanity), human rights is a contested concept in theory and practice. Theorists debate (among other things) the meaning of “rights,” the priority of rights, whether collective rights are universal, the foundations of rights, and whether there are universal human rights at all. These debates are of relatively greater interest to theorists; however, a given meaning of “human rights” implies a corresponding theory of change (...) and through that can be an important guide to the practice of human rights activists and their funders. In practice, any organization can describe their work as “rights based.” This article clarifies the practices of human rights activists and their funders that are consistent with a theory of human rights as (1) universal, (2) interdependent across groups and categories of people, (3) indivisible across issue areas and claims, and (4) measured by the enjoyment of rights. (shrink)
This study explores how participants in an immersive theatrical performance perceive their role in the virtual environment (VE) and the effects of this perception on how they experience the performance as a whole. Using a quasi-experimental 2 × 2 design, narrative and task-based search was manipulated to explore the effects on spatial presence, social presence, identification and enjoyment. Results show that the effect of spatial presence on enjoyment of the performance is entirely mediated by identification with the role (...) of the self in the VE. This could have interesting consequences for the experience of more narrative VE’s and suggests that the role of identification is something to explore further in future presence research. (shrink)
Enjoyment smiles are more often associated with the simultaneous presence of the Cheek raiser and Lip corner puller action units, and these units’ activation is more often symmetric. Research on the judgment of smiles indicated that individuals are sensitive to these types of indices, but it also suggested that their ability to perceive these specific indices might be limited. The goal of the current study was to examine perceptual-attnetional processing of smiles by using eye movement recording in a smile (...) judgement task. Participants were presented with three types of smiles: a symmetric Duchenne, a non-Duchenne and an asymmetric smile. Results revealed that the Duchenne smiles were judged happier than those with characteristics of non-enjoyment. Asymmetric smiles were also judged happier than the non-Duchenne smiles. Participants were as effective in judging the latter smiles as not really happy as they were in judging the symmetric Duchenne smiles as happy. Furthermore, they did not spend more time looking at the eyes or mouth regardless of types of smiles. While participants made more saccades between each side of the face for the asymmetric smiles than the symmetric ones, they judged the asymmetric smiles more often as really happy than not really happy. Thus, processing of these indices do not seem limited to perceptual-attentional difficulties as reflected in viewing behaviour. (shrink)
Among Marxists and Communists, Louis Althusser has long had a reputation for theoreticism and scientism, the factors most often cited to explain the eclipse of his work since the 1960’s. According to the standard account, the distinguishing characteristic and major flaw of his work is that it brings everything back to knowledge. In this essay, I interrogate this understanding of Althusser by reconsidering two cornerstones of Althusserian theory that seem most to exemplify his extreme privileging of epistemology: the symptom and (...) the interpellation theory of ideology. I argue not that taking them to work on the epistemological level is wrong but rather incomplete; there exists a not quite acknowledged beyond of knowledge and interpellation in Althusser, which takes the form of a traumaticnarrative of history, enjoyment, and desire. The production of knowledge in Althusser unfolds as a pathos-laden story, which on one level gestures toward the turbulent world history in which he developed his theory: primarily WW II and the post-war Stalinist revelations, along with the conflicts it provoked in the Communist Party, and the French Communist Party in particular. Although not the subject of extended analysis, these events haunt Althusser’s texts in the form of allusions and the surprisingly violent figurative language with which Althusser discusses theoretical labor. I contend that they call to be analyzed as a kind of return of the repressed, best approached through Slavoj Žižek’s psychoanalytically inflected theory of ideology. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction: love after Aristotle; 1. Enjoyment: a medieval history; 2. Narcissus after Aristotle: love and ethics in Le Roman de la Rose; 3. Metamorphoses of pleasure in the fourteenth century Dit Amoureux; 4. Love's knowledge: fabliau, allegory, and fourteenth-century anti-intellectualism; 5. On human happiness: Dante, Chaucer, and the felicity of friendship; Coda: Chaucer's philosophical women.
We wonder about tying the universal appeal of music to emotion as defined by psychologists. Music is more generally about feelings, and many of these, such as moods and pleasures, are central to the enjoyment of music and fall outside the domain of emotion. The critical component of musical feelings is affective intensity, resulting from syntactically generated implications and their outcomes.
In this book John Kekes examines the indispensable role enjoyment plays in a good life. The key to it is the development of a style of life that combines an attitude and a manner of living and acting that jointly express one's deepest concerns. Since such styles vary with characters and circumstances, a reasonable understanding of them requires attending to the particular and concrete details of individual lives. Reflection on works of literature is a better guide to this kind (...) of understanding than the futile search for general theories and principles that preoccupies much of contemporary moral thought. -/- Enjoyment proceeds by the detailed examination of particular cases, shows how this kind of reflection can be reasonably conducted, and how the quest for universality and impartiality is misguided in this context. Central to the argument is a practical, particular, pluralistic, and yet objective conception of reason that rejects the pervasive contemporary tendency to regard reasons as good only if they are binding on all who aspire to live reasonably and morally. Reason in morality is neither theoretical nor general. Reasons for living and acting in particular ways are individually variable and none the worse for that. -/- Kekes aims to reorient moral thought from deontological, contractarian, and consequentialist preoccupations toward a reasonable but pluralistic reflection on what individuals can do to make their lives better. (shrink)
In this essay, I seek to enhance eschatological perspectives on work through specific engagement with Qoheleth’s theology of time in Eccl. 2–3. I suggest that prior to a perceptual transformation in the first of the book’s so-called carpe diem passages, Qoheleth is dissatisfied with his labour because he construes it temporally-speaking within a chronology characterised by competition. Within such a construal, death poses the ultimate obstacle to the enjoyment of labour, because it strips away the promise of an immortal (...) inheritance produced by human hands. What transforms Qoheleth’s relationship to labour is a new understanding of time as kairos, defined as the opportune time in which God unexpectedly intervenes in human work ‘under the sun’ and does something paradigmatically new. Under this ‘kairological’ perspective, Qoheleth assumes a posture of receipt, declaring present labour as a gift from God, with internal as well as external goods for the worker. Qoheleth’s ‘accipe diem work ethic’ draws the eschatological ultimacy of life and peace into present labour, re-orienting eschatological understandings of work that fall prey to competitive-chronological notions of progress. (shrink)
In ‘Davis on Enjoyment: A Reply’, Richard Warner replies to three objections against his ‘Enjoyment’ that I raised in my ‘A Causal Theory of Enjoyment’, and concludes that one of my examples in fact demonstrates a serious deficiency of my own account. I argue that Warner’s replies to my objections are unsatisfactory, and that his objection to my account had a ready solution.
Research on aggression and terror management theory suggests shortcomings in Nell's analysis of cruelty. Hostile aggression and exposure to aggressive cues are not inherently reinforcing, though they may be enjoyed if construed within a meaningful cultural framework. Terror management research suggests that human cruelty stems from the desire to defend one's cultural worldview and to participate in a heroic triumph over evil.
Official Dutch food information apparently tries to avoid images but is implicitly shaped by the metaphor that food is fuel. The image of food as fuel and its accompanying view of the body as a machine are not maximally helpful for integrating two important human desires: health and pleasure. At the basis of the split between health and pleasure is the traditional mind–body dichotomy, in which the body is an important source of evil and bodily pleasure is sinful and dangerous. (...) In the search for alternatives, new metaphors are proposed that integrate mind and body as well as pleasure and health. The relevance of metaphors for ethics is at least twofold. (1) Moral thought and theory are at least partly shaped by metaphors. In the light of this growing recognition, the analysis of morality needs innovation. (2) With regard to food, new metaphors, such as slow food, or the image of enjoyment as an art, enable a new search for morally responsible forms of hedonism, based on more love and respect for human as well as animal bodies. But new metaphors are specific and selective, just like old ones. I argue that a search for the best overall metaphor would be misguided, but that more diverse forms of attention to bodily aspects of life, including experiences related to food, will result in richer vocabularies of the body, the mind, and body–mind relations. This holds a promise of moral progress. (shrink)
This paper examines the way in which divine law and divine command have in cases been commandeered for the purposes of demonstrating fidelity to religious orthodoxy. It takes the example of one theologian’s investigation into the tradition and asks whether, in the very name of producing an orthodox theology of sexual difference, the debate does not end up being cast in contemporary, sexualised terms. It then takes the example of how contemporary understandings of sexual difference can be read back into (...) ancient texts by examining a reading of Parmenides, and by comparison with Aristotle’s reading of sexual difference shows how that reading can be questioned. It concludes with an examination of a reading of a text of St. Augustine to show (1) how the traditions of celibacy and marriage have not been commensurate in the Christian tradition and (2) what goes wrong when they are asserted to be commensurate. (shrink)