Ancient and medieval dialecticians: the lengthening shadow of Plato.--Traveller on the royal way: Martin Luther on simul justus et peccator.--Musician in the concert of God's joy: Jacob Boehme on ground and unground.--Prodigy between finite and infinite: Pascal's dialectic of grandeur and misery.--Thinker of the thoughts of God: Hegel and the dialectic of movement.--Venturer at the brinks: Kierkegaard and the dialectic of the suffering self.--Walker on the narrow ridge: Karl Barth and the dialectic of the human and divine.--Bridge-builder beyond the boundaries: (...) Tillich's dialectic of estrangement and reconciliation.--Wanderer in the forest: Heidegger on the being of beings.--Man suspended in mid-air: Rudolph Bultmann on the believer as free for the future.--Struggler under the twofold verdict of God: Werner Elert and the dialectic of law and gospel.--Epilog.--Selected bibliography (p. 159). (shrink)
Critique as a philosophical concept needs to be recast once it is linked to the possibility of a productive opening. In such a context critique has an important affinity to destruction and forms of inauguration. Working through writings of Marx and Walter Benjamin, specifically Benjamin's 'The Meaning of Time in the Moral World', destruction and inauguration are repositioned in terns of othering and the caesura of allowing.
Walter Benjamin’s writings on fashion need to be read as engagements with the problem of historical time and a related politics of time. The aim of this article is to develop this position. Its point of orientation is Thesis XIV from the Theses on the Philosophy of History. What is argued is that close attention to the temporality of change and novelty within fashion may allow an insight into a conception of interruption and the ‘new’, however, it cannot yield (...) a politics. Moreover, the link between fashion and utopianism allows for the development of a critique of the utopian dimension of Benjamin’s thought. The basis of that critique is the inherent politics of time in his own writings. (shrink)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Benjamin Franklin's social and political thought was shaped by contacts with and knowledge of ancient aboriginal traditions. Indeed, a strong case can be made that key features of the social structure eventually outlined in the United States Constitution arose not from European sources, and not full-grown from the foreheads of European-American "founding fathers", but from aboriginal sources, communicated to the authors of the Constitution to a significant extent through Franklin. A brief sketch of the main argument to this effect (...) is offered in this essay. (shrink)
In the early twentieth century Walter Benjamin introduced the idea of epochal and ongoing progression in interaction between mind and the built environment. Since early antiquity, the present study suggests, Benjamin’s notion has been manifest in metaphors of gender in city-form, whereby edifices and urban voids have represented masculinity and femininity, respectively. At the onset of interaction between mind and the built environment are prehistoric myths related to the human body and to the sky. During antiquity gender projection (...) can be detected in western perceptions linking natural and built environments, commencing with Plato’s Atlantis and his Myth of Er, and later as a likely import of the Chinese yin-yang mythology. Culminating with the Age of Discovery, alongside advances in experiential awareness of the Earth’s sphericity, respective feminine and masculine earmarks can be detected in early modern perspicacity of the Earth’s southern and northern hemispheres. Our conceptions of natural and built environments inherently continue to contain gender traits. Yet urban voids, as the feminine face of city-form, have been severely understated in the built environment. Through design and configuration of urban voids, allegories of femininity in city-form ought to be celebrated, not discarded. (shrink)
The article analyses relationships between profane and religious illumination, materialism and theology, politics and religion, Marxism and Messianism. For Walter Benjamin, every second is “the small gateway in time through which the Messiah might enter”. This is the starting point in the reading of Benjamin’s works, where we confront various liaisons and couplings of radical politics and messianic events. Through the reading of Benjamin and through the analysis of his conceptions of history and time, the article addresses (...) the question what is possible in the world. (shrink)
Focusing on Walter Benjamin's earliest pieces dedicated to school reform and the student movement, this article traces the basic critical approaches informing his mature thought back to his struggle to critically implement and transform the theory of concept formation and value presentation developed by his Freiburg teacher, Heinrich Rickert. It begins with an account of Rickert's work, specifically of the concept of Darstellung (presentation) and its central role in Rickert's postmetaphysical theory of historical research (which he characterizes as exclusively (...) concerned with the Kantian quid juris). It shows that Rickert develops a speculative but practical theory of value recognition, which nevertheless leaves the status of value itself undetermined. Contra Rickert, Benjamin returns to the ignored quid facti, or origin of value, and shows that a metacritical, postmetaphysical approach such as Rickert's ultimately limits possible experience rather than grounding it. This basic insight, it is argued, is the cornerstone of Benjamin's concept of critique. (shrink)
Walter Benjamin tried to get in touch with Panofsky and the Warburg’s circle, but the attempt failed. This article examines the chapter on melancholy of Benjamin’s The Origin of the German Tragic Drama (1928) and his main sources, i. e. Warburg’s essay Pagan-Antique Prophecy in Words and Images in the Age of Luther (1920) and Panofsky-Saxl’s work Dürers Melencolia I (1923). Benjamin interpreted the melancholy of the German Tragic Drama as a jump back to the deadly sin (...) of sloth: he saw the saturnine melancholy under the sign of the medieval acedia. (shrink)
Many words extracted from the electric-electronic dictionary could be useful to understand a nexus between Warburg and Benjamin. Memory as accumulator is the link that connects these two collectors –and coordinators- of impressions. Science of Art, Mythology of Life, allegorical distance and mimetical proximity, traces of memory and power of interpretation: hence overflow Pathosformel and Dialectical Image . Here are the sparks of Polarisation.
In order to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of Benjamin's death, the conference "Dialectic images and sudden constellations: Warburg, Benjamin, Adorno" was held in Florence. The idea, common to the three authors, of a truth content that can only be realised in its concrete and istantaneous configuration, was embodied here in the form of a "philosophical concert", where contributions by philosophers, philologists and historians of arts and architecture succeeded each other.
Starting from Warburg, the distinguishing mark of an image, considered as identity-difference of visible and invisible, is its offering itself as an implementation of a temporality, and at the same time of a memory that is immanent in the sensible structure of the image. It’s what we find both in Benjamin and in Adorno: in both cases, it is just because the image is marked by a “internal time” that it is able to have a critical function towards reality, (...) and at the same time an utopian character that is all the same with its non-renounceable testimonial task. (shrink)
The paper intends to draw some topics about relationship between word and image in works and thinking of Aby Warburg and Walter Benjamin. In recent history of ideas, word and image are frequently interpreted as alternative ways to express reality. In both, Warburg and Benjamin, and in spite of their very different methods of approaching history of art and history of culture, we can find a similar idea of the connection between word and image. The two authors deem (...) that this relationship is necessary to understand historical facts and legacy. (shrink)
O artigo examina a interpretação feita por Walter Benjamin dos poemas de Charles Baudelaire marcados pela noção de ideal, a qual se opõe ao spleen. Benjamin encontra aí o esforço de rememoração de uma experiência plena, a qual constituiria, por sua vez, um elemento essencial à compreensão da modernidade como impossibilidade desta forma de experiência. Com as noções de beleza e de aura, o artigo busca ainda salientar a importância da categoria da distância para a configuração desta forma (...) de experiência. (shrink)
This article highlights the dialect of failure and hope you can find in the oppressed, which every utopical thought should take into consideration. To justify it, we start from Walter Benjamin’s ideas on History, and in particular, we consider the perspective of the oppressed in Kafka’s literature, although he considered hope as a weak hint among catastrophe. And finally, we show this dialect as a specific and explicit place of the Liberation Theology.
This study points out the methodological centrality assumed by the notion of “physiognomy”, both in Benjamin and in Adorno, namely the idea that the forms of the works of art, and generally those of the visual phenomena, are direct “expression”, in a micro-monadological way, of an historical-social sense, not otherwise attainable. On the one hand Benjamin’s physiognomy shows a particular interpretative “openness” to its objects, on the other that of Adorno remains subjected to an epistemological model of “totality”, (...) from the Hegelian-Marxian tradition, which risks compromising the hermeneutic efficacy of its own original philosophical approach. (shrink)
In the context of the late modernity, both Warburg and Benjamin put themselves on a borderline position. From that point of view, they show a common methodological and heuristic issue, consisting in creating “spaces for thinking” ( Denkräume ) from where it would be possible to redraw in a newly conceived “topography” the metaphysical maps by means of which we have represented our world. This kind of critical operation requires a different focus on the relathionships between writing and image, (...) space and time, and it cannot be separated from an experience (even in a biographical sense) of “ownness” and “extraneity”. Thanks to this experience, the event of discovery outlines itself as an act of remembrance and, at the same time, as a promise for the future. (shrink)
En estas páginas se trata de explicar, a partir de la reflexión de Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), en qué sentido el espacio mercantil puede comprenderse en términos epistemológicos y ontológicos. Más específicamente, constituye un dominio calculable de los objetos propio de la modernidad capitalista. Se persigue enlazar esa problemática con la cuestión filosófica del tiempo y con la teoría crítica de la industria cultural.
Both Walter Benjamin and Theodor W. Adorno consider ‘aesthetical experience’ as an “image experience” assuming a power of images “to set free forces” directed to produce or support aesthetical-political (Benjamin) or aesthetical-critical (Adorno) requirements. Profane illumination, ‘thinkimages’, phantasmagory, dialectical images, decayed ‘aura’ and technicalized images in Benjamin’s theory of aesthetical modernity. Expressive feature or “mimetic” eloquence in nature and art countering reality, dismantled ‘aura’ in contemporary desacralized work of art, but also persisting ‘aura’ in its meaningful dimension (...) in Adorno’s aesthetical theory. (shrink)
As an exemplum of that kind of “modern” art, in terms of Adorno, Kafka’s work is marked not only by its strictly “realistic” character, but also by the unavoidable critical and testimonial value of that realism. According to this perspective, both in Adorno and in Benjamin the testimonial aspect of Kafkian writing – that is of a writing as “dialectical image”, as memory of the unfullfilled possibility – it’s all the same not with its symbolical or “epiphanical” aspect but (...) instead with its “allegorical” one. (shrink)
Benjamin Libet, Do we have free will? -- Adina L. Roskies, Why Libet's studies don't pose a threat to free will? -- Alfred r. mele, libet on free will : readiness potentials, decisions, and awareness? -- Susan Pockett and Suzanne Purdy, Are voluntary movements initiated preconsciously? : the relationships between readiness potentials, urges, and decisions? -- William P. Banks and Eve A. Isham, Do we really know what we are doing? : implications of reported time of decision for theories (...) of volition? -- Elisabeth Pacherie and Patrick Haggard, What are intentions? -- Mark Hallett, Volition : how physiology speaks to the issue of responsibility? -- John-Dylan Haynes, Beyond Libet : long-term prediction of free choices from neuroimaging signals? -- F. Carota, M. Desmurget, and A. Sirigu, Forward modeling mediates motor awareness? -- Tashina Graves, Brian Maniscalco, and Hakwan Lau, Volition and the function of consciousness? -- Deborah Talmi and Chris D. Frith, Neuroscience, free will, and responsibility? -- Jeffrey P. Ebert and Daniel M. Wegner, Bending time to one's will? -- Thalia Wheatley and Christine Looser, Prospective codes fulfilled : a potential neural mechanism of the will? -- Terry Horgan, The phenomenology of agency and the libet results? -- Thomas Nadelhoffer, The threat of shrinking agency and free will disillusionism? -- Gideon Yaffe, Libet and the criminal law's voluntary act requirement? -- Larry Alexander, Criminal and moral responsibility and the libet experiments? -- Michael S. Moore, Libet's challenge(s) to responsible agency? -- Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Lessons from Libet?. (shrink)
Pretende-se explorar alguns aspectos da obra de Franz Kafka que vinculam as experiências do escritor às experiências do homem das grandes cidades modernas, e, por outro lado, colocam essas mesmas experiências “sob violenta tensão em relação às místicas”. Alguns elementos da obra de Kafka, como a impessoalidade, o anonimato, os inúmeros corredores ou repartições sufocantes, representam um diagnóstico, tido muitas vezes como sombrio, mas essencialmente crítico da modernidade. A partir da parábola Diante da Lei, inserida no romance O Processo e (...) contada ao protagonista como uma forma de ligar sua experiência à tradição, procurar-se-á discutir tanto o papel da crítica à modernidade como o papel desempenhado pela tradição (a teologia judaica), além das noções de culpa e lei, natural e sobrenatural. (shrink)
Leading Harvard philosophy professor William Ernest Hocking (1873-1966), author of 17 books and in his day second only to John Dewey in the breadth of his thinking, is now largely forgotten, and his once-influential writings are out of print. This volume, which combines a rich selection of Hocking’s work with incisive essays by distinguished scholars, seeks to recover Hocking’s valuable contributions to philosophical thought.
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)
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)
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)
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)
A review of Ernest Sosa’s book Apt Belief and Reflective Knowledge. While I think Sosa is quite right that knowledge lies on a spectrum, and that its higher but not its lower reaches require of knowers, when challenged, a strong degree of explanatory coherence (ability to understand and discursively defend the basis of their beliefs), I also point out problems with certain aspects of his account.
This paper offers and analysis of Ernest Sosa's Virtue Perspectivism. Although Sosa has been credited with fathering the influential contemporary movement known as Virtue Epistemology, I argue that Sosa imprudently abandons the reliabilist-based insights of Virtue Epistemology in favor of a reflection-based, "perspectival"' view. Sosa's mixed allegiance to reliabilist-based and reflection-based views of knowledge, in fact, leads to an unwelcome tension in his thought which can be relieved by recognizing that his reflection-based view is in fact an account of (...) the cognitive state of understanding, rather than an account of knowledge. Sosa makes matters difficult for himself because he expects too much, as it were, from the concept of knowledge, and in the process burdens his view with elements of reflection it does not require. To solve the problem, I suggest that Sosa needs to develop a two-tiered epistemology which recognizes that knowledge, on the one hand, and understanding, on the other, both have necessary and sufficient conditions unique to themselves. (shrink)