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James Mensch [72]James R. Mensch [24]James Richard Mensch [2]
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Profile: James Mensch (Charles University, Prague)
Profile: James Richard Mensch (Charles University, Prague)
  1. James Mensch, Embodiments 2.
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  2. James Mensch, Embodiments Chapter.
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  3. James Mensch, Embodiments 2.63.Doc.
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  4. James Mensch, Lvinas's Transformation of Heidegger's Account of Temporalization.Doc.
     
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  5. James Mensch, Patocka and Artificial Intelligence.
    It may seem strange to associate the name of Jan Patočka with artificial intelligence. Neither a mathematician nor a logician, the phenomenology he espoused, with its emphasis on lived experience, seems worlds apart from the formalism associated with the discipline. Yet, as I hope to show, the radicality and depth of Patočka’s thought is such that it casts a wide net. The reform of metaphysics that Patočka proposed in his asubjective phenomenology also affects artificial intelligence. It shows that what philosophers (...)
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  6. James Mensch, Ways of Being and Time.
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  7. James Mensch, Aesthetic Education: The Intertwining.
    When we take the term literally, “aesthetic education” refers to the senses. The etymological root of “aesthetic” is, aesthesis (ai[sqhsi"), the Greek word signifying “perception by the senses.” The corresponding verb is aisthanomai (aijsqanovmai), which means “to apprehend by the senses,” i.e., to see, hear, touch, etc.1 What does it mean to educate the senses? The senses, as Aristotle noted, are what we share with animals.2 The question of their education, thus, involves the notion of our “animal” nature. We see (...)
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  8. James Mensch, Atheory of Human Rights.
    Since the original UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights1 laid out the general principles of human rights, there has been a split between what have been regarded as civil and political rights as opposed to economic, cultural and social rights. It was, in fact, the denial that both could be considered “rights” that prevented them from being included in the same covenant.2 Essentially, the argument for distinguishing the two concerns the nature of freedom. The civil rights to the freedoms of (...)
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  9. James Mensch, B2G2W5, Jmensch@Stfx.Ca.
    In a world shaken by terrorists’ assaults, it can seem as if no one is in control. Political leaders often appear at a loss. They cast about for opponents, for those on whom they can exert their political will. The terrorists, however, need not identify themselves. If they do, the languge they use may be messianic rather than political. Rather than indicating negotiable political solutions, it points to something else. Coincident with this, is the pursuit of terror dispite the harm (...)
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  10. James Mensch, Canada B2G 2W5, Jmensch@Stfx.Ca.
    Our past century was exemplary in a number of ways. The advances it made in science and medicine were unparalleled. Also without precedent was the destructiveness of its wars. In part, this was due to an increasing technological sophistication. The time lag between a scientific advance and its technological application was, in the urgency of the century, constantly diminished. Modern weaponry combined with mass production, communication and mobilization to produce what came to be known as “total war.” This was a (...)
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  11. James Mensch, Death and the Other: The Origin of Ethical Responsibility.
    What is the origin of ethical responsibility? What gives us our ability to respond? An ethical response involves responding to myself: I answer the call of my conscience. It also involves answering to the Other: I respond to the appeal of my neighbor. Is one form of response prior to the other? Contemporary thinking about these questions has been largely taken up by the debate between Levinas and Heidegger. Responsibility, according to Heidegger, begins with our concern for our being.1 The (...)
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  12. James Mensch, Metaphysical Thinking.
    Heidegger writes that “metaphysical thinking rests on the distinction between what truly is and what, measured against this, constitutes all that is not truly in being.”3 In the long history of philosophy, this distinction has been variously interpreted. Generally, however, it has involved taking the true world as invisible yet intelligible and the nontrue world as visible but not per se intelligible. To illustrate this point, four examples should suffice. I will limit myself to Plato’s, Descartes’, Berkeley’s and Kant’s expression (...)
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  13. James Mensch, Postmodern Phenomenology.
    How would we conceive a phenomenology that has been purified by a post-modern critique? Although the term “post-modernism” names an extremely varied phenomenon, two features seem especially relevant. The first is its distrust of meta-narratives or overarching accounts of the way things are. The second, which is closely related to this, is the deconstruction of the subject. By this is meant not just the deconstruction of the “author”—i.e., the undermining the notion of his/her subjective intentions as setting the parameters of (...)
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  14. James Mensch, Political Violence.
    When one regards the conflicts of the past century, Hegel’s description of history as a “slaughter-bench” seems apt.1 The two world wars the century witnessed were extraordinarily violent. In the First, the combatants were subject to an industrial scale slaughter by being systematically exposed to machine gun fire, artillery bombardments and poison gas. The Second World War added to these horrors with its concept of “total war,” which was defined as a war directed against the totality of the enemy nation: (...)
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  15. James Mensch, Shame and Guilt—The Unspeakablity of Violence.
    What is the relation of shame to guilt? What are the characteristics that distinguish the two? When we regard them phenomenologically, i.e., in the way that they directly manifest themselves, two features stand out. Guilt and shame imply different relations to the other person. Their relation to language is also distinct. Guilt involves the internalization of the other, not as a specific individual, but rather as an amalgam of parents, elders, and other social and cultural authority figures.i This amalgam of (...)
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  16. James Mensch, Theodicy and Auschwitz.
    The word “theodicy” comes from the Greek words for God (theos) and justice (diké). Although coined by Leibniz, the attempt it represents is far older. In the Jewish tradition, it stretches to the beginning—that is to the stories of Genesis with their attempts to explain how evil could exist in a world created by God. God, after each creative act, sees that his creations are “good.” Women, however, bear their children in pain (Gn 3:16) and the ground, sprouting “thorns and (...)
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  17. James Mensch, The Hermeneutics of Fundamentalism.
    No one can turn on the news these days without hearing of fundamentalism. Christian fundamentalists form the fastest growing sect in the United States and are arguably the most politically potent. Both the president and vice-president, as well as prominent members of the Cabinet call themselves “fundamentalists.” In the Islamic world, fundamentalism has an equal currency. Everywhere ascendant, it has, since September 11th, become linked to terrorist attacks and the actions of suicide bombers. Among the Jews of Israel, it also (...)
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  18. James Mensch, The Phenomenology of Self-Makin: Towards a Hegelian Dialectic.
    James Mensch, 1970 No philosophical activity is immune from the question of its grounds, its origin, its arche. Philosophizing is not carried out in a vacuum. The philosopher in any inclusive view cannot be seen to be a being set apart from the world about which he philosophizes. He is distinct neither from the world nor its history considered in its totality. A truth so obvious requires only a brief meditative reflection: A philosopher sits writing at his desk. Without (...)
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  19. James Mensch, The Social and the Private.
    Since the close of the cold war, there seems to be a certain constant in the conflicts that have marked multi-national conferences. Again and again, we see the smaller states opposing the efforts of the larger to determine the structures of their relations. One of the factors of this opposition is their fear of losing their identity. In a world increasingly determined by global interests, cultural and economic particularity seems to be a luxury that few can afford. For many, the (...)
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  20. James R. Mensch, Contents.
    Socrates taught that philosophy begins with conversation, with the questioning and response that marks dialectic. This book also developed through a serious of conversations. Thus, acknowledgment is above all due to those with whom I shared and developed the themes of the present work. I am grateful, first of all, to Dr. Barabara Weber of the University of Regensburg, with whom I worked out the conceptions of the central chapter of this book, “Public Space, during a daylong conversation in Strasbourg. (...)
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  21. James R. Mensch, What Should We Pray For.
    difficulty is that the gods neither need nor depend on our sacrifices (13c). What benefit could the..
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  22. James Mensch, Alterity and Society.
    It seems a function of normal human empathy for us to treat others as we would like to be treated. If, through empathy, we have the capacity of experiencing the distress of others, then we refrain from harming them. Our guide is the “golden rule,” variations of which occur in all the world’s religions.[i] Yet despite apparent unanimity on the rule as “the sum of duty,” conceptions of justice, of how best to organize a state, differ widely. There is often (...)
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  23. James Mensch, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada B2g 2w5, Jmensch@Stfx.Ca.
    conciliation behind. How do the Ukrainians forgive the Russians for the famines they caused? How do the blacks reconcile themselves with the whites that were once their oppressors in South Africa? What of all the countries that suffered from German or Japanese occupation in the last world war: How do they forgive? How does one ask for forgiveness? These are the questions that occupied Derrida towards the end of his life. With the Pope asking forgiveness of the Jews and (...)
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  24. James Mensch, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, B2G2W.
    The standard account of arousal seems on the surface relatively straight forward. Its basic meaning is to awaken someone, reading him for activity. Physiologically, this involves stimulating the cerebral cortex into a general state of wakefulness and attention. The aroused subject shows an increased heart rate and blood pressure. Psychologically, sensory alertness, mobility and readiness to respond all mark the aroused state. As all the experts agree, arousal involves more than the simple presence of an external stimulation. It requires impulses (...)
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  25. James Mensch, Beyond Abstract Solidarity.
    In our increasingly interdependent world, human solidarity has become a topic of general (and heated) discussion. It has been urged as an antidote to the competitive pressures of globalisation and to the threats of climate change. Others argue that the sense of belonging together, of sharing a common fate that it brings is essential for civil society. Without this, we will seek to avoid the burdens our governments impose on us, for example, taxes and the draft. This sense of belonging (...)
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  26. James Mensch, Benito Cerino: Freud and the Breakdown of Politics.
    In a world shaken by terrorists’ assaults, it can seem as if no one is in control. Political leaders often appear at a loss. They cast about for opponents, for those on whom they can exert their political will. The terrorists, however, need not identify themselves. If they do, the languge they use may be messianic rather than political. Rather than indicating negotiable political solutions, it points to something else. Coincident with this, is the pursuit of terror dispite the harm (...)
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  27. James Mensch, Confronting the Janus Head.
    If post-modern philosophy has a spiritual father, this is surely Nietzsche. The great revival of interest in his thought parallels our period’s discomfort with foundational, “metaphysical” thinking. He appeals to our disquiet with talk of essences. Many find his “deconstruction” of science and morality liberating. Above all his doctrine of “perspectivism” has found a general appeal. The pluralism that is its apparent result is attractive to everyone from feminists to defenders of multiculturalism. There is, however, a darker side to Nietzsche. (...)
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  28. James Mensch, Cross-Cultural Understanding and Ethics.
    Thesis: With the end of the cold war, ideological conflicts have faded. In their stead, we have witnessed the rise of cultural strife. On the borders of the great civilizations conflicts involving basic cultural values have arisen. These have given increased emphasis to the ethical imperative of cross cultural understanding. How do we go about understanding different cultures? What are the grounds and premises of such understanding? How does such understanding tie into the basic ethical theories that have marked the (...)
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  29. James Mensch, Existence and Essence in Thomas and Husserl.
    In a series of conversations recorded towards the end of his life, Husserl is quoted as saying, "Yes, I do honor Thomas ..." and "... certainly I admit Thomas was a very great, a colossal phenomenon."1 With this, however, is the assertion that one "must go beyond Thomas."2 What is this going beyond Thomas? The purpose of this essay is to explore this in terms of the distinction between existence and essence we considered in our first chapter when we inquired (...)
     
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  30. James Mensch, Empathy and Rationality.
    Much of the current debate opposing empathy to rationality assumes that there are no universal standards for rationality. From the postmodern perspective, the “rational” does not just vary according to the different historical stages of a people. It also differs according the social and cultural conditions that define contemporary communities. What counts as reasonable in the Afghan cultural sphere is often considered as irrational in the Western European context. What Americans take to be rational modes of conduct are not considered (...)
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  31. James Mensch, Introduction.
    A constant theme in human self-reflection has been our ability to escape the control of nature. As Sophocles remarks in his Antigone, “Many are the wonders, none is more wonderful than what is man. He has a way against everything.”[1] A list follows of the ways in which man overcomes the limits imposed by the seas, the land, and the seasons. We do this by creating new environments for ourselves. These environments condition us. Thus, we do not just escape nature (...)
     
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  32. James Mensch, Imagination and Machine Intelligence.
    The question of the imagination is rather like the question Augustine raised with regard to the nature of time. We all seem to know what it involves, yet find it difficult to define. For Descartes, the imagination was simply our faculty for producing a mental image. He distinguished it from the understanding by noting that while the notion of a thousand sided figure was comprehensible—that is, was sufficiently clear and distinct to be differentiated from a thousand and one sided figure—the (...)
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  33. James Mensch, Jmensch@Stfx.Ca.
    Since the original UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights[i] laid out the general principles of human rights, there has been a split between what have been regarded as civil and political rights as opposed to economic, cultural and social rights. It was, in fact, the denial that both could be considered “rights” that prevented them from being included in the same covenant.[ii] Essentially, the argument for distinguishing the two concerns the nature of freedom. The civil rights to the freedoms of (...)
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  34. James Mensch, Literature and Evil.
    Our past century was exemplary in a number of ways. The advances it made in science and medicine were unparalleled. Also without precedent was the destructiveness of its wars. In part, this was due to an increasing technological sophistication. The time lag between a scientific advance and its technological application was, in the urgency of the century, constantly diminished. Modern weaponry combined with mass production, communication and mobilization to produce what came to be known as “total war.” This was a (...)
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  35. James Mensch, Nova Scotia, Canada B2G2W5 Jmensch@Stfx.Ca.
    Last year a remarkable, but disturbing film won the Cannes Film Festival’s French Language prize. Using actual students as actors, Laurent Cantet’s “Entre les Murs” depicted the constant tug of war between them and their French teacher. Demanding respect, but often showing none, the teenagers made the simplest teaching task a difficult and drawn-out enterprise. The final dialogue of the film is the most disturbing. Let me quote a few lines in translation. A shy student, Henriette, is the last to (...)
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  36. James Mensch, The.
    Excerpts from THE JERUSALEM BIBLE, copyright (c) 1966 by Dalton, Longman and Todd, Ltd. and Doubleday, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. are reprinted by permission.
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  37. James Mensch, The Bible as Literature.
    In discussing the Bible as literature, I am simply going to assume that the Bible, particularly in the King James version, is great literature. I am also going to take for granted the fact that its stories and themes have continually sparked the literary imagination of the West. From the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden to that of the Resurrection we have a set of symbols, motifs, and themes whose reworking has been the subject of the bulk (...)
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  38. James Mensch, The Intertwining of Incommensurables: Yann Martel's Life of Pi.
    In the Author’s Note that introduces the Life of Pi, Yann Martel claims that he first heard of Pi in a coffee shop in India. A chance acquaintance tells him, “I have a story that will make you believe in God” (LP, vii).[i] The story concerns the life of an Indian boy who grows up surrounded by the animals of his father’s zoo. When Pi is sixteen, his family decides to emigrate. His father sells off the animals to an American (...)
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  39. James Mensch, The Question of Being In.
    I wish to acknowledge my gratitude to Professor James Morrison of the University of Toronto for his encouragement and aid in the preparation of this work. His generosity is an example of the genuine philosophic spirit. I should also like to thank Ernie and Frauke Hankamer as well as Hugo and Ruth Jakusch whose kindness sustained us in Munich and Dieben. Finally, mention must be made of the Canada Council without whose financial aid this book would not have been (...)
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  40. James Mensch, Violence and Blindness: The Case of Uchuraccay.
    Only rarely does life imitate art in the starkness and directness of its message. When that message is a tragic one the effect becomes indelible. Such was the impact on Peru of the events of Uchuraccay, a small village located in its central highlands. Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission called it “an emblematic referent of the violence and pain in the collective memory of the country” (TRC, 121). [i] In the twenty-year turmoil that engulfed Peru at the end of the (...)
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  41. James Mensch, Vom Wesen der Wahrheit: A Commentary.
    Weil aber das volle Wesen der Wahrheit das Unwesen einschließt und allem zuvor als Verbergung waltet, ist die Philosophie als das Erfragen dieser Wahrheit in sich zwiespaltig. Ihr Denken ist die Gelassenheit der Milde, die der Verborgenheit des Seienden im Ganzen sich nicht versagt. Ihr Denken ist zumal die Ent-schlossenheit der Strange, die nicht die Verbergung sprengt, aber ihr unversehrtes Wesen ins Offene des Bergreifens und so in ihre eigene Wahrheit nötigt.
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  42. James R. Mensch, Multiple Personality Disorder: A Phenomenological/Postmodern Account.
    A striking feature of post-modernism is its distrust of the subject. If the modern period, beginning with Descartes, sought in the subject a source of certainty, an Archimedian point from which all else could be derived, post- modernism has taken the opposite tack. Rather than taking the self as a foundation, it has seen it as founded, as dependent on the accidents which situate consciousness in the world. The same holds for the unity of the subject. Modernity, in its search (...)
     
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  43. James R. Mensch, The Neighbor in the Self.
    There is a famous passage in the Gospels, where a lawyer questions Jesus with regard to the command to love God with one's whole heart and to love ones neighbour `as oneself.' The lawyer asks, 'And who is my neighbour?' (Luke 10:2 [1]). Is he someone who lives close by or a co-religionist or is he a stranger, a follower of a different faith as Jesus suggests by answering with the parable of the good Samaritan? The 'religions of the book (...)
     
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  44. James Mensch (forthcoming). Derrida–Husserl: Towards a Phenomenology of Language. The New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy.
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  45. James Mensch (2013). The Intertwining as a Form of Our Motion of Existence. Chiasmi International 15:51-64.
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  46. James Mensch (2013). The Question of Naturalizing Phenomenology. Symposium 17 (1):210-228.
    The attempt to use the results of phenomenology in cognitive and neural science has in the past decade become increasingly widespread. It is, however, open to the objection that phenomenology does not concern itself with the embodied, empirical subject, but rather with the non-causally determined “transcendental” subject. If this is true, then the attempt to employ its results is bound to come to grief on the opposition of two different accounts of consciousness: the non-causal, transcendental paradigm put forward by phenomenology (...)
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  47. James Mensch (2013). Violence and Selfhood. Human Studies 36 (1):25-41.
    Is violence senseless or is it at the origin of sense? Does its destruction of meaning disclose ourselves as the origin of meaning? Or is it the case that it leaves in its wake only a barren field? Does it result in renewal or only in a sense of dead loss? To answer these questions, I shall look at James Dodd’s, Hegel’s, and Carl Schmitt’s accounts of the creative power of violence—particularly with regard to its ability to give individuals and (...)
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  48. James Mensch (2012). Dación y alteridad. Areté. Revista de Filosofía 14 (2):249-260.
    “Givenness and Alterity”. One of the most difficult problems faced by phenomenology is the mystery of our self-showing. How do we show ourselves to be what we are? How do we manifest our selfhood to one another? In this article, I examine what we intend when we direct ourselves to another person. I also look at what sort of fulfillment i.e., what kind of givenness satisfies this intention. I defend the claim that to intend another person is to intend the (...)
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  49. James Mensch (2012). Public Space and Embodiment. Studia Phaenomenologica 12:211-226.
    Hannah Arendt’s notion of public space is one of her most fruitful, yet frustrating concepts. Having employed it to analyze political freedom, she claims that such space has largely disappeared in the modern world. In what follows, I am going to argue that this pessimistic assessment follows from Arendt’s exclusion of labor and work from the public realm. Against Arendt’s claim that such activities are essentially private, I shall argue that they, like action, manifest our embodied being-in-the-world. When we think (...)
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  50. James Mensch (2011). José Joaquín Andrade (Traductor). Eidos 15:76-95.
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