Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Cambridge, MA, and London, UK: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007), ISBN-13:978-0674- 02676-6; 874pp. This review essay concentrates on Charles Taylor's image of modernity.
The aim of this paper is to examine two turns towards the idea of the creative imagination in contemporary critical theory in the works of Axel Honneth and Cornelius Castoriadis. Honneth's work subsumes the idea of the creative imagination under the paradigm of mutual recognition. Castoriadis constructs the idea of the creative imagination from an ontological perspective. However, Castoriadis' idea of the primary autism of the creative imagination can be thrown into relief by Hegel's Jena Lectures. Hegel's and Castoriadis' work (...) opens onto a subjectivity in tension, that is, a subjectivity that is forged out of a combination of subjective interiority, as well as the patterns of interaction that are multidimensional in their scope and create social spaces that force the subject beyond an initial closure. (shrink)
In this essay, Durkheim's work is approached from a double vantage point. One vantage point looks at Durkheim's work with a post-classical attitude that intersects the ontological recasting of the social in the work of Castoriadis. It is in the context of social opening that I will concentrate on Durkheim's work as it presents a model of reflexivity that concentrates on the historical development of the modern period. Durkheim's model of reflexivity also opens onto the other vantage point of political (...) modernity, which is viewed as a particular constellation of the circulation of power, especially in nation-states, open forms of reflexivity, and democracy, in contrast to another political modernity that revolves around closed socially reflexive forms of totalitarianism and terrorism. Durkheim's work can be a fruitful point of departure for an analysis of political modernity because his theorisation occurs in a way that opens onto the historical development of its mode of reflexivity. (shrink)
There is an opening in Castoriadis’ work for a notion of cruelty, and it emerges in the way in which he develops his idea of heteronomy, as a human world that is blinded or deflected away from human self-creation. This essay is an attempt to locate cruelty constitutively or ontologically in a post-metaphysical register, as an act of creativity that can be given form as a very particular act of singularity, that is, without regard for the other. Acts of human (...) cruelty are acts of imaginary, creative activity among others that themselves are form , that is, expressed in physically embodied, objectivated, linguistic or symbolic form, and often become highly stylized, and when socially instituted, have their own spatial and temporal dimensions. In this way, it is distinct from relations of power. (shrink)