Largely, the concept of energy or vital force, as first analysed by Placide Tempels in Bantu Philosophy , permeates most African ontology systems, worldviews and life views. The Ntomba Chief is chosen because of his above average vital force. This puts him in the position of intermediary between the Supreme Being, the ancestors, and his subordinates. The waning of his energy is incompatible with his position because his energy is that of his tribe. When installed, he takes an oath that, (...) when this happens, he has to accept mohilo , the 'hastening of death'. In the Chief's case, the hastening of death is not intended to relieve his pain, as it would be with other creatures. The Chief's dying a natural death would result in the loss of the entire community's vital force. Therefore, he has to be killed ritually to avoid that risk. That the Chief agrees to be killed – via a form of advanced directive – poses an ethical dilemma for a Western observer. From the Ntomba perspective, however, where the energy is being, and being is energy, it is the only way to preserve and protect the community's raison d'être. (shrink)
This article deals with the concept of sentience, and more specifically with the argument from sentience as it is used by utilitarians in the abortion debate and in the advocacy of animal rights. It is argued that sentience is more than feeling pleasure and pain (with empha sis on pain), and that pain is an inborn protection required to fit into the world rather than the substance of evil. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.23(3) 2004: 292-301.
In several enigmatic passages, Paulo Freire describes the pedagogy of the oppressed as a 'pedagogy of laughter'. The inclusion of laughter alongside problem-posing dialogue might strike some as ambiguous, considering that the global exploitation of the poor is no laughing matter. And yet, laughter seems to be an important aspect of the pedagogy of the oppressed. In this paper, I examine the role of laughter in Freire's critical pedagogy through a series of questions: Are all forms of laughter equally emancipatory? (...) Certainly a revolutionary pedagogue can laugh, but should he or she, and what are the political (if not revolutionary) implications of this laughter? In order to shed new light on Freire's fleeting yet provocative comments, I turn to Jacques Rancière for his emphasis on the aesthetics of politics, and Paulo Virno who connects joke telling with critical theory. Overall, I argue that we need to take Freire's gesture toward a pedagogy of laughter seriously in order to understand the aesthetics of critical pedagogy and the fundamental need for a redistribution of the sensible that underlies educational relations between masters and pupils. (shrink)
The integration of personalism into business ethics has been recently studied. Research has also been conducted on humanistic management approaches. The conceptual relationship between personalism and humanism , however, has not been fully addressed. This article furthers that research by arguing that a true humanistic management is personalistic. Moreover, it claims that personalism is promising as a sound philosophical foundation for business ethics. Insights from Jacques Maritain’s work are discussed in support of these conclusions. Of particular interest is his distinction (...) between human person and individual based on a realistic metaphysics that, in turn, grounds human dignity and the natural law as the philosophical basis for human rights, personal virtues, and a common good defined in terms of properly human ends. Although Maritain is widely regarded as one of the foremost twentieth century personalist philosophers, his contribution has not been sufficiently considered in the business ethics and humanistic management literature. Important implications of Maritainian personalism for business ethics as philosophical study and as practical professional pursuit are discussed. (shrink)
The philosophy of pattern cladism has been variously explained by reference to the work of Louis Agassiz. The present study analyzes Agassiz's attempt to combine an empirical approach to the study of nature with an idealistic philosophy. From this emerges the problem of empiricism and of the isomorphy between the order of nature and human thinking. The analysis of the writings of Louis Agassiz serves as the basis for discussion of the reality of natural groups as postulated by pattern cladists.
Harris and Brokmeyer met in 1858 at the St. Louis Mercantile Library, where Harris was offering a public lecture. Brokmeyer convinced Harris of the significance of Hegel’s system, and its relevance to the historical trends of American society. They immediately joined forces, attracting a number of other youthful followers with intellectual ambitions, many of whom were, like Harris, teachers in the public schools. The nascent Hegelian movement was temporarily stalled when Brokmeyer went off to serve as a Colonel in the (...) Union Army during the Civil War, but it rebounded in full force upon his return with the formation of the St. Louis Philosophical Society in 1866, and the launching of the Journal of Speculative Philosophy, the official organ of the Society, in 1867. (shrink)
The German–American physiologist Jacques Loeb (1859–1924) and the Polish embryologist Emil Godlewski, jr. (1875–1944) contributed many valuable works to the body of developmental biology. Jacques Loeb was world famous at the beginning of the twentieth century for his development and demonstration of artificial parthenogenesis in 1899 and his experiments on regeneration. He served as a role model for the younger Polish experimenter Emil Godlewski, who began his career as a researcher like Loeb at the Zoological Station in Naples. Following Godlewski’s (...) first visit to Naples in 1901 a close relationship between the two scientists developed. Until Loeb’s death in 1924 the two exchanged ideas via correspondence that was only interrupted during the First World War. The aim of the paper is to examine the transatlantic transfer of knowledge in the field of biological experimentation that was fostered by these two protagonists. Using a modification of Bruno Latour’s model of the ‘Circulatory System of Science’ as a heuristic tool, different mechanisms of scientific exchange are displayed. With the help of Loeb’s and Godlewski’s correspondence the role of scientific communities, methods, allies, the public and institutions in the process of knowledge transfer are analysed. Preconditions for success and failure in transferring science are examined. (shrink)
The reputations of scientists among their contemporaries depend not only on accomplishment, but also on interactions affected by influence and personality. The historical lore of most fields of scientific endeavor preserve these reputations, often through the identification of founders, innovators, and prolific workers whose contributions are considered fundamental to progress in the field. Historians frequently rely on the historical lore of scientists to guide their studies of the development of ideas, exhibiting justifiable caution in reassessing reputations in the light of (...) current knowledge. However, the transmission of historical lore can obscure the relative importance of accomplishment, influence and personality in shaping contemporary reputations, leaving the historian to either accept reputations at face value or attempt to reconstruct the context in which they were created. The science of taxonomy, because of its rules of priority, leaves a relatively accurate record of historical accomplishment through the persistence of taxa in catalogues and faunal guides. These records allow the modern historian an unbiased means to assess the relative accomplishments of historical figures and therefore a means to critically reassess reputations independent of personality and influence. In the historical lore of North American ichthyology, Louis Agassiz at Harvard and Spencer Baird at the Smithsonian emerge as central figures in the early development of the field during the mid-1800s, contributing not only through the quality and quantity of their science, but also through their roles as institutional leaders and mentors to workers who followed. Charles Girard, originally a student of Agassiz's and later a coworker with Baird, receives little notice in the history of ichthyology, and his reputation is that of a minor player in the initial description of the North American fish fauna, and one whose work appears to have been flawed or even careless when compared to his contemporaries. However, a review of both contemporary and modern taxonomic works reveals that Girard's productivity far exceeded that of either Agassiz or Baird. Furthermore, an examination of the tendency of Girard and his contemporaries to introduce synonymous names into the literature, which might reflect careless or uncritical work, suggests that Girard was among the more accomplished workers of his era, including Agassiz and Baird. Girard's low ranking in the folklore of North American ichthyology, therefore, can not be attributed to discernible shortcomings in his scientific work, but rather to a public and private campaign of criticism waged by Agassiz after Girard's departure from Harvard. While Agassiz's dispute with Girard stemmed from their personal interactions, he expressed them as criticisms of Girard's work, and thus helped shape Girard's scientific reputation as it has been transmitted through the lore of ichthyology. This case study reveals how scientific reputation may not always rest on accomplishment, but can be influenced by personal interactions obscured by time but nonetheless important to history. (shrink)
Using the philosophy of Jean-Luc Nancy as an anchoring point, Jacques Derrida in this book conducts a profound review of the philosophy of the sense of touch, from Plato and Aristotle to Jean-Luc Nancy, whose ground-breaking book Corpus he discusses in detail. Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Edmund Husserl, Didier Franck, Martin Heidegger, Francoise Dastur, and Jean-Louis Chre;tien are discussed, as are Rene; Descartes, Diderot, Maine de Biran, Fe;lix Ravaisson, Immanuel Kant, Sigmund Freud, and others. The scope of Derrida’s deliberations makes (...) this book a virtual encyclopedia of the philosophy of touch (and the body). Derrida gives special consideration to the thinking of touch in Christianity and, in discussing Jean-Luc Nancy’s essay “Deconstruction of Christianity,” devotes a section of the book to the sense of touch in the Gospels. Another section concentrates on “the flesh,” as treated by Merleau-Ponty and others in his wake. Derrida’s critique of intuitionism, notably in the phenomenological tradition, is one of the guiding threads of the book. On Touching includes a wealth of notes that provide an extremely useful bibliographical resource. Personal and detached all at once, this book, one of the first published in English translation after Jacques Derrida’s death, serves as a useful and poignant retrospective on the work of the philosopher. A tribute by Jean-Luc Nancy, written a day after Jacques Derrida’s death, is an added feature. (shrink)
Long recognised as a painting ‘about’ painting, Velázquez’s Las Meninas comes to Lacan’s aid as he explicates the object a in Seminar XIII, The Object of Psychoanalysis (1965–1966). The famous seventeenth century painting provides Lacan with a visual mapping of the ‘ghost story’ he discovers in the Cartesian cogito, insofar as it depicts the unravelling of the Cartesian representational project at the moment of its founding gesture. This article traces Lacan’s argument as he turns to art, linear perspective and topology (...) to model how the object a persistently eludes the grasp of scientific knowledge. Following a discussion of distance-point perspective in Renaissance Italy and the role this innovation played in enabling distorted depictions of objects in space, I propose Henry James’s ghost story, “The Jolly Corner,” as the sequel to Lacan’s reading of Las Meninas. In James’s tale, we obtain a narrative account of what the figures in Velasquez’s painting might ‘see’ as they return our gaze towards us. (shrink)
Responding to questions put to him at a Roundtable held at Villanova University in 1994, Jacques Derrida leads the reader through an illuminating discussion of the central themes of deconstruction. Speaking in English and extemporaneously, Derrida takes up with unusual clarity and great eloquence such topics as the task of philosophy, the Greeks, justice, responsibility, the gift, the community, the distinction between the messianic and the concrete messianisms, and his interpretation of James Joyce. Derrida convincingly refutes the charges of relativism (...) and nihilism that are often leveled at deconstruction by its critics and sets forth the profoundly affirmative and ethico-political thrust of his work. The “Roundtable” is marked by the unusual clarity of Derrida’s presentation and by the deep respect for the great works of the philosophical and literary tradition with which he characterizes his philosophical work. The Roundtable is annotated by John D. Caputo, the David R. Cook Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University, who has supplied cross references to Derrida’s writings where the reader may find further discussion on these topics. Professor Caputo has also supplied a commentary which elaborates the principal issues raised in the Roundtable. In all, this volume represents one of the most lucid, compact and reliable introductions to Derrida and deconstruction available in any language. An ideal volume for students approaching Derrida for the first time, Deconstruction in a Nutshell will prove instructive and illuminating as well for those already familiar with Derrida’s work. (shrink)
One of the most influential and controversial thinkers of the twentieth-century, Jacques Derrida’s ideas on deconstruction have had a lasting impact on philosophy, literature and cultural studies. Jacques Derrida: Basic Writings is the first anthology to present his most important philosophical writings and is an indispensable resource for all students and readers of his work. Barry Stocker’s clear and helpful introductions set each reading in context, making the volume an ideal companion for those coming to Derrida’s writings for the first (...) time. The selections themselves range from his most infamous works including Speech and Phenomena and Writing and Difference to lesser known discussion on aesthetics, ethics and politics. (shrink)
Après son étude exemplaire sur le discours de gauche et de droite pendant l’entre-deux-guerres dans le champ de la lexicométrie appliquée à un très grand corpus, Damon Mayaffre élargit notre horizon méthodologique, en matière de lexicologie quantitative, par une approche logométrique du discours d’un homme politique, Jacques Chirac, qu’il met en perspective au sein du discours présidentiel entre 1958 et 2003. La logométrie s’entend ici comme un ensemble de traitements documentaires et statist..
Louis Pojman and Robert Westmorland have compiled the best material on the subject of equality, ranging from classical works by Aristotle, Hobbes and Rousseau to contemporary works by John Rawls, Thomas Nagel, Michael Walzer, Harry Frankfurt, Bernard Williams and Robert Nozick; and including such topics as: the concept of equality; equal opportunity; Welfare egalitarianism; resources; equal human rights and complex equality. -/- CONTENTS: Introduction: The Nature and Value of Equality I. Classical Readings: 1. Aristotle: Justice and Equality 2. Thomas Hobbes: (...) Equality in the State of Nature 3. Jean-Jacques Rousseau: On the Origins of Inequality 4. David Hume: On Justice and Equality 5. Francis-Noel Babeuf and Sylvain Marechal: The Manifesto of Equality II. On the concept of Equality Itself 6. Felix E. Oppenheim: Egalitarianism as a Descriptive Concept 7. Dennis McKerlie: Equality and Time 8. Larry Temkin: Inequality III. General Considerations 9. Immanuel Kant: Groundwork for a Metaphysic of Morals 10. Robert Nozick: Justice Does Not Imply Equality 11. J.R. Lucas: Against Equality 12. Stanley I. Benn: Egalitarianism and the Equal Consideration of Interests 13. Gregory Vlastos: Justice and Equality IV. Equal Opportunity 14. John Schaar: Equality of Opportunity and Beyond 15. James Fishkin: Liberty versus Equal Opportunity 16. Peter Westen: the concept of Equal Opportunity 17. Robert Nozick: Life is not a Race 18. William Galston: A Liberal Defense of Equal Opportunity V. The Contemporary Debate on the Nature and Value of Equality 19. John Rawls: Equality and Desert 20. Wallace Matson: Justice: A Funeral Oration 21. Kai Nielson: Radical Welfare Egalitarianism 22. R.M. Hare: A Utilitarian Defense of Equality 23. Richard Arneson: Equality and Equal Opportunity for Welfare 24. Eric Rakowski: A Critique of Welfare Egalitarianism 25. Thomas Nagel: Equality and Partiality 26. Harry Frankfurt: Equality as a Moral Ideal 27. Eric Rakowski: A Defense of Resource Equality 28. Louis Pojman: On Equal Human Worth: A Critique of Contemporary Egalitarianism 29. Michael Walzer: Complex Equality Appendix 30. Kurt Vonnegut: Harrison Bergeron Bibliography. (shrink)
This book begins with Derrida's text, based on a lecture he gave in Montreal and is followed by two texts commenting on it. Derrida gives one of his most precise developments on the notion of 'l'événement' (event), that which comes to disturb the course of history and thus escapes the normal ways of being told and understood. His thought on the topic is crucial for future research on literature as testimony, refering to abnormal conditions of experience whose nature exceeds usual (...) narrative norms. This work is on two components of European culture : French West Indian and Black British literature (memory of slavery) and Spanish literature (civil war and refugees camps). Ce volume prolonge les réflexions du séminaire tenu à Montréal, articulé autour de la question " Dire l'événement, est-ce possible ? ". Les contributions de Gad Soussana ("De l'événement depuis la nuit" suivi de "Arriver") et d'Alexis Nouss ("Parole sans voix") tentent d'en prendre la mesure à partir des problématiques de l'origine et du posthume. Mais l'essentiel, en elles, aura été de susciter la réponse de Jacques Derrida : " Une certaine possibilité impossible de dire l'événement ". Plus qu'une simple rencontre, ce séminaire explicite la présence d'une pensée de l'événement au cœur de l'œuvre littéraire et de l'œuvre philosophique. (shrink)
Philosophy and the Frontiers of the Political is the title of a biographical-theoretical interview between Emanuela Fornari and Étienne Balibar. The interview falls into three parts. The first part retraces the theoretical and intellectual climate in which Balibar received his education in the early 1960s: in this context the study of classical thinkers such as Spinoza went hand in hand with a radical rethinking of the relations between politics and philosophy, conducted in the context of an attempt to provide a (...) critical reconstruction of Marxism that drew upon the revolutionary perspective of structuralism. Through his friendship and association with his teacher Louis Althusser, Balibar developed a specific conception of philosophy as a "Kampfplatz," or battle-field, where we must struggle to forge a significant relationship between theory and practice, or between philosophy and politics. The second part of the interview focusses on questions of European nationalism and "neo-racism," and the way in which these questions come to explode the classical perspective of Marxism. In this context Balibar discusses his intellectual relations with Jacques Derrida and with Immanuel Wallerstein, and his attitude to the latter's theory of the "system-world." Balibar explains how his own conception of the relation between ideological formations and processes of accumulation can be described as a disjunctive synthesis: as a heterogeneous union of problems that have no determining "final instance." Finally, the third part of the interview is dedicated to a discussion of "cosmopolitics" and the role of Europe in the transition from the modern system of nation states to the new transnational and postnational constellation. Balibar's approach essentially undertakes to reactivate, in the context of global modernity, a Machiavellian conception of "conflictual democracy" which identifies the very core of the democratic principle in the constant interaction between the logic of conflict and the logic of institutions. (shrink)
During the final decade of his life, Jacques Derrida came to use the trope of autoimmunity with greater and greater frequency. Indeed it today appears that autoimmunity was to have been the last iteration of what for more than forty years Derrida called deconstruction. This essay looks at the consequences of this terminological shift for our understanding not only of Derrida's final works (such as Rogues) but of his entire corpus. By taking up a term from the biological sciences that (...) describes the process by which an organism turns in quasi-suicidal fashion against its own self-protection, Derrida was able to rethink the very notion of life otherwise and demonstrate the way in which every sovereign identity, from the self to the nation-state to, most provocatively, God, is open to a process that both threatens to destroy it and gives it its only chance of living on. (shrink)
Abstract Modern reflection on the ideal of personal autonomy has its Western origin in the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, where autonomy, or self-legislation, involves citizens joining together to make laws for themselves that reflect their collective understanding of the common good. Four features of this conception of autonomy continue to be relevant today. First, autonomy, a type of freedom, is introduced into modern philosophy in order to make up for a perceived deficiency, or incompleteness, in merely ?negative? freedom (the right (...) to do as one pleases, unimpeded by others). Second, autonomy is taken to be not merely a complement of negative freedom but a higher, more valuable species of freedom. Third, at its origin personal autonomy is not conceived individualistically; rather, on Rousseau's account, autonomy is achievable only if citizens surrender part of their status as individuals and think of their social membership as essential, not merely accidental, to who they are. Finally, Rousseau's conception of autonomy is distinct from the contemporary ideal of autonomy defined as judging or deciding for oneself (according to one's own reason). Nevertheless, there is an important sense in which autonomy as Rousseau conceives it also requires the developed capacity for independent, self-determined judgment. (shrink)
The idea for Philosophy in a Time of Terror was born hours after the attacks on 9/11 and was realized just weeks later when Giovanna Borradori sat down with Jurgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida in New York City, in separate interviews, to evaluate the significance of the most destructive terrorist act ever perpetrated. This book marks an unprecedented encounter between two of the most influential thinkers of our age as here, for the first time, Habermas and Derrida overcome their mutual (...) antagonism and agree to appear side by side. As the two philosophers disassemble and reassemble what we think we know about terrorism, they break from the familiar social and political rhetoric increasingly polarized between good and evil. In this process, we watch two of the greatest intellects of the century at work. (shrink)
As an accompaniment to the translation into English of Louis Althusser's 'Letter to the Central Committee of the PCF, March 18th, 1966', this note provides the historical and theoretical context necessary to understand Althusser's 'anti-humanist' interventions into French Communist Party policy decisions during the mid-1960s. Because nowhere else in Althusser's published writings do we see as clearly the political stakes involved in his philosophical project, nor the way in which this project evolved from a 'theoreticist' pursuit into a more practical (...) one, the note also argues that the letter is of importance to Althusser scholars, to historians of Marxist thought, and to those interested in the relevance of Althusser's work to contemporary Marxist philosophy. (shrink)
This paper investigates the philosophical method of Jacques Rancière, with special attention to use of the 'presumptive tautology'. It distinguishes between the Enlightenment conception of method as universally applicable technique, and the philosophical conception of method as a certain style that has been invented by a certain person. Ultimately, the paper puts the methodology of Rancière's The Ignorant Schoolmaster under scrutiny.
Rousseau's general will is mostly interpreted as promoting social unity at the expense of plurality. Conversely, this article argues that the general will depends on, and preserves, plurality for its formation and legitimacy. The general and the particular are not fixed opposites, for Rousseau, but are interdependent and contextually defined. The Rousseauian universal anticipates Laclau's notion of universality. The absence of any natural foundations for society deprives the universal of any pre-given identity. Likewise, the Laclauian universal names the lack of (...) ultimate ground for society. To prevent either sectarianism or despotism, the universal has to be constructed politically. Rousseau's contingent general will supplements the lack of universality, as diverse groups and individuals construct common values and political objectives that unify them across divisions without suppressing their difference. Due to its originary lack, the general will remains for ever incomplete. That incompleteness conditions the questioning, ambiguity and openness to change characterizing democracy. Key Words: democracy • equality • freedom • general will • Ernesto Laclau • particular • plurality • Jean-Jacques Rousseau • sovereignty • universal. (shrink)
In this article I re-examine the role that aesthetics play in Paulo Freire's pedagogy of the oppressed. As opposed to the vast majority of scholarship in this area, I suggest that aesthetics play a more centralised role in pedagogy above and beyond arts-based curricula. To help clarify Freire's position, I will argue that underlying the linguistic resolution of the student/teacher dialectic in the problem-posing classroom is an accompanying shift in the very aesthetics of recognition. In order to demonstrate the always (...) already aesthetic nature of all education, I will turn to the aesthetic philosophy of Jacques Rancière. Through Rancière we can begin to understand how the pedagogy of the oppressed is predicated on an aesthetic redistribution of the sensible, of what can be seen and what can be heard. As Rancière will confirm, if we truly want to understand the aesthetics of pedagogy, we cannot simply see aesthetics as external to teaching and learning. Rather, education as an aesthetic event has to be taken seriously, and aesthetics should regain primacy in discussions of critical pedagogy. (shrink)
Jean-Jacques Rousseau remains an important figure in the history of philosophy, both because of his contributions to political philosophy and moral psychology and because of his influence on later thinkers. Rousseau's own view of philosophy and philosophers was firmly negative, seeing philosophers as the post-hoc rationalizers of self-interest, as apologists for various forms of tyranny, and as playing a role in the alienation of the modern individual from humanity's natural impulse to compassion. The concern that dominates Rousseau's work is to (...) find a way of preserving human freedom in a world where human beings are increasingly dependent on one another for the satisfaction of their needs. This concern has two dimensions: material and psychological, of which the latter has greater importance. In the modern world, human beings come to derive their very sense of self from the opinion of others, a fact which Rousseau sees as corrosive of freedom and destructive of individual authenticity. In his mature work, he principally explores two routes to achieving and protecting freedom: the first is a political one aimed at constructing political institutions that allow for the co-existence of free and equal citizens in a community where they themselves are sovereign; the second is a project for child development and education that fosters autonomy and avoids the development of the most destructive forms of self-interest. However, though Rousseau believes the co-existence of human beings in relations of equality and freedom is possible, he is consistently and overwhelmingly pessimistic that humanity will escape from a dystopia of alienation, oppression, and unfreedom. In addition to his contributions to philosophy, Rousseau was active as a composer and a music theorist, as the pioneer of modern.. (shrink)
pseudo-Master's thesis Since Jacques Derrida’s 1989 essay “Force of Law: the Mystical Foundations of Authority,” Carl Schmitt has been a perennial subject of Derrida’s political critique. I will argue that Derrida’s concept of auto-immunity is uniquely applicable to Derrida’s interpretation of Schmitt’s political philosophy. Therefore, my argument will consist of two interrelated but equally divergent parts; the digressive structure will attempt to mimic Derrida’s complex style of weaving opposed concepts into a coherent whole. First, I will demonstrate the many forms (...) of Derrida’s concept of auto-immunity. Second, I will exhibit how this schema uniquely applies to Derrida’s criticisms of Schmitt and the contemporary state of politics. (shrink)
: How much violence can a society expect its members to accept? A comparison between the language theories of Julia Kristeva and Jacques Lacan is the starting point for answering this question. A look at the early stages of language acquisition exposes the sacrificial logic of patriarchal society. Are those forces that restrict the individual to be conceived in a martial imagery of castration or is it possible that an existing society critically questions those points of socialization that leave their (...) members in a state of homelessness? The following considerations should help to distinguish between unavoidable and avoidable forms of violence. (shrink)