One of Michel Henry’s major contributions to the phenomenology of the body consists in his proposal, based on his reading of Maine de Biran, to understand the subjective corporeity from the angle of the ability of action. Subjective corporeity acquires its ontological autonomy and its reality only through its own temporality. In reference to several unpublished texts, this article tries to clarify the nexus between ability and time, and thus to emphasize the crucial importance of the past for a (...) “phenomenology of life”, in his paradoxical connection with the necessity to think a “coming in presence” of the world. (shrink)
New concepts may prove necessary to profit from the avalanche of sequence data on the genome, transcriptome, proteome and interactome and to relate this information to cell physiology. Here, we focus on the concept of large activity-based structures, or hyperstructures, in which a variety of types of molecules are brought together to perform a function. We review the evidence for the existence of hyperstructures responsible for the initiation of DNA replication, the sequestration of newly replicated origins of replication, cell division (...) and for metabolism. The processes responsible for hyperstructure formation include changes in enzyme affinities due to metabolite-induction, lipid-protein affinities, elevated local concentrations of proteins and their binding sites on DNA and RNA, and transertion. Experimental techniques exist that can be used to study hyperstructures and we review some of the ones less familiar to biologists. Finally, we speculate on how a variety of in silico approaches involving cellular automata and multi-agent systems could be combined to develop new concepts in the form of an Integrated cell (I-cell) which would undergo selection for growth and survival in a world of artificial microbiology. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Jean-Michel Salanskis surveys a number of well-known principles of leftist thought in order to criticize certain illusions to which it falls prey, but also in order to renew its most essential motivation: the search for equality. However, in so doing, Salanskis deploys an ambiguous and problematic notion of possibility that threatens the coherence of his project. The present study analyzes aspects of Salanskis’ book, taking possibility as a guiding thread, and proposes adjustments that may help to avoid (...) certain classic pitfalls in the history of dialectical thinking. (shrink)
In this paper I consider Ricœur’s negotiation of the boundary or relationship between philosophy and religion in light of the larger debate in contemporary French philosophy. I suggest that contrasting his way of dealing with the intersection of the two discourses to that of two other French thinkers (Jean-Luc Marion and Michel Henry) illuminates his stance more fully. I begin with a brief outline of Ricœur’s claims about the distinction or relation between the discourses, then reflect on those (...) of Marion and Henry, who although they do not relate them in the same way still together form a significant contrast to Ricœur’s perspective, and conclude with a fuller consideration of Ricœur’s methodology in light of this comparison. I suggest that it is in particular his hermeneutic commitments that lead him both to more rigorous distinctions between discourses and ironically to greater mediation. (shrink)
For Hannah Arendt, spontaneous, initiatory human action and interaction are suppressed by the normalizing pressures of society once life - that is, sheer life - becomes the primary concern of politics, as it does, she finds, in the modern age. Arendts concept of the social is indebted to Martin Heideggers analysis of everyday Dasein in Being and Time , and contemporary political philosophers inspired by Heidegger, such as Jean-Luc Nancy, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, and Giorgio Agamben, tend to reproduce her account (...) of the withdrawal of the political in modernity. In this article, I complicate Arendts theory by turning to Michel Foucaults parallel but diverging understanding of the nature of power in modern society to show, surprisingly, that Foucaults narrative of the emergence of modern power pictures a society that is more, not less, politicized. Key Words: Hannah Arendt bio-power Michel Foucault Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe modernity Jean-Luc Nancy pastoral power the social rulership. (shrink)
To address the theological turn in phenomenology, this paper sets out critical arguments opposing the theist phenomenology of Michel Henry and Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy of the event. Henry’s phenomenology has been overlooked in recent commentaries compared with, for example, Jean-Luc Marion’s work. It will be shown here that Henry’s philosophy presents a detailed novel turn in phenomenology structured according to critical moves against positions developed from Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty. This demonstration is done through a strong contrast with (...) Deleuze and a short engagement with Quentin Meillassoux. The paper presents an argument against the theological turn on the grounds that it misunderstands the form of affectivity when compared to Deleuze’s work on affect and event. It will be argued that Henry’s search for a free-standing affect deduced as a condition for any appearance underplays the way any affect is included in many causal and transcendentally determined series such that any notion of the pure affect independent of other processes is a fiction. The loss of this pure affect entails the questioning of the theological turn in Henry. (shrink)
Van Heijenoort’s main contribution to history and philosophy of modern logic was his distinction between two basic views of logic, first, the absolutist, or universalist, view of the founding fathers, Frege, Peano, and Russell, which dominated the first, classical period of history of modern logic, and, second, the relativist, or model-theoretic, view, inherited from Boole, Schröder, and Löwenheim, which has dominated the second, contemporary period of that history. In my paper, I present the man Jean van Heijenoort (Sect. 1); (...) then I describe his way of arguing for the second view (Sect. 2); and finally I come down in favor of the first view (Sect. 3). There, I specify the version of universalism for which I am prepared to argue (Sect. 3, introduction). Choosing ZFC to play the part of universal, logical (in a nowadays forgotten sense) system, I show, through an example, how the usual model theory can be naturally given its proper place, from the universalist point of view, in the logical framework of ZFC; I outline another, not rival but complementary, semantics for admissible extensions of ZFC in the very same logical framework; I propose a way to get universalism out of the predicaments in which universalists themselves believed it to be (Sect. 3.1). Thus, if universalists of the classical period did not, in fact, construct these semantics, it was not that their universalism forbade them, in principle, to do so. The historical defeat of universalism was not technical in character. Neither was it philosophical. Indeed, it was hardly more than the victory of technicism over the very possibility of a philosophical dispute (Sect. 3.2). (shrink)
This essay explores the practical significance of Michel Henry’s “material phenomenology.” Commencing with an exposition of his most basic philosophical intuition, i.e., his insight that transcendental affectivity is the primordial mode of revelation of our selfhood, the essay then brings to light how this intuition also establishes our relation to both the world and others. Animated by a radical form of the phenomenological reduction, Henry’s material phenomenology brackets the exterior world in a bid to reach the concrete interior transcendental (...) experience at the base of all exteriority. The essay argues that this “counter reduction,” designed as a practical orientation to the world, suspends all traditional parameters of onto(theo)logical individuation in order to rethink subjectivity in terms of its transcendental corporeality, i.e., in terms of the invisible display of “affective flesh.” The development of this “metaphysics of the individual” anchors his “practical philosophy” as he developed it—under shifting accents—throughout his oeuvre. In particular, the essay brings into focus Henry’s reflections on modernity, the industry of mass culture and their “barbaric” movements. The essay briefly puts these cultural and political areas of Henry’s of thinking into contact with his late “theological turn,” i.e., his Christological account of Life and the (inter)subjective self-realization to which it gives rise. (shrink)
Cet article cherche à rendre compte de la signification du concept d'habitus que nous retrouvons chez Michel Henry en tentant de le situer par rapport aux principaux concepts qui sont au fondement de la phénoménologie matérielle.
Jean Hamburger (1909--1992) is considered the founder of the concept of medical intensive care (reanimation medicale) and the first to propose the name Nephrology for the branch of medicine dealing with kidney diseases. One of the first kidney grafts in the world (with short-term success), in 1953, and the first dialysis session in France, in 1955, were performed under his guidance. His achievements as a writer were at least comparable: Hamburger was awarded several important literary prizes, including prix Femina, (...) prix Balzac and the Cino del Duca prize (1979), awarded, among others, to Jorge Luis Borges and Konrad Lorenz.Here we would like to offer a selected reading of a "golden" book, "Conseils aux etudiants en medicine de mon service" ("Advice to the Medical Students in my Service"), the first book dedicated to patient-physician relationship in Nephrology, written when dialysis and transplantation were becoming clinical options (1963). The themes include: the central role of the patient, who should be known by name, profession, life style, and not by disease; the importance of the setting of the care; the need for truth-telling and for leaving hope; the role of research not only in the progression of science, but also in the daily clinical practice. (shrink)
Cette étude, dans un premier temps, apporte des preuves à la possibilité d’interpréter la pensée politique de Hannah Arendt comme un projet phénoménologique original dont le but est d’élever l’apparence de la personne au rang de mode unique de l’apparaître. Puis elle présente brièvement la phénoménologie matérielle de Michel Henry dans laquelle le Soi individuel joue un rôle tout aussi central, puisqu’il est la condition de l’apparence de la vie et le fondement de tout apparaître. En conclusion, l’étude esquisse (...) les conséquences d’une telle position privilégiée du sujet individuel pour la conception théorique de la réalité effective de l’apparaître, de même que pour les problèmes pratiques de l’action de l’homme dans le monde. (shrink)
Questo articolo cerca di esplorare il rapporto tra parrēsia ed exemplum negli ultimi Corsi al Collège de France di Michel Foucault. A partire da L’ermeneutica del soggetto , viene analizzato il campo semantico e pratico relativo alla direzione di coscienza stoica ed epicurea, in cui Foucault oppone la parrēsia all’adulazione e alla retorica per collocarla invece all’interno di un’importante serie di concetti: la paradosis (la trasmissione dei discorsi di verità), il kairos (il momento giusto, la circostanza opportuna) e l’exemplum (...) definito come «il cuore della parrēsia » poiché esso assicura l’ adæquatio tra il soggetto di enunciazione e il soggetto di comportamento che si conforma alla verità espressa dal primo. Successivamente, viene posta l’attenzione sul legame tra parrēsia ed exemplum nell’ultimo Corso, Il coraggio della verità , per mettere in evidenza un’importante riconfigurazione all’interno della parrēsia cinica, in cui l’esempio appare come una categoria etica basata sulla permanenza e sull’identità a sé. Pertanto, esso si rivela inadeguato per questo regime aleturgico della parrēsia cinica, che invece consiste in un atteggiamento etico sperimentale, una mise à l’épreuve cui sottomettere la vita per arrivare a una trasformazione politica del mondo attraverso una continua e scandalosa provocazione degli altri, in grado di mettere in discussione la percezione di norme culturali e di abitudini consolidate. (shrink)
Jean-Paul Sartre is one of the most famous philosophers of the twentieth century. The principal founder of existentialism, a political thinker and famous novelist and dramatist, his work has exerted enormous influence in philosophy, literature, politics and cultural studies. Jean-Paul Sartre: Basic Writings is the first collection of Sartre's key philosophical writings and provides an indispensable resource for readers of his work. Stephen Priest's clear and helpful introductions make the volume an ideal companion to those coming to Sartre's (...) writing for the first time. (shrink)
Jean-Francois Lyotard is often considered to be the father of postmodernism. Here leading experts in the field of cultural and philosophical studies, including Barry Smart, John O' Neill and Victor J. Seidler, tackle many of the questions still being asked about this controversial figure.
The article analyses the idea that according to the averroist Jean de Jandun, Master of Arts in Paris at the beginning of the 14th century, human beings are composed of a «double form» the separated intellect on the one hand, the cogitative soul on the other hand. After recalling several major accounts of the time, we explore Jean's reading of Averroes' major conceptions concerning the problem. Finally, we challenge the idea according to which we observe in his writings (...) the radical thesis of a sometimes cogitating sometimes thinking «double human being» that makes of the homo intelligens a punctual and exclusive new being, which is accidentally produced while the thinking takes place. (shrink)
Van Heijenoort’s account of the historical development of modern logic was composed in 1974 and first published in 1992 with an introduction by his former student. What follows is a new edition with a revised and expanded introduction and additional notes.
O texto pretende discutir a maneira como Foucault trabalha o problema da constituição do sujeito do cuidado de si – tema que tomou conta de seus últimos livros, cursos, entrevistas e conferências. A problematização deste sujeito e das “técnicas de si” que o constitui surgem na obra do autor a partir do momento em que Foucault reorienta as suas pesquisas sobre as relações de poder ao final dos anos 70, dando início às investigações sobre as formas de governar (governo dos (...) outros). Procura-se mostrar que o deslocamento operado pelo autor passa necessariamente por uma problematização das condições de possibilidade a partir das quais as relações de poder, em sua modalidade de “ações sobre ações”, tornam-se possíveis. A liberdade como condição de possibilidade das relações de poder surge na obra de Foucault ao mesmo tempo em que a investigação sobre as “técnicas de si” descortinam a formação de sujeitos éticos. (shrink)
This collection of articles illustrates the intimacy between science and literature, pleasure and sense, excess and moderation that Jean Ceard sought to understand and that he instilled in those who collaborated or studied with him.
Quoique l'auteur de quatre romans, dont l'un a été couronné par l'un des prix littéraires les plus prestigieux, Michel Henry n'a jamais véritablement formulé une esthétique du roman. L'objet de cet article est, après une étude détaillée de son concept de vie, de tenter de saisir quelle place la pratique littéraire pouvait avoir au sein de son système. Autrement dit, elle s'interroge sur la possibilité de fonder sa création littéraire sur sa réflexion philosophique.
Le colloque international de Montpellier - " Michel Henry. Phénoménologie de la vie et culture contemporaine " - a tenu à rendre hommage à cette œuvre novatrice qui a ouvert de nombreux horizons de recherche.
Jean Starobinski, one of Europe's foremost literary critics, examines the life that led Rousseau, who so passionately sought open, transparent communication with others, to accept and even foster obstacles that permitted him to withdraw into himself. First published in France in 1958, Jean-Jacques Rousseau remains Starobinski's most important achievement and, arguably, the most comprehensive book ever written on Rousseau. The text has been extensively revised for this edition and is published here along with seven essays on Rousseau that (...) appeared between 1962 and 1970. (shrink)
The centerpiece of the first volume of Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality is the analysis of what Foucault terms the “repressive hypothesis,” the nearly universal assumption on the part of twentieth-century Westerners that we are the heirs to a Victorian legacy of sexual repression. The supreme irony of this belief, according to Foucault, is that the whole time that we have been announcing and denouncing our repressed, Victorian sexuality, discourses about sexuality have actually proliferated. Paradoxically, as Victorian as we (...) allegedly are, we cannot stop talking about sex. Much of the analysis of the first volume of the History of Sexuality consists in an unmasking and debunking of the repressive hypothesis. This unmasking does not take the simple form of a counter-claim that we are not, in fact, repressed; rather, Foucault contends that understanding sexuality solely or even primarily in terms of repression is inaccurate and misleading. As he said in an interview published in 1983, “it is not a question of denying the existence of repression. It’s one of showing that repression is always a part of a much more complex political strategy regarding sexuality. Things are not merely repressed.”1 Foucault makes this extremely clear in the introduction to the History of Sexuality, Volume 1, when he writes. (shrink)
Taking his critique of totalitarianizing conceptions of community as a starting point, this text examines Jean-Luc Nancy's work of an "ontology of plural singular being" for its political implications. It argues that while at first this ontology seems to advocate a negative or an anti-politics only, it can also be read as a "theory of communicative praxis" that suggests a certain ethos - in the form of a certain use of symbols (which is expressed only inaptly by the word (...) "style") that would render the ontological plurality of singulars perceptible and practically effective. Finally, some recent texts by Nancy even sidestep the ontology of being-with and face the question of what politics, faced with demands of justice, could be and what a democratic politics could provide. Both of these aspects in Nancy's work, however, still remain to be spelled out more politically. (shrink)
One of Michel Henry’s persistent claims has been that phenomenology is quite unlike positive sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology, history, and law. Rather than studying particular objects and phenomena phenomenology is a transcendental enterprise whose task is to disclose and analyse the structure of manifestation or appearance and its very condition of possibility.
Of all twentieth century philosophers, it is Gilles Deleuze whose work agitates most forcefully for a worldview privileging becoming over being, difference over sameness; the world as a complex, open set of multiplicities. Nevertheless, Deleuze remains singular in enlisting mathematical resources to underpin and inform such a position, refusing the hackneyed opposition between ‘static’ mathematical logic versus ‘dynamic’ physical world. This is an international collection of work commissioned from foremost philosophers, mathematicians and philosophers of science, to address the wide range (...) of problematics and influences in this most important strand of Deleuze’s thinking. Contributors are Charles Alunni, Alain Badiou, Gilles Châtelet, Manuel DeLanda, Simon Duffy, Robin Durie, Aden Evens, Arkady Plotnitsky, Jean-Michel Salanskis, Daniel Smith and David Webb. (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)
This paper is an attempt to clarify and assess Dennett’s opinion about the relevance of the phenomenological tradition to contemporary cognitive science, focussing on the very idea of a phenomenological investigation. Dennett can be credited with four major claims on this topic: (1) Two kinds of phenomenological investigations must be carefully distinguished: autophenomenology and heterophenomenology; (2) autophenomenology is wrong, because it fails to overcome what might be called the problem of phenomenological scepticism; (3) the phenomenological tradition mainly derived from Husserl (...) is based on an autophenomenological conception of phenomenology, and, consequently, can be of no help to contemporary cognitive science; (4) however, heterophenomenology is indispensable for obtaining an adequate theory of consciousness. In response to Dennett’s analysis, the paper develops two main counterclaims: (1) Although the traditional conception of phenomenology does indeed fit Dennett’s notion of autophenomenology, his sceptical arguments fail to rule out at least the possibility of a modified version of this traditional conception, such as the one defended in Roy et al. (Naturalizing Phenomenology, 1999); (2) the distinction between autophenomenology and heterophenomenology is at any rate misconceived, because, upon closer analysis, heterophenomenology proves to include the essential characteristics of autophenomenology. (shrink)
The seal of the a priori is imprinted on the reception of Kant's philosophy. Piaget's epistemological argumentation seems to ascribe knowledge a more fruitful constructiveness than Kant, seeing the a priori as rooted in unvarying reason. Yet, it seems, he failed to recognize the complexity of Kant's theory, which does not always follow a quid iuris line. Moments of experience, analysis and self-observation played more than a marginal role in his discovery of the a priori. Indeed, Kant himself raises the (...) question of ontogenetic category assimilation in a review which pre-empts Piaget, borrowing the category of `original acquisition' from the doctrine of the laws of natural right. And although Kant should not be elevated to the harbinger of the knowledge on development issues delivered thus far by the history of science and experiments, he did recognize the temporal reference of their categories in principle without resolving their validity in psychogenetic terms. Key Words: a priori categories genetic epistemology Geneva School neo-Kantianism original acquisition Jean Piaget psychogenesis self-observation. (shrink)
: The paper aims at an analysis of the oeuvre of the French historian of science and epistemologist Gaston Bachelard (1884–1962). Bachelard was the founder of a tradition of French thinking about science that extended from Jean Cavaillès over Georges Canguilhem to Michel Foucault. In the past, he has become best known and criticized for his postulation of an epistemological rupture between everyday experience and scientific experience. In my analysis, I emphasize another aspect of the work of Bachelard. (...) It is the way he conceptualizes the relation between scientific thinking and technology in modern science. Within this framework, the notion of "phenomenotechnique" is of crucial importance. It is one of the organizing concepts of Bachelard's historical epistemology, and it serves as the organizing center of this paper. (shrink)
The kind of phenomenology that can be useful to theology will be a hermeneutical phenomenology, one that takes us beyond the Cartesian/Husserlian ideal of presuppositionless intuition. It will also be a phenomenology of inverse intentionality, one in which the constituting subject is constituted by the look and the voice of another. In light of these suggestions, the phenomenology of Jean-Luc Marion is defended against three critiques, namely that it compromises the boundary between phenomenology and theology, that the theology it (...) serves is a bad one to boot, and that it has an inadequate account of the subject. At the heart of this defense is Marion's clear distinction between phenomenology as a description of possible experience, and theology as the claim that a certain kind of experience, namely revelation or epiphany, is not merely actual but veridical. Phenomenology says, If revelation occurs it will be in the form of a saturated phenomenon. Theology says, for example, the burning bush was an epiphany, or Jesus Christ is a revelation. The attentive reader should have no trouble distinguishing Marion's phenomenological analyses, which should be persuasive to believer and unbeliever alike, from his theological claims. Marion's account of the subject falls under the heading of inverse intentionality, and there are hints that vision is aufgehoben in the voice. The seer is first of all the one seen, but above all the one addressed, called forth into response-able being. (shrink)
In Voir l'invisible Michel Henry applies his philosophy of autoaffection (which is both inspired by, and critical of, Husserl) to the realm of aesthetics. Henry claims that autoaffection, as non-objective experience, is essential not only to self-experience, but also to the experience of objects and their qualities. Intentionality tempts us to experience objects merely from the 'outside', but aesthetic experience returns us to the inner life of objects as a lived experience. On the basis of an examination of Henry's (...) aesthetic theory in the light of Husserl's analysis of our experience of visible objects, I conclude that revisions are required in both Husserl's and Henry's approaches: Husserl's noema must be considered to be a lived-through experience, and non-objective lived-through experience must be recognized as primordial evidence; Henry's claim that intentionality makes unreal all that it objectifies must be replaced by a recognition of the interdependence between autoaffection and heteroaffection. (shrink)
This is an important introduction to and critical interpretation of the work of the major French thinker, Michel Foucault. Through comprehensive and detailed analyses of such important texts as The History of Madness in the Age of Reason, The Birth of the Clinic, The Order of Things, and The Archaeology of Knowledge, the author provides a lucid exposition of Foucault's "archaeological" approach to the history of thought, a method for uncovering the "unconscious" structures that set boundaries on the thinking (...) of a given epoch. The book casts Foucault in a new light, relating his work to Gaston Bachelard's philosophy of science and Georges Canguilhem's history of science. This perspective yields a new and valuable understanding of Foucault as a historian and philosopher of science, balancing and complementing the more common view of him as primarily a social critic and theorist. (shrink)
It is impossible to imagine contemporary critical theory without the work of Michel Foucault. His radical reworkings of the concepts of power, knowledge, discourse and identity have influenced the widest possible range of theories and impacted upon disciplinary fields from literary studies to anthropology. Aimed at students approaching Foucault's texts for the first time, this volume offers: * an examination of Foucault's contexts * a guide to his key ideas * an overview of responses to his work * practical (...) hints on 'using Foucault' * an annotated guide to his most influential works * suggestions for further reading. Challenging not just what we think but how we think, Foucault's work remains the subject of heated debate. Sara Mills' Michel Foucault offers an introduction to both the ideas and the debate, fully equipping student readers for an encounter with this most influential of thinkers. (shrink)
What constitutes an event? Propelled by this question, Sounding the Event encounters a variety of theories and a host of issues that have implications for not only conceptions of nature and becoming, subject and substance but also practices of time, art and photography. This book explores dialogue in its writing and as it encounters the philosophical utterances of Michel Serres, Isabelle Stengers, Alfred North Whitehead, Jean-Franbliogçois Lyotard, Maurice Blanchot, Gilles Deleuze and Fbliogelix Guattari, and Alain Badiou.
The financial sector likes to call itself a "service industry". As such, its role is to guarantee the fluidity of transactions which are essential to economic activity by ensuring the best possible use of available capital. If finance is a service activity, it is important to specify what services it renders, to whom, in return for what, and for what purpose. In the absence of such clarification, finance may slide out of control and be left at the mercy of mass (...) enthusiasm or hysteria. This document, which is the result of work by people who hold senior positions in Geneva's financial sector or are external observers of the financial world identifies the issues and suggests some avenues for possible solutions. (shrink)
Ian Hacking sets out a parallel between Michel Foucault’s thought and that of Giulio Preti based on the debate between them that took place in 1971. This is the speech given at the award of the ‘Giulio Preti’ Prize in November 2008.
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)
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)
In this expository article one of the contributions of Jean Cavailles to the philosophy of mathematics is presented: the analysis of ‘mathematical experience’. The place of Cavailles on the logico-philosophical scene of the 30s and 40s is sketched. I propose a partial interpretation of Cavailles's epistemological program of so-called ‘conceptual dialectics’: mathematical holism, duality principles, the notion of formal contents, and the specific temporal structure of conceptual dynamics. The structure of mathematical abstraction is analysed in terms of its complementary (...) dimensions: paradigmatic generalization (domain extension, descriptive definitions, creative role of the symbolism...) and thematic reflexivity of concepts (promotion of operations to objects of a higher type). (shrink)
Michel de Montaigne, the inventor of the essay, has always been acknowledged as a great literary figure but has never been thought of as a philosophical original. This book is the first to treat Montaigne as a serious thinker in his own right, taking as its point of departure Montaigne's description of himself as 'an unpremeditated and accidental philosopher'. Whereas previous commentators have treated Montaigne's Essays as embodying a skepticism harking back to classical sources, Ann Hartle offers a fresh (...) account that reveals Montaigne's thought to be dialectical, transforming skeptical doubt into wonder at the most familiar aspects of life. This major reassessment of a much admired but also much underestimated thinker will interest a wide range of historians of philosophy as well as scholars in comparative literature, French studies and the history of ideas. (shrink)
Jean Baudrillard is one of the most famous and controversial of writers on postmodernism. But what are his key ideas? Where did they come from and why are they important? This book offers a beginner's guide to Baudrillard's thought, including his views on technology, primitivism, reworking Marxism, simulation and the hyperreal, and America and postmodernism. Richard Lane places Baudrillard's ideas in the contexts of the French and postmodern thought and examines the ongoing impact of his work. Concluding with an (...) extensively annotated bibliography of the thinker's own texts, this is the perfect companion for any student approaching the work of Jean Baudrillard. (shrink)
The systematic philosophical foundation for Jean-François Lyotard's postmodern and post-Marxist politics is described. The central principle of the right to create different "phrases" is uncovered and examined. The political consequences of this philosophical system are explored, leading to the conclusion that Lyotard's commitment to difference leads to political indifference. The philosophical roots of this indifference are detailed in Lyotard's Cartesian starting point and his analysis of Holocaust revisionism. This analysis reveals an idealist basis to Lyotard's philosophy of difference. Lyotard's (...) concept of difference is compared to that of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. (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)
This article aims at showing that in spite of Michel Foucault’s violent rejection of phenomenology, this discipline never ceased to bear a crucial significance for his archaeological and genealogical analyses, in that it can be construed as a symptom indicating the most serious challenge that the contemporary philosophy has to meet: thinking together Experience and Knowledge. The author intends to prove, by resorting to the Marxian concept of ‘objectively necessary appearance’, that Foucault’s main opposition to phenomenology stems from his (...) original conception of the theory as a sort of experiment made by the philosopher on himself and on his own historical a priori. (shrink)
The following is a reflection on the possibility of teaching by example, and especially as the idea of teaching by example is developed in the work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. My thesis is that Rousseau created a literary version of himself in his writings as an embodiment of his philosophy, rather in the same way and with the same purpose that Plato created a version of Socrates. This figure of Rousseau—a sort of philosophical portrait of the man of nature—is represented (...) as an example for us to follow. This would appear to have been dangerous and destabilizing work, given the mental distress that it caused Rousseau in striving to live up to his fictional self. Rousseau's own ideas on the nature of teaching by example are presented in a discussion of the section in ‘Emile’ which Rousseau takes from an incident in his own life—the story of his meeting with a young Savoyard priest who befriended him and influenced him through the power of his example. (shrink)
Autonomy is considered to be an important feature of professionals and to provide a necessary basis for their informed judgments. In this article these notions will be challenged. In this article I use Michel Foucault's deconstruction of the idea of the autonomous citizen, and his later attempts to reconstruct that idea, in order to bring some new perspectives to the discussion about the foundation of professionalism. The turning point in Foucault's discussion about autonomy is to be found in his (...) proposal for an ethics of the self. This ethics invites a break with the normalising discourses of modernity. As I see it, this makes it particularly relevant to a discussion about the principles of professionalism. The conception of parrhesia is central. I use the role of the teacher to illustrate my arguments. (shrink)
In this paper I focus on a central phenomenological concept in Michel Henry’s work that has often been neglected: generation. Generation becomes an especially important conceptual key to understanding not only the relationship between God and human self but also Henry’s adoption of radical interiority and his critical standpoint with respect to much of the phenomenological tradition in which he is working. Thus in pursuing the theme of generation, I shall introduce many phenomenological-theological terms in Henry’s trilogy on Christianity (...) as well as how he understands the relationship between phenomenology and theology. In the final sections of the paper, I turn to positively defining Henry’s notion of divine generation and examine the theological implications of it in light of his confrontation and rejection of the doctrine of creation in the book of Genesis found in his book, Incarnation: une philosophie de la chair. Humans are not created but are eternally generated, a bold claim that brings Henry to the brink of a kind of interiorized pantheism or Gnostic dualism. Finally, I offer some critical comments specifically about Henry’s doctrine of generation in light of the tension between auto-affection and hetero-affection and thus how one might think after Henry in light of the basic Augustinian theological distinction between self and God and the intentionality of faith opened up by that distinction. (shrink)
`The first and only book to explore, at once, the field of my work and its limits, with both the intimacy and distance required: doubling and shadowing. It gives me great pleasure to find something that, beyond commentary, sees what I see and at the same time what I am unable to see' - Jean Baudrillard Baudrillard is a controversial figure. His work tends to fascinate and infuriate readers in equal numbers. Yet there is no doubting his importance to (...) the key debates in culture and theory of the last ten years. A prolific author, readers sometimes find it difficult to tease out the consistencies in Baudrillard's arguments. This book seeks to redress the balance. It aims to go beyond his writings on consumer objects, the Gulf War and America, to identify the fundamental logic that underpins his writings. It does this through a series of close readings of his main texts, paying particular attention to the form and internal coherence of his arguments. The book contends that, just as Baudrillard himself grapples with the problems of how to criticize self-defining systems, so we cannot simply hold Baudrillard up against external standards but must seek to judge him on his own terms. Jean Baudrillard: A Defence of the Real will be an indispensable text for all those interested in social theory who want a general introduction to Baudrillard's work. (shrink)
We are celebrating the centennial year of the birth of Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980). His death and the huge funeral cortege that spontaneously gathered on that occasion marked the passing of the last of the philosophical "personalities" of our era. Contrast, for example, his departure, which I did not witness, with that of Michel Foucault, which I did. The latter was acknowledged in a modest ceremony at the door of the Salpêtrière Hospital; his private funeral in the province was (...) even more stark. The two passings exhibit the distinction graphically. Foucault, the most likely candidate to become Sartre's successor as reigning intellectual on the Left Bank, exited the institution that had figured in several of his books attended by a small crowd of a couple hundred, admittedly assembled without public notification, on a damp morning to hear Gilles Deleuze read a brief passage from the preface to The Uses of Pleasure. Describing philosophy as "the critical work that thought brings to bear on itself," the message had an ironically haunting Sartrean ring. (shrink)
This text begins by considering the phrase ‘digital haptology’ as suggested by the closing pages of Derrida's Le Toucher. It suggests that this moment in telecommunications presents a model of ‘tele-haptology’. The text goes on to consider Jean-Luc Nancy's ‘Noli me tangere’ as a response to Le Toucher. In particular it is concerned with Nancy's hypothesis on Modern literature and art as having an essential link to the gospel parables. Through a reading of Nancy's text and the gospels, this (...) hypothesis is placed in doubt. Notably, the argument is made that once again Nancy's discourse on touching leads him to make a too hasty fore-closure of otherness within his intended deconstruction of reading and his account of Mary Magdalene. In response to Nancy's formulation of literature as parable, an alternative consideration of literature as tele-haptology is proposed. (shrink)
It is commonly recognized that Jean-Luc Nancy’s efforts to elaborate a conception of ‘the political’ are based upon Heidegger’s thinking of die Tecknik , even as they seek to overcome the difficulties that beset Heidegger’s own politics. But few have noted that Nancy also seeks to critically engage Carl Schmitt’s conception of das Politische , according to which there is a metaphysical and practical need for a sovereign decision on friends and enemies if effective political community and law are (...) to be possible. This article argues that recognizing that Nancy seeks to overcome Schmitt’s conception of the political throws into high relief his failure to address the actual subject matter of politics. In the end, Nancy remains too metaphysical to engage with the political. (shrink)
Jean-Guillaume-César-Alexandre-Hippolyte de Colins (1783-1859), a Belgian baron who lived mainly in Paris, sought to develop a position—rational socialism—intermediate between the extremes of full capitalism (with only private property) and full communism (with only collective property). All persons fully own themselves and the artifactual wealth that they produce, and they are entitled to an equal share of the natural resources and of the assets inherited from previous generations. Gifts and bequests are to be subject to heavy taxation (although at less (...) than 100% of their value, for efficiency reasons). Natural resources are subject to a rent-tax. A warning about the following reading: Colins writes in many places as if he held that an unrestricted right to make gifts and bequests is both necessary for efficient social functioning and required by justice. His ultimate view, however, is that efficient social functioning requires only some kind of weak (partially restricted) right to make gifts and bequest, and that justice does not require any such right. More specifically, he holds that justice requires that gifts and bequests be taxed as much as compatible with efficient social functioning. (shrink)
This is the first book in any language to deal comprehensively with the work of Michel de Certeau, the author of one of the most important, influential, and diverse bodies of scholarship and cultural theory to emerge from Europe during the exciting decades after the late Sixties. It is designed as a guide to draw out, not only the exceptional range, but the overall coherence of his approach. The author focuses on Certeau's major writings: on contemporary French historiography, the (...) writings of early modern mystics and travellers, on Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu, Freud, the linguistics of 'utterance,' and a broad spectrum of work on contemporary cultural practices. In the process, the author seeks to draw out a set of themes that are distinctive to Certeau either in their form or their treatment: the history of early modern and modern 'economies' of writing, reading, and speech; the gap between representation and practice; the relation between 'strategic' social and intellectual programmes and 'tactical' political or poetic activity; the question of religious belief and desire; psycho-analysis and socio-analysis; and the development of what might be called an ethics/aesthetics. (shrink)
This paper examines Jean-Luc Nancy's interpretation of Hegel, focusing in particular on The Restlessness of the Negative. It is argued that Nancy's reading represents a significant break with other post-structuralist readings of Hegel by taking his thought to be non-metaphysical. The paper focuses in particular on the role Nancy gives to the negative in Hegel's thought. Ultimately Nancy's reading is limited as an interpretation of Hegel, since he gives no sustained explanation of the self-correcting function of reason.
Negation is a fundamental component of communication (no-answers), cognition (logical negation), perception (different color), attitude (dislike), emotion (hatred), and volition (disagreement). Its many uses make it difficult to provide an integrated definition of the concept. The aim of this paper is to show that an integrated definition of the concept can be arrived at by means of a phenomenological method structuring it into three general essences labelled lack, otherness and obstruction.
This article explores how Jean-Luc Nancy attempts to gain critical traction on Christianity by proscribing thinking of completion. First, it describes Nancy's deconstruction of Christianity as stemming from his aesthetic redirection of Heidegger's thinking of finitude. Second, it further details Nancy's noetic declension of Heidegger via Kant and Lyotard, where the imagination and aesthetic communication are deemed impossible. Third, it examines Nancy's treatment of paintings of the Virgin Mary who, for Nancy, exemplifies his brand of incompletion. Nancy's work on (...) Mary reveals both the oversights and the insights of his deconstruction of Christianity, which Catholic theology should seriously engage. (shrink)
Taking on the Tradition focuses on how the work of Jacques Derrida has helped us rethink and rework the themes of tradition, legacy, and inheritance in the Western philosophical tradition. It concentrates not only on such themes in the work of Derrida but also on his own gestures with regard to these themes—that is, on the performativity of Derrida’s texts. The book thus uses Derrida’s understanding of speech act theory to reread his own work. The book consists in a series (...) of close readings of Derrida’s texts to demonstrate that the claims he makes in his work cannot be fully understood without considering the way he makes those claims. The book considers Derrida’s relation to the Greek philosophical tradition and to his immediate predecessors in the French philosophical tradition, as well as his own legacy within the contemporary scene. Part I examines Derrida’s analyses of Plato and Aristotle on the themes of writing and metaphor. Part II looks at themes of donation, inheritance, pedagogy, and influence in relation to Derrida’s readings of the works of Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, and Jean-Pierre Vernant. Part III considers the promises and legacies of Derrida’s work on autobiography, friendship, and hospitality, themes Derrida has recently taken up in his readings of Martin Heidegger, Maurice Blanchot, and Emmanuel Levinas. In the Conclusion, the author analyzes what Derrida has recently called a “messianicity without messianism” and shows how Derrida develops two different notions of the future and of legacy: one that always determines a horizon for the donation and reception of any legacy or tradition, and one that leaves open a radically unknown and unknowable future for that legacy and tradition. (shrink)
Is Jean-Paul Sartre to be credited for Richard Wright's existentialist leanings? This essay argues that while there have been noteworthy philosophical exchanges between Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Richard Wright, we can find evidence of Wright's philosophical and existential leanings before his interactions with Sartre and Beauvoir. In particular, Wright's short story "The Man Who Lived Underground" is analyzed as an existential, or Black existential, project that is published before Wright met Sartre and/or read his scholarship. Existentialist (...) themes that emerge from Wright's short story include flight, guilt, life, death, dread, and freedom. Additionally, it is argued that "The Man Who Lived Underground" offers a reversal of the prototypical allegory of the cave that we find in the Western (ancient Greek) philosophical tradition. The essay takes seriously the significance of the intellectual exchanges between Sartre, Beauvoir, and Wright while also highlighting Wright's own philosophical legacy. (shrink)
On the subject of football, Serge Mésonès, former French international turned journalist, wrote that ?the true miracle remains the birth of a great team; everything which could contribute to this deserves consideration. Whatever happens, the coach and his group will always form that tandem which Bella Guttman used to compare to a symphony orchestra and their conductor: there is a significant difference between the performance when Toscanini is conducting, and that when the conductor is mediocre? (Mésonès 1992, 12). With the (...) aim of better understanding the issues of such an assertion, in this article we will develop the theoretical elements that we began to tackle in the book Teaching Collective Sport in Schools (1999).1 This will involve clarifying, and going into detail on, some conceptions relating to the long journey that is the formation of a sporting group, exploring one scenario at a time. (shrink)
A major contribution to Descartes studies, this book provides a panorama of cutting-edge scholarship ranging widely over Descartes's own primary concerns: metaphysics, physics, and its applications. It is at once a tool for scholars and--steering clear of technical Cartesian science--an accessible resource that will delight nonspecialists. The contributors include Edwin Curley, Willis Doney, Alan Gabbey, Daniel Garber, Marjorie Grene, Gary Hatfield, Marleen Rozemond, John Schuster, Dennis Sepper, Stephen Voss, Stephen Wagner, Margaret Welson, Jean Marie Beyssade, Michelle Beyssade, Michel (...) Henry, Evert van Leeuwen, Jean-Luc Marion, Genevieve Rodis-Lewis, and Jean-Pierre Seris. Combining new textual sensitivity with attentiveness to history, they represent the best established scholars and most exciting new voices, including both English speaking and newly-translated writers. Part I examines the foundations of Descartes's philosophy: Cartesian certainty; the phenomenology of the cogito and its modulations in the passions; and the defensibility and comprehensibility of the Cartesian God. The second part examines Descartes's groundbreaking metaphysics: mind's distinctness from and interaction with body; imagination; perception; and language. Part III examines Cartesian science: the revolutionary rhetoric of the Rules and the Discourse; the metaphysical foundations of physics; the interplay of rationalism and empiricism; the mechanics and human biology that flow from Descartes's physics. (shrink)
This article carries out a systematic exposition of the concept of the body in Jean-Luc Nancy, with all the risks of reduction that such an exposition entails. First it is necessary to return to Western philosophy’s founding text on living corporality, that is, Aristotle’s treatise on the soul. The oppositions that can be established between the Greek thinker’s psyche (soul) and Nancy’s dead Psyche are not so radical as may at first be thought: In both it is a question (...) of thinking the soul as the difference, the retreat or departure in which the exposition of bodies consists. The article continues with an analysis of touch and the self and concludes with an elaboration of the idea of the body within the general program of the deconstruction of Christianity. (shrink)
This essay works to set up a debate between the German philosopher Manfred Frank and the French philosophers Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy. At stake in the debate is the concept of freedom. The essay begins by explaining Frank's subject-based concept of freedom and then it presents the perfectly opposed non-subjective ontological concept of freedom that Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy forward. In the end, in the interest of threading a way through this impasse, and following the cue of these three (...) philosophers, we turn to the early German Romantics Novalis and Friedrich Schlegel to help us reconceptualise freedom. Following their cue, I draw on the strengths of Frank and Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy while avoiding their dangerous extremes. (shrink)
In this essay Megan J. Laverty argues that Jean-Jacques Rousseau's conception of humane communication and his proposal for teaching it have implications for our understanding of the role of listening in education. She develops this argument through a close reading of Rousseau's most substantial work on education, Emile: Or, On Education. Laverty elucidates Rousseau's philosophy of communication, beginning with his taxonomy of the three voices—articulate, melodic, and accentuated—illustrating the ways in which they both enhance and obfuscate understanding. Next, Laverty (...) provides an account of Rousseau's philosophical psychology, with specific reference to amour-propre and amour de soi. Listening plays a central role in Rousseau's philosophy of communication, Laverty maintains, because it is in the act of listening that humans fulfill, or fail to fulfill, the imperative that we seek to understand others. (shrink)
In his recent article, ‘A Gift to Theology? Jean-Luc Marion's ‘Saturated Phenomena’ in Christological Perspective’, Brian Robinette has critiqued Marion's phenomenology for confining theology to a one-sided approach to Christology, one that stresses only the passive, mystical reception of Christ. To correct this imbalance, Robinette brings Marion into dialogue with those more active Christologies or ‘prophetical-ethical’ liberation theologies of Gustavo Gutierrez, Johann Baptist Metz and others that stress a life-praxis focused on confronting evil and suffering. In this essay I (...) am arguing that Robinette has not fully developed the ‘logic’ of Marion's phenomenology of the ‘call and the gifted’, in which both a passive and an active element are operative. I explore more fully that very dynamic phenomenological process of the call-and-the-gifted as developed in Marion's work Being Given: Toward a Phenomenology of Givenness. Once viewed in Christological perspective, and especially in light of Christ's death and resurrection, Marion's phenomenology entails an ethical trope consistent with the mission of Christ as rendered in Scriptural revelation, and thus the gap between Marion's work and the prophetical-ethical theologies of Gutierrez and Baptist Metz becomes narrowed. (shrink)