The images from wars in the Middle East that haunt us are those of young women killing and torturing. Their media circulated stories share a sense of shock. They have both galvanized and confounded debates over feminism and women's equality. And, as Oliver argues in this essay, they share, perhaps subliminally, the problematic notion of women as both offensive and defensive weapons of war, a notion that is symptomatic of fears of women's "mysterious" powers.
In the post-Newtonian world motion is assumed to be a simple category which relates to the locomotion of bodies in space, and is usually associated only with physics. Philosophy, God and Motion shows that this is a relatively recent understanding of motion and that prior to the scientific revolution motion was a much broader and more mysterious category, applying to moral as well as physical movements. SimonOliver presents fresh interpretations of key figures in the history of western (...) thought including Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas and Newton, examining the thinkers' handling of the concept of motion. Through close readings of seminal texts in ancient and medieval cosmology and early modern natural philosophy, the book moves from antique to modern times investigating how motion has been of great significance within theology, philosophy and science. Particularly important is the relation between motion and God, following Aristotle traditional doctrines of God have understood the divine as the 'unmoved mover' while post-Holocaust theologians have suggested that in order to be compassionate God must undergo the motion of suffering. Philosophy, God and Motion suggests that there may be an authentically theological, as well as a natural scientific understanding of motion. (shrink)
In Womanizing Nietzsche, Kelly Oliver uses an analysis of the position of woman in Nietzsche's texts to open onto the larger question of philosophy's relation to the feminine and the maternal. Offering readings from Nietzsche, Derrida, Irigaray, Kristeva, Freud and Lacan, Oliver builds an innovative foundation for an ontology of intersubjective relationships that suggests a new approach to ethics. Oliver argues that while Freud, Nietzsche and Derrida, in particular, attempt to open up philosophy to its other--the unconscious, (...) the body, difference, even the feminine--their attempts depend on closing off the possibility of a specifically feminine other. In this regard, Oliver maintains that none of these theorists have escaped the Hegelian model of intersubjectivity at the level of Lordship and Bondage. She suggests that the recent talk of the death of philosophy is a symptom of the exclusion of woman, the feminine and the maternal. By problematizing and reformulating the traditional philosophical association between the maternal and nature, Oliver presents an alternative model for intersubjectivity and ethics. (shrink)
A valuable intervention in Kristevan scholarship and a significant and exciting contribution in its own right to post-structuralist discussions of ethical and political agency and practice. Contributors: Judith Butler, Tina Chanter, Marilyn Edelstein, Jean Graybeal, Suzanne Guerlac, Alice Jardine, Lisa Lowe, Noelle McAfee, Norma Claire Moruzzi, Kelly Oliver, Tilottma Rajan, Jacqueline Rose, Allison Weir, Mary Bittner Wiseman, Ewa Ziarek.
This enterprising book, written in the spirit of William James, urges our appreciation of the intensely personal character of spiritual transcendence. Phil Oliver's work has important implications for specialists concerned with the Jamesian concept of "pure experience," and it illuminates significant interdisciplinary ties among philosophy, literature, and other intellectual domains.
This article critically engages Julia Kristeva’s latest work on maternal passion as an antidote to what she calls “feminine fatigue.” Oliver elaborates, criticizes, and expands Kristeva’s view that maternity can be a model for thinking about passion and its relation to creativity and even to ethics. She relates Kristeva’s thinking about feminine fatigue to contemporary feminism in the United States. .
The concepts of animal, human, and rights are all part of a philosophical tradition that trades on foreclosing the animal, animality, and animals. Rather than looking to qualities or capacities that make animals the same as or different from humans, I investigate the relationship between the human and the animal. To insist, as animal rights and welfare advocates do, that our ethical obligations to animals are based on their similarities to us reinforces the type of humanism that leads to treating (...) animals—and other people—as subordinates. But, if recent philosophies of difference are any indication, we can acknowledge difference without acknowledging our dependence on animals, or without including animals in ethical considerations. Animal ethics requires rethinking both identity and difference by focusing on relationships and responsivity. My aim is not only to suggest an animal ethics but also to show how ethics itself is transformed by considering animals. (shrink)
My essay is framed by Hypatia's first special issue on Motherhood and Sexuality at one end, and by the most recent special issue (as of this writing) on the work of Iris Young, whose work on pregnant embodiment has become canonical, at the other. The questions driving this essay are: When we look back over the last twenty-five years, what has changed in our conceptions of pregnancy and maternity, both in feminist theory and in popular culture? What aspects of feminist (...) debates from the 1970s and 1980s are still relevant today? And, how might what appear to be radical shifts in popular perceptions of pregnancy actually continue traditional values that objectify and “abjectify” the maternal body?Here, I will focus on three central elements of the revaluation of pregnancy and maternity as they show up in feminist philosophy and in popular culture: 1. The relationship between pregnancy and sexuality, both in terms of pregnant sexuality and in terms of the pregnant body as sexual object; 2. The “choice” to become a mother as a “feminist choice”; 3. The temporality of pregnancy and birth as marking something like “women's time.”. (shrink)
Yah boo sucks to the grammer wot we lernt in skool! Grammar (and the bad old traditional logic) says that quantifier phrases such as 'nobody', 'everyone', 'all women', 'some men' and 'a man' are in the same category as names such as 'Milly', 'Molly' and 'Mandy'. So, prior to their first corrective lessons, students are awfully muddled, the first and fundamental problem being the Woozle hunt for somebody called 'nobody'. Hoorah for modern logic and logic teachers! The story used to (...) justify our current logics is entirely fictional. The claims about names and quantifier phrases in English are wildly false. Two of the heroes of modern logic, Russell and Hilbert, make the very mistakes which are falsely blamed on traditional logic. The villain, Meinong, turns out to have been working a different patch. Ideas ascribed to traditional grammar are modern inventions. Neither logicians nor grammarians can be trusted to tell the history of either grammar or logic. (shrink)
We present a plural logic that is as expressively strong as it can be without sacrificing axiomatisability, axiomatise it, and use it to chart the expressive limits set by axiomatisability. To the standard apparatus of quantification using singular variables our object-language adds plural variables, a predicate expressing inclusion (is/are/is one of/are among), and a plural definite description operator. Axiomatisability demands that plural variables only occur free, but they have a surprisingly important role. Plural description is not eliminable in favour of (...) quantification; on the contrary, quantification is definable in terms of it. Predicates and functors (function signs) can take plural as well as singular terms as arguments, and both many-valued and single-valued functions are expressible. The system accommodates collective as well as distributive predicates, and the condition for a predicate to be distributive is definable within it; similarly for functors. An essential part of the project is to demonstrate the soundness and completeness of the calculus with respect to a semantics that does without set-theoretic domains and in which the use of settheoretic extensions of predicates and functors is replaced by the sui generis relations and functions for which the extensions were at best artificial surrogates. Our metalanguage is designed to solve the difficulties involved in talking plurally about individuals and about the semantic values of plural items. (shrink)
I argue that although in "The Gender/Science System," Keller intends to formulate a middle ground position in order to open science to feminist criticisms without forcing it into relativism, she steps back into objectivism. While she endorses the dynamic-object model for science, she endorses the static-object model for philosophy of science. I suggest that by modeling her methodology for philosophy on her methodology for science her philosophy would better serve her feminist goals.
The history of the idea of predicate is the history of its emancipation. The lesson of this paper is that there are two more steps to take. The first is to recognize that predicates need not have a fixed degree, the second that they can combine with plural terms. We begin by articulating the notion of a multigrade predicate: one that takes variably many arguments. We counter objections to the very idea posed by Peirce, Dummett's Frege, and Strawson. We show (...) that the arguments of a multigrade predicate must be grouped into places, with perhaps several arguments occupying positions at a place. Variability may relate to places or positions. Russell's multiple judgement predicate turns out to be just one example of a family—‘is necessarily true of’, ‘is said of’, ‘is instantiated by’ and so on—of predicates with variably many places. Our main concern, however, is lists. Any adequate account of lists must include plural as well as singular terms. On one account, lists are mere strings of separate arguments, which occupy variably many positions within a place of a multigrade predicate. A quite different account takes the list itself to be a compound plural term. We compare these rival conceptions, and reach some surprising conclusions. As a coda, we deploy the conceptual apparatus developed in the paper to assess Morton's pioneer system of multigrade logic. (shrink)
Introduction: The role of animals in philosophies of man -- Part I: What's wrong with animal rights? -- The right to remain silent -- Part II: Animal pedagogy -- You are what you eat : Rousseau's cat -- Say the human responded : Herder's sheep -- Part III: Difference worthy of its name -- Hair of the dog : Derrida's and Rousseau's good taste -- Sexual difference, animal difference : Derrida's sexy silkworm -- Part IV: It's our fault -- The (...) beaver's struggle with species-being : De Beauvoir and the praying mantis -- Answering the call of nature : Lacan walking the dog -- Part V: Estranged kinship -- The abyss between humans and animals : Heidegger puts the bee in being -- Strange kinship : Merleau-Ponty's sensuous stickleback -- Stopping the anthropological machine : Agamben's tick-tocking tick -- Psychoanalysis and the science of kinship -- Psychoanalysis as animal by-product : Freud's zoophilia -- Animal abjects, maternal abjects : Kristeva's strays -- Conclusion: Sustainable ethics. (shrink)
In this essay, I argue that the contemporary notion of law has been reduced to regulations and disciplinary codes that do not and cannot give meaning to our emotional lives and moral sensibilities. As a result, we have increasing numbers of what I call “abysmal individuals” who suffer from a split between law—broadly conceived as that which gives form and structure to social life—and personal embodied sensations of pain and pleasure. My attempt to understand the place of Abu Ghraib within (...) American culture leads to an analysis of our valorization of innocence and ignorance that not only becomes the grounds on which we morally (if not legally) excuse abusive behavior as “fun,” but also becomes part of the justification for condoning some forms of violence while condemning others. In addition, I argue that the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate violence trades on underlying assumptions about the relationship between culture and nature, technology and bodies, wherein bodies are imagined as natural and outside of the realm of law. (shrink)
Russell had two theories of definite descriptions: one for singular descriptions, another for plural descriptions. We chart its development, in which ‘On Denoting’ plays a part but not the part one might expect, before explaining why it eventually fails. We go on to consider many-valued functions, since they too bring in plural terms—terms such as ‘4’ or the descriptive ‘the inhabitants of London’ which, like plain plural descriptions, stand for more than one thing. Logicians need to take plural reference seriously (...) if only because mathematicians take many-valued functions seriously. We assess the objection (by Russell, Frege and others) that many-valued functions are illegitimate because the corresponding terms are ambiguous. We also assess the various methods proposed for getting rid of them. Finding the objection ill-founded and the methods ineffective, we introduce a logical framework that admits plural reference, and use it to answer some earlier questions and to raise some more. (shrink)
Do representations of violence incite or quell violent desires and actions? This question--the question of the relation between mimesis and catharsis--is as old as Western Philosophy itself. In this essay, I attempt to think through how Kristeva might describe the difference between representations of violence that perpetuate violent desires and actions versus representations of violence that sublimate violent desires and thereby prevent violent actions.
In "Frege: Philosophy of Mathematics" Dummett recommends the following thesis, (PNP): the correct analysis of any sentence containing a plural noun phrase will show that the phrase is functioning predictively. According to Dummett, (PNP), applied to numerical predications such as the leaves are 1,000' is the key premise in Frege's argument against Mill's theory of numbers. But Frege never subscribed to (PNP) and he rejected such numerical predications, and point out how Frege's own semantic theory for plural noun phrases obscures (...) his idea of a relation. (shrink)
: Our stereotypes of maternity and paternity as manifest in the history of philosophy and psychoanalysis interfere with the ability to imagine loving relationships. The associations of maternity with antisocial nature and paternity with disembodied cul-ture are inadequate to set up primary love relationships. Analyzing the conflicts in these associations, I reformulate the maternal body as social and lawful, and I re-formulate the paternal function as embodied, which enables imagining our primary relationships as loving.
This essay argues that Hegel's discussion of the family in "The Ethical Order" section of Phenomenology of Spirit undermines the entire project of that text. Hegel's project demands that every element of consciousness be conceptualizable, and yet, woman, an essential unconscious element of consciousness, is in principle unconceptualizable. The end of the essay attempts to relate Hegel's discussion of the family to contemporary discussions of family values.
We all learn about the mistake of treating ‘nothing’ as if it were a term standing for something; but is it a mistake to treat it as an empty term, denoting nothing? We argue not, and we introduce ‘zilch’, defined as ‘the non-self-identical thing’, as a term which is empty as a matter of logical necessity. We contrast its behaviour with that of the quantifier ‘nothing’, and illustrate its uses. We use the same idea to vindicate Locke’s, Descartes’ and Hume’s (...) handling of ‘nothing’, and we show how Heidegger’s ‘das Nichts nichtet’ comes out as logically true. (shrink)
Carter and Leslie's Doomsday Argument maintains that reflection upon the number of humans born thus far, when that number is viewed as having been uniformly randomly selected from amongst all humans, past, present and future, leads to a dramatic rise in the probability of an early end to the human experiment. We examine the Bayesian structure of the Argument and find that the drama is largely due to its oversimplification.
The fundamental thesis of David Lewis's "Parts of Classes" is that the nonempty subsets of a set are mereological parts of it. This paper shows that Lewis's considerations in favor of this thesis are unpersuasive. First, common speech provides no support. Second, the formal analogy between mereology and the Boolean algebra of sets can be explained without accepting the thesis. Third, it is very doubtful that the thesis is fruitful. Certainly, Lewis's claim that it helps us understand set theory is (...) unwarranted. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that the liberal framework-its autonomous individuals with equal rights-allows judges to justify enforcing surrogacy contracts. More importantly, even where judges do not enforce surrogacy contracts, the liberal framework conceals gender and class issues which insure that the surrogate will lose custody of her child. I suggest that Marx's analysis of estranged labor can reveal the class and gender issues which the liberal framework conceals.
: I begin to suggest an alternative to the notion of vision based in alienation and hostility put forth by Jean-Paul Sartre, Sigmund Freud, and Jacques Lacan. I diagnose this alienating vision as a result of a particular alienating notion of space presupposed by their theories. I develop Irigaray's comments about light and air to suggest an alternative notion of space that opens up the possibility that vision connects us to others rather than alienates us from them.
What is the nature of the decision-related personal values of corporate management? Managers' attitudes and behaviors are built upon their personal value systems (PVS). Knowledge about the structure of management's PVS assists in understanding the attributes of corporate decision making. Utilizing a survey instrument developed and used by England (1967, 1975), this article updates this research into corporate managers' personal value systems. England's PVS consists of sixty-six pre-tested values clustered into five groups. As one could expect with personal values, statistical (...) tests reveal that even with dramatic changes in the business environment the overall personal values structure has not changed over the intervening three decades. The results also reveal that corporate managers retain their pragmatic value orientation as discussed by England. (shrink)
Julia Kristeva is known as rejecting feminism, nonetheless her work is useful for feminist theory. I reconsider Kristeva's rejection of feminism and her theories of difference, identity, and maternity, elaborating on Kristeva's contributions to debates over the necessity of identity politics, indicating how Kristeva's theory suggests the cause of and possible solutions to women's oppression in Western culture, and, using Kristeva's theory, setting up a framework for a feminist rethinking of politics and ethics.