Why read Walter Benjamin today? There as many answers to this question as there are "Walter Benjamins"--Benjamin as critic, Benjamin as modernist, Benjamin as marxist, Benjamin as Jew. . . . Yet it is Benjamin as philosopher that in one way or another stands behind all these. This collection explores, in Adorno's description, Benjamin's "philosophy directed against philosophy." The essays cover all aspects of Benjamin's writings, from his early work in the philosophy (...) of art and language, through his cultural criticism, to his final reflections on the concept of history. The experience of time and the destruction of false continuity are identified as the key themes in Benjamin's understanding of history--an understanding that illuminates recent debates about the postmodernist attitude towards modernity. Contributors: Andrew Benjamin, Rebecca Comay, Howard Caygill, Alexander Garcia Duttman, Rodolphe Gasche, Werner Hamacher, Gertrud Koch, John Kraniauskas, Peter Osborne, Irving Wohlfarth. (shrink)
Critique as a philosophical concept needs to be recast once it is linked to the possibility of a productive opening. In such a context critique has an important affinity to destruction and forms of inauguration. Working through writings of Marx and Walter Benjamin, specifically Benjamin's 'The Meaning of Time in the Moral World', destruction and inauguration are repositioned in terns of othering and the caesura of allowing.
Walter Benjamin’s writings on fashion need to be read as engagements with the problem of historical time and a related politics of time. The aim of this article is to develop this position. Its point of orientation is Thesis XIV from the Theses on the Philosophy of History. What is argued is that close attention to the temporality of change and novelty within fashion may allow an insight into a conception of interruption and the ‘new’, however, it cannot yield (...) a politics. Moreover, the link between fashion and utopianism allows for the development of a critique of the utopian dimension of Benjamin’s thought. The basis of that critique is the inherent politics of time in his own writings. (shrink)
Recent discussions in the area of corporate social responsibility suggest that organizational size has complex meanings and thus requires more scholarly attention. This article explores organizational size in the context of relative power in inter-organizational networks. To shed light on the ways relative power interacts with size we studied social responsibility practices among cleaning subcontractors in three firms of different sizes. Our focus on the network differentiates these firms on the basis of their size and sector. Semi-structured interviews were used (...) to trace cleaning subcontractors' CSR-related practices. We analyzed subjective reports and discursive practices involved in subcontractors' self-presentations. While the economic and philanthropic dimensions of social responsibility were presented by the cleaning subcontractors as independent of network constraints, the findings show that the legal and ethical dimensions were subject to large client-firm pressures. What we learn from our data is that the four dimensions of Carroll's model, the economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic, should all develop from and be evaluated against a fifth root dimension of inter-personal commitment. (shrink)
Nothing is more simple or more complicated than the event. In recent years, the attack on any attempts to provide a foundation for philosophy has focused on the "logic of the event." In The Plural Event , Andrew Benjamin reconsiders and reworks philosophy in terms of events and how they are judged. Benjamin offers a sustained philosophical reworking of ontology, providing important readings of key canonical texts in the history of philosophy. In order to avoid the charge of (...) positivism, he provides a cogent interpretation of the process of thinking through while allowing the process to reveal itself in the interpretation of central philosophical texts. The effective presence of ontology, defined as "anoriginal difference," will be familiar to readers of his earlier writings. The Plural Event represents Andrew Benjamin's most thorough and original contribution to contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
Art, Mimesis and the Avant-Garde explores the relationship between art and philosophy. Andrew Benjamin argues for a reworking of the task of philosophy in terms of the centrality of ontology. It is in relation to this centrality, understood through the differences between modes of being, that art, mimesis, and the avant-garde come to be presented. A fundamental part of this book is the original interpretations of important contemporary painters and their themes: Lucian Freud's self-portraits, Francis Bacon's use of (...) mirrors, R. B. Kitaj and Jewish identity, Anselm Kiefer and iconoclasm. Apart from painting, Benjamin considers architecture, literature, and the philosophical writings of Walter Benjamin and Descartes in elaborating the various aspects of ontological difference. Benjamin develops the theory of the avant-garde as a philosophical category rather than a historical marker, thus bringing the worlds of contemporary art criticism and contemporary philosophy closer together. (shrink)
Present Hope is a compelling exploration of how we think philosophically about the present. Andrew Benjamin considers examples in philosophy, architecture and poetry to illustrate crucial themes of loss, memory, tragedy, hope and modernity. The book uses the work of Walter Benjamin and Martin Heidegger to illustrate the ways the notion of hope was weaved into their philosophies. Andrew Benjamin maintains that hope is a vital part of the present, rather than an expression only of the future. (...) Present Hope shows how Judaism and philosophy interact; how the Holocaust provides an important link between modernity and the present. Benjamin's writings on the significance of the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the poetry of Paul Celan unite toward understanding the present. (shrink)
Shadow of the Other is a discussion of how the individual has two sorts of relationships with an "other"--other individuals. The first regards the other as a s work apart is her brilliant utilization of a systematic dialectical approach to her subject, always maintaining the delicate balance between opposing tensions: masculinity and femininity, subjectivity and objectivity, passivity and activity, love and aggression, fantasy and reality, modernism and postmodernism, the intrapsychic and the intersubjective. Benjamin s work apart is her brilliant (...) utilization of a systematic dialectical approach to her subject, always maintaining the delicate balance between opposing other as a mental repository fo unwanted characteristics cast from the self. Jessica benjamin shows the implications of this dual relationship for male/female hierarchy and offers a possibility for balancing the two. This book continues the author's well-known explorations of the themes of intersubjectivity and gender, taking up issues at the forefront of contemporary debates in feminist theory and psychoanalysis. (shrink)
JPVA Journal of Philosophy and the Visual Arts No 6 Complexity Architecture / Art / Philosophy 'Beginning with complexity will involve working with the recognition that there has always been more than one. Here however this insistent "more than one" will be positioned beyond the scope of semantics; rather than complexity occurring within the range of meaning and taking the form of a generalised polysemy, it will be linked to the nature of the object and to its production. Complexity, therefore, (...) will be inextricably connected to the ontology of the object. What this means is that complexity, in resisting the hold of a semantic idealism on the one hand, and the attempt to give to it the position of being the basis of a new foundationalism on the other, becomes a way of thinking both the presence and the production of objects.' Andrew Benjamin The Journal of Philosophy and the Visual Arts has set new standards in its exploration of themes central to philosophy's relation to the visual arts, illuminating areas of art criticism, architecture, feminism as well as philosophy itself. Rather than simply reflecting current trends it provides a forum in which the real developments in the analysis of the visual arts and its larger cultural and political context can be presented. Articles by well known philosophers and theorists, as well as some lesser known, together with writings by artists and architects allow a strong interdisciplinary approach reflecting the Journal's roots in post-structural theory. Previous issues include: Philosophy & the Visual Arts (No 1) Philosophy & Architecture (No 2) Architecture, Space, Painting (No 3) The Body (No 4) Abstraction (No 5). (shrink)
I seek to interpret the work of Walter Benjamin in light of the "system programme" of German Idealism, in order to confront an antinomy of contemporary radical thought. Benjamin has been regarded as an anti-Hegelian thinker of the exception. Reading him against the grain, I draw out a concept of counter-tradition that eschews the opposition of intra-historical progress and extra-historical exception. The philological inspiration is a book by Franz Joseph Molitor, student of Schelling and "teacher" of Benjamin: (...) The Philosophy of History, or, On Tradition. (shrink)
Benjamin Franklin's social and political thought was shaped by contacts with and knowledge of ancient aboriginal traditions. Indeed, a strong case can be made that key features of the social structure eventually outlined in the United States Constitution arose not from European sources, and not full-grown from the foreheads of European-American "founding fathers", but from aboriginal sources, communicated to the authors of the Constitution to a significant extent through Franklin. A brief sketch of the main argument to this effect (...) is offered in this essay. (shrink)
Focusing on Walter Benjamin's earliest pieces dedicated to school reform and the student movement, this article traces the basic critical approaches informing his mature thought back to his struggle to critically implement and transform the theory of concept formation and value presentation developed by his Freiburg teacher, Heinrich Rickert. It begins with an account of Rickert's work, specifically of the concept of Darstellung (presentation) and its central role in Rickert's postmetaphysical theory of historical research (which he characterizes as exclusively (...) concerned with the Kantian quid juris). It shows that Rickert develops a speculative but practical theory of value recognition, which nevertheless leaves the status of value itself undetermined. Contra Rickert, Benjamin returns to the ignored quid facti, or origin of value, and shows that a metacritical, postmetaphysical approach such as Rickert's ultimately limits possible experience rather than grounding it. This basic insight, it is argued, is the cornerstone of Benjamin's concept of critique. (shrink)
:Roger Griffin’s paper points towards the importance of historical time when discussing fascism. Walter Benjamin’s Theses, the discussion of which informs Griffin’s paper, engages with the topic of historical time at several points, especially in its discussion of the theory of progress that Benjamin found in German Social Democracy, to which the Theses was directly opposed. Revisiting sympathetically a theory of progress akin to that of Karl Kautsky and other Marxist writers enables us to add substance to the (...) key Marxist concept of fascism as a reactionary movement. Combining this idea with an emphasis on the autonomous, mass character of fascism enables us to grasp the dynamics of fascism as a contradictory whole: a future-orientated and activist politics without revolutionary content. (shrink)
Both Walter Benjamin and Theodor W. Adorno consider ‘aesthetical experience’ as an “image experience” assuming a power of images “to set free forces” directed to produce or support aesthetical-political (Benjamin) or aesthetical-critical (Adorno) requirements. Profane illumination, ‘thinkimages’, phantasmagory, dialectical images, decayed ‘aura’ and technicalized images in Benjamin’s theory of aesthetical modernity. Expressive feature or “mimetic” eloquence in nature and art countering reality, dismantled ‘aura’ in contemporary desacralized work of art, but also persisting ‘aura’ in its meaningful dimension (...) in Adorno’s aesthetical theory. (shrink)
As an exemplum of that kind of “modern” art, in terms of Adorno, Kafka’s work is marked not only by its strictly “realistic” character, but also by the unavoidable critical and testimonial value of that realism. According to this perspective, both in Adorno and in Benjamin the testimonial aspect of Kafkian writing – that is of a writing as “dialectical image”, as memory of the unfullfilled possibility – it’s all the same not with its symbolical or “epiphanical” aspect but (...) instead with its “allegorical” one. (shrink)
In the early twentieth century Walter Benjamin introduced the idea of epochal and ongoing progression in interaction between mind and the built environment. Since early antiquity, the present study suggests, Benjamin’s notion has been manifest in metaphors of gender in city-form, whereby edifices and urban voids have represented masculinity and femininity, respectively. At the onset of interaction between mind and the built environment are prehistoric myths related to the human body and to the sky. During antiquity gender projection (...) can be detected in western perceptions linking natural and built environments, commencing with Plato’s Atlantis and his Myth of Er, and later as a likely import of the Chinese yin-yang mythology. Culminating with the Age of Discovery, alongside advances in experiential awareness of the Earth’s sphericity, respective feminine and masculine earmarks can be detected in early modern perspicacity of the Earth’s southern and northern hemispheres. Our conceptions of natural and built environments inherently continue to contain gender traits. Yet urban voids, as the feminine face of city-form, have been severely understated in the built environment. Through design and configuration of urban voids, allegories of femininity in city-form ought to be celebrated, not discarded. (shrink)
The article analyses relationships between profane and religious illumination, materialism and theology, politics and religion, Marxism and Messianism. For Walter Benjamin, every second is “the small gateway in time through which the Messiah might enter”. This is the starting point in the reading of Benjamin’s works, where we confront various liaisons and couplings of radical politics and messianic events. Through the reading of Benjamin and through the analysis of his conceptions of history and time, the article addresses (...) the question what is possible in the world. (shrink)
Walter Benjamin tried to get in touch with Panofsky and the Warburg’s circle, but the attempt failed. This article examines the chapter on melancholy of Benjamin’s The Origin of the German Tragic Drama (1928) and his main sources, i. e. Warburg’s essay Pagan-Antique Prophecy in Words and Images in the Age of Luther (1920) and Panofsky-Saxl’s work Dürers Melencolia I (1923). Benjamin interpreted the melancholy of the German Tragic Drama as a jump back to the deadly sin (...) of sloth: he saw the saturnine melancholy under the sign of the medieval acedia. (shrink)
Many words extracted from the electric-electronic dictionary could be useful to understand a nexus between Warburg and Benjamin. Memory as accumulator is the link that connects these two collectors –and coordinators- of impressions. Science of Art, Mythology of Life, allegorical distance and mimetical proximity, traces of memory and power of interpretation: hence overflow Pathosformel and Dialectical Image . Here are the sparks of Polarisation.
In order to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of Benjamin's death, the conference "Dialectic images and sudden constellations: Warburg, Benjamin, Adorno" was held in Florence. The idea, common to the three authors, of a truth content that can only be realised in its concrete and istantaneous configuration, was embodied here in the form of a "philosophical concert", where contributions by philosophers, philologists and historians of arts and architecture succeeded each other.
Starting from Warburg, the distinguishing mark of an image, considered as identity-difference of visible and invisible, is its offering itself as an implementation of a temporality, and at the same time of a memory that is immanent in the sensible structure of the image. It’s what we find both in Benjamin and in Adorno: in both cases, it is just because the image is marked by a “internal time” that it is able to have a critical function towards reality, (...) and at the same time an utopian character that is all the same with its non-renounceable testimonial task. (shrink)
The paper intends to draw some topics about relationship between word and image in works and thinking of Aby Warburg and Walter Benjamin. In recent history of ideas, word and image are frequently interpreted as alternative ways to express reality. In both, Warburg and Benjamin, and in spite of their very different methods of approaching history of art and history of culture, we can find a similar idea of the connection between word and image. The two authors deem (...) that this relationship is necessary to understand historical facts and legacy. (shrink)
O artigo examina a interpretação feita por Walter Benjamin dos poemas de Charles Baudelaire marcados pela noção de ideal, a qual se opõe ao spleen. Benjamin encontra aí o esforço de rememoração de uma experiência plena, a qual constituiria, por sua vez, um elemento essencial à compreensão da modernidade como impossibilidade desta forma de experiência. Com as noções de beleza e de aura, o artigo busca ainda salientar a importância da categoria da distância para a configuração desta forma (...) de experiência. (shrink)
This article highlights the dialect of failure and hope you can find in the oppressed, which every utopical thought should take into consideration. To justify it, we start from Walter Benjamin’s ideas on History, and in particular, we consider the perspective of the oppressed in Kafka’s literature, although he considered hope as a weak hint among catastrophe. And finally, we show this dialect as a specific and explicit place of the Liberation Theology.
This study points out the methodological centrality assumed by the notion of “physiognomy”, both in Benjamin and in Adorno, namely the idea that the forms of the works of art, and generally those of the visual phenomena, are direct “expression”, in a micro-monadological way, of an historical-social sense, not otherwise attainable. On the one hand Benjamin’s physiognomy shows a particular interpretative “openness” to its objects, on the other that of Adorno remains subjected to an epistemological model of “totality”, (...) from the Hegelian-Marxian tradition, which risks compromising the hermeneutic efficacy of its own original philosophical approach. (shrink)
In the context of the late modernity, both Warburg and Benjamin put themselves on a borderline position. From that point of view, they show a common methodological and heuristic issue, consisting in creating “spaces for thinking” ( Denkräume ) from where it would be possible to redraw in a newly conceived “topography” the metaphysical maps by means of which we have represented our world. This kind of critical operation requires a different focus on the relathionships between writing and image, (...) space and time, and it cannot be separated from an experience (even in a biographical sense) of “ownness” and “extraneity”. Thanks to this experience, the event of discovery outlines itself as an act of remembrance and, at the same time, as a promise for the future. (shrink)
En estas páginas se trata de explicar, a partir de la reflexión de Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), en qué sentido el espacio mercantil puede comprenderse en términos epistemológicos y ontológicos. Más específicamente, constituye un dominio calculable de los objetos propio de la modernidad capitalista. Se persigue enlazar esa problemática con la cuestión filosófica del tiempo y con la teoría crítica de la industria cultural.
Benjamin Libet and also Libet and collaborators claim to advance a single hypothesis, with important consequences, about the time of a conscious experience in relation to the time when there occurs a certain physical condition in the brain. This condition is spoken of as
_adequacy_ for the experience, or, as we can as well say, _neural adequacy_ .5 This finding has been taken to throw doubt on theories that take neural and mental events to be in (...) necessary or lawlike connection, and also certain identity theories of mind and brain, as well as determinist theories. (shrink)
The essence of the moral luck question is whether the responsibility of persons is determined only in light of actions that are within their control or also in light of factors, such as the consequences of their actions, which are beyond their control. Most people seem to have contrasting intuitions regarding this question. On the one hand, there is a common intuition that the responsibility of persons should be judged only in light of what is within their control. On the (...) other hand, there is a strong intuition that the consequences of actions sometimes affect the responsibility of agents even when these consequences depend on factors that are beyond their control. A parallel dilemma is present in the law. Legal rules, particularly criminal law rules and tort rules, often differentiate between agents in light of factors that are beyond their control, and in this sense involve legal luck. Of course, factors beyond the control of persons, including the consequences of their actions, can be significant, with respect to the evaluation of the responsibility of persons for instrumental or epistemic reasons. The question is thus only with respect to the independent significance of factors beyond the control of agents, and particularly the consequences of actions, to the evaluation of the (extent of the) responsibility of agents. Benjamin Zipursky offers an interesting argument in order to support the intuition in favor of moral and legal luck, particularly with regard to consequences, especially the rule according to which the punishment of completed offences is more severe than the punishment of attempts and the rule that tort liability applies only to actions that have caused harm. The aim of this Comment is to evaluate this argument. I will try to consider to what extent Zipursky's explanation merely reiterates the familiar intuition that the normative evaluation of the conduct of persons should be influenced by consequential luck, and to what extent it provides new insights that might appeal also to those who are more forcefully drawn to the contrasting intuition that we should judge people only in light of factors that are within their control. I argue that while Zipursky's suggestions might appeal to those who already share the intuition in favor of (consequential) moral and legal luck, they would not convince those who have doubts regarding moral and legal luck. (shrink)
Benjamin Libet, Do we have free will? -- Adina L. Roskies, Why Libet's studies don't pose a threat to free will? -- Alfred r. mele, libet on free will : readiness potentials, decisions, and awareness? -- Susan Pockett and Suzanne Purdy, Are voluntary movements initiated preconsciously? : the relationships between readiness potentials, urges, and decisions? -- William P. Banks and Eve A. Isham, Do we really know what we are doing? : implications of reported time of decision for theories (...) of volition? -- Elisabeth Pacherie and Patrick Haggard, What are intentions? -- Mark Hallett, Volition : how physiology speaks to the issue of responsibility? -- John-Dylan Haynes, Beyond Libet : long-term prediction of free choices from neuroimaging signals? -- F. Carota, M. Desmurget, and A. Sirigu, Forward modeling mediates motor awareness? -- Tashina Graves, Brian Maniscalco, and Hakwan Lau, Volition and the function of consciousness? -- Deborah Talmi and Chris D. Frith, Neuroscience, free will, and responsibility? -- Jeffrey P. Ebert and Daniel M. Wegner, Bending time to one's will? -- Thalia Wheatley and Christine Looser, Prospective codes fulfilled : a potential neural mechanism of the will? -- Terry Horgan, The phenomenology of agency and the libet results? -- Thomas Nadelhoffer, The threat of shrinking agency and free will disillusionism? -- Gideon Yaffe, Libet and the criminal law's voluntary act requirement? -- Larry Alexander, Criminal and moral responsibility and the libet experiments? -- Michael S. Moore, Libet's challenge(s) to responsible agency? -- Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Lessons from Libet?. (shrink)
The commonplace image of Heidegger is of a philosopher firmly rooted, not in the city of Freiburg in which much of his life was spent, but in the Alemannic-Schwabian countryside around the village of Messkirch in which he was born. It would seem that the distance between Heidegger and Benjamin, between Messkirch and Berlin or Paris could not be greater. But to what extent are Heidegger's own personal predilections for the provincial and the bauerlich actually tied to the (...) philosophical positions that he developed? Might it be the case that the city, perhaps even more than the countryside, has to play a central role in any serious attempt to think through the implications of Heidegger's thought of being? This presentation will explore how Heidegger might find h imself in Benjamin's city, and of the place of the city in Heidegger's own thought, with the aim of shedding light, not only on Heidegger's thought, but also on that of Benjamin himself. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to examine the ateleological moment of learning through imitation. In general, we can learn something new through imitating models we are given, which embody the values of our own society, culture and institutions. This means that imitation is understood in terms of the representation or reproduction of original models. In this understanding of imitation, however, the creative aspect of imitation is missed. In relation to this I shall, first, consider learning through imitation in terms (...) of Walter Benjamin's theory of mimesis discussed in his essay, ‘On the Mimetic Faculty.’ It begins by examining general understanding of the concepts of experience and writing. Second and third, while reconsidering the idea of imitation, I shall bring out the difference between mimesis and copying, based on Plato and Aristotle, and I shall examine the former, especially its involuntary aspect. Fourth, in order to consider the ateleological moment of learning through imitation as mimesis, I discuss the relation between mimesis and the chance event. Fifth, Benjamin's allegorical ‘anti-autobiography’ entitled ‘A Berlin Childhood around 1900’, which ponders the idea of childhood as otherness is considered in order to explore what is happening in the very moment of writing, driven by the chance event. To conclude, I shall show how the very moment of writing involves an unceasing transformation of the self. (shrink)
When political rationality deployed itself on the terrain of the biological life of the human species with the purpose of making this life healthier, more capable, and more "worthy of being lived," it also postulated that some life could be potentiated only at the price of killing off other life. Foucault therefore introduces the idea of biopolitics together with that of thanatopolitics (1990, 137) .Since Foucault, one of the urgent questions has been how biopolitics turns into a thanatopolitics and under (...) what conditions can this turn be prevented or reversed into an affirmative politics of life. In this article I offer a reading of Benjamin's project that leads from thanatopolitics to an affirmative biopolitics. .. (shrink)
This article develops a sociological reading of Walter Benjamins Arcades Project, or Passagen-werk . Specifically, the essay seeks to make explicit Benjamins non-dualistic account of structure and agency in the urban milieu. I characterize this account as the dialectic of urbanism, and argue that one of the central insights of Benjamins Passagen-werk is that it locates an emergent and innovative cultural form - a distinctive street culture or jointly shared way of modern urban life - within haussmannizing (...) techniques of architectural administration and spatial domination. In the modern metropolis, Benjamin sees a new kind of collective - an embedded and effervescent sociocultural group held together not by the functionalist imperatives of capitalist urban planning but by an improvisational mode of street life. Key Words: agency culture embeddedness structure urbanism. (shrink)
Benjamin has long been known for his literary and aesthetic theory but political theorists, as well as other scholars who are interested in questions of politics, tend to downplay (or simply not notice) his contributions to an actionable rhetorical-political discourse. In terms of a politics that speaks directly to the ongoing crisis of global capitalism, existing power arrangements, and the effective depoliticization of the vast majority of people living under such conditions (very much including advanced liberal capitalist democracies such (...) as the United States), it often seems that Benjamin might not have all that much to say.That, at least, is the way that he is often read. Marxists, if they pay attention to .. (shrink)
The following thesis explores the notion of truth as developed in the work of Martin Heidegger and Walter Benjamin. Contrary to the position adopted by many commentators, who seek to drive a wedge between Heidegger's unorthodox phenomenology and the resolutely non -phenomenological Benjamin, I shall want to show how both begin with a rigorously Husserlian conception of truth as an intuition of essence in order, finally, to deviate from it. I argue that, for neither one, can truth be (...) merely one problem or issue taken up by a thinking secure in itself. Rather, from its most classical determination in, for example, the Metaphysics as έπιστήμη της άληθείας, the way in which truth has been determined has itself determined the very project of philosophy. Yet whilst the trajectory of both Heidegger and Benjamin's work can thus be determined in large measure by the question of truth, both are also concerned to re-orient that question in a direction that renders problematic Aristotle's implicit connection of truth to knowledge and knowledge to intuition and presence. I argue that their respective challenges to the location of truth in the act of knowing -a challenge made each time by way of an analytical regression from a propositional understanding of truth (Satzwahrheit) to intuitive truth (Anschauungs-wahrheit) to, finally, its more original character as disclosedness (Erschlossenheit) - remain thoroughly phenomenological before showing how it is in the work of art, and in tragedy in particular, that each one finds the resources for a still more radical understanding of truth. Not in the cognitivist sense that art makes truth claims about the world, but in the sense that it is with the work of art that the historical act of disclosure and world -constitution that Benjamin and Heidegger call truth is most emphatically made. (shrink)
This paper discusses aspects of the thought of the American patriot and thinker, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). At the present time, Franklin is too often regarded primarily as a scientific amateur whose tinkerings produced nothing of lasting importance, or as a self-centered prig of interest only to others like himself. In reality, Franklin was a thoughtful and concerned individual attempting to advance the common weal, both through his personal struggle toward moral perfection and through the institutionalization of the scientific spirit (...) of fallibilism, publicity, and the unquestioned appeal to experience as the sole means of deciding policies. I hope to suggest the ongoing value of Franklin's work in the course of my paper. (shrink)
If literary avant-garde journals and their communities have been, in the twentieth century, a space for creating, if not sustaining, major political utopias, it should help explain why this “literary communism,” as Jean-Luc Nancy called it, is not a weakened or substitutional form of politics. No myth without narration, no implementation without an instrumentation, no organic unity without a political organ voicing its claim, in short: no organicity without an organon. But can there be a (literary) community that does not (...) aim at the achievement of its own assumed truth, a form of writing in common that does not serve to convey a meaning, but bears witness, in its very form, to the fragmentation of meaning? This essay examines three attempts of an affi rmative answer to this question by reappraising three interrelated experimental cases: Jena around 1800 and the Athenaeum journal of the Early Romantics; Walter Benjamin’s journal projects, from the Angelus Novus to the prison camp journal at the end of his life; Maurice Blanchot and the failed trans-European project of what was arguably the most ambitious intellectual journal enterprise of the century, the Revue internationale in the early 1960s. (shrink)