This article addresses the question whether the model of social criticism as 'connected' or 'loyal' which is advanced by Richard Rorty and Michael Walzer offers an adequate picture of social criticism. Two claims are made. First, it is suggested that loyalty is an internally conflicted concept, with three components: a recognition of situatedness in a particular relationship; an affirmation of that relationship by the loyal agent; a set of values or local principles. Where the third component is prominent, (...) loyalty is more reflective and distanced; where the second component predominates, loyalty slips into unreflective commitment. Second, it is argued that Rorty and Walzer conflate the social critic's recognition of his or her situatedness in contexts of power with the affirmation of that situatedness. It is concluded that the model of loyal social criticism is mislead mg, and that the practice of the critic must be tempered by the operation of the sense of injustice. Key Words: connection • loyalty • Rorty • social criticism • Walzer. (shrink)
“Ethical criticism” is an approach to literary studies that holds that reading certain carefully selected novels can make us ethically better people, e.g., by stimulating our sympathetic imagination (Nussbaum). I try to show that this nonargumentative approach cheapens the persuasive force of novels and that its inherent bias and censorship undercuts what is perhaps the principal value and defense of the novel—that reading novels can be critical to one’s learning how to think.
Machine generated contents note: Introduction: The Rise of Philosophical Art Criticism 1 -- Chapter 1. In the Beginning Was Formalism 17 -- Chapter 2. The Structuralist Adventure 33 -- Chapter 3. The Historicist, Antiessentialist Definition of Art 55 -- Chapter 4. Resentment and Its Discontents 71 -- Chapter 5. The Deconstruction of Structuralism 87 -- Afterword: The Fate of Philosophical Art Criticism 111.
In this paper, making reference to Robert Brandom's philosophical proposal - and against the background of Brandom's debate with Jürgen Habermas - I shall endeavor, first, to define the relation between recognition and normativity and then between recognition and criticism; in the final part of the paper I shall suggest a perspective that approaches recognition in terms of capacities. On this basis I attempt to see the critical attitude as something that is founded more on individual potentials than on (...) formal criteria and that is essentially connected with a power of redescription: a dialectical anthropology of recognition is thus the most promising base to account for that which substantiates our critical powers. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is methodological. It offers a comprehensive mapping of the theoretical positions on the ethical criticism of art, correcting omissions and inadequacies in the conceptual framework adopted in the current debate. Three principles are recommended as general guidelines: ethical amenability, basic value pluralism, and relativity to ethical dimension. Hence a taxonomy distinguishing between different versions of autonomism, moralism, and immoralism is established, by reference to criteria that are different from what emerging in the current literature. (...) The mapping is then proved capable of (1) locating the various theories that have been proposed so far and clarifying such theories’ real commitments, (2) having the correct relationship with actual art making and art criticism practices, and (3) showing the real weight of the alleged counter-example to a moralist position of a work that succeeds artistically because of its immorality. (shrink)
Among the methodological rules of the social sciences we find the principles of value-neutrality and the principle of criticism. Both principles are of vital importance in the social sciences, but both seem to conflict with one another. The principle of criticism excludes value-judgments from the social sciences, because they cannot be empirically tested. Hence, criticism methodologically implies value-neutrality. Yet there is the opposing view that it is precisely the critical social researcher who looks beyond mere 'social facts' (...) taking into account the value framework of the society. Thus, criticism does not lead to value-freedom, but points to the value impact of the so-called social facts. In this paper, the two principles are stated. Then it is shown how and why they are incompatible. Finally, several suggestions are discussed to resolve this methodological conflict. (shrink)
D. Blumbergi identifies three kinds of moral criticism: (i) of an individual for violating a moral practice in his society, (2) of a moral practice but not the individual who participates in it, and (3) of both an individual and the practice in accordance with which he acts ('practice- personal' criticism) (p. 348). According to Mr. Blumberg, successful derivation of a conclusive 'ought'-statement from statements about socially-created obligations would show how moral criticisms of type 1 are justified. Moral (...) criticisms of type 2 would still be allowed, but not those of type 3. -/- I discuss the following points made by Blumberg: (A) Criticism of type 1 is 'the most common kind of moral judgment' (p. 356); (B) Searle dispensed 'with the conclusive aspect of the conclusion, and with it the finality of the derivation, when it began to seem unrealizable' (p. 356); (C) 'It is impossible to derive conclusive "ought"-statements embodying our traditional moral outlook from statements about socially-created obligations, . . .' (p. 355); (D) 'Either we surrender the attempt to derive a conclusive "ought"-statement from statements about socially- created obligations, or else we must surrender our right to make practice- personal criticisms' (p. 357). -/- I argue that conclusiveness in judgments, both moral and non-moral, is always relative to the range of reasons weighed, the implications of action considered. Therefore 'ought' must always be taken to be context-bound just as moral principles are taken to be defeasible, elliptical. This interpretation of 'ought' and 'conclusive' as bound to a context, point of view or framework, is quite consistent with Searle's distinction between what is internal and external to an institution. (shrink)
Some critical reactions hardly give clues to the arguer as to how to respond to them convincingly. Other critical reactions convey some or even all of the considerations that make the critic critical of the arguer’s position and direct the arguer to defuse or to at least contend with them. First, an explication of the notion of a critical reaction will be provided, zooming in on the degree of “directiveness” that a critical reaction displays. Second, it will be examined whether (...) there are normative requirements that enhance the directiveness of criticism. Does the opponent have in circumstances a dialectical obligation to provide clarifications, explanations, or even arguments? In this paper, it is hypothesized that the competitiveness inherent in critical discussion must be mitigated by making the opponent responsible for providing her counterconsiderations, if available, thus assisting the proponent in developing an argumentative strategy that defuses them. (shrink)
This paper argues that Michel Foucault explicitly rejected the model of critique by which he is often understood—by both his defenders and detractors. Rather than justifying norms that could be said to represent “the people;” judging institutions, norms, and practices accordingly; and creating programs for others to enact, he theorized and practiced an experimental social criticism in which specific intellectuals help people work through “intolerable” situations by multiplying the ways they can think about and act upon them. As Foucault’s (...) work with the prisons in France shows, one way intellectuals can be part of the experimental transformations social bodies carry out upon themselves is through genealogical work describing the ways problems have come to be identified—and can thus be transformed. This account of criticism undercuts the problem of justifying a standpoint of critique that has plagued philosophers and suggests a few concrete means of better aligning theory and practice. (shrink)
I begin by formulating the problem of the nature of fallacy in terms of the logic of the negative evaluation of argument, that is, in terms of a theory of logical criticism; here I discuss several features of my approach and several advantages vis-à-vis other approaches; a main feature of my approach is the concern to avoid both formalist and empiricist excesses. I then define six types of fallaciousness, labeled formal, explanatory, presuppositional, positive, semantical, and persuasive; they all involve (...) arguments whose conclusion may be said not to follow from the premises, that is, they involve the logical evaluation of relationships among propositions. I also provide a set of data consisting of four historical cases or nine specific instances of fallacious arguments; these all pertain to the Copernican controversy about the earth's motion in the seventeenth century. I end with a discussion of further problems and inquiries that deserve attention. (shrink)
Stanisław Brzozowski was active as philosopher and literary critic for only a few years at the turn of the twentieth century, yet his writings are still inspire contemporary thinkers and critics. In every important phase of the development of Polish literary criticism, Polish intellectuals have acknowledged Brzozowski as a writer who had the courage and critical acumen to confront modernity and examine closely contemporary trends of thought from the perspective of social and individual life. This continued presence of the (...) celebrated critic cannot but be interesting for the researcher who is led to ask, what is so intriguing in Brzozowski’s work, why do successive generations of critics and intellectuals return to Brzozowski? Drawing on many important interpretations of Brzozowski’s work (Burek, Głowiński, Nycz), I want to show that in Brzozowski’s work it is possible to find everything contemporary criticism and thought needs, because his books contain, in nuce , projects and strategies which can be (and are) used in different ways by critics representing different ideologies and worldviews. Brzozowski worked out, or rather attempted to work out, ideas which are a source of modern critical projects but in addition his work comprises a repertoire of possibilities which contemporary critical thought can turn to its advantage. Brzozowski’s work can be also treated as a performative act, calling forth the reader’s response, in this way shedding new light on it. I also show that “performative consciousness” is both close to Brzozowski’s practice of writing and deeply rooted in his philosophical conviction. Brzozowski can be considered a representative of modernist, critical literature, in which reading and writing become a mode of experience, a privileged social discourse, and a “leaven,” an act and an activity. (shrink)
The article lays down the broad strokes of an interpretive approach to social criticism. In developing this approach, the author stresses the importance of both a pluralistic notion of social justice and a rich ideal of personal growth. While objecting to one-dimensional conceptions of social justice centering on legal equality, the author develops the idea of there being multiple "spheres of justice", including the spheres of "care" and "merit". Each of these spheres, he argues, is subject to historical interpretation. (...) He furthers this view by arguing that the social basis for these different spheres is best understood against the canvas of an ideal of self-fulfillment and individuality. Based on the elaboration of these two sets of premises—a pluralistic conception of social justice and a collective ideal of personal self-fulfillment—the article outlines the basis for and challenges inherent to the practice of interpretive social criticism. (shrink)
Reply to John Lewis: Note on "The critique of the personality cult". Remark on the category "Process without a subject or goal(s)"--Elements of self-criticism: On the evolution of the young Marx.--Is it simple to be a Marxist in philosophy? "Something new".
Since the mid-1980s, Arthur C. Danto has been increasingly concerned with the implications of the demise of modernism. Out of the wake of modernist art, Danto discerns the emergence of a radically pluralistic art world. His essays illuminate this novel art world as well as the fate of criticism within it. As a result, Danto has crafted the most compelling philosophy of art criticism since Clement Greenberg. Gregg Horowitz and Tom Huhn analyze the constellation of philosophical and critical (...) elements in Danto's new- Hegelian art theory. In a provocative encounter, they employ themes from Kantian aesthetics to elucidate the continuing persistence of taste in shaping even this most sophisticated philosophy of art. (shrink)
Aesthetics: Music and ideas. Formalism. Perception, meaning, and the subject matter of art. The technical factor in art. The aesthetic function of language. The problem of belief. On defining metaphor.--Criticism: Cordelia absent. A poem by Frost and some principles of criticism. Critical communication. "Pretentious" as an aesthetic predicate. Superlatives. Some problems of interpretation.--Ethics and moral psychology: Natural pride and natural shame. Deontology and the ethics of lying. Ethical and aesthetic criticism.--Appendices (p. -316).--A. Analytical philosophy and the (...) study of art.--B. Notebooks and letters. (shrink)
Caregivers’ emotional responses to children influence children’s social and emotional development. This study investigated the association between maternal emotional expressiveness in the context of mother–child interactions and young children’s sensitivity to teacher criticism. Sensitivity to teacher criticism was assessed among 53 Japanese preschoolers using hypothetical scenarios in which a puppet child representing the participant made a small error, and a puppet teacher pointed out the error. Self-report questionnaires were used to measure maternal expressiveness. The results demonstrated that negative (...) maternal expressiveness toward one’s own children was positively related to children’s ratings of their own ability and negatively related to children’s motivation to continue with the task after teacher criticism. Positive maternal expressiveness was not related to children’s sensitivity to criticism. These findings suggest that children who have experienced more negative emotion from mothers may be more likely to hold negative beliefs about how others will respond to their behavior more generally. This may, in turn, lead to a defensively positive view of one’s own abilities and a disinclination to persevere as protection from additional opportunities for teacher evaluation. (shrink)
This paper brings kāmaśāstra into conversation with poetics (alaṅkāraśāstra) and modes of literary criticism associated with Sanskrit literature (kāvya). It shows how historical intersections between kāvya, kāmaśāstra, and alaṅkāraśāstra have produced insightful cross-domain typologies to understand the nature and value of canonical works of Sanskrit literature. In addition to exploring kāmaśāstra typologies broadly as conceptual models and analytical categories useful in literary-critical contexts, this paper takes up a specific formulation from the kāmaśāstra (the padminī-citriṇī-śaṅkhinī-hastinī type-casting of females) used by (...) a twentieth century literary critic to frame the relationships between canonical poets of Sanskrit literature. (shrink)
Aesthetics, hermeneutics, criticism -- Social Werktreue and the subjectivization of aesthetics -- From musike to metaphysics -- Formalist aesthetics and musical hermeneutics -- Deconstructing the disciplinary divide -- The question of metaphor -- Mimesis and the hermeneutics of music -- Political critique and the politics of music criticism -- Toward a hermeneutics of music criticism.
The founding text of modern hermeneutics. Written by the philosopher and theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher as a method for the interpretation and textual criticism of the New Testament, it develops ideas about language and the interpretation of texts that are in many respects still unsurpassed and are becoming current in the contemporary philosophy of language. Contrary to the traditional view of Schleiermacher as a theorist of empathetic interpretation, in this text he offers a view of understanding that acknowledges both the (...) structurally and historically determined aspects of language and the need to take account of the activity of the individual subject in the constitution of meaning. This volume offers the text in a new translation by Andrew Bowie, together with related writings on secular hermeneutics and on language, and an introduction that places the texts in the context of Schleiermacher's philosophy as a whole. (shrink)
This is the long-awaited publication of a set of writings by the British philosopher, historian, and archaeologist R.G. Collingwood (1889-1943) on critical, anthropological, and cultural themes only hinted at in his previously available work. At the core are six essays on folktale and magic in which Collingwood applies the principles of his philosophy of history to problems in the long-term evolution of human society and culture. The volume opens with three substantial introductory essays by the editors, authorities in their various (...) fields, who provide their explanatory and contextual notes to guide the reader through the texts. The Philosophy of Enchantment highlights the broad range of Collingwood's intellectual engagements, their integration, and their relevance to current areas of debate in the fields of philosophy, cultural studies, social and literary history, and anthropology. (shrink)
I tackle the definition of the relation between first and second nature while examining some problems with McDowell's conception. This, in the first place, will bring out the need to extend the notion of second nature to the social dimension, understanding it not just as `inner' second nature — individual mind — but also as `outer' second nature — objective spirit. In the second place the dialectical connection between these two notions of second nature will point the way to a (...) critical use of the concept itself, which will link up with a theory of reification. Furthermore, I shall endeavor to fit my reflection into the problematic constellation of critical theory : my analysis in fact rests on the question whether, within a critical theory, the philosophy of nature can be recaptured today, in such a way as to give meaning to the very notion of socio-philosophical criticism of reality. Key Words: Theodor Adorno • critical theory • dialectics • Jürgen • Habermas • G. W. F. Hegel • John McDowell • mind naturalism • nature • quietism • reification • second nature • world. (shrink)
This article calls for a critical re-evaluation of Walzer’s theory of justice. It argues that there is a deep tension between Walzer’s social criticism and his complex equality. Social criticism is based on the normative value of a connected and ‘whole’ self, and complex equality is based upon a value pluralism that threatens to fragment this sense of wholeness. Walzer therefore commissions a tacit premise, borrowing from the same ‘political philosophy’ that he explicitly repudiates, and which social (...) class='Hi'>criticism is intended to supplant. This premise is a Kantian-inspired conception of self; brought to the argument as an a priori premise and thus in violation of Walzer’s own stated commitment to ‘internalism’ and ‘interpretation’. Furthermore, this same conception of self is the moral source of Walzer’s substantive commitment to the universal value of pluralist political regimes. The article closes with a suggested reconciliation of the inherent tension within Walzer’s theory. (shrink)
This paper attempts to systematically characterize critical reactions in argumentative discourse, such as objections, critical questions, rebuttals, refutations, counterarguments, and fallacy charges, in order to contribute to the dialogical approach to argumentation. We shall make use of four parameters to characterize distinct types of critical reaction. First, a critical reaction has a focus, for example on the standpoint, or on another part of an argument. Second, critical reactions appeal to some kind of norm, argumentative or other. Third, they each have (...) a particular illocutionary force, which may include that of giving strategic advice to the other. Fourth, a critical reaction occurs at a particular level of dialogue (the ground level or some meta-level). The concepts here developed shall be applied to discussions of critical reactions by Aristotle and by some contemporary authors. (shrink)
Works of fiction are often criticized for their historical inaccuracies. But this practice poses a problem: why would we criticize a work of fiction for its historical inaccuracy given that it is a work of fiction? There is an intuition that historical inaccuracies in works of fiction diminish their value as works of fiction; and yet, given that they are works of fiction, there is also an intuition that such works should be free from the constraints of historical truth. The (...) puzzle of historical criticism is that these intuitions are obviously in conflict, and yet we wish to give up neither. In this essay, I address the shortcomings of two seemingly intuitive strategies for solving the puzzle: the puzzle cannot be solved by appealing to historical constraints of a work’s genre, nor can it be explained as an instance of imaginative resistance. Given the failure of these two strategies, I suggest that there is no easy way to account for our conflicting intuitions and that the puzzle is deserving of greater attention. (shrink)
As a great synthesist for the School of Principles of the Northern and Southern Song dynasties, Zhu Xi’s influence over the School of Principles was demonstrated not only through his positive theoretical creation, but also through his choice and critical awareness. Zhu’s relationship with Confucianism and Buddhism is a typical case; and his activities, ranging from his research of Buddhism (the Chan School) in his early days to his farewell to the Chan School as a student of Li Dong from (...) Yanping and then to his critical awareness of the Chan School, developed in his association with Wang Yingchen, set the entire course of his relationship with Confucianism and Buddhism. It fostered his antagonistic attitude towards the Chan School, which lasted his entire life. Zhu approached the Chan School mainly as an objective social and cultural phenomenon; his discrimination between Confucianism and Buddhism was from an epistemological point of view; and his refutation of the Chan School was mainly from the point of view of language and methodology, an antagonistic attitude of how to face learning. Therefore, his opposition to the Chan School not only directly fostered an awareness of the Confucians of the Ming dynasty against Buddhism, who simply viewed the latter as an external and objective existence, but to a certain extent resulted in the disappearance of the transcendence of the School of Principles, and caused a total change in academic direction during the Ming and Qing dynasties and the formation of the Qianjia Hanxue . What is more, such an opposition to Buddhism continues to influence people’s understanding of the School of Principles. (shrink)
If the idea of morality is approached by way both of common sense views about morality and common philosophical accounts of it, then the meaning of the term "moral" as this is sometimes used in literary criticism must seem puzzling. the puzzle is illustrated rather than solved, but some tentative suggestions are made. for instance common notions about what morality is may be too narrow.
If we are to find the criteria for critical analyses of social arrangements and processes not in some abstract, universalist framework, but from the guiding ‘self-interpretations’ of the societies in question, as contemporary contextualist and ‘communitarian’ approaches to social philosophy suggest, the vexing question arises as to where these self-interpretations can be found and how they are identified. The paper presents a model according to which there are four interdependent as well as partially autonomous spheres or ‘levels’ of socially relevant (...) self-interpretation that have to be taken into account equally in order to provide a sound basis for social and political criticism. Thus, it is from the tensions and incoherences between (A) social ideas and doctrines, (B) social institutions and practices, (C) individual beliefs and convictions, and (D) body-practices and habits that social pathologies can be identified and possible solutions can be envisaged. (shrink)
William Walker's original analysis of John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding offers a challenging and provocative assessment of Locke's importance as a thinker, bridging the gap between philosophical and literary-critical discussion of his work. He presents Locke as a foundational figure who defines the epistemological and ontological ground on which eighteenth-century and Romantic literature operate and eventually diverge. He is revealed as a crucial figure for emerging modernity, less the familiar empiricist innovator and more the proto-Nietzschean thinker whose text (...) fosters hitherto unsuspected instabilities and promotes a new kind of rhetorical force to counterbalance them. Walker's reading of Locke is at once finely attentive to the text and engagingly resourceful in placing the Essay in its broadest philosophical and historical context. (shrink)
This article focuses on Max Horkheimer’s criticism of Husserl’s phenomenology in basic philosophical matters such as method, theory, logic, truth, metaphysics, etc. Horkheimer objects to Husserl’s conception of philosophy as a mathesis universalis and of science as relativistic research. However, he finds Husserl’s criticism of scientific rationalism the most important step for the legitimacy of philosophy. According to him, Husserl’s method is intended to be a science of apriority. But his understanding of apriority is static, is radically abstract, (...) and overlooks the dialectical relation. Therefore, his method is ahistorical and undialectical. Horkheimer does not interpret Husserl’s idealism in the sense of classical idealism. However, he believes that the positivistic and Cartesian implications in Husserl’s philosophy made his method less fruitful in concrete situations. Consequently, he calls Husserl’s phenomenology abstract positivism, traditional theory and a bourgeois ideology. Horkheimer’s critique focuses on Husserl’s early period of phenomenology. (shrink)
I defend the ethical fittingness theory (EFT), the thesis that whenever it is legitimate ethically to evaluate a representational artwork for the perspective it embodies, such evaluation systematically bears on the work's artistic value. EFT is a form of radical moralism, claiming that the systematic relationship between the selected type of ethical evaluation and artistic evaluation always obtains, for works of any kind. The argument for EFT spells out the implications of ethically judging an artwork for its perspective, where such (...) an ethical evaluation is understood as an assessment of how well the work's ethical perspective fits extra-fictional reality—how appropriate, correct, or true the perspective is. The argument shows that the ethical legitimacy of judging a work for its perspective ipso facto proves the judgment's art-critical relevance. Hence, the argument effectively amounts to a reductio ad absurdum of theories that admit the legitimacy of ethically judging artworks this way, but deny or qualify the judgment's relevance to artistic merit. Since EFT is stated conditionally, the argument need not indicate how often artworks are subject to this type of ethical evaluation. Nonetheless, I make a case for the relevance of EFT to actual art criticism and contemporary philosophical debate. (shrink)
For pragmatists, the inability to stand outside of the contingencies of human practice does not impede social criticism. However, several pragmatists have argued that Richard Rorty’s position unnecessarily and undesirably circumscribes the scope of social criticism, allowing for nothing more than an appeal to current practices, with no way to challenge or revise them. This article argues against this understanding, showing that on Rorty’s account, social criticism is an interpretive activity in which critics draw on elements within (...) current practices, focusing attention on the ways in which a society’s practices fail to live up to its self-image. In so doing, Rorty’s position is shown to allow for everything that his fellow pragmatists think important, but take him to be denying. (shrink)
The "only pretension, of which I am tenacious," wrote Hazlitt, "is that of being a metaphysician"; but his metaphysics, and particularly what this book identifies as his power principle, has until now been neglected. This exciting book studies Hazlitt's development of the power principle as a counter to the pleasure principle of the Utilitarians, and examines the revelation of power in his philosophy of discourse, his account of imaginative structure, his theory of genius, and his moral theory.
It is often argued that Michael Walzer’s theory of social criticism, which underpins his theory of justice, is not much of a theory at all, but rather an impressionistic collection of historical anecdotes. Contrary to this perception, I argue that Walzer’s method can be accurately described as a version of John Rawls’ well-known method of wide reflective equilibrium. Through a systematic comparison it can be shown that the two methods are strikingly similar. This implies that, far from the critics’ (...) claim, Walzer’s method can be described as a philosophically sophisticated method. This also adds credibility to Walzer’s views on politics and justice. (shrink)