: David-Ménard examines the problem of the genesis of Kant's moral philosophy. The separation between Kantian practical reason and the inclinations of sense which it regulates is shown by the author to originate in Kant's attempt to regulate his own tendency to hypochondria. Her argument links the themes from two of Kant's pre-critical works which attest to this tendency--"An Essay on the Maladies of the Mind" and Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime--to the final form of (...) the critical philosophy. (shrink)
: Ross examines the relation between thought and madness within the practical and theoretical wings of Kant's critical philosophy. She argues that the notion of critique is formulated as a guard against the tendency of thought to madness. She locates the significance of David-Ménard's essay on Kant's pre-critical works in the idea that Kant's own tendency to madness functions in these early works as a motivational principle for the mature, critical system.
This paper examines the use of “pleasure” as the distinguishing mark of aesthetic experience in post-Kantian philosophy. It shows how the distinctive features of aesthetic experience, such as pleasure, qualify this experience as a platform for social criticism. The key argument is that the autonomy of the aesthetic experience is not “false”, rather it is paradoxical in the strong sense that the fact of its communicative efficacy, which follows from distinctive, “autonomous” aesthetic features, necessarily loads it with functions and expectations (...) that are external to the aesthetic moment. Kant takes a complicated path to qualify aesthetic judgment as disinterested in order that it may eloquently testify for morality. He thereby sets up the cogency of the modern pattern of looking to aesthetic experience as a locus of meaningful communication for ideas that are experientially poor or remote. (shrink)
For the purposes of analytical clarity it is possible to distinguish two ways in which Nancy's ontology of sense appeals to art. First, he uses 'art' as a metaphorical operator to give features to his ontology (such as surprise and wonder); second, the practice of the contemporary arts instruct the terms of his ontological project because, in his view, this practice catches up with the fragmentation of existence and thus informs ontology about the structure of existence today. These two different (...) roles—in which 'art' is both a general category able to stage the features of sense in general and a particularly striking example of the alteration sense undergoes in our times—make available for Nancy different perspectives on the question of sense. On the one hand, the general category of 'art' allows Nancy to construct a characterology of sense around terms such as surprise and novelty; on the other, the appeal to the fractal practice of the 'contemporary arts' supports the project of giving an account of sense.This paper analyses the effects on Nancy's conception of sense of these different appeals to 'art' and the practice of 'the contemporary arts.' Are the locales from which these different perspectives on sense take shape compatible? In what ways do they inflect each other or, alternatively, undermine the perspectives of the other on the question of sense? Finally, what do these two strands tell us about what Nancy expects of 'art' and what would happen to his ontology of sense without the different appeals he makes to it? (shrink)
This article analyses some of the shifts in tone and argumentation in Derrida's work by comparing the treatment of the topics of theatre and theatrical representation in his early writing on literary and philosophical texts with the conception of a politically committed ‘ethics’ in his late work. The topic of theatrical representation is particularly useful for a critical assessment of Derrida's later ethics because it allows us to give careful consideration to his position on different types of, and contexts for, (...) involvement. I argue that some of the important differences in tone and argumentation in Derrida's work arise not just because of the different exigencies that distinguish readings of literary/philosophical texts from analyses of political circumstances and events. There is also a shift in his work from attempting to account for the aporetic economy that supports positions held and defended to the terms of his advocacy for ethical commitment. In the case of his early writing the emphasis falls on accounting for meaning in terms of a typology of conversion effects; positive values are aporetically joined with negative ones. In his later work aporias do not present occasions for examining conditions of meaning. Rather, they become compelling imperatives to act. Despite the differences between these perspectives they both articulate an important role for aesthetic experience in meaning. I conclude by considering the consequences that such a position on meaning imposes on Derrida's use of the vocabulary of injunctions and imperatives to ‘compel’ a response. (shrink)
This paper proposes to analyse the process that makes paths of action meaningful. It argues that this process is one of ‘figuration’. The term ‘figuration’ intends to outline how the experience of moral meaning is one that already positively marks out a field and to identify and analyse the mechanisms used for such marking and selection. It is my contention that these mechanisms predate the persuasion to a moral path; they are the process through which this path is constructed as (...) meaningful. This thesis is elucidated through an analysis of the tactics of meaning in Kant’s moral theory. Kant turns to aesthetics as a means of corroboration for his moral theory, but he also attempts to limit the scope of the interactions between his aesthetic and moral theory. For instance, when he writes on the topic of form in aesthetic taste or outlines the technical specifications of aesthetic judgment, it is arguably the arcane peculiarities of his system that are met. For this reason, Kant insists on the merely analogical relations between beauty and morality. However, it is also possible to see how certain aspects of Kant’s aesthetic theory execute wider, and potentially more important, functions for his practical philosophy, such as providing meaningful orientation for the ascetic moral attitude of his duty-ethics. In this respect, certain figures of Kant’s aesthetic theory may well be viewed as complementing the dependence in his moral philosophy, in the important sections on moral pedagogy and methodology, on appeals to heroic models and stories as ways of shaping and inculcating the moral disposition. This paper considers these aspects of interaction between Kant’s aesthetic and moral philosophies as both 1) a problem for the consistency of his philosophy given his avowed exclusion of aesthetic and religious elements of meaning in his duty-ethics; and 2) as a case study for the new, schematic analysis of ‘moral figuration’ outlined in the paper. (shrink)
This paper deals with Derrida's analysis of Kant's Critique of Judgment in his essay 'Economimesis'. I argue that Derrida's analysis of Kant's aesthetics can be used to describe the aporia within Kantian politics between rebellion and progressive revolutionary acts. The focus of my argument falls on examining how the recent debate over Derrida's ethics can be usefully considered from the background of this treatment of Kant. In particular, the analysis Derrida gives of Kant's aesthetics commits him to a series of (...) conceptual constraints that can be detected in his recent commentaries on 'forgiveness' and 'hospitality'. I suggest that these recent commentaries on political topics also depart from his earlier practice of ethics in 'Economimesis' as a 'witnessing' of the particular. This departure can be clearly seen once the Kantian background to Derrida's recent writing is set out. (shrink)
This book examines the ways that Heidegger, Lacoue-Labarthe, and Nancy adopt and reconfigure the Kantian understanding of "aesthetic presentation." In Kant, "aesthetic presentation" is understood in a technical sense as a specific mode of experience within a typology of different spheres of experience. This study argues that Heidegger, Lacoue-Labarthe, and Nancy generalize the elements of this specific mode of experience so that the aesthetic attitude and the vocabulary used by Kant to describe it are brought to bear on things in (...) general. The book goes beyond documenting the well-known influence of Kant's Critique of Judgment , however, to open up a new way of approaching some of the central issues in post-Kantian thought—including why it is that art, the art work, and the aesthetic are still available as a vehicle of critique even, or especially, after Auschwitz. It shows that a genealogy of contemporary theory needs to look at the question of presentation, which has arguably been a question that has worried philosophy from its very beginning. (shrink)
Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man is a modern myth. Like many ancient myths it seems to have the structure of a rite of passage analysed by van Gennep into three stages: separation, marginal existence and reintegration. Separation is precipitated by a traumatic event and the marginal state is characterized by extraordinary experiences and feats. However, Jarmusch's tale does not quite fit the ancient initiation pattern since the last stage, reintegration, is at least prima facie missing. This already undermines the social function (...) of initiation and warps the significance of the myth. The modern town of ?Machine?, where the marginal existence of Blake is sealed, looms in the background of the story of his final journey to the world of spirits whence he had come. But Blake cannot quite embrace the story in which he plays the protagonist. The story is cobbled together by the Native American called ?Nobody.? Blake sceptically resigns himself to his fate. Why does Blake do this? Jarmusch manipulates the generic structure of the initiation tale in order to say something culturally significant about the possibility of living a meaningful life in a world dominated by the machine. In other words, he tells a modern myth. What does his tale say? (shrink)
This paper examines the role of formal, aesthetic elements in motivating moral action. It proposes that Blumenberg’s analysis of the existential settings of myth and metaphor provide a useful framework to consider the conception and function of the aesthetic symbol in Kantian moral philosophy. In particular, it explores the hypothesis that Blumenberg’s analysis of ‘pregnance’ and ‘rhetoric’ are useful for identifying and evaluating the processes involved in self-persuasion to the moral perspective.
Background Planning for the next pandemic influenza outbreak is underway in hospitals across the world. The global SARS experience has taught us that ethical frameworks to guide decision-making may help to reduce collateral damage and increase trust and solidarity within and between health care organisations. Good pandemic planning requires reflection on values because science alone cannot tell us how to prepare for a public health crisis. Discussion In this paper, we present an ethical framework for pandemic influenza planning. The ethical (...) framework was developed with expertise from clinical, organisational and public health ethics and validated through a stakeholder engagement process. The ethical framework includes both substantive and procedural elements for ethical pandemic influenza planning. The incorporation of ethics into pandemic planning can be helped by senior hospital administrators sponsoring its use, by having stakeholders vet the framework, and by designing or identifying decision review processes. We discuss the merits and limits of an applied ethical framework for hospital decision-making, as well as the robustness of the framework. Summary The need for reflection on the ethical issues raised by the spectre of a pandemic influenza outbreak is great. Our efforts to address the normative aspects of pandemic planning in hospitals have generated interest from other hospitals and from the governmental sector. The framework will require re-evaluation and refinement and we hope that this paper will generate feedback on how to make it even more robust. (shrink)
Among members of the legal profession and judiciary throughout the world, there is a genuine concern with establishing and maintaining high ethical standards. It is not difficult to understand why this should be so. Nor is it difficult to see the professional standards are not completely divorced from ordinary morality. Indeed, legal ethics and professional responsibility are more than a set of rules of good conduct; they are also a commitment to honesty, integrity, and service in the practice of law. (...) In order to ensure that the standards established are the right ones, it is necessary first of all to examine important philosophical and policy issues, such as the need to reconsider the boundaries between, on the one hand, a lawyer's obligation to a client and, on the other, the public interest. It is also to be appreciated that conflicts of interest are pervasive and that all too often they are so common that they are not recognized as such. Yet rarely is public policy clearly cut. -/- The underlying themes of this book are: BL that the move to more definite rules is not only inevitable but also desirable -/- BL that existing codes of professional practice cannot simply be treated as a system of specific rules -/- BL that the current set of ethical rules is contestable and requires further refinement, perhaps even radical surgery -/- BL and that legal ethics must be conceived in the more general area of professional responsibility -/- The wider ethical issues of the operation of the legal profession as a whole are now firmly on the agenda. Both law schools and law professionals have a role to play in developing acceptable standards in this area and it is therefore appropriate that the essays in this volume are written by a distinguished group of law teachers and practitioners together with senior members of the judiciary. -/- The book opens with an overview chapter, followed by three chapters analysing the ethical rules pertaining to the judiciary, the Bar, and solicitors, written by, respectively, the Master of the Rolls, Anthony Thornton, and Alison Crawley and Christopher Bramall. The following three chapters look at the specific issues of confidentiality (Michael Brindle and Guy Dehn) and the particular ethical problems in the family and criminal law jurisdictions (Sir Alan Ward and Professor Andrew Ashworth respectively). Chapter 8, by Sir Alan Paterson, discusses the teaching of legal ethics, whilst Chapters 9 and 10, by Marc Galanter, Thomas Palay, and Cyril Glasser put the subject in its wider social and professional context. The book finishes with a chapter which examines what lawyers may learn from looking at the study of medical ethics. (shrink)