Introduction Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-17 DOI 10.1007/s10503-011-9238-3 Authors Ana Laura Nettel, Law Department, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana—Azcapotzalco (UAM-A), Amsterdam 180-403 Colonia Hipódromo Condesa, 06100 Mexico, DF, Mexico GeorgesRoque, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), CRAL, EHESS/CNRS, 96 Bd. Raspail, 75006 Paris, France Journal Argumentation Online ISSN 1572-8374 Print ISSN 0920-427X.
An important issue for visual argumentation is its relationship to propositions, since it has been argued that, in order to be arguments, images should be propositional. The first part of the paper will approach this debate from a theoretical perspective. After quickly surveying the field on the issue, I will address the relationship between images and propositions. Three specific questions will be examined: can propositions accurately account for the way images express arguments?; are verbal propositions necessary to reconstruct arguments that (...) images alone cannot convey, due to their lacking linguistic tools?; are images essentially non-propositional because they don’t have truth-value? The second part of the paper will include a detailed analysis of two posters. From these analyses, I will ultimately conclude that some images can display a visual argument without necessarily being propositional. (shrink)
This article deals with the relationship between argumentation and persuasion. It defends the idea that these two concepts are not as opposed as all too often said. If it is important to recognize their differences (there are argumentative discourses without persuasion and persuasive discourses without argumentation), there is nevertheless an overlap, in which characteristics are taken from both. We propose to call this overlap “persuasive argumentation”. In order to bridge argumentation and persuasion, we will first distinguish the latter from manipulation. (...) In the second part of this article, we will analyze four cases of persuasive argumentation: the enthymeme, a few rhetorical figures, narration and visual argumentation. (shrink)
This article juxtaposes two of the most influential thinkers of the previous century, Georges Bataille and Martin Heidegger: my overarching claim will be that a contrastive approach allows a better understanding of two central dynamics within their work. First, I show that both were deeply troubled by a certain methodological anxiety; namely, that the practice of writing might distort and deform their insights. By employing a comparative strategy, I suggest that we can gain a better understanding of the very (...) specific form this fear takes in them: in each case, it is articulated and justified in terms of the ‘chose’ or ‘Ding’ (‘thing’) or the ‘objet’ or ‘Objekt’ (‘object’). Second, I argue that close textual comparison allows us to identify an important, new dimension in their reactions to this shared anxiety: the thing or object which was originally the site of the anxiety gradually becomes, through series of ontological and textual shifts, the solution to it. I track this transformation across a range of case studies including Heidegger’s later work on the term ‘Ding’ and Bataille’s treatment of prostitution. I close by indicating how these results might create avenues for further research. (shrink)
Depuis longtemps, la recherche met en relief les influences françaises et allemandes de la pensée de Georges Gurvitch. De récents travaux ouvrent désormais la voie à l’étude de ses sources russes. Cet article vise à poser les bases de l’étude des sources russes de la pensée de Gurvitch. Pour ce faire, il recourt à onze articles publiés par Gurvitch, entre 1924 et 1931, dans la revue russe de l’émigration Annales contemporaines, dont il dégage une propension marquée à l’endroit des (...) totalités sociales. L’article comprend, en outre, une brève étude du parcours russe de Gurvitch ainsi qu’une traduction intégrale de la dernière partie de l’article « Éthique et religion » .Research has traditionally emphasized French and German influences on Georges Gurvitch’s thought. Recent works tend however to incline towards its Russian influences. This paper attempts to pave the way for the forthcoming study of Gurvitch’s Russian influences. It is based on eleven works by Gurvitch, published in the Russian-emigration journal Annales contemporaines between 1924 and 1931. This study proper shows the importance of social totalities in early Gurvitch’s thought. Besides, the paper offers a brief survey of Gurvitch’s Russian path and gives the reader an unabridged translation from the work’s « Ethics and Religion » last part. (shrink)
Georges Canguilhem, A Vital Rationalist: Selected Writings from Georges Canguilhem, edited by François Delaporte and translated by Arthur Goldhammer. New York: Zone Books, 1994. Pp. 481. ISBN 0-942299-72-8. £24.25, $36.25.
In this reply to Kent Brintnall's response to my essay on Georges Bataille and the ethics of ecstasy, I explore two primary questions: whether instrumentalization is inherently violent and non-instrumentalization is inherently non-violent, and whether there is a way to intervene in the world that avoids both “apathetic disengagement” and domination. I endorse the view that instrumentalization can be good as well as bad, and I suggest that it is possible to strive to intervene in the world without striving (...) to master it. I make reference to Sarah Coakley as a Christian theologian who advances particular practices that aim for non-dominating intervention in theworld. (shrink)
Canguilhem has, across the century, carefully spied out how, in the history of science, "obsessional constraints" take hold of "the curious yet docile mind" (p.72): yet he never argues that acknowledgement of such obstacles to understanding entails the levelling of all knowledge-claims, the restoration of myth in the face of modernity (pp.367-9). This selection, covering his philosophy of biology and medicine, is graced by another gorgeous Zone Books production and Paul Rabinow's brief, substantial introduction, but Canguilhem himself doesn't seem to (...) have had a hand in its compilation. Goldhammer's translation finds easily both a crisp historian's style, for work on baroque physiology or Comte, and surprising literary power for psychoanalytic speculation by Canguilhem as cultural critic. Some, caught up by recent interest in Canguilhem, might wish for full translations of his work on the reflex concept and of Etudes d'histoire et de philosophie des sciences, enormously influential in France. Here, instead, selections from these books are amalgamated with chunks of those already translated, The Normal and the Pathological [NP] and Ideology and Rationality. But this format allows the juxtaposition of material from the books with translations of scattered papers from a 50-year span. Those pained at the omission of notable untranslated writings, like early 1960s essays on Bachelard and Darwin, can trace them, thanks to Camille Limoges' 70-page critical bibliography, an outstanding resource on twentieth century French intellectual life. (shrink)
Georges Bataille's work is an essential reference in any discussion of modernity and postmodernity. An important influence on Foucault, Derrida and post-structuralism, Bataille is a thinker of key significance. This volume makes a selection from the entire body of his academic work, showing how his thinking on sacrifice, eroticism, taboo and transgression, and the nature of identity inform his social theory. Bataille - Essential Writings contains much previously untranslated material, including the complete texts of seven essays, and long extracts (...) from many others. It is the most comprehensive selection of Bataille's work to date, edited by an acknowledged authority. Bataille - Essential Writings will be the standard introductory text to this profound and difficult thinker. (shrink)
In this text, Jacques Rancière critically discusses the work of Georges Didi-Huberman on images. He disagrees with various claims seemingly made by Didi-Huberman about images, such as that they can “take position” or that they are “active.” Rancière argues that Didi-Huberman adds another form of dialectics to the simpler form of dialectics adopted by Bertolt Brecht and Harun Farocki in their works, namely one that also involves a layering of different temporalities. However, both in Brecht’s War Primer and in (...) Didi-Huberman’s analysis of it, all the potencies credited to images as such are actually potencies of the words that accompany the images. Rancière comes to the conclusion that to “put images in motion,” as Didi-Huberman wants to do, or to regard them as being “active,” he has to put words, his own poetic and extensive writings, in motion. (shrink)
No other scientist may have had a greater impact on modern cosmology than the Belgian physicist, astronomer and priest Georges Lemaître. In 1927 he predicted the expansion of the universe on the basis of the cosmological field equations; and four years later he proposed what he called the primeval-atom hypothesis, the first version of the later big bang universe. In all his work on cosmology the cosmological constant Λ played a significant role. A recognized expert in the theory of (...) general relativity, Lemaître also contributed significantly to the theoretical clarification of local and global singularity problems. Still, when he died in 1968, at a time when the standard big bang model celebrated its first victories, he was largely forgotten or recalled only as a somewhat shadowy figure of the past. This essay reviews in a historical context the scientific work of Lemaître with particular attention to his seminal contributions in the decade between 1925 and 1934. (shrink)
The importance given by historian and philosopher of science Georges Canguilhem to the role of practice, techniques, and experimentation in concept-formation was largely overlooked by commentators. After placing Canguilhem’s contributions within the larger history of historical epistemology in France, and clarifying his views regarding this expression, I re-evaluate the relation between concepts and experimental practices in Canguilhem’s philosophy of science. Drawing on his early writings on the relations between science and technology in the 1930s, on the Essai sur quelques (...) problèmes concernant le normal et le pathologique , and on La formation du concept de réflexe aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles , I argue that the formation and rectification of concepts in Canguilhem’s sense are intrinsically bound with the experimental, material, technical, and cultural contexts in which concepts are operationalized. (shrink)
This article was inspired by Georges Didi-Huberman’s keynote lecture “Que ce qui apparaît seulement s’aperçoit” delivered in 2015 at Charles University in Prague during the “Dis/appearing” conference organized by the Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie. Didi-Huberman’s lecture consisted of various reflections concerning the meaning of the image as instances of flaring up and fading away. During his talk, Didi-Huberman used evocative images – recollections – which he had collected over the years; impressions while walking in the streets, melancholic (...) musings about love, and thoughts gathered from literature en route. From this, the article identifies seven cases through which Didi-Huberman has conceptualized images; the nymph, the butterfly, the passer-by, the surface, the dance, the silence, and sophrosyne. These cases attest to the influence of Aby Warburg on the writing of Didi-Huberman and, taken together, identify what these cases of the image have in common; namely, that images occupy an interspace: the fleeting instant of appearance/disappearance. Didi-Huberman explains images – “Dante’s Beatrice and Baudelaire’s fleeting beauty” as “the paradigmatic ‘passer-by.’” Through these cases, this article poetically draws the reader’s attention to what Didi-Huberman calls “non-knowledge”; those fleeting, mobile, paradoxical aspects of images that resist clear categorization and can be thought of as fireflies against the night sky. The article asks: is it possible to characterize this genre? To denominate the collection of thoughts that welcome the image as a witness to the history of thought? The study of images can be understood, following Giorgio Agamben’s interpretation of Aby Warburg’s oeuvre, as “the nameless science.”. (shrink)
This article is an attempt to circumscribe Georges Didi-Huberman’s inimitable practice of theory. It argues that Didi-Huberman’s ethics of looking represents a decided shift away from the traditional position of the critic as a dispassionate, objective observer. A Copernican revolution looms, which inverts the Kantian one: no longer are things adapting to their conceptual scheme, no longer is it the adaequatio rei ad intellectum, but its opposite. Didi-Huberman’s “discourse on method” is to be found in the book Phasmes, where (...) such an “inverted intentionality” is described in terms of the mimicry of the phasmid insects: instead of assimilating the environment to himself, the subject assimilates himself to the environment. Phasmid thinking is the thought of disparateness, i.e., of dis-paring. This means to un-learn or, as it were, to un-prepare oneself in order to see what we believed we were seeing and which we in fact saw precisely because we knew. In drawing comparisons to similar methodological considerations in Adorno’s “snuggling up to the object,” the article attempts to locate Didi-Huberman’s critical epistemology at the intersection of French and German intellectual traditions. (shrink)
In eighteenth-century French natural history, the notion of preformation was not only a model for a small preexisting embryo that gradually extended its shape through the influx of particles, but also for an order that coordinated the dynamic relation between organic parts. Preformation depended therefore also on a hidden order behind the continuity of visible forms. Louis Bourguet, Charles Bonnet, and Georges Cuvier distinguished three organizational levels: First, the synchronic or functional order of organic systems; second, the diachronic order (...) of the initiation of mechanical processes; and third, the hierarchical order that regulates the interaction of organic parts. In this essay, I reconstruct and compare the three organizational levels in the writings of Bourguet, Bonnet and Cuvier, relate their models of organic unity to the principle of perfection, and contrast these models with Georges Buffon's critique of system theories. (shrink)
La présente étude se veut une lecture de La Somme athéologique de Georges Bataille. Elle s’attardera à ces deux versants que sont: premièrement la prise en compte du travail d’écriture et de pensée de Georges Bataille comme un improbable kénotisme; deuxièmement, la kénose proprement dite, telle que l’on peut la penser à partir de ce corpus, sous le biais de la mort de Dieu et de la chute de la transcendance.
Although in the last decades increasingly more philosophers have paid attention to the life sciences, traditionally physics has dominated general philosophy of science. Does a focus on the life sciences and medicine produce a different philosophy of science and indeed a different conception of knowledge? Here Cristina Chimisso does not attempt to give a comprehensive answer to this question; rather, she presents a case study focussed on Georges Canguilhem. Canguilhem continued the philosophical tradition that we now call historical epistemology, (...) and always referred very closely to the philosophy of Gaston Bachelard. However, whereas Bachelard primarily studied the history of chemistry and physics, Canguilhem turned to the life sciences, medicine and psychiatry. Chimisso investigates their respective conceptions and uses of norms. Chimisso argues that some crucial differences in how they regarded norms, seldom emphasised by Canguilhem himself and indeed by critics, stem from the sciences on which they concentrated. (shrink)
The importance given by historian and philosopher of science Georges Canguilhem to the role of practice, techniques, and experimentation in concept-formation was largely overlooked by commentators. After placing Canguilhem’s contributions within the larger history of historical epistemology in France, and clarifying his views regarding this expression, I re-evaluate the relation between concepts and experimental practices in Canguilhem’s philosophy of science. Drawing on his early writings on the relations between science and technology in the 1930s, on the Essai sur quelques (...) problèmes concernant le normal et le pathologique, and on La formation du concept de réflexe aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles, I argue that the formation and rectification of concepts in Canguilhem’s sense are intrinsically bound with the experimental, material, technical, and cultural contexts in which concepts are operationalized. (shrink)
RESUMEN Se indaga el problema de la explotación técnica del mundo a partir de los pensamientos de Xavier Zubiri y Georges Canguilhem. Se examina el análisis zubiriano de la inteligencia humana y la tesis de Canguilhem sobre la originalidad de la actividad técnica, su relación con la ciencia y su papel en la normatividad del organismo. En ambos autores, el término Umwelt, traducido como "circun-mundo" o medio de comportamiento propio, sirve como base para establecer las posibilidades que tiene la (...) técnica en el desarrollo de nuevas formas de relación con el medio ambiente. ABSTRACT The paper inquires into the problem of the technological exploitation of the world on the basis of Xavier Zubiri's and Georges Canguilhem's thought. It examines Zubiri's analysis of human intelligence and Canguilhem's thesis regarding the primordial nature of technological activity, its relation to science, and its role in the normativity of the organism. In both authors, the term Umwelt, translated as "surrounding-world" or behavioral environment, serves as the basis to establish the possibilities of technology in developing new forms of relationship with the environment. (shrink)
In this article I assess Georges Canguilhem's historical epistemology with both theoretical and historical questions in mind. From a theoretical point of view, I am concerned with the relation between history and philosophy, and in particular with the philosophical assumptions and external norms that are involved in history writing. Moreover, I am concerned with the role that history can play in the understanding and evaluation of philosophical concepts. From a historical point of view, I regard historical epistemology, as developed (...) by Gaston Bachelard and Georges Canguilhem, as a conception and practice which came out of the project, elaborated in France from the 1920s to the 1940s, of combining history of science and philosophy. I analyse in particular Canguilhem's epistemology in his theory and practice of history of science. What he called 'normative history' is the focus of my analysis. I evaluate the question of the nature and provenience of the norm employed in normative history, and I compare it with the norm as discussed by Canguilhem in Le normal et le pathologique. While I am critical of Canguilhem's treatment of history, I conclude that his philosophical suggestion to analyse the formation of scientific concepts 'from below' represents a useful model for history and philosophy of science, and that it can be very profitably extended to philosophical concepts. (shrink)
Georges Bataille agrees with numerous Christian mystics that there is ethical and religious value in meditating upon, and having ecstatic episodes in response to, imagery of violent death. For Christians, the crucified Christ is the focus of contemplative efforts. Bataille employs photographic imagery of a more-recent victim of torture and execution. In this essay, while engaging with Amy Hollywood's interpretation of Bataille in Sensible Ecstasy, I show that, unlike the Christian mystics who influence him, Bataille strives to divorce himself (...) from any moral authority external to the ecstatic episode itself. I argue that in his attempt to remove external authority he abandons the only resources that could possibly protect his mystical contemplation from engendering sadistic attitudes. (shrink)
The goal of this article is to examine the nature of technology in view of Georges Bataille’s notion of intimacy. After providing a summary of Bataille’s critique of technology, I offer my response and show that a technological device can reach such a degree of familiarity that it becomes indistinguishable from our psychophysical personality. In this sense, we experience technology not as instrumentation, but in intimacy. The old theory of technology as organ-projection is, therefore, reinterpreted to produce a theory (...) of technology that includes the technological process in its entirety, from the moment of invention and innovation, involving a movement of transcendence and objectification, to the moment of intimacy. (shrink)
This article examines the ways in which Georges Didi-Huberman conceptualizes the notion of the “aura” after Walter Benjamin’s famous and elusive rendering of the term. The central focus is on the way in which Didi-Huberman theorizes the aura to showcase its capacity for transformation – specifically in terms of its connection to “place” and in terms of what he calls a “memory trace.” After an introduction, the article is divided into five sections, followed by a conclusion. The first two (...) sections act as a foundation from which to investigate Didi-Huberman’s engagement with the aura. Therein, I explore the aesthetic debates surrounding what kind of knowledge artworks can produce and specifically how language can, most reductively, objectify the way in which artworks are critiqued, on the one hand, or produce elusive and romantic readings of artworks, on the other. Furthermore, I explore the way in which the notion of aura is engaged in Benjamin’s work upon which Didi-Huberman largely draws for his own understanding of the term. The subsequent two sections outline what I call Didi-Huberman’s two-part proposal of the aura re-imagined; this entails what he calls the “supposition” of the aura and the “secular” aura. Didi-Huberman takes Barnett Newman’s “zip” paintings as a point of entry to think how the aura can be hypothesized after Benjamin. In the final section, I look to the artworks of James Turrell as they are investigated by Didi-Huberman and to one of his short books, Being a Skull, to describe how artworks can function as vertiginous places, which implicate our conception of space in general. Didi-Huberman’s “dialectics of place” both complexifies Benjamin’s equating of place with the aura as uniqueness and smooths over some edges of his paradoxical thinking. (shrink)
Although American philosophers and physicians are generally familiar with the writings of Claude Bernard (1813–1878), especially his Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine (1865), the medicial epistemology of Georges Canguilhem, born in 1904, is virtually unknown in English speaking nations. Although indebted to Bernard for his conception of the methods to be employed in the acquisition of medical knowledge, Canguilhem radically reformulates Bernard's concepts of ‘disease’, ‘health’, ‘illness’, and ‘pathology’. Contemporary exhortations to medical professionals and medical students that (...) they “pay more attention to the whole patient” take on significance in working through the writings of Canguilhem; of crucial importance is the relation that obtains between a patient's unique symptomatology and the proper drug regiment that is required. (shrink)
The French intellectual Georges Bataille developed base materialism in his work during the late 1920s and early 1930s as an attempt to break with all existing materialism. This essay is an explication of base materialism and its radical implications for contemporary theory. Bataille argues for the concept of an active base matter that disrupts the opposition of high and low and destabilises all foundations. Then he attempts to use this to develop a radical libertarian Marxism, opposed to both Stalinism (...) and fascism. Although it provided a critique of the emphasis in Marxism on production, the active flux of base matter could not be contained in a political discourse. This means that Bataille's thought has an impact beyond the political and into the wider domain of theory. One example of this is the influence of base materialism on Derrida's deconstruction, and both share the attempt to destabilise philosophical oppositions by means of an unstable ‘third term’. This explains why Bataille's materialism does not appear as conventionally materialist, and why it has had little impact within contemporary materialism. Despite attempts to force base materialism into the mold of a new form of materialism it disrupts conventional materialism and the ‘radical’ politics that often goes with it. Bataille destroys the promise of liberated spaces and offers a more radical and disorienting freedom which inscribes instability into all discourses. It is this that defines the importance and necessity of Bataille's base materialism today. (shrink)
Ce travail s’interroge sur les raisons de ce qui a fait le succès de la sociologie de Georges Gurvitch de 1945 à sa mort , et entend se démarquer d’une explication qui se contente de faire valoir le rôle institutionnel actif qu’eut Gurvitch dans ce qu’on a coutume d’appeler la « refondation » de la sociologie française après 1945. En effet, un examen du contenu de ses textes suggère que son projet intellectuel était en phase avec les préoccupations de (...) nombre de sociologues à ce moment-là, certes soucieux de construire une sociologie plus empirique inspirée du modèle américain, mais aussi de conserver une ambition théorique susceptible de fournir des concepts opérationnels pour traiter les grandes questions sociales. Ainsi Gurvitch a proposé un paradigme alternatif qui, tout en illustrant une volonté certaine de « reconstruire » la sociologie, a défendu l’idée d’une continuité de la tradition sociologique en France. Il semble que sa réception a été plus favorable que ce que les textes consacrés à la question laissent entendre.This paper considers the reasons for the success of the sociology of Georges Gurvitch from 1945 until his death in 1965. The approach proposed here intends to differentiate itself from the widespread explanation that focuses essentially on the active institutional role that Gurvitch played in the rebuilding of French sociology after 1945. An examination of the contents of his texts suggests that, at that time, the focus of Gurvitch’s interests were in line with the preoccupations of other sociologists who were certainly anxious to construct a more empirical sociology inspired by the American model, but also to conserve a theoretical ambition capable of providing the operational concepts to address the significant social questions. So Gurvitch proposed an alternative paradigm, while proclaiming his desire to « rebuild » sociology, also defended the idea of a certain continuation of the sociological tradition in France. It seems that its reception was much more favourable than we are led to believe by current texts that consider the question today. (shrink)
In Survivance des lucioles, Georges Didi-Huberman cites sections from a letter in which Pier Paolo Pasolini describes an encounter with a swarm of fireflies. The sight of the fireflies triggers reflections on various topics on the part of Pasolini. However, at the end of his life, Pasolini lamented the fact that fireflies had disappeared in modern society, serving as a metaphor for the fact that he had lost all hope in the consumerist society in which he was living. Pasolini’s (...) reflections on fireflies illustrate Georges Didi-Huberman’s theories on the current state and politics of images in contemporary society. In this article, several key features of the politics of images, according to Didi-Huberman, are clarified, in particular, the role of pathos and imagination. It is on the role of pathos and imagination that Didi-Huberman’s views will diverge from the theories of other prominent theorists of images, such as Jacques Rancière, Roland Barthes, W.J.T. Mitchell and Bruno Latour. By clarifying these diverging views, the theories of Didi-Huberman can be formulated more precisely. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: GEORGES CANGUILHEM’S BIOPHILOSOPHY The eminent French biologist and historian of biology, François Jacob, once notoriously declared «On n’interroge plus la vie dans les laboratoires»: laboratory research no longer inquires into the notion of “Life”. Certain influential French philosophers of science of the mid‐century such as Georges Canguilhem would disagree, or at least seek to resist some of Jacob’s diagnosis. Not by imposing a different kind of research program in laboratories, but by an unusual combination of historical and (...) philosophical inquiry into the foundations of the life sciences. Canguilhem speaks of «defending vitalist biology» and declares that Life cannot be grasped by logic. Is this history and philosophy of biology? Is it vitalism? It definitely is a different project from current philosophy of biology. One short‐lived term for it was “biophilosophy”. In this paper I explore the content of this term as it relates to the above questions. (shrink)
En su ensayo Para una crítica de la violencia, Walter Benjamin reivindica el fenómeno social de la huelga general revolucionaria teorizada por Georges Sorel en su obra Reflexiones sobre la violencia, como una figura ejemplar de lo que sería un “medio puro de la política”, al margen de cualquier forma legitimada de poder. En este marco, pocos comentadores contemporáneos advierten una discordancia conceptual entre ambos filósofos: para Sorel, la huelga revolucionaria es un mito social, mientras que el mito, categoría (...) esencialmente negativa en Benjamin, describe la violencia que aprisiona la vida y que se traduce en una forma de poder político superior. En este artículo quisiéramos demostrar esta discordancia conceptual para examinar en seguida cómo ha sido comentada por otros pensadores contemporáneos. La filosofía de la historia, la posibilidad de una acción política ética y la temporalidad mesiánica aparecen en el horizonte teórico que emparenta a estos filósofos y por el cual podría descifrarse su impasse conceptual. Esto se confirma si se despliega la idea de un “medio puro de la política”, pista que Benjamin ofrece sin profundizar y sobre la cual reenvía al pensamiento de un filósofo poco explorado, Erich Unger. En la última parte de este artículo desarrollaremos las claves dadas por Unger, que entran justamente en sintonía con la mención de la huelga general como medio puro de la política. In his Critique of violence, Walter Benjamin claimed that the social phenomenon of the revolutionary general strike was an example of what would be a “pure political mean”. In this context, not many contemporary commentators note an important conceptual incoherence between those two philosophers: for Sorel the revolutionary general strike is a social myth, while in Benjamin the category of myth, essentially negative, describes the violence that imprisons life and crystallizes it in a higher form of political power. In this article, we demonstrate this conceptual discrepancy in order to examine the way it has been approached by other philosophers. The philosophy of history, the possibility of an ethical political action, and messianic temporality, all appear on the theoretical horizon linking these philosophers, and through these ideas a conceptual impasse can be decoded. Moreover, this horizon can be confirmed if we follow the idea of a “pure political means” that Benjamin proposes and which moves forward to the thought of an unexplored philosopher mentioned by him: Erich Unger. In the last part of this article we will develop the keys given by Unger, which fall right in line with the notion of the general strike as a pure political mean. (shrink)
This paper traces conceptual links between the works of Georges Cuvier and Auguste Comte. The primary conceptual link between the two, and the focus of this paper, is the ‘principle of the conditions of existence’. This principle lies at the heart of Cuvier's theoretical biology and it was adopted by Comte, in modified form, to serve as a foundational concept for his comprehensive and biologically oriented natural philosophy. Contrary to popular interpretations of Cuvier's thought, it is argued that both (...) Cuvier and Comte understood the principle of the conditions of existence as the basis for a non-teleological form of explanation and a properly scientific alternative to the metaphysics of final causation. This conceptual link is historically significant, for the principle of the conditions of existence was also an important concept for French physiologists of the second half of the nineteenth century, including Claude Bernard, who were highly influenced by Comte's natural philosophy. Tracing the legacy of Cuvier in Comte's natural philosophy should thus clarify the work of both of these thinkers while bringing into focus an important line of nineteenth-century conceptual development. (shrink)
In 1677-8 Robert Boyle fell victim to a French confidence trickster, Georges Pierre des Clozets, who claimed to belong to a secret society of alchemists, 'the Asterism'; the leader of the Asterism was described as the 'Patriarch of Antioch', resident in Constantinople. New evidence shows that Georges Pierre had contrived to publish two short articles about this 'Patriarch' in a Dutch newspaper, and that one of these was given to Boyle to corroborate Pierre's claims. These articles provide further (...) information about the nature of Pierre's invention. Most importantly, they show that his 'Patriarch of Antioch' was modelled on, and explicitly connected to, a contemporary alchemist in whom Boyle already had an interest: Francesco Giuseppe Borri. (shrink)
Ninfa moderna : Essai sur le drapé tombé, Georges Didi-Huberman; Publisher - Gallimard; ISBN - 978-2070763757L'image survivante: Histoire de l'art et temps des fantômes selon Aby Warburg, Georges Didi-Huberman; Publisher - Éditions de Minuit; ISBN - 9782707317728.
In 1677, Georges Pierre des Clozets visited Robert Boyle and told him that he had been approved for membership in the Asterism, a secret international society of alchemical masters, headed by Pierre's patron Georges du Mesnillet, the Patriarch of Antioch. Extensive correspondence followed, replete with gifts and bizarre claims, until Pierre vanished in August 1678. This paper links several new documents—articles in the Mercure galant and the Gazette de France and a manuscript account by another convinced admirer of (...) Pierre—to my previous study of him, particularly in regard to Pierre's claim to be working with the Patriarch to reunite Eastern and Western Churches. Dating from before and after Boyle's involvement, these sources add fresh details about Pierre and his other contacts, and show the consistency of Pierre's stories and the credibility he fashioned as he travelled around Europe convincing people of his claims alchemical and otherwise. (shrink)