GerhardRichter's groundbreaking study argues that the concept of "afterness" is a key figure in the thought and aesthetics of modernity. It pursues questions such as: What does it mean for something to "follow" something else? Does that which follows mark a clear break with what came before it, or does it in fact tacitly perpetuate its predecessor as a consequence of its inevitable indebtedness to the terms and conditions of that from which it claims to have departed? (...) Indeed, is not the very act of breaking with, and then following upon, a way of retroactively constructing and fortifying that from which the break that set the movement of following into motion had occurred? The book explores the concept and movement of afterness as a privileged yet uncanny category through close readings of writers such as Kant, Kafka, Heidegger, Bloch, Benjamin, Brecht, Adorno, Arendt, Lyotard, and Derrida. It shows how the vexed concepts of afterness, following, and coming after shed new light on a constellation of modern preoccupations, including personal and cultural memory, translation, photography, hope, and the historical and conceptual specificity of what has been termed "after Auschwitz." The study's various analysesacross a heterogeneous collection of modern writers and thinkers, diverse historical moments of articulation, and a range of mediaconspire to illuminate Lyotard's apodictic statement that "after philosophy comes philosophy. But it has been altered by the 'after.'" As Richter's intricate study demonstrates, much hinges on our interpretation of the "after." After all, our most fundamental assumptions concerning modern aesthetic representation, conceptual discourse, community, subjectivity, and politics are at stake. (shrink)
The rich conceptual and experiential relays between music and philosophy—echoes of what Theodor W. Adorno once called _Klangfiguren_, or "sound figures"—resonate with heightened intensity during the period of modernity that extends from early German Idealism to the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School. This volume traces the political, historical, and philosophical trajectories of a specifically German tradition in which thinkers take recourse to music, both as an aesthetic practice and as the object of their speculative work. The contributors examine the (...) texts of such highly influential writers and thinkers as Schelling, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Bloch, Mann, Adorno, and Lukács in relation to individual composers including Beethoven, Wagner, Schönberg, and Eisler. Their explorations of the complexities that arise in conceptualizing music as a mode of representation and philosophy as a mode of aesthetic practice thematize the ways in which the fields of music and philosophy are altered when either attempts to express itself in terms defined by the other. Contributors: Albrecht Betz, Lydia Goehr, Beatrice Hanssen, Jost Hermand, David Farrell Krell, Ludger Lütkehaus, Margaret Moore, Rebekah Pryor Paré, GerhardRichter, Hans Rudolf Vaget, Samuel Weber. (shrink)
In this book, GerhardRichter explores the aesthetic and political ramifications of the literary genre of the Denkbild, or thought-image, as it was employed by four major German-Jewish writers and philosophers of the first half of the ...
This chapter offers a close reading of a passage from the literary and philosophical work Minima Moralia that enacts Theodor W. Adorno's radical concept of nonpropositional truth content in philosophical aesthetics after Auschwitz. Readers of Adorno's texts, especially those devoted to philosophical aesthetics, can hardly fail to be struck by their chiastic structure. The aesthetic theory that Adorno develops constitutes not only a theory of the aesthetic but also a theory that is itself aesthetic, hence a theory of literature that (...) exhibits qualities associated with literary texts, and a theory of music that harbors within itself traces of musical composition. The rhetorically self-conscious tropes of his posthumous Aesthetic Theory, the stylized literary studies of his Notes to Literature, his musically inflected meditations on musicological questions from Ludwig van Beethoven to Arnold Schönberg, and so many of his other texts perform this provocative inversion in a variety of registers and conceptual modulations. (shrink)
Although Walter Benjamin's writings are considered to be among the most powerful theoretical enterprises of the twentieth century, his ideas are resistant to cooptation by the doctrines of various critical programs. These essays engage this resistance by examining the ghostly in Benjamin's work. The contributors show that the haunting truths Benjamin offers point towards new forms of responsibility. These truths reside in a figurative elsewhere, a ghostly space that his texts delimit but never fully inhabit, and these essays seek to (...) do justice to the ghosts of Benjamin. Issues explored include: the status of the image in Benjamin's literary reflections and in his meditations on cinema and visual culture; abiding Benjaminian notions of messianism, aura, reproducibility, semblance, and melancholy; Benjamin's relation to Freud; his innovative rethinking of history, virtuality, and translation; and his reflections on tragedy and prophecy, the geometrical dimensions of writing, and the relation between eros and language. (shrink)
In Mixed Opinions and Maxims Nietzsche offers sage advice on the topic of being misunderstood. He writes: “When one is misunderstood as a whole, it is impossible to remove completely a single misunderstanding. One has to realize this lest one waste superfluous energy on one's defense.” I shall bear this wisdom in mind as I respond to Ulrich Plass's review of recent scholarship on the work of Theodor W. Adorno (Telos 146, Spring 2009), which includes my book Thought-Images: Frankfurt School (...) Writers' Reflections from Damaged Life (Stanford University Press, 2007). Plass begins, without offering the reader any sense of my…. (shrink)
An essay concerning the representation of images in art, photography, and painting concerning analysis of GerhardRichter's painting reader. It offers a debate that representation should be regarded as an act of formation and a performative concept. The author presents analysis of painting which leads the reader into the problem of painted images, such as the constitution of an image by a complex relationship among memory, reading, and blindness.
Of the generation of post-1960s artists who looked to photography for a new set of conceptual tools, GerhardRichter stands apart because he has uniquely professed a desire to “use painting as a means to photography,” that is, to bring painting to the structure and sensibility of the photograph.2 To ascribe sensibility or perceptive acuity to a process so mechanical as photography may strike the reader as either romantically fey or even offensively anthropomorphizing, given that the aesthetic questions (...) at stake have exactly to do with philosophy's “mind-independent” designation of the medium. But the metaphor has pedigree among historians of photography, having been articulated by Walter Benjamin in his “Little History of Photography,” where he characterizes photography as a medium possessed of an “optical unconscious,” a nature specifically “other” in its ability to present the “spark of contingency, of the here and now, with which reality has seared the subject.”3 It is precisely on the basis of this picture making outside of human agency, Benjamin insists, that “the dubious project of authenticating photography in terms of painting” fails, for it is an attempt to “legitimize the photographer before the very tribunal he was in the process of overturning.”4 Certainly, it is from this premise of photography's revolutionary capacity that the first critical assessments of the work of “artists using photography” proceeded in the 1970s and continued through the 1980s into the present decade.5 This is particularly important to keep in mind when assessing what has been called the recent turn to the pictorial in photographic practices because this move has been accompanied by, on one hand, a general pulling away from easily legible, unambivalent documentary content in photographic practices—a tendency that may itself be considered part of a quietly growing, renewed interest in the critical capacity of painting among a new generation of artists—and, on the other, a nuanced exploration of the appropriative lessons of postmodernism, manifested in recent interest in the repurposing of found, or what Benjamin might call “other-determined,” imagery.6. (shrink)
In this essay, I offer thoughts on the constitution of images in art, especially as they are constituted in painting and in photography. Utilizing ideas from Gadamer, Derrida and Adorno, I shall argue that representation should be conceived as a performative concept and as an act of formation; i.e., as a process rather thanas something "fixed." My reflections will be carried out in connection with a careful analysis of GerhardRichter's painting Reader, which is a painting of a (...) photograph that depicts a female who is reading. I demonstrate how a close analysis of this fascinating painting leads us deeper into the problem of painted images, insofar as it enacts what it is about, namely, the constitution of itself as an innige by means of a complex and enigmatic relationship between seeing, reading, memory, inner, outer, gaze and blindness. (shrink)
Der Beitrag untersucht Gerhard Richters Gemälde "Betty" (1988, WV 663-5) als bildliche Darstellung der elementaren Verletzlichkeit menschlichen Lebens. Als Theorie solcher Verletzlichkeit wird die politische Philosophie Judith Butlers herangezogen, methodisch orientiert sich die Untersuchung an Überlegungen der Bildhermeneutik Gottfried Boehms. So entwickelt der Beitrag den Gedanken einer präreflektiver normativer Verpflichtung, der in Richters Gemälde anschaulich wird. Zum Vergleich wird die Interpretation eines Gemäldes von Werner Scholz herangezogen (Antigone), die Hans-Georg Gadamer entwickelt hat.
Written over the course of two months in early 2008, Art as "Night" is a series of essays in part inspired by a January 2007 visit to the Velázquez exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, London, with subsequent forays into related themes and art-historical judgments for and against theories of meta-painting. Art as "Night" proposes a type of a-historical dark knowledge crossing painting since Velázquez, but reaching back to the Renaissance, especially Titian and Caravaggio. As a form of formalism, (...) this "night" is also closely allied with forms of intellection that come to reside in art as pure visual agency or material knowledge while invoking moral agency, a function of art more or less bracketed in modern art for ethical and/or political agency. Not a theory of meta-painting, Art as "Night" restores coordinates arguably lost in painting since the separation of natural and moral philosophy in the Baroque era. It is with Velázquez that we see a turning point, an emphasis on the specific resources of painting as a form of speculative intellect, while it is with contemporary works by GerhardRichter and Anselm Kiefer that we see the return of the same after the collapse of modernism, and after subsequent postmodern maneuvers to make art discursive yet without the austerities of the formal means present in Art as Art. Art as "Night" argues for a nondiscursive form of intellection fully embodied in the work of art – and, foremost, painting. A synoptic and intentionally elusive and allusive survey of painting, through the collapse of the art market in late 2007, Art as "Night" suggests by way of this critique of an elective "night" crossing painting that the art world is an endlessly deferred version of pleroma , a fully synthetic world given to an exploration and appropriation of the given through classical mimesis and epistemology and its complete incorporation and transfiguration in a theory of knowledge and art as pure speculative agency. In effect, Art as "Night" is an incarnational theory of art as absolute knowledge. (shrink)
In this paper, the concept of liquidation from the chapter on Self-consciousness in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit is reconstructed and then used to deconstruct the systematic transition from sculpture to painting in the passage on the “System of the individual arts” in G.W.F. Hegel’s Aesthetics: Lectures on Fine Art. The aim is to show that such a deconstructed version of Hegel’s art philosophy provides a valid conceptual framework for the analysis of modern, particularly postmodern and contemporary art, which results as (...) liquid or liquidated art. Damien Hirst’s For the Love of God is discussed as major evidence for the concomitant neo-Hegelian claim that modern art has discursive reflection as its necessary supplement. (shrink)
The first important reaction in favor of generic criticism here was that of the Chicago neo-Aristotelians, whose feisty polemics against the "New" critics must have seemed, in the 1940s and 1950s, like voices crying in the wilderness. The popularity of Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism—also ostensibly based upon Aristotle's example—won the concept of genre broader support. And today, if the books covering my desk are anything to go by, genre criticism has emerged in force. The flood has brought forth historical (...) studies of Renaissance genres, analyses of traditional genres like the picaresque or of new ones like "the fantastic," ambivalently generic essays in "thematics," efforts to systemize the genres of narrative fiction, and even attempt, through the philosophic analysis of dozens of generic systems, to go "beyond genre." Indeed, the late sixties spawned a journal entitled Genre entirely devoted to theoretical and practical criticism employing the concept. David H. Richter is the author of a forthcoming book: Fable's End: Completeness and Closure in Rhetorical Fiction, and an article on Jerzy Kosinski. He is assistant professor of English at Queens College of the City University of New York. (shrink)
_Beyond the Pleasure Principle_ is Freud’s most philosophical and speculative work, exploring profound questions of life and death, pleasure and pain. In it Freud introduces the fundamental concepts of the “repetition compulsion” and the “death drive,” according to which a perverse, repetitive, self-destructive impulse opposes and even trumps the creative drive, or Eros. The work is one of Freud’s most intensely debated, and raises important questions that have been discussed by philosophers and psychoanalysts since its first publication in 1920. The (...) text is presented here in a contemporary new translation by Gregory C. Richter. Appendices trace the work’s antecedents and the many responses to it, including texts by Plato, Friedrich Nietzsche, Melanie Klein, Herbert Marcuse, Jacques Derrida, and Judith Butler, among many others. (shrink)
Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, declared that religion is a universal obsessional neurosis in his famous work of 1927, _The Future of an Illusion_. This work provoked immediate controversy and has continued to be an important reference for anyone interested in the intersection of philosophy, psychology, religion, and culture. Included in this volume is Oskar Pfister’s critical engagement with Freud’s views on religion. Pfister, a Swiss pastor and lay analyst, defends mature religion from Freud’s “scientism.” Freud’s and Pfister’s texts (...) have been updated in Gregory C. Richter’s translations from the original German. (shrink)
& The functional equivalence of overt movements and dynamic imagery is of fundamental importance in neuroscience. Here, we investigated the participation of the neocortical motor areas in a classic task of dynamic imagery, Shepard and Metzler's mental rotation task, by time-resolved single-trial functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). The subjects performed the mental-rotation task 16 times, each time with different object pairs. Functional images were acquired for each pair separately, and the onset times and..
In this article, I argue that conventional reasoning on corporate social responsibility (CSR) is based on the assumption of a liberal market economy in the context of a nation state. I build on the study of Scherer and Palazzo (Acad Manage Rev 32(4):1096-1120, 2007), developing a number of criteria to identify elements of liberal philosophy in the ongoing CSR debate. I discuss their occurrence in the CSR literature in detail and reflect on the implications, taking into account the emerging political (...) reading of the firm. I conclude that the apolitical framework in the mainstream CSR literature has to be overcome since it does not reflect recent changes in the socio-economic conditions for economic actors in a globalizing world. (shrink)
In Marking Time, Paul Rabinow presents his most recent reflections on the anthropology of the contemporary. Drawing richly on the work of Michel Foucault, John Dewey, Niklas Luhmann, and, most interestingly, German painter GerhardRichter, Rabinow offers a set of conceptual tools for scholars examining cutting-edge practices in the life sciences, security, new media and art practices, and other emergent phenomena. Taking up topics that include bioethics, anger and competition among molecular biologists, the lessons of the Drosophila genome, (...) the nature of ethnographic observation in radically new settings, and the moral landscape shared by scientists and anthropologists, Rabinow shows how anthropology remains relevant to contemporary debates. By turning abstract philosophical problems into real-world explorations and offering original insights, Marking Time is a landmark contribution to the continuing re-invention of anthropology and the human sciences. (shrink)
Gigerenzer and Brighton (2009) have argued for a “Homo heuristicus” view of judgment and decision making, claiming that there is evidence for a majority of individuals using fast and frugal heuristics. In this vein, they criticize previous studies that tested the descriptive adequacy of some of these heuristics. In addition, they provide a reanalysis of experimental data on the recognition heuristic that allegedly supports Gigerenzer and Brighton’s view of pervasive reliance on heuristics. However, their arguments and reanalyses are both conceptually (...) and methodologically problematic. We provide counterarguments and a reanalysis of the data considered by Gigerenzer and Brighton. Results clearly replicate previous findings, which are at odds with the claim that simple heuristics provide a general description of inferences for a majority of decision makers. (shrink)
Writers, philosophers, and theologians have oft made the comparison between being a mature human being and a masterpiece work of art or design. Employing the analogy between the creation of artistic value and the creation of full-fledged human value, this paper stakes out a middle ground between pro-choice and pro-life by considering a more general account of value and the relationship between being a potential X and a mature implementation of X's potential. I argue that the value of a potential (...) X is a function of a number of factors, most importantly, what I call the "accessibility relation" between a potential X and a full-fledged instantiation of this potential. The value is as much intrinsic to the “seed” as to some future implementation of the seed’s potential. This approach inclines even a secular humanist to reasonably confer a significant degree of moral value to a human conceptus, and even more to an early term fetus. (shrink)
This paper looks at a dispute decision theory about how best to characterize expected utility maximization and express the logic of rational choice. Where A1, … , An are actions open to some particular agent, and S1, … , Sn are mutually exclusive states of the world such that the agent knows at least one of which obtains, does the logic of rational choice require an agent to consider the conditional probability of choice Ai given that some state Si obtains, (...) Prob(Ai/Si). Or, is the logic of choice better represented by considering the probability of the counterfactual if Ai then Si, Prob(Ai ⟥-> Si). Causal decision theory, developed by Allan Gibbard, William Harper, and David Lewis defend the counterfactual analysis; whereas, Richard Jeffrey and others defend the conditional probability analysis, evidential decision theory. I argue that the problems posed by cases of decision instability favor evidential decision theory. (shrink)
In discussions surrounding epistemology and rationality, it is often useful to assume an agent is rational or ideally rational. Often, this ideal rationality assumption is spelled out along the following lines: -/- 1. The agent believes everything about a situation which the evidence entitles her to believe and nothing which it does not. -/- 2. The agent believes all the logical consequences of any of her beliefs. -/- 3. The agent knows her own mind: if she believes P, she believes (...) that she believes P; and if she doesn't believe P, she believes that she doesn't believe P. -/- 4. The agent believes nothing of the form 'P and it is not the case that P.' -/- 5. If an agent's background belief-set satisfies 1-4 and if rationality requires the agent to add P to her belief-set, then the resulting belief-set will also satisfy 1-4. -/- While individually plausible, there are cases in which holding on to 1-5 generates paradox. Some resolve such paradoxical cases by granting 1-5 but arguing while ideally rational agents can exist, they can't possibly ever find themselves in such a situation: such case descriptions are epistemically incoherent. Others allow that rational agents can coherently find themselves in such odd circumstances, and argue that it's more reasonable to weaken our concept of ideal rationality and give up premise (2) above. However, this strategy has also been rejected. My aim in this paper is to defend the utility of positing an ideally rational agent in such paradoxical circumstances. I argue in such cases we should give up (2), in particular the assumption that (necessarily) if an ideally rational agent believes both P and the conditional, if P then Q, then she believes Q.. What's important is to hold on to the goal of positing ideal rationality: to maximize the amount of true or probably true information a thinker can justifiably believe in a given circumstance. Normally that will mean holding on to (2), but these unusual paradoxical cases are best handled by giving up (2). (shrink)
This is an unpublished talk written for a meeting of French philosophers. The paper describes the evolution versus creationism/intelligent design controversy in the U.S. A number of philosophers and scientists try to resolve this issue by sharply distinguishing the realm of science versus any talk of the supernatural. These pro-evolutionists often appeal to science's essential commitment to "methodological naturalism," the view that scientific methodology is essentially committed to naturalism and cannot meaningfully entertain hypotheses concerning the supernatural. I criticize methodological naturalism, (...) suggesting that such an appeal is misguided and counterproductive. I suggest an alternative view of the supernatural consistent with scientific knowledge. (shrink)