Scholarly discussions of Merleau-Ponty’s aesthetics tend to focus on his philosophy of painting. By contrast, comparatively little attention has been paid to his philosophy of literature. However, he also draws significant conclusions from his work on literary expression. As I will argue, these reflections inform at least two important positions of his later thought. First, Merleau-Ponty’s account of “indirect” literary language led him to develop a hybrid view of phenomenological expression, on which expression is both creative and descriptive. Second, a (...) study of literature furnished him with the resources to develop a novel account of phenomenological “essences”, which holds that essences are revisable explanations of first-order experience. Both results have been overlooked by commentators. They demonstrate the systematic import of Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy of literature and language, and amount to a qualified extension of a basic Husserlian position. (shrink)
Since Husserl, the task of developing an account of intentionality and constitution has been central to the phenomenological enterprise. Some of Merleau-Ponty's descriptions of ‘the flesh’ suggest that he gives up on this task, or, more strongly, that the flesh is in principle incompatible with intentionality or constitution. I show that these remarks, as in Merleau-Ponty's earlier writings, refer to the classical, early Husserlian interpretations of these concepts, and argue that the concept of the flesh can plausibly be understood to (...) advance a refined account of intentionality and constitution. Instead of a first-personal, unidirectional act or embodied motor project, intentionality is a latent openness to things, where the roles of subject and object are reversible. Whereas the view of constitution as meaning-bestowal is untenable, the flesh has a constitutive role, which is supported by a ‘constitutional passivity’ from the subject. On this reading, Merleau-Ponty's later work aims to develop basic tenets of his earlier thought, albeit at a critical distance, an attempt he thought was continuous with the central problems that Husserl claimed a phenomenological philosophy must grapple with, even if Merleau-Ponty's answers to these problems are not Husserl's. (shrink)
This paper provides an analysis of Merleau-Ponty’s view of philosophical explanation. Some commentators stress his indebtedness to the transcendental tradition, but this influence does not extend to his view of explanation. I argue that Merleau-Ponty gives up on the transcendental ideal of explanatory completeness, shared by Husserl and Kant. Motivated by a distinctive understanding of transcendental expression, he argues that phenomenological reflection, and the explanations that issue from it, must both have a circular structure if they are to provide a (...) persuasive account of experience. This circular view of phenomenological methodology is further developed in later texts, which stress the openness and incompleteness of both reflection and explanation. Merleau-Ponty’s reliance on the concept of circularity testifies to the increasing importance of Hegel for his view of phenomenological explanation and philosophical methodology. (shrink)
Through accessible analyses of Merleau-Ponty’s views of linguistic expression and understanding, and by tracing the evolution of these views throughout the course of his philosophical career, Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Language offers a comprehensive picture of his engagement with the philosophy of language.
This paper attempts to clarify Merleau-Ponty’s later work by tracing a hitherto overlooked set of concerns that were of key consequence for the formulation of his ontological research. I argue that his ontology can be understood as a response to a set of problems originating in reflections on the intersubjective use of language in dialogue, undertaken in the early 1950s. His study of dialogue disclosed a structure of meaning-formation and pointed towards a theory of truth (both recurring ontological topics) that (...) post-Phenomenology premises could not account for. A study of dialogue shows that speakers’ positions are interchangeable, that speaking subjects are active and passive in varying degrees, and that the intentional roles of subjects and objects are liable to shift or ‘transgress’ themselves. These observations anticipate the concepts of ‘reversibility’ and ‘narcissism’, his later view of activity and passivity, and his later view of intentionality, and sharpened the need to adopt an intersubjective focus in ontological research. (shrink)
Hyppolite stresses his proximity to Merleau-Ponty, but the received interpretation of his “anti-humanist” reading of Hegel suggests a greater distance between their projects. This paper focuses on an under-explored dimension of their philosophical relationship. I argue that Merleau-Ponty and Hyppolite are both committed to formulating a mode of philosophical expression that can avoid the pitfalls of purely formal or literal and purely aesthetic or creative modes of expression. Merleau-Ponty’s attempt to navigate this dichotomy, I suggest, closely resembles Hyppolite’s interpretation of (...) Hegel’s “speculative” mode of expression. In particular, his emphasis on the “mediating” character of philosophical language, which moves between descriptive and creative expression, suggests a debt to Hyppolite. This reading provides more evidence to think that Hyppolite cannot be straightforwardly understood as an anti-humanist or post-phenomenological thinker, and paves the way for a _rapprochement_ between his work and the broader phenomenological tradition. (shrink)
Dimitris Vardoulakis asks how it is possible to think of a politics that is not commensurate with sovereignty. For such a politics, he argues, sovereignty is defined not in terms of the exception but as the different ways in which violence is justified. Vardoulakis shows how it is possible to deconstruct the various justifications of violence. Such dejustifications can take place only by presupposing an other to sovereignty, which Vardoulakis identifies with agonistic democracy. In doing so, Sovereignty and Its (...) Other puts forward both a novel critique of sovereignty and an original philosophical theory of democratic practice. (shrink)
Economics has become a monolithic science, variously described as formalistic and autistic with neoclassical orthodoxy reigning supreme. So argue Dimitris Milonakis and Ben Fine in this new major work of critical recollection. The authors show how economics was once rich, diverse, multidimensional and pluralistic, and unravel the processes that lead to orthodoxy’s current predicament. The book details how political economy became economics through the desocialisation and the dehistoricisation of the dismal science, accompanied by the separation of economics from the (...) other social sciences, especially economic history and sociology. It is argued that recent attempts from within economics to address the social and the historical have failed to acknowledge long standing debates amongst economists, historians and other social scientists. This has resulted in an impoverished historical and social content within mainstream economics. The book ranges over the shifting role of the historical and the social in economic theory, the shifting boundaries between the economic and the non-economic, all within a methodological context. Schools of thought and individuals, that have been neglected or marginalised, are treated in full, including classical political economy and Marx, the German and British historical schools, American institutionalism, Weber and Schumpeter and their programme of Socialökonomik, and the Austrian school. At the same time, developments within the mainstream tradition from marginalism through Marshall and Keynes to general equilibrium theory are also scrutinised, and the clashes between the various camps from the famous Methodenstreit to the fierce debates of the 1930s and beyond brought to the fore. The prime rationale underpinning this account drawn from the past is to put the case for political economy back on the agenda. This is done by treating economics as a social science once again, rather than as a positive science, as has been the inclination since the time of Jevons and Walras. It involves transcending the boundaries of the social sciences, but in a particular way that is in exactly the opposite direction now being taken by "economics imperialism". Drawing on the rich traditions of the past, the reintroduction and full incorporation of the social and the historical into the main corpus of political economy will be possible in the future. (shrink)
Neuroenhancement offers the prospect of improving the cognitive, emotional and motivational functions of healthy individuals. Of all the conceivable interventions, psychopharmacology provides the most readily available ones, such as antidepressants which are thought to make people “better than well”. However, up until now, whether they possess such an enhancing ability remains controversial and therefore in this systematic review we will evaluate the effect and safety of modern antidepressants in healthy individuals. A search of MEDLINE and EMBASE databases and cross-references was (...) carried out and the pharmaceutical industry was contacted for suitable data. Trials published in any language through the third week of July 2007 were regarded. Included were single or double blind randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials that compared a placebo to one or more of the following antidepressants: bupropion, citalopram, duloxetine, escitalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, moclobemide, paroxetine, reboxetine, sertraline or venlafaxine in any dose or dosing schedule. Eligible studies were those involving healthy people of any age and either sex who showed no evidence of a psychiatric disorder, cognitive decline or other disease. One hundred thirty-five articles met our inclusion criteria reporting single dose trials and trials with repeated drug administration. Sixty-five of these articles were eligible for a statistical analysis. Based on a linear mixed model, a meta-analysis and a fixed effects meta-regression were performed. Pooling of results by meta-analysis was stratified by the outcome measures mood, emotional processing, wakefulness, attention, memory, and executive functions. On a significance level of p < 0.05 the following significant results emerged: After a single dose of an antidepressant, a significant effect was shown in two of the analysed outcomes. Firstly, there was a small yet significant negative effect on wakefulness. On memory, a positive effect after several measurements was found, but this result could be traced to the results of the one study out of all included studies, which had that many assessment points. The analysis of trials with repeated drug administration yielded the following effects: on mood, a non-significant positive effect was detected that was continuously increasing and reached significance at the last assessment point. Regarding attention, a fluctuating effect was found, while for memory, the fact that the two groups started with a group difference confounded the results. For wakefulness there was no significant effect in any particular assessment point, while for emotional processing and executive functions, the small number of studies did not allow for any effect to emerge. In summary, no consistent evidence for enhancing effects of antidepressants could be found. There is little evidence so far to support the popular opinion that antidepressants have a positive effect on the mood of healthy individuals after repeated administration. No evidence of a significant adverse event profile could be found. The studies included in this systematic review not only provide insufficient evidence for or against any effect in healthy people, but they are inapt to be used for answering this question. This may be explained by the fact that most of them were not designed to examine neuroenhancement effects. The growing public interest in neuroenhancement stands in stark contrast to the paucity of data on enhancement effects of available psychopharmacological agents. (shrink)
Structuralist foundations of mathematics aim for an ‘invariant’ conception of mathematics. But what should be their basic objects? Two leading answers emerge: higher groupoids or higher categories. I argue in favor of the former over the latter. First, I explain why to choose between them we need to ask the question of what is the correct ‘categorified’ version of a set. Second, I argue in favor of groupoids over categories as ‘categorified’ sets by introducing a pre-formal understanding of groupoids as (...) abstract shapes. This conclusion lends further support to the perspective taken by the Univalent Foundations of mathematics. (shrink)
The Univalent Foundations of Mathematics provide not only an entirely non-Cantorian conception of the basic objects of mathematics but also a novel account of how foundations ought to relate to mathematical practice. In this paper, I intend to answer the question: In what way is UF a new foundation of mathematics? I will begin by connecting UF to a pragmatist reading of the structuralist thesis in the philosophy of mathematics, which I will use to define a criterion that a formal (...) system must satisfy if it is to be regarded as a “structuralist foundation.” I will then explain why both set-theoretic foundations like ZFC and category-theoretic foundations like ETCS satisfy this criterion only to a very limited extent. Then I will argue that UF is better-able to live up to the proposed criterion for a structuralist foundation than any currently available foundational proposal. First, by showing that most criteria of identity in the practice of mathematics can be formalized in terms of the preferred criterion of identity between the basic objects of UF. Second, by countering several objections that have been raised against UF’s capacity to serve as a foundation for the whole of mathematics. (shrink)
In the Univalent Foundations of mathematics spatial notions like “point” and “path” are primitive, rather than derived, and all of mathematics is encoded in terms of them. A Homotopy Type Theory is any formal system which realizes this idea. In this paper I will focus on the question of whether a Homotopy Type Theory can be justified intuitively as a theory of shapes in the same way that ZFC can be justified intuitively as a theory of collections. I first clarify (...) what such an “intuitive justification” should be by distinguishing between formal and pre-formal “meaning explanations” in the vein of Martin-Löf. I then go on to develop a pre-formal meaning explanation for HoTT in terms of primitive spatial notions like “shape”, “path” etc. (shrink)
The Univalent Foundations of mathematics take the point of view that all of mathematics can be encoded in terms of spatial notions like "point" and "path". We will argue that this new point of view has important implications for philosophy, and especially for those parts of analytic philosophy that take set theory and first-order logic as their benchmark of rigor. To do so, we will explore the connection between foundations and philosophy, outline what is distinctive about the logic of the (...) Univalent Foundations, and then describe new philosophical theses one can express in terms of this new logic. (shrink)
Vardoulakis explores what Balibar means by designating transindividuality as ‘quasi-transcendental.’ He does so by turning to Balibar’s readings of Part IV of Spinoza’s Ethics, the Part that is central to Balibar’s understanding of the transindividual in Spinoza. Vardoulakis shows that the quasi-transcendental in Spinoza can only be a form of agonistic relations if his political theory in the Theological Political Treatise is to account for political change.
The difficulty with democracy is always how to define the demos—the people. Can we think of democracy in a different way? My starting point is to ask what it would mean to take kratos (power) rather than demos as the starting point of the thinking of democracy. I will argue that this is consistent with Solon’s first democratic constitution and that it leads to a thinking of democracy in terms of agonism. Maybe such a conception of agonistic democracy will allow (...) us to conceptualize as well as actualize a political space not predetermined by the “fickle multitude” that can be manipulated and is pray to the forces of populism. (shrink)
This collection, the first broadly interdisciplinary volume dealing with Spinozan thought, asserts the importance of Spinoza’s philosophy of immanence for contemporary cultural and philosophical debates.
I argue that a distinction between three autoimmunities is implied in Derrida’s _Rogues_. These are the autoimmunities of democracy as a regime of power, of democracy to come and of sovereignty. I extrapolate the relations between three different autoimmunities using the figure of the internal enemy in order to argue for an agonistic conception of democracy.
By looking at its history, this article emphasizes the importance of practical judgment for materialism. This sense of practical judgment is traced back to the function of phronesis in one of the ancient schools of materialism, namely, the Epicureans.
In this article, moving from being to becoming, we construe the ‘self’ as a dynamic process rather than as a static entity. To this end we draw on dialectics and Bayesian accounts of cognition. The former allows us to holistically consider the ‘self’ as the interplay between internalization and externalization and the latter to operationalize our suggestion formally. Internalization is considered here as the co-construction of bodily hierarchical models of the world and the organism, while externalization is taken as the (...) collective transformation of the world. We do not consider these processes as sequentially linked, but rather as a dialectic between the collective and the individual. This leads us to the suggestion of the self as a historical product of dialectical attunement across multiple time scales, from species evolution and culture to individual development and everyday learning. Subsequently, we describe concrete means for empirically testing our proposal in the form of two-person psychophysiology and multi-level analyses of intersubjectivity. Taken together, we suggest that a fine-grained analysis of social interaction might allow us to reconsider the ‘self’ beyond the static individual, i.e. how it emerges and manifests itself in social relations. Such an approach, we believe, could be relevant in multiple fields, from ethics and psychiatry to pedagogy and artificial intelligence. (shrink)
This article examines the connection between lying and the concept of freedom, especially in the wake of the social contract tradition. I show that the liar poses a particular threat to the social contract. As a result, lying has been portrayed as a pernicious threat to the political. This culminates in Kant’s outright rejection of lying under any circumstance. From the Kantian perspective, one can be free only if one does not lie. Conversely, Spinoza’s co-implication of virtue and power entails (...) that lying is acceptable under certain circumstances, which enhance one’s freedom. The contrast between Kant’s and Spinoza’s response to lying reveals two fundamentally different ways of conceiving freedom. (shrink)
As a prolegomenon to understanding the sense in which dualities are theoretical equivalences, we investigate the intuitive `equivalence' of hyper-regular Lagrangian and Hamiltonian classical mechanics. We show that the symplectification of these theories provides a sense in which they are isomorphic, and mutually and canonically definable through an analog of `common definitional extension'.
The present article aims at investigating the political aspects of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy, focusing mainly on the Philosophical Investigations. This theme remains rather marginal within Wittgensteinian scholarship, facing the key challenge of the sparsity of explicit discussions of political issues in Wittgenstein’s writings. Based on the broader anthropological and synecdochic character of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy, the main objective of the article is to make explicit the implicit political import of some of the main themes of the Philosophical Investigations. This is (...) done by correlating them with certain political concepts and issues, such as reification, mystification, emancipation, self-institution and the common. In such a way, a new light is shed on Wittgenstein’s influence on and his relevance to contemporary political theory, while at the same time the first steps are taken for the enrichment of the discussion regarding personal and social autonomy and the critique of late capit... (shrink)
The rhetoric of the social model of disability is presented, and its basic claims are critiqued. Proponents of the social model use the distinction between impairment and disability to reduce disabilities to a single social dimension—social oppression. They downplay the role of biological and mental conditions in the lives of disabled people. Consequences of denying biological and mental realities involving disabilities are discussed. People will benefit most by recognizing both the biological and the social dimensions of disabilities.
The current industrial revolution is said to be driven by the digitization that exploits connected information across all aspects of manufacturing. Standards have been recognized as an important enabler. Ontology-based information standard may provide benefits not offered by current information standards. Although there have been ontologies developed in the industrial manufacturing domain, they have been fragmented and inconsistent, and little has received a standard status. With successes in developing coherent ontologies in the biological, biomedical, and financial domains, an effort called (...) Industrial Ontologies Foundry (IOF) has been formed to pursue the same goal for the industrial manufacturing domain. However, developing a coherent ontology covering the entire industrial manufacturing domain has been known to be a mountainous challenge because of the multidisciplinary nature of manufacturing. To manage the scope and expectations, the IOF community kicked-off its effort with a proof-of-concept (POC) project. This paper describes the developments within the project. It also provides a brief update on the IOF organizational set up. (shrink)
We introduce a bimodal epistemic logic intended to capture knowledge as truth in all epistemically alternative states and belief as a generalised ‘majority’ quantifier, interpreted as truth in most of the epistemically alternative states. This doxastic interpretation is of interest in knowledge-representation applications and it also holds an independent philosophical and technical appeal. The logic comprises an epistemic modal operator, a doxastic modal operator of consistent and complete belief and ‘bridge’ axioms which relate knowledge to belief. To capture the notion (...) of a ‘majority’ we use the ‘large sets’ introduced independently by K. Schlechta and V. Jauregui, augmented with a requirement of completeness, which furnishes a ‘weak ultrafilter’ concept. We provide semantics in the form of possible-worlds frames, properly blending relational semantics with a version of general Scott–Montague frames and we obtain soundness and completeness results. We examine the validity of certain epistemic principles discussed in the literature, in particular some of the ‘bridge’ axioms discussed by W. Lenzen and R. Stalnaker, as well as the ‘paradox of the perfect believer’, which is not a theorem of. (shrink)
In this paper, I attempt to sketch a dialectical approach on scientific representations and their role in scientific cognition. In my understanding, scientific representations can be construed as ‘tools’ mediating scientific cognition. These ‘tools’ are products of our cognitive activity, by which we signify which features of certain objects or states of affairs should be embodied in abstractive representations of them. In such a context, I explore the merits of bringing some ideas of thinkers whose work is underestimated in the (...) relevant discussion nowadays (such as K. Marx, E.V. Ilyenkov, L.S. Vygotsky, M. Wartofsky) in dialogue with currently discussed approaches. (shrink)
We discuss ways in which category theory might be useful in philosophy of science, in particular for articulating the structure of scientific theories. We argue, moreover, that a categorical approach transcends the syntax-semantics dichotomy in 20th century analytic philosophy of science.
The ability to access and share data is key to optimizing and streamlining any industrial production process. Unfortunately, the manufacturing industry is stymied by a lack of interoperability among the systems by which data are produced and managed, and this is true both within and across organizations. In this paper, we describe our work to address this problem through the creation of a suite of modular ontologies representing the product life cycle and its successive phases, from design to end of (...) life. We call this suite the Product Life Cycle (PLC) Ontologies. The suite extends proximately from The Common Core Ontologies (CCO) used widely in defense and intelligence circles, and ultimately from the Basic Formal Ontology (BFO), which serves as top level ontology for the CCO and for some 300 further ontologies. The PLC Ontologies were developed together, but they have been factored to cover particular domains such as design, manufacturing processes, and tools. We argue that these ontologies, when used together with standard public domain alignment and browsing tools created within the context of the Semantic Web, may offer a low-cost approach to solving increasingly costly problems of data management in the manufacturing industry. (shrink)
This paper explores a form of activism that operates with and within matter. For more than 150 years materialism has informed activist practice through materialist conceptions of history and modes of production. The paper discusses the ambivalences of these previous configurations of activism and materialism and explores possibilities for enacting activist interventions in conditions where politics is not only performed as a politics of history but as the fundamental capacity to remake and transform processes of matter and life. What is (...) activism when politics is increasingly performed as a politics of matter? What is activism when it comes to a materialist understanding of matter itself? (shrink)
We present a new account of perceptual consciousness, one which gives due weight to the epistemic commitment of normal perception in familiar circumstances. The account is given in terms of a higher-order attitude for which the subject has an immediate perceptual epistemic warrant in the form of an appropriate first-order perception. We develop our account in contrast to Rosenthal's higher-order account, rejecting his view of consciousness in virtue of so-called ‘targetless’ higher-order states. We explain the key notion of an immediate (...) perceptual warrant and show both that it requires the content of the higher-order attitude to match that of the first-order perception, and also that it gives a new perspective on the intimate relationship, rightly emphasised by Rosenthal, between consciousness and a subject's testimony as to ‘how it is with her’. (shrink)
Dimitris Vardoulakis, The Doppelgänger: Literature's Philosophy Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 418-422 Authors Carlo Salzani, Monash University, Australia Journal Critical Horizons: A Journal of Philosophy & Social Theory Online ISSN 1568-5160 Print ISSN 1440-9917 Journal Volume Volume 12 Journal Issue Volume 12, Number 3 / 2011.