The most important systematic analysis of social movements to date has been Touraine's The Voice and the Eye. Here, one can almost paraphrase Marx's famous dictum: for the French sociologist, the history of all societies is a history of movements. In identifying movements with social classes, Touraine negotiates a radical turn from system theories to a strong version of action theory and breaks with the Procrustean framework of an Althusserian-Poulantzasian structuralism in which everything is accounted for once the economically based (...) class equivalent has been found. For Touraine, movements emerge and diversify in the process of their challenging “historicity” — a key concept derived from Castoriadis’ central category, the imaginary institution. (shrink)
I will begin by distinguishing between three logics or tendencies in modernity: the logic of technology, the logic of the functional allocation of social positions, and the logic of political power. This conception of three logics or developmental tendencies suggests that the modern world is heterogeneous. Each logic, as it exists potentially, contains within it more than one option. The development itself excludes certain options either forever, or merely for the present. If there were one logic, fewer and fewer potentialities (...) would present themselves in time, and the unfolding of the potentialities would become narrower and increasingly unilinear. However, if there is not only one logic, but three, and if they are relatively although not entirely independent, then the selection of one logic from the three possiblities is not just an internal matter because the environment is essential in the process of eliminating certain possibilities and letting others evolve more forcefully. A category cannot develop possibilities other than the ones which lie dormant in it at the moment of its conception. In this respect the development of each of the logics of modernity is self-propelling. Yet, which of the possiblities will be selected and which of them eliminated—for the short-term or long-term—is not written on the body of the category as it exists potentially. I may add, that even if the evolution of one of the constituents is thwarted for only an historically insignificant time, its character will be different, and this may influence the other logics in a different manner. This is why it would be foolish to think of the developmental logics in teleological terms. Of course, retrospectively, one can establish a teleological sequence, but this would prove only the one thing we already know: that all categories can develop out of themselves only those realities which exist in a state of slumber during their coming-into-being. (shrink)
The author discusses two questions, the relation between liberalism and democracy, and the relation between ethics, morality and law. As to the first question, she argues that neither liberalism nor democracy are merely formal. Roughly spoken, it can be said that liberalism stands for negative liberties, whereas democracy stands for positive ones. She observes a non-contingent tension between the ethos of liberalism (personal freedom) and the ethos of democracy (equality; majority rule). It is the task of morality to maintain and (...) restore the balance between these two kinds of ethos. As to the second question, she is worried about the balance between law (legal regulation), ethics, and morality. On the one hand, abolishing legal regulations would amount to abolishing the freedom of the moderns. On the other hand, the substitution of legal regulations for ethical regulations would lead to a similar result: the end of the freedom of the moderns through the homogenisation of life. In the former case, personal support, charity, magnanimity, and caring would get lost, while in the latter there would be no escape from community pressure towards uniformity. (shrink)
In January 1968, Lucien Goldmann organized a conference on aesthetic theory in Royaumont, France. Adorno was one of the keynote speakers; I delivered a lecture on Lukács's The Specificity of the Aesthetic, which then was still not well known. Of course, we were immediately entangled in passionate discussions arguing for three different, and apparently irreconcilable, positions. Then something entirely unexpected happened. A young man took the rostrum and spoke with anger and irritation: Lukács, Goldmann and Adorno are all the same. (...) They are members of the Holy Family. By standing for the autonomy of art work, they seek salvation in a celestial image of the world. They are equally old-fashioned, bourgeois and despicable. (shrink)
For the winter semester of 1942-1943, Heidegger announced a lecture course at the University of Freiburg on Parmenides and Heraclitus. In Heidegger’s collected works, volume 54, the lecture course was published under the title Parmenides, since Heidegger never actually discussed Heraclitus in the course. I may add that he barely discussed Parmenides either. The lecture course proceeds in circles. The lecturer seems to introduce new themes again and again, quickly digressing from each, only to return to some, but not all, (...) of them. Allow me to list the main themes in order of their appearance in the lecture notes: originary thinking, aletheia, goddess, translation, conflict, the Greek word pseudos and its translations, how the Romans mistranslated the Greeks, the Greek word methodos and its misunderstanding, lethe, the translation of zoon logon ekhon, the word, pragma, techne, physis and how it is not natura, unconcealing and concealing, the history of being, the polis, the daimon, the essence of the Greek gods, politeia, adike, what philosophy is, to think on something or about something, metaphysics, the subject/object relation, I-ness, egoism, metaphysics as the essence of technology, to think being, the essence of truth, the fate of the Occident, to rethink originary thinking, the foundation/less and so on. As one can see from this brief, and by no means full enumeration, Heidegger’s lecture course on Parmenides contains a small encyclopedia of the so called “basic words” of his philosophical turn. There is nothing in his famous Letter on Humanism that was not already present during the Parmenides course in the winter semester of 1942-1943. (shrink)
This is an anatomy of the ethical and political preconceptions which underlie theories of justice. The author takes as her cue Hegel's description of modernity in which politics and ethics have fallen out of harmony with one another.
En el presente artículo la autora se plantea la posibilidad de supervivencia de la modernidad, tal y como Hegel aborda ese más que crucial problema mediante el concepto de Mundo Moderno. Este concepto puede entenderse en tanto que tiempo presente histórico absoluto, el cual lleva implícita la desmemoria histórica, pero asimismo en tanto que continuo hacerse presente que, mediante la filosofía, rememora y dota de significado nuestra experiencia colectiva. La rememoración es el instrumento de la modernidad que se apropia de (...) su pasado para conocer las posibilidades del futuro, y el aliado de la Bildung que caracteriza a aquellos individuos que todavía pretenden transformar las cosas y afirmar el reconocimiento mutuo como base de la autocomprensión y la comprensión del Otro. Sin embargo, la autora defiende frente a Hegel un poder de rememoración que no cancela la moralidad kantiana, pues una descripción normativa del mundo moderno ya no cuenta con un espíritu absoluto que supera la mera «historia empírica». Este siglo nos ha ofrecido -y todavía ofrece- un horror tan real que no se deja subsumir dentro de ningún sistema que, al fin y al cabo, no sabe distinguir el bien del mal en aras de lo absoluto. (shrink)
Tolstoy was a frame of reference in the work of Lukács twice, during 1914–16 and 1935–6 respectively. His first-time encounter with Tolstoy was presented in the chapter of The Theory of the Novel involving both Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, but the former was given more credit and reckoned as the prophet of a new world. It was not until the 1930s that Lukács’ taste changed, and his top priority went to Tolstoy instead. Yet, with due respect to the vicissitudes of his (...) life throughout the 1910s until the 1930s, Lukács remained faithful to his philosophy of history in terms of aesthetic judgment. His preference for the grand artworks was not new as his admiration for Homer showed, but his belief in the resurrection of grand art as realism was rooted in a new and false illusion. Still, his essays on Tolstoy of the 1930s are rich in aesthetic analysis, such as the different aspects of temporality. (shrink)
In the context of giving this year’s Christian Wolff Lecture, Agnes Heller - looking back on her eventful life and the current political situation in Hungary - reflects on the relationship between philosophy and politics. The changes in her concept of freedom are closely related to her experience of various kinds of political oppression. However, Heller expresses wariness concerning the role of philosophical thought in politics, arguing that philosophy and politics are based on two distinct, incommensurate concepts of truth. She (...) defends a pluralistic approach to truth against the allegation of relativism and subsequently characterizes philosophy as a unique form of storytelling. Heller shares with us her observations on philosophy under modern conditions and closes the interview with a very personal tale. (shrink)
Questo inedito di Ágnes Heller costituisce un approfondimento di un particolare aspetto della sua teoria della morale, la cosiddetta ‘estetica morale’ relativa all’analisi del nesso fra bontà dell’individuo e manifestazione estetica di tale bontà nell’azione e nel carattere della sua personalità. Il saggio offre, in primo luogo, una sintesi della teoria morale complessiva di Heller, presentandone alcuni temi fondamentali – la scelta esistenziale della morale, la sintesi tra formalismo e teleologismo in etica – per poi introdurre il problema dell’estetica morale, (...) e in particolare le condizioni del giudizio etico relativo alla bontà della persona, la rilevanza morale dei sentimenti, la differenza etica fra persona bella e persona sublime.This Heller’s essay, published here for the first time, concerns a specific part of her Theory of Morals: the moral aesthetics, i.e. the relation between individual goodness and its manifestation in the way of acting and in the character of the personality. First, the essay presents a summary of Heller’s ethics: the role of the existential choice of goodness, the link between formalism and teleologism. Then, it analyses some themes of the moral aesthetics like the conditions of ethical judgment on the whole person’s goodness, the moral aspect of feelings, the ethical difference between beautiful and sublime person. (shrink)
Agnes Heller conversó con la Redacción de Areté el 24 de abril de 2003, durante una visita a la Universidad Católica para dictar la Lección Inaugural del Año Académico de la Facultad de Letras y Ciencias Humanas. En la conversación estuvieron presentes los profesores Pepi Patrón, Fidel Tubino y Miguel Giusti.