Contemporary education now appears to be dominated by the continual drive for improvement measured against the assessment of what students have learned. It is our contention that a foundational relation with assessment organises contemporary education. Here we draw on a 'way of thinking' that is deconstructive in its intent. Such thinking makes clear the vicious circularity of the argument for improvement, wherein assessment valorised in discourses of improvement provides not only a rationalisation for improvement via assessment, but also the very (...) means of achieving such possibilities via targets grounded in limited specifications of assessment. On reading Heidegger's 'question concerning technology' we sought to reconsider the vicious circle of improvement in relation to Being. We claim that the means-ends driven technology of assessment, rather than being at our disposal and under our control, only serves to reveals the Real to us in accordance with the restricting principle of reason. The principle of reason, we argue, grounds 'Enframing' that ranks and orders the very beings of education as objects to produce an objective 'world as picture', rather than opening the possibility of their identity as belongings with a movement of difference. So, 'improvement' becomes normative and binding for institutions and practices on grounds of the principle of assessment, and renders agents of education as functionaries of 'Enframing'. (shrink)
Beginning with a reconsideration of what the school is and has been, this paper explores the idea of the school to come. Emphasizing the governmental role of education in modernity, I offer a line of thinking that calls into question the assumption of both the school and education as possible conduits for either democracy or social justice. Drawing on Derrida’s spectral ontology I argue that any automatic correlation of education with democracy is misguided: especially within redemptive discourses that seek to (...) liberate education from its present enclosure. This rereading of the field of education in the light of an account of the fundamental ontology of its key institution problematizes all rhetorics of education as social salvation. Education, it proposes, cannot be conceived as the ideal soul of a corrupted or as yet defective body, the school. Education—having taken on the character of an ontotheological principle—has become a governmental instrument as much as its specific institutions. This ontological condition can be understood within various accounts of the nature of contemporaneity. This paper considers the monstrous proposal that education be abandoned as the grounds for social, ethical and cultural redemption. The good news is that this abandonment opens the possibility for thinking beyond education, a beyond that is also beyond the strictures of instrumental rationality. (shrink)
Erdelyi argues persuasively for his unified theory of repression. Beyond this, what can studying repression bring to our understanding of other aspects of emotional function? Here we consider ways in which work on repression might inform the study of, on one hand, emotional memory, and on the other, the emotional numbing seen in patients with chronic persistent depersonalization symptoms.
I ask four questions: (1) Why should we think that our hominid ancestor's predation is not just a causal influence but the main causal factor responsible for human cruelty? (2) Why not think of human cruelty as a necessary part of a syndrome in which other phenomena are necessarily involved? (3) What definitions of cruelty does Nell propose that we operate with? And (4) what about the meaning of cruelty for human beings?
NickPeim has recently revisited the work of Walter Benjamin; specifically his famous essay on art and mechanical reproduction. In this reply, I too draw upon the inspiration of Benjamin to extend the argument to the question of experience and what might count as knowledge, both in a philosophical sense and also in terms of the curriculum. To exemplify my argument I draw upon the topics of prostitution, gambling and the urban. They were all central to Benjamin's unfinished (...) work 'The Arcades Project'. (shrink)
‘William L. Rowe on Philosophy of Religion’ edited by Nick Trakakis, collects 30 papers of William Rowe's important work in the philosophy of religion. I review this collection, and offer an objection of one of Rowe's arguments.
In this exchange, Peter Coghlan and Nick Trakakis discuss the problem of natural evil in the light of the recent Asian tsunami disaster. The exchange begins with an extract from a newspaper article written by Coghlan on the tsunami, followed by three rounds of replies and counter-replies, and ending with some final comments from Trakakis. While critical of any attempt to show that human life is good overall despite its natural evils, Coghlan argues that instances of natural evil, even (...) horrific ones, can be justified as the unavoidable by-product of a natural system on which human life and culture depends. Trakakis, however, rejects this view, counselling instead a degree of skepticism about our ability to construct a plausible theodicy for horrific evil. (shrink)
With very advanced technology, a very large population of people living happy lives could be sustained in the accessible region of the universe. For every year that development of such technologies and colonization of the universe is delayed, there is therefore a corresponding opportunity cost: a potential good, lives worth living, is not being realized. Given some plausible assumptions, this cost is extremely large. However, the lesson for standard utilitarians is not that we ought to maximize the pace of technological (...) development, but rather that we ought to maximize its safety, i.e. the probability that colonization will eventually occur. This goal has such high utility that standard utilitarians ought to focus all their efforts on it. Utilitarians of a ‘person-affecting’ stripe should accept a modified version of this conclusion. Some mixed ethical views, which combine utilitarian considerations with other criteria, will also be committed to a similar bottom line. (shrink)
This essay critically comments on Contingent Future Persons (1997), an anthology of thirteen papers on the same topic as Obligations to Future Generations (1978), namely, the morality of decisions affecting the existence, number and identity of future persons. In my discussion, I identify the basic point of dispute between R. M. Hare and Michael Lockwood on potentiality; I criticize Nick Fotion's thesis that the Repugnant Conclusion is too far-fetched to be philosophically valuable; I object to Clark Wolf's "Impure Consequentialist (...) Theory of Obligation"; and I discuss the Non-Identity Problem in connection with essays by Robert Elliot and Ingmar Persson. (shrink)
This paper is interested in commodity fetishism as a signal of collapsing marital mandates in the genre of lad lit. Instead of focusing solely on its late twentieth-century moment of emergence as a response to chick lit, the paper proposes a longer historical view in order to understand the crisis of masculinity that lad lit lays bare in its protagonists’ inherently queer status as collectors. The analysis puts critical pressure on the collectible object by re-reading the “lad” through the literary (...) figure of the fop, who represents a recurring response to similar crises in gender from the seventeenth-century’s comedy of manners to the novels of Jane Austen. The fop’s overinvestment in style and consequent marginalization is considered in Nick Hornby’s novels High Fidelity and About a Boy, in which the protagonists’ obsessive collecting of objects can be understood as both a dominant feature of their masculinity and the roadblock to their participation in heteronormative rituals of romance. Instead of reading Hornby’s characters as straightforwardly queer, this paper focuses on the commodity as a signal of queerness, and in turn its central role in the creation of, and the challenge to, the lad’s masculinity. (shrink)
Levi Bryant, Nick Srnicek, and Graham Harman (eds): The Speculative Turn: Continental Materialism and Realism Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-5 DOI 10.1007/s10746-012-9218-0 Authors Geoff Pfeifer, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA, USA Journal Human Studies Online ISSN 1572-851X Print ISSN 0163-8548.
Nick Joaquin, one of the Philippines’ pillars of literature in English, is regrettably known locally for his nostalgic take on the Hispanic aspect of Philippine culture. While Joaquin did spend a great deal of time creatively exploring the Philippines’ Hispanic past, he certainly did not do so simply because of nostalgia. As recent studies have shown, Joaquin’s classic techniques that often echo the Hispanic influence on Philippine culture may also be considered as a form of resistance against both the (...) American neocolonial influence and the nativist brand of nationalism in the 1950s and 1960s. Despite the emergence of Gothic criticism in postcolonial writing, Joaquin’s works have rarely received the attention they deserve in this critical area. In this context, this paper explores the idea of the Gothic in Joaquin’s writing and how it relates to Joaquin being the “most original voice in postcolonial Philippine writing.” In 1972, the University of Queensland Press featured Joaquin’s works in its Asian and Pacific writing series. This “new” collection, Tropical Gothic, contained his significant early works published in Prose and Poems plus his novellas. This collection’s title highlights a specific aspect of Joaquin’s writing, that of his propensity to use Gothic tropes such as the blending of the real and the fantastic, or the tragic and the comic, as shown in most of the stories in the collection. In particular, I examine how his novella interrogates the neurosis of the nation—a disconnection from the past and its repercussions on the present/future of the Philippines. (shrink)
Es ist nicht leicht, dieser Studie im Umfang v. 557 Seiten gerecht zu werden. Der behandelte Text der spätbyzantinischen Vierfüßlergeschichte, der in älteren Ausgaben von W. Wagner in dessen Carmina Graeca Medii Aevi und von Vassiliki Tsiouni als Bd. 15 der Miscellanea Byzantina Monacensia, Diss. London 1970 vorlag, umfaßt selbst nur knapp 1100 Verse. Die Autoren, - der eine, George Baloglou, ist Mathematik-professor an der State University of New York, Oswego, der andere, Nick Nicholas, Research Fellow bei den Linguisten (...) an der Universität von Melbourne und Mitarbeiter am Thesaurus Linguae Graecae in Irvine - USA - sind von Haus aus also keine Fachleute für die Herausgabe von Texten der byzantinischen Volksliteratur, vermitteln aber auf so gut wie jeder Seite ihres Werks ihren wissenschaftlichen Impetus und Enthusiasmus, diesem Text bis in die letzten Falten seines Gewands nachzuspüren. (shrink)
Darwinian matters : life, force and change -- Biological difference -- The evolution of sex and race -- Nietzsche's Darwin -- History and the untimely -- The eternal return and the overman -- Bergsonian differences -- The philosophy of life -- Intuition and the virtual -- The future.