Edited by CinziaArruzza and Dmitri Nikulin, _Philosophy and Political Power in Antiquity_ is a collection of essays examining reflections by ancient philosophers on the implicit tension between political activity and the philosophical life from a variety of critical perspectives.
This article addresses the notions of gender performativity and temporality in Butler’s early work on gender. The paper is articulated in four steps. First it gives an account of the role and nature of temporality in Butler’s theory of gender performativity. Second, it shows some similarities and connections between the role played by temporality in Butler’s theory of gender performativity and its role in Marx’s analysis of capital. Third, it raises some criticisms of Butler’s understanding of temporality and historicity, focusing (...) in particular on the lack of historicisation of her own categories in bothGender TroubleandBodies that Matter. This deficit is a consequence of the epistemological framework within which she is operating, in particular of her understanding of social practices and relations through the lens of linguistic concepts extrapolated from their theoretical context. The article concludes by referring to Floyd’s and Hennessy’s analyses of the formation of sexual identities as examples of the fruitful historicisation of gender performativity, which also sheds some light on the ‘the abstract character’ of the temporality of gender performativity. (shrink)
This article analyzes the status of passive potentiality of prime matter and sensible objects in Plotinus' Enneads. In particular, it will focus on Enneads II 5  and confront it with other treatises, specifically Enneads III 6 ; II 6 ; VI 2  and VI 3 . It aims at offering a new interpretation of treatise 25 and at proposing a reconstruction of Plotinus' notion of change in the sensible realm that illustrates both his critique of Aristotle's notion of (...) substantial change and his acceptance of Aristotle's view of qualitative change. (shrink)
In this paper I adopt Étienne Balibar’s distinction between three forms of universality—“universality as reality,” “fictive universality,” and “ideal universality”—in order to retrieve universalism for feminist politics. The paper articulates a proposal for the feminist adoption of a specific notion of universality, which I call political insurgent universality. This notion is not based on a definition of human essence or of women's nature. It is rather rooted in the “real universality” historically created by capitalism, that is, in the fact that (...) capitalism has generated a world in which people are interdependent and in which capitalist accumulation poses objective universal constraints on social reproduction. (shrink)
This article deals with the issue of the abolition of both property and family for the Guardians in Plato's Republic. My aim is to show that such abolition answers to the problem of the art of ruling raised in Book I: how can the rulers rule not in their own interest, but rather in the interest of the ruled? The abolition of property and family changes the very economic and social framework of the city, leading to an identity of the (...) private interests of the rulers and of the common interests of the polis, by establishing a koinÜnia among the Guardians and a relationship of interdependence between them and the producers. Nevertheless, the exclusion of the lower class from the abolition of property and family creates a situation of fundamental asymmetry in the relationship between the classes and renders ambiguous the manner in which the producers belong to the city, creating in this way a 'differential inclusion into citizenship'. (shrink)
This paper examines an issue that seems particularly overlooked in the debate on Plato and Popper, namely that of political change. The aim of the paper is to challenge the largely unchallenged assumption that modern liberal democracy can play the role of the general standard, upon which basis we can judge the thinkers of the past. Indeed, in the Open Society liberal democracy sets the boundaries of what is considered as a 'rational' political change, thus revealing that Popper holds a (...) form of teleological conception of historical development. The paper argues for a different interpretation of Plato's approach to the question of political change, against Popper's claim that the final aim of the utopian city of the Republic is the elimination of change. The conclusion is that Plato's utopian construction provides us with better tools than Popper's framework for thinking of change in politics. (shrink)
In this dense, intelligent, but often frustrating work, CinziaArruzza argues that Plato's depiction of tyranny and the character of the tyrant in the Republic is best interpreted as, ‘an intervention in a debate concerning the transformed relation between political leaders and demos in Athenian democracy’ (p. 9) in the last decades of the fifth century BCE. Her central claim is that Plato's critique of tyranny in the Republic was aimed at showing that this particular historical form of (...) Athenian democracy, along with its institutional mechanisms, was morally, psychologically, and politically continuous with the forms of tyranny to which its ideology was opposed. (shrink)
In this article I reply to three critics. Responding to CinziaArruzza, I argue that capital encounters a large spectrum of differences of gender, religion and ethnicity, as well as differences generated by racism. Capital is able to use these differences to its own profit in order to differentiate wages and intensities of exploitation and thereby divide the working class. Responding to Peter Osborne, I contend that my temporal-layered framework elucidates how capital organises and synchronises different temporalities according (...) to the dominant temporality of socially-necessary labour time. I combine Bloch’s idea of ‘multiversum’ and Benjamin’s idea of history in order to show how conflicting temporalities can disclose new political possibilities of liberation. Responding to Harry Harootunian, I articulate the relationship between my reading of Marx and the Postcolonial critique. (shrink)
My aim in this essay is to lead the reader through the complexity of Hegel’s philosophical understanding of organic nature by highlighting its distinctive theoretical features and by examining these historically, both against the background of the approaches, achievements and trends of the empirical sciences of his time and in light of their scholarly reception.1 First, I focuss on Hegel’s definition of the ‘universal form’ of life, pointing to what the connection is, in his philosophy of nature, between the structure (...) of conceptual and living processes in the path to the individualization of matter. Second, since Hegel calls animal life “the truth of organics,” 2 I shall try to explain how in the philosophy of nature the Idea of life comes to differentiate itself into certain essential characteristics of immediate, finite and individual animals, passing through the stages of geological nature and vegetable organisms. (shrink)
The term ‘food security’ has been used in multiple ways and addresses not only issues around availability and accessibility of foods, but also, among others, the sustainability of livelihoods at the local community level—an issue often seen as a basis for the proliferation of local and alternative food networks. Accordingly, in this paper we attempt to develop a theoretical re-framing that is able to link food security with AFNs in arguing that the understanding of the two notions is dynamics and (...) contingent upon the elements that construct them. We use an assemblage approach to analyze a case of Dunedin, a small-size city in New Zealand, in which the community aims to achieve food security through a local food strategy. Through a series of interviews with a group of food activists and academics, public discussions, and two local food forums, we found that food security was understood and performed in its local context through assembling diverse actors and objectives within the AFN. In conclusion, we offer assemblage thinking as an analytical tool to understand how seemingly precarious local food relations are stabilized and assembled so as to open possibilities of achieving food security. (shrink)
In the last decades of the twentieth century universities in Europe and other OECD countries have undergone a profound transformation. They have evolved from mainly élite institutions for teaching and research to large (public and private) organisations responsible for mass higher education and the production and distribution of new knowledge. Increasingly, new knowledge is produced by universities not only for its own sake but also for potential economic gains.
To readers of the Science of Logic, “mode” signifies the externality of the absolute, and its proper place within the text is at the level of the determinations of reflection, within the Doctrine of Essence. Let us take a look at the third section of the Doctrine of Essence: “Actuality”. In its broadest meaning, this signifies “reflected absoluteness,” that is to say, the unity of essence and existence; therefore, it is not a purely immediate existence, but “the immediate unity of (...) form between inner and outer.” Through this definition, a new kind of logical process is made possible - that of the actual totality’s self-manifestation. In the opening chapter of this section, headed “The Absolute,” the determination of the absolute is carried through from its initial unity to truly absolute identity by means of the complex play of reflection. Hegel’s treatment of this subject is beyond the scope of this paper; but if, at the initial stage of its dialectical cycle, reflection is external to the absolute - instead of being the proper determination of it - then it can at least be observed that in the third subdivision of the chapter what is under consideration is the negative return of the absolute into itself, and that this return is accomplished in such a way that “mode” is both the externality of the absolute and its reflection into itself: its being into itself and for itself. As one of the recent commentators on the Science of Logic has pointed out: “Le mode est ‘1’apparance comme apparance’: avec lui se profile un type d’extériorité qui ne sera plus en dette à l’egard d’une interiorité … la manifestation de l’absolu n’est pas une sortie de soi, mais plutôt sa constitution dans l’exteriorité des modes, puis des modalités de l’effectivité.”. (shrink)
The purpose of my study is to reconstruct the historical development of Kant's pre- critical approach to mechanical explanation and cosmology. I shall focus on three main works: the 1755 Theorie des Himmels, the 1763 Beweisgrund and the 1766 Träume. I shall challenge some interpretations of the relation between mechanism and finalism, looking for the emergence of a principle of demarcation separating both ontologically and epistemologically organics from inorganics products. I shall try to show why Kant came to be dissatisfied (...) with his early systematic account of the formation and arrangement of the heavenly bodies on purely mechanical principles. Finally I shall argue that the pre-critical period ends, paving the way to a revision of cosmology in the light of an appreciation of the role of chemical affinity for the construction of the world-edifice. (shrink)
The issue of biotechnology has been chosen in the MIRRORS project in order to analyze the sometimes uneasy relationship between science and society. After analyzing the situation of biotechnology regarding the GMO debate in Spain, France and Italy during a previous MIRRORS Workshop (This MIRRORS Workshop is entitled European Policies and Knowledge Society, held in Catania on December 15th 2008, during the which the undersigned, Anna Benedetta Francese and Cinzia Rizza discussed three papers about this topic [see the MIRRORS (...) website www.mirrors-project.it]), in this essay I have tried to tackle the relationship science–society, focalizing my attention on the epistemological and methodological problems behind the biotechnology debate that are often not clearly expressed, remaining mainly tacitly presupposed. I will take as a starting point some questions about the role of science in society and about the way science is used by policy makers in decision-making processes. These questions are fundamental in order to analyze (and possibly to propose salvation strategies) the existing problems of the relationship between science and society which has assumed, especially nowadays, more conflictual aspects. Our Research Team firmly holds that it is not possible to tackle this topic without an in-depth discussion of the most significant epistemological questions regarding research, discussions, and methods of biotechnology. (shrink)
In an attempt to reconcile first-hand historical research on scientific material and philosophical concerns, this paper aims to show how Hegel took active part in the scientific debate of the time, by publicly siding with some strands of contemporaneous natural science against others, as well as how Hegel supports a considered scientific position, by providing it with philosophical justification and foundation, taking issue at the same time with formulations of British Empiricism and German Idealism.