This "open letter" examines Agnes Heller's seemingly ambivilent position on feminism, as well as her pedegogy, her reading of Plato, her "ethics of personality," and her positions on critique and on "everyday life.".
Contents: John BURNHEIM: Introduction. Mihály VAJDA: A Lover of Philosophy - A Lover of Europe. Phillippe DESPOIX: On the Possibility of a Philosophy of Values. A Dialogue within the Budapest School. Martin JAY: Women in Dark Times: Agnes Heller and Hannah Arendt. Johann P. ARNASON: The Human Condition and the Modern Predicament. Richard J. BERNSTEIN: Agnes Heller: Philosophy, Rational Utopia and Praxis. Zygmunt BAUMAN: Narrating Modernity. Peter BEILHARZ: Theories of History - Agnes Heller and R.G. Collingwood. Richard WOLIN: Heller's Theory (...) of Everyday Life. Paul HARRISON: Radical Philosophy and the Theory of Modernity. Arthur J. JACOBSON: The Limits of Formal Justice. Peter MURPHY: Civility and Radicalism. Peter MURPHY: Pluralism and Politics. Victoria CAMPS: The Good Life: A Moral Gesture. Laura BOELLA: Philosophy Beyond and the Baseless and Tragic Character of Action. György MÁRKUS: The Politics of Morals. Agnes HELLER: A Reply to My Critics. The Bibliography of Agnes Heller. (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.
The US psychologist Gail Hornstein’s monograph, Agnes’s Jacket: A Psychologist’s Search for the Meanings of Madness, is an important intervention in the identity politics of the mad movement. Hornstein offers a resignified vision of mad identity that embroiders the central trope of an “anti-colonial” struggle to reclaim the experiential world “colonized” by psychiatry. A series of literal and figurative appeals makes recourse to the inner world and cultural world of the mad as well as to the ethno-symbolic cultural materials of (...) dormant nationhood. This rhetoric is augmented by a model in which the mad comprise a diaspora without an origin, coalescing into a single transnational community. The mad are also depicted as persons displaced from their metaphorical homeland, the “inner” world “colonized” by the psychiatric regime. There are a number of difficulties with Hornstein’s rhetoric, however. Her “ethnicity-and-rights” response to the oppression of the mad is symptomatic of Western parochialism, while her proposed transmutation of putative psychopathology from limit upon identity to parameter of successful identity is open to contestation. Moreover, unless one accepts Hornstein’s porous vision of mad identity, her self-ascribed insider status in relation to the mad community may present a problematic “re-colonization” of mad experience. (shrink)
This article pursues the hypothesis that there is a structural affinity between the case study as a genre of writing and the question of gendered subjectivity. With John Forrester’s chapter ‘Inventing Gender Identity: The Case of Agnes’ as my starting point, I ask how the case of ‘Agnes’ continues to inform our understanding of different disciplinary approaches to theorizing gender. I establish a conversation between distinct, psychoanalytically informed feminisms to move from the mid-20th century to contemporary cultural debate.
One of the many themes to which Agnes Heller's philosophy returns again and again is the theme of the home of the moderns. Although not necessarily her central philosophical theme, nonetheless, it opens onto the existential and multi-dimensional nature of the human condition in modernity, which her work permanently addresses.
The article tracks the development of Agnes Heller”s political philosophy as it evolves through the Marxism and reform communism of her years as a dissent Hungarian intellectual, followed by the period of her encounters with the Western Left and with the currents of postmodern liberalism.
Varda's longtime moniker, "Grandmother" of the French New Wave, conjures the image of a "little old woman, pleasantly plump and talkative"–a description that Varda herself uses in Les Plages d'Agnès. In The Cinema of Agnès Varda: Resistance and Eclecticism, Delphine Bénézet contends that this persona is merely one of many alter egos that Varda puts forward in her attempt to debunk "the myth of the all mighty male auteur". Furthermore, Bénézet's exploration of Varda's oeuvre reveals that the filmmaker's work has (...) always been anything but antiquated. Since her first feature film, La Pointe Courte, Varda's innovative approach to filmmaking has been a testament to the limitless possibilities of the... (shrink)
The aim of this work is to analyze the role that Agnes Heller gives to utopia in the frame work of the the ory of history. To accomplish this, there lation she establishes between future-utopia, change-utopia and progress-utopia will be analyzed. After the analysis and explanation of these conce..
This essay aims to reappraise Agnes Arber's contribution to the history of science with reference to her work in the history of botany and biology. Both her first and her last books are classics: the former in the history of botany, the latter in that of biology. As such, they are still cited today, albeit with increasing criticism. Her very last book was rejected by Cambridge University Press because it did not meet the publisher's academic standards – we shall return (...) to it in due course. Despite Kathryn Packer's two essays about Arber's life in context, much remains to be done toward a just appreciation of her research. We need such a reappraisal in order to avoid anachronistic criticisms of her contributions to the historiography of botany, or, on the other hand, uncritical applause for her studies in plant morphology. (shrink)
By dovetailing the classical concepts of virtue, beauty, harmony and happiness with the cardinal values of modern imagination, life and freedom, Agnes Heller galvanizes modernity's anthropological reflexivity and hints at the prospect of a classicism pertinent to the present. Beyond nostalgia for an ancient past or apology for a contemporary present, her moral anthropology is approached via a dialectical elucidation of aspects of epicurean theory attuned to modernity's complexity. Under the contemporary condition of waning postmodern challenges, escalating confusion and cynicism, (...) moral anthropology's task is as one of probing modernity's destiny for a non-predatory humanism that combines the existential wisdom of ancient theory with modern values. (shrink)
This article focuses on images of walking in Agnès Varda's films – Cléo de 5 à 7 (1962), Sans toit ni loi (1985), and Les Plages d’Agnès (2008). The activity of walking (as urban flânerie, circular travelling or walking backwards) is central to these films, and can be seen as a corporeal practice that not only interweaves striated and smooth spaces but also offer a gender-sensitive, political contemplation on the forces of striation and smoothing as well as a re-invention of (...) space. The women in movement in Varda's films embody a transgression of stratified territories such as the image-oriented society of the spectacle in Cléo, myths of adolescence and settled living in Sans toit ni loi, or the boundaries of aging in Les Plages d'Agnès. (shrink)
The following paper explicates and critically analyses the existential ethics of the reflective postmodernist phase in the work of Agnes Heller. Beginning with a brief summary of the biographical and theoretical roots of her development, it goes on to analyse the meaning of her key slogan of ?turning contingency into destiny.? After elaborating her version of the ?existential leap? and her later attempts to refine her position in An Ethics of Personality, the paper will employ some literary lives from W. (...) G. Sebald and J. M. Coetzee to test the general viability of Heller's model. (shrink)
Agnes Tellings rightly observes that adolescents, if compared with pre-pubescent children, are much more capable of making their own choices and therefore should be granted much more freedom to arrange their own lives. However, the capacity of adolescents to make prudent choices still seems to be below the threshold of competence. Therefore, interpreting their growing freedom in terms of freedom rights seems to be mistaken. If the freedoms granted to adolescents can be explained in terms of rights at all, they (...) could better be understood as rights to experiment. And even if some of the freedoms adolescents might have are not experimental, parents still retain the authority to veto their choices, albeit only for pressing reasons. (shrink)
This article explores the vagaries of Agnes Heller's relationship to humanism. It initially outlines a brief account of both the historical adventures of humanism and of the great debates in the middle of the 20th century that conditioned the contemporary reception of the concept of humanism. It then analyses Heller's own unique intellectual formation under the tutelage of Lukács. After briefly outlining her initial commitment to his humanist programme for the ‘Renaissance of Marxism’, it looks in more depth at her (...) initial critique of its humanist philosophical anthropology and her efforts, under the auspices of Arendt, to develop a more sophisticated account of the human condition. The analysis of Heller finally explores the impact of a postmodern awareness of contingency, fallibility and historical open-endedness on this account. The article concludes by pointing to both the commonalities and differences with the contemporary critical humanism of Tzvetan Todorov. It is argued that despite the many parallels, these differences signify Heller's final parting of the ways with humanism strictly speaking and also represent unresolved issues for any reanimation of contemporary humanism. (shrink)
Through a discussion of Agnès Varda's career from 1954 to 2008 that focuses particularly on La Pointe Courte (1954), L'Opéra-Mouffe (1958), The Gleaners and I (2000), and The Beaches of Agnes (2008), this article considers the connections between Varda's filmmaking and her femaleness. It proposes that two aspects of Varda's cinema—her particularly perceptive portrayal of a set of geographical locations, and her visual and verbal emphasis on female embodiment—make a feminist existential-phenomenological approach to her films particularly fruitful. Drawing both directly (...) on the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and on some recent film- and feminist-theoretical texts that have employed his insights, it explores haptic imagery and feminist strategy in The Gleaners and I, the materialization of space characterizing Varda's blurring of fiction and documentary, and the dialectical relationship of people with their environment often observed in her cinema. It concludes that both Varda's female protagonists and the director herself may be said to perform feminist phenomenology in her films, in their actions, movement, and relationship to space, and in the carnality of voice and vision with which Varda's own subjectivity is registered within her film-texts. (shrink)
A través del personaje Agnes de la novela La inmortalidad de Milán Kundera, se hace una reflexión acerca de la singularidad en el mundo contemporáneo, singularidad que se halla invadida por los imagólogos, los medios masivos de comunicación y los lugares comunes que estos fenómenos provocan. La reflexión se acercará al personaje como símbolo de una singularidad en peligro y como posibilidad estética de resistencia a través de un derrumbamiento como posibilidad singular.
Agnes Arber (1879-1960) was a British botanist who was a leading plant morphologist during the first half of the 20th century. She also wrote on the history and philosophy of botany. I argue in this article that her philosophical work on form and on how the work of the mind and the eye relate to each other in morphological research are relevant to the science of today. Arber's unusual blend of interests - in botany, history, philosophy, and art - put (...) her in a unique position to examine issues of form. Even her unorthodox ideas on evolution can now be seen as fitting in well with discussions of natural selection as the predominant engine of evolutionary change. Arber's views also throw light on present work dealing with developmental plant genetics and with the study of protein form. I will further argue that her marginal position relative to institutional science, while it may have left her vulnerable to criticism, also made possible her deep philosophical reflections on morphology. (shrink)
Geison's model of a research school is applied to the case of Agnes Chase, agrostologist at the Bureau of Plant Industry, United States Department of Agriculture, and curator, U.S. National Herbarium, Smithsonian Institution. Chase developed a geographically dispersed research school in systematic agrostology across the Americas in the first half of the twentieth century. Despite her gender-based lack of institutional power, Chase used her scientific expertise, mentoring skills, and relationships based on women's groups to develop a cohesive school of grass (...) specialists focused on her research program to collect, observe, describe, identify, and classify the grasses of the Americas. Geison's model is extended to encompass geographically dispersed schools led by a non-university based mentor without institutional power. (shrink)
Agnes Heller is one of the leading thinkers to come out of the tradition of critical theory. Her awesome intellectual range and output includes ethics, philosophical anthropology, political philosophy and a theory of modernity and its culture. Hungarian by birth, she was one of the best known dissident Marxists in central Europe in the 1960's and 1970's. Since her forced immigration she has held visiting lectureships all over the world and has been the Hannah Arendt Professor of Philosophy at the (...) New School in New York for the last twenty years. This introduction to her thought is ideal for all students of philosophy, political theory and sociology. Grumley explores Heller's early work, elaborating her relation to Lukacs and the evolution of her own version of Marxism. He examines the subsequent break with Marxism and the initial development of an alternative radical philosophy. Finally, he explains and assesses her mature reflective post-modernism, a perspective that is both sceptical and utopian, that upholds a critical humanist perspective just as it critiques contemporary democratic culture. (shrink)
This collection of lectures by world-renowned philosopher Agnes Heller, edited and introduced by John Grumley, covers a range of political and cultural issues, from the highly topical to modern classics.
Aesthetics and Modernity brings together Agnes Heller's most recent essays on aesthetic genres such as painting, music, literature and comedy, aesthetic reception and embodiment in the context of the continuing pitfalls of modernity. The essays also throw light on Heller's theories of values, emotions and feelings, embodiment, and modernity. Those with an interest in philosophy, critical theory, aesthetics, and social theory will find this collection illuminating, and an essential addition to any philosophy bookshelf.
In this book, Lucy Jane Ward argues that although contemporary scholarship tends to divide Agnes Heller's work chronologically in terms of her “Marxist” and subsequent “post-Marxist” periods, a closer reading reveals her work as a continuing engagement both with and against Marx's idea of the human being rich in need.