The murder of six million Jewish men, women, and children during World War II was an act of such barbarity as to constitute one of the central events of our time; yet a list of the major concerns of professional philosophers since 1945 would exclude the Holocaust. This collection of twenty-three essays, most of which were written expressly for this volume, is the first book to focus comprehensively on the profound issues and philosophical significance of the Holocaust.The essays, written for (...) general as well as professional readers, convey an extraordinary range of factual information and philosophical reflection in seeking to identify the haunting meanings of the Holocaust. Among the questions addressed are: How should philosophy approach the Holocaust? What part did the philosophical climate play in allowing Hitlerism its temporary triumph? What is the philosophical climate today and what are its probable cultural effects? Can philosophy help our culture to become a bulwark against future agents of evil? The multiple dimensions of the Holocaust-historical, sociological, psychological, religious, moral, and literary-are collected here for concentrated philosophical interpretations. Author note: Alan Rosenberg is a Lecturer in the Philosophy Department at Queens College of the City University of New York. Gerald E. Myers is Professor of Philosophy at Queens College and CUNY Graduate Center. (shrink)
These essays examine topics ranging from Heidegger's and Foucault's intellectual forebears to their respective understanding of the Enlightenment, modernity, and technology, to their conceptions of power and the political.
What happens when an entire group of human beings is excluded from the definition of humanity? How is the power of language used to distort reality? What happens when a comprehensive economic plan is based on theft, brainwashing, slave labor, and murder? These and other philosophical questions about the Holocaust are contemplated in Contemporary Portraits of Auschwitz. In 1988, a group of philosophers who had survived the Holocaust, or had known people at the Auschwitz death camp, decided to found an (...) organization that would examine the philosophical implications of Shoah: the Society for the Philosophic Study of Genocide and the Holocaust. Noting that the history and the personal horror stories had been told and retold, SPSGH's founders Sander Lee, Berel Lang, and Alan Rosenberg argued that too little study had been so far devoted to the philosophy of Hitler's final solution and other genocides. Auschwitz problematized the Enlightenment concept of humanity, and other concepts. The perfection of state-sponsored and -administered mass death issued in new forms of language, moral indifference, and forgetting. Philosophy often even fails to mention the Holocaust in discussions of National Socialism. And the disaster of Auschwitz has been largely neutralized by the normalization of a "ruined" language. This volume includes essays in several areas: Witnesses and Testimonies; Morality and Ethics; Art and Poetry; History and Memory; and The Crisis of Representation. Contributors are Karyn Ball, Eve Bannet, Debra Bergoffen, James Bernauer, Klaus Dorner, Jennifer N. Fink, Roger Fjellstrom, Ruth Liberman, Burkhard Liebsch, Alan Milchman, Raj Sampath, Paul Sars, Hans Seigfried, Thomas W. Simon, Dan Stone, Peter Strasser, Frans van Peperstratten, Erik M. Vogt, Andrew Weinstein, and others. (shrink)
In this essay, we examine certain key aspects of Nietzsche’s contribution to the ongoing debate concerning the nature and status of philosophical wisdom. We argue that, for Nietzsche, philosophical wisdom is tantamount to a “disruptive wisdom” which is expressed in a “permanent critique of ourselves” and our entire mode of existence. Philosophical wisdom, so construed, is not a matter of finding “metaphysical comfort” in consoling theories, images, or ideas; nor is it a matter of offering consolation for frustration and suffering. (...) Instead, it is about disrupting or rupturing those prevailing “human, all too human” myths and illusions that perpetuate human frustration and suffering—especially the myths and illusions associated with what Nietzsche terms the “hitherto reigning ascetic ideal” in the West. By disturbing our “dogmatic slumber” in common-place beliefs and values, Nietzsche’s “untimely” atopic philosophers of “disruptive wisdom” evoke the promise of alternate forms of humanity: new ways of valuing the earth and our life on it, new paradigms for a way of life to be achieved in the future. Disruptive philosophers and the wisdom they impart, help liberate and inspire us to experiment with new ways of thinking and valuing, all of which contribute, as Nietzsche sees it, to the reconstituting and “fashioning of the self” as a transformed “second nature”. (shrink)
The collection by Sparrow and Hutchinson gathers together philosophers and sociologists to discuss the ever fascinating yet surprisingly underplayed theme of habit: its history and place in the western philosophical tradition, from the ancients to the contemporary scene. A collection such as this has been long overdue, and surprisingly so, given the centrality of habits in our understanding and organization of ourselves and of the world. We human beings are in fact complex bundles of habits embodied in practices. Hence, our (...) limits and possibilities are at least partially governed by the way in which we habituate, dishabituate, and re-habituate ourselves. Although their presence is widely... (shrink)
In this critical review essay, we examine Rüdiger Safranski’s “philosophical biography” approach to interpreting Nietzsche. We analyze Safranski’s various attempts tobring the biographical facts of Nietzsche’s life to bear on the philosophical narration in order to shed light on the development of Nietzsche’s philosophical thinking. We argue that there are a number of limitations to Safranski’s “philosophical biography” approach to reading Nietzsche, such as Safranski’s tendency to focus almost exclusively on the earlier stages in the development of Nietzsche’s philosophical thinking. (...) However, we also try to show that the one redeeming virtue of Safranski’s book is that it focuses on the intriguing, but often overlooked, concept of “self-configuration” or “selffashioning”, and it treats this concept as a unifying thread that runs throughout the maze of Nietzsche’s various multifarious writings. We argue, in conclusion, that Safranski successfully connects Nietzsche’s “highly personal philosophy” to the multifaceted “maneuvers of self-configuration” and to the overall Nietzschean project of “fashioning one’s own identity” in an otherwise meaningless world. (shrink)
Jeremy Carrette is one of the most interesting contemporary scholars writing on James’s philosophy of religious experience. In the present volume the author expands and deepens the scope of his previous researches by investigating the epistemological and metaphysical dimensions of James’s work on religion. The resulting interpretation is an sophisticated and ambitious one: Carrette argues that most accounts of James’s writings on religion—and of his thought as a whole—have been vitiated by a “disciplinary closure” which conceals James’s unbroken effort to (...) “sustain a conversation across the disciplinary spaces of philosophy, psychology and the study of religion” . Contrary to this approach, Carrette claims how .. (shrink)
The editors of this collection aim to fill a notable gap in the scholarship on Gilles Deleuze, pragmatism, and their reciprocal relations. This task is approached along two main lines, corresponding roughly to the volume’s two parts: on the one hand, by reconstructing Deleuze’s direct or potential engagements with classical pragmatism, while on the other hand by investigating the real or virtual exchanges between Deleuze’s rich philosophical production and most contemporary varieties of pragmatism. As the editors explain in their useful (...) stage-setting introduction to the volume, it is a telling fact that, despite Deleuze’s deep interest in pragmatism and an overlapping of concerns and themes, no work has yet... (shrink)
Focuses on a neglected aspect of the Heidegger controversy: the question of Martin Heidegger's relationship to the industrialization of death as symbolized by Auschwitz. Contributors seek to comprehend the meaning of Heidegger's post-war silence about the Holocaust, as well as the meaning of his several explicit references to the Extermination, in the light of his preoccupation with the nihilism that he believed to be the hallmark of our technological world. Essays reflect the editors' concern to avoid both censorship and partisanship (...) in their selections—resulting in a wide diversity of viewpoints, and the full spectrum of views, that have arisen in the course of the ongoing Heidegger debate. (shrink)
This book is the first sustained inquiry into the ways in which postmodern thinkers have grappled with the historical bases, implications, and methodological problems of the Holocaust. The book examines the thinking of Arendt, Levinas, Foucault, Lyotard, and Derrida, all of whom have recognized the centrality of the Nazi genocide to the epoch in which we live. The essays written for this volume constitute a wide-ranging study of the efforts of postmodernism to articulate the Holocaust.