The aim of the paper is to examine the limits of Aristotle’s and Arendt’s contributions to a philosophical anthropology. By focusing on the concept of ‘potentiality’—and thus the ‘good life’ as a potentiality awaiting actualization—the limit emerges from the way Aristotle understands ‘life.’ His discussion of slavery is pivotal in this regard.
Of the many elements within Schmidt’s work that warrant discussion the attempt to differentiate the ethical from the conceptual is one of the most significant. That it is in part grounded in a reading of Kant makes it even more important. The aim of this essay is to question the way this differentiation is established and then justified. Part of the argument is to show the limits within Schmidt’s way of addressing what is central to any philosophical anthropology namely a (...) concern with the being of being human. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is to investigate the role of allegory in Philo and specifically in his text On the Migration of Abraham. This involves the twofold move of arguing that even though Philo remains a Platonist and that his language is Platonic in orientation what occurs is a transformation of seeing, which is an immediate activity, into reading, which is always mediate. The second elements stems from this insistence on mediation. It results in freeing allegory from the hold (...) of the allegorical/literal opposition. Allegory is transformed as a result in the name of an ineliminable allegoresis. (shrink)
Critique as a philosophical concept needs to be recast once it is linked to the possibility of a productive opening. In such a context critique has an important affinity to destruction and forms of inauguration. Working through writings of Marx and Walter Benjamin, specifically Benjamin's 'The Meaning of Time in the Moral World', destruction and inauguration are repositioned in terns of othering and the caesura of allowing.
This engrossing study, first published in 1989, explores the basic mutuality between philosophy and translation. By studying the conceptions of translation in Plato, Seneca, Davidson, Walter Benjamin and Freud, Andrew Benjamin reveals the interplay between the two disciplines not only in their relationship to language, but also at a deeper, cognitive level. Benjamin engages throughout with the central tenets of post-structuralism: the concept of a constant yet illusive ‘true’ meaning has lost authority, but remains a problem. The fact of translation (...) seems to defy the notion that ‘meaning’ is reducible to its component words; yet, to say that the ‘truth’ is more than the sum of its parts, we are challenging the very foundations of what it is to communicate, to understand, and to know. In Translation and the Nature of Philosophy, the author sets out his own theory of language in light of these issues. (shrink)
Benjamin provides new and important readings of key canonical texts in the history of philosophy in his sustained philosophical reworking of ontology. Amongst texts included are Hegel's _Difference Essay_ and the _Shorter Logic_ and Heidegger's _Time and Being_ and _The Question of Being_. The effective presence of ontology, defined as `an original difference', will be familiar to readers of his earlier writings. This book represents his most thorough and original contribution to contemporary philosophy to date.
Technology has a history structured by discontinuities. The first important philosophical expression of such a conception of technology was advanced by Walter Benjamin when he defined art works in relation to specific techniques of production. At the present art and architecture occur within an age defined by the move from ’technical reproducibility’ to digital reproducibility. The move has an impact on how technology is understood and its relation to architecture conceived. Adapting Walter Benjamin’s work in this area provides the basis (...) for a response to Soren Riis’ important treatment of the relationship between architecture and technology in his paper “Dwelling in-between walls: the architectural surround”. (shrink)
Le visage est-il un phénomène simple ou complexe? Serait-il juste de le définir comme cet aspect de l’être humain qui dépasse tout effort de compréhension et de totalisation, ou bien y a-t-il d’autres caractéristiques de ce phénomène qu’il faut inclure dans toute définition ou description du visage? Le visage est un événement fondamental. Parmi les multiples manières d’approcher l’être, de se rapporter...
The paper both connects and disassociates the work of Walter Benjamin and Aby Warburg. There are two interrelated undertakings. The first involves the relationship between philosophy and art history and thus how art history figures within the philosophical. The second pertains to the status of the image. Part of the argument to be advanced is that an engagement with philosophical approach to art history yields a concern with the image in which it is the image's material presence that proves decisive. (...) Indeed, it is by insisting on the object's materiality that it then becomes possible to locate the effective presence of the gesture as integral to the work of art. The contention is that gesture is the intersection of art's material presence and the concerns of meaning. The paper us develop via an engagement with works by Edgar Degas and Luca Signorelli. (shrink)
The project of this paper is present a specific engagement with Kant’s account of genius in the Critique of the Power of Judgment. Genius is a theory of production. Moreover, once genius is linked to production the philosophical moves way from the centrality of both the given and the subject and thus towards the produced. Such a possibility locates Kant’s engagement with genius at the threshold between aesthetics and a philosophy of art. The latter only emerges when centrality is attributed (...) to the object: the object as the locus of presentation. This necessitates a move beyond the cognitive. Kant on genius is therefore at that threshold, on the other side of which is Hegel. (shrink)
Colour plays a fundamental role in the philosophical treatments of painting. Colour while it is an essential part of the work of art cannot be divorced from the account of painting within which it is articulated. This paper begins with a discussion of the role of colour in Schelling's conception of art. Nonetheless its primary concern is to develop a critical encounter with Jean-François Lyotard's analysis of the Dutch painter Karel Appel. The limits of Lyotard's writings on painting, which this (...) paper will attribute in part to Lyotard's ‘empiricism’, becomes most apparent in his treatment of colour. (shrink)
Walter Benjamin’s writings on fashion need to be read as engagements with the problem of historical time and a related politics of time. The aim of this article is to develop this position. Its point of orientation is Thesis XIV from the Theses on the Philosophy of History. What is argued is that close attention to the temporality of change and novelty within fashion may allow an insight into a conception of interruption and the ‘new’, however, it cannot yield a (...) politics. Moreover, the link between fashion and utopianism allows for the development of a critique of the utopian dimension of Benjamin’s thought. The basis of that critique is the inherent politics of time in his own writings. (shrink)
Jean-Francois Lyotard was one of the founding members of the College Internationale de philosophie. Ha has taught at Vincennes, Saint Denis and is currently Professor of Philosophy at the University of California at Irvine. Several of his books have appeared in English, notable The Postmodern Condition, Just Gaming and The Dirrerend. The Lyotard Reader is a collection of Jean-Francois Lyotard's most important and significant papers to date. While they are all written from within philosophy, they seek to address subjects as (...) wide-ranging as film, painting, psychoanalysis, Judaism and politics. The originality of Lyotard's work means that it can not be readily situated within any one philosophical tradition. Instead he returns philosophy itself to debates across a range of areas and, in so doing, redefines the philosophical enterprise. A number of chapters in The Lyotard Reader appear for the first time in English. This is the most comprehensive collection available of Lyotard's work, work has profoundly influenced debates on the Enlightenment, on modernity, on postmodernity, on the transmission f information, on literary theory and on philosophy. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to develop a new theory of particularity. In so doing it redefines the concepts 'perception' and 'judgment'. The redefinition occurs once perception is understood as recognition. The move to recognition entails the centrality of repetition. Recognition, it is argued, is a form of repetition. Allowing for repetition necessitates changing the way the relationship between universals and particulars is understood. This is developed via an engagement with Hume and Plato. The article concludes with the outline (...) for a rethinking of the metaphysics of particularity. (shrink)
The project of this paper is part of a larger attempt to develop a philosophy of art. Integral to that project is the distinction between aesthetics and a philosophy of art. It is always possible to consider affect as an end in itself if what is at stake involves a series of psychological claims. Equally, it is possible to engage with such claims philosophically. However, there is no clear connection between either possibility and a philosophy of art. In the latter (...) the presentation of affect is always located within images. Images are produced by the work of materials. Images have to be understood in terms of that production. They have a material presence. If there is a failure to insist on the complex materiality of art’s work as comprising a locus of philosophical inquiry, then any subsequent theory of the image is unable to contribute to the development of a genuine philosophy of art. Moreover, within the history of art images are informed form. The informing of form has two elements. Form is informed firstly by the history in which those images are located, and secondly by their capacity to be reworked. The latter can be understood as a futural coming-into-relation and thus the possibility that images and the elements from which they are comprised are able to have an afterlife. The afterlife is forms’ capacity to continue to be informed. It is this latter possibility which necessitates that hermeneutic concerns supplant aesthetic ones in the creation of a philosophy of art. (shrink)
This collection explores, in Adorno's description, `philosophy directed against philosophy'. The essays cover all aspects of Benjamin's writings, from his early work in the philosophy of art and language, through to the concept of history. The experience of time and the destruction of false continuity are identified as the key themes in Benjamin's understanding of history.
Art, Mimesis and the Avant-Garde explores the relationship between art and philosophy. Andrew Benjamin argues for a reworking of the task of philosophy in terms of the centrality of ontology. It is in relation to this centrality, understood through the differences between modes of being, that art, mimesis, and the avant-garde come to be presented. A fundamental part of this book is the original interpretations of important contemporary painters and their themes: Lucian Freud's self-portraits, Francis Bacon 's use of mirrors, (...) R. B. Kitaj and Jewish identity, Anselm Kiefer and iconoclasm. Apart from painting, Benjamin considers architecture, literature, and the philosophical writings of Walter Benjamin and Descartes in elaborating the various aspects of ontological difference. Benjamin develops the theory of the avant-garde as a philosophical category rather than a historical marker, thus bringing the worlds of contemporary art criticism and contemporary philosophy closer together. (shrink)
Abstract The role of actual works of art with philosophical writing is often reduced to the status of example or illustration. As such the materiality of art work is rarely discussed let alone deployed as the basis of philosophical reflection. In this paper works by Francesco Mosca, and Bernini are used to question Heidegger's writings on sculpture. What such an approach opens up is the possibility that art may set the measure for philosophy.
Painting can only be thought in relation to the image. And yet, with (and within) painting what continues to endure is the image of painting. While this is staged explicitly in, for example, paintings of St. Luke by artists of the Northern Renaissance—e.g., Rogier van der Weyden, Jan Gossaert, and Simon Marmion—the same concerns are also at work within both the practices as well as the contemporaneous writings that define central aspects of the Italian Renaissance. The aim of this paper (...) is to begin an investigation into the process by which painting stages the activity of painting. This forms part of a project whose aim is an investigation of the way philosophy should respond to the essential historicity of art (where the latter is understood philosophically). (shrink)
The aim of this paper, which more generally is a contribution to political theology, is to show in what way the conception of peace in Nicholas of Cusa’s De Pace Fidei is dependent upon a specific philosophical anthropology. Within it any link between human being and law is replaced by the subject of faith. Central to the argument is demonstrating the ways in which this anthropological position is necessarily interarticulated with the larger metaphysical positions that are advanced across a range (...) of Cusanus’ texts. (shrink)