Edith Stein and Gerda Walther explain how community comes to be and how it is structured, but they do not develop significant accounts of how communities disintegrate or die, albeit they make passing allusions to how this may happen. I argue that what makes communities vulnerable to their possible demise, following both Stein’s and Walther’s social ontology, is the breakdown of the sense of the communal bond, that is, the failure of the community members’ ability to make sense of their (...) relationship to one another. Just as sense-making and sense-building can help give birth and meaning to communities, sense disintegration and the dying of the sense of a community bespeak a vulnerability that lies at the very core of all communities. In addition to the vulnerability of sense-making, I argue that the lived-body and habit also pose important challenges to the very possibility of community. (shrink)
This article focuses on Michel Foucault’s concepts of authorship and power. Jacques Derrida has often been accused of being more of a literary author than a philosopher or political theorist. Richard Rorty complains that Derrida’s views on politics are not pragmatic enough; he sees Derrida’s later work, including his political work, more as a “private self-fashioning” than concrete political thinking aimed at devising short-term solutions to problems here and now. Employing Foucault’s work around authorship and the origins of power, I (...) show that Derrida is indeed fashioning himself. This self-fashioning is not merely private or fanciful. Rather, I argue that Derrida can be read as employing what Foucault would call “technologies of the self” to not only show the play of possibility and impossibility at work in all politics and thought, but also to use his savoir to create two important and potentially constructive power structures. First, there is the power of deconstruction itself as a “militant critique” that calls for a forceful and irreducible justice. Second, there is the power of Derrida himself, understood as leaving behind a legacy of himself as the “originator” of deconstruction and as a public intellectual. (shrink)
If community is determined primarily in consciousness as a mental state of oneness, can community exist when there is no accompanying mental state or collective intentionality that makes us realise that we are one community? Walther would respond affirmatively, arguing that there is a deep psychological structure of habit that allows us to continue to experience ourselves as a community. The habit of community works on all levels of our person, including our bodies, psyches and spirits. It allows us to (...) continue to be in community even though we are not always conscious of it. Husserl would describe this as part of the passive synthesis of Vergemeinschaftung. Walther’s analysis of the passive structure of habit opens up important possibilities for the inner consciousness of time. Drawing from Husserl’s and Walther’s analyses, I argue for the possibility of a communal inner time consciousness, or an inner awareness of timeconsciousness of the community, which gives rise to three constitutive moments: communal retention or communal memory, a sense of the communal present or a communal “now,” and communal protentions or anticipations. Ultimately, I will show how Walther’s treatment of habit demonstrates that time conditions the lived experience of community. One can, therefore, speak of a time of the community—its past, present and future—even though Walther herself does not explicitly develop this possibility. (shrink)
Badiou and Derrida have dedicated much of their thought to politics and the nature of the political. Calcagno shows how their views diverge and converge, providing some very intriguing developments in Continental philosophy.
Edith Stein’s early phenomenological texts describe community as a special unity that is fully lived through in consciousness. In her later works, unity is described in more theological terms as participation in the communal fullness and wholeness of God or Being. Can these two accounts of community or human belonging be reconciled? I argue that consciousness can bring to the fore the meaning of community, thereby conditioning our lived-experience of community, but it can also, through Heideggerian questioning, uncover that which (...) remains somewhat hidden from consciousness itself: its own ground or condition of possibility, namely, being—a being that is both one and many, unified, communalised, and very diversified. If my reading of Stein is correct, the traditional understanding of the split between Stein’s strictly Husserlian/phenomenological period and her later Christian philosophical period must be renegotiated, at least when it comes to the philosophical problem of community or human togetherness. (shrink)
This paper argues that though Derrida is correct to bring to the fore the undecidability that is contained in his political notion of the democracy to come, his account does not extend the aporia of undecidable politics far enough. Derrida himself makes evident this gap. Though politics may be structured with undecidability, there are times when direct, decisive and definitive political interventions are required. In his campaign against capital punishment, the blitzing campaigns in Bosnia and Iraq, and in his call (...) for les villes-refuges, Derrida makes decisive appeals which somehow seem to contradict the undecidability he sees as arch-structuring. Alain Badiou’s thinking about time as a subjective, decisive intervention executed within his ontological framework of undecidability and multiplicity can serve to extend the aporia of undecidability inherent in politics, ultimately giving an account for both the undecidability that structures politics and the decisive timely interventions that would seem to contradict Derridean undecidability. (shrink)
_John Dewey and Continental Philosophy_ provides a rich sampling of exchanges that could have taken place long ago between the traditions of American pragmatism and continental philosophy had the lines of communication been more open between Dewey and his European contemporaries. Since they were not, Paul Fairfield and thirteen of his colleagues seek to remedy the situation by bringing the philosophy of Dewey into conversation with several currents in continental philosophical thought, from post-Kantian idealism and the work of Friedrich Nietzsche (...) to twentieth-century phenomenology, hermeneutics, and poststructuralism. This unique volume includes discussions comparing and contrasting Dewey with the German philosophers G. W. F. Hegel, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, and Hans-Georg Gadamer on such topics as phenomenology, naturalism, organicism, contextualism, and poetry. Others investigate a series of connections between Dewey and contemporary French philosophy, including the notions of subjectivity, education, and the critique of modernity in Michel Foucault; language and politics in Jacques Derrida; and the concept of experience in Gilles Deleuze. Also discussed is the question of whether we can identify traces of _Bildung_ in Dewey’s writings on education, and pragmatism’s complex relation to twentieth-century phenomenology and hermeneutics, including the problematic question of whether Heidegger was a pragmatist in any meaningful sense. Presented in intriguing pairings, these thirteen essays offer different approaches to the material that will leave readers with much to deliberate. _ John Dewey and Continental Philosophy_ demonstrates some of the many connections and opportunities for cross-traditional thinking that have long existed between Dewey and continental thought, but have been under-explored. The intersection presented here between Dewey’s pragmatism and the European traditions makes a significant contribution to continental and American philosophy and will spur new and important developments in the American philosophical debate. (shrink)
The phenomenological movement originates with Edmund Husserl, and two of his young students and collaborators, Edith Stein and Hedwig Conrad-Martius, made a notable contribution to the very delineation of the phenomenological method, which pushed phenomenology in a “realistic” direction. This essay seeks to examine the decisive influence that these two thinkers had on two specific areas: the value of the sciences and certain metaphysical questions. Concerningthe former, I maintain that Stein, departing from a philosophical, phenomenological analysis of the human being, (...) is interested particularly in the formation of the cognitive value of the human sciences. Regarding the latter, Conrad-Martius, given her knowledge of biology, tackled the question of the role and meaning of the sciences of nature. The second question, related to metaphysical themes, became a specific and relevant object of research for both women phenomenologists.It will be investigated by comparing two works, one by each thinker, namely, the Metaphysische Gespräche by Conrad-Martius and Potenz und Akt by Edith Stein. (shrink)
Arendt a écrit deux volumes dédiés à la pensée et la volonté qui sont réunis dans le texte La vie de l’esprit, mais en raison de sa mort inopportune, son travail consacré au jugement, et plus spécialement au jugement politique, n’a jamais été achevé. Cependant, nous disposons d’une quantité significative d’écrits sur ce thème, provenant de ses conférences sur la troisième Critique de Kant. Le jugement et la pensée sont essentiels pour empêcher ce qu’Arendt appelle «la banalité du mal». En (...) s’inspirant de saint Augustin et du travail d’Arendt sur Augustin, cet article entend démontrer qu’une autre forme de mal sérieux trouve sa racine dans ce qu’Augustin appelle la libido habendi et la libido dominandi, le désir ou la pulsion de dominer et posséder. Nous essaierons de montrer que la solution d’Arendt au problème de la banalité du mal peut aussi s’appliquer au désir et au plaisir très humains de causer ou d’infliger du mal. (shrink)
One of the more poignant claims Badiou makes is that the subject develops an understanding of itself as a political subject only by executing decisive political actions or making decisive political interventions. In this article I will argue that in order to have a fuller philosophical conception of political subjectivity, and therefore political agency, one must also hold that, first, political interventions do not necessarily lead to a definition or a further way of referring to and understanding the subject. In (...) fact, political events and interventions may consciously aim at and result in the de-politicizing, de-subjectivating or dehumanizing of the subject. Second, political agency need not result in an event or an intervention in order to be political. In other words, failed or non-interventions may still be considered political. Third, despite Badiou's call for an ethics rooted in truth and fidelity, his political philosophy results in a relativism that can easily lapse into violence and injustice. (shrink)
In this chapter, I discuss the impact and legacy of Edith Stein’s philosophy in Canada and the United States. I identify three waves of reception of Stein’s philosophical work since her untimely death in 1942. The first phase we can refer to as the “Preservation of Edith Stein’s Legacy.” The second phase consists of a dissemination of her work and the third, more contemporary phase revolves around new scholarship and applications of her thought to various philosophical and social-political questions. Deeply (...) structured and conditioned by Protestant sensibilities, Canada and the United States have divided Stein’s philosophical legacy along two lines: phenomenology and Christian philosophy. (shrink)
This essay argues that Stein’s view of the state can overcome Husserl’s skepticism about the state being an authentic, intense community rooted in solidarity while not negating his hope for the advent of a genuinely ethical, rational culture. Whereas Husserl places rationality and freedom within the framework of culture proper and not in the state, Stein sees the state as an extension of persons that can give the state its own free, deliberating and rational Ich kann.
This article seeks to present for the first time a more systematic account of Edith Stein’s views on death and dying. First, I will argue that death does not necessarily lead us to an understanding of our earthly existence as aevum, that is, an experience of time between eternity and finite temporality. We always bear the mark of our finitude, including our finite temporality, even when we exist within the eternal mind of God. To claim otherwise, is to make identical (...) our eternity with God’s eternity, thereby undermining the traditional Scholastic argument, which Stein holds, that there is no real relation between the being (and, therefore, (a)temporality) of God and the being of human persons. Second, I will argue that Stein excludes the category of potentiality from her discussion of death as a relation between the fullness or actuality of being and nothingness. In fact, death is more a relation between possibility/potentiality and nothingness than a relation between actual fullness and nothingness. What Stein describes as fullness ought to be read as potential. (shrink)
Thomas Langan's latest work, Being and Truth, sets as its object of inquiry the possibility of a genuine and meaningful intersubjectivity wherein both self and other come fully to nurture one another. The very condition for the possibility of such a significant onto-poetic relation is grounded and intertwined within a metaphysical Fundierung of Being illumined by Truth. In order to answer the aforementioned philosophical question, Langan maintains that the philosophical question must be cast as an ontological question. In other words, (...) the key to understanding and responding to the possibility of a genuine intersubjective relationship where both self and other come to fully interact with one another lies within the framework of a serious attempt to comprehend reflectively the constitutive dynamic between being, esse and Sein. Central to a genuine understanding and "holy" living out of self, other and the communal relationship which exists between the two is responsibility--the ability to respond to the exigencies and gifts of being. Hence, the need for our question to be cast in an ontological light. (shrink)
In Logics of Worlds, Badiou claims that his concept of inexistence is similar to Derrida’s différance. This paper argues that Derrida’s double bind of possibility and impossibility, which co-constitutes and flows from the spatio-temporising that is différance, is less binary in its logic than Badiou’s notion of inexistence allows. For Badiou, time and the subject are constituted by the event, by a decision and the fidelity to a decision. He has no real sense of Derridean space: Badiou discusses space as (...) localisation, atoms, situations or the containment that is proper to any set. Derridean spatialsing stems from de Saussure and his view of the differentiation between signs and words and phrases that produces meaning. I maintain that though there may be a resemblance between the two philosophers qua what they see is unaccountable or lies closed or hidden yet conditions any given “system” or “meaning-structure,” the way they justify such accounts would suggest a greater gap than what Badiou may be prepared to concede. (shrink)