This article compares the ways in which Michel Foucault’s and Quentin Skinner’s historical analyses seek to unsettle the limits on present forms of freedom. We do so by comparing their ways of analysing discourse, rationality and agency. The two authors differ significantly in the ways they deal with these three phenomena. The most significant difference lies in their ways of addressing agency and its relationship to power. Notwithstanding these differences, the historical analyses of both authors seek to problematize the ways (...) in which past thoughts and practices limit contemporary forms of freedom. While Foucault seems to go furthest in this endeavour, a comparison may enrich both lines of historical analyses. (shrink)
The Peircean semiotic approach to information that we developed in previous papers raises several new questions, and shows both similarities and differences with regard to other accounts of information. We do not intend to present here any exhaustive discussion about the relationships between our account and other approaches to information. Rather, our interest is mainly to address its relationship to ideas about information put forward by Gregory Bateson and Eva Jablonka. We conclude that all these authors offer quite broad concepts (...) of information, but we argue that they are just as broad as they should be, since information is in itself a sweeping concept. Furthermore, all of them suggest a processual approach to information, which departs from the treatment of information as something that is contained in some structure (e.g., in sequences of nucleotides) and moves us towards an understanding of information as a process — in the terms of our account, a semiotic process, i.e., semiosis. (shrink)
The following paper suggests a connection between recent developments in the justification of the capitalist system and contemporary European Liberal Arts programs. By looking at Luc Boltanski’s and Eve Chiapello’s study on The New Spirit Of Capitalism and Gilles Deleuze’s term of societies of control we highlight a pivot within Western societies towards flexibility, creativity and self-fulfillment as essential requirements on the job market. We then link this observation to European Liberal Arts programs and ask to what extent the Liberal (...) Arts’ self-understanding, as it appears at European universities, conforms to this new capitalist imperative. Furthermore, we examine how we experienced these claims during our time as Liberal Arts students. (shrink)
What makes words law? -- How law grows up in a group -- The invention of "because I said so" -- The empty idea of authority -- Ideas that endure -- When should we do what law signals? -- How law works -- Evolution and revolution -- Reading to understand each other -- The life of the law.
Some religious believers have defended themselves from philosophical criticism by arguing that religion, properly understood, makes no ontological claims: they are referred to here, for short, as . In order to make sense of the position of NOC-believers, the article discusses the different senses in which children and adults might plausibly claim to believe in Santa Claus. An adult might believe in Santa, in the sense of choosing to engage in a particular social practice; likewise, the NOC-believer chooses to (...) take part in the social practices of prayer and worship. The comparison is used as a basis for illustrating some of the difficulties with the NOC-believer's position. (shrink)
A Christmas season wouldn’t be complete without the annual complaint that the holiday has become too commercialized and that we need to put Christ back into Christmas, that he is the reason for the season. This gripe is not only misguided but has things backwards – Santa Claus is a better representative of the true spirit of Christmas than Jesus ever was or ever could be. As we will see, Christmas was a commercial enterprise in its very origin. Since (...) it was a Christian sales job from the start, it is rather hypocritical to condemn its current retail qualities. But perhaps such hypocrisy isn’t all that bad. In his book Beyond Good and Evil (1886), the great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche inquires into the value of truth and decides that there may be considerable merit in untruth, uncertainty, and ignorance. Nietzsche argues that there is no problem with believing and promulgating fables; the issue is simply which myths are outdated and obsolete, and which ones are socially useful and enhance our lives. I’ll consider Nietzsche’s thoughts on why it was once valuable to believe in God, and why he thinks that is no longer true. Then I’ll argue that the myth of Santa Claus is a finer modern fairy tale, and a truer exemplar of the spirit of Christmas, than the story of Jesus Christ. Santa may be no more real, but he is a more useful fiction. (shrink)
Written for a symposium in the University of San Diego Law School in September 2013 on Laurence Claus, Law’s Evolution and Human Understanding, this article appears in the final issue of volume 52 of the San Diego Law Review. With new illustrations and considerations suggested by the book, the article argues for a number of theses: “Because I/we say so” is never a reasonable ground or formulation of authoritative acts such as enactments or parental or other orders. The moral (...) authority of rule makers is never peremptory in a binary as distinct from presumptive and defeasible sense. Deliberation towards the exercise or acceptance of authority is never primarily a matter of prediction or predictability of action, and is always a matter, rather, of purpose, and of creation by intelligent design than of non-purposive evolution. Those who exercise authority have no right to be obeyed, and the persons with the right correlative to a duty of compliance are those for whose benefit the rule or order was made and/or those who comply with it. The authority to make rules is a responsibility to serve the true interests of a community to which those subject to the rule belong. (shrink)
W NINIEJSZYM opracowaniu analizuję klauzulę dobra wspólnego zawartą w art. 1 Konstytucji Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej z 2 kwietnia 1997 r., zmierzając do uwyraźnienia, w jakim sensie można mówić o jej prawnonaturalnym charakterze (zatem i do zarysowania możliwych znaczeń zwrotu "prawnonaturalny charakter klauzuli dobra wspólnego") oraz do ujawnienia „momentów" prawnonaturalnych, które mogą wchodzić w grę przy interpretacji tej klauzuli.
It is not an easy task to review two recently published books by and about the late Jewish scholar Francesca Yardenit Albertini, who passed away so suddenly in 2011 at the young age of thirty-six.Albertini was not only a dear colleague with whom one felt connected through a common aim and vision resulting from a shared Jewish and philosophical perspective. She was also an enthusiastic scholar and lecturer with whom one would have liked to work on projects of mutual scholarly (...) interest, such as the Wissenschaft des Judentums movement. In addition she was, and as her own writings and her biography so vividly demonstrate, clearly a rather complex personality and a woman of very strong.. (shrink)
QUESTION: We would like to begin this discussion of the welfare state and the future of socialism by asking you about several substantive aspects of your work on the limitations of the welfare state. To begin with, why do you often say that late capitalist systems can neither live with nor without the welfare state? Do you consider this to be their fundamental contradiction?OFFE: A short-hand defintion of a contradiciton is that it is a condition in which certain indispensable elements (...) of a social structure cannot be integrated because they are at odds with each other. So to speak, the social structure paralyzes itself because the elements necessary for its survival at the same time render it impossible. (shrink)
For several years now, early cinema historians have developed certain notions that can help us define, in a much broader context, the axes of research in intermedial studies. Even though I’ll be giving it a slightly different importance, the notion I will be borrowing from these historians here is that of the “parameter.” Work by André Gaudreault and Philippe Marion on the emergence of the cinematographic medium relies on the idea that the medium appears as the result of a choice (...) made by the historian. To write the history of any given medium and separate it into periods, one must also select the components “that gathered together as a way of giving ‘birth’ to that medium at.. (shrink)