Summary In this contribution, I reassess the opposition between Saint-Pierre's idealism and Rousseau's realism. Rousseau accuses Saint-Pierre of having a defect in his analysis and political judgement which, if he had been consistent, would have led to a revolutionary position in the strong sense ? a position of which the author of The Social Contract himself disapproved. In short, not only was Saint-Pierre far from being a convinced absolutist; Rousseau's own writings on the Abbé do not advocate a (...) ?republican solution?, which he regarded as impracticable for the Europe of his time. (shrink)
This article describes the recent reception of Giovanni Gentile and his doctrine of actualism, describing the philosopher's rehabilitation as a major Italian thinker and actualism as a provocative account of socially situated consciousness. The discussion then turns to the future of Gentile studies, focusing on ways in which the ahistorical methods of analytic philosophy might help restore actualism and its author to their proper place in the philosophical canon.
The paper concerns the origin and early stage of development of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at the Pontifical Academy of Theology in Kraków. Center for Interdisciplinary Studies was founded by Michał Heller and Józef Życiński in the late 1970s. It was an informal institution which focused on conducting scientific activity in the area of philosophy of nature, relationship between mathematical & natural sciences and philosophy, history of science, as well as relationships between science and religion. In this paper I (...) would like to present how this institution developed, I will discuss various forms of its activity and discuss—very generally—what kind of philosophy was promoted by M. Heller, J. Życiński as well as their pupils and close associates. An important part of the paper will also concern the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies as a unique institution, which has developed—in difficult historical period in Poland—philosophical research in the spirit of freedom and respect for the new achievements of science, and also promoted interdisciplinary dialogue between scientists and philosophers. (shrink)
The Italian author Giovanni Gentile occupied a radical position among philosophers of the first half of the twentieth century. He tried in earnest to revolutionize idealist theory, developing a doctrine that retained the idealist conception of the thinking subject as the centre and source of any intelligible reality, while eschewing many of the unwarranted abstractions that had pervaded earlier varieties of idealism and led their adherents astray. Given his great prominence during his lifetime, it is perhaps remarkable (...) that Gentile is so little discussed, and even then so poorly understood, in the English-speaking world. Few of his works have ever been translated into English, and these represent only a fraction of his great corpus and the many topics discussed therein. This neglect is partly explained by his close association with the Partito Nazionale Fascista, of which he remained a loyal member and supporter between 1923 and his assassination in 1944. The volume comprises eleven essays. Seven of these are new pieces written especially for Thought Thinking, and are intended both to contribute to ongoing debates about Gentile's philosophy and to indicate just a few of its many aspects that continue to draw the attention of philosophers, political theorists and intellectual historians. These are supplemented by new English translations of four of Gentile's shorter works, selected to offer some direct insight into his ideas and style of writing. (shrink)
Writing, the exigency of writing: no longer the writing that has always (through a necessity in no way avoidable) been in the service of the speech or thought that is called idealist (that is to say, moralizing), but rather the writing that through its own slowly liberated force (the aleatory force of absence) seems to devote itself solely to itself as something that remains without identity, and little by little brings forth possibilities that are entirely other: an anonymous, distracted, deferred, (...) and dispersed way of being in relation, by which everything is brought into question – and first of all the idea of God, of the Self, of the Subject, then of Truth and the One, then finally the idea of the Book and the Work so that this writing (understood in its enigmatic rigor), far from having the Book as its goal rather signals its end: a writing that could be said to be outside discourse, outside language. – Maurice Blanchot ( The Infinite Conversation , xi) The Compendium * Beginning with the idea and practice of writing, and moving to the subject or self, then to truth and the One, and arriving at the Book and the Work, Blanchot’s words reflect the trajectory of the following work of writing. True to the embeddedness of the subject in the work of writing, the term “Compendium” has been a metonym for me over the past few years as I have thought about the concept of totality alongside its expression in figures such as the One, the Whole, or the All. In the following I aim to share some of the content of this metonym, and to enrich it by making some distinctions. 1 Here the term “Compendium” will refer to a concept of totality that is ontological (pertaining to being, and the copula) and also textual (pertaining to the symbolic, and the signifier-signified relationship). The Compendium is a figure for thinking the world as a Book, in the broadest sense—an approach to reality that is by no means new, but one that is due for renewal. 2 In partial answer to the question of the Compendium we will say that the word ‘Compendium’ stands in for expressions which seek to totalize, or concepts which seek to approach the concept of ‘everything,’ particularly when these expressions are bound up in the question of the Book (both the book as a physical object and the Book as a metaphysical figure: a way of thinking about the work in and of writing). The question of the Compendium is strongly associated with the physical and metaphysical form of the Book, like the mysterious and symbolic books which are opened in the Biblical book of Revelation, the book of life and the book of death, which together constitute an important couplet. 3 Parataxis & Hypotaxis There are two helpful distinctions that will bring us closer to an answer to the question “What is a Compendium?” The first distinction is between two figures in and for writing: parataxis and hypotaxis . Typically paired in contrast to one another as literary techniques, with parataxis indicating a side-by-side placement of textual elements and hypotaxis referring to subordinate arrangements of textual elements, the two figures can be understood as having a philosophical significance in addition to their practical function as devices for writers. For us these two terms will remain between philosophical theory and writing practice, and serve as a perspective for our writing and creation of texts. Here I take texts to refer to anything from the concrete written words in a book, to the ontological text of the world that we experience. Parataxis , as a figural way of thinking about the ontological structure of texts, refers to texts which are tightly woven and interdependent – texts within which each sentence bears the weight of the entire work. Parataxis often involves repetition, great density, and fragility. One of the best examples of this sort of text is Theodor Adorno’s posthumous magnum opus , Aesthetic Theory . In addition to the text itself, the translation history of the book may also help us to better understand parataxis and its relation to hypotaxis . The final published version of Aesthetic Theory , in German, was a text that Adorno intended to revise and rewrite, but this intention was never realized because of his untimely death. Where the German text of Aesthetic Theory certainly exemplifies the concept of parataxis , the first English edition took this densely woven text and carved Adorno’s lengthy paragraphs and lengthy sentences into manageable ‘bite-sized’ pieces of English text. The first translator took further liberty and inserted headings and new paragraph breaks where there were none in the original. Aesthetic Theory was eventually retranslated by Robert Hullot-Kentor and is now available in a form that is much more faithful to the original work. 4 The pertinent idea that this translation history points to is the distinction between parataxis and hypotaxis . Where parataxis describes texts which are repetitive, densely woven, and often fragile, hypotaxis describes texts which are hierarchical and in which the primary relation is linear – the latter of which is very similar to the first English translation of Aesthetic Theory . On the other hand, the original German text that Adorno wrote was very dense, often repetitive, and contained long sections of text unbroken by paragraphs or headings. This example of parataxis was then turned towards hypotaxis through the initial translation which took a text that was, in many ways, nonhierarchical and nonlinear, and artificially subjected it to a hierarchy that was not its own (and here I take the word of Fredric Jameson who comments on the two translations in a note at the beginning of his book Late Marxism ). 5 The point here is not about translation, but rather the distinction between parataxis and hypotaxis precisely as they are figures for discourse, written or otherwise. The concept of parataxis looks far more postmodern and rhizomic than the concept of hypotaxis which remains very modern and arborescent. This is a more figural way of talking about the distinction. However, if we wanted to take a more precise and analytical approach we could say that on the level of form parataxis involves a relationship between sentences and paragraphs in which each part bears an equally crushing responsibility to present the whole content of the text. As well, on the level of content, parataxis requires that each concept in a work take on the full conceptual weight of the total work. Continuing the analysis, we could say that parataxis describes texts in which there is no (or very little) linear or causal move from antecedent to consequent, whether in content or form. Instead, parataxis describes texts which weave together concepts via conjugations or associations. The concept of hypotaxis , on the other hand, requires that texts submit themselves to hierarchy, one example of which is logical argumentation. The contingency of the conclusion upon premises in hypotaxis is certainly distinct from the repetition, re-presentation, and conjugation of concepts in parataxis , and I think that this is evident in the difference between the writing styles prevalent in contemporary Analytic philosophy and Continental philosophy. It is not the case that the distinction between parataxis and hypotaxis absolutely corresponds with the writing styles of Continental and Analytic philosophy (respectively). There are thinkers who take exception to this pattern, such as Badiou’s more formal approach in the discourse of Continental philosophy to give one example. However, when Analytic philosophy takes its writing lessons from the sciences, and seeks to do philosophy via the clean linear move from antecedent to consequent, then I think that Analytic philosophy writes with hypotaxis in mind. On the other hand, when Continental (particularly German and French) philosophy takes its writing lessons from narrative or poetry then Continental philosophy writes with parataxis in mind. It is not fair to say that all those writing Continental philosophy are looking to narrative and poetry for stylistic direction, just as it is not the case that all those writing Analytic philosophy have mathematics and science as their writing format, however there are some striking ways in which the differing epistemologies of Continental and Analytic philosophy encourage writing with parataxis and hypotaxis in mind (respectively). For some, writing with parataxis or hypotaxis in mind is a conscious decision and a product of stylistic self-consciousness, and for others it is an unconscious discursive and epistemic requirement that must be met in order to be involved in a particular discourse. Before moving on to our second distinction, and then an examination of the question of the Book, it is important to point out that both totality and figurations like the One, the Whole, and the All, come out of very human desires to totalize or to actualize our being-towards-totality. The relationship between identity and totality then can be construed, with Heidegger in mind, as striving toward wholeness, completion, or fulfillment, each of which is a quality of compendia. 6 Compilation & Selection The first distinction between parataxis and hypotaxis pertains to both form and content, and to both the mechanics of writing and the ideas to which writing refers. The second distinction pertains to both as well. In the process of writing and in the process of perception as well, there is a tension between compilation and selection . To begin with, in the work of theory-writing there is compilation, and this is because writing theory requires a broad perspective and certain measure of totalization. On the other hand, writing theory requires that the writer select an idea or a combination of ideas to individuate out of a radical and infinite multiplicity of identities and combinations. The concern here is not primarily for the writing of a theory about a specific idea, like a secondary work or a reference text. But rather the concern is with the writing of grand theories: Marx and Marxism, Derrida and Deconstruction, Husserl and Phenomenology, Sartre and Existentialism, Saussure and Structuralism —each of which strives along a trajectory towards being all-encompassing, whether it intends to or not. Today, we could even say that Speculative Realism has embarked on this journey, and perhaps now we could say that the discourse of Speculative Realism has reached the inevitable point after which a grand theory leaves the hands of its writer or writers and becomes a possession of the collective consciousness of the academy, or (perhaps now) the mass consciousness of the blogosphere—and this is a true pharmakon , a poison and a cure, a blessing and a curse. 7 When we write theory, whether the scope is that of a grand theory or a particular theory, we write in the tension between compilation (making good on the desire to be all encompassing) and selection (being required to decide and discern and to judge what is included in the work and what is deleted or appended or abridged or given over to ellipses). Generally speaking, the work of theory-writing often comes out of a desire to totalize, that is, to develop a theory of everything that is able to apprehend new experiences and ideas while still remaining whole. I grant that this is not a universal desire, and that not everyone who sits down to write a work (or book) of theory does so because of their will-to-totality, but it remains that this drive to totalize does condition a great many writers of theory (especially those who seek to develop grand theories like those mentioned previously). At the beginning of his book of interviews, Between Existentialism and Marxism , Sartre is quoted as saying, after completing the first volume of his Critique of Dialectical Reason : “I no longer feel the need to make long digressions in my books, as if I were forever chasing after my own philosophy. It will now be deposited in little coffins, and I will feel completely emptied and at peace—as I felt after Being and Nothingness . A feeling of emptiness: a writer is fortunate if he can attain such a state. For when one has nothing to say, one can say everything .” 8 This is where our two initial distinctions come to bear on the being-towards-totality as it is expressed in the concrete practice of writing: the first being between parataxis and hypotaxis , and the second being between compilation and selection. Where this second distinction is concerned there is a certain paradox at play given that selection is inescapable, and compilation is unachievable. Selection is inescapable (with the figure of the Compendium in mind) because, even when the imperative to compile is followed to excruciating lengths, selection still has the last word. This is why the Compendium is a figure rather than some material thing that can actually be accomplished or actualized. No matter how far one goes along with the will-to-archive and the will-to-compile, it is only ever a question of minimizing selection and never eliminating it. This leads to the second point, which is that total compilation is unachievable. The closest thing to total compilation that we have before us is the ontological and textual fabric of the world. Even in the case of the world, compilation cannot be enacted in a total fashion because of the need to include both the sphere of the actual and the sphere of the possible or potential. This as another way in which compilation is always-already selection, and further evidence that total compilation is practically impossible. Discursive Figuration and Total Writing Rather than figuration referring to a figure of speech or an image, here the term points to a way in which to think about the work of writing, both the work put into writing, and the work that is the result of writing: the finished yet incomplete final piece. As figures or figurations, the Book and the Compendium are ways of thinking about the work of writing and the human desire for the wholeness, completion, and fulfillment that are made manifest in the completed form of the book (whether a published or printed or saved document put to rest by the author). These two figures bear more strongly upon works that seek to be all-encompassing, and works that strive towards expressions of totality such as the One, the Whole, or the All. Moving on to the topic of the subtitle, and on a more prescriptive note, I would say that there is more hope for theory-writing to be found in parataxis than hypotaxis . Part of the reason for this claim is the poststructuralist critique of hierarchies, and yet another part is the compelling line of thinking called “weak thought” (in theology by John D. Caputo, and in philosophy by Gianni Vattimo, among others). 9 The consequences of these two convictions are such that if one is to strongly assert the truth of a grand theory without leaving the realm of hierarchy-critique and weak thought, then one must write paradoxically with parataxis in mind, and in so doing write weakly and non-hierarchically. This does not mean avoiding a sort of topography or topology when writing theory, rather it means avoiding both subjugation and oppression in thought by pursuing a nonviolent sort of ontology. In order to do this, theory writing does not present itself as an exercise in logical analysis where one mechanically moves from a set of premises (via contingency) to the inevitable conclusion (via necessity). Instead, theory approaches the idea of a Compendium. Given that the figural Compendium places parataxis and compilation above hypotaxis and selection, then the question becomes: is placing one part of a binary term before another not just another way of selecting, or another expression of hypotaxis ? Counter to the urge to resign oneself to the reign of selection, with some qualification one can nonetheless write without deciding whether selection and hypotaxis should be subservient to compilation and parataxis (which is to say that writing-without-decision is somewhere between and beyond possibility and impossibility). This dilemma can be disarmed by stating that theory writing is not about primacy, and not about having-decided-beforehand, both stylistically and also where content is concerned. This is the paradox of writing: always striving along a trajectory ( telos ) towards totality via parataxis and compilation, but always being drawn back to finitude and making selections, and placing one idea before another with hypotaxis in mind. In light of this paradox, the question of the Compendium as a figure for discourse and a figural Book has resonance with Jacques Derrida’s essay on Edmund Jabès’ Book of Questions , found in his Writing and Difference . The Question of the Book “Little by little the book will finish me.” 10 Derrida quotes Jabès, and proceeds to outline the reflexive relationship between the author of the book and the book itself, each of which are subjected to the other through a sort of chiasmus, both ontological and textual (not that the two are entirely separable). The Book, for Derrida like Blanchot in the introductory quotation, “infinitely reflects itself” and “develops as a painful questioning of its own possibility”, and in light of this we can draw an association with the painful tension between the practical reality of selection and the ideal trajectory of compilation. 11 This tension in writing, between the will to total compilation and the necessity of abridgment, is an ontological tension between part and whole just as it is a textual tension between signifier and signified. The ontological tension in writing that Derrida expresses in his essay on Jabès is between everything and nothing – a contradiction which Derrida finds in Jabès’ Book of Questions and also in the divine, in God. When one writes between compilation and selection one writes towards totality, and here we can follow Derrida who states that the lapse in signification, presumably in the signifier-signified discrepancy, is a “ rupture with totality itself” and furthermore that this lapse cannot be rectified through deductive reason or even philosophical discourse. 12 This rupture with totality, found in the troubled relation between signifier and signified, can also tell us a lot about the Book and about writing. Given an understanding of writing as an ontological act that strives towards (but never accomplishes) totality, we can see the written book as the manifested and given body of that striving. Perhaps in other disciplines or even other schools of philosophy there is a cultural climate within which the article is prized above the book, but I am fairly confident, especially when referring to the grand theories of Continental thought, that there is a respect for the book as a uniquely meaningful object capable of apprehending totality. Derrida writes, Between the too warm flesh of the literal event and the cold skin of the concept runs meaning. This is how it enters into the book. Everything enters into, transpires in the book. This is why the book is never finite. It always remains suffering and vigilant. 13 Here the vitality of the literal event is compromised by the deadening weight of the concept, and the figure of the Book assists in this lapse of meaning. The Book is a totalizing object, much like the figure of the Compendium, and yet this totalization lacks its final object of completed totality both because the figural Book is necessarily incomplete, and because the physical book is always-already a product of selection. Instead of achieving its end of being a place where everything takes place, it suffers from the lapse of writing, the discrepancy between event and concept. Derrida continues his exposition on Jabès by bringing to light yet another reflexive relation, a reversal of the relationship between the Book and the world. Derrida writes that, for Jabès, “the book is not in the world, but the world is in the book.” 14 In addition to what was stated before, I take figuration to mean that the concepts employed, such as the Book or the Compendium, are not subject to the supposed rigor of analysis that is so prized by Enlightenment or Capitalist realisms. The figure of the Book and the figure of the Compendium cannot be held accountable to standards imported from scientific method, given an understanding that these standards require a concept to be replicable, consistent, falsifiable, measurable, and so on… This is an important point to make, especially in the present atmosphere within which theory must justify itself under conditions that are not its own. Instead of being held to these standards, figuration serves as a way in which to think about writing that leaves thought open to idealistic speculation, imperfect analogies, and most importantly the ever-present gain and loss that occur in the relationship between thought and being. By extension the figural way of addressing writing indulges in enough generalization to accommodate the excess/lack relationship between the ideal form of the Book or the Compendium, and the manifested and given body of a text (as it is practically completed and closed). Here we speak against the hostile atmosphere which would have theory submit itself to hierarchical rigor, rather than Blanchot’s “enigmatic rigor”, by being explicit about the discursive conditions and epistemic conditions under which theory operates. To write with parataxis in mind is, to a certain degree, to write with weakness as one’s methodology (with weak thought being in opposition to hypotaxis and hierarchy as much as weak thought can be in opposition to anything). Rather than asserting the strength of hierarchical theory, and rather than employing antagonistic argumentation with the goal of refutation different discursive and epistemic conditions for theory writing must be cultivated (and these are by no means new). First the critical and theoretical spirit reveals itself as being concerned with the task of complication—especially the complication and critique of binaries, dichotomies, dualities, polarities, paradoxes, parallaxes, hybridities, and especially antinomies. Second, theory positions itself as a sort of showing or revealing, rather than being ultimately focused on coming to full agreement or disagreement. This is where figuration can help theory-writing, both by placing emphasis on teleologies and trajectories (like parataxis and compilation), and by shifting focus away from pure primacy, power, or absolute origin. Figuration then, assists theory writing by placing the concern of theory outside of the concerns of the hard or soft sciences, and into the realm of thought or the idea. To speak of ‘the’ Compendium or ‘the’ Book, here, is to generalize not regarding the perfect form of the Compendium or Book, but to engage speculatively with an abstract idea which remains singular and yet complicated by multiplicity. The question of the Book that Derrida asks through Jabès is a question of everything and nothing, totality and nonbeing, and this question is a concern for writing and a concern for the figure of the Compendium so defined by the tension between compilation and selection, and parataxis and hypotaxis . On the note of nonbeing, we can look to the final page of Derrida’s first essay on Jabès in Writing and Difference and notice the introduction of his neologism, différance (with an ‘a’). Derrida writes: Life negates itself in literature only so that it may survive better. So that it may be better. It does not negate itself any more than it affirms itself: it differs from itself, defers itself, and writes itself as différance . Books are always books of life (the archetype would be the Book of Life kept by the God of the Jews) or of afterlife (the archetype would be the Books of the Dead kept by the Egyptians). 15 This introduction of différance into the equation of the Book, alongside ontological affirmation and negation, hearkens back to the discussion of the symbolic lapse earlier in his essay. Differing and deferring, the Book is always a Book of Life and a figure for the intersection of the vital (life) and the total in writing. In a way, the writer of the Book may be someone who lives life, and in another way the writer of the book-as-object may be someone who engages in the act of writing, both practically (by inscribing words on paper, or typing script on a computer) and ontologically or symbolically (by investing their existence and inexistence into a work worthy of the figural Book). In addition to the writer as writer, the writer also serves as an editor, and the editorial role alongside the idea of the Compendium shows the editor to be one who collects and compiles, while being restrained by eventual selection and decision. Beyond this the editor of works and texts, in both the Book and the world, is engaged in a process of inscribing notation—of annotating (on) the Compendium. Eternal commentary is a feature of the textual Compendium, just as open-ended totality describes the ontological Compendium. The writer as writer does not simply write texts, but rather engages in a profoundly ontological act of inscribing their existence into the world, and the writer as editor does not merely annotate or alter texts as they are, but rather comments upon the text of the world. In/Conclusion So as we create texts, and as we write and create theory, let us be and remain attentive to the figure of the Compendium and the figure of the Book. These two concurrent metonymies are essential for total writing (grand theories, etc.), and may be forgettable for those concerned with fragmentary or hierarchical writing (which are valid in their own right). From the ontological and symbolic text of the world and phenomenological experience, to concrete texts such as books or mixed media, the figure of the Compendium and the figure of the Book are important for the actualization of the human will to be all-encompassing. The figure of the Compendium teaches writers of theory that the repetition, density, and fragility of parataxis offers a strong sort of weakness which does not become yet another variety of oppressive and hegemonic thought. Rather than write with hypotaxis in mind, subjugating one thought to another via cause and effect or antecedent and consequent, I would hope that theory-writing could guiltlessly indulge in the dialectical and contradictory conjugation of ideas, and take this as a legitimate methodology. Rather than being ashamed of showing resonances or giving way to abridgment or ellipses, it is my own authorial (but not authoritative) conviction that one need not give up on totalizing and constructing grand theories because of the fact that complete totalization is impossible, and one need not give up on totalizing and constructing grand theories because of the worry of violence, for the Book and the Compendium lack their completed object and are ever incomplete trajectories. NOTES * UPDATED 7/19/13: we've updated the HTML version to reflect the (correct) PDF version. Our apologies to the author—eds. 1. I would like extend thanks to Dr. Peter Schwenger of the University of Western Ontario for his comments on this paper and his hospitality as it was presented as a Theory Session at the Centre for Theory and Criticism on October 26th 2012. I would also like to thank Andrew Weiss for conversation and critique. 2. I should clarify my use of the term ‘figure’ at the outset. Given the use of the term by Jean-Francois Lyotard in Discourse, Figure (and also Gilles Deleuze in Francis Bacon ), I should state clearly that my use of the term will not correspond to the term ‘figure’ understood as the representation of an object. Instead, my use of the term ‘figure’ and its variations (‘figural’, ‘figurative’, ‘figuration’) will refer to the illustrative or metaphorical use of the Compendium or the Book as models or ways of thinking about writing and discourse. 3. Cf. Revelations 20:12-15. 4. Theodor Adorno, Aesthetic Theory , Trans. Robert Hullot-Kentor (London & New York: Continuum Press, 1997). 5. Fredric Jameson, Late Marxism: Adorno, or the Persistence of the Dialectic (London & New York: Verso, 1990), ix-x. 6. I have written about this concept of being-towards-totality elsewhere in two pieces of writing: the first is called Notes on the Compendium (an unfinished draft) which addresses some very wide theoretical concerns, being structured as a sort of itinerary or archive, and the second is Dialectics Unbound (Punctum Books, 2013) which outlines a concept of totality without the violence of totalization. While these works are more concerned with ontological totality, here I would like to focus on the idea of the Compendium as a textual totality. 7. Cf. Louis Morelle, “Speculative Realism: After Finitude and Beyond, A vade mecum” in Speculations: Journal of Speculative Realism . Issue 3 (Brooklyn, New York: Punctum Books, 2012), 241-272. 8. Jean-Paul Sartre, Between Existentialism and Marxism . Trans. John Matthews (London & New York: Verso, 1974), 9. 9. Cf. John D. Caputo, The Weakness of God (Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2006). 10. Jacques Derrida, “Edmond Jabès and the Question of the Book” in Writing and Difference . Trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), 65. 11. Ibid, 65. 12. Ibid, 71. 13. Ibid, 75. 14. Ibid, 76. 15. Ibid, 78. (shrink)
continent. 1.1 : 3-13. / 0/ – Introduction I want to propose, as a trajectory into the philosophically weird, an absurd theoretical claim and pursue it, or perhaps more accurately, construct it as I point to it, collecting the ground work behind me like the Perpetual Train from China Mieville's Iron Council which puts down track as it moves reclaiming it along the way. The strange trajectory is the following: Kant's critical philosophy and much of continental philosophy which has followed, (...) has been a defense against horror and madness. Kant's prohibition on speculative metaphysics such as dogmatic metaphysics and transcendental realism, on thinking beyond the imposition of transcendental and moral constraints, has been challenged by numerous figures proceeding him. One of the more interesting critiques of Kant comes from the mad black Deleuzianism of Nick Land stating, “Kant’s critical philosophy is the most elaborate fit of panic in the history of the Earth.” And while Alain Badiou would certainly be opposed to the libidinal investments of Land's Deleuzo-Guattarian thought, he is likewise critical of Kant's normative thought-bureaucracies: Kant is the one author for whom I cannot feel any kinship. Everything in him exasperates me, above all his legalism—always asking Quid Juris? Or ‘Haven’t you crossed the limit?’—combined, as in today’s United States, with a religiosity that is all the more dismal in that it is both omnipresent and vague. The critical machinery he set up has enduringly poisoned philosophy, while giving great succour to the academy, which loves nothing more than to rap the knuckles of the overambitious [….] That is how I understand the truth of Monique David-Menard’s reflections on the properly psychotic origins of Kantianism. I am persuaded that the whole of the critical enterprise is set up to to shield against the tempting symptom represented by the seer Swedenborg, or against ‘diseases of the head’, as Kant puts it. An entire nexus of the limits of reason and philosophy are set up here, namely that the critical philosophy not only defends thought from madness, philosophy from madness, and philosophy from itself, but that philosophy following the advent of the critical enterprise philosophy becomes auto-vampiric; feeding on itself to support the academy. Following Francois Laruelle's non-philosophical indictment of philosophy, we could go one step further and say that philosophy operates on the material of what is philosophizable and not the material of the external world.  Beyond this, the Kantian scheme of nestling human thinking between our limited empirical powers and transcendental guarantees of categorical coherence, forms of thinking which stretch beyond either appear illegitimate, thereby liquefying both pre-critical metaphysics and the ravings of the mad in the same critical acid. In rejecting the Kantian apparatus we are left with two entities – an unsure relation of thought to reality where thought is susceptible to internal and external breakdown and a reality with an uncertain sense of stability. These two strands will be pursued, against the sane-seal of post-Kantian philosophy by engaging the work of weird fiction authors H.P. Lovecraft and Thomas Ligotti. The absolute inhumanism of the formers universe will be used to describe a Shoggothic Materialism while the dream worlds of the latter will articulate the mad speculation of a Ventriloquil Idealism. But first we must address the relation of philosophy to madness as well as philosophy to weird fiction. /1/ – Philosophy and Madness There is nothing that the madness of men invents which is not either nature made manifest or nature restored. Michel Foucault. Madness and Civilization. The moment I doubt whether an event that I recall actually took place, I bring the suspicion of madness upon myself: unless I am uncertain as to whether it was not a mere dream. Arthur Schopenhauer. The World as Will and Idea, Vol. 3. Madness is commonly thought of as moving through several well known cultural-historical shifts from madness as a demonic or otherwise theological force, to rationalization, to medicalization psychiatric and otherwise. Foucault's Madness and Civilization is well known for orientating madness as a form of exclusionary social control which operated by demarcating madness from reason. Yet Foucault points to the possibility of madness as the necessity of nature at least prior to the crushing weight of the church. Kant’s philosophy as a response to madness is grounded by his humanizing of madness itself. As Adrian Johnston points out in the early pages of Time Driven pre-Kantian madness meant humans were seized by demonic or angelic forces whereas Kantian madness became one of being too human. Madness becomes internalized, the external demonic forces become flaws of the individual mind. Foucault argues that, while madness is de-demonized it is also dehumanized during the Renaissance, as madmen become creatures neither diabolic nor totally human reduced to the zero degree of humanity. It is immediately clear why for Kant, speculative metaphysics must be curbed – with the problem of internal madness and without the external safeguards of transcendental conditions, there is nothing to formally separate the speculative capacities for metaphysical diagnosis from the mad ramblings of the insane mind – both equally fall outside the realm of practicality and quotidian experience. David-Menard's work is particularly useful in diagnosing the relation of thought and madness in Kant's texts. David-Menard argues that in Kant's relatively unknown “An Essay on the Maladies of the Mind” as well as his later discussion of the Seer of Swedenborg, that Kant formulates madness primarily in terms of sensory upheaval or other hallucinatory theaters. She writes: “madness is an organization of thought. It is made possible by the ambiguity of the normal relation between the imaginary and the perceived, whether this pertains to the order of sensation or to the relations between our ideas” Kant's fascination with the Seer forces Kant between the pincers of “aesthetic reconciliation” – namely melancholic withdrawal – and “a philosophical invention” – namely the critical project. Deleuze and Guattari's schizoanalysis is a combination and reversal of Kant's split, where an aesthetic over engagement with the world entails prolific conceptual invention. Their embrace of madness, however, is of course itself conceptual despite all their rhizomatic maneuvers. Though they move with the energy of madness, Deleuze and Guattari save the capacity of thought from the fangs of insanity by imbuing materiality itself with the capacity for thought. Or, as Ray Brassier puts it, “Deleuze insists, it is necessary to absolutize the immanence of this world in such a way as to dissolve the transcendent disjunction between things as we know them and as they are in themselves”. That is, whereas Kant relied on the faculty of judgment to divide representation from objectivity Deleuze attempts to flatten the whole economy beneath the juggernaut of ontological univocity. Speculation, as a particularly useful form of madness, might fall close to Deleuze and Guattari’s shaping of philosophy into a concept producing machine but is different in that it is potentially self destructive – less reliant on the stability of its own concepts and more adherent to exposing a particular horrifying swath of reality. Speculative madness is always a potential disaster in that it acknowledges little more than its own speculative power with the hope that the gibbering of at least a handful of hysterical brains will be useful. Pre-critical metaphysics amounts to madness, though this may be because the world itself is mad while new attempts at speculative metaphysics, at post-Kantian pre-critical metaphysics, are well aware of our own madness. Without the sobriety of the principle of sufficient reason we have a world of neon madness: “we would have to conceive what our life would be if all the movements of the earth, all the noises of the earth, all the smells, the tastes, all the light – of the earth and elsewhere, came to us in a moment, in an instant – like an atrocious screaming tumult of things”. Speculative thought may be participatory in the screaming tumult of the world or, worse yet, may produce its spectral double. Against theology or reason or simply commonsense, the speculative becomes heretical. Speculation, as the cognitive extension of the horrorific sublime should be met with melancholic detachment. Whereas Kant's theoretical invention, or productivity of thought, is self -sabotaging, since the advent of the critical project is a productivity of thought which then delimits the engine of thought at large either in dogmatic gestures or non-systematizable empirical wondrousness. The former is celebrated by the fiction of Thomas Ligotti whereas the latter is espoused by the tales of H.P. Lovecraft. /2/ – Weird Fiction and Philosophy. Supernatural horror, in all its eerie constructions, enables a reader to taste treats inconsistent with his personal welfare. Thomas Ligotti Songs of a Dead Dreamer. I choose weird stories because they suit my inclination best—one of my strongest and most persistent wishes being to achieve,momentarily, the illusion of some strange suspension or violation of the galling limitations of time, space, and natural law which forever imprison us and frustrate our curiosity about the infinite cosmic spaces beyond the radius of our sight and analysis H.P. Lovecraft. “Notes on Writing Weird Fiction” Lovecraft states that his creation of a story is to suspend natural law yet, at the same time, he indexes the tenuousness of such laws, suggesting the vast possibilities of the cosmic. The tension that Lovecraft sets up between his own fictions and the universe or nature is reproduced within his fictions in the common theme of the unreliable narrator; unreliable precisely because they are either mad or what they have witnessed questions the bounds of material reality. In “The Call of Cthulhu” Lovecraft writes: The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age. Despite Lovecraft's invocations of illusion, he is not claiming that his fantastic creations such as the Old Ones are supernatural but, following Joshi, are only ever supernormal. One can immediately see that instead of nullifying realism Lovecraft in fact opens up the real to an unbearable degree. In various letters and non-fictional statements Lovecraft espoused strictly materialist tenets, ones which he borrowed from Hugh Elliot namely the uniformity of law, the denial of teleology and the denial of non-material existence. Lovecraft seeks to explore the possibilities of such a universe by piling horror upon horror until the fragile brain which attempts to grasp it fractures. This may be why philosophy has largely ignored weird fiction – while Deleuze and Guattari mark the turn towards weird fiction and Lovecraft in particular, with the precursors to speculative realism as well as contemporary related thinkers have begun to view Lovecraft as making philosophical contributions. Lovecraft's own relation to philosophy is largely critical while celebrating Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. This relationship of Lovecraft to philosophy and philosophy to Lovecraft is coupled with Lovecraft's habit of mercilessly destroying the philosopher and the figure of the academic more generally in his work, a destruction which is both an epistemological destruction and an ontological destruction. Thomas Ligotti's weird fiction which he has designated as a kind of “confrontational escapism” might be best described in the following quote from one of his shortstories, “The human phenomenon is but the sum of densely coiled layers of illusion each of which winds itself on the supreme insanity. That there are persons of any kind when all there can be is mindless mirrors laughing and screaming as they parade about in an endless dream”. Whereas Lovecraft's weirdness draws predominantly from the abyssal depths of the uncharted universe, Ligotti's existential horror focuses on the awful proliferation of meaningless surfaces that is, the banal and every day function of representation. In an interview, Ligotti states: We don't even know what the world is like except through our sense organs, which are provably inadequate. It's no less the case with our brains. Our whole lives are motored along by forces we cannot know and perceptions that are faulty. We sometimes hear people say that they're not feeling themselves. Well, who or what do they feel like then? This is not to say that Ligotti sees nothing beneath the surface but that there is only darkness or blackness behind it, whether that surface is on the cosmological level or the personal. By addressing the implicit and explicit philosophical issues in Ligotti's work we will see that his nightmarish take on reality is a form of malevolent idealism, an idealism which is grounded in a real, albeit dark and obscure materiality. If Ligotti's horrors ultimately circle around mad perceptions which degrade the subject, it takes aim at the vast majority of the focus of continental philosophy. While Lovecraft's acidic materialism clearly assaults any romantic concept of being from the outside, Ligotti attacks consciousness from the inside: Just a little doubt slipped into the mind, a little trickle of suspicion in the bloodstream, and all those eyes of ours, one by one, open up to the world and see its horror [...] Not even the solar brilliance of a summer day will harbor you from horror. For horror eats the light and digests it into darkness. Clearly, the weird fiction of Lovecraft and Ligotti amount to a anti-anthrocentric onslaught against the ramparts of correlationist continental philosophy. /3/ – Shoggothic Materialism or the Formless Formless protoplasm able to mock and reflect all forms and organs and processes—viscous agglutinations of bubbling cells—rubbery fifteen-foot spheroids infinitely plastic and ductile—slaves of suggestion, builders of cities—more and more sullen, more and more intelligent, more and more amphibious, more and more imitative—Great God! What madness made even those blasphemous Old Ones willing to use and to carve such things? H.P. Lovecraft. “At the Mountains of Madness” On the other hand, affirming that the universe resembles nothing and is only formless amounts to saying that the universe is something like a spider or spit. Georges Bataille. “Formless”. The Shoggoths feature most prominently in H.P. Lovecraft's shortstory “At the Mountains of Madness” where they are described in the following manner: It was a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train – a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self -luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down upon us, crushing the frantic penguins and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter. The term is a litmus test for materialism itself as the Shoggoth is an amorphous creature. The Shoggoths were living digging machines bio engineered by the Elder Things, and their protoplasmic bodies being formed into various tools by their hypnotic powers. The Shoggoths eventually became self aware and rose up against their masters in an ultimately failed rebellion. After the Elder Ones retreated into the oceans leaving the Shoggoths to roam the frozen wastes of the Antarctic. The onto-genesis of the Shoggoths and their gross materiality, index the horrifyingly deep time of the earth a concept near and dear to Lovecraft's formulation of horror as well as the fear of intelligences far beyond, and far before, the ascent of humankind on earth and elsewhere. The sickly amorphous nature of the Shoggoths invade materialism at large, where while materiality is unmistakably real ie not discursive, psychological, or otherwise overly subjectivist, it questions the relation of materialism to life. As Eugene Thacker writes: The Shoggoths or Elder Things do not even share the same reality with the human beings who encounter them—and yet this encounter takes place, though in a strange no-place that is neither quite that of the phenomenal world of the human subject or the noumenal world of an external reality. Amorphous yet definitively material beings are a constant in Lovecraft's tales. In his tale “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadatth” Lovecraft describes Azathoth as, “that shocking final peril which gibbers unmentionably outside the ordered universe,” that, “last amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blashphemes and bubbles at the centre of all infinity,” who, “gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time”. Azathoth's name may have multiple origins but the most striking is the alchemy term azoth which is both a cohesive agent and a acidic creation pointing back to the generative and the decayed. The indistinction of generation and degradation materially mirrors the blur between the natural and the unnatural as well as life and non-life. Lovecraft speaks of the tension between the natural and the unnatural is his short story “The Unnameable.” He writes, “if the psychic emanations of human creatures be grotesque distortions, what coherent representation could express or portray so gibbous and infamous a nebulousity as the spectre of a malign, chaotic perversion, itself a morbid blasphemy against Nature?”. Lovecraft explores exactly the tension outlined at the beginning of this chapter, between life and thought. At the end of his short tale Lovecraft compounds the problem as the unnameable is described as “a gelatin—a slime—yet it had shapes, a thousand shapes of horror beyond all memory”. Deleuze suggests that becoming-animal is operative throughout Lovecraft's work, where narrators feel themselves reeling at their becoming non-human or of being the anomalous or of becoming atomized. Following Eugene Thacker however, it may be far more accurate to say that Lovecraft's tales exhibit not a becoming-animal but a becoming-creature. Where the monstrous breaks the purportedly fixed laws of nature, the creature is far more ontologically ambiguous. The nameless thing is an altogether different horizon for thought. The creature is either less than animal or more than animal – its becoming is too strange for animal categories and indexes the slow march of thought towards the bizarre. This strangeness is, as aways, some indefinite swirling in the category of immanence and becoming. Bataille begins “The Labyrinth” with the assertion that being, to continue to be, is becoming. More becoming means more being hence the assertion that Bataille's barking dog is more than the sponge. This would mean that the Shoggotth is altogether too much being, too much material in the materialism. Bataille suggests that there is an immanence between the eater and the eaten, across the species and never within them. That is, despite the chaotic storm of immanence there must remain some capacity to distinguish the gradients of becoming without reliance upon, or at least total dependence upon, the powers of intellection to parse the universe into recognizable bits, properly digestible factoids. That is, if we undo Deleuze's aforementioned valorization of sense which, for his variation of materialism, performed the work of the transcendental, but refuse to reinstate Kant's transcendental disjunction between thing and appearance, then it must be a quality of becoming-as-being itself which can account for the discernible nature of things by sense. In an interview with Peter Gratton, Jane Bennett formulates the problem thusly: What is this strange systematicity proper to a world of Becoming? What, for example, initiates this congealing that will undo itself? Is it possible to identify phases within this formativity, plateaus of differentiation? If so, do the phases/plateaus follow a temporal sequence? Or, does the process of formation inside Becoming require us to theorize a non-chronological kind of time? I think that your student’s question: “How can we account for something like iterable structures in an assemblage theory?” is exactly the right question. Philosophy has erred too far on the side of the subject in the subject-object relation and has furthermore, lost the very weirdness of the non-human. Beyond this, the madness of thought need not override. /4/ - Ventriloquial Idealism or the Externality of Thought My aim is the opposite of Lovecraft's. He had an appreciation for natural scenery on earth and wanted to reach beyond the visible in the universe. I have no appreciation for natural scenery and want the objective universe to be a reflection of a character. Thomas Ligotti. “Devotees of Decay and Desolation.” Unless life is a dream, nothing makes sense. For as a reality, it is a rank failure [….] Horror is more real than we are. Thomas Ligotti. “Professor Nobody's Little Lectures on Supernatural Horror”. Thomas Ligotti's tales are rife with mannequins, puppets, and other brainless entities which of replace the valorized subject of philosophy – that of the free thinking human being. His tales such as “The Dream of the Manikin” aim to destroy the rootedness of consciousness. James Trafford has connected the anti-egoism of Ligotti to Thomas Metzinger – where the self is at best an illusion and we plead desperately for someone else to acknowledge that we are real. Trafford has stated it thus, “Life is played out as an inescapable puppet show, an endless dream in which the puppets are generally unaware that they are trapped within a mesmeric dance of whose mechanisms they know nothing and over which they have no control”. An absolute materialism, for Ligotti, implies an alienation of the idea which leads to a ventriloquil idealism. As Ligotti notes in an interview, “the fiasco and nightmare of existence, the particular fiasco and nightmare of human existence, the sense that people are puppets of powers they cannot comprehend, etc.” And then further elaborates that,“[a]ssuming that anything has to exist, my perfect world would be one in which everyone has experienced the annulment of his or her ego. That is, our consciousness of ourselves as unique individuals would entirely disappear”. The externality of the idea leads to the unfortunate consequence of consciousness eating at itself through horror which, for Ligotti, is more real than reality and goes beyond horror-as-affect. Beyond this, taking together with the unreality of life and the ventriloquizing of subjectivity, Ligotti's thought becomes an idealism in which thought itself is alien and ultimately horrifying. The role of human thought and the relation of non-relation of horror to thought is not completely clear in Ligotti's The Conspiracy Against the Human Race. Ligotti argues in his The Conspiracy Against the Human Race,that the advent of thought is a mistake of nature and that horror is being in the sense that horror results from knowing too much. Yet, at the same time, Ligotti seems to suggest that thought separates us from nature whereas, for Lovecraft, thought is far less privileged – mind is just another manifestation of the vital principal, it is just another materialization of energy. In his brilliant “Prospects for Post-Copernican Dogmatism” Iain Grant rallies against the negative definition of dogmatism and the transcendental, and suggests that negatively defining both over-focuses on conditions of access and subjectivism at the expense of the real or nature. With Schelling, who is Grant's champion against the subjectivist bastions of both Fichte and Kant, Ligotti's idealism could be taken as a transcendental realism following from an ontological realism. Yet the transcendental status of Ligotti's thought move towards a treatment of the transcendental which may threaten to leave beyond its realist ground. Ligotti states: Belief in the supernatural is only superstition. That said, a sense of the supernatural, as Conrad evidenced in Heart of Darkness, must be admitted if one's inclination is to go to the limits of horror. It is the sense of what should not be- the sense of being ravaged by the impossible. Phenomenally speaking, the super-natural may be regarded as the metaphysical counterpart of insanity, a transcendental correlative of a mind that has been driven mad. Again, Ligotti equates madness with thought, qualifying both as supernatural while remaining less emphatic about the metaphysical dimensions of horror. The question becomes one of how exactly the hallucinatory realm of the ideal relates to the black churning matter of Lovecraft's chaos of elementary particles. In his tale “I Have a Special Plan for This World” Ligotti formulates thus: A: There is no grand scheme of things. B: If there were a grand scheme of things, the fact – the fact – that we are not equipped to perceive it, either by natural or supernatural means, is a nightmarish obscenity. C: The very notion of a grand scheme of things is a nightmarish obscenity. Here Ligotti is not discounting metaphysics but implying that if it does exist the fact that we are phenomenologically ill-equipped to perceive that it is nightmarish. For Ligotti, nightmare and horror occur within the circuit of consciousness whereas for Lovecraft the relation between reality and mind is less productive on the side of mind. It is easier to ascertain how the Kantian philosophy is a defense against the diseases of the head as Kant armors his critical enterprise from too much of the world and too much of the mind. The weird fiction of both Lovecraft and Ligotti demonstrates that there is too much of both feeding into one another in a way that corrodes the Kantian schema throughly, breaking it down into a dead but still ontologically potentiated nigredo. The haunting, terrifying fact of Ligotti's idealism is that the transcendental motion which brought thought to matter, while throughly material and naturalized, brings with it the horror that thought cannot be undone without ending the material that bears it either locally or completely. Thought comes from an elsewhere and an elsewhen being-in-thought. The unthinkable outside thought is as maddening as the unthought engine of thought itself within thought which doesn't exist except for the mind, the rotting décor of the brain. /5/ - Hyperstitional Transcendental Paranoia or Self -Expelled Thought Weird fiction has been given some direct treatment in philosophy in the mad black Deleuzianism of Nick Land. Nick Land along with others in the 1990s created the Cyber Culture Research Unit as well as the research group Hyperstition. The now defunct hyperstitional website, an outgrowth of the Cyber Culture Research Unit, defined hyperstition in the following fourfold: 1-Element of effective culture that makes itself real. 2-Fictional quantity functional as a time-traveling device. 3-Coincidence intensifier. 4-Call to the Old Ones. The distinctively Lovecraftian character of hyperstition is hard to miss as is its Deleuzo-Guattarian roots. In the opening pages of A Thousand Plateaus Deleuze and Guattari write, “We have been criticized for over-quoting literary authors. But when one writes, the only question is which other machine the literary machine can be plugged into”. The indisinction of literature and philosophy mirrors the mess of being and knowing as post-correlationist philosophy, where philosophy tries to make itself real where literature, especially the weird, aims itself at the brain-circuit of horror. The texts of both Lovecraft and Ligotti work through horror as epistemological plasticity meeting with proximity as well as the deep time of Lovecraft and the glacially slow time of paranoia in Ligotti. Against Deleuze, and following Brassier, we cannot allow the time of consciousness, the Bergsonian time of the duree, to override natural time, but instead acknowledge that it is an unfortunate fact of existence as a thinking being. Horror-time, the time of consciousness, with all its punctuated moments and drawn out terrors, cannot compare to the deep time of non-existence both in the unreachable past and the unknown future. The crystalline cogs of Kant's account of experience as the leading light for the possibility of metaphysics must be throughly obliterated. His gloss of experience in Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics could not be more sterile: Experience consists of intuitions, which belong to the sensibility, and of judgments, which are entirely a work of the understanding. But the judgments which the understanding makes entirely out of sensuous intuitions are far from being judgments of experience. For in the one case the judgment connects only the perceptions as they are given in sensuous intuition [....] Experience consists in the synthetic connection of appearances in consciousness, so far as this connection is necessary. Here it is difficult to dismiss the queasiness that Kant's legalism induces upon sight for both Badiou and David-Menard. Kant's thought becomes, as Foucault says when reflecting on Sade's text in relation to nature, “the savage abolition of itself”. For Badiou, Kant's philosophy simply closes off too much of the outside, freezing the world of thought in an all too limited formalism. Critical philosophy is simply the systematized quarantine on future thinking, on thinking which would threaten the formalism which artificially grants thought its own coherency in the face of madness. Even the becoming-mad of Deleuze, while escaping the rumbling ground, makes grounds for itself, mad grounds but grounds which are thinkable in their affect. The field of effects allows for Deleuze's aesthetic and radical empiricism, in which effects and/or occasions make up the material of the world to be thought as a chaosmosis of simulacra. Given a critique of an empiricism of aesthetics, of the image, it may be difficult to justify an attack on Kantian formalism with the madness of literature, which does not aim to make itself real but which we may attempt to make real. That is, how do Lovecraft's and Ligotti's materials, as materials for philosophy to work on, differ from either the operative formalisms of Kant or the implicitly formalized images of Deleuzian empiricism? It is simply that such texts do not aim to make themselves real, and make claims to the real which are more alien to us than familiar, which is why their horror is immediately more trustworthy. This is the madness which Blanchot discusses in The Infinite Conversation through Cervantes and his knight – the madness of book-life, of the perverse unity of literature and life a discussion which culminates in the discussion of one of the weird's masters, that of Kafka. The text is the knowing of madness, since madness, in its moment of becoming-more-mad, cannot be frozen in place but by the solidifications of externalizing production. This is why Foucault ends his famous study with works of art. Furthermore extilligence, the ability to export the products of our maligned brains, is the companion of the attempts to export, or discover the possibility of intelligences outside of our heads, in order for philosophy to survive the solar catastrophe. To borrow again from Deleuze, writing is inseparable from becoming. The mistake is to believe that madness is reabsorbed by extilligence, by great works, or that it could be exorcised by the expelling of thought into the inorganic or differently organic. Going out of our heads does not guarantee we will no longer mean we cannot still go out of our minds. This is simply because of the outside, of matter, or force, or energy, or thing-in-itself, or Schopenhauerian Will. In Lovecraft’s “The Music of Erich Zahn” an “impoverished student of metaphysics” becomes intrigued by strange viol music coming from above his room. After meeting the musician the student discovers that each night he plays frantic music at a window in order to keep some horridness at bay, some “impenetrable darkness with chaos and pandemonium”. The aesthetic defenses provided by the well trained brain can bear the hex of matter for so long, the specter of unalterability within it which too many minds obliterate, collapsing everything before the thought of thought as thinkable or at least noetically mutable on our own terms. Transcendental paranoia is the concurrent nightmare and promise of Paul Humphrey's work, of being literally out of our minds. It is the gothic counterpart of thinking non-conceptually but also of thinking never belonging to any instance of purportedly solid being. As Bataille stated, “At the boundary of that which escapes cohesion, he who reflects within cohesion realizes there is no longer any room for him” Thought is immaterial only to the degree that it is inhuman, it is a power that tries, always with failure, to ascertain its own genesis. Philosophy, if it can truly return to the great outdoors, if it can leave behind the dead loop of the human skull, must recognize not only the non-priority of human thought, but that thought never belongs to the brain that thinks it, thought comes from somewhere else. To return to the train image from the beginning “a locomotive rolling on the surface of the earth is the image of continuous metamorphosis” this is the problem of thought, and of thinking thought, of being no longer able to isolate thought, with only a thought-formed structure.  One of the central tenets of Francois Laruelle's non-philosophy is that philosophy has traditionally operated on material already presupposed as thinkable instead of trying to think the real in itself. Philosophy, according to Laruelle, remains fixated on transcendental synthesis which shatters immanence into an empirical datum and an a prori factum which are then fused by a third thing such as the ego. For a critical account of Laruelle's non-philosophy see Ray Brassier's Nihil Unbound. (shrink)
I. A. Richards ushered the spirit of Cambridge realism into semantics and literary criticism. When he arrived as an undergraduate in 1911, Cambridge was in the midst of its finest philosophical flowering since the Puritanism and Platonism of the seventeenth century. The revolution of G. E. Moore and Bertrand Russell against Hegelian idealism had already occurred; the Age of Principia was under way. There was a reassertion of native empiricism and a new interest in philosophical psychology, and the whole (...) discussion was marked increasingly by a preoccupation with language. Richards, too, would break with the past, with the history of criticism in the previous two generations, gather psychological ideas to establish an empirical semantics and aesthetics, and center his attention on language. Although Romantic and late-Victorian values inform his theories, Richards set down an original criticism on first principles, not on tradition. Many of his books' titles show this rationalist strains: The Foundations of Aesthetics , The Meaning of Meaning , Principles of Literary Criticism , Basic Rules of Reason , and The Philosophy of Rhetoric . The originality and influence of Richards' criticism can be shown by the number of terms he put into circulation, terms which became the currency of debate for almost half a century: close reading, tone, pseudostatement, stock response, tension, equilibrium, tenor and vehicle of metaphor, emotive and referential language.John Paul Russo is a professor and chairman of the English department at the University of Miami. He is the editor of I. A. Richards' Complementarities: Uncollected Essays and the author of Alexander Pope: Tradition and Identity and an annotated bibliography of Richards' works. He is currently completing a critical biography of Richards. "A Study in Influence: The Moore-Richards Paradigm," his previous contribution to Critical Inquiry, appeared in the Summer 1979 issue. (shrink)
Mr. Raghavendrachar has undertaken the difficult task of representing the system to which he is bound by religion in the impartial way of an objective philosophical study. Philosophy to him means: to reveal the nature of the ultimate reality, but, on the other hand, he claims that philosophy has the practical and ethical ends of the world's uplift. Here already two different aims, a merely epistemological and a pedagogical one, are taken together. Further considerations come in from the religious angle. (...) As an orthodox Vedic scholar Mr. Raghavendrachar defines philosophy proper as philosophy together with the interpretations of the Veda. Besides, as a devout follower of the Madhva School of Visnuism, he propagates as a means of philosophy the study of Visnuite teaching. It is from these divergent presuppositions that Mr. Raghavendrachar's essay is written. While taking his starting point from epistemology, the author puts into the foreground the investigations of the ultimate reality and know- ability. Thus he emphasizes less those problems which are generally considered as the central ones of Indian philosophy, i.e. the problems of philosophy of religion, than those of philosophy general, of Consciousness and Ego, of Error and canons of Truth, etc. This results in an unusual explanation, or rather repudiation, of the term "Dvaita Philosophy." Mr. Raghavendrachar claims that the theological problem of the identity or difference between the Jlva, the individual Soul, and the Brahman, the universal Spirit, has not essential bearing. He asserts that the so-called Dvaitam is in reality a Brahma-Advaitam, not unlike the classical Advaitam, monism and identification between the highest and the individual Atman, and not unlike also the Visistddvaitam, the modified monism or dualism. Mr. Raghaven- drachar points out that Madhva, the founder of the so-called Dvaita-school, never himself used the term Dvaitam, but only draws the distinction between svatantram and a-svatantram, between independent and dependent entities. Brahman, which is here identified with Visnu, is interpreted as the only inde- pendent ground of the world from which originate all dependent, i.e. empirical, phenomena in which the Jwvas, the individual Souls, are included. Thus the religious question is turned into an epistemological one, and he strives to put Safikara, the pure Monist, logically in the wrong, as confusing through his identification of Brahman and Jiva the "condition" with the "conditioned." On the other hand, Mr. Raghavendrachar approaches the problem as a pro- fessed Realist. "Actual difference is the core of reality". Thus the very same empirical world which he beforehand claims as but "conditioned," becomes now for him the centre of his investigation. The confusion between "condition" and "conditioned," for which he blames Safikara, the Idealist, arises for himself from his realistic standpoint. Safikara, in the opinion of the reviewer, avoids the difficulty of such a confusion by proclaiming that all "conditioned," all empirical singleness, is only of lesser truth, is only a laukika expression for the understanding of the masses, while in reality all differentiation is non-existent. Madhva and his present interpreter, on the other hand, emphasize that even in the unifying stage of liberation differences between the Divine and the Jiva and among the single Jivas themselves are still upheld. Mr. Raghavendrachar's second definition of philosophy quoted above is that of philosophy as a practical means of betterment of the world. This peda- gogical purpose of philosophy gives the author the opportunity of advocating his own sectarian standpoint. The Vedanta is for him the best of all possible systems and reveals undoubtable and unquestionable truth. Thus it comple- ments, or it even corrects, the truth gained from empirical facts. Among the Vedantic Schools he considers his own, the Madhva School, the most accom- plished one. Consequently, he has to devalue ankiara's views from this angle also. Safikara, he claims, has only made use of mahdvdikyas, great sayings of the Upanisads; he has to concede to his opponent that he finds support for his interpretations in the most significant Upanisadic teachings. Not many other equally valid mahdvakyas, nor lesser Upanisadic sayings are, however, intro- duced by the author in favour of his own against Saikara's standpoint, Partly this omission is due to Mr. Raghavendrachar's basic dogma that the Veda as a whole is revealed truth and cannot be contradictory to itself; partly-at any rate as the reviewer sees it-it is due to the fact that Safikara's explanations are the most representative of the main Upanisadic doctrines. The difficulty of Mr. Raghavendrachar's self-imposed task of subjective and at the same time objective representation is clearly evident throughout his work. Equally evident, however, throughout Mr. Raghavendrachar's exposi- tions are his two remarkable gifts: genuine religious devotion and excellent training in logical discussion. Review by: Betty Heimann. (shrink)
Although research to date has helped in important ways to shed light on the penetration of Burke’s Enquiry into the German-language area, a comprehensive treatment of this reception as a process distinguished not only by changes over time, but also characterized by regional variations, remains lacking. Based on the lectures on aesthetics by August Gottlieb Meißner at Prague University in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the paper seeks to illuminate this underexposed regional aspect. The first phase of the (...) reception of the Enquiry took place especially in Berlin immediately after its publication in London in 1757. The second phase can be located mainly in the northern maritime centres of German culture, particularly Königsberg, Riga, Hamburg as well as Copenhagen. Christian Garve’s translation, published anonymously by Hartknoch in Riga in 1773, and Kant’s Critique of Judgement constitute two peaks of north-German interest in Burke’s Enquiry. The intense reception of the Critique of Judgement within German aesthetics around and after 1800 subsequently led to the polemic with the British author becoming a part of Idealist interpretations for the next few decades. Outlining the three centres of the German reception of Burke’s Enquiry begs the question which of them should be connected with Meißner’s remarks concerning Burke’s ideas. Leipzig is presented as another important German-language centre disseminating knowledge of Burke’s Enquiry, especially in the first half of the Seventies, moreover the decisive intermediary for the penetration of the Enquiry into the south-German Roman Catholic areas, Prague in particular. (shrink)
Many idealists have thought that realism raises epistemological problems. The worry is that, if it is possible for truths about ordinary objects to outstrip our experiences in the ways that realists typically suppose, we could never be justified in our beliefs about objects. Few contemporary theorists find this argument convincing; philosophers have offered a variety of responses to defend the epistemology of our object judgments under the assumption of realism. But in this paper, I offer a new type of epistemic (...) argument against realism which is immune to the standard responses in the literature. In addition to raising a challenge for realism, the epistemology of our object judgments has implications for how the idealist should develop her own positive metaphysical view. So in the second half of this paper, I discuss how the idealist should understand the dependence between objects and our experiences if she is to secure epistemic advantages over the realist. (shrink)
According to Russell, the intrinsic nature of the physical is the same as or deeply analogous to phenomenal qualities, those properties known through acquaintance in one's subjective experience. I defend his position and argue that it implies a kind of idealism, specifically the view that any intrinsic physical property instance can only exist as an object of acquaintance. This follows because a necessary feature of physicality is spatial location, and hence the intrinsic nature of the physical must share with (...) phenomenal qualities whatever makes some of them suitable space occupants. That feature is their occupying phenomenal spaces. There are reasons for believing that it is conceptually impossible for there to be a phenomenal space without a subject acquainted with its contents. Therefore, intrinsic physical properties must be objects of acquaintance. This view is shown to be compatible with contemporary science, and a scientific idealist metaphysic is briefly sketched. (shrink)
Kant seems to think of our own mental states or representations as the primary objects of inner sense. But does he think that these states also inhere in something? And, if so, is that something an empirical substance that is also cognized in inner sense? This chapter provides textual and philosophical grounds for thinking that, although Kant may agree with Hume that the self is not ‘given’ in inner sense exactly, he does think of the self as cognized through inner (...) sense. It is also argued that he both does and ought to regard this self as an empirical substance in which our changing representations inhere. In the second part of the chapter it is suggested that this poses a significant problem for most of the leading interpretations of Kant’s anti-sceptical argument in the Refutation of Idealism. (shrink)
Drawing on a series of exhibitions curated and installed at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montréal throughout the 1990s and the early millennium, this essay analyzes how architecture and its representation in museological exhibitions have innovated forms of communication and display practices, transcending the traditions established by the fine arts paradigm since the late eighteenth century. The author argues that in addition to providing a heightened recognition of the narrative and performative potential of the exhibitionary setting, the (...) discourses and tensions specific to architecture and architectural practice have led to a rethinking of the communicative potential of the exhibition environment. Principles inherent to architecture—spatiality, materiality, and the experiential—are fruitful when considering the possibilities of exhibition design to elucidate multiple levels of meaning, and these principles have led to architecture’s coming-of-age in the museological environment in ways that are specific to re aedificatoria—the art of building itself. (shrink)
In Sect. 1 an argument for Yogācāra Buddhist Idealism, here understood as the view that everything in the universe is of the nature of consciousness / cognition, is laid out. The prior history of the argument is also recounted. In Sect. 2 the role played in this argument by light as an analogy for cognition is analyzed. Four separate aspects of the light analogy are discerned. In Sect. 3, I argue that although light is in some ways a helpful (...) analogy for the Buddhist Idealist, in other ways it is thoroughly inappropriate. At the end of the article I ask whether the lack of fit between light and cognition is unavoidable, or whether the Buddhist Idealists could have chosen a better analogy. (shrink)
While there has been significant discussion in the health sciences and ethics literatures about problems associated with publication practices (e.g., ghost- and gift-authorship, conflicts of interest), there has been relatively little practical guidance developed to help researchers determine how they should fairly allocate credit for multi-authored publications. Fair allocation of credit requires that participating authors be acknowledged for their contribution and responsibilities, but it is not obvious what contributions should warrant authorship, nor who should be responsible for the quality and (...) content of the scientific research findings presented in a publication. In this paper, we review arguments presented in the ethics and health science literatures, and the policies or guidelines proposed by learned societies and journals, in order to explore the link between author contribution and responsibility in multi-author multidisciplinary health science publications. We then critically examine the various procedures used in the field to help researchers fairly allocate authorship. (shrink)
A World for Us aims to refute physical realism and establish in its place a form of idealism. Physical realism, in the sense in which John Foster understands it, takes the physical world to be something whose existence is both logically independent of the human mind and metaphysically fundamental. Foster identifies a number of problems for this realist view, but his main objection is that it does not accord the world the requisite empirical immanence. The form of idealism (...) that he tries to establish in its place rejects the realist view in both its aspects. It takes the world to be something whose existence is ultimately constituted by facts about human sensory experience, or by some richer complex of non-physical facts in which such experiential facts centrally feature. Foster calls this phenomenalistic idealism. He tries to establish a specific version of such phenomenalistic idealism, in which the experiential facts that centrally feature in the constitutive creation of the world are ones that concern the organization of human sensory experience. The basic idea of this version is that, in the context of certain other constitutively relevant factors, this sensory organization creates the physical world by disposing things to appear systematically world-wise at the human empirical viewpoint. Chief among these other relevant factors is the role of God as the one who is responsible for the sensory organization and ordains the system of appearance it yields. It is this that gives the idealistically created world its objectivity and allows it to qualify as a real world. (shrink)
The National Center for Biomedical Ontology is a consortium that comprises leading informaticians, biologists, clinicians, and ontologists, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Roadmap, to develop innovative technology and methods that allow scientists to record, manage, and disseminate biomedical information and knowledge in machine-processable form. The goals of the Center are (1) to help unify the divergent and isolated efforts in ontology development by promoting high quality open-source, standards-based tools to create, manage, and use ontologies, (2) to create (...) new software tools so that scientists can use ontologies to annotate and analyze biomedical data, (3) to provide a national resource for the ongoing evaluation, integration, and evolution of biomedical ontologies and associated tools and theories in the context of driving biomedical projects (DBPs), and (4) to disseminate the tools and resources of the Center and to identify, evaluate, and communicate best practices of ontology development to the biomedical community. Through the research activities within the Center, collaborations with the DBPs, and interactions with the biomedical community, our goal is to help scientists to work more effectively in the e-science paradigm, enhancing experiment design, experiment execution, data analysis, information synthesis, hypothesis generation and testing, and understand human disease. (shrink)
THE CENTRALITY OF LIVED EXPERIENCE IN WOJTYLA’S ACCOUNT OF THE PERSON S u m m a r y The aim of this paper is to illuminate the centrality of lived experience in Karol Wojytla’s account of the person and identify its significance for philosophy and praxis in the contemporary period. Specifically the author intends to pursue the meaning of Wojtyla’s claim that “the category of lived experience must have a place in anthropology and ethics—and somehow be at the center (...) of their respective interpretations.” The paper seeks to recover an important insight into the task of philosophy: according to Karol Wojtyla, if philosophy is to perform its essential function in the recovery of our culture, we have no choice but to turn our attention to the subjectivity of human persons— and this can only be done by taking up the somewhat risky challenge of studying the reality of lived human experience. The paper will analyze Wojtyla’s argument that the problem of human subjectivity is at the epicenter of debates about the human person and will argue that his solution reconciles the dilemma posed by the historical antinomies that have characterized anthropology and epistemology, viz., the “objective” or ontological view of the human being and the “subjectivism” often associated with the philosophy of consciousness, and their corollaries, realism and idealism. At least in the English speaking context, where the validity of individual experience has risen to the level of almost dogmatic significance for social and political life, Father Wojtyla’s claim appears either to have gone unnoticed or to have been rejected. And perhaps, at least on the surface, this is not without reason. The modern interest in human subjectivity is blamed for many contemporary THE CENTRALITY OF LIVED EXPERIENCE IN WOJTYLA’S ACCOUNT OF THE PERSON S u m m a r y The aim of this paper is to illuminate the centrality of lived experience in Karol Wojytla’s account of the person and identify its significance for philosophy and praxis in the contemporary period. Specifically the author intends to pursue the meaning of Wojtyla’s claim that “the category of lived experience must have a place in anthropology and ethics—and somehow be at the center of their respective interpretations.” The paper seeks to recover an important insight into the task of philosophy: according to Karol Wojtyla, if philosophy is to perform its essential function in the recovery of our culture, we have no choice but to turn our attention to the subjectivity of human persons— and this can only be done by taking up the somewhat risky challenge of studying the reality of lived human experience. The paper will analyze Wojtyla’s argument that the problem of human subjectivity is at the epicenter of debates about the human person and will argue that his solution reconciles the dilemma posed by the historical antinomies that have characterized anthropology and epistemology, viz., the “objective” or ontological view of the human being and the “subjectivism” often associated with the philosophy of consciousness, and their corollaries, realism and idealism. At least in the English speaking context, where the validity of individual experience has risen to the level of almost dogmatic significance for social and political life, Father Wojtyla’s claim appears either to have gone unnoticed or to have been rejected. And perhaps, at least on the surface, this is not without reason. The modern interest in human subjectivity is blamed for many contemporary THE CENTRALITY OF LIVED EXPERIENCE IN WOJTYLA’S ACCOUNT OF THE PERSON S u m m a r y The aim of this paper is to illuminate the centrality of lived experience in Karol Wojytla’s account of the person and identify its significance for philosophy and praxis in the contemporary period. Specifically the author intends to pursue the meaning of Wojtyla’s claim that “the category of lived experience must have a place in anthropology and ethics—and somehow be at the center of their respective interpretations.” The paper seeks to recover an important insight into the task of philosophy: according to Karol Wojtyla, if philosophy is to perform its essential function in the recovery of our culture, we have no choice but to turn our attention to the subjectivity of human persons— and this can only be done by taking up the somewhat risky challenge of studying the reality of lived human experience. The paper will analyze Wojtyla’s argument that the problem of human subjectivity is at the epicenter of debates about the human person and will argue that his solution reconciles the dilemma posed by the historical antinomies that have characterized anthropology and epistemology, viz., the “objective” or ontological view of the human being and the “subjectivism” often associated with the philosophy of consciousness, and their corollaries, realism and idealism. At least in the English speaking context, where the validity of individual experience has risen to the level of almost dogmatic significance for social and political life, Father Wojtyla’s claim appears either to have gone unnoticed or to have been rejected. And perhaps, at least on the surface, this is not without reason. The modern interest in human subjectivity is blamed for many contemporary THE CENTRALITY OF LIVED EXPERIENCE IN WOJTYLA’S ACCOUNT OF THE PERSON S u m m a r y The aim of this paper is to illuminate the centrality of lived experience in Karol Wojytla’s account of the person and identify its significance for philosophy and praxis in the contemporary period. Specifically the author intends to pursue the meaning of Wojtyla’s claim that “the category of lived experience must have a place in anthropology and ethics—and somehow be at the center of their respective interpretations.” The paper seeks to recover an important insight into the task of philosophy: according to Karol Wojtyla, if philosophy is to perform its essential function in the recovery of our culture, we have no choice but to turn our attention to the subjectivity of human persons— and this can only be done by taking up the somewhat risky challenge of studying the reality of lived human experience. The paper will analyze Wojtyla’s argument that the problem of human subjectivity is at the epicenter of debates about the human person and will argue that his solution reconciles the dilemma posed by the historical antinomies that have characterized anthropology and epistemology, viz., the “objective” or ontological view of the human being and the “subjectivism” often associated with the philosophy of consciousness, and their corollaries, realism and idealism. At least in the English speaking context, where the validity of individual experience has risen to the level of almost dogmatic significance for social and political life, Father Wojtyla’s claim appears either to have gone unnoticed or to have been rejected. And perhaps, at least on the surface, this is not without reason. The modern interest in human subjectivity is blamed for many contemporary maladies, including subjectivism, relativism and the pride of place now given to any individual point of view, no matter how ill informed. Claims about the existence of truth or an objective moral order often cannot find a foothold when confronted with the argument that such realities do not resonate with a particular individual’s personal “experience.” The priority given to subjective personal experience in determining what constitutes right thinking and moral human behavior, assuming that question is even asked, is now a commonplace assumption; it is something alternately deplored or celebrated both by intellectuals and the “man on the street.” Given this situation, that a philosopher of Father Wojtyla’s stature and obvious moral authority should make such an argument is a matter of critical importance, especially for those who seek to ground human action in objective moral norms in an era where an arguably flawed account of human subjectivity clearly has taken center stage. The paper shows that Wojtyla is not adverting to experience as an adjunct to moral relativism or personal preference as an approach to questions of the true and the good. On the contrary, the author shows that the philosopher Karol Wojtyla provides a way to remain grounded in the metaphysical and ontological categories that not only comprise our intellectual heritage, but refer to real and profound truths, while simultaneously accounting for the subjectivity and dynamism of the person. The paper concludes with an argument that this account provides a key hermeneutical device for understanding the enormous importance of the work of Pope John Paul II. (shrink)
The National Center for Biomedical Ontology is now in its seventh year. The goals of this National Center for Biomedical Computing are to: create and maintain a repository of biomedical ontologies and terminologies; build tools and web services to enable the use of ontologies and terminologies in clinical and translational research; educate their trainees and the scientific community broadly about biomedical ontology and ontology-based technology and best practices; and collaborate with a variety of groups who develop and use ontologies and (...) terminologies in biomedicine. The centerpiece of the National Center for Biomedical Ontology is a web-based resource known as BioPortal. BioPortal makes available for research in computationally useful forms more than 270 of the world's biomedical ontologies and terminologies, and supports a wide range of web services that enable investigators to use the ontologies to annotate and retrieve data, to generate value sets and special-purpose lexicons, and to perform advanced analytics on a wide range of biomedical data. (shrink)
In May 2011, the clinical ethics group of the Center for Ethics at Washington Hospital Center launched a 40-hour, three and one-half day Clinical Ethics Immersion Course. Created to address gaps in training in the practice of clinical ethics, the course is for those who now practice clinical ethics and for those who teach bioethics but who do not, or who rarely, have the opportunity to be in a clinical setting. “Immersion” refers to a high-intensity clinical ethics experience in a (...) busy, urban, acute care hospital. During the Immersion Course, participants join clinical ethicists on working rounds in intensive care units and trauma service. Participants engage in a videotaped role-play conversation with an actor. Each simulated session reflects a practical, realistic clinical ethics case consultation scenario. Participants also review patients’ charts, and have small group discussions on selected clinical ethics topics. As ethics consultation requests come into the center, Immersion Course participants accompany clinical ethicists on consultations. Specific to this pilot, because participants’ evaluations and course faculty impressions were positive, the Center for Ethics will conduct the course twice each year. We look forward to improving the pilot and establishing the Immersion Course as one step towards addressing the gap in training opportunities in clinical ethics. (shrink)
Ethical issues in international nursing research are identified and the perspectives of the International Centre for Nursing Ethics are offered in an effort to develop an international consensus of ethical behaviour in research. First, theoretical issues are reviewed, then initial conditions for ethical conduct are defined, and protocol design and procedure considerations are examined. A concerted effort is made to identify and avoid a western bias. Broad guiding principles for designing and reviewing research are offered: (1) respect for persons; (...) (2) beneficence; (3) justice; (4) respect for community; and (5) contextual caring. A collaborative model of the researcher-participant relationship is suggested and discussed. (shrink)
I endorse Allais’s ‘moderate metaphysical’ approach to transcendental idealism, but find tension between her concept of ‘manifest reality’ and her relational interpretation of the doctrine. And I think her reconstruction of Kant’s argument for transcendental idealism fails to block the famous ‘missing alternative’ objection, although in my view Kant’s fundamental argument for the position was intended precisely to block such an objection.Export citation.
In order to make out a case for idealism, I will, in this essay, first present two forms of idealism in their bare outlines (these two being, in my view, the most interesting and defensible forms) and then a set of premises for an argument for idealism. I will then respond to what are the more pertinent difficulties with these, and finally, make some general remarks regarding idealism as a theory.
Millions of children who were born during the first decade after the Islamic revolution in Iran are now reaching the age of marriage and childbearing. Short spacing between marriage and the birth of the first child has the potential to cause an excessive and costly increase in the growth of population in Iran. Research into the motivations for the birth of first child among newly married couples can create a knowledge base that will enable health centres to help these couples (...) make better decisions about the timing of their first pregnancy. Using a consecutive sampling technique and administering Miller’s Childbearing Questionnaire, data were gathered regarding the childbearing motivations and desires of 300 couples who had been referred to the Shiraz Health Center for premarital counselling. The Childbearing Questionnaire, with some minor modifications, was found to be a valid and reliable instrument for measuring the childbearing motivations of newly married couples of Shiraz County, Fars Province, Iran. The utility of these findings for counselling in health centres is discussed. Based on the results, a longitudinal study is being designed that will allow the development of models for predicting the time of first pregnancy after marriage. (shrink)
At a time of increasing interest and advocacy in integrated and policy-oriented research, this paper offers an empirically-based view of the intellectual and practical challenges of undertaking such research. It analyses the experience of a long-standing university research and postgraduate training centre from 1973-2004: the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies at The Australian National University. The paper discusses staff development issues, cross-disciplinary understanding, organisational requirements for collaborative research, postgraduate and early career considerations, a range of integrative frameworks, (...) and the tensions that arise for interdisciplinary research in the political and economic operating environments of modern universities. (shrink)
The following text is based on a public debate between Professor Julian Savulescu and Associate Professor Robert Sparrow on the topic of 'Making Better Babies,’ which took place in Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday, October 2, 2012. The debate was introduced by Professor Michael Selgelid, the Director of the Centre for Human Bioethics, at Monash University, and facilitated by Associate Professor Justin Oakley. The text has been edited from the original transcript for clarity and brevity.
This special issue of the Journal of Business Ethics commemorates the 40th Anniversary Conference of the Hoffman Center for Business Ethics at Bentley University. It collects seven of the papers that were presented at the conference in 2016, when scholars, practitioners, and policymakers from across the globe convened to discuss “Global Perspectives on Business Ethics.” From conceptual thinking to theory building and empirical analysis, these articles present several future and mutually supportive directions for research to influence the context and conduct (...) of business through its challenges and changes over the next 40 years. (shrink)
La gestión del conocimiento es un proceso relacionado con la producción, transmisión y utilización del conocimiento y su pertinencia para el desempeño organizacional; en la actualidad han aparecido diversidad de modelos que prescriben su configuración. El presente artículo describe el modelo que fundamenta teórica y metodológicamente la aplicación de la gestión del conocimiento en el Centro de Desarrollo de las Ciencias Sociales y Humanísticas en Salud. Esta entidad dedicada a la producción y transmisión del conocimiento científico en estas áreas de (...) conocimiento, no contaba con un modelo que permitiera estructurar el funcionamiento del proceso de su construcción y difusión en su interior y hacia el contexto. El modelo propuesto atiende la especificidad de los procesos de la entidad, y guía teórica y metodológicamente los flujos de información y conocimientos, las redes de actores presentes y los procesos de gestión de conocimiento que se integran en la dinámica de la organización. Knowledge management is a process related to the production, transmission and use of knowledge and its relevance to the organizational performance; nowadays there are several models that prescribe its configuration. This article describes a model that theoretically and methodologically bases the implementation of knowledge management on the Centre for the development of social and humanistic sciences in Health. This entity devoted to the production and transmission of scientific knowledge in these areas of knowledge, did not have a model that allow to structure the operation of its construction and diffusion process from inside and towards the context. The proposed model deals with specificities of the entity´ s processes, and theoretically and methodologically leads flows of information and knowledge, networks of actors and knowledge management processes that are integrated into the dynamics of the organization. (shrink)
This public lecture commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Center for the Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh provides a brief history of philosophical activity in Greece from ancient to modern times. The lecture culminates in an exploration of the Center's fruitful interactions with Greece's contemporary philosophical community.
Developing a Center for Teaching Excellence: A Case Study Using the Integrated Readiness Matrix builds on the 2015 text, Integrating Pedagogy and Technology: Improving Teaching and Learning in Higher Education with a focus on teaching in higher education. Developing a Center for Teaching Excellence is premised on our contention in the first book that, while individual faculty members can independently begin to use the IRM to improve their pedagogical and technological skills in their content areas, an organizational structure is needed (...) to sustain ongoing improvement. In addition, while the first book provided a primer on learning theory as it relates to pedagogy, Developing a Center for Teaching Excellence plumbs this topic more deeply from the perspective of the college instructor. Further, the second book is dedicated to demonstrating how the IRM can be institutionalized as the foundation for providing the structure and support to faculty and how they can help shape centers for teaching excellence by becoming more familiar with relevant learning theories and related pedagogical and technological approaches. (shrink)
The Idea of the World offers a grounded alternative to the frenzy of unrestrained abstractions and unexamined assumptions in philosophy and science today. This book examines what can be learned about the nature of reality based on conceptual parsimony, straightforward logic and empirical evidence from fields as diverse as physics and neuroscience. It compiles an overarching case for idealism - the notion that reality is essentially mental - from ten original articles the author has previously published in leading (...) academic journals. The case begins with an exposition of the logical fallacies and internal contradictions of the reigning physicalist ontology and its popular alternatives, such as bottom-up panpsychism. It then advances a compelling formulation of idealism that elegantly makes sense of - and reconciles - classical and quantum worlds. The main objections to idealism are systematically refuted and empirical evidence is reviewed that corroborates the formulation presented here. The book closes with an analysis of the hidden psychological motivations behind mainstream physicalism and the implications of idealism for the way we relate to the world. (shrink)
John Lachs in his paper, “Fichte’s Idealism,” suggests that he can detect in Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre “three major lines of argument for his idealistic conclusion.” Lachs examines each of these arguments in turn and concludes that the first “appears … to have no merit.” The second has nothing to recommend it; and the third simply “begs the question.” I wish to argue that much of Lachs’ criticism simply misses its mark. First, Lachs presents each argument independently, as if it were (...) meant to stand on its own. In fact, as will become evident, Fichte regards all three as interdependent aspects of one major argument intended to demonstrate the superiority of critical idealism. Secondly, Lachs, in reconstructing two of the three arguments, ignores certain crucial passages in Fichte’s works; and thus misinterprets or, at least, misrepresents Fichte’s fundamental position. (shrink)
This commentary raises a number of questions in connection with Colin Koopman's paper “Conceptual Analysis for Genealogical Philosophy: How to Study the History of Practices after Foucault and Wittgenstein.” Specifically, this commentary asks about the precise relationship between concepts and practices in Koopman's account and the possibility of resisting certain practices of subjectivation.
John Lachs in his paper, “Fichte’s Idealism,” suggests that he can detect in Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre “three major lines of argument for his idealistic conclusion.” Lachs examines each of these arguments in turn and concludes that the first “appears … to have no merit.” The second has nothing to recommend it; and the third simply “begs the question.” I wish to argue that much of Lachs’ criticism simply misses its mark. First, Lachs presents each argument independently, as if it were (...) meant to stand on its own. In fact, as will become evident, Fichte regards all three as interdependent aspects of one major argument intended to demonstrate the superiority of critical idealism. Secondly, Lachs, in reconstructing two of the three arguments, ignores certain crucial passages in Fichte’s works; and thus misinterprets or, at least, misrepresents Fichte’s fundamental position. (shrink)
This book is a systematic reconstruction of Heidegger's account of time and temporality in Being and Time. The author locates Heidegger in a tradition of 'temporal idealism' with its sources in Plotinus, Leibniz, and Kant. For Heidegger, time can only be explained in terms of 'originary temporality', a concept integral to his ontology. Blattner sets out not only the foundations of Heidegger's ontology, but also his phenomenology of the experience of time. Focusing on a neglected but central aspect (...) of Being and Time, this book will be of considerable interest to all students of Heidegger both inside and outside philosophy. (shrink)
This paper gives an interpretation of Kant's argument for transcendental idealism in the Transcendental Aesthetic. I argue against a common way of reading this argument, which sees Kant as arguing that substantive a priori claims about mind-independent reality would be unintelligible because we cannot explain the source of their justification. I argue that Kant's concern with how synthetic a priori propositions are possible is not a concern with the source of their justification, but with how they can have objects. (...) I argue that Kant's notion of intuition needs to be understood as a kind of representation which involves the presence to consciousness of the object it represents, and that this means that a priori intuition cannot present us with a mind-independent feature of reality. (shrink)
. A brief comparison of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science and the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences is given. The work and emphases of the two Centers overlap but also differ in significant ways. Without neglecting the physical sciences or the Christian tradition, ZCRS would do well to continue to give high priority to the biological sciences and the dialogue with the major world religions.
Philosophers of biology claim that function talk is consistent with naturalism. Yet recent work in biology places new pressure on this claim. An increasing number of biologists propose that the existence of functions depends on the organisation of systems. While systems are part of the domain studied by physics, they are capable of interacting with this domain through organising principles. This is to say that a full account of biological function requires teleology. Does naturalism preclude reference to teleological causes? Or (...) are organised systems precisely a naturalised form of teleology? In this paper I suggest that the biology of organised systems reveals several contradictions in the main philosophical conceptions of naturalism. To integrate organised systems with naturalism’s basic assumptions—that there is no theory-independent view for metaphysics, and that nature is intelligible—I propose an idealist solution. (shrink)
This is a response to Michael Dyer's Commentary on Goswami's Quantum-Based Theory of Consciousness and Free Will, a theory that I will call idealist science - a science based on the primacy of consciousness rather than matter. First, I review Dyer's main points: there is no need for idealist science since cognitive science can explain whatever human phenomena idealist science purports to explain; and idealist science offers nothing new, such as, new methodology or experimental prediction. I then review some of (...) the inadequacies of the cognitive science model of consciousness stemming in part from its impoverished ontology of physical realism. It is shown that cognitive science follows from the new idealist science in the limit of a correspondence principle. In this way, idealist science is seen to support cognitive science while generalizing the scope of science itself to include the subjective aspects of reality. Next, I point out what idealist science gains for us: treatment within science of the subjective aspects of creativity, ethics, free will, and spirituality ; and integration of all the forces of psychology, and also of physics and biology. Finally, I discuss possible experiments to distinguish between realist and idealist models of reality. (shrink)
Midcentury America was governed from the center, a bipartisan consensus of politicians and public opinion that supported government spending on education, the construction of a vast network of interstate highways, healthcare for senior citizens, and environmental protection. These projects were paid for by a steeply progressive tax code, with a top tax rate at one point during the Republican Eisenhower administration of 91 percent. Today, a similar agenda of government action would be portrayed as dangerously left wing. At the same (...) time, radically anti-government and anti-tax opinions are considered part of the mainstream. In _Take Back the Center_, Peter Wenz makes the case for a sane, reality-based politics that reclaims the center for progressive policies. The key, he argues, is taxing the wealthy at higher rates. The tax rate for the wealthiest Americans has declined from the mid-twentieth-century high of 91 percent to a twenty-first-century low of 36 percent--even as social programs are gutted and the gap betweeen rich and poor widens dramatically. Ever since Ronald Reagan famously declared that government was the problem and not the solution, conservatives have had an all-purpose answer to any question: smaller government and lower taxes. Wenz offers an impassioned counterargument. He explains the justice of raising the top tax rates significantly, making a case for less income inequality, and he offers suggestions for how to spend the increased tax revenues: K-12 education, tuition relief, transportation and energy infrastructure, and universal health care. Armed with Wenz's evidence-driven arguments, progressives can position themselves where they belong: in the mainstream of American politics and at the center of American political conversations, helping their country address a precipitous decline in equality and quality of life. (shrink)
Objectives: To assess whether according to healthcare providers, the creation of an ethics service responds to a need; assess the importance of an ethics service for healthcare providers; determine what ethics services should be offered and the preferred formats of delivery; and identify key issues to be initially dealt with by the ethics service.Design: A survey of healthcare providers in Québec’s Centre Local de Services Communautaires , healthcare institutions dedicated to community health and social services.Findings: 96 respondents agreed that (...) an ethics service was needed, and on average the ethics service project was judged to be very important. Preferred formats for ethics consultation and education were identified, as well as key concerns such as the need of respect for the patient as a person, elder abuse and ethical issues in home care.Conclusion: This survey is helping in the implementation of an ethics service and can guide others in similar healthcare institutions. (shrink)