This essay reads J.M. Coetzee’s novel, Diary of a Bad Year, as an occasion to problematize contemporary bioethical paradigms. Coetzee’s rhetorical strategies are analyzed to better understand the “scene of address” within which ethical claims can be voiced. Drawing on Foucault’s Socratic understanding of ethics as the self’s relation to itself, self-relation is explored through the rhetorical figure of catachresis. The essay ultimately argues that the ethical voice emerges when the terms—terms by which I relate to myself, to others, to (...) my own body, and to the bodies of others—are themselves subject to catachrestic refiguration. (shrink)
Perhaps no other novel has received as much attention from moral philosophers as South African writer J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace . The novel is ethically compelling and yet no moral theory explains its force. Despite clear Kantian moments, neither rationalism nor self-respect can account for the strange ethical task that the protagonist sets for himself. Calling himself the dog man, like the ancient Cynics, this shamelessly cynical protagonist takes his cues for ethics not from humans but from animals. He does (...) not however claim much in the way of empathy or understanding of animals, and his own odd motives remain a puzzle throughout the stages of his ethical transformation. Many scholars approach Coetzee’s text through an ethics of alterity, and even argue that Disgrace is exemplary in this regard. Kristeva’s rendition of alterity ethics brings us close to the novel’s vision, and yet the novel points towards a more primordial basis for ethics in the search for meaning through the human encounter with other animal species. (shrink)
Having been struck by the Levinasian aspects of J.M. Coetzee's Age of Iron, this article tries to ‘reveal' Coetzee's novel as a Levinasian narration of how the other ruptures a specific subject's self-regarding egoism, leading the subject to take up its responsibility for the other. Throughout, the concreteness and realism of the novel is considered supplementary to the abstraction of Levinas's philosophical thought. It is demonstrated how the main character in Age of Iron, Elizabeth Curren, is confronted by the other (...) as a face, has her right to be put into question by the other, experiences guilt for her usurpation of the place of the other, which becomes positive in her assuming responsibility for the other. In awakening to the other, Curren moves from a Heideggerean concern with her own death (she is dying of cancer) towards a Levinasian prioritising of the other's life over her own. Her coming into contact with the political violence and oppression of late 1980s South Africa adds to and focuses her expiation for the other. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.24(1) 2005: 22-32. (shrink)
The author finds no support for the claim that J. M. Keynes had severe reservations, in general, as opposed to particular, concerning the application of mathematical, logical and statistical methods in economics. These misinterpretations rest on the omission of important source material as well as a severe misconstrual ofThe Treatise on Probability (1921).
Disgrace , by J.M. Coetzee, is a story of a rape; more, it is a tale in which the victim of the rape, Lucy Lurie, is silent. She demands neither sympathy nor justice for what happens toher, presenting herself as neither a victim nor someone seeking revenge. Instead she stands as a witness, and does so by adopting an attitude reminiscent of the thinking of Simone Weil—rejecting the possibility of rights, and not looking for explanations. Rape, Coetzee thus suggests, is (...) an act without meaning, a trauma whose reality cannot be exorcised through narration. Fittingly, therefore, the novel ends with a tableau of Lucy growing flowers in her garden; living, like Candide, without rationalisation or consolatory myth. (shrink)
Abstract It is shown that J. M. Keynes was the originator of what is called a weighted monetary value (WMV) approach to decision making under uncertainty and risk as opposed to either the expected monetary value (EMV) or subjective expected utility (SEU) approaches.
The controversy between Alfred Werner and Sophus Mads Jørgensen over the structure of complex inorganic compounds is not among the best known of the many controversies in the history of chemistry, but it is one of the most thoroughly described in the historical literature. This is due almost solely to the works of George Kauffman, the distinguished American historian of chemistry and specialist in the history of coordination chemistry. Kauffman has described and analysed almost every aspect of the development of (...) coordination chemistry and has in several works dealt with the Werner–Jørgensen controversy which ran from 1894 to 1899. Because of Kauffman's expertise and many works in the area, his account is likely to be taken as authoritative and his conclusions repeated in later historical works. This paper argues that this is unwarranted at least in one particular respect, namely the evaluation of Jørgensen and the way the controversy terminated. Kauffman's version of this episode has frequently appeared in print during a period of thirty-five years, first in 1959 and most recently in 1994. My conclusion is that it cannot survive critical examination. (shrink)
The most disturbing gift that Disgrace presents to its readers is the hushed resolve with which Lucy Lurie emerges from her rape to reaffirm her way of life. To consider that way of life, the reader is first invited to align oneself with David Lurie's initial normative reading of his daughter's rape; but then, in a second important step, to join in the change of mind by which David overcomes this initial blindness. Imagine what accepting the invitation to take both (...) of these steps demands of the reader: Will you let yourself undergo a change of mind with David to resee Lucy as resolute and proactive? Will you allow yourself to think along with Lucy that horrific violence does not demand retaliation?Descriptions of... (shrink)
The aim of this article is to reconstruct Bocheński’s method of philosophical analysis as well as to clarify the purpose of that method and its basic elements. In the second part of the paper I will compare Bocheński’s method with the methods of modern applied ontology.
The article offers an analysis of Józef Bocheński's studies of the concept of nation. Bocheński acknowledges that there are difficulties in defining a nation. After that he claims that he will attempt to propose a definition of the Polish nation. Nation is a social group centered around some cultural ideal. The analysis shows that Bocheński did not avoid serious logical problems. First of all, he constantly falls into a circular reasoning. Furthermore, it is called into question if it makes sense (...) to refer to a cultural ideal or ideology while defining a nation. Is not such an attempt essentially bound to become circular? A doubt is also raised whether nowadays, in the face of constant migration of people and cultural ideals, one can continue to reasonably talk about nations. (shrink)