This essay reconsiders Foucault’s writings on the Iranian Revolution in the context of his thought during 1977-1979. The essay defends three related claims: (1) Foucault does not turn away from power toward ethics as many scholars have claimed, (2) Careful interpretation of the texts on the Iranian Revolution will help us to better understand Foucault’s essays and lecture courses from this period (in particular, the relationship between political spirituality and counter-conduct), and (3) During this period Foucault is working on conceptualizing (...) modernity as a multivalent set of practices—some that reinforce power relations and some that resist them. (shrink)
This essay provides an account of the role of ritual in governmentality through an analysis of key texts during the period roughly from 1973 through 1981. I claim that ritual plays an essential role in Foucault’s analysis of juridical forms and sovereign power as well as conduct and counter-conduct understood as features of governmentality and political rationality.
Commentators often construe Foucault as an anti-Enlightenment thinker; much of this criticism assumes that Foucault inherits early German Romanticism in some sense. This essay examines these claims by assessing the role the German Romantics play in Foucault’s work, both early and late. After a brief consideration of the meaning of the term “Romanticism,” the essay examines the role that language and literature plays in Foucault early texts before examining the place of self-formation or Bildung in his later work. I conclude (...) that examining the relationship between Foucault and the German Romantics can help us better understand Foucault’s texts and thereby avoid what Foucault terms the “blackmail of the Enlightenment,” the idea that one must be either for or against Enlightenment ideals rather than critically interrogating them. (shrink)
This essay assesses the prescience of Benjamin’s “Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” by examining its conclusions in light of the Global War on Terror. Following an initial section in which I provide a brief overview of Benjamin’s essay and revisit its conclusion, I proceed to analyze the various ways that Bush administration officials claimed that they could remake the world in America’s image. The key question at stake in this paper is whether Benjamin’s analyses still prove (...) useful for understanding the relationship between art and politics at this moment in history. This paper begins to extend Benjamin’s analysis of art as a mass medium to contemporary society by investigating various ways that the Global War on Terror was justified to the American people during the Bush administration. Specifically, I am interested in the idea that art remakes the world in opposition to reality, and the relationship between this idea and age-old aspirations to empire. (shrink)
Our reasons for avoiding death are manifold, encompassing among others, motives that are personal, political, and historical. Still, are there ways that we might use words to overcome these common everyday aversions to death and the dead through another modality of language, that of poetry for example? Can the poetic word get us to acknowledge the particulars of death despite the various reasons we have to disavow it? Might we use language not simply grasp death abstractly but instead to realize (...) what death means in its awful particularity? These questions are prompted by Aimé Césaire’s poerty and his prose, and by his elegy for Emmett Till in particular. Through his writings and his political work, one of Césaire’s key aims was to get people to acknowledge what they would prefer to avoid. Césaire’s work, both his poetry and prose, urges readers to see the things they would prefer not to see and to show us how language stakes us to the world in all its terrifying awfulness and wondrous splendor, despite our desperate attempts to avoid this realization. This essay is divided into two parts. The first part looks at how this problem of alienation and the need to acknowle this alienation motivates Césaire’s writing more generally, focusing on the ten years between 1945 and 1955. In order to consider how alienation and acknowledgement work in this celebrated text, I consider related works and their contexts from the period from 1950-1956, including his famous letter of resignation from the French Communist Party. This sets the stage for the reading of Césaire’s Ferraments provided in the second section. The second part examines how and why Césaire sought acknowledgement for Emmett Till’s brutal murder through his poetry, focusing specifically on his poem “…On the State of the Union” from his 1960 collection Ferraments. (shrink)
In his essay "What Is Enlightenment?" Foucault compares the role of modernity in the work of the decadent Parisian poet Charles Baudelaire with that of the austere Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant. He claims that the relationship between these two strange bedfellows can be found in the value each writer accords to the present in contrast to the past and future. Each writer claims, in his own style, that each individual must render his or her existence meaningful by cultivating what Foucault (...) calls in this essay a philosophical ethos. This conception of the philosophical form of life forms the conceptual basis of Foucault's later work. I briefly interpret Foucault's discussion of Kant and Baudelaire in "What Is .. (shrink)
This collection features original essays that examine Walter Benjamin¿s and Theodor Adorno¿s essays and correspondence on literature. Taken together, the essays present the view that these two monumental figures of 20th-century philosophy were not simply philosophers who wrote about literature, but that they developed their philosophies in and through their encounters with literature. Benjamin, Adorno, and the Experience of Literature is divided into three thematic sections. The first section contains essays that directly demonstrate the ways in which literature enriched the (...) thinking of Benjamin and Adorno. It explores themes that are recognized to be central to their thinking¿mimesis, the critique of historical progress, and the loss and recovery of experience¿through their readings of literary authors such as Baudelaire, Beckett, and Proust. The second section continues the trajectory of the first by bringing together four essays on Benjamin¿s and Adorno¿s reading of Kafka, whose work helped them develop a distinctive critique of and response to capitalism. The third and final section focuses more intently on the question of what it means to gain authentically critical insight into a literary work. The essays examine Benjamin¿s response to specific figures, including Georg B¿chner, Robert Walser, and Julien Green, whose work he sees as neglected, undigested, or misunderstood. This book offers a unique examination of two pivotal 20th-century philosophers through the lens of their shared experiences with literature. It will appeal to a wide range of scholars across philosophy, literature, and German studies. (shrink)
This book is aimed at both philosophers and scholars of American literature who wish to reexamine the philosophical depth of Melville’s writings. Contributions deal with various philosophical aspects of Melville’s work, including well-known texts such as Moby-Dick as well as lesser-known works such as Pierre, “The Encantadas,” and Clarel.
ABSTRACT A review of two distinctive yet, in the end, complementary approaches to reviving Nietzsche as a political thinker beyond his early reception as a prophet of National Socialism or subsequently as an apolitical thinker.
Oksala’s book is the latest in a series of attempts to examine Foucault’s work during the late 1970s. We can delineate two clear trends in recent Foucault scholarship on this period: the first trend provides analyses and evaluations of this period while asecond trend attempts to apply Foucault’s analyses of these key concepts to contemporary society. Oksala’s book attempts to do both, although if forced to choose one would have to place it more firmly in the first camp than the (...) second. Accordingly, the first section of this review essay situates Oksala’s book within this recent context. I discuss her analysis and reconstruction of Foucault’s late 1970s work before turning in the final section to the various ways that she applies this analysis to current legal and political debates. (shrink)
This essay examines various intellectual affinities between Dewey and Baldwin, including their pragmatic and tragic conceptions of history. I argue in the first section that Dewey’s attention to the precarious dimensions of experience and his critique of dominant modes of inquiry that prioritize the stable over the precarious pay insufficient attention to race, though this focus on the precarious over the stable aspects of experience is enough to show that pragmatism does acknowledge the tragic dimension. The subsequent section argues that (...) this insufficiency might be rectified through a reading of Baldwin’s work. While Dewey and Baldwin both acknowledge that existence is finite and precarious, Baldwin shows that racism and the promotion of white identity is essentially an attempt to disavow the precariousness of existence. Baldwin’s writings should supplement Dewey’s theory of experience and his account of history because we find in them an acknowledgement of the deep institutional roots of racial oppression and various forms of resistance to this oppression as a key dimension of American history. (shrink)
Whose Public? The Stakes of Citizens United.Corey McCall - 2018 - In David Boonin, Katrina L. Sifferd, Tyler K. Fagan, Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Michael Huemer, Daniel Wodak, Derk Pereboom, Stephen J. Morse, Sarah Tyson, Mark Zelcer, Garrett VanPelt, Devin Casey, Philip E. Devine, David K. Chan, Maarten Boudry, Christopher Freiman, Hrishikesh Joshi, Shelley Wilcox, Jason Brennan, Eric Wiland, Ryan Muldoon, Mark Alfano, Philip Robichaud, Kevin Timpe, David Livingstone Smith, Francis J. Beckwith, Dan Hooley, Russell Blackford, John Corvino, Corey McCall, Dan Demetriou, Ajume Wingo, Michael Shermer, Ole Martin Moen, Aksel Braanen Sterri, Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, Jeppe von Platz, John Thrasher, Mary Hawkesworth, William MacAskill, Daniel Halliday, Janine O’Flynn, Yoaav Isaacs, Jason Iuliano, Claire Pickard, Arvin M. Gouw, Tina Rulli, Justin Caouette, Allen Habib, Brian D. Earp, Andrew Vierra, Subrena E. Smith, Danielle M. Wenner, Lisa Diependaele, Sigrid Sterckx, G. Owen Schaefer, Markus K. Labude, Harisan Unais Nasir, Udo Schuklenk, Benjamin Zolf & Woolwine (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy. Springer Verlag. pp. 329-339.details
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is a 2010 US Supreme Court decision that fundamentally transformed federal election financing. As a result, we have seen a drastic increase in the amount of so-called soft money that wealthy individuals and corporations contribute to political campaigns. Following a brief overview of the case and the precedent that formed the basis for the ruling, this chapter concerns philosophical stakes of the decision and what precisely it says about the public today and the role (...) of philosophy within it. I argue that there are three basic issues here. First is the issue of corruption. Second is the question of propaganda and the potential dangers the Citizens United case might pose for a democratic polity. Finally, I examine the dangers this poses for a democratic polity. (shrink)