The first half of the paper consists of a philosophical reflection upon a historical exchange. I discuss Buber’s famous letter, and another letter by J. L. Magnes, to Mahatma Gandhi, both challenging the universality of the principle of ahiṃsā. I also touch on Buber’s interest and acquaintance with Indian philosophy, as an instance of dialogue de-facto across cultures. Gandhi never answered these letters, but his grandson and philosopher extraordinaire Ramchandra Gandhi ›answers‹ Buber, not on the letter but about the ideal (...) of dialogue at large, and the interconnection of dialogue and ahiṃsā. The second half of the paper focuses on the work of Daya Krishna, another ›philosopher of dialogue.‹ from within Daya Krishna’s vast philosophical corpus, I underscore one of his last projects, in which he sketches the outlines of what he refers to as »knowledge without certainty,« contrary to common and traditional ways of perceiving the concept of knowledge. I argue that the pramāṇa, means and measure of knowledge, in the intriguing case of »knowledge without certainty,« depicted by Daya Krishna as open-ended, dynamic, constantly evolving, is inevitably dialogue, and I aim to disclose the meaning and salience of dialogue in Daya Krishna’s oeuvre. However, not just the content, but also the form, or the ›how,‹ matters in my paper. I use different materials across genres and disciplines to rethink, in dialogue with Buber and Daya Krishna, the possibilities and impossibilities of dialogue. These ›materials‹ include Milan Kundera and Richard Rorty, Krishna and Arjuna, Vrinda Dalmiya who works with the notion of care as bridging between epistemology and ethics, Wes Anderson on seeing through the eyes of the other, and Ben Okri on hospitality in the realm of ideas. As author of the present paper I am moderating an imagined a multi-vocal dialogue between these ›participants‹ on dialogue as concept, as craft and especially, as a great necessity in the world in which we live. (shrink)
Distinguished contributors take up eminent scholar Daniel R. Schwarz’s reading of modern fiction and poetry as mediating between human desire and human action. The essayists follow Schwarz’s advice, “always the text, always historicize,” thus making this book relevant to current debates about the relationships between literature, ethics, aesthetics, and historical contexts.
In this interview, Cornelius Castoriadis explains and develops many of the central themes in his later writings on politics and social criticism. In particular, he poignantly articulates his critique of contemporary pseudo-democracy, while advocating a form of democracy founded on collective education and self-government. He also explores how the “insignificance” in the current political arena relates to insignificance in other areas, such as the arts and philosophy, to form the core feature of our Zeitgeist. Finally, he seeks to break through (...) the ideological fog of liberalism and privatization in order to voice a radical appeal for an autonomous, self-limiting society. (shrink)
Many libertarians believe that self-ownership is a separate matter from ownership of extra-personal property. “No-proviso” libertarians hold that property ownership should be free of any “fair share” constraints, on the grounds that the inability of the very poor to control property leaves their self-ownership intact. By contrast, left-libertarians hold that while no one need compensate others for owning himself, still property owners must compensate others for owning extra-personal property. What would a “self” have to be for these claims to be (...) true? I argue that both of these camps must conceive of the boundaries of the self as including one's body but no part of the extra-personal world. However, other libertarians draw those boundaries differently, so that self-ownership cannot be separated from the right to control extra-personal property after all. In that case, property ownership must be subject to a fair share constraint, but that constraint does not require appropriators to pay compensation. This view, which I call “right libertarianism,” differs importantly from the other types primarily in its conception of the self, which I argue is independently more plausible. (shrink)
Most theisms and atheisms share an assumption about what divine action would look like; if God is real and acts in the world, then God acts through intervention, invading the mechanistic world as an alien agent. Whitehead's Religious Thought takes dead aim at this contention, arguing that such conceptions of divine intervention emerge from and reinforce a problematic dualism that permeates western theological discourse. Throughout his text Daniel A. Dombrowski links dualistic conceptions of human experience with metaphysical dualism, but (...) also argues that materialistic or mechanistic conceptions of the universe all presume the same basic constituents: machines and ghosts. Materialism rids the world of ghosts and... (shrink)
This interview explores the key themes and ideas in Daniel Chernilo’s recent book Debating Humanity: Towards a Philosophical Sociology. It is a hugely ambitious book that tackles a range of questions around the notion of humanity and the category of the human. Drawing on a wide range of thinkers, the book pushes at a number of far-reaching issues, problems and questions concerning humanity. It’s a rich text that develops themes that are likely to be of interest across the social (...) sciences and humanities, not least because it tackles some of the most difficult and crucial questions that face social theory today. The interview was conducted in October 2017. (shrink)
L'attachement aux coutumes locales tient à tous les sentiments désintéressés, nobles et pieux. Quelle politique deplorable que celle qui en fait de la rébellion! Qu'arrive-t-il? Que dans tous les États où l'on détruit ainsi toute vie partielle, un petit État se forme au centre: dans la capitale s'agglomèrent tous les intérêts: là vont s'agiter toutes les ambitions: le reste est immobile. Les individus, perdus dans un isolement contre nature, étrangers au lieu de leur naissance, sans contact avec le passé, ne (...) vivant que dans un présent rapide, et jetés comme des atomes sur une plaine immense et nivelée, se détachent d'une patrie qu'ils n'aperçoivent nulle part, et dont l'ensemble leur devient indifférent, parce que leur affection ne peut se reposer sur aucune de ses parties. (shrink)
Many Christian theodicists believe that God's creating us with the capacity to love Him and each other justifies, in large part, God's permitting evil. For example, after reminding us that, according to Christian doctrine, the supreme good for human beings is to enter into a reciprocal love relationship with God, Vincent Brümmer recently wrote: In creating human persons in order to love them, God necessarily assumes vulnerability in relation to them. In fact, in this relation, he becomes even more vulnerable (...) than we do, since he cannot count on the steadfastness of our love the way we can count on his steadfastness… If God did not grant us the ability to sin and cause affliction to him and to one another, we would not have the kind of free and autonomous existence necessary to enter into a relation of love with God and with one another… Far from contradicting the value which the free will defence places upon the freedom and responsibility of human persons, the idea of a loving God necessarily entails it. In this way we can see that the free will defence is based on the love of God rather than on the supposed intrinsic value of human freedom and responsibility. (shrink)
For one with libertarian sympathies, the official regulation of foods and drugs is presumptively a bad thing. One is most accustomed to seeing the argument in debates about legalizing marijuana and other hedonic drugs. And it remains a very good if by now well-trafficked question, which will be more well-trafficked still by the time this essay ends, why government should be in the business of telling people what sorts of chemical moodenhancers they may take. But as the criminologist James Jacobs (...) has pointed out, to ask this question is to put in play matters far larger and more important than marijuana. What business is it of government to say what medicines may be sold and by whom they may be sold? Why should certain chemical agents be available to willing buyers only with a doctor's scrip, and other agents, such as unproved drugs or devices, forbidden to all, even with medical permission? If libertarians answer these questions impatiently, then admirers of the administrative welfare state will be happy to play rope-a-dope with them, chattering on about the endearing eccentricities of libertarians' assumptions and avoiding the challenge to articulate and defend their own increasingly shabby-looking principles. Those principles are much in need of defense. Food and drug laws are among the most well-established offices of regulatory government. They are complicated, hypertechnical, mysterious, and expensive to administer and maintain. One is entitled to suspect that a number of them are carried on more out of habit and routine than out of any authentic conviction that they are the best way, or among the better ways, to provide for the welfare of citizens. (shrink)
There has been much discussion in recent years of the role of moral ideas within Marxism. Marx's stringent criticisms of purely philosophical inquiry impose rather narrow limits on the form which a Marxian moral philosophy might take. For Marx often holds that moral ideas and moral theorizing are irremediably ideological. By this Marx appears to mean that moral ideas are part and parcel of a system of class domination, a way of preserving class domination through internalized norms. As many recent (...) commentators have shown, however, these criticisms of moral reasoning, though present in Marx's system, cannot be the beginning and end of his stance on moral matters. For Marx himself is committed to making normative judgments about capitalism and socialism, and there is a richly textured set of normative ideas that run through his writings from early to late. Further, and perhaps more compellingly, there is a pressing need internal to Marxism for discussion of moral ideas in order to steer the course towards the attainment of socialism. (shrink)
En esta entrevista con el Prof. Dr. Daniel Brauer, uno de los investigadores que ha dedicado importantes estudios al pensamiento de Hegel y ha contribuido a su recepción en Argentina, se ponen de manifiesto algunos momentos significativos de su experiencia como docente e investigador en las últimas décadas.
The great work of the psychotic judge Daniel Paul Schreber, namely Memoirs of My Nervous Illness, has received predictable and rather unimaginative interpretations as the discourse of a lunatic. The work has not been studied as a theory of law. Schreber, it is argued here, was an extreme lawyer, a radical melancholegalist, a black letter theorist, a critic avant la lettre, and a radical theorist of an impure jurisprudence.
By consequentialism, I mean the position that actions are right or wrong insofar as they affect the happiness, preferences, etc., of some class of sentient beings, usually humans. Consequentialism specifies a fairly narrow range of properties as being the determining factors in regard to actions being right or wrong. Each action has properties other than how it affects the happiness preferences, etc., of humans. According to consequentialism, the kind of action it is, the motivation behind the action, and other consequences, (...) for instance, the consequence of having broken a promise, are not relevant to the question of whether an action is right or wrong. (shrink)