In this book, Gianni Vattimo examines the notion of "difference" in scientific knowledge and contemporary mass society and illustrates the importance of Nietzsche and Heidegger in both formulating the concept and exploring its implications for current debates on the nature of modernity.
Vattimo's intellectual trajectory unfolds from the monographic studies of the 1960s and early 1970s to texts such as, to mention only those available in the English translation, The End of Modernity and The Transparent Society. A sustained concern with the ethical and political implications of postmodern thought has led Vattimo, in his recent works, to focus in particular on the question of the possibility of interpretation, recollection, and communication in the fading of comprehensive metaphysical frameworks, and on the exploration of (...) alternatives to transcendental or "bourgeois/christian" models of subjectivity. In the context of these reflections Vattimo has come to elaborate his felicitous diagnosis of the "weakness" of thought, and to revive the forgotten notion of pietas, strategically reintroduced into the discourse of hermeneutics in order to illuminate both the compassionate and demystifying dimensions of remembrance. (shrink)
In forging a difference between philosophy and religion, contestable generalizations are unavoidable. A helpful question for resisting hasty ones is: Which? If someone asks, “What do Hindus do or believe?” Ask, “Which Hindus?” And if someone asks, “What do atheists believe?” It’s still, “Which atheists?” Distinguishing variations of people who practice a religion helps us get specific. We could ask, “Which religion, and which philosophy?” This might lead to a provocative difference, like Nietzsche’s poke at Christianity as just (...) Platonism for the people. (shrink)
What happened in New York City on September 11, 2001, creates an urgent need for a turn to practical reason, to ethics, to critique, and to a radical,transformative theory and praxis. Contemplation, speculation, pure theory, and contemplative metaphysics in philosophy, while necessary and valuable, are notsufficient in dealing with such an infamous crime against humanity. The central idea running through this paper and much of my work is that there is an essentiallink between rationality and radicalism. The aim of this (...) paper is to explore this link in an argument sketched in three parts: self-appropriation as the pearl of great price in philosophy; a critical theory of society; and a metaphysics and philosophy of religion that are both contemplative and political — a threefold radicality, if you like. This argument seeks to show negatively how the postmodern critique of rationality misfires, and positively how a post-imperial phenomenology, critical theory, and metaphysics/philosophy of religion can do justice to and recognize difference and the otherness of nature, other human beings, being itself, and God.Because in Vietnam the vision of a burning Babeis multiplied, multiplied, the flesh on firenot Christ’s, as Southwell saw it, prefiguringthe Passion upon the Eve of Christmas,but wholly human and repeated, repeated,infant after infant, their names forgotten,their sex unknown in the ashesset alight, flaming but not vanishingnot vanishing as his vision but lingering,cinders upon the earth or living onmoaning and stinking in hospitals three abed;because of this my strong sight,my clear caressive sight, my poet’s sight I was giventhat it might stir me to songis blurredWhy do men then not wreck his rod?Generations have trod, have trod, have trodAnd all is seared with trade, bleared, smeared with toilAnd wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell, the soilIs bare now, nor can foot feel, being. (shrink)
Biesta has suggested that education after humanism should be interested in existence, not essence, in what the subject can do, not in what the subject is—the truth about the subject—and this is the way inspired by Foucault and Levinas. In this article, I analyze Foucault’s alleged deconstruction and reconfiguration of the subject and Levinas’ approach to human subjectivity and suggest that Foucault’s early and later works have already implied certain concepts of the subject and that Levinas’ approach to human subjectivity (...) does not, as has often been perceived in educational circles, avoid theorizing about human subjectivity. Drawing on the French philosophy of difference, particularly Levinas’ ideas of alterity and subjectivity, I propose a post-humanist subject as a singular existence that ‘announces, promises, and at the same time conceals’, that cannot be exhausted, totalized, and replicated. The singular and unique subject, open and responsible to the world and beyond, is indispensible to the educational mission of subjectification. (shrink)
The chiasm is usually considered the key notion for Merleau-Ponty’s later philosophy. I argue against a common conclusion, namely that ‘the chiasm’ is equivalent to ‘reversibility’. Even when the two terms are not taken as interchangeable, the precise nature of their relation has not been adequately established. Focusing exclusively on ‘reversibility’ has implications for a range of philosophical issues, including relations between self and other. The danger of substituting one term for the other is that existential relations are construed as (...) inversions, rather than as genuine exchanges. I examine two trajectories that can be discovered in ‘The Intertwining—The Chiasm’. The first is the inclusion of difference within a peculiar, extended sense of ‘reversibility’. The second is the development of a plurality of expressions, among which ‘reversibility’ is necessary but not sufficient. I go on to argue that Merleau-Ponty secures difference within the chiasm by supplementing the notion of reversibility with ‘imminence’, the idea that something has not yet occurred. I also propose that the figure of a threshold illuminates how the chiasm operates as a transition where both joining and differentiation occur. (shrink)
Postcolonial studies and decolonial theory make visible the nature and extent of Eurocentrism through a critique of constructed categories as basic as “history” and “culture.” Walter Mignolo asserts a strong claim that the concept of “culture” is itself a colonial construction, and hence all cultural difference bears the mark of coloniality. This thesis presents a challenge to the field of comparative philosophy: What does “cross-cultural” philosophy even mean if all so-called cultural difference is indeed colonial difference? Could (...) comparativists, in the wake of this critique, preserve the possibility of cross-cultural philosophical inquiry even when basic terms of discourse are suspended? This essay is a thought experiment in accepting Mignolo's general premise that all cultural difference is colonial difference, through which I offer three strategies for philosophizing comparatively under this constraint: historical contextualization, subversive categorization, and decen.. (shrink)
Both thinkings on Dao in Chinese philosophy and metaphysics in Western philosophy investigate things on a spiritual level that transcends experience, but there are incommensurable differences between them. The objective of “metaphysics” is ontological knowledge about nature from the perspective of epistemological “truth-pursuing”. Western metaphysics is thus a “metaphysics of nature”. Dao in Chinese philosophy, on the other hand, more often manifests itself in “good-pursuing” by means of the internal, experiential pursuit of moral stature and spiritual security. Philosophy of Dao (...) is thus a “metaphysics of ethics”. The cause of this difference can be traced back to the differences between the rational tradition of the West, characterized by the dualism of the subject and the object, and the moral tradition of China, characterized by the integration of man and nature. (shrink)
To answer the question of what difference the philosophy of history makes to the philosophy of law this paper begins by calling attention to the way that Ronald Dworkin's interpretive theory of law is supposed to upend legal positivism. My analysis shows how divergent theories about what law and the basis of legal authority is are supported by divergent points of view about what concepts are, how they operate within social practices, and how we might best give account of (...) such meanings. Such issues are widely debated in the philosophy of history but are often overlooked in jurisprudential circles. When the legal positivist approach to meanings is contrasted with Dworkin's interpretivism it is clear that what is needed is an alternative to both, in the form of what we might call "historical meanings" and "historical interpretation". While Dworkin's interpretivism gets it right that legal positivism is an inadequate philosophy of law to the extent that it is committed to a "criterial semantics" view of concepts, this paper argues that post-positivism in the philosophy of law need not entail a normative jurisprudence, as Dworkin would have it. (shrink)
The purpose is to determine logically the difference between philosophy and science. It is concluded that the fundamental logical difference is: in the analytic concepts of philosophy intension and extension vary inversely whereas in the synthetic concepts of science they vary directly. The scientific concept is the ideal limit of the more and more intensive specification of philosophical concepts. (staff).
Alison Stone offers a feminist defence of the idea that sexual difference is natural, providing a new interpretation of the later philosophy of Luce Irigaray. She defends Irigaray's unique form of essentialism and her rethinking of the relationship between nature and culture, showing how Irigaray's ideas can be reconciled with Judith Butler's performative conception of gender, through rethinking sexual difference in relation to German Romantic philosophies of nature. This is the first sustained attempt to connect feminist conceptions of (...) embodiment to German idealist and Romantic accounts of nature. Not merely an interpretation of Irigaray, this book also presents an original feminist perspective on nature and the body. It will encourage debate on the relations between sexual difference, essentialism, and embodiment. (shrink)
Summarizes author’s contextual empiricism and uses it to analyze the difference between neuro-endocrinological accounts of presumed behavioral sex differences and neuro-selectionist accounts. Contextual empiricism is a philosophical approach that both shows how feminist critique works in the sciences and makes a contribution to general philosophy of science.
Reading Hegel's 1827 Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion alongside his Phenomenology of Spirit, I argue that his vision for becoming a self-conscious subject-or seeing (oneself as) "spirit"-requires taking responsibility for the insight that every act of reason expresses an experience of sexual difference. It entails working to bring into being communities whose conceptions of gender and the absolute realize this idea.
This article examines the seventeenth-century debate between the Dutch philosopher Benedict de Spinoza and the British scientist Robert Boyle, with a view to explicating what the twentieth-century French philosopher Gilles Deleuze considers to be the difference between science and philosophy. The two main themes that are usually drawn from the correspondence of Boyle and Spinoza, and used to polarize the exchange, are the different views on scientific methodology and on the nature of matter that are attributed to each correspondent. (...) Commentators have tended to focus on one or the other of these themes in order to champion either Boyle or Spinoza in their assessment of the exchange. This paper draws upon the resources made available by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in their major work What is Philosophy?, in order to offer a more balanced account of the exchange, which in its turn contributes to our understanding of Deleuze and Guattari’s conception of the difference between science and philosophy. (shrink)
This paper intends to invoke the spirit of Hegel as the éminence grise behind analytical and continental philosophy. Both movements can be seen to originate in, or to receive a strong impetus in their development from, a repudiation of Hegel. Even Russell's quest for a systematic logical analysis of language may be seen as an attempt at a quasi- or anti-Hegelian systematicity. The collapse of this systematicity has led to the celebration of difference in both the analytical and continental (...) schools. Another feature of contemporary philosophy is the priority given to invention and creativity over discovery. In this respect, Nietzsche is the master-figure underlying all contemporary allegiance to, and indeed, obsession with, the twin idols of creation and difference. (shrink)
Art, Mimesis and the Avant-Garde explores the relationship between art and philosophy. Andrew Benjamin argues for a reworking of the task of philosophy in terms of the centrality of ontology. It is in relation to this centrality, understood through the differences between modes of being, that art, mimesis, and the avant-garde come to be presented. A fundamental part of this book is the original interpretations of important contemporary painters and their themes: Lucian Freud's self-portraits, Francis Bacon 's use of mirrors, (...) R. B. Kitaj and Jewish identity, Anselm Kiefer and iconoclasm. Apart from painting, Benjamin considers architecture, literature, and the philosophical writings of Walter Benjamin and Descartes in elaborating the various aspects of ontological difference. Benjamin develops the theory of the avant-garde as a philosophical category rather than a historical marker, thus bringing the worlds of contemporary art criticism and contemporary philosophy closer together. (shrink)
Although there is a deep channel dividing British philosophy of religion from French thought associated with poststructuralism, much is to be gained from communication between the two. In this paper I explore three central areas of difference: the understanding of the subject, of language, and of God/religion. In each case I show that continental philosophy pursues these areas in ways which make issues of gender central to their understanding; and suggest that, while continental thought is neither monolithic nor beyond (...) criticism, its understandings of difference are of great value to religious thought. (shrink)
: Reading Hegel's 1827 Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion alongside his Phenomenology of Spirit, I argue that his vision for becoming a self-conscious subject—or seeing (oneself as) "spirit"—requires taking responsibility for the insight that every act of reason expresses an experience of sexual difference. It entails working to bring into being communities whose conceptions of gender and the absolute realize this idea.
This article explains the apparent tension between Hobbes' late work A Dialogue between A Philosopher and A Student of the Common Laws of England and his avowed goal of a deductive philosophy which eschews rhetoric and history, by analysing the difference between Hobbes' civil and natural philosophy. A Dialogue's simultaneous use of deduction, rhetoric, and historical citation is congruent with the method applied by Hobbes in Leviathan in order to construct his "civil philosophy". This highlights Hobbes' awareness increasing with (...) the years of the difference between the teachings of "natural philosophy" which are understood by demonstration, and once this is done are evident per se, and those of politics and jurisprudence which in order to make the people obey the sovereign maintaining peace and security, may require employing the language of persuasion before and after being demonstrated. However, I have argued that the awareness of this difference does not undermine the general unity of his philosophical system and in particular of his notion of science. (shrink)
The dissertation presents a systematic analysis of the work of the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze , using two interrelated themes as its guiding threads. The first is the concept of "difference," which is normally conceived as an empirical relation between two terms each of which have a prior identity of their own . In Deleuze, this primacy is inverted: identity persists, but it is now a secondary principle produced by a prior relation between differential elements. Difference here becomes (...) a transcendental principle that constitutes the sufficient reason of empirical diversity as such. The second theme thus concerns Deleuze's relation to Kant. Deleuze's philosophy, I argue, can be read as both an inversion and a completion of Kant's philosophy--a "transcendental empiricism," as Deleuze puts it. It entails a resumption of the critical project on a new basis and with an entirely new set of non-categorical concepts. Each chapter of the dissertation considers a philosophical domain that roughly parallels those laid out in the architectonic of Kant's three Critiques in order to examine the implications of the positing of a principle of difference in each of them: Dialectics, or the theory of the Idea; Aesthetics, or the theory of Sensation; Analytics, or the theory of the concept; Ethics, or the theory of affectivity; and Politics, or social theory. Taken together, the five chapters attempt to present the broad outlines of Deleuze's philosophy of difference, and to indicate the nature of its demands in each of these domains. (shrink)
The work of Gilles Deleuze has had an impact far beyond philosophy. He is among Foucault and Derrida as one of the most cited of all contemporary French thinkers. Never a student 'of' philosophy, Deleuze was always philosophical and many influential poststructuralist and postmodernist texts can be traced to his celebrated resurrection of Nietzsche against Hegel in his Nietzsche and Philosophy , from which this collection draws its title. This searching new collection considers Deleuze's relation to the philosophical tradition and (...) beyond to the future of philosophy, science and technology. In addition to considering Deleuze's imaginative readings of classic figures such as Spinoza and Kant, the essays also point to the meaning of Deleuze on 'monstrous' and machinic thinking, on philosophy and engineering, on philosophy and biology, on modern painting and literature. Deleuze and Philosophy continues the spirit of experimentation and invention that features in Deleuze's work and will appeal to those studying across philosophy, social theory, literature and cultural studies who themselves are seeking new paradigms of thought. (shrink)
The intersection of Foucault and Hadot's work in the philosophy of antiquity is a dense and fruitful meeting. Not only do each of the philosophers offer competing interpretations of antiquity, their differences also reflect on their opposing assessments of the contemporary situation and the continuing philosophical debate between the universal and the relative. Unpacking these two philosophers’ disagreements on antiquity sheds light on how Hadot’s commitment to the Universal and Foucault’s commitment to an aesthetics of existence stem from their diagnoses (...) of the present and the persistent philosophical issue of universalism. This line of analysis is especially productive to pursue in relation to Hadot and Foucault because of the rigor of their thought, the lack of polemics in its debate, and the importance of both thinkers to philosophy generally. (shrink)
1. Conferences on the subject of need are lamentably rare. All the more honour then for this one to the Royal Institute of Philosophy, to the Philosophy Department at Durham, and to Soran Reader, the organizer and editor.1. Conferences on the subject of need are lamentably rare. All the more honour then for this one to the Royal Institute of Philosophy, to the Philosophy Department at Durham, and to Soran Reader, the organizer and editor.
Justin Smith's book, a sophisticated history of the scientific and philosophical debates on nature, human nature, and human difference in the last centuries, is an important contribution to the pressing task of understanding and remedying our seemingly intractable color prejudice, that "curious kink" of the "human mind," as W. E. B. DuBois put it in a passage Smith uses as an epigraph to his book. It reveals how kinds of people, notably races that appear to be natural kinds, "carved (...) out within nature," in fact only come into being "in the course of human history as a result of the way human beings conceptualize the world around them". It also reveals how the gradual emergence of the race concept was facilitated... (shrink)
In 1989 Oxford University Press launched a new programme of monographs in moral philosophy entitled the ‘Oxford Ethics Series’. Given that the series' editor is Derek Parfit it is unsurprising that the books published to date feature rigorous analysis and argumentation regarding the nature of reasons and requirements. Perhaps by way of intended commitment to this profile, the following brief statement appears on the cover of the first volume : ‘The books in the series will contain philosophical arguments about morality (...) or rationality. The aim will be to make undeniable progress’. (shrink)
Making a Difference presents fifteen original essays on causation and counterfactuals by an international team of experts. Collectively, they represent the state of the art on these topics. The essays in this volume are inspired by the life and work of Peter Menzies, who made a difference in the lives of students, colleagues, and friends. Topics covered include: the semantics of counterfactuals, agency theories of causation, the context-sensitivity of causal claims, structural equation models, mechanisms, mental causation, causal exclusion (...) argument, free will, and the consequence argument. (shrink)
Analytic theology is often seen as an outgrowth of analytic philosophy of religion. It isn’t fully clear, however, whether it differs from analytic philosophy of religion in some important way. Is analytic theology really just a sub-field of analytic philosophy of religion, or can it be distinguished from the latter in virtue of fundamental differences at the level of subject matter or metholodology? These are pressing questions for the burgeoning field of analytic theology. The aim of this article, then, will (...) be to map out several forms that analytic theology might (and in some cases actually does) take before examining the extent to which each can be thought to be distinct from analytic philosophy of religion. (shrink)