In Truth and Truthfulness, Bernard Williams sought to defend the value of truth by giving a vindicatory genealogy revealing its instrumental value. But what separates Williams’s instrumental vindication from the indirect utilitarianism of which he was a critic? And how can genealogy vindicate anything, let alone something which, as Williams says of the concept of truth, does not have a history? In this paper, I propose to resolve these puzzles by reading Williams as a type of pragmatist and his genealogy (...) as a pragmatic genealogy. On this basis, I show just in what sense Williams’s genealogy can by itself yield reasons to cultivate a sense of the value of truth. Using various criticisms of Williams’s genealogical method as a foil, I then develop an understanding of pragmatic genealogy which reveals it to be uniquely suited to dealing with practices exhibiting what I call self-effacing functionality—practices that are functional only insofar as and because we do not engage in them for their functionality. I conclude with an assessment of the wider significance of Williams’s genealogy for his own oeuvre and for further genealogical inquiry. (shrink)
An ethical theory is self-effacing if it tells us that sometimes, we should not be motivated by the considerations that justify our acts. In his influential paper 'The Schizophrenia of Modern Ethical Theories' , Michael Stocker argues that consequentialist and deontological ethical theories must be self-effacing, if they are to be at all plausible. Stocker's argument is often taken to provide a reason to give up consequentialism and deontology in favour of virtue ethics. I argue that this assessment (...) is a mistake. Virtue ethics is self-effacing in just the same way as are the theories that Stocker attacks. Or, at the very least: if there is a way for virtue ethics to avoid self-effacement then there are ways for its rivals to avoid self-effacement too. Therefore, considerations of self-effacement provide no reason to prefer virtue ethics to its major rivals. (shrink)
Thomas Hurka, Simon Keller, and Julia Annas have recently argued that virtue ethics is self-effacing. I contend that these arguments are rooted in a mistaken understanding of the role that ideal agency and agent flourishing (should) play in virtue ethics. I then show how a virtue ethical theory can avoid the charge of self-effacement and why it is important that it do so.
Virtue ethicists argue that modern ethical theories aim to give direct guidance about particular situations at the cost of offering artificial or narrow accounts of ethics. In contrast, virtue ethical theories guide action indirectly by helping one understand the virtues?but the theory will not provide answers as to what to do in particular instances. Recently, this had led many to think that virtue ethical theories are self-effacing the way some claim consequentialist and deontological theories are. In this paper I (...) defend virtue ethics against the charge of self-effacement. I distinguish between modestly self-effacing theories, immodestly self-effacing theories and theories that recommend indirect guidance. Though all self-effacing theories are indirect, not all indirect theories are self-effacing. I argue that virtue ethics is not self-effacing, but rather indirectly action-guiding. The response I articulate draws on the distinctive virtue ethical mode of action-guidance: namely, that thinking hard about virtue and what kind of person one aims to be offers the kind of guidance we want (or should want) as we face practical moral problems. (shrink)
Within the strategy that we call avant-garde there are two sets of tactics, one immediate, the other long term. One set could be called a tactics of short-term attention, and it is this set that has been most often noticed. Shock, surprise, self-promotion, the baiting of middle-class solemnity, outrage, a subversive playfulness, a deliberate frustration of habitual expectations, an apparent difficult or refusal of communication, a banality where profundity and seriousness were earlier the norm: these are a few of the (...) tactics that again and again appeared as part of the competitive marketplace strategy for advertising the new.To be a notorious artist was always halfway to becoming a famous one, and many were willing to take the chance that once conditions were right the slight move from notoriety to fame could be accomplished. These tactics made it clear that the problem for an artist within the modern period was first of all to stand out within a crowd, within a surplus of candidates for the few places available nationally or internationally. The rivalry for initial attention under modern conditions set every artist the question of how his own work might have clear identity and felt importance. This was, in an age of products and advertising, the problem of how to turn a style into a brand. Philip Fisher is professor of English at Harvard University and the author of Hard Facts . The essay published here forms part of his forthcoming book Making and Effacing Art. He is currently at work on a book on the philosophical and literary history of the Passions. (shrink)
A partir de la manipulación mediática propiciada por la dictadura chilena durante los meses previos al avistamiento del cometa Halley en 1986, este artículo lee la ironía presente en el poemario ¡Arre! Halley ¡Arre!, de Elvira Hernández, como una estrategia que, por un lado, pretende confirmar a una comunidad fracturada y que, por otro, critica la pretensión dictatorial de asimilar mesiánicamente el éxito de las incipientes políticas neoliberales con avistamientos astronómicos que se anunciaban como “únicos e irrepetibles”. From the media (...) manipulation prompted by the Chilean dictatorship during the months prior to the sighting of Halley's comet, this article reads the irony present in the poetry collection of Elvira Hernández’s!Arre! Halley! Arre! as a strategy that aims at not only confirming the identity of a fractured community, but also at criticizing the dictatorial intention to assimilate the success of emerging neoliberal policies with “unique and unrepeatable” astronomical sightings. (shrink)
El artículo intenta explorar el poemario Álbum de Valparaíso de Elvira Hernández, a partir de la confluencia de las propuestas de sujeto “náufrago” y “testigo imposible”. El objetivo de esto, es proponer una descentralización del texto señalado, debido a que se posicionaría como una producción poética tránsfuga que sobrepasa las clasificaciones “generacionales” de los años 90 del siglo XX y del 2000. Por otra parte, el concepto de heterotopíaplanteado por Foucault, nos ayudará a reconocer y problematizar el espacio liminal que (...) se construye en el poemario y desde cual se produce la enunciación del sujeto poético. (shrink)
In the anthropology of Gregory of Elvira there converge different lines of thought. On the one hand he is very dependent on Origen, on the other there is to be found in him the mental framework of Irenaeus and he quotes word for word long passages from Tertullian. The article attempts to determine to what extent, starting from those influences he encountered, Gregory has developed a personal vision of the relationship between Adam and Christ along the double line of the (...) Pauline parallel : sin and grace, initial creation and eschatological fulfilment. If some characteristic passages stress much this second aspect, the majority of the texts analyzed concentrate primarily on the theme of redemption. The reason for the prefiguration of Christ in the creation of Adam, so important for Irenaeus and Tertullian, does not have in Gregory the prominent place which one might have expected to find. (shrink)
A “self-eﬀacing” property is one that is deﬁnable without referring to it. Colin McGinn (2000) has argued that there is exactly one such property: truth. I show that if truth is a self-eﬀacing property, then there are very many others—too many even to constitute a set.
Rumour has been part of collective human life for centuries. Communities deal with anxiety and make sense of the unknowable by mixing apprehensions with what is already known to them. With modernity, and in line with studies on a range of social phenomena, there have been efforts to develop a science on rumour. Most of these studies deal with rumour at the propositional level, such that the rumouring or rumour-rebutting subject invariably belongs to one of the two sides of the (...) ‘true–false’ divide. Similar categories are followed in the study of rumour in social media, where the nodes in a rumour chain are, however, less hierarchical, and where images are increasingly used for persuasion. This paper, following a value-oriented approach, argues that the science on rumour has objectivized the problem, and has suggested instrumental solutions like enhancing the digital literacy of social media users. Whereas a value position should ideally attempt to efface the dilemma of the rumouring/rumour-rebutting subjec... (shrink)
The relation between Jesus and the Spirit appears in diverse occasions and in different contexts in Gregory. Jesus has sanctified the waters in his baptism, from his body springs the Spirit whom he has received in the Jordan, he is the «anointed», the «Christ» par excellence who gives the Holy Spirit to people at Pentecost. The theology of the baptism of the Lord calls for special attention; it takes place at an interesting moment of transition. On the one hand, the (...) effusion of the Spirit on the humanity of Jesus does not create any problem for Gregory who distinguishes it clearly from the incarnation of the Son. On the other hand, the initiative of the Father in this unction is not paid special attention to, nor does it seem that it has a special significance for Jesus himself and the beginning of his mission in the world. However, much stress is given to the ecclesiological dimension of the descent of the Spirit in the baptism of Christ. On him comes the Spirit in fullness, as he will also abide in fullness in the whole Church which is his Body. Each of the Christians receives only a partial gift which must contribute to the perfection of the whole. (shrink)
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