In this paper I shall focus on Castaneda's notion of quasi-indicators and I shall defend the following theses: (i) Essential indexicals (‘I’, ‘here’ and ‘now’) are intrinsically perspectival mechanisms of reference and, as such, they are not reducible to any other mechanism reference...
To determine whether ethical issues concerned with field research are addressed in the peer-review process, instructions to authors and reviewers of 141 (mainly natural science) journals were examined to ascertain how often ethical issues were mentioned. Only one-third (n=41) of responding journals addressed ethical issues in their instructions to authors or reviewers. When ethical issues were considered, most of the journals limited their concerns to ethical issues associated with animal and general human experimentation. No journal mentioned ethical practices in working (...) with indigenous peoples or on traditional lands. Only two journals addressed the ethics of research in sensitive areas in their instructions to authors, only one in its instructions to reviewers. We suggest that peer-reviewed journals respond to an emerging issue in ecological research by formally incorporating research ethics into their instructions to authors and reviewers. Furthermore, these instructions should address the ethical issues associated with field research and in working with indigenous peoples and on traditional lands. (shrink)
In the philosophical works of Emmanuel Levinasʼs early career, it is in a phenomenology of Eros that he claims to have uncovered the site of what he calls ʻtranscendenceʼ. This is no small claim. According to the argument of the later Totality and Inﬁnity (1961), the history of Western philosophy is to be thought as the history of the ʻphilosophy of the sameʼ. Within this polemical generalization almost the whole of Western philosophy is characterized as a totalizing discourse which (...) aims to reduce everything to the categories of a thematizing consciousness. Conceptual structures are employed (or presupposed) in order to make diverse phenomena commensurable within a system, and according to Levinas this operation always constitutes a reduction of what is ʻotherʼ to the order of the ʻsameʼ. In agreement with a certain transcendentalism which is itself implicated in Levinasʼs critique, these structures of thought are then equated with consciousness itself; the thematizing project is one of mastery in which noemata will of necessity conform to noesis, in which the object is constituted for and by the subject. The experience of transcendence, so rare in this version of philosophyʼs history, is the experience of whatever is and truly remains other than me, recalcitrant to mastery through conceptualization and to the transcendental project of the subject to construe everything as originating from within itself. If, then, it is ﬁrst of all in the erotic relation that the possibility of the experience of transcendence is said to arise, Eros can in no sense be dismissed as an unimportant or peripheral theme for Levinas, and a full investigation is warranted, especially given the current interest in Levinasʼs work, interest which is not limited to the discipline of philosophy. Furthermore, as the notion of Eros is closely associated, textually and conceptually, with what Levinas calls ʻthe feminineʼ, critical attention has been excited amongst feminist scholars of various persuasions, with claims – both positive and negative – being made for Levinasʼs signiﬁcance as a resource for feminist philosophy and feminist politics. If assertions of a ʻLevinasianʼ feminism, no matter how qualiﬁed, tend to rest on the idea that Levinasʼs phenomenology of Eros, and analyses of ʻthe feminineʼ mark a break in or a new departure from a ʻmasculinistʼ tradition, this article seeks, in part, to argue to the contrary. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore parallels between philosophical and tyrannical eros in Plato's Republic. I argue that in arguing that reason experiences eros for the forms, Plato introduces significant tensions into his moral psychology.
The Human Eros is an outstanding accomplishment, a work of genuine wisdom. It combines meticulous scholarship with an enviable mastery of cultural and philosophical history to address pressing concerns of human beings, nature, and philosophy itself. While comprised of essays spanning over two decades, the book presents a powerfully coherent philosophical vision which Alexander names, alternately, “eco-ontology,” “humanistic naturalism,” and “ecological humanism.” Whatever the name, the approach is humane and intellectually compelling, offering insight and direction to pragmatism, aesthetics, existentialism, (...) environmental philosophy, and anyone in search of wisdom. It is an immensely readable book, too, leavening .. (shrink)
This article seeks to examine the special quality of Eros operative in educational practice, through the frame narrative of Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave”. The subject is examined from two aspects illuminating the paradoxical nature of educational practice. The first, epistemological, considers the practicability of learning, and the second, ethical, deals with the complexity of commitment to teaching. The resolution of the paradox, the article contends, can only be understood through the concept of “Eros”—the same mysterious driving (...) force, devoid of rational meaning, which compels one to know and act. The article examines the revelations regarding Eros, its possibilities and perils with reference to the pedagogical experience of the author as a school teacher and educator. (shrink)
This paper explores the value of the eros motif for critical pedagogy and citizenship education. The conceptual affinities between eros and democracy are identified and integrated into a theory of democratic political education. Long recognized as vital to the process of self knowledge, the ancient Greek concept of eros has nevertheless been largely erased from contemporary educational debate. By retrieving eros from the fringe of academic discourse and integrating it with critical pedagogy, the aims of radical (...) democracy can be more fully achieved. The essay emphasizes the civil society or cultural dimensions of democracy as against its legal or procedural aspects. Renewed emphasis on the associational qualities of democracy underscore the importance of eros as an educational principle. The ancient pedagogical motif of educating the desires is posited as an alternative to the liberal/modernist paradigm of education which de-values affective domains of knowledge. (shrink)
Teachers are often placed in a space of tensionbetween responding to students as persons andresponding to students through theirinstitutionally-defined roles. Particularlywith respect to eros, which has becomeincreasingly the subject of strictinstitutional legislation and regulation,teachers have little recourse to a language ofresponsibility outside an institutional frame. By studying the significance of communicativeambiguity for responsibility, this paperexplores what is ethically at stake forteachers in erotic forms of communication. Specifically, it is Levinas's own ambiguousunderstanding of the ethical significance oferos, and what we (...) have to learn from it, thatoffers a way of reading the place of eros inresponsibility. I conclude my discussion withsome thoughts on what a renewed understandingof responsibility might mean at the personaland institutional levels. (shrink)
Abstract The aim of this article is to make use of recent research on `political eros ' in order to clarify the connection that Plato establishes between eros and tyranny in Republic IX, specifically by elucidating the intertextuality between Plato's work and the various historical accounts of Alcibiades. An examination of the lexicon used in these accounts will allow us to resolve certain interpretive difficulties that, to my knowledge, no other commentator has elucidated: why does Socrates blame (...) class='Hi'>eros for the decline from democracy into tyranny? What does he mean by ` eros ' here, and what link existed between eros and tyranny in the minds of his contemporaries? And finally, who are the mysterious `tyrant-makers' ( turannopoioí , 572e5-6) who, according to Socrates, introduce a destructive eros in the soul of the future tyrant? After a careful examination of the passage from book IX on the genesis of the tyrannical man (focused on the last stage of the metamorphosis, which is concerned with éros túrannos , 572d-573b), I will offer answers to these questions by turning to the writings of Thucydides, Aristophanes and Plutarch while examining the portrait of Alcibiades that Plato paints in the Alcibiades I and Symposium. (shrink)
This essay explores Foucault’s conception of the historical a priori through the lens of an archival ethics of eros. Highlighting the paradoxical nature of the historical a priori as both constitutive and contingent, it harnesses the temporal dynamism of experiences of the untimely as erotic. Drawing on the work of Anne Carson, the essay brings out the strangeness of eros as an ancient Greek word that remains unintelligible to us. That strangeness signals an ethics of dissonant attunement to (...) the untimeliness of the historical a priori. Such an ethics of eros names those experiences of connection and rupture that both bind and unbind us in relation to a biopolitical present that is radically unstable. Reading eros as strange thus ultimately allows us to find resources for an ethics of self-transformation in Foucault’s reflections on the temporal instability that the historical a priori names. (shrink)
In Eros and Civilization, Marcuse claims that the two fundamental drives of civilization, namely, Eros and Thanatos, may eventually be reconciled. Such reconciliation, Marcuse contends, could potentially lead to new, utopian possibilities for humankind. However, Marcuse’s argument is deeply flawed: he equates time with death and therefore only defeats a straw man. Thus, it may be argued that Marcuse’s entire project in Eros and Civilization not only remains incomplete, but indeed fails. In the following paper, I demonstrate—by (...) relying on Heidegger’s understanding of temporality in Being and Time—that it may still be possible to reconcile Eros and temporality after all. I conclude that Marcuse’s project may still be viable, but only by reconciling time with Eros, and not death. (shrink)
In the nursing literature, a number of qualities are associated with loving care. Reference is made to, among other things, humility, attentiveness, responsibility and duty, compassion, and tenderness. The author attempts to show that charm, in the Marcelian sense, also plays a central role. It is argued that the moral foundation of charm is a unity of agape and eros. An impartial giving of the self for others is clearly of fundamental importance in an ethic of care. Including charm (...) in the discussion points to the fact that eros also plays a crucial role. Eros produces a passion for people and for life. It is a physical and spiritual energy that animates a person in all facets of her life, including her caring work. (shrink)
On trouve dans le stoïcisme plusieurs définitions contradictoires de l'amour-éros. l'amour-éros comme propension à se créer des amis à cause de leur beauté est tantôt attribué au sage, tantôt tout à fait condamné. M. Schofield et M. Nussbaum ont essayé de résoudre cette aporie. Après avoir soulevé certaines difficultés qu'engendraient leurs interprétations, l'A. montre que l'éros a deux acceptions différentes. Il est premièrement la passion, le désir charnel, que les stoïciens excluent absolument. Mais l'éros signifie aussi une tendance naturelle à (...) se faire des amis de ceux dont la beauté manifeste une aptitude à la vertu. Un tel éros occupe une place dans la vie morale du stoïcien. À la suite de Platon, les stoïciens reprennent le vocabulaire pédérastique grec pour le sublimer et lui donner un sens nouveau. Cette forme d 'éros bannit toute passion amoureuse et toute relation sexuelle. Il est un amour d'amitié. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------- A number of contradictory definitions of love-eros occur in Stoicism. Love-eros as the propensity to make friends because of their beauty is at times attributed to the sage, and at times utterly condemned. M. Schofield and M. Nussbaum have attempted to resolve this aporia. Having raised certain difficulties involved in their interpretations, the A. has attempted to show that eros had two different meanings. It is firstly passion, carnal desire, that the Stoics reject absolutely. But eros also means a natural tendency to make friends of those whose beauty manifests an aptitude for virtue. An eros of this type holds a place in the moral life of the Stoic. Following Plato, the Stoics make use of the Greek pédérastie vocabulary in order to sublimate it and give it a new meaning. This form of eros banishes any amorous passion and any sexual relationship. It is a love of friendship. (shrink)
El propósito del presente trabajo es en primer término el relevamiento de los principales desarrollos conceptuales y argumentativos del elenchos entre Sócrates y Agatón en Smp. 199c-201a, y su relación con los desarrollos de la teoría erótica del discurso de Sócrates/Diotima que prologa. A este respecto nos concentraremos en analizar cómo se elabora allí la pregunta sobre la naturaleza de eros y se formulan, a modo de primera respuesta, afirmaciones sobre su carácter intencional, su carencia constitutiva en cuanto necesariamente (...) inscripto en la temporalidad, y su tendencia a lo bueno y lo bello. Posteriormente, se complementa este análisis con el examen de este ejemplo de elenchos en particular a la luz de diversas cuestiones de debate respecto al elenchos en general. A este respecto se atiende especialmente a la conexión entre elenchos y eros en este pasaje del Banquete, en tanto el primero constituye una herramienta metodológica particularmente apropiada para, a la vez, enunciar las bases de la teoría platónica del eros y estimular el surgimiento del amor por la verdad. (shrink)
El Seminario se proponía ser un estudio pormenorizado de los diálogos de Platón El Banquete y el Fedro , destinado a establecer la naturaleza, funciones y alcances de la filosofía a partir del Eros y de lo que él permite explicar sobre lo que se podría llamar la estructura de la pregunta (Erótesis).
Resumen: Mientras que en Banquete Platón presenta a Éros como un daímon metaxý, i.e. como una divinidad intermedia e intermediaria entre dioses y hombres, en Fedro lo caracteriza, en cambio, como un theós -un dios. Procuraremos mostrar aquí que esto no implica, sin embargo, un cambio doctrinal substancial sino que se trata de dos aproximaciones distintas pero complementarias respecto a la verdadera naturaleza de Éros. Según el Fedro, si bien éros puede permanecer en una expresión puramente física, sin desarrollar su (...) aspecto divino, es posible también que, debido al intenso deseo sexual por el bello muchachito, el amante recuerde la Forma de la belleza y crezcan en él las alas del Éros divino. Pero únicamente los dioses nunca pierden las alas de sus almas y están regularmente en pleno contacto con las Formas. Las almas humanas deben adquirirlas, y aun así, con riesgo a perderlas, quedando entonces en un lugar “intermedio” -metaxý- como el Éros de Banquete.: Although in the Symposium Plato describes Erôs as a daimôn-metaxy, i.e. as an intermediate and intermediary divinity between gods and men, in the Phaedrus it is said that Erôs is a theos -a god. I will try to show that these different descriptions do not imply a substantial change of mind but work as two complementary views about the true nature of Erôs. According to the Phaedrus, although erôs can remain just at a physical level and not develop its divine power, it is also possible that, thanks to the same intense, sexual desire for the beautiful boy, the lover recollects the Form of beauty and so grows divine Erôs`s wings. However, only the gods never lose their wings and so are in regular, full contact with the Forms. The human souls need to acquire the wings and even so take the risk of losing them; they are then in an intermediate state -metaxy- like Erôs in the Symposium. (shrink)
If Panentheism’s core thesis, that God is in the world, is to animate a spiritual approach to life, then we have to account for the way in which God is in the destructive or thanative dimensions of life. From the perspective of evolutionary ecology the universe is imbued with creative and destructive energies. The creative drive can be termed eros as creation occurs through the expansion of relational unities, holons. The destructive drive is termed thanatos and is the drive (...) to sever connection. An argument is developed from the perspective of evolutionary ecology to show how thanatos serves eros, serves the evolutionary unfolding of higher orders of communion. I suggest there are healthy and pathological expressions of the thanative drive. God within the thanative invites us to embrace the transformative potentials of suffering by integrating thanatos-in-eros. God as eros invites us to develop expanded modes of connection, inter-subjectivity and communion. (shrink)
Não é fácil demarcar a diferença entre as concepções platônicas de Eros e Philia. Nos diálogos mais voltados para o assunto, como Lísis, Banquete e Fedro , identificamos uma sobreposição dos dois temas, tal que o exame de um acaba por remeter ao exame do outro. No Lísis , enquanto a Philia constitui-se como o foco da discussão de Sócrates com Menexeno, o diálogo traz como pano de fundo e com forte apelo dramático o amor de Hipótales por Lísis. (...) No Banquete , apesar de ser Eros o tema central do diálogo, tem-se a partir do discurso de Pausânias a diferenciação entre dois tipos de Eros , de modo que o mais belo deles em muito se assemelha ao que se entende por Philia . No Fedro , por sua vez, esta aparece como um Eros mitigado. Pretendo mostrar que, nos diálogos supracitados, Platão se vale da aproximação entre Eros e Philia para fundamentar sua própria concepção de Philos sophía , na qual Eros desempenha um papel decisivo. Mais precisamente, uma concepção de filosofia na qual o que é Belo ( Eros ) deve assimilar o que é Bom ( Philia ). Para tanto, lança mão das seguintes teses: 1. O desejo é causa tanto de Eros quanto de Philia e, enquanto tal, pressupõe uma relação entre amantes/amigos; 2. O desejo é marcado por uma falta (presente ou futura); 3. O que falta é na verdade algo que foi perdido; 4. O desejo é o movimento da alma para recuperar algo perdido, a saber, a contemplação do Belo. 5. A filosofia é o percurso, guiado por Eros, para o reencontro do Belo. (shrink)
One of the riddles that enthrall those who study modern Jewish thought is how Maimonides attained such high stature among thinkers so far removed from one another – medievals and moderns, rationalists and mystics. One may fairly say that Maimonides was the religious and philosophical anchor for a stunning variety of thinkers, but it appears that more than they seek to understand Maimonides’ views, they find in him an ethical and religious model that enables them to create and formulate their (...) own innovative ethical teachings. I will seek to demonstrate that just as Maimonides provides the anchor for these thinkers’ independent creative work, their great admiration for him comes to define, in the final analysis, the limits of the philosophy that they offer. This is no simple matter. It has far-reaching implications, marking off the horizon of those philosophers’ thought. The example through which I shall present those limits is that of Eros – religious Eros and attitudes toward the body and sexuality in modern Jewish thought. In order to highlight the sense of indebtedness and loyalty to Maimonides and the limits set by that sense in modern Jewish thought, this study examines Spinoza’s attitude to love and Eros and the critique of that position by Hermann Cohen, followed by consideration of the problematic indications of limitation in both thinkers. These inquiries require first some attention to the status of Eros in religious thought and to the tension between the Spinozean position on Eros, with its exoteric significance, and the position taken by Hermann Cohen. Both of these thinkers express a preference for intellectual love over erotic love – a surprising similarity that indicates the horizons that were closed off to them because of the limits they imposed on themselves by accepting the authority of Maimonides. -/- . (shrink)
O objetivo deste artigo é mostrar a semântica da palavra Eros dentro da tradição cristã. Limita-se a algumas dessas significações. A reflexão mostra a limitação dessa expressão na língua portuguesa. Seu significado é muito mais rico na língua grega. Se a tradição cristã carregou esta palavra de forma negativa, outros Padres leram-na em sintonia com Ágape e com outros significados. A relação mística a interpreta como uma relação “erótica” entre homem e Deus. Esta intimidade procura explicar o aspecto do (...) desejo de Deus e da relação mútua entre aquele que ama e o amado, que tem sua raiz na busca mais íntima da humanidade. Negar por preconceitos palavras carregadas de desejos não divinos e nem dignos da humanidade, como na Antigüidade, é reduzir demais seu campo semântico na história. Esta palavra reflete o amor da alma para com Deus numa perspectiva mística, assume variações significativas, dentre tantas, como o amor de Jesus Cristo, como sinônimas de Ágape, do amor de Deus para com os homens, como amor individual ligado a Deus, o Eros como virtude e como castidade. A compreensão das dimensões do amor se realiza na capacidade de ver que todas elas são positivas e importantes para obtermos o equilíbrio da vida humana, numa harmonia destas dimensões constitutivas e importantes para a vida. Palavras-chave: Eros; Patrística; Amor; Alma; Mística; Virtude; Castidade e Ágape. ABSTRACT This article aims at demonstrating the semantics of the term Eros in Christian tradition, pointing out the limitations of the term in Portuguese. The scope of its meaning is much wider in Greek. If Christian tradition has charged the word with a negative feature, other priests have read it in tune with Agape and other meanings. The mystical perspective interprets it as an ‘erotic’ relationship between man and God. Such intimacy attempts to explain God’s desire and the mutual relation between the one who loves and the beloved, rooted in mankind’s most intimate longing. To deny, on account of prejudice, words charged with non-divine desires unworthy of humanity, as happened in antiquity, is to reduce their semantic field in history. That word reflects the soul’s love for God in a mystical perspective and assumes meaningful variations, among which Christ’s love, ‘Agape’ or God’s love for men, and individual love connected with God: ‘Eros’ as virtue and chastity. The comprehension of the dimensions of love takes place in the capacity to realize that they are all positive and relevant to human life’s balance, in the harmony of those dimensions that constitute life. Key words: Eros; Patristics; Love; Soul; The mystical; Virtue; Chastity; Agape. (shrink)
Psiche sets up a close-knit comparison between the psychology of Plato's Republic and Freud's psychoanalysis. Convergences and divergences are discussed in relation both to the Platonic conception of the oneiric emergence of repressed desires that prefigures the main path of Freud's subconscious, to the analysis of the psychopathologies related to these theoretical formulations and to the two diagnostic and therapeutic approaches adopted. Another crucial theme is the Platonic eros - the examination of which is also extended to the Symposium (...) and Phaedrus - taken up explicitly by Freud in relation to the concept of libido. Finally, the author also addresses the two themes - of, inter alia, a metapsychological nature - inherent to the moral dimension. -/- Psiche istituisce un confronto ravvicinato tra la psicologia della "Repubblica" di Platone e la psicoanalisi di Freud. Convergenze e divergenze vengono discusse in relazione sia alla concezione platonica dell'emersione onirica dei desideri repressi, che prefigura la via regia per l'inconscio di Freud, sia all'analisi delle psicopatologie correlate a tali impostazioni teoriche, sia ai due approcci diagnostici e terapeutici adottati. Altro tema cruciale è l'eros platonico - la cui disamina viene estesa anche al "Simposio" e al "Fedro" - ripreso esplicitamente da Freud in relazione al concetto di libido. L'autore affronta, infine, le due tematizzazioni, di natura metapsicologica e non solo, inerenti alla dimensione morale. (shrink)
A generally ignored feature of Plato’s celebrated image of the cave in Republic VII is that the ascent from the cave is, in its initial stages, said to be brought about by force. What kind of ‘force’ is this, and why is it necessary? This paper considers three possible interpretations, and argues that each may have a role to play.
Paul Ludwig examines how and why Greek theorists treated political passions as erotic. Because of the tiny size of ancient Greek cities, contemporary theory and ideology could conceive of entire communities based on desire. A recurrent aspiration was to transform the polity into one great household that would bind the citizens together through ties of mutual affection. In this study, Ludwig evaluates sexuality, love, and civic friendship as sources of political attachment and as bonds of political association.
The first-ever English translation of one of the most important metaphysical works of the 20th century: "Of Cosmogonic Eros" by the German visionary Ludwig Klages. This monograph is dedicated entirely to an in-depth examination of the mysteries of Eros and the most powerful forms of ecstasy. "Of Cosmogonic Eros" greatly impressed and influenced thinkers and artists like Walter Benjamin and Alfred Kubin but also German esoteric circles and literaries such as the great Hermann Hesse who wrote that (...) in this book “the nearly unutterable has been forged into words”. This first English edition of "Of Cosmogonic Eros" also features a substantial contextualized introduction by Professor Paul Bishop of the University of Glasgow. (shrink)
This paper focuses on the figure and the role of Aspasia in Aeschines’ eponymous dialogue, with special regard to the Milesian’s ‘paideutic’ activity and the double bond connecting it to Socrates’ teaching, namely the elenctic method and a particular application of Σωκρατικὸς ἔρως. The study aims to highlight some crucial traits of Aeschines’ Aspasia by examining three key texts, all numbered among the testimonies on the Aspasia: Cicero’s account in De inventione 1.31.51-53 and two fundamental passages from Xenophon’s Memorabilia and (...) Oeconomicus. After analysing a set of ancient sources which repeatedly mention the close and personal association between Socrates and Aspasia, I will try to reconstruct the dialogical context of Xenophon’s testimonies and to combine them with Cicero’s account. My final aim is to clarify the role of Aspasia in Aeschines’ presentation of the Socratic theory of ἔρως. In pursuing this main objective, in the concluding section I will address two further issues: Aspasia’s connection with the figure of Diotima, as depicted in the same ancient sources and the relationship between Aspasias’ pedagogical use of ἔρως and that made by Socrates in the Alcibiades. (shrink)
El presente trabajo se propone hacer un análisis sobre los principales puntos argumentativos defendidos en el discurso de Pausanias en el contexto del diálogo El Banquetede Platón, con el fin de evidenciar los problemas que dicha argumentación implica. En este discurso, Pausanias defenderá de manera indirecta la pederastia, a través de la justificación de romances entre jóvenes y maestros y apelando al crecimiento espiritual que estos últimos pueden aportar a los primeros. Las afirmaciones de Pausanias son tan ambiciosas que sugieren, (...) incluso, que la pederastia puede ser una manera efectiva de mejorar las relaciones sociales en unapolis. Así puede la pederastia ser un factor fundamental para la constitución de una sociedad fuerte. Además, si tenemos en cuenta que Pausanias parte de una apelación a la divinidad, que ha de ser seguida por los hombres para conseguir el ideal de una sociedad estable, la argumentación de Pausanias parece bastante sólida. Sin embargo, se cuestionará no solo el papel de la pederastia como garante de la estabilidad social, sino la figura misma del sabio que Pausanias emplea para justificar el intercambio íntimo entre jóvenes y maestros. Para esto último se tendrá en cuenta la postura de Platón respecto al discurso de Pausanias. (shrink)
____Ethics of Eros__ sheds light on contemporary feminist discourse by questioning the basic distinctions and categories in feminist theory. Tina Chanter uses the work of Luce Irigaray as the focus for a critique of French and Anglo-American feminism as it is articulated in the debate over essentialism. While these two branches of feminism represent opposing views, Chanter advocates a productive exchange between the two.
" Our various cultures are symbolic environments or "spiritual ecologies" within which the Human Eros can thrive. This is how we inhabit the earth. Encircling and sustaining our cultural existence is nature.
In the dissertation I examine the split between cognition and eros in Kant's notion of objectivity, which has become paradigmatic for modern theories about knowledge. I argue that the split between cognition, on the one hand, and feelings and desires, on the other, does not capture the necessary conditions of knowledge, as Kant claims, but involves a suppression of erotic factors of existence. ;The split between pure knowledge and sensual existence in Kant's thought reflects an ascetic tradition inherited from (...) both Greek and Christian sources, which views the body, sexuality, and in particular women's sexuality as a source of pollution. According to this tradition, since thought must be divested of the pollution of sensuous existence, women's sexuality precludes them from rational activity. Consequently, the philosophical commitment to purity has justified the exclusion of women from the practice of knowledge. ;The particular form of asceticism which is evident in Kant's treatment of sensibility of objective knowledge, of morality, and of aesthetic judgement, reflects the reified nature of relations in an emerging capitalist economy. The suppression of the immediate, sensual qualities in both the subject and object of knowledge, in Kant's system, corresponds to the suppression of the immediate, qualitative features of the subject and object in the process of commodity production. Both persons and things become reduced to a formal abstract equivalence. Kant's notion of objectivity makes normative this objectification of relations between persons and things. ;Thus, the paradigm of objective knowledge is not only damaging to the thinker, who must detach himself from the emotional and sensual facets of existence. It serves as an ideology which has justified the exclusion of women from the pursuit of knowledge, and which more generally legitimates the distorted human relations generated by the world of commodity production. ;By considering Kant's commitment to pure knowledge in the context of the genealogy of the concept of purity, the themes of asceticism and fetishism emerged as mutually illuminating. Implicit in the ascetic denial of sensuality is a dialectic which leads to an objectification of persons and things. Moreover, the fetishism of commodities involves a detachment of erotic interests from persons which results in an obsessive interest in objects. (shrink)
It is often held that Plato did not have a viable account of interpersonal love. The account of eros—roughly, desire—in the Symposium appears to fail, and, though the Lysis contains much suggestive material for an account of philia—roughly, friendship—this is an aporetic dialogue, which fails, ultimately, to provide an account of friendship. This paper argues that Plato's account of friendship is in the Phaedrus. This dialogue outlines three kinds of philia relationship, the highest of which compares favourably to the (...) Aristotelian notion of love for another ‘for their own sake’. In contrast to the account of eros in the Symposium, this gives Plato an account of interpersonal love that meets some of the requirements laid down by Gregory Vlastos for a satisfactory account of interpersonal love. (shrink)
For the ancient Greeks, the world was both Eros, the god of chaos and creativity, and Logos, the regularity of the heavens as law. From chaos the world came forth. The world was home to ultimate creativity. Two thousand years later Kepler, Galileo, and then mighty Newton created deterministic classical physics in which all that happens in the universe is determined by the laws of motion, initial and boundary conditions. The Theistic God who worked miracles became the Deistic God (...) who set up the universe and let Newton’s laws take over. Eros, raw creativity, is dead, all is Logos.Quantum mechanics replaced the determinism of classical physics with fundamental indeterminism. This was a major crisis in physics, but remained entirely within the Newtonian paradigm of laws, here the Schrödinger equation, initial and boundary conditions. The Schrödinger equation entails the deterministic propagation of a probability distribution. The probabilities concern the indeterminate outcomes of quantum measurement events.The central issue of this article is to show that no laws at all determine or entail the becoming of our biosphere or any other among the 1022 solar systems in the universe. This claim is radical. If no laws determine or entail the becoming of biospheres, and biospheres are part of the universe, the Pythagorean dream that All is Number, All is Logos, is dead. There is no Final Theory that entails all that become in the universe. Eros is again, and always was, rambunctiously alive in the raw creativity of the becoming of life anywhere in the universe. The becoming of life is based on physics, on Logos, but beyond it, emerging from Eros.The reasons Eros is at play in the evolution of biospheres are fourfold.First, the universe will not make all possible complex things. That is, the universe is vastly non-ergodic. Yet complex things such as the human heart exist.Second, the reason human hearts exist is that organisms are Kantian Wholes in which the parts exist for and by means of the whole. Hearts exist because they fulfill the function of pumping the blood that keeps the whole organism alive. Such organisms propagate progeny that carry with them the hearts that keep them alive.Third, adaptations like hearts, the flagellar motor, the loop of Henle in kidneys that concentrates urine, and flight feathers, are tinkered-together contraptions stumbled upon in evolution. Parts and processes that arise in evolution are jury-rigged for unprestatable new functions that help keep the entire Kantian Whole organism alive and propagating in the evolving biosphere. There is no deductive theory of jury rigging. We cannot deduce the emergence of such novel functions.Fourth, the functions of parts of organisms emerge in unprestatable ways and form the unprestatable and ever-changing phase space of evolution. Since we cannot prestate the ever-changing phase space of evolution, we can write no laws of motion in differential equation form, so cannot integrate the equations we do not have. Thus, no laws entail the becoming of any biosphere.Evolving biospheres are everywhere creative. This is Eros, the chaos from which the world emerges. This profound creative emergence is the stuff of story, of narrative. Evolving biospheres always were and always will be both Eros and Logos, the stuff of story and the stuff of law. We always live in a world of Art and Science. (shrink)
In this paper I investigate the understanding of eros expressed in the speeches of Phaedrus and Agathon in Plato’s Symposium, two speeches often neglected in the literature. I argue that they contain crucial insights about the nature of eros that reappear in Diotima’s speech. Finally, I consider the relation of Socrates and Alcibiades in light of these insights, arguing that the figure of Alcibiades should be seen as a negative illustration of the notion of erotic education described by (...) Diotima. (shrink)
This unique book challenges the traditional distinction between eros, the love found in Greek thought, and agape, the love characteristic of Christianity. Focusing on a number of classic texts, including Plato's Symposium and Lysis, Aristotle's Ethics and Metaphysics,, and famous passages in Gregory of Nyssa, Origen, Dionysius the Areopagite, Plotinus, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas, the author shows that Plato's account of eros is not founded on self-interest. In this way, she restores the place of erotic love as a (...) Christian motif, and unravels some longstanding confusions in philosophical discussions of love. (shrink)
In this essay I refer to eros as the force that plays on our bodies and connects us to the larger community of life, an embodied form of love that charges the will towards well-being. Analyzing the ways that eros can be engaged and expressed in the "commons" as a life sustaining force, I look to current, on-the-ground work being done in Detroit, MI where a grassroots network of artists, community-builders, educators and neighborhood folk are revitalizing their city. (...) Linking this work and the love I experienced with them to childhood experiences in my own homeplace in northern New York State, I argue for the development of eco-ethical consciousness within an erotic "poetics of place" where the natural world speaks to us within our interpretive, expressive efforts. Finally, in an explication of education as those generative relations that are specifically oriented towards well-being, I look to the relation among eros, language and the creation of the commons as a critical educational endeavor. If we are to stem the tide of ecological destruction now upon us, we will need educators in public schools who recognize and are able to create classroom practices that encourage an "eco-erosic love" and thus inspire students who can protect the fragile relationship of their human communities to the ecosystems upon which we depend. (shrink)
In Kierkegaard and the Staging of Desire: Rhetoric and Performance in a Theology of Eros Carl S. Hughes develops an original approach to Søren Kierkegaard’s religious writings. As is well known, Kierkegaard published these religious writings under his own name. Some interpreters take this to mean that he no longer relies on the poetics of indirect communication that underlies his pseudonymous works. According to them, the religious writings ﬁnally formulate Kierkegaard’s true views in a direct and unambiguous way. Others (...) have suggested that these religious writings are just as indirect as all the others. Hughes belongs to the second camp. In his illuminating book, he convincingly shows that the indirect method of writing is not undermining the religious content of Kierkegaard’s works, as is feared by many interpreters from the ﬁrst camp, but is essential for sustaining it. That is why Hughes believes that Kierkegaard’s indirect mode of writing is of vital importance for contemporary theology as a discipline. (shrink)
Alcibiades is one of the most explicitly sexualized figures in fifth-century Athens, a "lover of the people" whom the demos "love and hate and long to possess" (Ar. Frogs 1425). But his eros fits ill with the normative sexuality of the democratic citizen as we usually imagine it. Simultaneously lover and beloved, effeminate and womanizer, Alcibiades is essentially paranomos, lawless or perverse. This paper explores the relation between Alcibiades' paranomia and the norms of Athenian sexuality, and argues that his (...)eros reveals an intrinsic instability within the sexual economy of the democracy: the desire he embodied blurred the categories that defined Athenian masculinity; the desire he inspired rendered the demos passive and "soft." This same instability can be seen in Thucydides' juxtaposition of the mutilation of the Herms and the legend of Harmodius and Aristogeiton. These two episodes (obscurely linked by Thucydides) together tell of an idealized citizen body under threat. The tyrannicide story figures the democratic citizen as an elite lover, whose sexual dominance is vital to his political autonomy. The Herms, with their prominent phalloi, symbolized this citizen-lover, and thus their mutilation was an assault on the masculinity, as well as political power, of the demos. The tyrannicide legend seems to promise a defense against this threat of civic castration; but instead of shoring up the sexually-dominant citizen, Thucydides' version of the legend merely reveals his frailty and fictionality: even in Athens' heroic past there is no inviolable democratic eros to cure the impotence of mutilation and tyranny. Reading these two episodes against the backdrop of Alcibiades' paranomia (as described by Plutarch and Plato), this paper examines the nature of democratic masculinity, the (eroticized) relation between demagogue and demos, and the place of perverse desire within the protocols of sex. (shrink)
Erotic Counter Education is the educational position of the late Ilan Gur- Ze'ev. In ECE Gur-Ze'ev combines two opposing positions in the philosophy of education, one teleological and anti-utopian, the other teleological and utopian. In light of this unique combination, I ask what mediates between these two poles and suggest that the answer lies in the concept of eros. Following a preliminary presentation of the concept of eros in ECE, I define it as a form of transcendental cognition (...) that distinguishes between ‘what is to be perceived’, conceptual and human, and ‘what is not to be perceived’, divine and absolute. I subsequently show how the ‘nature’ of this conception of eros permits the establishment of a normative meta-theory of education that gains its strength from critical theory and counter education. (shrink)
Mary P. Nichols, Socrates on Friendship and Community: Reflections on Plato’s Symposium, Phaedrus, and Lysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Pp. viii + 229. ISBN 978-0-521-89973-4. Laurence D. Cooper, Eros in Plato, Rousseau, and Nietzsche: The Politics of Infinity. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2008. Pp. xii + 357. ISBN 978-0-271-03330-3.