In the twenty-second series of The Logic of Sense, Gilles Deleuze references a remarkable essay by Günther (Stern) Anders. Anders’ essay, translated here as ‘The Pathology of Freedom’, addresses the sickness and health of our negotiation with the negative anthropological condition of ‘not being cut out for the world’.
This book is the first to discuss, for an English-speaking audience, the ideas of the German-Jewish man of letters, thinker, and activist Günther Anders. Anders is one of few philosophers to deal intensely with the moral consequences of Auschwitz and Hiroshima. He can rightly be called the philosopher of the atomic age, and his thinking a philosophy of modern technology. In biting manifestoes, sharp aphorisms, and penetrating essays, in stirring diary notes and political fables, Anders strikes out the age in (...) which we live. As a twentieth-century visionary, he exposes the absence of the moral and social imaginations that is necessary to prevent our history from ending in a total catastrophe. In the gap between our technical creations and our utter inability to imagine their destructive potential lies the basis for the unstoppable activity of this practical philosopher. From every possible angle, he attempts to comprehend this modern schizophrenia in its roots and consequences. Anders is one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. He tried to describe and analyze the variety of manifestations of the “self-destructive progress of our technical civilization,” which makes humanity into an “anti-quated” sort. He diagnosed countless important problems, ranging from the world of media to the dictates of the world of machinery, and he investigated their social, political, and philosophical meaning. To read his writings is more than becoming acquainted with a rich and colorful philosopher. It is more than an encounter with a moving and passionate individual. It is ultimately a confrontation with oneself, with our own guilt and responsibility, with our personal hopes and fears, with our lack of imagination and with our need to recover it. (shrink)
Among the most striking aspects of modern literature—expecially of modern German literature—are its frequent references to a notion called ‘reality’. The philosophical question this raises, ‘What is reality?’, is to one side of this enquiry, and so is the question whether or not this is a sensible question: this essay is intended as a contribution not to philosophy but to its connections with literary history and criticism. My present purpose, which determines my procedure, is to outline the various closely related (...) meanings of the word ‘Wirklichkeit’ throughout its very long history; to describe the polarization of meanings which occurred in the course of the nineteenth century, and Nietzsche's part in making the new polarity available to his literary heirs; to illustrate the way German literature became involved in this process in the first decade of our century; and, finally, to point to some of its political implications. My argument is part of a much larger topic, one that is not confined either to the German-speaking countries or indeed to literature. The topic, the ideologizing of ‘ reality ’, is relevant to all modern cultures. The present paper offers no more than a sketch of this development in one cultural area of our world. (shrink)
The paper explores the relationships and interconnections in the philosophical and sociopolitical concepts of Günther Anders and Hannah Arendt. Both philosophers, who were married to each other for a short time, not only shared a similar fate in that they both had to flee from National Socialism, but both dealt with similar questions, albeit in different manners: with Auschwitz and the Holocaust, with the problem of totalitarianism, with the development of the Modern, which is defined by technology and industrial labour. (...) A comparison shows that many themes in the thinking of these philosophers are near to each other, but the methods and foci are other. At the foreground of Anders’ thinking is the question of the destructive influence of modern technology and weapons of mass destruction. However, Arendt concentrates on totalitarian political structures and the possibility of people to take action. Nevertheless, they both are concerned that people’s humanity is at risk under the political and technological conditions of the Modern. (shrink)
Anders was a preeminent critic of technology and critic of the atomic bomb as he saw this hermeneutico-phenomenologically in the visceral sense of beingand time: the sheer that of its having been used as well as the bland politics of nuclear proliferation functions as programmatic aggression advanced in the name of defense and deterrence. The tactic ofsheerly technological, automatic, mechanical, aggression is carried out in good conscience. The preemptive strike is, as Baudrillard observed, the opponent’s fault: such are the wages (...) of evil. Violence in good conscience characterizes the postwar, cold war era and the present day with its mushrooming effects ofneo-fascism under the titles of national security and anti-terrorism. Karl Krauss’ 1913 bon mot regarding psychoanalysis as the very insanity it claims to cure [Psychoanalyse ist jene Geisteskrankheit, für deren Therapie sie sich halt] has never been more apt for political translation—straight into the heart of what Lacan called the Real which has ‘always been’ the political register. Where Habermas and heirs have tended to disregard Anders , just as most philosophers of technology have ignored the political as well as theethical in their eagerness to avoid suspicion of technophobia, we continue to require both critical theory and a critical philosophy of technology, a conjunction incorporating Ander’s complicated dialectic less of art in Benjamin’s prescient but still innocent age of technological reproduction but and much rather “on the devastation of life in the age of the third industrial revolution.” Thus rather thanreading Anders’ critique of the bomb as limited to a time we call the Atomic Age—as Anders himself varied Samuel Beckett’s 1957 Endgame asEndzeit that is “Endtime,” here invoking the eschatological language of Jacob Taubes as Anders does—this essay connects his reflections on the bomb with his critique of technology and the obsolescence of humanity as of a piece with our dedication to hurling ourselves against our own mortality. This concern with the violence of technology, this hatred of the vulnerability of having been born and having been set on a path unto death inspires Anders’ engagement with the sons of Eichmann—the heirs of those who designed and executed the Nazi death camps and extermination chambers of the Holocaust—and the sons of Claude Eatherly—the heirs ofboth those who designed and those who as pilots deployed the bombings that exploded nothing the stuff of the sun itself against the Empire of the Sun in the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We, embroiled as we are in wartime after wartime, suppressing public protest on a scale like never before, in country after country across the globe, cannot dispense with Anders today. (shrink)
Se exponen las prácticas docentes de las educadoras de párvulos, que cumplen una función reproductora del nacionalismo que es internalizado en las niñas y niños como la ciudadanía chilena. Para ello, configuran un escenario lúdico que ritualiza la conducta cívica y patriótica, por medio de conmemoraciones cívicas fundadas en el belicismo de la guerra del Pacífico, sin considerar la realidad cosmopolita y de diversidad cultural presente en las aulas nortinas. A partir de esto, proponemos una nueva perspectiva respecto de la (...) realización de actos cívicos en la educación parvularia, para hacerlos más inclusivos y acordes a la realidad cultural de la región de Tarapacá, la más multicultural de Chile. This paper describes the teaching practices of pre-school teachers who play a reproductive role of nationalism internalized in children as Chilean citizenships. This happens as the result of a ludic scenario that ritualizes civic and patriotic conduct, through civic commemorations based on the Pacific war, regardless both the cosmopolitan reality and cultural diversity present in classrooms in the Northern part of Chile. Considering this, we propose a new perspective on conducting civic events in early childhood education, to make them more inclusive and consistent with the cultural reality of the region of Tarapacá, Chile's most multicultural region. (shrink)
Robert Stern investigates how scepticism can be countered by using transcendental arguments concerning the necessary conditions for the possibility of experience, language, or thought. He shows that the most damaging sceptical questions concern neither the certainty of our beliefs nor the reliability of our belief-forming methods, but rather how we can justify our beliefs.
_ Hegel's holistic metaphysics challenges much recent ontology with its atomistic and reductionist assumptions; Stern offers us an original reading of Hegel and contrasts him with his predecessor, Kant. _.
In his new book, eminent psychologist - Daniel Stern, explores the hitherto neglected topic of 'vitality'. Truly a tour de force from a brilliant clinician and scientist, Forms of Vitality is a profound and absorbing book - one that will be essential reading for psychologists, psychotherapists, and those in the creative arts.
In many histories of modern ethics, Kant is supposed to have ushered in an anti-realist or constructivist turn by holding that unless we ourselves 'author' or lay down moral norms and values for ourselves, our autonomy as agents will be threatened. In this book, Robert Stern challenges the cogency of this 'argument from autonomy', and claims that Kant never subscribed to it. Rather, it is not value realism but the apparent obligatoriness of morality that really poses a challenge to our (...) autonomy: how can this be accounted for without taking away our freedom? The debate the book focuses on therefore concerns whether this obligatoriness should be located in ourselves (Kant), in others (Hegel) or in God (Kierkegaard). Stern traces the historical dialectic that drove the development of these respective theories, and clearly and sympathetically considers their merits and disadvantages; he concludes by arguing that the choice between them remains open. (shrink)
This paper, starting from the awareness of the anthropological finitude, aims to investigate the symbolic meaning of the catastrophe in today's society. With reference to E. De Martino’s and G. Anders’s anthropo - philosophical theses, the paper analyzes the representation of present catastrophes as Apocalypses without eskaton , in which the "blindness" of man and his inability to react is manifested. Both technological catastrophes directly caused by man and environmental disasters indirectly produced by anthropic neglect causes a widespread sense of (...) powerlessness, leaving man devoid of theoretical and practical means to guide his action. This implies, however, the necessity to widen human "feel" and the ability to understand the "meaning" of our actions in the world. This paper aims to examine all these issues through an ecocritic analysis of the novel The Road by C. McCarthy, in order to show that there is still a deeply human way to experience the fragility and to represent the catastrophe. (shrink)
In this powerful and wonderfully accessible meditation on psychoanalysis, hermeneutics, and social constructivism, Donnel Stern explores the relationship between two fundamental kinds of experience: explicit verbal reflection and "unformulated experience," or experience we have not yet reflected on and put into words. Stern is especially concerned with the process by which we come to formulate the unformulated. It is not an instrumental task, he holds, but one that requires openness and curiosity; the result of the process is not accuracy alone, (...) but experience that is deeply felt and fully imagined. Stern's sense of explicit verbal experience as continuously constructed and emergent leads to a central dialectic at the heart of his work: that between curiosity and imagination, on one hand, and dissociation and unthinking acceptance of the familiar on the other. The goal of psychoanalytic work, he holds, is the freedom to be curious, whereas defense signifies the denial of this freedom. We defend against our fear of what we would think, that is, if we allowed ourselves the freedom to think it. Stern also shows how the unconscious itself can be reconceptualized hermeneutically, and he goes on to explore the implications of this viewpoint on interpretation and countertransference. He is especially persuasive in showing how the interpersonal field, which is continuously in flux, limits the experience that it is possible for participants to reflect on. Thus it is that analyst and patient are together "caught in the grip of the field," often unable to see the kind of relatedness in which they are mutually involved. A brilliant demonstration of the clinical consequentiality of hermeneutic thinking, _Unformulated Experience_ bears out Stern's belief that psychoanalysis is as much about the revelation of the new in experience as it is about the discovery of the old. (shrink)
In this new introduction to a classic philosophical text, David Stern examines Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. He gives particular attention to both the arguments of the Investigations and the way in which the work is written, and especially to the role of dialogue in the book. While he concentrates on helping the reader to arrive at his or her own interpretation of the primary text, he also provides guidance to the unusually wide range of existing interpretations, and to the reasons why (...) the Investigations have inspired such a diversity of readings. Following closely the text of the Investigations and meant to be read alongside it, this survey is accessible to readers with no previous background in philosophy. It is well-suited to university-level courses on Wittgenstein, but can also be read with profit by students in other disciplines. (shrink)
In the third and fourth parts of the book, Günther shows--in debate with Hare, Dworkin, and others--how argumentation on the appropriate application of norms and principles in morality and law is possible.
This paper argues first that, contrary to what one would expect, metaphorical interpretations of utterances pass two of Cappelan and Lepore's Minimalist tests for semantic context-sensitivity. I then propose how, in light of that result, one might analyze metaphors on the model of indexicals and demonstratives, expressions that (even) Minimalists agree are semantically context-dependent. This analysis builds on David Kaplan's semantics for demonstratives and refines an earlier proposal in (Stern, Metaphor in context, MIT Press, Cambridge, 2000). In the course of (...) this argument, I also discuss some new examples of linguistic phenomena that motivate a semantic structure underlying metaphorical interpretation, phenomena I argue that neither Minimalists nor Contextualists can explain. (shrink)
The Phenomenology of Spirit is Hegel's most important and famous work. It is essential to understanding Hegel's philosophical system and why he remains a major figure in western philosophy. Stern offers a clear and accessible introduction to what is undoubtedly one of the most complex books in the history of philosophy.
In this revolutionary work, the author sets the stage for the science of the 21st Century, pursuing an unprecedented synthesis of fields previously considered unrelated. Beginning with simple classical concepts, he ends with a complex multidisciplinary theory requiring a high level of abstraction. The work progresses across the sciences in several multidisciplinary directions: Mathematical logic, fundamental physics, computer science and the theory of intelligence. Extraordinarily enough, the author breaks new ground in all these fields. In the field of fundamental physics (...) the author reaches the revolutionary conclusion that physics can be viewed and studied as logic in a fundamental sense, as compared with Einstein's view of physics as space-time geometry. This opens new, exciting prospects for the study of fundamental interactions. A formulation of logic in terms of matrix operators and logic vector spaces allows the author to tackle for the first time the intractable problem of cognition in a scientific manner. In the same way as the findings of Heisenberg and Dirac in the 1930s provided a conceptual and mathematical foundation for quantum physics, matrix operator logic supports an important breakthrough in the study of the physics of the mind, which is interpreted as a fractal of quantum mechanics. Introducing a concept of logic quantum numbers, the author concludes that the problem of logic and the intelligence code in general can be effectively formulated as eigenvalue problems similar to those of theoretical physics. With this important leap forward in the study of the mechanism of mind, the author concludes that the latter cannot be fully understood either within classical or quantum notions. A higher-order covariant theory is required to accommodate the fundamental effect of high-level intelligence. The landmark results obtained by the author will have implications and repercussions for the very foundations of science as a whole. Moreover, Stern's Matrix Logic is suitable for a broad spectrum of practical applications in contemporary technologies. (shrink)
The Theaetetus is one of the most widely studied of any of the Platonic dialogues because its dominant theme concerns the significant philosophical question, what is knowledge? In this new interpretation of the Theaetetus, Paul Stern provides the first full-length treatment of its political character in relationship to this dominant theme. Stern argues that this approach sheds significant light on the distinctiveness of the Socratic way of life, with respect to both its initial justification and its ultimate character.
Anders, Rudi I enjoy mixing with people who hold different beliefs from mine. Belief is a very complex and rather odd thing. I am particularly interested in the psychology of belief. Sometimes belief is the cause of terrible conflict and suffering.
Anders, Rudi Mental conditioning is like gravity; it feels so normal and ever-present that it often goes unnoticed, but it influences much human behaviour. I am not free when I am not aware how my ideas and attitudes are absorbed from my culture, family, the media and peers. It takes courage to stand alone.
Literary theory, newly conscious of its own historicism, has recently turned its attention to the history of interpretation. For midrash, this attention has arrived none too soon. The activity of Biblical interpretation as practiced by the sages of early Rabbinic Judaism in late antiquity, midrash has long been known to Western scholars, but mainly as either an exegetical curiosity or a source to be mined for facts about the Jewish background of early Christianity. The perspective of literary theory has placed (...) midrash in a decidedly new light. The very nature of midrash has now come to epitomize precisely that order of literary discourse to which much critical writing has recently aspired, a discourse that avoids the dichotomized opposition of literature versus commentary and instead resides in the dense shuttle space between text and interpreter. In the hermeneutical techniques of midrash, critics have found especially attractive the sense of interpretation as play rather than as explication, the use of commentary as a means of extending a text’s meanings rather than as a mere forum for the arbitration of original authorial intention. Some theoreticians have gone so far as to invoke midrash as a precursor, in a spiritual if not a historical sense, to more recent post-structuralist literary theory, in particular to deconstruction with its critique of logocentrism and the metaphysics of presence David Stern is assistant professor of medieval Hebrew literature in the department of Oriental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Parables in Midrash: The Intersection of Narrative and Exegesis in Rabbinic Literature and coauthor, with Mark Jay Mirsky, of Rabbinic Fantasies: Imaginative Narratives from Classical and Medieval Hebrew Literature. (shrink)
Anders, Rudi Mathematics is objective and unambiguous, but as soon as mathematics is applied to anything in the human world, human values complicate the issues. Two apples for two people equals one apple for each person, but compassion for a starving person, or other human values, can alter the outcome.
“Writers don’t have tasks,” said Saul Bellow in a Q-and-A. “They have inspiration.”Yes, at the typewriter, by the grace of discipline and the Muse, but here, on Central Park South, in the Essex House’s bright Casino on the Park, inspiration was not running high.Not that attendance at the forty-eight PEN conference was a task. It was rather what Robertson Davies called “collegiality.” “A week of it once every five years,” he said, “should be enough.” He, Davies, had checked in early, (...) Saturday afternoon, and attended every session. In black overcoat and black fur cap, he had a theatrical, Man-Who-Came-to-Dinner look. In the lobby he made a great impression.Why not? After all, weren’t writers here to be seen as well as to see each other, to make as well as take impressions? A month before, I’d spent a couple of hours at the Modern Language Association convention. There were thousands and thousands of scholars and critics there. Some of the most noted make a career of squeezing authors out of their texts. An author, wrote one tutelary divinity, “constitutes the privileged moment of individualization in the history of ideas, knowledge, [and] literature….”1 Not content with auctoricide, deconstructionist critics went after texts. “Il n’y a pas de hors-texte.”2 Since there’s nothing that doesn’t belong to the text, texts are interchangeable. And it’s not that superfluous, mythical being, the author, who decides they are, but his readers, at least those readers capable of erecting on his miserable pedestal—the poem, the story, the novel—a memorable explication.Ah well, was my thought, for some people a corpse will serve as well as a person. Indeed, for intellectual undertakers, hit-men, and cannibals, as well as for those who suffer the tyranny of authority, corpses are preferable to their living simulacra.Few authors at the PEN conference were troubled by these critical corpse-makers. They were here to see the authors behind the books they’d read, to swap stories and opinions, and to make clear to each other what splendid thinkers and noble humans they were outside of the poems and stories which had brought them here in the middle of winter and New York. In this city, more than any other in the history of the word, the word had been turned into gold. If one were going to abandon the typewriter for the podium, what better place to do it? In 1985, Richard Stern was given the Medal of Merit, awarded every six years to a novelist by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He is the author of, among other works, the novels A Father’s Words , Other Men’s Daughters , and Stitch . His third “orderly miscellany,” The Position of the Body, will be published in September 1986. This essay is part of a longer work. Stern is professor of English at the University of Chicago. (shrink)
Anders, Rudi When I see a colourful sunset, my mind goes to a spectacular purple sunset I saw near the Mexican border many years ago. That memory stops me from being fully aware of the scene in front of me. No two sunsets are the same and my memory is stopping me from fully appreciating the spectacle before my eyes. Famous and spectacular places don't work for me because expectations and memories get in the way, but when I walk alone (...) in nature I find my mind stops chattering and I begin to effortlessly notice the shades of green in the foliage, the patterns in the bark on the trees and the sounds and fragrances. It sometimes feels as if am absorbed by the surroundings. When this happens I don't bother with the names of birds or flowers because even that distracts from direct experience. (shrink)
Anders, Rudi The articles in AH I like best are the ones with which I disagree to a greater or lesser degree, because they force me to re-think and clarify my position. One such article was by John Perkins, titled 'Let's admit that Islam is a problem'. Although the article is very well-written, and I admire John's fact-finding regarding Islam, I think he misses the elephant in the room. Namely, Christian Europe and North America killed far more people than Islam (...) ever did. Buddhist and Shinto Japan did shocking things in the last world war. Jews in Israel ignore the rights of Palestinians. The atheist communist Soviet Union was as bad as Christian Czarist Russia. There is gross injustice in Hindu India. I don't think Islam should be singled out as a problem. I agree that religion can be a problem but the many atheist dictators, for example: Napoleon Bonaparte, Mussolini and Stalin, are also a problem, so atheism as such is not a guarantee of justice. (shrink)