(2011). ‘What Is, Is More than It Is’: Adorno and Heidegger on the Priority of Possibility. International Journal of Philosophical Studies: Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 31-57. doi: 10.1080/09672559.2011.539357.
Hegel's concepts of force and power (absolute power, absolute force, infinite power, the power of the negative, the power of the Concept, etc.), scattered throughout the works, are doubled by other passages where Hegel speaks of various forms of impotence or powerlessness (Ohnmacht). What is powerlessness? In effect, for Hegel, powerlessness generally designates a defect or a deficiency, or a kind of laziness or contingent immaturity that prevents the Concept from fully realizing itself, even though its power is, on another (...) level, absolute. Powerlessness (Ohnmacht) is a lack of power (Macht). But how is absolute power related to a relative lack of power? If power is absolute, then why is it that a little power isn’t always enough? Or alternatively, why does powerlessness have a role to play at all in a system where the power of the Concept determines everything inexorably? How do these two terms relate to each other in Hegel’s thought, especially in the context of the Subjective Logic? (shrink)
When Adorno refers to the concept of maturity (Mündigkeit), he generally means having the courage and the ability to use one’s own understanding independently of dominant heteronomous patterns of thought. This Kantian-sounding claim is essentially an exhortation: maturity demands self-liberation from heteronomy, i.e. autonomy. The problem, however, is that in spite of Adorno’s general endorsement of Kant’s definition of maturity, he ultimately rejects the corresponding Kantian definition of autonomy. Yet Adorno does not simply discard the Kantian concept of autonomy. On (...) the contrary, he will try to correct it by returning to it what it lacks, namely, intimacy or ‘live contact with the warmth of things’. In this gesture, he aims to restore to autonomy its ethical substance or lived ethical context, not as a mere supplement to the purity of duty, but rather as necessary to the very process of becoming mature. This article examines Adorno’s concept of maturity in the context of the dialectical relationship between autonomy and intimacy. (shrink)
L’oeuvre de Theodor W. Adorno, et plus particulièrement sa Théorie esthétique, témoigne de sa défense soutenue de l’art moderne. Toutefois, dans le cadre de ses réflexions, on ne doit pas oublier qu’elle comporte également une dimension critique. Sa polémique à propos du jazz, par exemple, est devenue célèbre. Par contraste, sa critique de la peinture monochrome demeure relativement inconnue. Ce texte propose d’abord d’esquisser les éléments de celle-ci afin de tester ensuite ses limites en analysant une oeuvre monochrome d’Yves Klein: (...) IKB 79.Theodor W. Adorno’s defence of modern art in Aesthetic Theory and other writings is well known, as is his scathing attack on jazz. Less well known is his critique of monochromatic painting. This article first sketches the stakes and terms of this critique in relation to Clement Greenberg’s dismissal of much monochromatic or near-monochromatic painting, before moving on to an analysis of Adorno’s position. For the purposes of this analysis, Yves Klein’s IKB 79 serves as a test case. (shrink)
This paper addresses the question of normativity in Hegel by examining the role of ‘undialectical’ resistance to dialectical development. Beginning with a general overview of dialectical normativity and what it might mean to be ‘undialectical,’ the focus then shifts to a privileged example in Hegel’s writings: Sophocles’ Antigone. The central claim of the paper is the following: The very contradictions that fuel dialectical normativity can also trap individuals within an obsolete actuality, without immediate hope of escape. Indeed, the irreducible dependence (...) of dialectical thinking upon the actions and decisions of individual consciousness expose it to the threat of continual stasis or regression. This ineliminable possibility of failure is what is here called the ‘undialectical’ moment of the dialectic, which Hegel understands rather as a negative condition of possibility of freedom and rationality. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Jean-Michel Salanskis surveys a number of well-known principles of leftist thought in order to criticize certain illusions to which it falls prey, but also in order to renew its most essential motivation: the search for equality. However, in so doing, Salanskis deploys an ambiguous and problematic notion of possibility that threatens the coherence of his project. The present study analyzes aspects of Salanskis’ book, taking possibility as a guiding thread, and proposes adjustments that may help to avoid certain classic (...) pitfalls in the history of dialectical thinking. (shrink)
Certaines lectures récentes de Hegel ont mis l’accent sur la dimension sociale de la philosophie de Hegel afin de parer les exagérations et les méprises courantes concernant son idéalisme. Robert Brandom, par exemple, a relevé des «thèmes pragmatiques dans l’idéalisme de Hegel». Mais une question d’ordre général se pose: cette stratégie déflationniste rend-elle réellement justice à la pensée de Hegel? Qu’advient-il des conditions logiques requises pour la connaissance et l’action, auxquelles Hegel attache beaucoup d’importance, et comment ces conditions cadrent-elles avec (...) les dimensions naturelles et sociales de l’expérience? En tablant sur des passages de l’Encyclopédie et d’autres textes, le présent article argumente en faveur d’un transcendantalisme modeste chez Hegel, afin d’éviter la rectification exagérée qui consiste à réduire le concept du concept chez Hegel à un réseau de pratiques sociales. (shrink)
RÉSUMÉ : La gauche et l’égalité de Jean-Michel Salanskis cherche à faire le bilan des principes traditionnels de la gauche afin de la guérir de certaines illusions et de renouveler ce qui est, pour lui, son pilier central : la quête de l’égalité. Mais pour ce faire, il déploie un concept de possibilité ambigu et problématique qui pourrait mettre en péril la cohérence de son projet. La présente étude analyse le texte de Salanskis en décortiquant son concept de possibilité, et (...) propose quelques ajustements afin d’éviter certains écueils classiques dans l’histoire de la pensée dialectique. ABSTRACT: Jean-Michel Salanskis’ La gauche et l’égalité surveys a number of well-known principles of leftist thought in order to criticize certain illusions to which it falls prey, but also in order to renew its most essential motivation: the search for equality. However, in so doing, Salanskis deploys an ambiguous and problematic notion of possibility that threatens the coherence of his project. The present study analyzes aspects of Salanskis’ book, taking possibility as a guiding thread, and proposes adjustments that may help to avoid certain classic pitfalls in the history of dialectical thinking. (shrink)
In the final lines of the Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel makes the complex claim that the contingency of history and the science of knowing in the sphere of appearance together constitute a “conceptual history” (begriffene Geschichte, a ‘conceptually comprehended’ history). What is this suggestive but frustratingly obscure formula meant to convey? The question is vexing, not least because the Phenomenology itself is neither a philosophy of history nor a philosophical history in any traditional sense; it rather takes the form of (...) a quasi-historical narrative that picks up on the difficult problem of philosophy’s relation to history. For this reason, the attempt to understand what Hegel might mean by the term may be helped along by a critical analysis of selected aspects of his philosophy of history. The limits of the question therefore go beyond the specific project of the Phenomenology, though answering the question will involve returning to one of the central themes of that book, namely, the concept of experience (Erfahrung). The aim here is not so much to evaluate Hegel’s theory of world history as it is to gain a better understanding of how in general he understands historical knowledge in relation to philosophical knowledge of the absolute—a central concern throughout his career. (shrink)
We think that certain of our mental states represent the world around us, and represent it in determinate ways. My perception that there is salt in the pot before me, for example, represents my immediate environment as containing a certain object, a pot, with a certain kind of substance, salt, in it. My belief that salt dissolves in water represents something in the world around me, namely salt, as having a certain observational property, that of dissolving. But what exactly is (...) the relation between such states and the world beyond the surfaces of our skins? Specifically, what exactly is the relation between the contents of those states, and the world beyond our bodies? (shrink)
Self-knowledge is the focus of considerable attention from philosophers: Knowing Our Own Minds gives a much-needed overview of current work on the subject, bringing together new essays by leading figures. Knowledge of one's own sensations, desires, intentions, thoughts, beliefs, and other attitudes is characteristically different from other kinds of knowledge: it has greater immediacy, authority, and salience. The contributors examine philosophical questions raised by the distinctive character of self-knowledge, relating it to knowledge of other minds, to rationality and agency, externalist (...) theories of psychological content, and knowledge of language. Together these original, stimulating, and closely interlinked essays demonstrate the special relevance of self-knowledge to a broad range of issues in epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language. (shrink)
In this book Macdonald elaborates a democratic framework based on the new theoretical concepts of 'public power', 'stakeholder communities' and 'non-electoral representation', and illustrates the practical implications of these proposals for projects of global institutional reform.
Though the relation of spirituality to self has long been recognized in established spiritual and religious systems, serious scientific interest in spirituality and its relation to identity has only started to grow in the past 20 years. This paper overviews the literature on spirituality and identity. Particular attention is given to describing and critiquing conventional and transpersonal perspectives with emphasis given to empirically testable theories. Using MacDonald’s five dimensional model of spirituality, a structural model of spirituality is proposed as (...) is a model of spiritual identity formation. (shrink)
A. J. Ayer was one of the foremost analytical philosophers of the twentieth century, and was known as a brilliant and engaging speaker. In essays based on his influential Dewey Lectures, Ayer addresses some of the most critical and controversial questions in epistemology and the philosophy of science, examining the nature of inductive reasoning and grappling with the issues that most concerned him as a philosopher. This edition contains revised and expanded versions of the lectures and two additional essays. Ayer (...) begins by considering Hume's formulation of the problem of induction and then explores the inferences on which we base our beliefs in factual matters. In other essays, he defines the three kinds of probability that inform inductive reasoning and examines the various criteria for verifiability and falsifiability. In his extensive introduction, Graham Macdonald discusses the arguments in _Probability and Evidence_, how they relate to Ayer's other works, and their influence in contemporary philosophy. He also provides a brief biographical sketch of Ayer, and includes a bibliography of works about and in response to _Probability and Evidence_. (shrink)
In Recovering Hegel from the Critique of Leo Strauss, Sara MacDonald and Barry Craig provide a study unique in its focus on Leo Strauss’s reading of Hegel. While MacDonald and Craig find value in Strauss’s thought, they argue that his pessimism concerning modernity lies in a misunderstanding of both modernity’s greatest philosophical advocate, G.W.F. Hegel, and modernity’s virtues.
The Existentialist Reader is a comprehensive anthology of classic philosophical writings from eight key existentialist thinkers: Sartre, Camus, Heidegger, de Beauvoir, Jaspers, Marcel, Merleau-Ponty, and Ortega y Gasset. These substantial and carefully selected readings consider the distinctive concerns of existentialism: absurdity, anxiety, alienation, death. A comprehensive introduction by Paul S. MacDonald illuminates the existentialist quest for individual freedom and authentic human experience with insight into the historical and intellectual background of these major figures. The Existentialist Reader is a valuable (...) guide to the provocative theories that shook the philosophical world in the 1930s and continue to profoundly shape the way we think about ourselves. (shrink)
An important function of the self is to identify external objects that are potentially personally relevant. We suggest that such objects may be identified through mere ownership. Extant research suggests that encoding information in a self-relevant context enhances memory , thus an experiment was designed to test the impact of ownership on memory performance. Participants either moved or observed the movement of picture cards into two baskets; one of which belonged to self and one which belonged to another participant. A (...) subsequent recognition test revealed that there was a significant memory advantage for objects that were owned by self. Acting on items had no impact on memory. Results are discussed with reference to the importance of self-object associations in cognition. (shrink)
A debate has been raging in the philosophy of mind for at least the past two decades. It concerns whether the mental can make a causal difference to the world. Suppose that I am reading the newspaper and it is getting dark. I switch on the light, and continue with my reading. One explanation of why my switching on of the light occurred is that a desiring with a particular content (that I continue reading), a noticing with a particular content (...) (that it is getting dark), and a believing with a particular content (that by switching on the light I could continue reading) occurred in me, and these events caused my switching on of the light. This explanation works by citing the intentional contents of mental phenomena as causes of that action. It is because the intentional causes have the contents that they do, and because those contents play a causal role in bringing about my action, that my action is causally explained. (shrink)
: Care work straddles the divide between activities performed out of love and those performed for pay. The tensions created for workers by this divide raise questions concerning connections between recognition and redistribution. Through an analysis of mobilization among childcare workers, we argue that care workers can address redistribution and recognition simultaneously through vocabularies of both skill and virtue. We conclude with a discussion of strategies to overcome the false dichotomy between recognition and redistribution.
This paper elaborates the concept of global public power as the subject of principles of political legitimacy in global politics, and defends it through a critical comparison with other concepts widely employed to depict this regulative subject: states, global basic structure, and global governance. The goal underlying this argument is to bring some greater unity and integration to conceptual understandings of the subject of principles of political legitimacy within analyses of global politics, and in doing so to frame a broader (...) research agenda for locating in practice the concrete political agencies and institutions that are appropriate targets for demands of political legitimation under the prevailing empirical conditions of global pluralism. (shrink)
This paper looks at conflicts of interest in the not-for-profit sector. It examines the nature of conflicts of interest and why they are of ethical concern, and then focuses on the way not-for-profit organisations are especially prone to and vulnerable to conflict-of-interest scandals. Conflicts of interest corrode trust; and stakeholder trust (particularly from donors) is the lifeblood of most charities. We focus on some specific challenges faced by charitable organisations providing funding for scientific (usually medical) research, and examine a case (...) study involving such an organisation. One of the principal problems for charities of this kind is that they often distribute their funds within a relatively small research community (defined by the boundaries of a small region, like an American state or Spanish Autonomous region, or a small country), and it often proves difficult to find high-level researchers within the jurisdiction to adjudicate impartially the research grants. We suggest and recommend options appropriate for our case study and for many other organisations in similar situations. (shrink)
In this paper I outline and defend an introspectionist account of authoritative self-knowledge for a certain class of cases, ones in which a subject is both thinking and thinking about a current, conscious thought. My account is distinctive in a number of ways, one of which is that it is compatible with the truth of externalism.
Current discussions of business ethics usually only consider deontological and utilitarian approaches. What is missing is a discussion of traditional teleology, often referred to as virtue ethics. While deontology and teleology are useful, they both suffer insufficiencies. Traditional teleology, while deontological in many respects, does not object to utilitarian style calculations as long as they are contained within a moral framework that is not utilitarian in its origin. It contains the best of both approaches and can be used to focus (...) on the individual''s role within an organization. More work is needed in exposing students and faculty to traditional teleology and its place in business ethic''s discussions. (shrink)
This volume provides an introduction to and review of key contemporary debates concerning connectionism, and the nature of explanation and methodology in cognitive psychology. The first debate centers on the question of whether human cognition is best modeled by classical or by connectionist architectures. The second centres on the question of the compatibility between folk, or commonsense, psychological explanation and explanations based on connectionist models of cognition. Each of the two sections includes a classic reading along with important responses, and (...) concludes with a specially commissioned reply by the main contributor. The editorial introductions provide a comprehensive survey and map through the debates. (shrink)
Teleosemantics seeks to explain meaning and other intentional phenomena in terms of their function in the life of the species. This volume of new essays from an impressive line-up of well-known contributors offers a valuable summary of the current state of the teleosemantics debate.