Theodor W. Adorno is best known for his contributions to aesthetics and social theory. Critics have always complained about the lack of a practical, political or ethical dimension to Adorno's philosophy. In this highly original contribution to the literature on Adorno, J. M. Bernstein offers the first attempt in any language to provide an account of the ethical theory latent in Adorno's writings. Bernstein relates Adorno's ethics to major trends in contemporary moral philosophy. He analyses the full range of Adorno's (...) major works, with a special focus on Dialectic of Enlightenment, Minima Moralia and Negative Dialectics. In developing his account Bernstein lays particular stress on Adorno's contention that the event of Auschwitz demands a new categorical imperative. This book will be widely acknowledged as the standard work on Adorno's ethics and as such will interest professionals and students of philosophy, political theory, sociology, history of ideas, art history and music. (shrink)
In this unflinching look at the experience of suffering and one of its greatest manifestations—torture—J.M. Bernstein critiques the repressions of traditional moral theory, showing that our morals are not immutable ideals but fragile constructions that depend on our experience of suffering itself. Morals, Bernstein argues, not only guide our conduct but also express the depth of mutual dependence that we share as vulnerable and injurable individuals. Beginning with the attempts to abolish torture in the eighteenth century, and then sensitively examining (...) what is suffered in torture and related transgressions, such as rape, Bernstein elaborates a powerful new conception of moral injury. Crucially, he shows, moral injury always involves an injury to the status of an individual as a person—it is a violent assault against his or her dignity. Elaborating on this critical element of moral injury, he demonstrates that the mutual recognitions of trust form the invisible substance of our moral lives, that dignity is a fragile social possession, and that the perspective of ourselves as potential victims is an ineliminable feature of everyday moral experience. (shrink)
Aesthetic alienation may be described as the paradoxical relationship whereby art and truth have come to be divorced from one another while nonetheless remaining entwined. J. M. Bernstein not only finds the separation of art and truth problematic, but also contends that we continue to experience art as sensuous and particular, thus complicating and challenging the cultural self-understanding of modernity. Bernstein focuses on the work of four key philosophers—Kant, Heidegger, Derrida, and Adorno—and provides powerful new interpretations of their views. Bernstein (...) shows how each of the three post-Kantian aesthetics to construct a philosophical language that can criticize and displace the categorical assumption of modernity. He also examines in detail their responses to questions concerning the relations among art, philosophy, and politics in modern societies. (shrink)
Edited by Hans-Christoph Schmidt am Busch & Christopher Zurn. This volume collects original, cutting-edge essays on the philosophy of recognition by international scholars eminent in the field. By considering the topic of recognition as addressed by both classical and contemporary authors, the volume explores the connections between historical and contemporary recognition research and makes substantive contributions to the further development of contemporary theories of recognition.
This encyclopedia entry provides an overview of the field of public health ethics. It focuses on what distinguishes public health ethics from other nearby subfields—especially biomedical ethics. It also frames the problems of public health ethics in terms of the concepts of justice and political legitimacy.
Public health ethicists face two difficult questions. First, what makes something a matter of public health? While protecting citizens from outbreaks of communicable diseases is clearly a matter of public health, is the same true of policies that aim to reduce obesity, gun violence or political corruption? Second, what should the scope of the government’s authority be in promoting public health? May government enact public health policies some citizens reasonably object to or policies that are paternalistic? Recently, some theorists have (...) attempted to address these questions by arguing that something is a matter of public health if and only if it involves a health-related public good, such as clean water or herd immunity. Relatedly, they have argued that appeals to the promotion of public health should only be used to justify the provision of health-related public goods. This public goods conception of public health is meant to enjoy advantages over its rivals in three respects: it provides a better definition of public health than rival views, it respects moral disagreement, and it avoids licensing objectionably paternalistic public health policies. We argue, however, that the PGC does just as poorly, or worse, than its rivals in all three respects. (shrink)
Jurgen Habermas' construction of a critical social theory of society grounded in communicative reason is one of the very few real philosophical inventions of recent times that demands and repays extended engagement. In this elaborate and sympathetic study which places Habermas' project in the context of critical theory as a whole past and future, J. M. Bernstein argues that despite its undoubted achievements, it contributes to the very problems of ethical dislocation and meaninglessness it aims to diagnose and remedy. Bernstein (...) further argues that the precise character of the failures of Habermas' program demonstrate the necessity for a return to the first generation critical theory of Adorno. Reading across nearly the whole range of Habermas' corpus, Recovering Ethical Life traces the development of the theory of communicative reason from its inception in Knowledge and Human Interests through its elaboration in The Theory of Communicative Action and into its defense against postmodernism in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity . In separate chapters Habermas' readings of Freud, Durkheim amd Mead, Adorno and Foucault, Castoriadis and Taylor are critically examined. The focus of Bernstein's analyses, however, is always problem centered and thematic rather than textual psychoanalytic theory as an account of self knowledge, the competing claims of ethical identity and moral reason, the place of judgment in practical reason, and the debate between philosophies of language based communities versus those oriented towards world-disclosure. Critical theory is unique among current philosophies in engaging with the problems of social injustice and nihilism by siding with an abstract moral reason that forfeits the processes of intersubjective recognition it intended to salvage. Even in the fine grain of Habermas' account of performative contradictions and the theory of discourses of application, Bernstein perceives a squandering of the resources of an ethical life in need of transfiguration. (shrink)
Most liberals agree that governments should protect certain basic liberties, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of the person. Liberals disagree, however, about whether free market rights should also be protected. By “free market rights,” we mean those rights typically associated with laissez-faire economic systems such as freedom of contract, a right to market returns, and claims to privately own the means of production.We do not use the phrase “economic liberties,” as Tomasi does, because it does (...) not distinguish between the “economic rights” defended by classical liberal and those defended by socialists. Those on the right often see such freedoms as core liberal commitments, while those on the left argue that an economic system should be organized to protect the interests of the less advantaged members of society. If free market rights should be protected, then most existing societies are unjust. These societies fail the liberal standard in the same ways as th .. (shrink)
It is the persistence of social suffering in a world in which it could be eliminated that for Adorno is the source of the need for critical reflection, for philosophy. Philosophy continues and gains its cultural place because an as yet unbridgeable abyss separates the social potential for the relief of unnecessary human suffering and its emphatic continuance. Philosophy now is the culturally bound repository for the systematic acknowledgement and articulation of the meaning of the expanse of human suffering within (...) technologically advanced societies that are already committed to liberal ideals of freedom and equality. (shrink)
Arguably, the most promising and compelling route to demonstrating the significance of Hegel’s thought to contemporary philosophy has been the series of recent readings that construe Hegel as continuing and completing Kant’s Copernican turn. Paul Redding explicitly locates his interpretation within this program, seeing the hermeneutic dimension of Hegel’s thought as providing for the possibility of continuing the Kantian project. Kant’s Copernican turn can be loosely stated as the procedure of reflectively uncovering unexperienced conditions of experience that contribute to the (...) nature of experience in ways that require its further re-determination and re-description. What a hemeneutic take on this reflective procedure adds is that foremost among those conditions are contexts of intersubjective or dialogical relations—structures of recognition. While perhaps disappointing to anyone interested in the problem of textual interpretation, there is finally nothing more to Redding’s account of Hegel’s “hermeneutics” than the establishing of recognitive structures as forming the ultimate horizon of human experience. I take Redding’s relentless tracking of the problem of recognition to be one of his book’s virtues. (shrink)
Living in the Borderland addresses the evolution of Western consciousness and describes the emergence of the 'Borderland,' a spectrum of reality that is beyond the rational yet is palpable to an increasing number of individuals. Building on Jungian theory, Jerome Bernstein argues that a greater openness to transrational reality experienced by Borderland personalities allows new possibilities for understanding and healing confounding clinical and developmental enigmas. In three sections, this book charts the evolution of Western consciousness, examines the psychological and clinical (...) implications and looks at how the new Borderland consciousness bridges the mind-body divide. It challenges the standard clinical model, which views normality as an absence of pathology and equates normality with the rational, and abnormality with the transrational. Jerome Bernstein describes how psychotherapy itself often contributes to the alienation of many Borderland personalities by misdiagnosing the difference between the pathological and the sacred and uses case studies to illustrate the potential such misdiagnoses have for causing serious psychic and emotional damage to the patient. This challenge to the orthodoxies and complacencies of Western medicine's concept of pathology will interest Jungian Analysts, Psychoanalysts, Psychotherapists and Psychiatrists. (shrink)
This 2002 volume brings together major works by German thinkers, writing just prior to and after Kant, who were enormously influential in this crucial period of aesthetics. These texts include the first translation into English of Schiller's Kallias Letters and Moritz's On the Artistic Imitation of the Beautiful, together with translations of some of Hölderlin's most important theoretical writings and works by Hamann, Lessing, Novalis and Schlegel. In a philosophical introduction J. M. Bernstein traces the development of aesthetics from its (...) still rationalist and mimetic construction in Lessing, through the optimistic construal of art and/or beauty as the appearance of human freedom in the work of Schiller, to Hölderlin's darker vision of art as the memory of a lost unity, and the variations of that theme - of an impossible striving after the lost ideal - which are found in the work of Schlegel and Novalis. (shrink)
In a recent paper in this journal, Jason Brennan correctly notes that libertarians struggle to justify a policy of compulsory vaccination. The most straightforward argument that justifies compulsory vaccination is that such a policy promotes welfare. But libertarians cannot make this argument because they claim that the state is justified only in protecting negative rights, not in promoting welfare. I consider two representative libertarian attempts to justify compulsory vaccination, and I argue that such arguments are unsuccessful. They either fail to (...) show that the state is justified in implementing the policy or overgeneralise. I suggest that Brennan's solution is especially well motivated insofar as it addresses the shortcomings of these arguments. Brennan argues that we violate the rights of others by participating in an activity that imposes an unacceptable collective risk of harm. Going unvaccinated is an activity that imposes an unacceptable collective risk of harm, and thus amounts to a rights violation. So, the state can implement a policy of compulsory vaccination I object, however, that Brennan's delineation of acceptable and unacceptable risk implicitly rests on classical liberal rather than libertarian principles; he justifies compulsory vaccination on the grounds that it promotes welfare. I also object that Brennan's argument would entail significant departures from libertarian institutional arrangements. This leaves libertarians with a choice: they can develop new arguments to demonstrate that their position is compatible with compulsory vaccination, or they can accept that their view entails the impermissibility of compulsory vaccination, and argue that this is not an unpalatable implication of their view. (shrink)
Arguably, there is no gesture more typical to philosophy than its repudiation, the sense that philosophical endeavor is a symptom of the pathologies or dislocations of everyday life it seeks to remedy. Throughout the nineteenth century—in the writings of the German Romantics, Young Hegelians, Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche—the repudiation of philosophy is a constant. Sometimes this repudiation takes a reflective form in which traditional philosophical claims are translated into another vocabulary, or are deflated ; sometimes alternative methods are adopted that (...) attempt to undermine, explain away, what is thought of as uniquely philosophical; sometimes rhetorical strategies are adopted that aim to bring about a “conversion” in the reader away from philosophy and toward a more fully immanent or existential self-understanding; and sometimes that more everyday self-understanding that is to be the antidote to philosophical reflection is construed as not yet available but would come to be in an ideal or utopian future if particular radical transformations of current practices were accomplished. Apart from Kierkegaard, these attempts typically construe themselves as continuous with the critique of religion, as if philosophy were nothing but religious excess in rational dress, and thus continuous with modernity’s drive toward secularity. Because the stakes of repudiation are inevitably normative—the protest against philosophy for the sake of a more “realistic,” more truly natural or historical, conception of what is rational or good—the critique of philosophy becomes, despite itself, philosophical, burdened with presuppositions it can neither sustain nor forgo. In brief, this is the lesson of Daniel Brudney’s meticulous and patient excavation of the writings of the young Marx. (shrink)
Hip fractures are common and serious injuries in the geriatric population. Obtaining informed consent for surgery in geriatric patients can be difficult due to the high prevalence of comorbid cognitive impairment. Given that virtually all patients with hip fractures eventually undergo surgery, and given that delays in surgery are associated with increased mortality, we argue that there are select instances in which it may be ethically permissible, and indeed clinically preferable, to initiate surgical treatment in cognitively impaired patients under the (...) doctrine of presumed consent. In this paper, we examine the boundaries of the license granted by presumed consent and use the example of geriatric hip fracture to build an ethical framework for understanding the doctrine of presumed consent. The license to act under presumed consent requires three factors: patient incapacity, clinical urgency and clarity on the correct course of action. All three can apply to geriatric hip fracture. The typical patient frequently lacks capacity. Delays in initiating surgical treatment are associated with markedly increased mortality rates. Last, there appears to be consensus that surgery is the preferred treatment. Nonetheless, because there is a window of safe delay during which treating physicians can stabilize the patient, address reversible causes of cognitive impairment and identify surrogate decision makers, presumed consent should be invoked only as a method of last resort. A medical situation need not be characterized by risk of imminent and certain death for presumed consent to be relevant. Rather, there are two distinct windows that must be considered: the time interval in which action may be delayed without danger, and the time interval needed to obtain a better form of consent. Presumed consent is appropriate only when the latter exceeds the former. (shrink)
This essay originated as a reply to Richard Rorty's ”Habermas, Derrida, and the Functions of Philosophy“. In it, I contest Rorty's deployment of the categories of private selfcreation and the collective political enterprise of increasing freedom, first developed in Contingency, Irony and Solidarity, to demonstrate that the philosophical projects of Habermas and Derrida are complementary rather than antagonistic. The focus of my critique is two-fold: firstly, I contend that so-called critiques of metaphysics are always simutaneously engaging with some form of (...) social domination or disintegration (e.g. nihilism or societal rationalization); secondly, I argue that the fault-line in Rorty's thought that structures his categories is his, Davidson inspired, naturalized philosophy of language. This philosophy of language falls afoul of Heidegger's analysis of the present-to-hand. (shrink)
This article explores the influence of Winnicott’s conceptual constellation of early childhood, play, use, transitional phenomena, and transitional object upon Agamben’s thinking of contemporary historical exigency.
Deleuze's philosophy of cinema departs from the standard conception of modernist aesthetics that sees art withdrawing from representation in order to reflect upon the specificity of its medium. While ambitious and influential, Deleuze's attempt fails. Overdetermined by its own metaphysics, it forsakes the real importance of the movies. It is unable to explain how they function and why they matter. This essay pursues three lines of criticism: Deleuze cannot account for the aesthetic specificity of cinema because he deposes the primacy (...) of action in the movement-image in favour of the primacy of belief. This failure is connected to the fact that a cinema of the virtual depends on the very Bazinian realism it is meant to displace. Realism must be acknowledged as the cinematic condition and truth of virtuality. Further, Bazinian realism is the cinematic form of philosophical modernism, preferable for many reasons to Deleuze's philosophy, which returns to pre-modern cosmology in its desire to escape the agent-based, anti-metaphysical commitments of modernism. I apply these criticisms to my analysis of Resnais's Hiroshima mon amour, a movie that prima facie looks made to fulfil the terms of Deleuze's theory but which I argue is an object lesson in realism. (shrink)
Adorno contends that something of what we think of knowing and rational agency operate in ways that obscure and deform unique, singular presentations by relegating them to survival-driven interests and needs; hence, in accordance with the presumptions of transcendental idealism, we have come to mistake what are, in effect, historically contingent, species-subjective ways of viewing the world for an objective understanding of the world. And further, this interested understanding of the world is deforming in a more radical way than just (...) obscuring what is there for the sake of interested needs and purposes; these instrumental ways of knowing and acting, are broadly self-interested, in the interest of survival, without effective concern for the well-being and worth of others; by becoming generalized and exclusive, hegemonic, by driving out modes of encountering things and persons that support their differences and independence, their needs and interests, these instrumental practices are the deepest cause of t. (shrink)
Since its inception in September 2010, the Network for Public Health Law has responded to hundreds of public health legal technical assistance claims from around the country. Based on a review of these data, a series of major trends in public health practice and the law are analyzed, including issues concerning: the Affordable Care Act, tobacco control, emergency legal preparedness, health information privacy, food policy, vaccination, drug overdose prevention, sports injury law, public health accreditation, and maternal breastfeeding. These and other (...) emerging themes in public health law demonstrate the essential role of law and practice in advancing the public's health. (shrink)
This volume offers the first English language collection of academic essays on the post-Holocaust thought of Jean Améry, a Jewish-Austrian-Belgian essayist, journalist and literary author. Comprehensive in scope and multi-disciplinary in orientation, contributors explore central aspects of Améry's philosophical and ethical position, including dignity, responsibility, resentment, and forgiveness.
This article explores the influence of Winnicott’s conceptual constellation of early childhood, play, use, transitional phenomena, and transitional object upon Agamben’s thinking of contemporary historical exigency.
Let me begin with a wisp of political history. According to the Earl of Clarendon, in 1639 the king’s “three kingdoms [were] flourishing in entire peace and universal plenty.”1 Yet by 1642 civil war had broken out, and in 1649 the king was beheaded. What had caused this breakdown of civil and political order, a breakdown that was not localized in England but, in fact, rife throughout Europe—1648 like 1848 was a year of revolutions? Clarendon himself is less than acute (...) on the matter, opting generally for a conspiracy theory in which the traitorous plots of ill men were the cause of the rebellion. In his book Behemoth —whose title stands for the Long Parliament, which sat in session from 1640 until the surviving .. (shrink)
Schelling’s System of Transcendental Idealism is usually considered to be either an early Fichtean-influenced work that gives little insight into Schelling’s philosophy or a text focusing on self-consciousness and aesthetics. I argue that Schelling’s System develops a subtle conception of history which originates in a dialogue with Kant and Hegel and concludes in proximity to an Idealist version of Spinoza. In this way, Schelling develops a philosophy of history which is, simultaneously, a dialectical engagement with the history of philosophy.
Public health law research reveals significant complexities underlying the use of law as an effective tool to improve health outcomes across populations. The challenges of applying public health law in practice are no easier. Attorneys, public health officials, and diverse partners in the public and private sectors collaborate on the front lines to forge pathways to advance population health through law. Meeting this objective amidst competing interests requires strong practice skills to shift through sensitive and sometimes urgent calls for action (...) to address known threats to the health of individuals and the community. It also necessitates objective, timely information and national and regional legal support. (shrink)
T. W. Adorno's and Max Horkheimer's Dialectic of Enlightenment is fifty years old. Its disconcerting darkness now seems so bound to the time of its writing, one may well wonder if we have anything to learn from it. Are its main lines of argument relevant to our social and philosophical world? Are the losses it records losses we can still recognise as our own?
Some parents take advantage of legal exemptions for the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. While there are a variety of reasons parents do so—including having children with medical conditions that make vaccination medically unsafe—some parents appear to be driven, at least in part, by beliefs that vaccines cause a variety of diseases or conditions, such as autism. Those who delay or refuse the MMR vaccine because of false beliefs about its side effects elicit a strikingly strong response from many who endorse MMR vaccine (...) mandates. Accusations of moral wrongdoing, expressions of anger, indignation, resentment, or disgust frequently appear in social... (shrink)