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James Mensch
Charles University, Prague
  1. Husserl's Account of Our Consciousness of Time.James Mensch - 2010 - Marquette University Press.
    Having asked, “What, then, is time?” Augustine admitted, “I know well enough what it is, provided that nobody asks me; but if I am asked what it is and try to explain, I am baffled.” We all have a sense of time, but the description and explanation of it remain remarkably elusive. Through a series of detailed descriptions, Husserl attempted to clarify this sense of time. In my book, I trace the development of his account of our temporal self-awareness, starting (...)
     
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  2. Violence and Embodiment.James Mensch - 2008 - Symposium 12 (1):4-15.
    While the various forms of violence have been the subject of special studies, we lack a paradigm that would allow us to understand the different forms of violence (physical, social, cultural, structural, and so on) as aspects of a unified phenomenon. In this article, I shall take violence as destructive of sense or meaning. The relation of violence to embodiment arises through the role that the body plays in our making sense of the world. My claim is that violence is (...)
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  3.  23
    Senseless Violence: Liminality and Intertwining.James Mensch - 2017 - The European Legacy 22 (6):667-686.
    The claim of this article is that the perpetrators of violence are “liminal” figures, being inside and yet outside of the world in which they act. It is this liminality, this existing on the border, that makes their violence senseless. Because of it, their actions can be understood in terms neither of the actual reality of their victims nor of the imagined reality that the perpetrators placed them in. Sense, here, fails, for the lack of a common frame. Liminality exists (...)
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  4.  15
    Intersubjectivity and Transcendental Idealism.James Mensch - 1988 - SUNY Press.
    This book offers new answers to this persistent philosophical question by defining the question in specifically Husserlian terms and by means of a careful examination of Husserl’s later texts, including the unpublished Nachlass.
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  5.  60
    Embodiments: From the Body to the Body Politic.James Mensch - 2009 - Northwestern University Press.
    The intertwining: the recursion of the seer and the seen -- Artificial intelligence and the phenomenology of flesh -- Aesthetic education and the project of being human -- The intertwining of incommensurables: Yann Martel's life of Pi -- Flesh and the limits of self-making -- Violence and embodiment -- Excessive presence and the image -- Politics and freedom -- Sovereignty and alterity -- Political violence -- Public space -- Sustaining the other: tolerance as a positive ideal -- Forgiveness and incarnation.
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  6.  30
    Violence and Selfhood.James Mensch - 2013 - Human Studies 36 (1):25-41.
    Is violence senseless or is it at the origin of sense? Does its destruction of meaning disclose ourselves as the origin of meaning? Or is it the case that it leaves in its wake only a barren field? Does it result in renewal or only in a sense of dead loss? To answer these questions, I shall look at James Dodd’s, Hegel’s, and Carl Schmitt’s accounts of the creative power of violence—particularly with regard to its ability to give individuals and (...)
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  7. Selfhood and Appearing: The Intertwining.James Mensch - 2018 - Brill.
    _Selfhood and Appearing_ explores how, as embodied subjects, we are in the very world that we consciously internalize. Employing the insights of Merleau-Ponty and Patočka, this volume examines how the intertwining of both senses of “being-in” constitutes our reality.
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  8.  6
    Trust and Violence.James Mensch - 2019 - Studia Phaenomenologica 19:59-73.
    Jean Améry’s memoir of his imprisonment and torture by the Nazis links the loss of “trust in the world” to the violence he experienced. The loss of trust makes him feel homeless. He can no longer find a place in the intersubjective world, the world for everyone. What is this “trust in the world”? How does violence destroy it? In this article, I use Améry’s remarks as guide for understanding the relation of violence, trust, and homelessness. Trust, I argue, is (...)
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  9.  9
    Ethics and Selfh Ood: Alterity and the Phenomenology of Obligation.James R. Mensch - 2003 - State University of New York Press.
    Argues that a coherent theory of ethics requires an account of selfhood.
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  10.  15
    Postfoundational Phenomenology: Husserlian Reflections on Presence and Embodiment.James R. Mensch - 2000 - Pennsylvania State University Press.
    This book offers a fresh look at Edmund Husserl’s philosophy as a nonfoundational approach to understanding the self as an embodied presence. Contrary to the conventional view of Husserl as carrying on the Cartesian tradition of seeking a trustworthy foundation for knowledge in the "pure" observations of a disembodied ego, James Mensch introduces us to the Husserl who, anticipating the later investigations of Merleau-Ponty, explored how the body functions to determine our self-presence, our freedom, and our sense of time. The (...)
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  11.  48
    Instincts — a Husserlian Account.James R. Mensch - 1997 - Husserl Studies 14 (3):219-237.
    According to the standard, accepted view of Husserl, the notion of a Husserlian account of the instincts appears paradoxical. Is not Husserl the proponent of a philosophy conducted by a “pure” observer? Instincts relate to the body, but the reduction seems to leave us with a disembodied Cartesian ego. Quotations are not lacking to support this view.
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  12.  46
    Religious Intolerance.James Mensch - 2011 - Symposium 15 (2):171-189.
    Religion has been a constant throughout human history. Evidence of it dates from the earliest times. Religious practice is also universal, appearing in every region of the globe. To judge from recorded history and contemporary accounts, religious intolerance is equally widespread. Yet all the major faiths proclaim the golden rule, namely, to “love your neighbour as yourself.” When Jesus was asked by a lawyer, “Who is my neighbour?” he replied with the story of the good Samaritan—the man who bound up (...)
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  13.  41
    Husserl, Heidegger, and Sartre: Presence and the Performative Contradiction.James Mensch - 2016 - The European Legacy 21 (5-6):493-510.
    In this essay I explore the divide that separates Heidegger and Sartre from Husserl. At issue is what Derrida calls the “metaphysics of presence.” From Heidegger onward this has been characterized as an interpretation of both being and knowing in terms of presence. To exist is to be now, and to know is to make present the evidence for something’s existence. Husserl’s account of constitution assumes this interpretation. By contrast, Heidegger and Sartre see constitution in terms of our pragmatic engagements (...)
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  14.  49
    Husserl's Concept of the Future.James R. Mensch - 1999 - Husserl Studies 16 (1):41-64.
    At first glance, a phenomenological account of the future seems a contradiction in terms. Phenomenology’s focus is on givenness or presence. Attending to what has already been given in its search for evidence, it seems incapable of handling the future, which by definition, has not yet been given since it not-yet-present. Thus, for the existentialists, in particular Heidegger, phenomenology misses the fact that the Da-, the “thereness” of our Dasein, is located in the future. It misses the futurity inherent in (...)
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  15. The Question of Naturalizing Phenomenology.James Mensch - 2013 - Symposium 17 (1):210-228.
    The attempt to use the results of phenomenology in cognitive and neural science has in the past decade become increasingly widespread. It is, however, open to the objection that phenomenology does not concern itself with the embodied, empirical subject, but rather with the non-causally determined “transcendental” subject. If this is true, then the attempt to employ its results is bound to come to grief on the opposition of two different accounts of consciousness: the non-causal, transcendental paradigm put forward by phenomenology (...)
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  16.  14
    James Mensch, Embodiments: From the Body to the Body Politic (Evanston, Il: Northwestern University Press, 2009) Religious Intolerance: Hating Your Neighbour as Yourself.James Mensch - 2011 - Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 15 (2):171-189.
    Religion has been a constant throughout human history. Evidence of it dates from the earliest times. Religious practice is also universal, appearing in every region of the globe. To judge from recorded history and contemporary accounts, religious intolerance is equally widespread. Yet all the major faiths proclaim the golden rule, namely, to “love your neighbour as yourself.” When Jesus was asked by a lawyer, “Who is my neighbour?” he replied with the story of the good Samaritan—the man who bound up (...)
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  17.  26
    The Phenomenological Status of the Ego.James R. Mensch - 2009 - Idealistic Studies 39 (1-3):1-9.
    For phenomenology, the study of appearances and the ways they come together to present a world, the question of the ego presents special difficulties. The ego, itself, is not an appearance; it is the subject to whom appearances appear. As such, it cannot appear. As the neo-Kantian, Paul Natorp expresses this:“The ego is the subjective center of relation for all contents in my consciousness. . . . It cannot itself be a content and resembles nothing that could be a content (...)
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  18.  5
    Religious Intolerance: Hating Your Neighbour as Yourself.James Mensch - 2011 - Symposium 15 (2):171-189.
    Religion has been a constant throughout human history. Evidence of it dates from the earliest times. Religious practice is also universal, appearing in every region of the globe. To judge from recorded history and contemporary accounts, religious intolerance is equally widespread. Yet all the major faiths proclaim the golden rule, namely, to “love your neighbour as yourself.” When Jesus was asked by a lawyer, “Who is my neighbour?” he replied with the story of the good Samaritan—the man who bound up (...)
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  19. Derrida–Husserl: Towards a Phenomenology of Language.James Mensch - 2001 - New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy 1:1-66.
  20. The a Priori of the Visible.James Mensch - 2007 - Studia Phaenomenologica 7:259-283.
    Jan Patočka and Maurice Merleau-Ponty attempted to get beyond Husserl by focusing on manifestation or visibility as such. Yet, the results these philosophers come to are very different — particularly with regard to the a priori of the visible. Are there, as Patočka believed, aspects of being that can be grasped in their entirety, the aspects, namely, that involve its “self-showing”? Or must we say, with Merleau-Ponty, that being can only show itself in finite perspectives that can never be summed (...)
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  21.  23
    Temporalization as the Trace of the Subject.James Mensch - 2001 - In Ralph Schumacher, Rolf-Peter Horstmann & Volker Gerhardt (eds.), Kant Und Die Berliner Aufklärung: Akten des Ix. Internationalen Kant-Kongresses. Bd. I: Hauptvorträge. Bd. Ii: Sektionen I-V. Bd. Iii: Sektionen Vi-X: Bd. Iv: Sektionen Xi-Xiv. Bd. V: Sektionen Xv-Xviii. De Gruyter. pp. 409-417.
    Both in its methods and spirit, Kant’s critical philosophy seems the opposite of recent French philosophy. In its deductive approach, it exemplifies a severe rationality; its structures of argument and proof often abstract from our lived experience. The philosophies of Derrida and Levinas, however, attend to such experience. In particular, they are sensitive to precisely those aspects of it that seem to exceed our conceptual abilities. Thus, for Levinas the face of the other manifests an “inabsorbable alterity.” It cannot be (...)
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  22.  15
    After Modernity: Husserlian Reflections on a Philosophical Tradition.James R. Mensch - 1996 - State University of New York Press.
    Offers an alternative to the modern foundationalist paradigm, based in Husserl's analysis of temporality, that shows how the passing of modernity provides an opening for doing metaphysics in a new nonfoundationalist manner.
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  23. The Question of Being in Husserl's Logical Investigations.James R. Mensch - 1981 - Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  24.  26
    Patočka’s Conception of the Subject of Human Rights.James R. Mensch - 2011 - Idealistic Studies 41 (1-2):1-10.
    Jan Patočka appears as a paradoxical figure. A champion of human rights, he often presents his philosophy in quite traditional terms. He speaks of the “soul,” its “care,” and of “living in truth.” Yet, in his proposal for an “asubjective” phenomenology, he undermines the traditional notion of the self that has such rights. The question that thus confronts a reader of Patočka is how to reconcile the Patočka who was a spokesman of the Charter 77 movement with the proponent of (...)
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  25.  54
    Phenomenology and Artificial Intelligence: Husserl Learns Chinese.James R. Mensch - 1991 - Husserl Studies 8 (2):107-127.
    For over a decade John Searle's ingenious argument against the possibility of artificial intelligence has held a prominent place in contemporary philosophy. This is not just because of its striking central example and the apparent simplicity of its argument. As its appearance in Scientific American testifies, it is also due to its importance to the wider scientific community. If Searle is right, artificial intelligence in the strict sense, the sense that would claim that mind can be instantiated through a formal (...)
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  26. Patocka and Artificial Intelligence.James Mensch - manuscript
    It may seem strange to associate the name of Jan Patočka with artificial intelligence. Neither a mathematician nor a logician, the phenomenology he espoused, with its emphasis on lived experience, seems worlds apart from the formalism associated with the discipline. Yet, as I hope to show, the radicality and depth of Patočka’s thought is such that it casts a wide net. The reform of metaphysics that Patočka proposed in his asubjective phenomenology also affects artificial intelligence. It shows that what philosophers (...)
     
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  27.  41
    Artificial Intelligence and the Phenomenology of Flesh.James Mensch - 2006 - PhaenEx 1 (1):73-85.
    A. M. Turing argued that there was "little point in trying to make a 'thinking machine' more human by dressing it up in ... artificial flesh." We should, instead, draw "a fairly sharp line between the physical and the intellectual capacities of a man." For over fifty years, drawing this line has meant disregarding the role flesh plays in our intellectual capacities. Correspondingly, intelligence has been defined in terms of the algorithms that both men and machines can perform. I would (...)
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  28.  23
    Politics and Freedom.James Mensch - 2006 - Idealistic Studies 36 (1):75-82.
    True freedom involves choices whose scope is not limited in advance by a particular dogma. When we attempt to understand it, a number of questions arise. It is unclear, for example, how the openness of real choice can fit into the organized structures of political life. What prevents the expressions of freedom from disrupting this life? What sets limits to their arbitrariness? The general questionhere concerns the adaptability of freedom to a political context. In this paper, I argue that freedom (...)
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  29.  7
    The a Priori of the Visible: Patočka and Merleau-Ponty.James Mensch - 2007 - Studia Phaenomenologica 7:259-283.
    Jan Patočka and Maurice Merleau-Ponty attempted to get beyond Husserl by focusing on manifestation or visibility as such. Yet, the results these philosophers come to are very different — particularly with regard to the a priori of the visible. Are there, as Patočka believed, aspects of being that can be grasped in their entirety, the aspects, namely, that involve its “self-showing”? Or must we say, with Merleau-Ponty, that being can only show itself in finite perspectives that can never be summed (...)
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  30.  26
    Husserl and Sartre.James R. Mensch - 1994 - Journal of Philosophical Research 19:147-184.
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  31.  3
    Husserl and Sartre: A Question of Reason.James R. Mensch - 1994 - Journal of Philosophical Research 19:147-184.
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  32. Instruction to Authors 279–283 Index to Volume 20 285–286.Christian Lotz, Corinne Painter, Sebastian Luft, Harry P. Reeder, Semantic Texture, Luciano Boi, Questions Regarding Husserlian Geometry, James R. Mensch & Postfoundational Phenomenology Husserlian - 2004 - Husserl Studies 20:285-286.
     
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  33. Alterity and Society.James Mensch - unknown
    It seems a function of normal human empathy for us to treat others as we would like to be treated. If, through empathy, we have the capacity of experiencing the distress of others, then we refrain from harming them. Our guide is the “golden rule,” variations of which occur in all the world’s religions.[i] Yet despite apparent unanimity on the rule as “the sum of duty,” conceptions of justice, of how best to organize a state, differ widely. There is often (...)
     
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  34.  22
    Aristotle and the Overcoming of the Subject-Object Dichotomy.James R. Mensch - 1991 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 65 (4):465-482.
  35.  10
    American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 518.James Richard Mensch, Richard Peddicord, Philip J. Rossi & Lynne Sharpe - 2005 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 79 (3).
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  36. Aesthetic Education: The Intertwining.James Mensch - unknown
    When we take the term literally, “aesthetic education” refers to the senses. The etymological root of “aesthetic” is, aesthesis (ai[sqhsi"), the Greek word signifying “perception by the senses.” The corresponding verb is aisthanomai (aijsqanovmai), which means “to apprehend by the senses,” i.e., to see, hear, touch, etc.1 What does it mean to educate the senses? The senses, as Aristotle noted, are what we share with animals.2 The question of their education, thus, involves the notion of our “animal” nature. We see (...)
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  37. After Modernity: Husserlian Reflections on a Philosophical Tradition.James Richard Mensch - 1996 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 187 (1):81-81.
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  38. Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada B2g 2w5, Jmensch@Stfx.Ca.James Mensch - manuscript
    conciliation behind. How do the Ukrainians forgive the Russians for the famines they caused? How do the blacks reconcile themselves with the whites that were once their oppressors in South Africa? What of all the countries that suffered from German or Japanese occupation in the last world war: How do they forgive? How does one ask for forgiveness? These are the questions that occupied Derrida towards the end of his life. With the Pope asking forgiveness of the Jews and Clinton (...)
     
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  39. Antigonish, Nova Scotia, B2G2W.James Mensch - unknown
    The standard account of arousal seems on the surface relatively straight forward. Its basic meaning is to awaken someone, reading him for activity. Physiologically, this involves stimulating the cerebral cortex into a general state of wakefulness and attention. The aroused subject shows an increased heart rate and blood pressure. Psychologically, sensory alertness, mobility and readiness to respond all mark the aroused state. As all the experts agree, arousal involves more than the simple presence of an external stimulation. It requires impulses (...)
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  40. Atheory of Human Rights.James Mensch - unknown
    Since the original UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights1 laid out the general principles of human rights, there has been a split between what have been regarded as civil and political rights as opposed to economic, cultural and social rights. It was, in fact, the denial that both could be considered “rights” that prevented them from being included in the same covenant.2 Essentially, the argument for distinguishing the two concerns the nature of freedom. The civil rights to the freedoms of (...)
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  41. An Objective Phenomenology.James R. Mensch - 2000 - Journal of Philosophical Research 25 (January):231-260.
    This paper proposes an explanatory bridge between structures of processing and qualia. It shows how the process of their arising is such that qualia are nonpublic objects, i.e., are only accessible to the person experiencing them. My basic premise is that the subjective “felt” character of qualia is a function of this first-person character. The account I provide is basically Husserlian. Thus, I use Husserl’s analyses to show why qualia always refer to a single point of view, that of a (...)
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  42. Beyond Abstract Solidarity.James Mensch - manuscript
    In our increasingly interdependent world, human solidarity has become a topic of general (and heated) discussion. It has been urged as an antidote to the competitive pressures of globalisation and to the threats of climate change. Others argue that the sense of belonging together, of sharing a common fate that it brings is essential for civil society. Without this, we will seek to avoid the burdens our governments impose on us, for example, taxes and the draft. This sense of belonging (...)
     
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  43.  94
    Benito Cerino: Freud and the Breakdown of Politics.James Mensch - 2003 - Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 7 (2):117-131.
    In a world shaken by terrorists’ assaults, it can seem as if no one is in control. Political leaders often appear at a loss. They cast about for opponents, for those on whom they can exert their political will. The terrorists, however, need not identify themselves. If they do, the languge they use may be messianic rather than political. Rather than indicating negotiable political solutions, it points to something else. Coincident with this, is the pursuit of terror dispite the harm (...)
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  44. B2G2W5, Jmensch@Stfx.Ca.James Mensch - unknown
    In a world shaken by terrorists’ assaults, it can seem as if no one is in control. Political leaders often appear at a loss. They cast about for opponents, for those on whom they can exert their political will. The terrorists, however, need not identify themselves. If they do, the languge they use may be messianic rather than political. Rather than indicating negotiable political solutions, it points to something else. Coincident with this, is the pursuit of terror dispite the harm (...)
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  45. Contents.James R. Mensch - unknown
    Socrates taught that philosophy begins with conversation, with the questioning and response that marks dialectic. This book also developed through a serious of conversations. Thus, acknowledgment is above all due to those with whom I shared and developed the themes of the present work. I am grateful, first of all, to Dr. Barabara Weber of the University of Regensburg, with whom I worked out the conceptions of the central chapter of this book, “Public Space, during a daylong conversation in Strasbourg. (...)
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  46. Canada B2G 2W5, Jmensch@Stfx.Ca.James Mensch - unknown
    Our past century was exemplary in a number of ways. The advances it made in science and medicine were unparalleled. Also without precedent was the destructiveness of its wars. In part, this was due to an increasing technological sophistication. The time lag between a scientific advance and its technological application was, in the urgency of the century, constantly diminished. Modern weaponry combined with mass production, communication and mobilization to produce what came to be known as “total war.” This was a (...)
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  47. Confronting the Janus Head.James Mensch - unknown
    If post-modern philosophy has a spiritual father, this is surely Nietzsche. The great revival of interest in his thought parallels our period’s discomfort with foundational, “metaphysical” thinking. He appeals to our disquiet with talk of essences. Many find his “deconstruction” of science and morality liberating. Above all his doctrine of “perspectivism” has found a general appeal. The pluralism that is its apparent result is attractive to everyone from feminists to defenders of multiculturalism. There is, however, a darker side to Nietzsche. (...)
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  48. Cross-Cultural Understanding and Ethics.James Mensch - unknown
    Thesis: With the end of the cold war, ideological conflicts have faded. In their stead, we have witnessed the rise of cultural strife. On the borders of the great civilizations conflicts involving basic cultural values have arisen. These have given increased emphasis to the ethical imperative of cross cultural understanding. How do we go about understanding different cultures? What are the grounds and premises of such understanding? How does such understanding tie into the basic ethical theories that have marked the (...)
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  49.  31
    Desire and Selfhood.James Mensch - 2015 - The European Legacy 20 (7):689-698.
    As Hegel observed in his Phenomenology of Spirit, “Self-consciousness, for the most part, is desire.” Phenomenologically, the “object of consciousness is itself… present only in opposition” to consciousness, while consciousness is felt as the absence of the longed-for object. According to Hegel, when desire is satisfied, this opposition ends and self-consciousness ceases. My essay seeks to answer the question of why desire never really terminates, why it almost continuously characterizes our waking life. I shall do so by exploring desire not (...)
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  50. Death and the Other: The Origin of Ethical Responsibility.James Mensch - unknown
    What is the origin of ethical responsibility? What gives us our ability to respond? An ethical response involves responding to myself: I answer the call of my conscience. It also involves answering to the Other: I respond to the appeal of my neighbor. Is one form of response prior to the other? Contemporary thinking about these questions has been largely taken up by the debate between Levinas and Heidegger. Responsibility, according to Heidegger, begins with our concern for our being.1 The (...)
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