Subjects and Simulations presents essays focused on suffering and sublimity, representation and subjectivity, and the relation of truth and appearance through engagement with the legacies of Jean Baudrillard and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe.
What happens when an entire group of human beings is excluded from the definition of humanity? How is the power of language used to distort reality? What happens when a comprehensive economic plan is based on theft, brainwashing, slave labor, and murder? These and other philosophical questions about the Holocaust are contemplated in Contemporary Portraits of Auschwitz. In 1988, a group of philosophers who had survived the Holocaust, or had known people at the Auschwitz death camp, decided to found an (...) organization that would examine the philosophical implications of Shoah: the Society for the Philosophic Study of Genocide and the Holocaust. Noting that the history and the personal horror stories had been told and retold, SPSGH's founders Sander Lee, Berel Lang, and Alan Rosenberg argued that too little study had been so far devoted to the philosophy of Hitler's final solution and other genocides. Auschwitz problematized the Enlightenment concept of humanity, and other concepts. The perfection of state-sponsored and -administered mass death issued in new forms of language, moral indifference, and forgetting. Philosophy often even fails to mention the Holocaust in discussions of National Socialism. And the disaster of Auschwitz has been largely neutralized by the normalization of a "ruined" language. This volume includes essays in several areas: Witnesses and Testimonies; Morality and Ethics; Art and Poetry; History and Memory; and The Crisis of Representation. Contributors are Karyn Ball, Eve Bannet, Debra Bergoffen, James Bernauer, Klaus Dorner, Jennifer N. Fink, Roger Fjellstrom, Ruth Liberman, Burkhard Liebsch, Alan Milchman, Raj Sampath, Paul Sars, Hans Seigfried, Thomas W. Simon, Dan Stone, Peter Strasser, Frans van Peperstratten, Erik M. Vogt, Andrew Weinstein, and others. (shrink)
The reference of the postmodern task of thinking is Auschwitz, the abyss and discontinuity separating us from the world of our ancestors. As inhabitants of Planet Auschwitz our point of reference lacks all transcendental warrants; it is not a non-referable reference which constitutes the abyss we must enter, endure, and in which our intellectual and cultural tradition must be transformed. The private/public transformations which constitute the texts of this book attempt to depart from the dystopic individuality and public life resulting (...) from business-as-usual after Auschwitz. The three parts of the book are progressive reworkings of traditional metaphysics as adapted and modified by a modernism that refuses to grapple with its complicity. It is precisely that complicity which postmodern thinking takes up in its attempt to signify otherwise than the easy modernist translations and images of tradition. Thus it is a series of uneasy images imaging otherwise but never apart from modernity that take us away from complicity toward a transformed tradition.The uneasy images of this book are photogrammic combinations of photographs and texts, mutual supplements, pulling tradition through the Event against the persistent and murderous forces of contemporary idolatry and repression. (shrink)
If philosophy addresses concrete ethical challenges, then what shifts in basic concepts must be made to the discipline in the darkness of our genocidal world? What anti-genocidal strains are in Western philosophy? Are we “really” rejects and/ or “still of intrinsic worth” when we fail our excellence tests? How are we represented and how do we participate in representations? Are representational forms historical in origin and development? Is genocide indissolubly linked to our degradation and destruction of animals? Can one slaughter (...) and eat one’s partners in a social bond? If so, what does this tell us about the socio-political world we have formed? Is there a deep center—metacide—in our culture from which genocide receives its impulse? These are some of the pivotal questions addressed in the thirteen thought-provoking essays of this volume. (shrink)