What should we do, aesthetically speaking, and why? Any adequate theory of aesthetic normativity must distinguish reasons internal and external to aesthetic practices. This structural distinction is necessary in order to reconcile our interest in aesthetic correctness with our interest in aesthetic value. I consider three case studies—score compliance in musical performance, the look of a mowed lawn, and literary interpretation—to show that facts about the correct actions to perform and the correct attitudes to have are explained by norms internal (...) to a practice. Practice-internal norms, however, cannot settle the distinct question of which practices we have reason to opt into. When it comes to the source of aesthetic normativity—in virtue of what aesthetic value is genuinely reason-giving—I argue that existing accounts, which appeal to pleasure or achievement, are inadequate. The only practice-external aesthetic requirement is a generic one to opt into at least some aesthetic practices. (shrink)
Many writers describe a sense of requirement in aesthetic experience: some aesthetic objects seem to demand our attention. In this paper, I consider whether this experienced demand could ever constitute a genuine normative requirement, which I call an aesthetic obligation. I explicate the content, form, and satisfaction conditions of these aesthetic obligations, then argue that they would have to be grounded neither in the special weight of some aesthetic considerations, nor in a normative relation we bear to aesthetic objects as (...) such, but in the connections that certain aesthetic considerations have to our practical identities. On the practical identity approach, aesthetic obligation is best understood as a species of promissory obligation, namely self-promising. But this means that the experienced demand can have, at best, the status of a veridical hallucination: although both have the same content, it is the self-promise, and not the experienced demand, that gives rise to the obligation. While aesthetic obligations concern aesthetic objects, they are not obligations to the aesthetic per se. (shrink)
In the philosophical debate about literary interpretation, the actual intentionalist claims, and the anti-intentionalist denies, that an acceptable interpretation of fictional literature must be constrained by the author’s intentions. I argue that a close examination of the two most influential recent strands in this debate reveals a surprising convergence. Insofar as both sides (a) focus on literary works as they are, where work identity is determined in part by certain (successfully realized) categorial intentions concerning, e.g., title, genre, and large-scale instances (...) of allusion, allegory, and irony and (b) allow that works can acceptably be interpreted for unintended meanings—since an intentional act can, under a different description, exhibit unintended features—then they turn out to share the same interpretive policy concerning authorial intention. This suggests that philosophers should shift the interpretation debate away from issues of authorial intention and toward issues about the aims of interpretation. (shrink)
One strand of recent philosophical attention to Marcel Proust's novel À la Recherche du Temps Perdu, exemplified by Martha Nussbaum and Rae Langton, claims that romantic love is depicted in the text as self-regarding and solipsistic. I aim to challenge this reading. First, I demonstrate that the text contains a different view, overlooked by these recent interpreters, according to which love is directed at the partially knowable reality of another. Second, I argue that a better explanation for Proust's narrator's ultimate (...) renunciation of romantic love appeals not to his impossible epistemic standard for knowledge of another person, but to his demanding evaluative standard for the permanence of love. This interpretation takes into account the broader scope of the novel, connecting with its larger themes of lost time and the desire for stability, and is more charitable, connecting to familiar worries about transience and constancy in loving relationships. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Bence Nanay has argued against what he calls the Discontinuity Thesis: the claim that literature (along with all other nonabstract art forms) can never count as genuine philosophizing. I first claim that Nanay’s argument either proves too much or rests on heavy-duty premises that he does not adequately defend. I then present my own strategy for resisting Discontinuity, which argues that the proper response to both literature and philosophy can include emotional engagement coupled with reflection.
This article considers the role of the spectator's imagination in their engagement with the sensory world of cinema. I argue that the spectator's mental images, far from being overwhelmed by those on the screen, are an important element of a complex interaction with the sensations offered and indicated by the film. I develop these ideas through a reading of Krzysztof Kieślowski's Trois Couleurs: Blanc, in which hairdresser Karol is himself unusually dependent on the mental image. This preoccupation of the (...) film directs us to question the parallel images generated by the spectator, and the ways in which they both alienate us from his subjective experience and provoke our sympathies. (shrink)
Taking full measure of Rorty's influence and legacy demands encountering his reception outside North America. One such case, Eastern Europe, where Rorty spent considerable time and enjoys a committed following, is especially interesting, given the post-1989 resonance of his claims about the priority of democracy to philosophy.Polish philosopher Krzysztof Skowroński's attention to the underappreciated normative dimension of Rorty's pragmatism opens a window into this reception. This wide-ranging book advances a core – and, in my view, essential – insight: there (...) is a "profoundly axiological character" to Rorty's philosophy. Even though Rorty consciously eschewed a theory of values or a system of axiology, for... (shrink)
According to Krzysztof Michalski, Nietzsche’s intellectual project, from start to finish, has an overarching and unifying theme, namely a reflection on time, including the passing of human life, the emergence of new things, and the general finitude of existence. For him, then, it is possible to organize Nietzsche’s thought into a coherent whole around the concept of “eternity,” where eternity signifies a dimension of time, indeed, the core of it, its essence and engine. Typically, we think of eternity as (...) a refutation of time and of becoming, signaling an infinite prolongation. The author, however, wishes to show that eternity is what can explain the transformation of the present into the past and that it comes to .. (shrink)
We reproduce here forty previously unpublished letters sent by Jan Patočka to the Polish philosopher Krzysztof Michalski between 1973 and 1976. The letters to Michalski reveal his key role in motivating Patočka to formulate his ideas concerning the philosophy of history and present them first in a series of underground lectures in Prague and finally on paper in his last samizdat book, the Heretical Essays on the Philosophy of History.
Presented here is the German translation of Jan Patočka’s fragment Nitro a svět which was written in the 1940s and belongs to the so called „Strahov Papers“. The fragment reflects Patočka’s early attempts towards a thinking of subjectivity and the world. Thereby Patočka’s approach is phenomenological, but also integrates motives of German Idealism. The critical impact of the fragment lies in its orientation against the scientific biologism of its times.
It seems philosophers often feel compelled to assess the continuing relevance of their chosen fields of specialization and/or their favorite philosophers. While this volume does not set out to prove that the philosophy of John Dewey is of continuing relevance (and it is difficult to imagine how one would prove such a thing), several of the included essays explicitly argue that Dewey's work provides resources to advance contemporary philosophical debates. The collection was assembled from essays presented at a June 2009 (...) conference at the University of Opole in southern Poland, held in honor of the 150th anniversary of Dewey's birth. The very fact that sesquicentennial conferences like this one were held all over .. (shrink)
1. As indicated in the Acknowledgments, the sourcebook, The Essential Santayana, is the product of the input of a short list of scholars who, give or take a few names, constitute the “Santayana revival” heralded on the back-cover. Martin A. Coleman has acted as the clearing house for their suggestions, while also writing an Introduction, arranging the readings into five general headings, and providing thumb-nail synopses of each of the readings in each category. While all this is a solid contribution (...) on Coleman’s part, the back-cover contains two questionable if not plainly fallacious “advertisements.” The first is the claim that Santayana, along with William James and Josiah Royce, ranks as “one of the founders .. (shrink)
Poetic Disinterest: Power, Movement, and Language After HeideggerKrzysztof Ziarek’s study of Martin Heidegger calls attention to the German philosopher’s writing and to the movement and momentum of his poetic practice. Ziarek frames Heidegger’s thinking-writing as a practice focused on what is revealed in the turning of words, on what appears in the synergy between words as signs and words in their singular relationship to the world. In this translation and interpretation of volumes 71 and 74 of Heidegger’s Collected Works, Ziarek (...) “underscores the idiomatic character of Heidegger’s approach”. Ziarek’s discussion of these works, which were written in the 1930s and 1940s, builds... (shrink)
In eleven first-rate essays, the normative thought of C. S. Peirce is not just exegetically exhumed from out of a sprawled corpus, a challenging task in its own right, but actually resuscitated to new life to address contemporary concerns. The goal of this collection is stated simply by de Waal and Skowronski in their introduction. Because there are “an increasing number of people . . . beginning to look at what Peirce has to offer more generally to contemporary esthetics and (...) moral philosophy . . . this volume will prove a valuable starting point for this [interest]” . While this volume is valuable and a successful contribution to Peirce studies, it is by no means a starting point for this kind of elaboration .. (shrink)