1. Aritmofobi Adomo definerede en gang i sine senere år en musiker som et menneske på flugt fra sin matematiklærer 1) denne definition kan uden tvivl udstrækkes til at gælde størstedelen af de få overlevende, som endnu forsøger at praktisere en humanistisk tænkning på trods af existensen af en "totalt forvaltet verden" udenfor.
In the late 1970s and the 1980s, a number of radical left political theorists focused their philosophical attention on the relevance of ancient atomism, revitalizing a tradition that went back to Karl Marx's work on his dissertation. This essay looks at the uses of atomism by two thinkers in particular, Jacques Rancière and Alain Badiou, in order to see how their discussions of and references to ancient materialism help to shed light on their fundamental disagreements about the nature of (...) community and equality. First, this paper argues that what Badiou and Rancière most obviously share in their assessments of atomism is a negative judgment regarding the post-swerve constitution of the world, while what most obviously distinguishes their positions is their differing judgments regarding the preswerve rain of the atoms in the void. Becoming clear both about how Badiou and Rancière respond to what comes before and after the atomistic swerve helps to clarify an implicit response on Rancière’s part to what has become Badiou’s chief objection to Rancière’s political theory. Second, this paper argues that the fact that Badiou assesses both what comes before and what comes after the swerve as negative, while Rancière assesses only what comes after the swerve as negative, makes clear that their most essential point of difference concerns the status of the swerve that mediates between before and after. Working through the complexities of Badiou’s analysis of the swerve and uncovering Rancière’s extremely subtle analysis of the swerve helps to clarify a major aspect of what has become Rancière’s chief criticism of Badiou’s conception of philosophy. (shrink)
continent. 1.2 (2011): 129-135. Introduction Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei Successions of words are so agreeable. It is about this. —Gertrude Stein Nachoem Wijnberg (1961) is a Dutch poet and novelist. He also a professor of cultural entrepreneurship and management at the Business School of the University of Amsterdam. Since 1989, he has published thirteen volumes of poetry and four novels, which, in my opinion mark a high point in Dutch contemporary literature. His novels even more than his poetry are (...) criticized for being inaccessible, which I generally take to be a compliment. It would be like saying that Fernando Pessoa is inaccessible, which he is not. Neither is Wijnberg. When we think of the combination economist-poet we are immediately reminded of the American poet Wallace Stevens, who, as the story goes, had two stacks of paper on his desk, one for contracts, one for poems. We also know that Stevens wrote on the economy and that questions of economy and insurance surface at multiple points in his poems. The following text is a very preliminary attempt to point at the intersections between poems, novels, business, and poetry in Wijnberg’s work. On the back cover of his novel De opvolging ( The Succession , 2005), Wijnberg states the following: “[This is] a novel for whomever is interested in the workings of a company as much as in the workings of a poem.” Wijnberg thus claims that the way in which a company “works” may be similar to the way in which a poem “works.” The question is the obvious one, what does this similarity consist in? De opvolging tells the story of company in which bosses and company doctors, secretaries, children, clowns, and beggars have tons of meetings, recite poems, perform plays, tell jokes, and succeed each other, climbing up and down in the company’s hierarchy. De opvolging is a novel in which the career of people follows the career of words. It resonates with Gertrude Stein's sentences, "Grammar. What is it. Who was it" (1975, 50). The words in Wijnberg's poems are like he characters in his novel. And if we keep in mind this allegorical reading of De opvolging , which is obviously only one of the possible readings, we may be able to understand some aspects of Wijnberg’s poetry. A repetition is already a pun. Look, that word is trying it again, as if it is afraid that by not doing it it would give up the hope that it will ever be able to do something. A pun is the opposite of the first word coming to the mind of someone who shouts it when he suddenly discovers something. (104) The repetition, the succession of the same word, is already a pun, a joke. The succession of the father by the son after the revolution is a joke. "Look he's trying it again!" The essence of a joke is a repetition. Archimedes’ “Eureka!” is its opposite. Poems can easily become jokes, depending on the way the words follow and repeat each other. In De opvolging , the careers of the bosses, good and bad secretaries, and company doctors easily become jokes, as they are “afraid that by not doing it [they] would give up the hope that [they] will ever be able to do something.” Not only the repetition, but also the distance and difference between the words in a poem, their cause and effect relations can be read as company relations. This becomes clear when we, for example, read the first lines of the poem “Cause, sign” from Het leven van ( The Life Of , 2009). A sign lets know what is going to happen, a cause lets it happen. If the sign also lets happen there is no reason to isolate it, because then I would isolate some- thing only because it’s different for me. If I didn’t have to write this myself, but would have secretaries to whom I could dictate it, I would be able to say more about it. (49) Upon reading the first two lines we can already conclude that any word may be cause or sign or both. If a sign is also a cause there is no reason to discriminate it, yet to the poet they are still different. This difference only becomes expressible the moment he would have a secretary. Just like in De opvolging , the secretary introduces a distance; not in a company but in a poem. Hence the difference between “good” and “bad” secretaries in a company, where the good secretary of one boss may be the bad secretary of another one. The more we can say about the bosses of the company, or signifiers of the poem, the greater the distance we introduce between them and us. We should take serious the relation between Wijnberg’s novels and poems. Although they operate on different scales, they explain and converse with each other. Another example may be the novel Politiek en liefde ( Politics and Love , 2002), which deals with the relation, precisely, between politics and love. In the novel, Nicolai, a lieutenant in the Dutch army, is sent to Africa on a military mission. Upon leaving a receives a letter from his father. Dear son, Don’t do anything stupid before your father has advised you to do so. Your mother asked me to write a wise letter. I have been looking for wisdom for half a day and haven’t found much. If you borrow a small amount from a bank you become the bank’s slave, but if you borrow a couple of millions and spend them as quickly as possible the bank becomes your slave. What I want to say is that you have to return from Africa in good health, and before you know it the world will be your slave [....] Signed with a kiss from your father. (88) The line, “If you borrow a small amount from a bank you become the bank’s slave, but if you borrow a couple of millions and spend them as quickly as possible the bank becomes your slave,” returns as the title of poem in Het leven van: “If I borrow enough money the bank becomes my slave” (12-3), which elaborates this theme. So both in the way that these poems are structured and in their subject matter, they refer to the structures of our economy, to the ever-continuing line of CEOs succeeding each other like words, to the distance between them introduced by bureaucracy, and giving and receiving as economical and poetical acts. Poem and economy map onto each other, as in another episode from De opvolging : Edward reads two of the beggar’s poems about presents. Of a holiday nothing remains, except for memories, and if some of them are bad I’d rather forget them all; if I get a present I’d rather get something that’s useful to me for a long time. If I may choose, I choose what I can use longest, long enough to partially forget that this was the present, because it feels bad when nothing is left of it. […] Giving away becomes destruction in the stock destruction economy [ voorraadvernie -tigings-economie ], that is a gift economy [ geschenkeneconomie ], encountering for the first time an economy in which there’s selling and buying on markets. Instead of destroying supplies someone can also quickly say that they aren’t worth anything anymore; if someone wants to take them I’d gladly give him something extra. In a stock destruction economy he is someone who each day wants to work more hours than his colleagues. If around a company there is a gift economy in which someone’s rank is determined and made visible by the gifts someone can give someone else, a company will be more often character- ized by an invisible or unclear system of ranks. (152) Two poems about gifts present two different economical models, described by Wijnberg with the terms “stock destruction economy” and “gift economy.” Here we immediately recall the opposition introduced by George Bataille’s work on the concept of expenditure in The Accursed Share , where a “general economy” would surpass the stock destruction economy based on scarcity (capitalism) and become a gift economy (potlatch) and an egalitarian (communist) society. These claims are made both on the level of the poems and in their discursive explanation. They follow each other and on each other. I would like to finish this introduction to Wijnberg’s writing with a translation from his novel De joden ( The Jews , 1999), which develops the story of Hitler abdicating as chancellor of the Third Reich, appointing philosopher Martin Heidegger as his successor. In a conversation with two Russian actor-spies, sent by Stalin to figure out the situation, philosopher Walter Benjamin describes the abdication scene. Maimon: You were there when Hitler resigned? Benjamin: In the room we’re right now. The desk and the chairs are new. After his resignation Hitler would like to take his furniture to his new house. Martin naturally agrees. It is a sunny day. Martin is very nervous and complains about the heat. Martin is wearing his best dark blue suit, not his professor’s robe. Hitler is wearing his uniform. We enter the room and Hitler gets up and embraces Martin. Martin is not very good at embracing. Hitler shakes his hand. Hitler’s cap is on the desk. The cap has a metal lining. Hitler has strong neck muscles. Hitler says: A man is unclean. He takes a bath. Does he make the bath water unclean? I say: a man is unclean. He steps into a river. A little further a man steps into the river; does he become unclean? Hitler nods. I say: a man is standing in music. Another man hears the music but also sees the first man moving on the beat of the music in a way that he is certain that the music would excite different feelings in him if he wouldn’t to see the first man. Hitler says: a man is clean, listens to music, is suddenly touched and he doesn’t know by what. The conversation ends in the way you know it ends. Hitler picks up his cap from the desk and puts it on Martin’s head. (73-4) Aware of the never ending debate on the question of Heidegger’s involvement in the Nazi regime, Wijnberg has the audacity to present the arguments of complicity in the religious terminology of cleanliness and uncleanliness, while at the same time recalling overtones of Hitler’s supposed love for Wagner, suggesting a relation between Benjamin and Hitler, and so on. The space of this introduction is to small to treat a novel like De joden , a reading of which together with passages from Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe's Heidegger, Art, and Politics: The Fiction of the Political , Jacques Derrida's Of Spirit , Christopher Fynsk's Heidegger: Thought and Historicity , and Avital Ronell's The Telephone Book would be extremely elucidating and potentially open new avenues in thinking Heidegger's emphasis on poetry after the fall of the Nazi empire. But at this point we will have to curb our curiosity and follow the poet himself. The themes of the relation between business and poetry, but also Chinese landscape painting, love, Indian and Japanese poetry, and Western philosophy are analyzed and assimilated in Wijnberg’s work without ever losing the clarity of expression. It may be that, according to Alain Badiou, the “Age of the Poets” is over, but its end (Paul Celan) has exactly brought a new balance between philosophy and poetry, and it is this playful, but nonetheless serious balance that makes one hope that one day Wijnberg’s complete oeuvre might become available to readers across the planet. Tiranë, Albania February 15, 2011 English translations (all of them translated by David Colmer, who is preparing an English collection of Wijnberg’s poems entitled Advanced Payment ): Poetry International Words Without Borders Green Integer Review from Het leven van ( The Life of ) THE LIFE OF KANT, OF HEGEL As if every day he takes a decision that is as good as when he’d been able to think about it all his life. The life of Kant, of Hegel, the days of the life of, select three or four of them. Tell what he has discovered during those days as if he were the last one who knew so little. Give me something that I can cancel against then I can prepare myself for it. The reward is that I may continue with what I’m doing, it doesn’t matter how long it takes. This has nothing to do with everything remaining the same if I say that I no longer want anything else. I wouldn’t be able to say in which one and the other occur in a way that I if I knew something to cancel that one against it wouldn’t be possible now. The stars above my head and being able to say what belongs to what if I’ve let them in. FOLLOWING MY HEART WITHOUT BREAKING THE RULES Observing the rules without observing the rules by going where the rules no longer apply. I could also observe the rules there by applying them to what at great distance may resemble what the rules are about. But why would I do that, not to confuse someone who is seeing me from a great distance? Behind this morning the morning prepares itself when the rules are everything I have. IF I BORROW ENOUGH MONEY THE BANK BECOMES MY SLAVE A bank lends me money, if I don’t pay it back they tell my boss that he has to pay them my salary. But they have to leave me enough to eat and sleep and an umbrella when it’s raining. They can also empty my house, the furniture isn’t worth a lot, but every little helps. Each morning I leave for work, if I don’t start early they’ll soon get someone else, no bank will lend me money when the sun is shining. My boss has given me a cat to raise as a dog. Of course I know that it won’t work out, but I’ve asked for a week—maybe the cat gets lucky, maybe I get lucky. My hands around a cup of coffee, before I leave for work, warm-empty, cold-empty, as if hidden in the mist over a lawn. What I make when there’s no work left for me, I’m ashamed to say how little it is. Once I’m outside I check it, if they watch out of the window they can see me doing it. Suppose it is so much that I’d stay counting for hours, it’s getting dark and I’m still there. They stay watching for a while once they’ve finished their work, but have to go home, I get that, sure, I could also go home and continue counting there. If it’s too little running back immediately won’t help, because nobody’s there anymore, and if I come back tomorrow I may have spent what’s missing tonight. Going somewhere where it’s warm enough to walk around without clothes during daytime, it helps me to know that something’s more there than here. For someone like me there’s work anywhere, it shouldn’t take a week to find work for me there. Three times work and a home close to work, I may choose one and try for a week whether I want to stay there. If at the end of the week I don’t want to stay I’m back on the next day, then it was a week’s holiday. RULES If that’s against a rule, it’s yet another one that I cannot observe, or only so briefly that I cannot re- member it later. Anyways the rules are only there to help me remember what I need in order to do better what I do. In that respect there’s no difference between the rules that I find in a book and the rules that I think of early in the morning. I know that because I’ve made a rule just now nothing has yet to observe it. CAUSE, SIGN A sign lets know what is going to happen, a cause lets it happen. If the sign also lets happen there is no reason to isolate it, because then I would isolate something only because it’s different for me. If I didn’t have to write this down myself, but would have secretaries to whom I could dictate it, I could to say more about it. If something is taken away from me I consider how it would be if the opposite had been taken from me. That is what causes or signifies what is farthest away from what is caused or signified by what has been taken away from me. note: For the translations of “The life of Kant, of Hegel” and “If I borrow enough money the bank becomes my slave” I was able to consult David Colmer’s wonderful translations. (shrink)
If it is reasonable to hope that the current moment in philosophy may ultimately represent one of transition, from the divided remnants of the still enduring "split" between "analytic" and "continental" philosophy to some form (or forms) of twenty-first century philosophy that is no longer recognizably either (or is both), it seems likely as well that the thought and work of Alain Badiou can play a key role in articulating this much needed transition. One of the central innovations of (...) Badiou's work is that it uses the kind of rigorous formalism characteristic of much good analytic philosophy in its attempt to think through some of the main problems of ontology, metaphysics and political theory that have troubled continental philosophers over the course of the twentieth century. Both in Badiou's 1988 magnum opus, Being and Event and its new sequel, Logics of Worlds , the result is a kind of paradoxical formalism of the limits of formalism itself, striking a sometimes uneasy balance between the inveterate tendency of analytic thought to seek formal solutions for theoretical problems of epistemology and metaphysics, and that of continental thought to seek the solution to what are seen as more-than-theoretical problems of social and political praxis in the kinds of liberation that may occur outside the "closed" regime of all that is calculable or tractable by formal systems. (shrink)
In its comprehensive overview of Alain Locke's pragmatist philosophy this book captures the radical implications of Locke's approach within pragmatism, the critical temper embedded in Locke's works, the central role of power and empowerment of the oppressed and the concept of broad democracy Locke employed.
This paper argues that Badiou's and Lacan's theorizations of ethics offer a way to formulate an ethics of teaching and to explore what such an ethics might look like when teachers encounter events that disrupt their quotidian lives. Relying on the work of Badiou and Lacan, the paper critiques mainstream approaches to the ethics of teaching and sketches an alternative pedagogical ethics.
Using as a springboard a three-way debate between theoretical physicist Lee Smolin, philosopher of science Nancy Cartwright and myself, I address in layman’s terms the issues of why we need a unified theory of the fundamental interactions and why, in my opinion, string and M-theory currently offer the best hope. The focus will be on responding more generally to the various criticisms. I also describe the diverse application of string/M-theory techniques to other branches of physics and mathematics which render the (...) whole enterprise worthwhile whether or not “a theory of everything” is forthcoming. (shrink)
Much indirect evidence supports the hypothesis that transformations of mental images are at least in part guided by motor processes, even in the case of images of abstract objects rather than of body parts. For example, rotation may be guided by processes that also prime one to see results of a specific motor action. We directly test the hypothesis by means of a dual-task paradigm in which subjects perform the Cooper-Shepard mental rotation task while executing an unseen motor rotation in (...) a given direction and at a previously learned speed. Four results support the inference that mental rotation relies on motor processes. First, motor rotation that is compatible with mental rotation results in faster times and fewer errors in the imagery task than when the two rotations are incompatible. Second, the angle through which subjects rotate their mental images, and the angle through which they rotate a joystick handle are correlated, but only if the directions of the two rotations are compatible. Third, motor rotation modifies the classical inverted V-shaped mental rotation response time function, favoring the direction of the motor rotation; indeed, in some cases motor rotation even shifts the location of the minimum of this curve in the direction of the motor rotation. Fourth, the preceding effect is sensitive not only to the direction of the motor rotation, but also to the motor speed. A change in the speed of motor rotation can correspondingly slow down or speed up the mental rotation. (shrink)
Throughout the biological and biomedical sciences there is a growing need for, prescriptive ‘minimum information’ (MI) checklists specifying the key information to include when reporting experimental results are beginning to find favor with experimentalists, analysts, publishers and funders alike. Such checklists aim to ensure that methods, data, analyses and results are described to a level sufficient to support the unambiguous interpretation, sophisticated search, reanalysis and experimental corroboration and reuse of data sets, facilitating the extraction of maximum value from data sets (...) them. However, such ‘minimum information’ MI checklists are usually developed independently by groups working within representatives of particular biologically- or technologically-delineated domains. Consequently, an overview of the full range of checklists can be difficult to establish without intensive searching, and even tracking thetheir individual evolution of single checklists may be a non-trivial exercise. Checklists are also inevitably partially redundant when measured one against another, and where they overlap is far from straightforward. Furthermore, conflicts in scope and arbitrary decisions on wording and sub-structuring make integration difficult. This presents inhibit their use in combination. Overall, these issues present significant difficulties for the users of checklists, especially those in areas such as systems biology, who routinely combine information from multiple biological domains and technology platforms. To address all of the above, we present MIBBI (Minimum Information for Biological and Biomedical Investigations); a web-based communal resource for such checklists, designed to act as a ‘one-stop shop’ for those exploring the range of extant checklist projects, and to foster collaborative, integrative development and ultimately promote gradual integration of checklists. (shrink)
The “representation problem” in abstract algebraic logic is that of finding necessary and sufficient conditions for a structure, on a well defined abstract framework, to have the following property: that for every structural closure operator on it, every structural embedding of the expanded lattice of its closed sets into that of the closed sets of another structural closure operator on another similar structure is induced by a structural transformer between the base structures. This question arose from Blok and Jónsson abstract (...) analysis of one of Blok and Pigozzis’s characterizations of algebraizable logics. The problem, which was later on reformulated independently by Gil-Férez and by Galatos and Tsinakis, was solved by Galatos and Tsinakis in the more abstract framework of the category of modules over a complete residuated lattice, and by Galatos and Gil-Férez in the even more abstract setting of modules over a quantaloid. We solve the representation problem in Blok and Jónsson’s original context of M-sets, where M is a monoid, and characterise the corresponding M-sets both in categorical terms and in terms of their inner structure, using the notions of a graded M-set and a generalized variable introduced by Gil-Férez. (shrink)
My aim in this paper is to attempt a philosophical reading of M. Karagatsis’ novel Kitrinos Fakelos (1956), focusing my analysis on the passions and the emotions of its fictional characters, aiming at demonstrating their independence as well as the presentation of their psychography in Karagatsis’ novel where the description of the emotions caused by love is a dominant feature. In particular, I will examine the expression of desire, love (erôs) and sympathy in this novel – passions and emotions that (...) play an important role to moral life and human existence in general. I will be approaching these issues from the point of view of moral philosophy, analyzing the passions and the emotions expressed by the fictional characters in Kitrinos Fakelos, and in particular of the fictional character of Manos Tasakos. At the same time, I will attempt to show the philosophical influences that M. Karagatsis has received in his literary work, and especially in his novel Kitrinos Fakelos, by the philosophical thought of Friedrich Nietzsche. In addition, I will try to demonstrate the contrast between the Nietzschean moral model and that of both ancient and contemporary virtue ethical theory, in relation to the traditional interpretation of the work of Nietzsche’s that Karagatsis adopts, along with many of his contemporaries in Greece from the beginning of the 20th century until the 70’s at least. (shrink)