II. Without mentioning what most of the article is about, Fish plucks out some remarks from a small part of it and condemns me as being antiblack, antifeminist, and so forth. It seems to me that Fish, after removing a few sentences from context , then does three other things: he summarizes or rephrases these remarks in such a way as to turn them into a polemical statement; he makes an inference—all his own; and he then attacks the inference he (...) has made. In his second paragraph, speaking unfavorably of the old-fashioned hope of finding universal values, he states: “It follows, then, … that works which advocate or have their origin in particular attitudes, strategies, sectarian projects, or political programs do not qualify as literature and should not be treated as such by literary scholars” . It by no means ”follows,” except perhaps in Fish’s mind. It follows merely that some of these concerns—if pursued in isolation from other contexts and in a spirit of propaganda—are not, by themselves, an adequate substitute, or replacement, for approaches that may provide a center from which to move to the subjects Fish mentions. I certainly have no wish to exclude these subjects from the curriculum. In fact, I have probably devoted as much of my teaching to some of them, especially political writing, as has Fish. I realize that for Fish himself our reactions in reading are inevitably subjective and that no text can be viewed as a settled thing. But I must plead that the reader, before condemning me because of Fish’s remarks, judge me by what I said rather than by what he inferred or magnified. I said only that, facing a decline in numbers of students, English departments found it more tempting than ever to provide courses on subjects often removed from larger contexts and treated in comparative isolation rather than to require more general study of history, philosophy, sociology, or psychology. I should like to repeat that I was not condemning departments for doing this. I felt it was rather sad that what Fish calls the “market,” and the fondness of so many students now for propagandistic approaches, should force us to jettison much that was more rigorous and demanding therefore less popular. Walter Jackson Bate is the Kingsley Porter University Professor of English at Harvard University. Among his many books are John Keats and Samuel Johnson , both of which were awarded the Pulitzer Prize. (shrink)
This lecture presents the text of the speech about William Shakespeare's involvement in the 1601 rebellion of the Earl of Essex delivered by the author at the 2008 Shakespeare Lecture held at the British Academy. It discusses the closure of performance theatre after the arrest of Essex, his steward Sir Gelly Meyrick, and several other men. The lecture also explains that the case of Meyrick is the first instance on record of a person being executed for commissioning the performance of (...) a Shakespeare play. (shrink)
The unthought means that which it is possible to think, but which has not yet been thought, and also what we are prevented from thinking. Philosophical systems can prevent us from thinking otherwise and restrictions on women’s access to knowledge can prevent women from thinking apart from what is prescribed as suitable. The unthought is both what hasn’t been thought and what could be thought if there wasn’t a barrier of some sort. Michèle Le Dœuff directs us towards the (...) unthought as a measure of the extent to which writers on women’s education have allowed the possibility of women’s access to the unthought, not just to received knowledge to date. This unthought is also connected to creativity and originality, and philosophy that is not systematic. In this paper, I elucidate the nature of Michèle Le Dœuff’s project and the structure of her argument in The Sex of Knowing (2003) through the idea of the unthought. (shrink)
In this article, I examine Michele Moody-Adams’ critique of the ‘inability thesis’, according to which some cultures make the resources for criticizing injustice ‘unavailable’ to their members. I investigate Moody-Adams’ alternative ‘affected ignorance’ thesis. Using the example of slavery in ancient Greece, I consider two potential candidates for affected ignorance which involve, respectively, ‘unawareness’ and ‘mistaken moral weighing’; in neither, I hold, may one ascribe culpability to those involved.
My essay begins with Michèle Le Doeuff's singular account of the "primal scene" in her own education as a woman, illustrating a universally significant point about the way in which education can differ for men and women: gender difference both shapes and is shaped by the imaginary of a culture as manifest in how texts matter for Le Doeuff. Her primal scene is the first moment she remembers when, while aspiring to think for herself, a prohibition is placed in (...) her reading of literature. Her philosophy teacher - at a boys' school - told the young Michèle that Kant's _Critique of Pure Reason_ was "too difficult" for her to read. In recalling this scene, the older Michèle - now, a woman philosopher - directs her readers to this text by Kant, in order to demonstrate how knowledge has been constrained by the narrative and imagery in the text of a philosopher; similarly, in the texts of others. She finds the central imagery of Kant's text for setting the limits to human knowledge in his account of "the island of understanding," or "land of truth," surrounded by "a stormy sea" of uncertainty; the latter image also retains a seductive appeal, threatening to destroy the confidence of any knower who ventures out beyond the well-marked out island. Moreover, women have often been associated with the dangers at sea beyond the safety of the island, where falsehood and worse reign. I propose that "text matters" here not only for gender issues, but for the postcolonial theory which Le Doeuff's reading of island imagery enhances in western literature and culture. The suggestion is that women in the history of ideas have been more susceptible than men to prohibitions : women's negative education is against going beyond certain boundaries which have been fixed by a generally colonialist culture on the grounds of gender-hierarchies. I stress the significance of confidence in the production of knowledge. A lack or an inhibition of confidence in one's own ability to think critically risks the damaging exclusions of, for example, colonialism and sexism. My aim is to unearth the political biases evident in textual imagery, while also pointing to new epistemic locations, with island-and-sea imagery that transgresses patriarchal prohibition, liberating subjects for confident reading and writing of texts today. (shrink)
Ces deux ouvrages tentent de présenter l'évolution du concept de l'utopie. L'ouvrage de Claude Cohen-Safir voudrait recenser les noms des penseurs européens et américains qu'elle considère comme importants dans la trajectoire des idées utopiques outre Atlantique. On trouve mention, dans ce livre, d'utopistes présents dans l'ouvrage dirigé par Michèle Riot-Sarcey qui s'intéresse davantage aux questions de définition et de méthodologie. Le but de chaque auteur dans ce collectif est aussi..
In his remarkable study Species Intelligibilis. From Perception to Knowledge, L. Spruit succinctly outlines the main points of Henry Bate’s cognitive psychology. Spruit observes that «though endorsing a Neoplatonic innatism, he does not relinquish Peripatetic views on the impact of sensory representations in the generation of intellectual cognition». Moreover, Spruit rightly notes that Bate considers the species doctrine «a pivotal philosophical issue». However, his brief account of Bate’s theory of the sensible species is far from being accurate. (...) The aim of this paper consists in presenting a more or less exhaustive interpretation of Bate’s doctrine of the sensible species. First, an attempt will be made to situate this doctrine in the context of Bate’s Speculum divinorum. Second, I shall summarize the principal views of the authors which Bate discusses in order to shed light on the doctrinal background of his theory of sensible species. Third, I shall analyze Bate’s concept of the sensible species, focusing on its ontological status and its function. Finally, I shall show that Bate’s exposition on sense-perception is profoundly influenced by Platonic theories of the soul. (shrink)
For Michele Tosini, the baptism of Christ has profound allusions to Christ's suffering and death. In the Baptism of Christ and Temptations, Tosini is creative in his placement of the temptation narratives and in his selection of the Lukan account.
La prima parte dello studio verte sulla dottrina metafisica di Bate, caratterizzata dall'idea di conciliare la dottrina di Platone e di Aristotele. La seconda parte indaga l'idea metafisica di forma, essenziale per capire la cosmologia batiana, la cui fonte principale è individuata in Averroè. La discussione è centrata sul concetto di materia nelle forme separate, sull'identità fra forma separata e atto puro, sull'idea di dio come forma delle forme.
My aim in this article is to analyze and extend Michèle Le Dœuff’s work on philosophy’s exclusionary practices, examining and enhancing both her diagnosis of the problem and how philosophy might be transformed. I proceed in three steps. First, I briefly outline the main features of Le Dœuff’s account of the reasons for the exclusion of women from philosophy. Le Dœuff’s focus is on the structure of philosophical pedagogy and its implications for the philosophical imaginary. Second, I examine Le (...) Dœuff’s proposals for transforming the imaginary so as to resist exclusionary practices. These suggestions involve the introduction of an original understanding of plurality in philosophy. However, Le Dœuff’s proposals are... (shrink)
Michèle Roberts: Female Genius and the Theology of an English Novelist Since Simone de Beauvoir published The Second Sex in 1949, feminist analysis has tended to assume that the conditions of male normativity—reducing woman to the merely excluded "Other" of man—holds true in the experience of all women, not the least, women in the context of Christian praxis and theology. Beauvoir's powerful analysis—showing us how problematic it is to establish a position outside patriarchy's dominance of our conceptual fields—has helped (...) to explain the resilience of sexism and forms of male violence that continue to diminish and destroy women's lives because they cannot be seen as questionable. It has also, I would argue, had the unintended consequence of intensifying the sense of limitation, so that it becomes problematic to account for the work and lives of effective, innovative and responsible women in these contexts. In order to address this problematic issue, I use the life and work of novelist Michèle Roberts, as a case study in female genius within an interdisciplinary field, in order to acknowledge the conditions that have limited a singular woman's literary and theological aspirations but also to claim that she is able to give voice to something creative of her own.The key concept of female genius within this project draws on Julia Kristeva's notion of being a subject without implicitly excluding embodiment and female desire as in normative male theology, or in notions of genius derived from Romanticism. Roberts' work as a writer qualifies her as female genius in so far as it challenges aspects of traditional Christianity, bringing to birth new relationships between theological themes and scriptural narratives without excluding her singular female desires and pleasures as a writer. This paper—as part of a more inclusive, historical survey of the work of women writers crossing the disciplinary boundaries between literature and Christian theology over the last several centuries also asks whether, in order to do proper justice to the real and proven limitations imposed on countless women in these fields across global and historical contexts, we need, at the same time, to reduce the Christian tradition to something that is always antithetical or for which women can take absolutely no credit or bear no responsibility. (shrink)