Although it is commonly held that good sense is the most equally distributed of all things, it is just as commonly acknowledged that we humans excel at stupidity in its boundless varieties. The aim of these reflections is to make a start with a philosophical examination of stupidity, combining both literature, myth, and philosophy. Rather than propose a “theory” or “concept” of stupidity, this exploration charts the archipelago of stupidity in both its wisdom and folly.
This essay explores Heidegger’s “The Origin of the Work of Art” and Andrew Goldsworthy’s artworks. Both Heidegger and Goldsworthy can be seen as refashioning our ontological bearings towards nature through the work of art. After introducing a set of distinctions (e.g., world/earth) in the context of Heidegger’s conception of the artwork as the event of truth, I argue that Heidegger’s releasing of the work of art from metaphysical notions of “the thing” illuminates the ambiguous status of Goldsworthy’s artworks as things. (...) Goldsworthy’s crafting of artworks from natural materials exemplifies Heidegger’s concept of technē as the bringing forth of a work in the midst of phūsis, or beings that arise of their own accord. (shrink)
“The apocalypse of hope” and other comparable flourishes in the writings of Frantz Fanon and Jean-Paul Sartre on political violence strike an alarming tone. In The Wretched of the Earth, Fanon advocates the way of revolutionary violence as the inevitable consequence of colonialism and its systematic exploitation of colonized natives. In his role of agent provocateur, Sartre’s preface to Fanon’s influential and controversial work characteristically dramatizes this redemptive promise of violence: “to gun down a European is to kill two birds (...) with one stone…there remains a dead man and a free man.” This notorious pronouncement constitutes itself as an act of violence—we must feel threatened—meant to incite the latent counter-violence behind, in Sartre’s diagnosis, the false consciousness of bourgeois toleration and understanding. Could Sartre’s bold statement be spoken today without violent condemnation? This statement claims that, against the dehumanization of colonial oppression, only revolutionary violence allows for the colonized natives to constitute a “people” and recreate themselves in the image of a new humanity forged from the experience of liberation. For Fanon in particular, the recreation of humanity is impossible without the birth of a national consciousness and a revolutionary culture. As Fanon writes, “[w]e believe that the conscious, organized struggle undertaken by a colonized people in order to restore national sovereignty constitutes the greatest cultural manifestation that exists.” This reach toward a new humanism through the praxis of revolutionary violence points directly to the problem of beginnings. As Arendt observes in On Revolution, “[r]evolutions are the only political events which confront us directly and inevitably with the problem of beginning.” Anti-colonial violence, for Fanon, inaugurates the beginning of political life; the colonized native reconstitutes himself as a βίοσ πολιτικόσ capable of both speech and praxis. For Sartre, anti-colonial violence reveals the dialectical necessity of world history in its struggle towards genuine universality and the utopia of a “classless” society. (shrink)
This paper distinguishes four senses of naturalism: reductive physicalism; a naturalism that departs from what Thompson calls “natural-historical judgments”; a naturalism that recognizes that physical nature is located within the space of reasons; and a phenomenological naturalism that shifts the focus to the “natural” experiences of subjects who encounter the world. The paper argues for a “phenomenological neo-Aristotelianism” that accounts both for the internal justification of our first-order moral experience and the need for a broader grounding in a universalistic account (...) of the goods of agency. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship between Augustine’s and Husserl’s conceptions of time, consciousness, and memory. Although Husserl claims to provide a phenomenological understanding of the paradox of time so famously formulated by Augustine in his Confessions, this paper explores the apparent similarities between Augustine’s concept of distentio animi and the Husserlian concept of inner time-consciousness against their more profound differences. At stake in this confrontation between Augustine and Husserl is a fundamental divergence in the sense of time as the movement (...) of transcendence in immanence. Within this discussion, the contrast between speaking time and seeing time, time and eternity, and contrasting notions of the past and future are explored. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is understand Husserl’s “Platonism” through an understanding of how the method of eidetic variation and a phenomenological conception of essences reformulates by means of a conceptual and historical translation Plato’s doctrine of essences. In arguing that a theory of essences and method for the discovery of essences proves indispensable to a proper conception of phenomenology, Husserl positions himself as a philosophical “friend of essences” without thereby adopting a Platonic conception of essences. In addition to a (...) reconstruction of Husserl’s image of Plato and the historical tradition, this paper examines the pivotal role played by “variation” and “manifold” in Husserl’s distinctive understanding of essences. (shrink)
This paper re-examines the vexing issue of Husserl’s Cartesianism. Against the commonplace image of Descartes as the father of the modern turn to subjectivity or the introduction of “description from the first point of view”, this paper argues that Husserl’s orientation towards Descartes resides with his emphasis on the centrality of the problem of reason for transcendental phenomenological. Through a detailed discussion of the complex senses in which Husserl evokes Descartes in his Paris Lectures and in the Cartesian Meditations, this (...) paper also reveals the political and cultural significance of phenomenology’s claim of Cartesianism in the aftermath of the First World War. Lastly, through a close treatment of Husserl’s critique of Descartes’ failure to fully exploit the transcendental potential of his Meditationes, this paper demonstrates how the problem of subjectivity for Husserl is firmly situated within the problem of reason; a phenomenological description of experience is not, contrary to a commonplace understanding, from the first person point of view, but more specifically, from the perspective of reason as an attitude towards human experience and knowing. (shrink)
After the demise of German Idealism, Neo-Kantianism flourished as the defining philosophical movement of Continental Europe from the 1860s until the Weimar Republic. This collection of new essays by distinguished scholars offers a fresh examination of the many and enduring contributions that Neo-Kantianism has made to a diverse range of philosophical subjects. The essays discuss classical figures and themes, including the Marburg and Southwestern Schools, Cohen, Cassirer, Rickert, and Natorp's psychology. In addition they examine lesser-known topics, including the Neo-Kantian influence (...) on theory of law, Husserlian phenomenology, Simmel's study of Rembrandt, Cassirer's philosophy of science, Cohen's philosophy of religion in relation to Rawls and Habermas, and Rickert's theory of number. This rich exploration of a major philosophical movement will interest scholars and upper-level students of Kant, twentieth-century philosophy, continental philosophy, sociology, and psychology. (shrink)
To be a father is to be an indispensable principle and symbol. In the case of Descartes, the widely perceived and ever accountable “father of modern philosophy,” his principal contribution to the foundation of modern philosophy is inseparable from its symbolic significance. For with Descartes, according to Hegel.
The author undertakes the ambitious task of traversing the expanse of Husserl’s conception of transcendental subjectivity by investigating what is perhaps the central nerve of Husserl’s distinctive kind of transcendental idealism: the way in which transcendental consciousness is both an expression—worldly, embodied, historical, finite—and the origin—pure, a priori, infinite—of its world-constituting activity. Organized in nine chapters, Housset’s book is itself constructed like a spiraling movement of concentric circles, sweeps of reflection around the central question of the individuality of transcendental consciousness. (...) For Husserl, the problem of individuation was central for understanding in what sense transcendental consciousness is not simply an abstract subject of knowledge. Transcendental subjectivity, Husserl continually argued, is first and foremost a person, the life of consciousness as reflected in the perspective it brings to itself through self-consciousness. Husserl broadly conceived of transcendental consciousness as an activity that lives through its experience of the world in advance of its own expression of living. Yet what mode of being is distinctive of transcendental consciousness as an experience, as encompassing life in its totality, and in its varied manifestations? The inner logic of Husserl’s radical movement of questioning leads directly to the issue of how transcendental subjectivity itself is given. Undoubtedly, this is the question that perplexed Heidegger about Husserlian phenomenology. Yet as Housset convincingly demonstrates, Heidegger did not awaken Husserl to this question. Instead, an investigation into the development of Husserl’s thought shows clearly that Husserl struggled throughout his career with this question. Indeed, the problem of the individuation of transcendental subjectivity can be seen as animating the entire project of phenomenological philosophy. If the constituting activity of transcendental consciousness is understood as an activity of Sinngebung, the giving of meaning, then in what sense is the singularity of transcendence given, the gift of its own meaningful life? On Housset’s reading, this mode of being turns out to be a kind of responsibility expressed in the self-consciousness of a task, to grasp life as a project of truth that life becomes for itself. (shrink)
This chapter investigates forgiveness through a phenomenological inflected analysis of its temporal constitution as an inter-subjective self-constitution. A central claim to phenomenological thinking is the recognition of temporality as fundamental to the constitution of human subjectivity. The intentionality of forgiveness directs the offender as its primary object in view of her past wrongdoing. The conjunction of repudiation and responsibility plays itself out along two intersecting distinctions: between act and self, and between the past and present/future. An interpretation of shame within (...) the etiology of self-repudiation is then reported. The assumption of responsibility by the offender does not separate the past misconduct. Bitterness mobilises the offender to responsibility, and demands of the offender that he or she recognize and respect the victim. The offender accepts the burden of his or her past wrong into the compass of the person he or she is today and thus becomes the living questionability of his or her own wrongdoing. (shrink)
Is a phenomenology of sleep possible? If sleep is the complete absence of experience, including the self-experience of consciousness itself, how can phenomenology, as a description of lived experience, have access to a condition that is neither lived nor experienced? In this paper, I respond directly and indirectly to Jean-Luc Nancy’s challenge that a phenomenology of sleep is impossible. As an indirect response, my sketch of the contours of phenomenology of sleep investigates Husserl’s employment of the distinction between sleep and (...) wakefulness as a metaphor. Specifically, the metaphorical characterization of retentional consciousness is assessed. On the basis of this metaphorical characterization of time-consciousness in terms of sleep and wakefulness, I turn to Husserl’s account of the constitution of sleep. I argue that Husserl’s phenomenology of time-consciousness remains incomplete without an account of “sleep-consciousness”(by which we mean, in a restricted manner, dreamless sleep）. In pursuing Husserl’s phenomenological account of sleep, falling asleep and waking up within the context of his genetic phenomenology, I offer a suggestion for how to understand the sense in which consciousness (temporarily) constitutes itself as sleep--as the absence of itself. I conclude with an analogy with Husserl’s investigations into the imaginary: in both instances, consciousness induces within itself its own suspension or self-abstention. In the particular instance of sleep, consciousness disengages itself entirely from the complex of interests while also immunizing itself to the force of affectivity. (shrink)
Understood historically, culturally, politically, geographically, or philosophically, the idea of Europe and notion of European identity conjure up as much controversy as consensus. The mapping of the relation between ideas of Europe and their philosophical articulation and contestation has never benefited from clear boundaries, and if it is to retain its relevance to the challenges now facing the world, it must become an evolving conceptual landscape of critical reflection. The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Europe provides an outstanding reference work (...) for the exploration of Europe in its manifold conceptions, narratives, institutions, and values. Comprising twenty-seven chapters by a group of international contributors, the Handbook is divided into three parts: • Europe of the Philosophers • Concepts and Controversies • Debates and Horizons Essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy, politics and European studies the Handbook will also be of interest to those in related disciplines such as sociology, religion, and European history and history of ideas. Darian Meacham is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology and the co-editor of Thinking After Europe: Jan Patočka and Politics (2016) Nicolas de Warren is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Jewish Studies at Pennsylvania State University, USA. He is the author of Husserl and the Promise of Time (2010), A Momentary Breathlessness in the Sadness of Time (2018), and Original Forgiveness (2020). (shrink)