When discussing one of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novels, Mikhail Bakhtin ruminates on the poietic power of dialogue: in dialogue a person not only shows himself outwardly, but he becomes for the first time that which he is—and […] not only for others but for himself as well. To be means to communicate dialogically. When dialogue ends, everything ends. […] At the level of his religious-utopian worldview Dostoyevsky carries dialogue into eternity, conceiving of it as eternal co-rejoicing, co-admiration, concord. […] Two voices (...) is the minimum for life.1 Notably, Bakhtin's commendation of dialogue as a sine qua non ontological condition communicates both necessity and hope, implying the indispensability of an encounter... (shrink)
Invoking Hope: Reading Theory and Utopia in Dark Times argues for the undiminished importance of the practices of theory, utopia, and deep, close, and even critical reading in our current situation of what Brecht refers to as finsteren Zeiten, dark times. Written during 2016, an extraordinarily consequential year, Wegner reflects on the question: what does any particular theory allow us to do, what is the value of so doing, and, most importantly, who benefits?
Listen to my tale: when you have heard that, abandon or commiserate me, as you shall judge that I deserve. But hear me. The guilty are allowed, by human laws, bloody as they are, to speak in their own defence before they are condemned. Listen to me.My Dear Friend:You remember the old fable of "The Man and the Lion," where the lion complained that he should not be so misrepresented "when the lions wrote history."I am so glad the time has (...) come when the "lions write history."In the closing of his preface to the Phenomenology of Spirit, G. W. F. Hegel famously states, "Whoever asks for a royal road to Science will find it most comfortable to rely on healthy common sense; and, in order to keep in step with the... (shrink)
Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor’s Postmodern Utopias and Feminist Fictions represents not only a significant contribution in utopian studies; it is also a major intervention in contemporary literary studies and global cultural studies more generally. Each of the book’s chapters is structured around a specific set of formal and generic questions, exploring in great detail and with a tremendous amount of insight recent feminist revisionings of older genres, including the bildungsroman, the novel of art, nonlinear histories, American historical novels, and finally, in an (...) extraordinary turn, the works of contemporary Arab feminist writers, which, Wagner-Lawlor shows, “directly address the nature of the work left to do, as.. (shrink)
This essay offers an immanent reading of Fredric Jameson’s Archaeologies of the Future in terms of his theorization of a four-fold allegorical hermeneutic. On the literal level, the book explores science fictions; on the allegorical, Utopian representations; on the moral, or individual psychological, it serves as a “partial summing up” of a number of sequences in Jameson’s ongoing project; and on the anagogical, it contributes to a reinvention of Marxism for an era of globalization. Jameson’s recent writings also share an (...) interest in modernism, challenging late modernist ideology and recovering more radical forms. The essay concludes by exploring how Jameson’s discussion of Utopia serves as a figure for the problems of radical politics in the present. (shrink)
These studies examined whether having thoughts related to an event before it occurs leads people to infer that they caused the event— even when such causation might otherwise seem magical. In Study 1, people perceived that they had harmed another person via a voodoo hex. These perceptions were more likely among those who had first been induced to harbor evil thoughts about their victim. In Study 2, spectators of a peer’s basketball-shooting performance were more likely to perceive that they had (...) influenced his success if they had first generated positive visualizations consistent with that success. Observers privy to those spectators’ visualizations made similar attributions about the spectators’ influence. Finally, addi- tional studies suggested that these results occur even when the thought-about outcome is viewed as unwanted by the thinker and even in field settings where the relevant outcome is occurring as part of a live athletic competition. (shrink)
This essay is concerned with the definition of religion. This definition is developed within a context which recognizes the impossibility of value-neutrality in the definition of words. The definition proposed is applied to three complex borderline cases: Spinozism, Marxism,and economism or free-market ideology.
This paper considers pick-the-winners contests as a simple method for harnessing the wisdom of crowds to produce probability forecasts. Pick-the-winners contests are those in which players pick the outcomes of selected future binary events with a prize going to the player with the most correct picks. In contrast to soliciting probability forecasts from experts, this paper shows that competition among players is to be encouraged because it improves the accuracy of the resulting crowd probability forecasts. This improvement comes because the (...) competition not only discourages the overbetting of favorites that occurs if prizes are awarded based on absolute performance, but also helps mitigate the public knowledge bias that occurs if everyone reports truthfully. In addition to the theoretical arguments, the paper analyzes picks from 6 years of pick-the-winners contests involving hundreds of players and 1037 college lacrosse games to find that the crowd proportions outperformed two benchmark sets of probabilities. (shrink)