__The View from Within_ _examines the character of reason and the ability of an individual to effectively distance himself from the normative framework in which he functions in order to be self-critical and innovative. To accomplish this task, Menachem Fisch and Yitzhak Benbaji critically employ or reject the recent writings of Brandom, Friedman, Frankfurt, Walzer, Davidson, Williams, Habermas, Rorty, and McDowell to offer a fundamental analysis of the character of reason and the problem of relativism. This ambitious book forcefully raises (...) the problem of rational normative change and makes the unique and insightful claim that although we cannot be _convinced _by normative criticism to modify or replace our norms, we can be rationally _motivated_ to do so by the effect of exposure to trusted critics. Its unprecedented analysis, with its solution to the problem of normative self-criticism that has baffled philosophers for the past sixty years, will be welcomed by both students and scholars of philosophy. “__The View from Within_ _is a thorough evaluation of the arguments made by contemporary philosophers about the normative character of reason and the derivative problem of relativism. Fisch and Benbaji have admirably compared and contrasted competing positions, and with a balanced critique, they have made a sustained effort to ‘save’ rationality and provide new guideposts for its philosophical evaluation. A timely and important contribution.” —_Alfred I. Tauber, Boston University_. (shrink)
In the opening sections of his Foundations of Natural Right, Fichte argues that mutual recognition is a condition for the possibility of self-consciousness. However, the argument turns on the apparently unconvincing claim that, in the context of transcendental philosophy, conceptions of the subject as an isolated individual give rise to a vicious circle the resolution of which requires the introduction of a second rational being to ‘summon’ the first. In this essay, my aim is to present a revised account (...) of the opening arguments on which they are more convincing. In particular, I argue that the problem of a circle is genuine and may be seen to result from a relation of mutual dependence between agency and cognition which ensures that for an exercise of either capacity to take place, an exercise of the other would have already had to have taken place with the result that neither can occur. Moreover, the solution is successful. The summons prevents us from being driven around the circle once more because it is a ‘synthesis’ that reconciles the constraint to which I am subject as a cognizer of independently given objects and my freedom as a self-determining subject. (shrink)
This paper argues against particularism about social criticism of the form presented by Walzer. I contend that while limitation of the scope of criticism depends on the existence of our shared meanings, which are not shared by them, shared meaning itself depends on society. So, an account of society showing that societies are not discrete and mutually inaccessible refutes particularism. I argue for such an account. I deal with the objection that the focus of particularism is culture, not society, and (...) conclude that the conditions of possibility of shared meaning have anti-particularist consequences. (shrink)
M z ,f any have suggested that the findings of social choice theory demonstrate that there can be no "will of the people." This has subversive implications for our intuitive concept of self-government. I explore the relation between the notion of a "social will," that of self-government, and the impossibility theorems of social choice theory. I conclude that although the concept of the social will is essential to that of self-government, the findings of social choice theory do not cast doubt (...) upon the possibility of either. Unlike many attempts to respond to the threat posed by social choice theory, my argument does not require any appeal to the problematic notion of the common good. (shrink)
Reviews : Kenneth Baynes, The Normative Grounds of Social Criticism: Kant, Rawls and Habermas ; Janna Thompson, Justice and World Order: A Philosophical Inquiry ; Seyla Benhabib, Situating the Self: Gender, Community and Postmodernism in Contemporary Ethics.
If we are to find the criteria for critical analyses of social arrangements and processes not in some abstract, universalist framework, but from the guiding ‘self-interpretations’ of the societies in question, as contemporary contextualist and ‘communitarian’ approaches to social philosophy suggest, the vexing question arises as to where these self-interpretations can be found and how they are identified. The paper presents a model according to which there are four interdependent as well as partially autonomous spheres or ‘levels’ of socially relevant (...) self-interpretation that have to be taken into account equally in order to provide a sound basis for social and political criticism. Thus, it is from the tensions and incoherences between (A) social ideas and doctrines, (B) social institutions and practices, (C) individual beliefs and convictions, and (D) body-practices and habits that social pathologies can be identified and possible solutions can be envisaged. (shrink)
Under the conditions of the revolution in science and technology, of tremendous social changes, of the tempestuous and significant growth in the prestige of scientific knowledge, and of the exacerbation of the ideological struggle, there has been an immeasurable broadening of the social tasks and spheres of operation of such social phenomena as scientific criticism and self-criticism. Study of social, theoretical, and psychological cross-sections of these phenomena is one of the necessary conditions for cultivating lofty civic qualities, a communist (...) world-view, and the moral and aesthetic improvement of the individual. Special attention is directed to the socializing function of criticism and self-criticism in the Program of the CPSU, the materials of the Twenty-fourth Congress of the CPSU, and the resolutions of the Central Committee of the CPSU "On Literary and Artistic Criticism" and "On the State of Criticism and Self-Criticism in the Tambov Regional Party Organization." Scientific criticism reveals the extent to which the results or processes of practical activity are in accord with communist ideals and to what degree the moral and aesthetic norms of individuals and collectives are an expression of proletarian and general human culture. This is a distinctive intellectual and theoretical form of solution of social contradictions. Criticism is organically interwoven into theoretical and practical human activity. It breaks down old and established social traditions and customary values and impels human thought to undertake scientific quests. It does not permit society to content itself merely with its past triumphs. Scientific criticism arouses and cultivates class consciousness and provides an evaluation of social phenomena from the standpoint of the progressive class. Under the conditions of developed socialist society, criticism and self-criticism become an active means for improving ideological, political, and educational work, the development of the toilers' creative capacities, and activation of the sociopolitical and intellectual life of society. (shrink)
: The purpose of this paper and its sister paper (Farrell and Hooker, b) is to present, evaluate and elaborate a proposed new model for the process of scientific development: self-directed anticipative learning (SDAL). The vehicle for its evaluation is a new analysis of a well-known historical episode: the development of ape-language research. In this first paper we outline five prominent features of SDAL that will need to be realized in applying SDAL to science: 1) interactive exploration of possibility (...) space; 2) self-directedness; 3) localization of success and error; 4) Synergistic increase in learning capacity; and 5) continuity of SDAL process across scientific change. In this paper we examine the first three features of SDAL in relation to the early history of ape-language research. We show that this history is readily explicated as a self-directed, ever-finer, delineation of possibility space that enables the localization of both success and error. Paper II examines the last two features against this history. (shrink)
In the Critique of Pure Reason Kant introduced both transcendental idealism and transcendental arguments into philosophy. Transcendental arguments in general aim to establish conditions necessary for our having self-conscious experience at all. Transcendental idealism holds that such conditions do not hold independently of human subjects; those conditions obtain or are satisfied because they are generated or fulfilled by the structure or functioning of the subject’s cognitive capacities. Is transcendental idealism the only possible explanation of such conditions? I pursue this question (...) by exploring a widely neglected issue, the transcendental affinity of the manifold of intuition. I argue the following: (1) This issue remains vital to the second edition of the Critique, even though many passages on the topic were omitted from that edition. (2) Kant’s link between transcendental idealism and transcendental arguments is substantive, not methodological. (3) Kant’s views on transcendental affinity show that there are non-subjective, transcendental material conditions for the possibility of unified self-conscious experience. (4) These conditions and Kant’s arguments for them directly undermine Kant’s own arguments for transcendental idealism. This criticism of Kant’s arguments for transcendental idealism is entirely internal to the first Critique. (5) These points reveal some serious flaws in Henry Allison’s defense of Kant’s idealism. (6) Realists, naturalists, and pragmatists have much to learn and to borrow from Kant’s transcendental analysis of the conditions of unified self-conscious experience. (shrink)
My aim in this paper is to gather some evident in favor of the view that a general purge of self-reference is possible. I do this by considering a modal-epistemic version of the Liar Paradox introduced by Roy Cook. Using yabloesque techniques, I show that it is possible to transform this circular paradoxical construction (and other constructions as well) into an infinitary construction lacking any sort of circularity. Moreover, contrary to Cook’s approach, I think that this can be done without (...) using any controversial multimodal rules, i.e., the usual rules from normal epistemic and modal logic are enough to show the paradoxicality of the infinitary construction. Mi objetivo en este trabajo es ofrecer cierta evidencia a favor de la tesis según la cual una purga general de la autorreferencia es posible. Hago esto considerando una versión modal-epistémica de la Paradoja del mentiroso introducida por Roy Cook. usando técnicas yablescas, muestro que es posible transformar esta construcción paradójica circular (y también otras construcciones) en una construcción infinitaria que carece de cualquier forma de circularidad. más aún, en contra de la propuesta de Cook, muestro que esto puede hacerse sin utilizar ninguna regla multimodal controversial, esto es, las reglas usuales de la lógica modal y la lógica epistémica son suficientes para mostrar la paradojicidad de la construcción infinitaria. (shrink)
The achievement of self-consciousness in Hegel’s Phenomenology hinges on establishing a relationship with another self-conscious being. How this is accomplished, and even that it is accomplished in Hegel’s text, are topics of dispute and misunderstanding in the literature. I show how Hegel argues for this intersubjective origin of self-consciousness, ﬁrst, by comparing Hegel’s analysis of lord and bondsman to Sartre’s analysis of intimacy. Second, I focus on two in-terpretive challenges. First, I argue that the staking of life comes from an (...) other-oriented epistemological relation, and not simply from an im-mediate concern with dominating the other. Second, contrary to many interpretations which see the bondsman’s development arising out of an isolated activity merely between himself and the products of his labor, I argue that the slave’s ability to gain knowledge of himself as a self is only possible by establishing a relationship with the lord. This point is essential because, if readings of the bondsman’s development as isolated from the lord are correct, then Hegel has in fact not succeeded in showing that self-consciousness only develops out of intersubjective recognition. (shrink)
The effect of Internet use as a mediating variable on self-efficacy as it relates to the cognition of network-changing possibility (i.e., connecting people or groups with different social backgrounds) was examined. The results showed that Internet use (i.e., the frequency of sending e-mail, friends made on the Internet) had a positive effect on the cognition of network-changing possibility. The cognition that it is possible to connect people with different social backgrounds by using the Internet also had a positive (...) effect on self-efficacy. On the other hand, the cognition that it is possible to find people or groups who share beliefs and interests by using the Internet negatively affected self-efficacy. Hence, it was found that the effect of Internet use on self-efficacy was different as a function of cognition of network-changing possibility. (shrink)
Sontag is certainly attracted to the aesthetic she describes but not so wholeheartedly as many readers have assumed.1 One of the ironies of her career has been her reputation as an enthusiast for works toward which she actually expresses considerable ambivalence. Many of her essays include overt advocacy, but it is rarely uncomplicated or uncompromised.2 Despite her reputation for partisanship, she more typically begins her essays by recounting an experience of alienation, annoyance, uncertainty, or shock. For example, she describes the (...) "happening" as an event "designed to tease and abuse the audience"3 and speaks of the "profoundly discouraging," even "hopeless," emotions of her first days in North Vietnam. She is, therefore, often motivated by her sense of difference from the event or object she describes. But it is not her wish merely to find ways of assimilating and dominating unpleasant or alien experience; while that is certainly one of the main impulses in her work - to control apparently impossible subjects, to exhilarate in the Nietzschean will to power over the text - her will to power is always countered by a need to credit and honor the text's otherness. Sontag never finally assumes an easy familiarity with her subject but rather draws its difficult and negating otherness ever closer to herself. Her work may be understood, in a way, as a search for a text that is utterly unknowable, a text that will always elude and contradict what we may say about it, a text, in short, that cannot be contaminated by critical rhetoric. That is a quality she has recently attributed to Artaud's work: "Like Sade and Reich, Artaud is relevant and understandable, a cultural monument, as long as one mainly refers to his ideas without reading much of his work. For anyone who reads Artaud through, he remains fiercely out of reach, an unassimilable voice and presence."4 · 1. There is, to be sure, an atmosphere of iconoclasm and intellectual challenge about Sontag's criticism, but it is not especially self-congratulatory. She is only interested in difficult topics or in topics whose difficulties have been repressed, partly because that context energizes her mind and partly, as she has written of Diane Arbus, because she wants "to violate her own innocence, to undermine her sense of being privileged" · 2. The exception is some of the early reviews included in Against Interpretation, where the polemical requirements of the occasion distinguish those brief judgments from her more careful and extended pieces.· 3. Sontag, Against Interpretation , p. 267.· 4. Sontag, "Artaud," Antonin Artaud: Selected Writings , p. lix. Cary Nelson teaches critical theory at the University of Illinois. He is the author of The Incarnate Word: Literature as Verbal Space and Our Last First Poets: Vision and History in Contemporary American Poetry and Reading Criticism: The Literary Status of Critical Discourse. (shrink)
This paper distinguishes between two conceptions of philosophical counseling. The one focuses on the clarification of the individual's psychological and philosophical self and the other on the transcendence of that self. A comparison of the latter conception with the self-transcendence that takes place through Zen Buddhism contributes to the examination of the question of whether philosophical counseling can indeed overcome potential psychological obstacles to attaining a transcendent aim. Possible influences of the integration of psychological intervention into the philosophical search for (...) transcendence are also discussed. (shrink)
Franz Kafka and Michel Foucault: Power, Resistance, and the Art of Self-Creation is applicable to undergraduates, graduate students, and academic researchers interested in modern and postmodern political theory, politics, and literary criticism. Specifically, this book engages important themes such as power, language, subjectivity and the possibility of fully developed postmodern account of the subject, resistance to power, and an aesthetic interpretation of life.
This article explores the possibilities of the antifoundationalist thought of Cavell with a particular focus on his idea of chance in aesthetic experience, as a framework through which to destabilize the prevailing discourse of education centering on freedom and control. I try to present the idea of chance in a particular way, which does not identify it with chaos or limitlessness but takes it rather as a condition of meaning-making, and more generally of a perfecting of culture, of a conscientious (...) sense of its further possibility and betterment. In Cavell's perfectionism, our aesthetic life models our political life, and such life requires our constant reengagement with our language. The cultural criticism this entails is to be understood not in merely negative terms but as itself a process of renewal. The interrelationship between the aesthetic, the political and language is at the heart of Cavellian education for self-knowledge, where this is understood as a matter of self-criticism. It connects, there.. (shrink)
The article takes on the problem of ideology, critical consciousness and social criticism and distinguishes two distinct ways of thematizing it. The first approach is developed within the post-Hegelian framework. According to this paradigm, critique of ideology is a means of transgressing the antagonistic forms of socialization and emancipating humanity from the false forms of consciousness and corresponding irrational and oppressive social institutions. The postmodern paradigm questions two basic assumptions of the modern approach: firstly, it denies that there exists a (...)possibility to find purely rational and universal contexts, where ideological shackles could be exposed and thrown away; secondly, it rejects the idea that we can rely on the concept of self-awareness or critical reflection as informing our action and elevating our understanding of the social being to the higher level, for critical consciousness has no direct consequences. While portraying the postmodern paradigm, Stanley Fish’s views, considered exemplary to the postmodern rendition of the problem of ideology, will be discussed in a more detailed manner. In the final section of the article a provisional attempt is being made to elucidate what is the task of social criticism within the postmodern paradigm. (shrink)
I am perfectly aware that to both the writing and the reading public, a theoretical discussion today of the basic problems of Marxism seems superfluous or at best inappropriate. However, I cannot share this dominant sentiment.
El artículo indaga acerca de la poética del movimiento mexicano “Infrarrealista”, así como sus principales influencias estéticas y literarias, tanto nacionales como internacionales. Para ello se analiza la novela de Roberto Bolaño: Los detectives salvajes, como una reescritura autocrítica que realiza el autor a su propio proyecto poético varios años después de que este fracasara en su intento por aliar arte y vida. This article investigates the poetry of the Mexican movement “Infrarealism”, as well as its main aesthetics and literary (...) influences, both national and international. In order to do so, Roberto Bolaño's novel, The savage detectives, is analyzed as an selfcritical rewriting realized by the author to his own poetic project, several years after its failure in his attempt to fuse art and life. (shrink)
The fact that production, and above all the production of material goods, is an indispensable, one may even say absolute, condition for the existence of society and human life was, of course, known long before Marx. There is no need to list the thinkers who stated this idea, to which people's ordinary consciousness, incidentally, inevitably arrives independently of science on the basis of their everyday experience. Historical materialism has nothing in common with such a commonplace assertion, which is essentially a (...) generally known fact, although insufficiently appreciated by our predecessors. (shrink)