A review of Tomáš Hlobil´s Geschmacksbildung im Nationalinteresse: Die Anfänge der Prager Universitätsästhetik im mitteleuropäischen Kulturraum 1763–1805 (Bochumer Quellen und Forschungen zum 18. Jahrhundert 2. Hanover: Wehrhahn, 2012, 462 pp. ISBN 978-3-86525-247-0).
Gerhard Richter's groundbreaking study argues that the concept of "afterness" is a key figure in the thought and aesthetics of modernity. It pursues questions such as: What does it mean for something to "follow" something else? Does that which follows mark a clear break with what came before it, or does it in fact tacitly perpetuate its predecessor as a consequence of its inevitable indebtedness to the terms and conditions of that from which it claims to have departed? Indeed, (...) is not the very act of breaking with, and then following upon, a way of retroactively constructing and fortifying that from which the break that set the movement of following into motion had occurred? The book explores the concept and movement of afterness as a privileged yet uncanny category through close readings of writers such as Kant, Kafka, Heidegger, Bloch, Benjamin, Brecht, Adorno, Arendt, Lyotard, and Derrida. It shows how the vexed concepts of afterness, following, and coming after shed new light on a constellation of modern preoccupations, including personal and cultural memory, translation, photography, hope, and the historical and conceptual specificity of what has been termed "after Auschwitz." The study's various analysesacross a heterogeneous collection of modern writers and thinkers, diverse historical moments of articulation, and a range of mediaconspire to illuminate Lyotard's apodictic statement that "after philosophy comes philosophy. But it has been altered by the 'after.'" As Richter's intricate study demonstrates, much hinges on our interpretation of the "after." After all, our most fundamental assumptions concerning modern aesthetic representation, conceptual discourse, community, subjectivity, and politics are at stake. (shrink)
The rich conceptual and experiential relays between music and philosophy—echoes of what Theodor W. Adorno once called _Klangfiguren_, or "sound figures"—resonate with heightened intensity during the period of modernity that extends from early German Idealism to the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School. This volume traces the political, historical, and philosophical trajectories of a specifically German tradition in which thinkers take recourse to music, both as an aesthetic practice and as the object of their speculative work. The contributors examine the (...) texts of such highly influential writers and thinkers as Schelling, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Bloch, Mann, Adorno, and Lukács in relation to individual composers including Beethoven, Wagner, Schönberg, and Eisler. Their explorations of the complexities that arise in conceptualizing music as a mode of representation and philosophy as a mode of aesthetic practice thematize the ways in which the fields of music and philosophy are altered when either attempts to express itself in terms defined by the other. Contributors: Albrecht Betz, Lydia Goehr, Beatrice Hanssen, Jost Hermand, David Farrell Krell, Ludger Lütkehaus, Margaret Moore, Rebekah Pryor Paré, Gerhard Richter, Hans Rudolf Vaget, Samuel Weber. (shrink)
The first important reaction in favor of generic criticism here was that of the Chicago neo-Aristotelians, whose feisty polemics against the "New" critics must have seemed, in the 1940s and 1950s, like voices crying in the wilderness. The popularity of Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism—also ostensibly based upon Aristotle's example—won the concept of genre broader support. And today, if the books covering my desk are anything to go by, genre criticism has emerged in force. The flood has brought forth historical (...) studies of Renaissance genres, analyses of traditional genres like the picaresque or of new ones like "the fantastic," ambivalently generic essays in "thematics," efforts to systemize the genres of narrative fiction, and even attempt, through the philosophic analysis of dozens of generic systems, to go "beyond genre." Indeed, the late sixties spawned a journal entitled Genre entirely devoted to theoretical and practical criticism employing the concept. David H. Richter is the author of a forthcoming book: Fable's End: Completeness and Closure in Rhetorical Fiction, and an article on Jerzy Kosinski. He is assistant professor of English at Queens College of the City University of New York. (shrink)
_Beyond the Pleasure Principle_ is Freud’s most philosophical and speculative work, exploring profound questions of life and death, pleasure and pain. In it Freud introduces the fundamental concepts of the “repetition compulsion” and the “death drive,” according to which a perverse, repetitive, self-destructive impulse opposes and even trumps the creative drive, or Eros. The work is one of Freud’s most intensely debated, and raises important questions that have been discussed by philosophers and psychoanalysts since its first publication in 1920. The (...) text is presented here in a contemporary new translation by Gregory C. Richter. Appendices trace the work’s antecedents and the many responses to it, including texts by Plato, Friedrich Nietzsche, Melanie Klein, Herbert Marcuse, Jacques Derrida, and Judith Butler, among many others. (shrink)
Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, declared that religion is a universal obsessional neurosis in his famous work of 1927, _The Future of an Illusion_. This work provoked immediate controversy and has continued to be an important reference for anyone interested in the intersection of philosophy, psychology, religion, and culture. Included in this volume is Oskar Pfister’s critical engagement with Freud’s views on religion. Pfister, a Swiss pastor and lay analyst, defends mature religion from Freud’s “scientism.” Freud’s and Pfister’s texts (...) have been updated in Gregory C. Richter’s translations from the original German. (shrink)
In this book, Gerhard Richter explores the aesthetic and political ramifications of the literary genre of the Denkbild, or thought-image, as it was employed by four major German-Jewish writers and philosophers of the first half of the ...
& The functional equivalence of overt movements and dynamic imagery is of fundamental importance in neuroscience. Here, we investigated the participation of the neocortical motor areas in a classic task of dynamic imagery, Shepard and Metzler's mental rotation task, by time-resolved single-trial functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). The subjects performed the mental-rotation task 16 times, each time with different object pairs. Functional images were acquired for each pair separately, and the onset times and..
In this article, I argue that conventional reasoning on corporate social responsibility (CSR) is based on the assumption of a liberal market economy in the context of a nation state. I build on the study of Scherer and Palazzo (Acad Manage Rev 32(4):1096-1120, 2007), developing a number of criteria to identify elements of liberal philosophy in the ongoing CSR debate. I discuss their occurrence in the CSR literature in detail and reflect on the implications, taking into account the emerging political (...) reading of the firm. I conclude that the apolitical framework in the mainstream CSR literature has to be overcome since it does not reflect recent changes in the socio-economic conditions for economic actors in a globalizing world. (shrink)
Gigerenzer and Brighton (2009) have argued for a “Homo heuristicus” view of judgment and decision making, claiming that there is evidence for a majority of individuals using fast and frugal heuristics. In this vein, they criticize previous studies that tested the descriptive adequacy of some of these heuristics. In addition, they provide a reanalysis of experimental data on the recognition heuristic that allegedly supports Gigerenzer and Brighton’s view of pervasive reliance on heuristics. However, their arguments and reanalyses are both conceptually (...) and methodologically problematic. We provide counterarguments and a reanalysis of the data considered by Gigerenzer and Brighton. Results clearly replicate previous findings, which are at odds with the claim that simple heuristics provide a general description of inferences for a majority of decision makers. (shrink)
Writers, philosophers, and theologians have oft made the comparison between being a mature human being and a masterpiece work of art or design. Employing the analogy between the creation of artistic value and the creation of full-fledged human value, this paper stakes out a middle ground between pro-choice and pro-life by considering a more general account of value and the relationship between being a potential X and a mature implementation of X's potential. I argue that the value of a potential (...) X is a function of a number of factors, most importantly, what I call the "accessibility relation" between a potential X and a full-fledged instantiation of this potential. The value is as much intrinsic to the “seed” as to some future implementation of the seed’s potential. This approach inclines even a secular humanist to reasonably confer a significant degree of moral value to a human conceptus, and even more to an early term fetus. (shrink)
This paper looks at a dispute decision theory about how best to characterize expected utility maximization and express the logic of rational choice. Where A1, … , An are actions open to some particular agent, and S1, … , Sn are mutually exclusive states of the world such that the agent knows at least one of which obtains, does the logic of rational choice require an agent to consider the conditional probability of choice Ai given that some state Si obtains, (...) Prob(Ai/Si). Or, is the logic of choice better represented by considering the probability of the counterfactual if Ai then Si, Prob(Ai ⟥-> Si). Causal decision theory, developed by Allan Gibbard, William Harper, and David Lewis defend the counterfactual analysis; whereas, Richard Jeffrey and others defend the conditional probability analysis, evidential decision theory. I argue that the problems posed by cases of decision instability favor evidential decision theory. (shrink)
This chapter offers a close reading of a passage from the literary and philosophical work Minima Moralia that enacts Theodor W. Adorno's radical concept of nonpropositional truth content in philosophical aesthetics after Auschwitz. Readers of Adorno's texts, especially those devoted to philosophical aesthetics, can hardly fail to be struck by their chiastic structure. The aesthetic theory that Adorno develops constitutes not only a theory of the aesthetic but also a theory that is itself aesthetic, hence a theory of literature that (...) exhibits qualities associated with literary texts, and a theory of music that harbors within itself traces of musical composition. The rhetorically self-conscious tropes of his posthumous Aesthetic Theory, the stylized literary studies of his Notes to Literature, his musically inflected meditations on musicological questions from Ludwig van Beethoven to Arnold Schönberg, and so many of his other texts perform this provocative inversion in a variety of registers and conceptual modulations. (shrink)
In discussions surrounding epistemology and rationality, it is often useful to assume an agent is rational or ideally rational. Often, this ideal rationality assumption is spelled out along the following lines: -/- 1. The agent believes everything about a situation which the evidence entitles her to believe and nothing which it does not. -/- 2. The agent believes all the logical consequences of any of her beliefs. -/- 3. The agent knows her own mind: if she believes P, she believes (...) that she believes P; and if she doesn't believe P, she believes that she doesn't believe P. -/- 4. The agent believes nothing of the form 'P and it is not the case that P.' -/- 5. If an agent's background belief-set satisfies 1-4 and if rationality requires the agent to add P to her belief-set, then the resulting belief-set will also satisfy 1-4. -/- While individually plausible, there are cases in which holding on to 1-5 generates paradox. Some resolve such paradoxical cases by granting 1-5 but arguing while ideally rational agents can exist, they can't possibly ever find themselves in such a situation: such case descriptions are epistemically incoherent. Others allow that rational agents can coherently find themselves in such odd circumstances, and argue that it's more reasonable to weaken our concept of ideal rationality and give up premise (2) above. However, this strategy has also been rejected. My aim in this paper is to defend the utility of positing an ideally rational agent in such paradoxical circumstances. I argue in such cases we should give up (2), in particular the assumption that (necessarily) if an ideally rational agent believes both P and the conditional, if P then Q, then she believes Q.. What's important is to hold on to the goal of positing ideal rationality: to maximize the amount of true or probably true information a thinker can justifiably believe in a given circumstance. Normally that will mean holding on to (2), but these unusual paradoxical cases are best handled by giving up (2). (shrink)
This is an unpublished talk written for a meeting of French philosophers. The paper describes the evolution versus creationism/intelligent design controversy in the U.S. A number of philosophers and scientists try to resolve this issue by sharply distinguishing the realm of science versus any talk of the supernatural. These pro-evolutionists often appeal to science's essential commitment to "methodological naturalism," the view that scientific methodology is essentially committed to naturalism and cannot meaningfully entertain hypotheses concerning the supernatural. I criticize methodological naturalism, (...) suggesting that such an appeal is misguided and counterproductive. I suggest an alternative view of the supernatural consistent with scientific knowledge. (shrink)
In their development of causal decision theory, Allan Gibbard and William Harper advocate a particular method for calculating the expected utility of an action, a method based upon the probabilities of certain counterfactuals. Gibbard and Harper then employ their method to support a two-box solution to Newcomb’s paradox. This paper argues against some of Gibbard and Harper’s key claims concerning the truth-values and probabilities of counterfactuals involved in expected utility calculations, thereby disputing their analysis of Newcomb’s Paradox. If we are (...) right, then Gibbard and Harper’s method of calculating expected utility does not adequately represent rational choice. (shrink)
The current practice of late termination of pregnancy in Germany has been criticized by the German Medical Association as well as several sociopolitical groups. The controversy has especially concerned the time limit for the termination of pregnancies and the counseling process prior to that intervention. The criticism, in part, originates from the reform of the German Abortion Law in 1995, and demands for change led to legislative initiatives in 2008.
Over the past decade, clinical ethics has received growing attention in Germany as in most European countries. In the mid-1990s, most European countries made efforts to establish healthcare ethics committees and clinical ethics consultation services. The development of clinical ethics discourse and activities in Germany, however, was delayed and, consequently, is still in its natal phase. Until the end of the 1990s, the only institutionalized bodies of ethical reflection were the research ethics committees at university medical centers and at the (...) State Physician Chambers. In March 1997, the Catholic and Protestant hospital association in Germany recommended the implementation of HECs, modeled after the American HECs. Consequently, the establishment of clinical ethics consultation in the form of HECs started in Germany in denominational hospitals, followed by a small but increasing number of community hospitals. (shrink)
To examine the ethical issues involved in governmental decisions with potential health risks, we review the history of the decision to raise the interurban speed limit in Israel in light of its impact on road death and injury. In 1993, the Israeli Ministry of Transportation initiated an “experiment” to raise the interurban speed limit from 90 to 100 kph. The “experiment” did not include a protocol and did not specify cut-off points for early termination in the case of adverse results. (...) After the raise in the speed limit, the death toll on interurban roads rose as a result of a sudden increase in speeds and case fatality rates. The committee's decision is a case study in unfettered human experimentation and public health risks when the setting is non-medical and lacks a defined ethical framework. The case study states the case for extending Helsinki type safeguards to experimentation in non-medical settings. (shrink)
In this paper I contrast some widespread ideas about what Wittgenstein said about religious belief with statements Wittgenstein made about his purposes and method in doing philosophy, in order to argue that he did not hold the views commonly attributed to him. These allegedly Wittgensteinian doctrines in fact essentialize religion in a very un-Wittgensteinian way. A truly Wittgensteinian philosophy of religion can only be a personal process, and there can be no part in it for generalized hypotheses or conclusions about (...) religion in general. Why is it that in this case I seem to be missing the entire point?1. (shrink)