Prior to the productive encounters that can be staged between Emmanuel Levinas’sthought and cinema at the level of reception, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne introducehis philosophy to their filmmaking at its moment of inception.1Luc Dardenne’s diary Audos de nos images documents their filmmaking from 1991 to 2005, and isinterspersed with brief but erudite references to Levinas’s work. While Levinasianthinking is one among many cited influences in this text, which also features quotationsfrom the writings of novelists, poets, and other philosophers, along with (...) detailedreferences to other filmmakers, his work is a signal point of inspiration and ethicalaspiration for their filmmaking. The Dardenne brothers seek permanently to unsettlereceived ideas of what cinema is. In this, their approach is bound up explicitly, but notexclusively, with the ethical underpinnings of Levinas’s thought. Levinas’s reformulationof ethics as first philosophy creates a fissure at the root of the philosophy of being. TheDardennes’ films, in turn, perform a Levinasian-inspired challenge to the being ofcinema. At its most extreme moments, to kill or not to kill is the key question that theircinema raises. This tacit rewriting of the interrogative opening to Hamlet’s infamous soliloquy, shifts attention away from a self-centered concern with being or non-being,and towards the survival of the other. The passage from being to non-being, whichwould involve the death of the subject, is displaced here by a preoccupation with killing,or failing to kill, someone else. This particular move from dying to killing lies at the heartof the Dardennes’ mortal ethics. (shrink)
Most scholarly fields, at least in the humanities, have been asking the same questions about the politics of encounter for hundreds of years: Should we try to find a way to encounter an other without appropriating it, without imposing ourselves on it? Is encountering-without-appropriating even possible? These questions are profuse and taken up with intense interest in scholarship about the personal essay, specifically, which has often been credited as a philosophical form. Within debates about the ethics of the personal essay, (...) the most significant concern is about the traditionally accepted relationship of the writer-represented-on-the-page. For example, the notable rhetoric and composition scholar, David Bartholomae, argues that students of what he calls '"creative nonfiction" or "literary nonfiction"' (1995, p. 68) write '... as though they [are] not the products of their time, politics and culture, as though they could be free, elegant, smart, independent, the owners of all that they saw' (p. 70). In other words, the personal essay, as a subgenre of creative or literary nonfiction, allows for the perpetuation of the fallacy that a writer can be 'free' of social influences, 'independent' of a society and of its politics, and 'owners' of their own perspectives and experiences—of those the writer expresses on the page, specifically. Consequently, if the writer is not conscious and critical of the social influences acting on him/her, if s/he believes the text to be the singular and uninfluenced production of his/her own self, then the topic taken up in the essay is tyrannized by the self-centered (and dangerously un-critically-conscious) perspective of the writer. However, the personal essay also has its strengths as a philosophical form: in its privileging of skepticism; in its attention to complexity and complication; and even in its existence-as-evidence of some quality of its writer. Too, very often essays pay homage to works of other essayists, as in the case of Gass's 'Emerson and the Essay', instead of mowing down other works in order to establish its own reign. Despite these ethically responsible characteristics, though, I show, using Gass's essay about Emerson's work, that the personal essay continues to be devalued because of its reliance on and celebration of its transparent relationship to its author. In general, essayists don't complain in their work about the belief in this transparent relationship; they advocate it. Thus, my purpose is not to suggest that there is no relationship between the essayist and the essay. Rather, I will, in the latter half of the article, turn to the work of philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, which describes and enacts an approach to an other (writer/text) that does not hinge on the assumption that writer and text are in a transparent relationship to each other. I hope that in presenting this possibility for re-thinking the essay (and its relationship to its writer), writers, scholars, and teachers of the essay—and even its opposition—will give it new attention and explore further the possibilities that it may provide for engagement, for encounter. (shrink)
The central claim of this article is that narrative agency, which I will define as a subject’s capacity to make sense of herself as an ‘I’ over time and in relation to other ‘I’s, is a precondition for identity formation. I engage with two critiques of this claim: first, that narrative agency is limited by, rather than primary to, subordinating gender norms and, second, that a view of narrative agency as primary is committed to too ambitious a conception of the (...) communicability of narratives. I argue that the narrative model survives these two criticisms by emphasising its irreducibility, its inherent relationality and its generative potential. I then suggest some of the ways in which a concept of narrative agency might help feminist critical theory to posit mutual recognition and respect as productive criteria for progressive self and social transformation. (shrink)
Writing to the young emperor Nero, Seneca elaborates a sophisticated distinction between compassion and mercy for use in forensic contexts, agreeing with earlier Stoics that compassion is a vice, but adding that there is a virtue called mercy or 'clemency.' This Stoic repudiation of compassion has won the attention of Nussbaum, who argues that it was motivated by a respect for persons as dignified agents, and was of a piece with the Stoics' cosmopolitanism. This chapter engages Nussbaum's presentation of the (...) Stoics, examining Seneca’s On Clemency and Epictetus' use of the term prohairesis, showing that while there is some truth in her characterization, it needs to be qualified in important ways. It also analyzes Augustine's engagement with Seneca's On Clemency in the City of God 9.5, and in his letters concerning punishment for vandalism, theft, and human trafficking. It argues that Augustine has a nuanced mercy ethic that is deeply informed by Seneca's position, but that he intentionally improves upon it. (shrink)
The third edition of this popular book has been updated to take account of the latest developments in policy and social work practice. It includes new sections on radical/emancipatory and postmodern approaches to ethics, analysis of the latest codes of ethics from over 30 different countries, additional case studies of ethical problems and dilemmas, practical exercises, and annotated further reading lists at the end of each chapter.
In this article we review Western discourse on the relationship between Daoism and anarchist political theory. In particular, we focus on the anarchist reading of Daoism given by Roger Ames, and the more recent contrasting argument against reading Daoism as an anarchism by Alex Feldt. Centering our discussion on the Daodejing 道德經, we argue that, on the one hand, Laozi’s 老子 political theory is less easily reconcilable with anarchist thinking than Ames suggests. On the other hand, we dispute Feldt’s argument (...) that Laozi’s sage-ruler must, of necessity, maintain the capacity for coercive control. Counter to both Ames and Feldt, we suggest that Laozi’s sage-ruler is better framed as a maternal overseer, in contrast to other more paternalistic extrapolations of Daoist thinking, such as that offered in the Hanfeizi 韓非子. In reading Laozi’s thinking as a form of state “maternalism,” we aim to give a more distinctive voice to the nuances of early Daoist political theory. (shrink)
Scholars of the Middle Ages are reflecting productively on the sound not only of the text, but of the book.1 Formed from the skins of dead animals, parchment pages have a positive and intimate bond with silence in a way that paper does not. And yet the same or similar animal membranes are used for drum skins, tambourines, or the bellows of bagpipes, while the body of the human reader, enveloped in a skin that closely resembles parchment and is near (...) kin to it, is notable for its own resonating surfaces. Hearing ranges over and within these membranes where silence oscillates with sound and pleasure with discomfort, their reverberations alternately welcomed or shunned.In grappling with the question of how to read... (shrink)
Cicero not only wrote dialogues, but was one of the ancient authors most explicitly and consciously interested in the literary issues thrown up by use of the dialogue form. Moreover, his use of, and understanding of, the form developed throughout his literary career. This chapter focusses on the introductions to his dialogues, where Cicero speaks about the literary task of creating and re-creating his authorial voice. In the earlier works, Cicero presents his dialogues as if they were historical events, keeping (...) his ostensible authorial voice wholly exterior to the ‘conversation’; but the later ones become more theatrical, with Cicero himself participating actively within them, inviting his readers to imagine what it must be like to eavesdrop on a discourse that is both ostensibly private and actively public. (shrink)
Among the many practical failures that threaten us, weakness of will or akrasia is often considered to be a paradigm of irrationality. The eleven new essays in this collection, written by an excellent international team of philosophers, some well-established, some younger scholars, give a rich overview of the current debate over weakness of will and practical irrationality more generally. Issues covered include classical questions such as the distinction between weakness and compulsion, the connection between evaluative judgement and motivation, the role (...) of emotions in akrasia, rational agency, and the existence of the will. The also include new topics, such as group akrasia, strength of will, the nature of correct choice, the structure of decision theory, the temporality of prudential reasons, and emotional rationality. Because these questions cut across philosophy of mind and ethics, the collection will be essential reading for scholars, postgraduates, and upper-level undergraduates in both these fields. (shrink)
I wish more books of philosophy were like this one. It is elegantly written. It is filled with provocative claims and ingenious arguments. It is a really good read, even while it forces us to rethink many of our assumptions about practical reason and practical reasoning, morality and agency.
Recent scholarship resuscitates the history and philosophy of a ‘left wing’ in the Vienna Circle, offering a counterhistory to the conventional image of analytic philosophy as politically conformist. This paper disputes the historical claim that early logical empiricists developed a political philosophy of science. Though some individuals in the Vienna Circle, including Rudolf Carnap and Otto Neurath, believed strongly in the importance of science to social progress, they did not construct a political philosophy of science. Both Carnap and Neurath were (...) committed to forms of political neutralism that run strongly against a political reading of their logical empiricism. In addition, Carnap and Neurath sharply differ on precisely the subject of the place of politics in logical empiricism, throwing into question the construct of the ‘Left Vienna Circle’ as a coherent, sociohistorical, programmatic unit within the Vienna Circle.Keywords: Vienna Circle; Rudolf Carnap; Otto Neurath; Logical empiricism; History of philosophy of science; Political philosophy of science. (shrink)
This book offers an accessible and inclusive overview of the major debates in the philosophy of action. It covers the distinct approaches taken by Donald Davidson, G.E.M. Anscombe, and numerous others to answering questions like "what are intentional actions?" and "how do reasons explain actions?" Further topics include intention, practical knowledge, weakness and strength of will, self-governance, and collective agency. With introductions, conclusions, and annotated suggested reading lists for each of the ten chapters, it is an ideal introduction for advanced (...) undergraduates as well as any philosopher seeking a primer on these issues. (shrink)
Paralleling the recent work by Reichle, Reineberg, and Schooler , we explore the use of eye movements as an objective measure of mind wandering while participants performed a reading task. Participants were placed in a self-classified probe-caught mind wandering paradigm while their eye movements were recorded. They were randomly probed every 2–3 min and were required to indicate whether their mind had been wandering. The results show that eye movements were generally less complex when participants reported mind wandering episodes, with (...) both duration and frequency of within-word regressions, for example, becoming significantly reduced. This is consistent with the theoretical claim that the cognitive processes that normally influence eye movements to enhance semantic processing during reading exert less control during mind wandering episodes. (shrink)
After reading Savulescu and colleagues,1 one ought to be in no doubt that human heritable genome editing is a ‘moral imperative’: to cure disease, reduce inequalities, improve public health and protect future generations. They make this argument repeatedly and in no uncertain terms. Yet are they right to do so? I am certainly not against developing HGE or exploring its possibilities. Instead, I aim to sound a cautionary note in relation to claims about its technological potential and how we frame (...) arguments on this basis. The ‘moral imperative’ argument has been made many times, since well before the advent of genome editing, by the present authors and others. It generally rests on a number of preconditions, implicit or explicit: that HGE will be safe, effective, cost-efficient and equitably available. Now, many bioethicists would take no issue with, indeed have supported,5 the proposition that, once all of these conditions are satisfied, HGE is something we have good moral reasons to pursue. At this pivotal moment for global science, ethics and governance, however, we need equally to be concerned with the technology’s immediate future trajectory: whether and how we can reach the point of satisfying these conditions. In this context, the MIA is something of a distraction; at worst, it may even be corrosive and damaging. Consider first the argument from evolutionary fitness, that HGE is morally required to counteract the supposed ‘genetic deterioration’ produced by medically enabled ‘survival of the weak’, that makes …. (shrink)
This article examines Sarah Kofman's interpretation of Nietzsche in light of the claim that interpretation was for her both an articulation of her identity and a mode of deconstructing the very notion of identity. Faulkner argues that Kofman's work on Nietzsche can be understood as autobiographical, in that it served to mediate a relation to her self. Faulkner examines this relation with reference to Klein's model of the child's connection to its mother. By examining Kofman's later writings on Nietzsche (...) alongside her autobiography, this article contends that Kofman's defense of anti-Semitism in Nietzsche serves to fend off her own ambivalence about being Jewish. (shrink)
A collection of papers to illustrate new waves in Philosophy of Language: -/- "Linguistic Puzzles and Semantic Pretence" by B. Armour-Garb & J. Woodbridge; "Minimal Semantics and the Nature of Psychological Evidence" by E. Borg; "A Naturalistic Approach to the Philosophy of Language" by J. Collins; "In Praise of our Linguistic Intuitions" by A. Everett; "Phenomenal Continua and Secondary Properties" by P. Greenough; "Semantic Oughts in Context" by A. Hattiangadi; "Content Force and Semantic Norms" by M. Kolbel; "Linguistic Competence and (...) Propositional Knowledge" by G. Longworth; "Expressives and Beyond" by S. Predelli; "Analyticity in Externalist Languages" by G. Russell ; "Names as Predicates" by S. Sawyer; "The Epistemic Reading of Counterfactual Conditionals" by K. Schulz; "Introduction, Transmission, and the Foundations of Meaning" by J. Speaks. (shrink)
line-by-line notes are invariably informative and helpful, as well thought-provoking.' John M. Cooper, Stuart Professor of Philosophy, Princeton UniversityIn a new English translation by Christopher Rowe, this great classic of moral philosophy is accompanied here by an extended introduction and detailed lin-by-line commentary by Sarah Broadie. Assuming no knowledge of Greek, her scholarly and instructive approach will prove invaluable for students reading the text for the first time. This thorough treatment of Aristotle's text will be an indispensable resource for (...) students, teachers, and scholars alike. (shrink)
In a new English translation by Christopher Rowe, this great classic of moral philosophy is accompanied here by an extended introduction and detailed lin-by-line commentary by Sarah Broadie. Assuming no knowledge of Greek, her scholarly and instructive approach will prove invaluable for students reading the text for the first time. This thorough treatment of Aristotle's text will be an indispensable resource for students, teachers, and scholars alike.
The story of Anna is a brief description of a faithful prophetess which is consciously paired with the previous and more developed narrative of Simeon. Hannah’s story is significant to the Lukan Gospel and yet her voice, which men and women visiting the temple heard repeatedly, is not articulated by Luke. She has been the topic of much research, in as much as three verses in their context can provide, while no one has sought to let Hannah speak for herself. (...) This article aims to do this by exploring her story within the Lukan narrative, considering prophetesses in the Old Testament, and echoing the dynamics of the Jewish story of Judith with which she is intertextually paired. (shrink)
Ralph Cudworth’s theory of mind was the most fully developed philosophical psychology among the Cambridge Platonists. Like his seventeenth-century contemporaries, Cudworth discussed mental powers in terms of soul rather than mind and considered the function of the soul to be not merely intellectual, but vital and moral. Cudworth conceived the soul as a single self-determining unit which combined many powers. He developed this against a philosophical agenda set by Descartes and Hobbes. But he turned to ancient philosophy, especially the philosophy (...) of Plotinus, to develop a psychology which is distinguished by the attention he gives to both conscious and unconscious states, and to the powers which enable it to reflect on itself, to co-ordinate its activities and direct them to good ends. I argue that in so doing, Cudworth sought to elaborate a theory of mind which accounted for observable experience of mental operations. My paper outlines the complexities of Cudworth’s taxonomy of mental powers, focusing on three key powers which Cudworth developed through his reading of Plotinus: energy, self-power, and sympathy. (shrink)
Research into the effectiveness of comic books as health education tools overwhelmingly consists of studies evaluating the information learnt as a result of reading the comic, for example using preintervention and postintervention questionnaires. In essence, these studies evaluate comics in the same way in which a patient information leaflet might be evaluated, but they fail to evaluate the narrative element of comics. Health information comics have the potential to do much more than simply convey facts about an illness; they can (...) also support patients in dealing with the social and psychological aspects of a condition. This article discusses how some common elements of educational comics are handled in a selection of comics about diabetes, focusing on the more personal or social aspects of the condition as well as the presentation of factual information. The elements examined include: fears and anxieties; reactions of friends and family; interactions with medical professionals; self-management; and prevention. In conclusion, the article argues that comics, potentially, have many advantages over patient information leaflets, particularly in the way in which they can offer ‘companionship’, helping patients to address fears and negative feelings. However, empirical studies are required to evaluate educational comics in a way which takes account of their potential role in supporting patients in coming to terms with their condition, as well as becoming better informed. (shrink)
Introduction: Thinking, writing, and reading about the real -- Dialectic and the real : Lacan, Hegel, and the alchemy of après-coup -- 'Reality' and the real : culture as anamorphosis -- The real of sexual difference : imagining, thinking, being -- Ethics and the real : the ungodly virtues of psychoanalysis -- Politics, or, the art of the impossible.
Artificial insemination was the first conceptive technology to be widely used in agriculture. Whereas at the beginning of the twentieth century all cows in England and Wales were mated to bulls, by the end of the 1950s 60% conceived through artificial insemination. By then a national network of ‘cattle breeding centres’ brought AI within the reach of every farmer. In this paper I explore how artificial insemination, which had few supporters in the 1920s and 1930s, was transformed into an ‘indispensable’ (...) method for reproducing cattle. I discuss the factors that made organised AI possible , including changes in cultures of cattle breeding, novel State involvement in bovine reproduction, the rise of new ‘animal breeding research’ centres at Cambridge, Edinburgh and Reading universities, war preparations and central planning by the Milk Marketing Board . I go on to show that the unprecedented focus on bovine reproduction set in motion by the AI centres effectively generated new networks of reproductive research, through these the ‘biopower’ of the farm was incorporated into the clinic. The example of AI shows that by combining the history of reproductive technology in agriculture and medicine we can give a richer account of modern reproduction. (shrink)
Both an emphasis on logic and an emphasis on rhetoric lead to a kind of care for language. However, in early Greece this care for language through the lens of logic manifested in the drive to ?get it right?, whereas in early China the care for language manifested in the pervasive concern for zhengming, for using names properly. For the early Chinese thinkers, especially the early Confucians, this was not predominantly a linguistic affair?zhengming is a key component of moral cultivation. (...) As we explore the ethical import of Confucian role ethics, we need to pay attention to the philosophical vocabulary of this worldview and to how our understanding of these crucial terms changes if persons are seen as relational?a central premise of Confucian role ethics. In this essay I argue against reading zhengming as fagu, merely a conservative retrieval of historical meaning, as suggested by the political philosopher Hsiao Kung-chuan, among others. Instead, I argue for three theses: (1) although stubbornly persistent, ?rectification of names? is not an adequate translation for zhengming; (2) the conservative reading of zhengming is problematic and needs to be rethought as an hermeneutic process intersecting past meanings, present circumstances, and future possibilities; and (3) zhengming is, in an important sense, the ?art? of Confucian role ethics, for achieving moral competency in this tradition is a matter of constantly revising one's roles and relationships. (shrink)
The aim of unpaid volunteer classroom assistants is to give extra support to children learning to read. The impact of using volunteers to improve children's acquisition of reading skills is unknown. To assess whether volunteers are effective in improving children's reading, we undertook a systematic review of all relevant randomised controlled trials (RCTs). An exhaustive search of all the main electronic databases was carried out (i.e. BEI, PsycInfo, ASSIA, PAIS, SSCI, ERIC, SPECTR, SIGLE). We identified eight experimental studies, of (...) which seven were RCTs. One of the RCTs was excluded because it did not meet the inclusion criteria. One RCT randomised intact classes and the other six studies randomised individual children and could therefore be included in a meta-analysis. All of the trials were fairly small, with the largest including 99 pupils. Four of the trials showed a positive outcome, while three showed a negative effect and the remaining study was equivocal. We pooled the four most homogeneous trials. The pooled data indicated an effect size of 0.19, which was not statistically significant ( p = 0.54, 95% confidence interval = -0.31 to 0.68). Overall, volunteering appeared to have a small effect on reading outcomes. However, the confidence intervals were wide, which could conceal a potentially large benefit or a harmful effect. Thus, more good quality RCTs are required in order to provide more conclusive evidence. (shrink)
In her opening chapter on Marx, Kofman provides a reading of inversion as necessary to the ideological process. She then explores the metaphor of the camera obscura in Freud's description of the unconscious.
_The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Psychology, Second Edition_ is an invaluable guide and major reference source to the major topics, problems, concepts and debates in philosophy of psychology and is the first companion of its kind. A team of renowned international contributors provide forty-nine chapters organised into six clear parts: Historical background to Philosophy of Psychology Psychological Explanation Cognition and Representation The biological basis of psychology Perceptual Experience Personhood. _The Companion_ covers key topics such as the origins of experimental (...) psychology; folk psychology; behaviorism and functionalism; philosophy, psychology and neuroscience; the language of thought, modularity, nativism and representational theories of mind; consciousness and the senses; dreams emotion and temporality; personal identity and the philosophy of psychopathology. For the_ second edition_ many of the current chapters have been updated, and seven new chapters added on important new topics such predictive processing, comparative cognition, learning, and group cognition, as well as a new introductory chapter by the editors on the demarcation between philosophy and psychology. Essential reading for all students of philosophy of mind, science and psychology, _The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Psychology _will also be of interest to anyone studying psychology and its related disciplines. (shrink)
Here I set the stage for developing a Kantian account of punishment attuned to social and economic injustice and to the need for prison reform. I argue that we cannot appreciate Kant's own discussion of punishment unless we read it in light of the theory of justice of which it is a part and the fundamental commitments of that theory to freedom, autonomy and equality. As important, we cannot properly evaluate Kant's advocacy of the law of retribution unless we (...) recognize his theory of justice as an ideal theory. Once we understand both Kant's larger account of justice and its relationship to his less basic commitments, we discover grounds to accept that larger theory, but reject components like the law of retribution with their basis in empirical conclusions we may not share with Kant. We also open the way to develop an account of punishment responsive to social circumstances. (shrink)