On Being With Others is an outstanding and compelling work that uncovers one of the key questions in philosophy: how can we claim to have knowledge of minds other than our own? Simon Glendinning's fascinating analysis of this problem argues that it has polarized debate to such an extent that we do not know how to meet Wittgenstein's famous challenge that "to see the behavior of a living thing is to see its soul". This book sets out to discover whether (...) Wittgenstein's remark can be justified by drawing on both the analytic and continental traditions. (shrink)
The attempt to pursue philosophy in the name of phenomenology is one of the most significant and important developments in twentieth century thought. In this bold and innovative book, Simon Glendinning introduces some of its major figures, and demonstrates that its ongoing strength and coherence is to be explained less by what Maurice Merleau-Ponty called the 'unity' of its 'manner of thinking' and more by what he called its 'unfinished nature'. Beginning with a discussion of the nature of phenomenology, Glendinning (...) explores the changing landscape of phenomenology in key texts by Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas and Derrida. Focusing on the different ways in which each philosopher has responded to and transformed the legacy of phenomenology, Glendinning shows that the richness of this legacy lies not in the formation of a distinctive movement or school but in a remarkable capacity to make fertile philosophical breakthroughs. Important topics such as the nature of phenomenological arguments, the critique of realism and idealism, ontology, existentialism, perception, ethics and the other are also closely examined. Through a re-evaluation of the development of phenomenology Glendinning traces the ruptures and dislocations of philosophy that, in an age dominated by science, strive constantly to renew our understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. Clearly and engagingly written, In the Name of Phenomenology is essential reading for students of phenomenology and contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
Readings of Derrida’s work on law and justice have tended to stress the distinction between them. This stress is complicated by Derrida’s own claim that it is not ‘a true distinction’. In this essay I argue that ordinary experiences of the inadequacy of existing laws do indeed imply a claim about what would be more just, but that this claim only makes sense insofar as one can appeal to another more adequate law. Exploring how Derrida negotiates a subtle path between (...) classical Platonism and classical conventionalism about justice, the attempt is made to take seriously Derrida’s aim to affirm the idea of a ‘mystical’ foundation of the authority of laws by taking ‘the use of the word “mystical” in what I venture to call a rather Wittgensteinian direction’. (shrink)
The idea of Continental Philosophy has never been properly explained in philosophical terms. In this short and engaging book Simon Glendinning attempts finally to succeed where others have failed--although not by giving an account of its internal unity but by showing instead why no such account can be given. Providing a clear picture of the current state of the contemporary philosophical culture Glendinning traces the origins and development of the idea of a distinctive Continental tradition, critiquing current attempts to survey (...) the field of contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
This volume comprises the complete proceedings of the 1999 Ratio Conference at which Derrida made significant contributions on various topics, including the relation of his work to analytical philosophy, the logic of argument, truth ineffability, meaning, animal life, and the appeal to the ordinary in the work of Wittgenstein and J.L. Austin.
Abstract It is widely recognized that Heidegger's analysis of Dasein outlines a novel dissolution of the epistemological problems of modern philosophy. However it has not been fully appreciated that this analysis presupposes a conception of human beings which radically separates them from all natural, animal life. Focusing on Heidegger's analysis of Mitsein it is argued that this separation prevents Heidegger from achieving a conception of human existence which avoids the distortions of the humanist tradition against which it recoils. Against Heidegger, (...) it is argued that a philosophically satisfactory conception of human existence must be more smoothly naturalistic. (shrink)
ABSTRACTLike Kant a little over a hundred years earlier, Nietzsche saw the history of Europe as moving towards the formation of an integrated political union. Unlike Kant, however, Nietzsche does not see this development as an unambiguous good. Kant had supposed that European integration would belong to a history of constitutional improvements that would make war between what we would now call “democratic” states in Europe increasingly less likely. Nietzsche also sees it as part of a process of democratization, but (...) he understands that as a movement of “levelling and mediocritizing” of the European peoples, making Europeans into serviceable herd animals, “weak willed highly employable workers”. The general trend of European democratization is simply a movement towards the production of a type that is “prepared for slavery in the subtlest sense”. Nietzsche does not think this is a wholly unhappy development, however, because he thinks the same conditions will also bring about something that he welcomes: “th... (shrink)
This essay explores what it means to say that we live today in ?a secular age.? A distinction between two kinds of secularism is introduced and the proposal is made that the secularity that characterises our age belongs to a distinctively Graeco-Christian heritage. This proposal is elaborated and developed in the context of the Nietzschean pronouncement of the death of God and against the background of the decline in theodicial conceptions of history. However, rather than see these issues as connected (...) to a growing nihilism in European society or in terms of a movement towards a widespread atheism, they are interpreted, in many respects optimistically, in terms of the awakening and ongoing movement of a distinctively democratic desire. (shrink)
When philosophers have turned their attention to Europe they have typically done so in order to interrupt geographical and geo-political determinations of its identity, and to stress instead that its cultural - or spiritual - identity is caught up with the Greek idea of philosophy. Europe, on this classical philosophical construal, is not simply the place where philosophy was first elaborated and developed. On the contrary, Europe first arises as a place only in and through the elaboration and development of (...) philosophy. Europe is thus itself a philosophical phenomenon - its identity inseparable from the idea of a project that concerns ‘rational animality’ as such, and hence humanity as a whole. In his book on philosophical approaches to Europe from Husserl to Derrida, Rodophe Gasché introduces and defends the classical idea of Europe's Greek origin. Finding a somewhat different stress in Derrida's own study of Europe as a philosophical concept, this review attempts to open up a conception of Europe as a ‘philosopheme’ which resists conceptual clarification in the terms Gasché recommends, enjoining one instead to a task that is always beyond theoretical lucidity: to ‘stick one's neck out’ in the name of Europe. (shrink)
This essay defends the idea of drawing a distinction between two modes of not being religious today: between what I will call atheist disbelief , on the one hand, and a-theist non-belief on the other. The former is the mode which is most often in the news. It is the position that pitches itself against religion. The latter is perhaps easily confused with agnosticism as that is popularly understood. Agnosticism in this sense is a position in which you declare yourself (...) undecided or unsure: one is not sufficiently convinced that God does not exist to affirm a full-blooded atheism, but equally, spiritual conceptions, for example as determined by the Christian Churches, do not persuade you either. The situation as regards what I am calling a-theist non-belief is different again: it is not so much a ‘position’ at all as a non-religious ‘ habitus ’: the understanding of the world and the significance of your life that characterises the a-theist life is one in which religion and religious beliefs, for the most part, just do not figure or play a part. The a-theist does not have positional stance towards religious beliefs – namely a stance of disbelief – but rather, for the most part, simply has no thoughts about God. While not agnostic, the a-theist resembles the agnostic is this respect: conceptually speaking the a-theist is no closer to atheism than he or she is to religious faith. In my view, while the a-theist habitus is incredibly widespread today it is nevertheless typically overlooked in discussions of contemporary faith and atheism. Perhaps this is because it seems so comparatively unreflective and uncommitted. Nevertheless, I will champion it in this essay. (shrink)
This volume brings together some of the most well-known and highly respected commentators on the work of Jacques Derrida from Britain and America in a series of essays written to commemorate the life and come to terms with the death of one of the most important intellectual presences of our time. Derrida’s thought reached into nearly every corner of contemporary intellectual culture and the difference he has made is incalculable. He was indeed controversial but the astonishing originality of his work, (...) always marked by the care, precision and respect with which he read the work of others, leaves us with a philosophical, ethical and political legacy that will be both lasting and decisive. The sometimes personal, always insightful essays reflect on the multiple ways in which Derrida’s work has marked intellectual culture in general and the literary and philosophical culture of Britain and America in particular. The outstanding contributors offer an interdisciplinary view, investigating areas such as deconstruction, ethics, time, irony, technology, location and truth. This book provides a rich and faithful context for thinking about the significance of Derrida’s own work as an event that arrived and perhaps still remains to arrive in our time. Contributors: Derek Attridge, Thomas Baldwin, Geoffrey Bennington, Rachel Bowlby, Alex Callinicos, David E. Cooper, Simon Critchley, Robert Eaglestone, Simon Glendinning, Marian Hobson, Christopher Johnson, Peggy Kamuf, Michael Naas, Nicholas Royle. (shrink)
Europe is inseparable from its history. That history has been extensively studied in terms of its political history, its economic history, its religious history, its literary and cultural history, and so on. Could there be a distinctively philosophical history of Europe? Not a history of philosophy in Europe, but a history of Europe that focuses on what, in its history and identity, ties it to philosophy. In the two volumes of Europe: A Philosophical History - The Promise of Modernity and (...) Beyond Modernity - Simon Glendinning takes up this question, telling the story of Europe's history as a philosophical history. In Part 1, The Promise of Modernity, Glendinning examines the conception of Europe that links it to ideas of rational Enlightenment and modernity. Tracking this self-understanding as it unfolds in the writings of Kant, Hegel and Marx, Glendinning explores the transition in Europe from a conception of its modernity that was philosophical and religious to one which was philosophical and scientific. While this transition profoundly altered Europe's own history, Glendinning shows how its self-confident core remained intact in this development. But not for long. This volume ends with an examination of the abrupt shattering of this confidence brought on by the first world-wide war of European origin - and the imminence of a second. The promise of modernity was in ruins. Nothing, for Europe, would ever be the same again. (shrink)
This essay introduces and critically explores a theme for philosophical discussion which has almost entirely disappeared from contemporary researches in philosophy, but which used to be a central part of mainstream philosophical debate: the philosophy of the history of the world. At the height of its most intensive period of study in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, philosophical accounts in this area were predominantly theological histories of man. In our time these accounts have been largely displaced by natural histories (...) of man. The change involved in this displacement is not, I contend, a minor shift in philosophical fashion but marks a fundamental mutation in the default construal of the world and the significance of our lives. The naturalization of our understanding of human life is closely tied up with the movement of secularization in European society. However, it is argued that the mutation in the movement of the history of the world that is making itself visible in our time is not best understood as an atheist event but a mutation within a fundamentally Christian one. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThere is only one reference to art in Heidegger’s Being and Time but art is to the fore in his later writings. In this article the path from the earlier to the later writings is traced such that two surprising conclusions can be drawn: first, that Heidegger’s later thinking about art is powerfully pre-figured in the single reference to poetry in Being and Time; and, second, that Heidegger’s later thinking about art does not develop a new discourse on aesthetics but, (...) rather, a discourse that re-visions our self-understanding by elaborating an essential tie—already stressed in Being and Time—between our Being and dwelling. The discussion of Heidegger’s philosophy of art as a philosophy of settlement is developed through a renewed assessment of Heidegger’s famous interpretation of Van Gogh’s picture of a pair of old shoes. It is argued that the picture plays a twin role in Heidegger’s analysis: drawing together the threads of Heidegger’s engagement with our time as belonging to the technological age, while also illustrating Heidegger’s conception of the creation of art not as the production of an object but as involved in the opening up of a world. Together these threads invite us to reflect that, even though the “old rootedness” is being lost in this age, art might still contribute to creating a new settlement in our time—with technology. (shrink)
Studies of Europe and European identity today are dominated by the methods of the social sciences. Europe is understood as a geographical region of a global totality, and treated in political-economic terms; and European identity is largely investigated through social surveys. This paper explores the possibility of a philosophical contribution to understanding Europe: an understanding based on the idea that Europe is itself a distinctively philosophical phenomenon, and that its modern geopolitical condition has an irreducibly geophilosophical significance.
This paper explores the challenges facing educators in a time when modern technology, and especially modern social technology, has an increasingly powerful hold on our lives. The educational challenge does not primarily concern questions concerning the use of technology in the classroom, or as part of the learning environment, but a changeover in the whole social environment that marks our time. Taking guidance from Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Dewey and Nietzsche, the essay explores what we want the education of children to achieve, (...) and how, if at all, this can be achieved in an age of modern social technology. The central argument is that the most basic educational goal of human flourishing cannot be achieved today as long as the main criteria of “best practice” in the classroom foreground pupil enjoyment rather than endurance of suffering. The paradox is that any call for the latter is now largely heard in a way cultivated by the culture of the former: namely, poorly and vulgarly, associated only with bullying authoritarianism, rather than the devoted care of teachers who want to awaken their pupils to self-responsibility. (shrink)