Max Weber examined Chinese society and European Puritanism at the beginning of the Twentieth Century in order to find out why capitalism did not develop in China. He found that Confucianism and Puritanism are mutually exclusive, which enabled him to oppose both in the form of two different kinds of rationalism. I attempt neither to refute nor to confirm the Weberian thought model. Instead I show that a similar model applies to Jean Baudrillard’s vision of American culture, a culture that (...) he determined in terms of hyperreality. Instead of rejecting Weber’s thoughts right away, I give Weber’s model a further push and show that through a further twist that “Western culture” has received within particular American constellations, Weber’s understanding of Confucianism and Baudrillard’s understanding of American civilization manifest amazing similarities. (shrink)
I introduce and compare Russian and Japanese notions of community and space. Some characteristic strains of thought that exist in both countries had similar points of departure, overcame similar problems and arrived at similar results. In general, in Japan and Russia, the nostalgia for the community has been strong because one felt that in society through modernization something of the particularity of one's culture had been lost. As a consequence, both in Japan and in Russia allusions to the German sociologist (...) Ferdinand Tönnies' book Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft are frequent. In the end I associate the Japanese as well as the Russian ideas with neo-Darwinian versions of the theme of evolution as it has been developed by Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze, and Felix Guattari. (shrink)
Films and Dreams considers the essential link between films and the world of dreams. Thorsten Botz-Bornstein reveals a common structure of "dreamtense" in the works of major filmmakers like Tarkovsky, Sokurov, Bergman, and Wong Kar-wai.
This is a book about space. On a first level, it reflects traditional Japanese ideas of space against various “items” of Western culture. Among these items are Bakhtin's “dialogicity”, Wittgenstein’s Lebensform, and “virtual space” or “globalized” space as representatives of the latest development of an “alienated”, modern spatial experience. Some of the Western concepts of space appear as negative counter examples to“basho-like”, Japanese places; others turn out to be compatible with the Japanese idea of space.On a second level, the book (...) attempts to synthesize, by constantly transgressing the limits of a purely comparative activity, a quantity which the author believes to be existent in Japanese culture that is called “the virtual”. Be it Kuki Shûzô's hermeneutics of non-foundation or his ontology of dream, Nishida Kitarô’s virtual definition of the body of state, or Kimura Bin's notion of “in-between” that is so closely associated with the “virtual space” of Noh plays: what all these conceptions have in common is that they aim to transcend a flat notion of “reality” by developing “the virtual” as a complex ontological unity. (shrink)
The verb κενόω means ‘to empty’ and St. Paul uses the word ἐκένωσεν writing that ‘Jesus made himself nothing’ and ‘emptied himself’. Śūnyatā is a Buddhist concept most commonly translated as emptiness, nothingness, or nonsubstantiality. An important kenosis–śūnyatā discussion was sparked by Abe Masao’s paper ‘Kenotic God and Dynamic Śūnyatā’. I confront the kenosis–śūnyatā theme with Vattimo’s kenosis-based philosophy of religion. For Vattimo, kenosis refers to ‘secularization’: when strong structures such as the essence and the fulfilment of the Christian message (...) are weakened. Parallels between Abe’s and Vattimo’s thought will be demonstrated with regard to themes current in East–West comparative philosophy: reality and emptiness, the overcoming of metaphysics, the position of the Self, the human and the divine, and the relationship between science and religion. The latter point is particularly timely because since the 1990s religious fundamentalism has pushed forward a curio.. (shrink)
Harry Frankfurt’s twenty-two page long essay “On Bullshit” was published in 1986 in an academic journal and appeared as a stand-alone book in 2005. The small book was successful and has sparked many discussions by both academics and public intellectuals. In this article I want to examine if, in the realm of art, kitsch overlaps with bullshit as a sort of “aesthetic bullshit” or if there are differences between bullshit as a predominantly ethical phenomenon and kitsch, which works much more (...) with categories such as pleasure and indulgence. Given bullshit’s intrinsic link with techniques such as embellishment and the willful stylization of facts, as well as its ambition to create an autonomous reality, bullshit seems.. (shrink)
“Reality television” is inspired by a particular fascination with “reality.” The detached way of “narrating” events with its occasional emergence of all-too-human constellations comes closer to that of dreaming than to that of analysis, consumption, or first-degree simulation. In the end, however, reality television adopts the form of an anti-narrative in which conventional narrative and receptive devices have not been overcome in order to create a real aesthetic of dreams, but have been overturned in order to create a strange kind (...) of fiction. (shrink)
As a philosopher, the architectural question that fascinates me most is the extent to which architecture imposes a certain way of life on people. Some might answer that architecture should impose as little as possible on peoples’ lives and that, in the ideal case, things will work in the converse: people impose on architecture the way of being that they believe to be most compatible with their lives. I guess that the leading thought underlying the latter scheme is that we (...) cannot trust architecture, that all too often architecture has made peoples’ lives difficult, inconvenient, and unaesthetic. Being led by motives of commerce or vanity, architects have often been deaf to the demands of “the people.” .. (shrink)
I revisit the Derrida-Gadamer debate in order to analyze more closely the problem of the foundation of reason and of interpretation. I explore the theme of play as a metaphor of non-foundation in both philosophers and analyze how both extract this quality from their readings of Plato’s Phaedrus . Does Derrida not essentialize the game by declaring that the playful experience of a Gadamerian dialogue must produce a metaphysical presence in the form of a hermeneutic intention? I find that the (...) circular structure of understanding permits – for both philosophers – no clear signifiant either in speech or in writing. The game of interpretation produces – in changing endlessly between reading and rhetoric – an endless chain from one signifier to the next signifier without ever imitating a divine logos. (shrink)
In architecture, the concept of Critical Regionalism gained popularity as a synthesis of universal, “modern” elements and individualistic elements derived from local cultures. Critical Regionalist alternatives are more than a postmodern mix of ethno styles but integrate conceptual qualities like local light, perspective, and tectonic quality into a modern architectural framework. In order to “critically” root architectural works in their corresponding traditions, Critical Regionalists base their conceptual stances on those philosophers that have produced a critical consciousness in European culture like (...) Kant, Ranke, Niebuhr, Humboldt, and others. It must appear as surprising that philosophy, the field from which architectural Critical Regionalism extracted its theoretical foundations, has never developed its own Critical Regionalist tradition. The present article attempts to formulate the relationship between regionalism and philosophy in a different fashion: is it possible and useful to retrospectively use the philosophical insights gained by architectural Critical Regionalism for a definition of the practice of regionalism in contemporary philosophy? (shrink)
Several Buddhist schools in India, China and Japan concentrate on the interrelationships between waking and dreaming consciousness. In Eastern philosophy, reality can be seen as a dream and an obscure 'reality beyond' can be considered as real. In spite of the overwhelming Platonic-Aristotelian-Freudian influence existent in Western culture, some Western thinkers and artists - Valéry, Baudelaire, and Schnitzler, for example - have been fascinated by a kind of 'simple presence' contained in dreams. I show that this has consequences for a (...) philosophy of space. According to the authors discussed, the dreamer and the player recognize that human space always means the entire cosmos. (shrink)
The Chinese concept of wen is examined here in the context of contemporary gene theory and the "cultural branch" of gene theory called "memetics." The Chinese notion of wen is an untranslatable term meaning "pattern," "structure," "writing," and "literature." Wen hua—generally translated as "culture"—signifies the process through which one adopts wen. However, this process is not simply one of civilizational mimesis or imitation but the "creation" of a new pattern. Within a gene-wen debate we are able to read genes neither (...) in terms of nature or culture but, in a Chinese way, in terms of "nature-culture." "Posthuman" or "transhuman" models that celebrate the creation of techno-biobodies (cyborgs) as the continuation of the human by nonhuman means are still dependent on a clear distinction between nature and technology (culture) that is rooted in the Greek and Christian traditions. bioengineering does not do more than gradually replacing the "given" by the "made" until the body is seen as a commodity malleable in the hands of modern technology. A wen-based genetics offers a new perspective on nature-culture continuity because it is not trapped in nature but involved in a concept of wen that a Western mind tends to identify too quickly with natural necessity. (shrink)
At the centre of theories of film form is the idea that the montage of different scenes produces cinematic time. Montage creates a conflict between different shots, and time (as a purely functional relationship between shots) arises out of montage as an abstract element.
Claude Lévi-Strauss holds that history and anthropology differ in their choice of complementary perspectives: history organizes its data in relation to conscious expressions of social life, while anthropology proceeds by examining its unconscious foundations. For R. G. Collingwood historical science discovers not only pure facts but considers a whole series of thoughts constituting historical life. Also Lévi-Strauss sees this: “To understand history it is necessary to know not only how things are, but how they have come to be.” However, Lévi-Strauss (...) does not perceive the double-sense of history, which can first be a record of historical “conscious” facts and second, a chain of unconscious or half-conscious acts. Like Lévi-Strauss, Charles Bally has derived the main theses of his theory from Saussure. However, contrary to Lévi-Strauss, Bally does not find structures at the inside of the phenomena but at their outside: “Our attention is drawn to the expressive side and not to the interior side of the facts of language.” Bally calls those structures not “history” but “style.” In Roland Barthes’s attempt to establish a structuralist system of fashion we can find a definition of style very similar to Bally’s. In the end, however, none of these thinkers addresses the fact that unconscious relations within historical life are constantly interlocked with conscious elements. (shrink)
The Rural Studio, which was founded by Samuel Mockbee in 1992 and lead by him until his death in 2001, continues its activities. Its specialty is, now as before, the design of innovative houses for poor people living in Alabama's second-poorest county, Hale County, by relying largely on donated and salvaged materials. The houses are made of car windshields, surplus carpet tiles, baled cardboard, old street signs, license plates, etc. Alexis de Tocqueville has said that democracy lowers the standards of (...) creation,1 and it seems that, for architecture, this has become a sad truth in many cases in industrialized countries. The Rural Studio wants to contradict this tendency by showing that even within the context of .. (shrink)
There are many links between Kuki Shūzō and the French philosophy of the 1920s that treated the phenomenon of contingency. Examined are (1) the problem of time as it presented itself to French philosophers at the beginning of the twentieth century and its reception by Kuki as an Oriental philosopher and a Buddhist; (2) the problem of liberty and of existence in these French philosophers and in Buddhism; and (3) the phenomenon of the dream as a psychic and aesthetic phenomenon (...) for Kuki and for the French philosophers in question. (shrink)
Introduction -- The historical foundations of Russian and Japanese philosophies -- Space in NOH : plays and icons -- Models of cultural space derived from Nishida Kitar and Semën L. Frank (Basho and Sobornost) -- Space and aesthetics : a dialogue between Nishida Kitar and Mikhail Bakhtin -- From community to time, space, development : Trubetzkoy, Nishida, Watsuji -- Conclusion -- Postface: Resistance and slave nations.
el “Posthumanismo Acrítico” celebra la continuación de lo humano por medios no humanos , así como la creación de una realidad por medios “irreales”. Los posthumanistas intentan lograr un cuerpo más autónomo y con eficiencia energética, desarrollando la interacción del cuerpo-tecnología y la conciencia- digitalidad, la biotecnología o la bioinformática. A través de la interferencia mutua del cuerpo, la conciencia y la realidad, se crea un nuevo espacio de “Realidad Virtual”. El posthumanismo crítico intenta desenredar las características comunes de la (...) realidad humana y la Realidad Virtual posthumana y establece vínculos comunicativos entre ambos, adhieriendose a la convicción de que la simulación nunca debe ganarse a la realidad. El posthumanismo crítico intenta ubicar al ser humano en el posthumano. Este artículo analiza los puntos comunes de la Realidad Virtual, la biotecnología y la globalización mediante una reflexión sobre la noción de la narración. La existencia de la Realidad Virtual, el códigogenético, y la globalización se debe al deseo de eludir cualquier narrativa y expresar la realidad “directamente”. La tecnología de los genes no trata de entender alguna estapa - temporalmente definible - de todo el proceso de generación, sino el gen en sí mismo, como la cantidad esencial de generación que no tiene lugar real en la generación en sí. La globalización “globaliza” el mundo y lo representa como algo que no es ni el “mundo real” ni su narración, sino más bien una esfera nueva que tenemos que aceptar como tal. El posthumanismo crítico define las diferencias sutiles entre una Realidad Virtual, en el sentido de una narrativa tecnológica, y una Irrealidad Virtual existencial que interpreta lo virtual en una forma más “humana”. (shrink)
Films and Dreams considers the essential link between films and the world of dreams. Thorsten Botz-Bornstein reveals a common structure of 'dreamtense' in the works of major filmmakers like Tarkovsky, Sokurov, Bergman, and Wong Kar-wai.
The predominance and global expansion of homogenizing modes of production, consumption and information risks alienating non-Western and Western people alike from the intellectual and moral resources embedded in their own distinctive cultural traditions. In reaction to the erosion of traditional cultures and civilizations, we seem to be witnessing the re-emergence of a tendency to “re-ethnicize the mind” through renewed and more or less systematic cultural revivals worldwide . How do and should philosophers understand and assess the significance and impact of (...) this phenomenon? Authors acquainted with the contemporary situation in Africa, Asia, the Middle-East, South-America, and Europe try to answer this question.In the final analysis, the authors of this original and groundbreaking collection of essays plead for a full critical engagement with one’s own particularity while at the same time rejecting any form of cultural, national or regional chauvinism. They consider various ways in which local and global conceptions as well as practices can and already do judiciously inform and positively fertilize each other. At this juncture of history, they argue, societies and peoples must articulate their self-identity by looking critically at their respective cultural resources, and beyond them at the same time. (shrink)