Following on the arguments adumbrated in his previous works, Piotr Hoffman here argues that the notion of and concern with violence are not limited to political philosophy but in fact form the essential component of philosophy in general. The acute awareness of the ever-present possibility of violence, Hoffman claims, filters into and informs ontology and epistemology in ways that require careful analysis. In his previous book, Doubt, Time, Violence , Hoffman explored the theme of (...) class='Hi'>violence in relation to Descartes' problematic of doubt and Heidegger's work on temporality. The pivotal notion deriving from that investigation is the notion of the other as the ultimate limit of one's powers. In effect, Hoffman argues, our practical mastery of the natural environment still leaves intact the limitation of human agents by each other. In a violent environment, the other emerges as an insurmountable obstacle to one's aims and purposes or as an inescapable danger which one is powerless to hold at bay. The other is thus the focus of an ultimate resistance to one's powers. The special status of the other, as Hoffman articulates it, is at the root of several key notions around which modern philosophy has built its problematic. Arguing here that when the theme of violence is taken into account many conceptual tensions and puzzles receive satisfying solutions, Hoffman traces the theme through the issue of things versus properties; through Kant's treatment of causality, necessity, and freedom in the Critique of Pure Reason; and through the early parts of Hegel's Logic. The result is a complete reorientation and reinterpretation of these important texts. Violence in Modern Philosophy offers patient and careful textual clarification in light of Hoffman's central thesis regarding the other as ultimate limit. With a high level of originality, he shows that the theme of violence is the hidden impulse behind much of modern philosophy. Hoffman's unique stress on the constitutive importance of violence also offers a challenge to the dominant "compatibilist" tradition in moral and political theory. Of great interest to all philosophers, this work will also provide fresh insights to anthropologists and all those in the social sciences and humanities who occupy themselves with the general theory of culture. (shrink)
This article examines the concept of existence underlying Carl Schmitt’s political philosophy—a concept is that Heidegger largely shares. Can such a conception do justice to our political life? Or is it, in fact, inimical to it? The crucial issue here is that of political identity and the role that violence plays in its formation. The article concludes by examining Jan Patočka’s account of existence as motion and applying it to our political commitments.
Violence for Equality, first published in 1989, questions the morality of political violence and challenges the presuppositions, inconsistencies and prejudices of liberal-democratic thinking. This book should be of interest to teachers and students of philosophy and politics.
In this paper, I discuss Moist, Confucianist, Daoist, and Buddhist views on violence, arguing that this provides a whole spectrum of ways of dealing with violence that should not to be regarded as being mutually exclusive. In fact, I argue that it is actually beneficial to combine these positions for dealing with specific cases of violence, and for preventing violence from ever occurring.
RESUMEN Las tensiones y los vínculos posibles entre razón y violencia son un problema mayor para la filosofía. La obra de Eric Weil se consagra precisamente al análisis de las figuras históricas de dicha tensión, y su obra mayor, Logique de la Philosophie, desarrolla lo fundamental de dicho propósito. Se analiza la manera como Weil, desde la categoría de la acción -última categoría concreta de la filosofía-, en vínculo con las categorías precedentes (absoluto, obra, finito) y con las categorías formales (...) (sentido y sabiduría), enfrenta este desafío siempre nuevo para la filosofía. ABSTRACT The tensions and potential links between reason and violence are a significant philosophical problem. Eric Weil's systematic work, as well as his numerous articles and lectures, is dedicated to the analysis of the historical figures of such tensions. His major work, Logique de la Philosophie, develops that objective. The article analyzes how Weil faces this always new challenge for philosophy, on the basis of the category of action -the last concrete category of his philosophy-, together with the preceding categories (absolute, unmediated particular, finite) and the formal categories (meaning and wisdom). RESUMO As tensões e os vínculos possíveis entre razão e violência são um problema maior para a filosofia. A obra de Eric Weil se consagra precisamente à análise das figuras históricas dessa tensão, e sua obra maior, Logique de la Philosophie, desenvolve o fundamental desse propósito. Analisa-se a maneira como Weil, a partir da categoria da ação -última categoria concreta da filosofia-, em vínculo com as categorias precedentes (absoluto, obra, finito) e com as categorias formais (sentido e sabedoria), enfrenta esse desafio sempre novo para a filosofia. (shrink)
In _Violence and Civility_, Étienne Balibar boldly confronts the insidious causes of violence, racism, nationalism, and ethnic cleansing worldwide, as well as mass poverty and dispossession. Through a novel synthesis of theory and empirical studies of contemporary violence, the acclaimed thinker pushes past the limits of political philosophy to reconceive war, revolution, sovereignty, and class. Through the pathbreaking thought of Derrida, Balibar builds a topography of cruelty converted into extremism by ideology, juxtaposing its subjective forms and its (...) objective manifestations. Engaging with Marx, Hegel, Hobbes, Clausewitz, Schmitt, and Luxemburg, Balibar introduces a new, productive understanding of politics as antiviolence and a fresh approach to achieving and sustaining civility. Rooted in the principles of transformation and empowerment, this theory brings hope to a world increasingly divided even as it draws closer together. (shrink)
This book studies Wallace Stevens and pre-Socratic poetic philosophy, showing how concepts that animate Stevens’ poetry parallel concepts found in the works of Parmenides, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Xenophanes.
Deep Rhetoric is addressed to philosophy and rhetoric. And, like the journal, its questions emerge from the problem of a long-standing and uncomfortable conjunction, the “and” that divides and joins in one stroke. Over the course of eight chapters or a “series of closely related essays”, Crosswhite argues for a redefinition of rhetoric’s place within our society’s ethical imagination and thereby returns rhetoric firmly to its original arena, the human condition. Such a recovery of rhetoric, if not its empowerment, (...) grounds Crosswhite’s concern for questions that philosophy shares with rhetoric only in a kind of... (shrink)
Habermas does not rule out the possibility of violence in language. In fact his account explicitly licenses a broad conception of violence as ‘systematically distorted communication’. Yet he does rule out the possibility that language simultaneously imposes as it discloses. That is, his argument precludes the possibility of recognizing that there is an antinomy at the heart of language and philosophical reason. This occlusion of the simultaneously world-disclosing and world-imposing character of language feeds and sustains Habermas’s legal and (...) political arguments, where he states that in order to achieve consensus rational deliberation must eliminate force. In this paper, I claim that this argument operates through a manoeuvre that leaves Habermas’s position curiously blind to its own predicament. To explain why, I turn to Kant’s treatment of the problem of evil in Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason. Here, as in the Western philosophical tradition more generally, evil has no separate existence: it is folded back into Kant’s philosophical scheme. Arendt notes that as soon as Kant identifies the problem of evil he rationalizes it into comprehensible motives. I will show how, through a move that is structurally similar to Kant’s rationalization of evil, Habermas rationalizes and attempts to eliminate violence from his consideration of law and language. In Habermas’s work, law and language appear as ciphers for reason. The case to be made here is that Habermas’s inability to recognize the paradoxical character of language and reason makes his work blind to the violence in which it is unavoidably implicated. (shrink)
“Rhetoric is the counterpart of logic,” claimed Aristotle. “Rhetoric is the first part of logic rightly understood,” Martin Heidegger concurred. “Rhetoric is the universal form of human communication,” opined Hans-Georg Gadamer. But in _Deep Rhetoric_, James Crosswhite offers a groundbreaking new conception of rhetoric, one that builds a definitive case for an understanding of the discipline as a philosophical enterprise beyond basic argumentation and is fully conversant with the advances of the New Rhetoric of Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca. Chapter (...) by chapter, _Deep Rhetoric_ develops an understanding of rhetoric not only in its philosophical dimension but also as a means of guiding and conducting conflicts, achieving justice, and understanding the human condition. Along the way, Crosswhite restores the traditional dignity and importance of the discipline and illuminates the twentieth-century resurgence of rhetoric among philosophers, as well as the role that rhetoric can play in future discussions of ontology, epistemology, and ethics. At a time when the fields of philosophy and rhetoric have diverged, Crosswhite returns them to their common moorings and shows us an invigorating new way forward. (shrink)
In this article, I address the question of violence with respect to the phenomenological difference between the transcendental and the empirical field. In the first part, I phenomenologically address the notion of violence, developing a concept required for an account of the phenomenon of violence. Thus, I correlate it with the notion of vulnerability, arguing that violence cannot be understood irrespective of vulnerability. However, a proper phenomenological account has to indicate the subjective conditions of possibility of (...) a phenomenon as it is given in experience. Therefore, we should ask: what is the status of violence when we are talking about the transcendental field? This question leads to the second part of my article, where I address the notion of violence from the perspective of the difference between the pure and the empirical ego, as it has been traced out by Husserl. If from the point of view of an empirical ego the concept of violence is meaningful, from the point of view of the transcendental ego it seems to be absurd. This is particularly significant, because Husserl is talking about the transcendental ego as being immortal. The pure ego is thus invulnerable and this means that violence—understood from the point of view of both the violating subject and the violated one—is something that cannot be linked to the transcendental field. The question that arises—how is violence possible on the empirical level, since it is impossible on the transcendental level?—is a question to which Husserl cannot respond. (shrink)
Book synopsis: Philosopher, cultural critic, and agent provocateur Slavoj Žižek constructs a fascinating new framework to look at the forces of violence in our world. Using history, philosophy, books, movies, Lacanian psychiatry, and jokes, Slavoj Žižek examines the ways we perceive and misperceive violence. Drawing from his unique cultural vision, Žižek brings new light to the Paris riots of 2005; he questions the permissiveness of violence in philanthropy; in daring terms, he reflects on the powerful image (...) and determination of contemporary terrorists. Violence, Žižek states, takes three forms--subjective, objective, and systemic --and often one form of violence blunts our ability to see the others, raising complicated questions. Does the advent of capitalism and, indeed, civilization cause more violence than it prevents? Is there violence in the simple idea of "the neighbour"? And could the appropriate form of action against violence today simply be to contemplate, to think? Beginning with these and other equally contemplative questions, Žižek discusses the inherent violence of globalization, capitalism, fundamentalism, and language, in a work that will confirm his standing as one of our most erudite and incendiary modern thinkers. (shrink)
Recent scholarship in the field of argumentation theory has shown an increasing interest in rethinking the relation between dialectic and rhetoric. In the debate concerning this issue, some scholars take the position of ‘isolationists’. They think that fundamental differences exist between the two disciplines and that it is impossible to translate insights developed within the one discipline in terms of the other. Other scholars can be characterized as ‘combinationalists’. They take the position that insights from dialectic and rhetoric can be (...) combined for the purpose of analyzing or evaluating argumentative discourse. Finally, there are ‘integrationalists’, who are of the opinion that the differences between dialectic and rhetoric can be overcome by reconceptualizing the two disciplines and integrating them into an encompassing theory of argumentation. According to these scholars, dialectic and rhetoric study one and the same phenomenon—argumentation understood as the ju .. (shrink)
Though there has been a trickle of discussion of Sartre's work after Being and Nothingness, substantial criticism has been almost absent from the Anglo-Saxon world. The authors have set themselves the limited but extremely difficult task of summarizing and epitomizing Sartre's major philosophical works since Being and Nothingness, including Saint Genet, Questions de Méthode and Critique de la Raison Dialectique. They have done this with finesse and lucidity. The result is more than a summary, but a guide for exploring the (...) labyrinth of Sartre's recent writings.—R. J. B. (shrink)
This paper takes Gandhi's satyagraha, which he defined as "holding on to truth" as a basis for a political philosophy of nonviolence that draws on voices familiar from twentieth century nonviolent struggles as well as sociobiology, literary criticism, and feminist approaches to sacrifice.
Drawing inspiration from Susan Sontag’s notion of ‘rhetorical ownership’—applied not only to illness but also to the body more generally—this essay argues that philosophy, like medicine, has privileged a metaphorics of war and violence in its own discourses on embodiment. Drawing inspiration from Barbara Christian’s seminal essay ‘The Race for Theory,’ as well as literary theorist Eve Sedgwick’s account of what she calls ‘paranoid’ forms of inquiry in her book Touching Feeling, this essay explores the status of (...) class='Hi'>violence as an especially resonant trope in discourses on materiality. One worry is that the omnipresence of violent metaphors in contemporary philosophy of the body may be narrowing the space for the elaboration of nonviolent understanding of corporeality that would imagine the body otherwise than as a battlefield or a site of violence. (shrink)
One of the most pressing concerns for contemporary society is the issue of violence and the factors that promote it. In ____Altared Ground: Levinas, History and Violence__ Brian Schroeder stages an engagement between Emmanuel Levinas, one of the leading figures in 20th century Continental philosophy, and Plato, Hegel, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida and others in the history of ideas. Not merely an exposition of Levinas' original and complex thinking, Brian Schroeder seeks to re-read the history of Western (...) class='Hi'>philosophy and religion by going beyond Levinas' alternatives to traditional theories of the self in order to suggest a notion of subjectivity that is not grounded in violence. (shrink)