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Displaying: 1-13 of 13 documents

special topic: thinking vulnerability, part ii
1. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 1
Ronald Olufemi Badru Distant Poverty, Human Vulnerability, and the African Ethics of Character
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This African moral framework discusses distant poverty as human vulnerability. Contextually, if vulnerability means human frailty, relative to some opposing facts of life, and that poverty makes the human person frail, relative to some largely unrealized/unrealizable desirables without assistance, then distant poverty as human vulnerability invariably connects, significantly, with poor dependency: poor people are vulnerable as dependent on the assisting other. Some fundamental questions arise: 1) What is the ontology of distant poverty as human vulnerability? 2) In what ways does the idea of poverty as human vulnerability essentially and morally connect with the idea of dependency? 3) Is the issue of addressing the problem of distant poverty as human vulnerability a question of perfect or imperfect moral duty or both? 4) In what ways do the perfect or imperfect moral duty (or both) connect to positive and negative moral duties? 5) What moral framework best accommodates, all things considered, moral duties? Considering these questions, this work advances that African ethics (AE) as character ethics, fundamentally serves as a better moral framework, compared to the Western ethics (WE) that has dominated the debates on addressing the questions for years.
2. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 1
Fabian Bernhardt Unseen Wounds: On the Epistemic Dimension of Vulnerability
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Philosophical interest in vulnerability focusses mainly on normative questions concerning its relevance for moral, political and legal theory. However, beneath these questions there lies another one which is epistemological: How do we gain clear knowledge about another person’s pain and suffering? How do we recognize a wounded life? Drawing primarily on the account of Elaine Scarry (1984), the article aims at showing that the difficulties to apprehend and recognize a life as injured are not only grounded in political and cultural frames, as Judith Butler contends, but also in the phenomenological and epistemic features of pain itself. Pain is epistemically fragile. Whereas it is almost impossible to ignore one’s own pain, it is very easy to overlook the pain of others. This epistemic slope has concrete effects on the social and political life. Regarding vulnerability, the normative question of recognition and the epistemic question of recognizability, thus, are closely intertwined.
3. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 1
Jan Bierhanzl Weak Action: Butler as a Reader of Levinas and Arendt
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The notion of “weak action” is developed in this paper in an attempt to overcome the schism between the action of a free political subject on the one hand, and their dependency on the support of others and the environment on the other. This paper focuses foremost on Judith Butler’s later work raising two different questions. First, following Butler and her critical reading of Levinas, the problem is raised how and at what price the ethics of vulnerability would be able to become not only the source of a critique of politics, but also the source of a concrete political action. Second, through Butler’s reinterpretation of Arendt’s political thinking, the notion of “action” is enriched by the dimension of vulnerability.
4. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 1
Diana Tietjens Meyers Human Rights and the Vulnerability of Rights-bearers
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I seek to understand the relationship between human vulnerability and human rights as something more than a problem that respect for human rights solves. After characterizing vulnerability and noting that human rights are generally regarded as entitlements that respect the dignity of persons by securing their autonomous agency, I draw out the implications of these premises. I argue that human vulnerabilities are constitutive of the capacity for autonomous agency and therefore that the circumstances of respect for persons must include persons’ vulnerability to many sorts of harms. Given that the opportunity to lead one’s life in one’s own way—that is, the opportunity to exercise autonomous agency—is indispensable to human dignity, respect for persons entails respect for the vulnerability that underwrites autonomous agency. If so, rights-bearers are necessarily vulnerable subjects. I further defend this conception of rights-bearers by arguing that it comports with three types of human rights theory: agency-centered, needs-centered, and practice-based accounts of human rights.
5. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 1
Ali Beheler The Body a Guiding Thread: New Materialist Conceptions of Agentic Corporeality and Nietzsche’s Emergent Subject
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Despite a shared recognition of the significant contribution of corporeality to normative phenomena such as agency, it is rare for Nietzsche scholarship on naturalism and agency to include explicit employment of so-called “new materialist” approaches to agency. In an effort to show the fecundity of such an employment, I apply Diana Coole’s notion of a spectrum of distributed agentic capacities to a reading of passages within Nietzsche’s genealogy of the subject. I suggest that doing so helps to emphasize the significant role of pre-personal and nonconscious corporeal processes in the emergence of the subject in Nietzsche’s texts; the contribution of these processes to agentic capacities; and the possibility of conceiving the agentic spectrum, in Nietzsche’s corpus, as a spectrum of acts of incorporation.
6. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 1
Sebastiano Galanti Grollo Thinking the Event in Heidegger’s “Black Notebooks”
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In this essay I examine the concept of the “event” in Heideggerian thought, with particular reference to the first volume of the Black Notebooks, which is contemporaneous with Contributions to Philosophy (Of the Event) (1936–1938) and Notes III (dating from 1946–47) from the fourth volume. At issue are the concepts of “event” (Ereignis), “essential unfolding” (Wesung), and “expropriation” (Enteignis), which assume considerable importance in the mid-1930s. Through his treatment of the event, Heidegger reinterprets being as an alterity with respect to beings and to Dasein, in that being withdraws and conceals itself. Furthermore, I show a shift in Heidegger’s “disposition” (Stimmung) that occurs in Notes III, from an “attunement” that stresses decision to a way of thinking in terms of “releasing” and “thanking.” In these writings, Heidegger already makes use of the concept of “releasement” (Gelassenheit), which is usually associated with a later stage of his thought.
7. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 1
Paul J. D’Ambrosio, Hans-Georg Moeller Political New Sincerity and Profilicity: On the Decline of Identity Politics and Authenticity
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The past few years have seen a dramatic backlash against identity politics from academics such as Michael Sandel, Kwame Appiah, Mark Lilla, and Francis Fukuyama. In the vocabulary of identity conceptions, we can classify this as a reaction to a growing dissatisfaction with the perceived hollowness and ineffectiveness of “authenticity” that calls for a return to “sincerity”—or a “Political New Sincerity.” We argue that a third identity paradigm is in play as well, namely “profilicity.” This profile-based approach to understanding oneself, others, and the world has had a major impact on social and political life, and yet has gone largely unnoticed or otherwise been mis-diagnosed. Our analysis provides a critical reflection on the emergence of profilicity to pave the way for developing insights into our changing sociopolitical and inter-personal landscapes.
8. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 1
Ulrike Kistner “Translation” as Metaphor and as Task: Vicissitudes of “Translation” between Freud, Laplanche, and Benjamin
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The distinct role of the concept metaphor of “translation” in psychoanalysis has been obscured. It has generally been considered in conjunction if not synonymy with metaphors of “writing/graphy,” leaving it theoretically underdetermined. Its distinct role went largely unnoticed, moreover, since Freud himself dropped the concept metaphor of translation from his work after 1900. However, this did not prevent it from re-surfacing in a pivotal role in Jean Laplanche’s structural-linguistic accounts of “the drive to translate” and of the translation model of repression. To provide a bridge between Freud’s remarks on the role of translation, and his own tenets on language in relation to the unconscious, Laplanche reads Walter Benjamin ([1923a] 1972) on translation—to incongruous effect, which this article proposes to address, in turn, by re-instating a distinct role for translation.
9. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 1
Florian Vermeiren A Physics of Thought: Spinoza, Zourabichvili, Deleuze and Guattari on Concepts and Ideas
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In What Is Philosophy? Deleuze and Guattari understand concepts in a very unconventional way. One of the central aspects of their theory is that concepts are self-referential and should not be understood in terms of any form of reference or representation. Instead, concepts are complex “assemblages” interacting on a “plane of immanence.” I argue that we can best understand this theory through the philosophy of Spinoza. The latter understands thought and ideas through the model of physical bodies. Spinoza’s theory of thought is, as François Zourabichvili says, a “physics of thought.” I do not only call upon Spinoza to elucidate the general approach of Deleuze and Guattari; I also use Spinoza’s notions of modal essence and existence, interpreted by Deleuze in terms of intensity and extensity, to expound the details of their distinction between concepts and propositions.
10. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 1
Brian Lightbody The “Relations of Affect” and “the Spiritual”: Towards a Foucauldian Genealogy of Spirituality
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In his book Foucault and Religion, Jeremy Carrette presents a compelling argument against Foucault’s genealogical method (what he terms “relations of force”). In brief, Carrette holds that while Foucault’s genealogical method effectively unmasked the origins of “rationality” and “madness,” it was less successful when explaining the materialization of “the spiritual.” Foucault’s analysis of spiritual practices is at best functional and, according to Carrette, fails to explain the psychophysical state of subjects engaged in religious customs. In the following paper, I argue that Carrette is correct; there are limitations to Foucault’s genealogical method, especially when explaining subjectivization processes, such as conversion experiences. However, I demonstrate that we can perform a successful genealogical investigation of the spiritual by adding an additional lens of analysis to “the relations of power” and “the relations of meaning” Foucault employs. I call this lens “the relations of affect.” I use this tool to explain Augustine’s transformative process, as observed in the saint’s Confessions.
11. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 1
Kadir Filiz, Claude Romano, Christina M. Gschwandtner Phenomenology with Big-Hearted Reason: A Conversation with Claude Romano
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In this interview, Claude Romano discusses his phenomenological project of the event in relation to hermeneutics, reason, realism, and some other fundamental problems of phenomenology. He explains common themes in his phenomenological project and elucidates why he considers it important to leave behind the transcendental perspective in phenomenology. He distinguishes his descriptive realism from other realist movements in contemporary French philosophy. The interview also questions the Eurocentric orientation of many phenomenological authors and considers the possibility of going beyond such assumptions in phenomenology.
12. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 1
Pierre Hadot, Andrew Irvine Epistrophe and Metanoia in the History of Philosophy
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Crucial in Pierre Hadot’s account of ancient philosophy as a way of life is the phenomenon of conversion. Well before he encountered some of the decisive influences upon his understanding of philosophy, Hadot already understood ancient philosophy and its long legacy in later thinkers of the West as much more than a formal discourse. Philosophy is an experience, or at least the exploration and articulation of a potential for experience. The energy of this potential originates in a polar tension between epistrophe (return) and metanoia (rebirth). The two poles, which are grounded in primal experiences of the living organism, motivate and model the conversion which must be lived by the philosopher. The genius of Western philosophical experience lies in the effort to synthesize return and rebirth, and thereby recover the self as an ontological point of identification with and origin of the cosmos.
book reviews
13. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 1
Andrew J. Cooper Simon Critchley, Tragedy, the Greeks, and Us
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