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the emergency of philosophy
1. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Santiago Zabala Introduction to the Special Issue: The Emergency of Philosophy
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2. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Gianni Vattimo, Caterina Mongiat Farina, Geoff Farina Emergency and Event: Technique, Politics, and the Work of Art
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What is the meaning of Heidegger’s famous formula “the only emergency is the absence of emergency” in the 21st century? Interpreted as “opposition,” emergency becomes the paradigm through which politics, religion, and art must be practiced today. This practice takes place as an event which disrupts the imposed global order. The recent technocratic government in Italy has become an example of imposition which other countries must also submit to. This is why the absence of emergency can only be felt inside the ruling world, as dysfunction, disturbance, and interruption. Art and religion return as realms where these disruptions take place.
3. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Richard Polt Propositions on Emergency
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The article defines being and emergency in terms of sense and what exceeds sense: the sense of being implies an excess over sense; an emergency is a clash between sense and excess. The article then argues deductively that, as entities for whom being is an issue, we depend on greater and lesser emergencies thanks to which entities become accessible. Emergencies reshape the possible, the past, and the present; they call for emergent thinking, or thinking that is itself undergoing an emergency.
4. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Silvia Mazzini Poverty as Emergency: A Radical (Re-)Form of Life?
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The goal of this essay is to examine the political function of poverty, in search of a concrete, radical, nonviolent instrument for alternative political practices: new kinds of resistance to the dominant financial system in which we all live. In order to do this, I will analyze and discuss critically Giorgio Agamben’s interpretation of Francis of Assisi’s experience: for the Italian philosopher, poverty, if chosen as a form of life, could be indeed an inverted State of Emergency, and therefore become independent from the spheres of law and sovereign power.
5. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Dorthe Jørgensen Philosophy at a Crossroads
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Philosophy is experiencing a crisis. This can be seen not only from the discourse on university policy—with its demand for immediate applicability and its ongoing attack on the humanities—but also within philosophy itself. There is a widespread reluctance towards thinking that goes beyond pure description and barren concept analysis. It is therefore essential to revitalize the philosophia that philosophy was originally introduced as. This revitalization should not ignore the criticism of metaphysics, nor should it result in anti-metaphysics, but rather take shape as a philosophy of experience characterized by an interest in experiences of transcendence (i.e., aesthetic, religious, and philosophical experiences). Philosophical aesthetics and hermeneutic phenomenology have already attempted to encourage ‘meditative thinking’ in times dominated by ‘calculative thinking.’ Both philosophy and the humanities can be enhanced by a philosophy of experience that mobilizes thought found in A. G. Baumgarten’s aesthetics and Walter Benjamin’s hermeneutics.
6. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Noreen Khawaja Religious Truth and Secular Scandal: Kierkegaard's Pathology of Offense
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This paper examines an important Danish account of the relation between offense and religious piety, found in Søren Kierkegaard’s ascetic masterpiece, Training in Christianity. Captivated by the scandalous nature of the Christian message—the fundamental idea that God becomes an ordinary man—Kierkegaard developed an intensified form of the Lutheran theologia crucis, in which offense is not only something one must tolerate, but a core principle of religious life. By following up on the full devotional consequences of ideas like "stumbling block" and "scandal," Kierkegaard's thought makes transparent the way in which Christian asceticism not only rejects but continually produces its secular other by inviting it into conflict. Understanding this theology better will shed light on contemporary debates about secularism, free speech, and the meaning of religious offense, beginning with the Danish context.
7. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Arne De Boever Poverty's Emergency
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This article deals with the afterlife of Walter Benjamin’s comments on the state of exception—specifically, his distinction between the state of exception and what he calls a “real” state of exception that would dismantle the former—in Susan Sontag and Hito Steyerl’s theories of the image. It argues, first, that Sontag’s theory of the image, while conceived in Benjamin’s wake, insists on the reality of an outside-image that always risks creating new states of exception. While Steyerl, also working after Benjamin, goes a long way to dismantling this risk, she too ultimately recreates it in her casting of the unreal people in spam images as those who will do the dirty work of imaging for us so that we, the real people, can withdraw from representation. This logic of substitution, which does not change what Steyerl in her work diagnoses as the “exceptional” conditions of contemporary imaging, does not succeed in bringing about the real state of exception that Benjamin called for. For this, the logic of substitution would need to be abandoned. Benjamin himself suggested this in his discussion of strike in his essay “Critique of Violence.” After the strike, Benjamin argues, it is we—i.e., not someone else—who instead go back to a “wholly transformed” work.
8. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Frédéric Neyrat Economy of Turbulence: How to Escape from the Global State of Emergency?
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In this article, I shed some light on the turbulence paradigm that appeared in the 1970s. This paradigm understands society in terms of a permanent non-equilibrium, and this non-equilibrium in turn gives rise to an economy of turbulence supposedly able to deal with the “risks” produced by this ontological situation. To escape the constant state of emergency induced by this paradigm, we need an ecology of separation able to produce a distance within the interior of this socio-economic situation.
9. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Adrian Parr Green Scare
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Despite the massive infringement upon civil liberties and human rights that states of emergency have been used to justify, environmental emergencies harbor within them a new mutation of the philosophical problem of order versus anarchy, one where civil disobedience enters the murky waters of corporate power and anarchical rule. The failure of liberal democracies to confront the reality of their own historical excesses in concrete terms is basically what apocalyptic images of debris covered landscapes, drowned and charred bodies, or parched and thirsty fields present. This paper will critically evaluate the figure of sovereignty as it appears in theories of emergency politics—state of exception, deliberation, and de-exceptionalizing the exception—arguing for a slight shift in theoretical focus, from a sovereign figure to a sovereign force, as the basis of transformative politics.
10. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Paulette Kidder Emergency, Climate Change, and the Hermeneutic Virtues
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This essay begins from Vattimo’s and Zabala’s account of hermeneutic communism as an antifoundationalist mode of thought that promotes a state of “emergency” by undermining those established truths that promote only the interests of history’s winners. The essay takes up the crisis of public discourse concerning climate change, arguing that Gadamer’s thought indicates, first, how hermeneutics can respond to the objection that it is too relativistic to contribute to discussions concerning climate change, and second, that there are hermeneutic virtues whose exercise could improve the discussions of how to meet this serious challenge. These hermeneutic virtues and commitments are: letting language speak us, actively seeking to be proved wrong, respecting (earned) authority, being open in conversation with others, respecting others’ freedom, and acknowledging one’s limits.
11. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Diego Rossello Ordinary Emergences in Democratic Theory: An Interview with Bonnie Honig
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In contrast to framings of the political that emphasize heroic action or emergency’s exceptionalism, Bonnie Honig’s agonistic democracy is linked to ordinary emergences and the sororal bond. In this interview, Honig explores the political potential of the ordinary in Franz Rosenzweig’s theology of the everyday, as well as in the work of feminist theorists and writers such as Hanna Pitkin and Adrienne Rich. Commenting on her reading of the relation between Antigone and Ismene in the famous tragedy by Sophocles, Honig also addresses the sororal bond in times of exception. Finally, she extends her argument on the everyday to a discussion of public things and anticipates ideas of her ongoing project on Arendt’s essay “The Jew as Pariah.”
concerning thomas sheehan’s “emmanuel faye: the introduction of fraud into philosophy?”
12. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Peg Birmingham, Ian Alexander Moore Editorial Note
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13. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
François Rastier et al. An Open Letter to Philosophy Today
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book discussion: henry somers-hall, hegel, deleuze, and the critique of representation
14. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
John McCumber Comments on Henry Somers-Hall, Hegel, Deleuze, and the Critique of Representation
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Responding to Henry Somers-Hall’s brilliant staging of the Hegel/Deleuze confrontation, I argue that Hegel withstands some of Deleuze’s criticisms but not all. Contrary to Deleuze’s charge that Hegel reduces diversity to contradiction, I argue that Hegel’s account of diversity not only matches Deleuze’s in important respects, but that it is not dialectically ”overcome” by contradiction; the view that it is results from reading Hegel’s Logic on the model of his Phenomenology. Deleuze’s critique of Hegel’s strictly teleological view of organism fares better: Deleuze points out that for Hegel, any property of a living thing which does not contribute to its maintenance and reproduction is a mere defect. This makes the notion of mutations inconceivable and so bars Hegel from accepting evolutionary theory. I argue that the individual pas­sions which for Hegel move history via the “cunning of reason” are like evolutionary mutations in that they are neither teleologically necessary for the individual whose passions they are, nor mere defects, since they move history. But Hegel never appeals to them, because accepting an evolutionary model would undercut his basic distinction between nature and spirit, which is that only spirit has history.
15. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Joshua Ramey Questions for Henry Somers-Hall's Hegel, Deleuze, and the Critique of Representation: Dialectics of Negation and Difference
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Henry Somers-Hall’s Hegel, Deleuze, and the Critique of Representation: Dialectics of Negation and Difference offers a well-researched and clearly written study of Deleuze and Hegel as common inheritors of a Kantian problematic offering different but related alternatives to the failed project of relating concepts, as representations, to reality. In this review essay I focus on a particular issue, contingency or “chance” in nature. This is a place where the stakes of the Deleuzian option for “difference” rather than Hegel’s governing framework of “negation” are particularly high, but where there is a normative dimension—ethical and aesthetic—to the Deleuze-Hegel debate that is not adequately covered by Somers-Hall’s otherwise excellent account. I suggest that even if Deleuze’s conception of contingency in nature is more compelling than Hegel’s, there are nevertheless many unresolved issues to be considered, when it comes to the role of chance in thought and reality.
16. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Henry Somers-Hall Deleuze, Diversity, and Chance: A Response to McCumber and Ramey
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The aim of this paper is to respond to the discussions by John McCumber and Joshua Ramey of my monograph, Hegel, Deleuze, and the Critique of Representation. In the first part of this paper, I analyse McCumber’s claim that Deleuze’s concept of difference is already present within Hegel’s thought in the form of diversity. I make the claim that Deleuze formulates his concept of difference as the transcendental ground for Hegelian diversity, arguing that as such it differs in kind from it. I show how Deleuze’s concept of difference leads him to develop an alternative solution to the one and the many to that of Hegel, and trace some of the systematic implications of this for both philosophers. In the second part of the paper, I engage with Ramey’s analysis of chance within Deleuze’s philosophy, arguing that Ramey wrongly looks for a model of chance in Deleuze in the category of the virtual, rather than in a transition between virtual and actual. I then show how a proper understanding of chance in Deleuze’s thought allows us to develop a non-teleological account of Deleuze’s ethics.
17. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 4
Index to Volume 59
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18. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 3
Thomas Sheehan Emmanuel Faye: The Introduction of Fraud into Philosophy?
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Emmanuel Faye’s Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy is so freighted with mistranslations, misinterpretations, the wrenching of sentences from their context, and perverse rewritings of Heidegger’s texts that it raises questions about (1) whether Faye intentionally rewrote and misinterpreted Heidegger or is simply a sloppy scholar; and (2) whether he is a competent reader of any philosophical texts, and especially Heidegger’s. Detailed evidence is provided of the countless errors, falsifications, and howlers that populate his books and lectures. However, the question of whether Faye is a fraud or simply incompetent is left to the reader’s judgment.
19. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 3
Alain Badiou, C. J. Davies Ethics and Politics
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In this article, Badiou analyzes and rejects a classical model of politics based on state representation. He envisions a new model of politics without representation and claims that this new model is more closely tied to the ethical.
20. Philosophy Today: Volume > 59 > Issue: 3
Janar Mihkelsaar Towards a Rethinking of Laclau and Mouffe’s Conception of “Social Antagonisms”: Agamben’s Critique of Relation
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What is at stake in the antagonistic limits of society is the limit form of relation between dichotomous concepts. By determining this relation, Laclau and Mouffe’s “political articulation” and Agamben’s sovereign decision institute a particular type of order. In contrast to Laclau and Mouffe, however, Agamben aims to render the subversive interplay of binary concepts “inoperative.” What, I contend, is at issue in this disagreement is neither pessimism nor optimism, neither totalitarianism nor democracy, but rather the question of how to conceive social antagonisms. When, namely, the limit type of relation between negativity and positivity, life and law, shows itself as such, then the antagonistic relation reveals itself as “pure antagonism.” This is why Agamben deems it necessary to deactivate the empty form of relation which political articulation and sovereign decision express. Agamben’s inoperativity, however, does not found an undivided society, but rather proposes to rethink antagonisms as “the form-of-life.”