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Philosophy Today

Volume 59, Issue 4, Fall 2015
The Emergency of Philosophy

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Displaying: 1-10 of 17 documents


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.