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Displaying: 1-11 of 11 documents

1. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 2
Jeff Malpas

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Taking an image by Thomas Hoepker as its starting point, this essay examines the discontinuities and contradictions that appear around the contemporary rhetoric of the ‘event’ as given particular instantiation in the destruction of the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001. It is argued that the rhetoric at issue here, in spite of its emphasis on the ‘eventful’ character of our time, actually serves to conceal the urgency of our contemporary situation as well as disabling any genuine response to it.

2. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 2
Dimitris Vardoulakis

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This article examines the connection between lying and the concept of freedom, especially in the wake of the social contract tradition. I show that the liar poses a particular threat to the social contract. As a result, lying has been portrayed as a pernicious threat to the political. This culminates in Kant’s outright rejection of lying under any circumstance. From the Kantian perspective, one can be free only if one does not lie. Conversely, Spinoza’s co-implication of virtue and power entails that lying is acceptable under certain circumstances, which enhance one’s freedom. The contrast between Kant’s and Spinoza’s response to lying reveals two fundamentally different ways of conceiving freedom.

3. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 2
Sami Pihlström

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This paper examines the question concerning the equality vs. inequality of death from a metaphysical and existential, rather than political or socio-economic, point of view. Hence, the paper is a contribution to the philosophy of death, dying, and mortality. It is argued that some philosophical accounts of death that are otherwise opposed to each other (e.g., Epicureanism and the “privation view” made famous by Thomas Nagel) are symmetrical regarding this fundamental issue. A recent attempt to resolve the threat death poses to the “importance of goodness” by Mark Johnston is critically explored. The horizon of guilt will thereby be opened toward the end of the paper.

4. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 2
Laurence Hemming

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This paper takes the theme of Heidegger’s phrase “a productive dialogue with Marxism” from the “Letter on Humanism” and examines what Heidegger could have meant by it by referring to a number of his works and commentary in other places, and the backdrop of European, Western, and global history in the twentieth century. The paper touches on Heidegger’s relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre, Kostas Axelos and Jean Beaufret. It looks at a key section of the 1969 television interview Heidegger conducted with Richard Wisser, when he discussed the eleventh of Marx’s Theses on Feuerbach. The paper examines Heidegger’s interpretation of the “Letter” and of Being and Time in view of what he meant by “the language of metaphysics,” as well as his central interpretation of Marx at Zähringen in 1973, and his understanding of “production” in relation to his critique of technology. The paper concludes by showing how Heidegger understands Marx and Marxism to have made possible a historical dialogue at the “end of metaphysics” which opens the way to what Heidegger sees as the Abendland, that is, what befalls us through the new beginning that history offers to thinking.

special topic: merleau-ponty today

5. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 2
Joseph Keeping

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Recently much attention has been paid to the concept of expression in Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy and its role in his theories of language, art, history, and truth. However, most authors have considered expression only as a mode of language. This paper attempts to show that a full understanding of Merleau-Ponty’s concept of expression, and in particular the problem of how new meanings can be created out of existing language, is possible only by considering the role of emotional gesture in expression. It does so by interpreting Merleau-Ponty’s writings on emotion and expression through a phenomenology of a particular emotion, specifically joy.
6. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 2
Emmanuel Alloa

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A simplistic image of twentieth century French philosophy sees Merleau-Ponty’s death in 1961 as the line that divides two irreconcilable moments in its history: existentialism and phenomenology, on the one hand, and structuralism on the other. The structuralist generation claimed to recapture the dimension of objectivity and impersonality, which the previous generation was supposedly incapable of. As a matter of fact, in 1962, Derrida’s edition of Husserl’s The Origin of Geometry was taken to be a turning point that announced the structuralist revolution by introducing a reflection on the historicity and the materiality of impersonal idealities. And yet, the 1998 publication of Merleau-Ponty’s notes from his Collège de France lecture course on the same topic make manifest that he was already taking phenomenology in another direction. His 1959 reading of The Origin of Geometry shows how unexpectedly close the early Derrida is to the late Merleau-Ponty. By identifying the tension between archaeology and teleology as the basic problem of Husserlian phenomenology, Merleau-Ponty and Derrida each disclose the fundamental importance of history and of writing. Comparing the two readings in their specific context not only brings about a more complex picture of the intellectual debates of the time, but also shows how, with Merleau-Ponty’s interpretation of The Origin of Geometry, Derrida’s “différance” predates itself and receives another genealogy.
7. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 2
Douglas Low

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“Further Considerations of Alienation” attempts to expand upon an earlier essay entitled “Merleau-Ponty and a Reconsideration of Alienation.” From the point of view of Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy, this new essay considers modernist rationality and the postmodernist free play of language as forms of alienation. The essay attempts to show that Merleau-Ponty joins the company of Marx, Lukács, Habermas and Heidegger in order to make this case.
8. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 2
Lucia Angelino

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The general aim of this paper is to reach a better understanding of the dynamic process that gives rise to a self and its conscious activity. In order to meet this overall goal, I will analyse in detail the three main stages of the creative process, taking Merleau-Ponty’s reflections on the painter’s experience provided in Eye and Mind as my starting point. My argument will unfold in three main stages. First, I will focus on his notion of flesh, in order to explore the experience of bodily feeling (le sentir) that precedes the very emergence of a self in the midst of perceptual life. Second, I will analyze descriptions of the circle of artistic creation, provided by famous painters—such as Paul Klee and Paul Cézanne—in order to reach a better understanding of the dynamic process through which bodily selfhood occurs and brings about consciousness in a continuous intertwining with the world that constantly nurtures the performance of its expressive gesture. Third, I will return to Merleau-Ponty’s notion of flesh, this time grasped in its practical form as a moving and expressive body, in order to achieve a more radical formulation of this same process. In conclusion, this approach should show that the arousal of consciousness, this shining eye allowing things hidden in the shadow to appear, is in some way conditional upon an expressive gesture which prolongs vision and leads back to it.

book discussion: johanna oksala, foucault, politics, and violence

9. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 2
Kevin Thompson

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This essay offers a review of the basic argument and a critique of some of the central claims of Johanna Oksala’s Foucault, Politics, and Violence.
10. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 2
Jana Sawicki

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In Foucault, Politics, and Violence, Johanna Oksala argues that Foucault offers us a “political ontology” that might be used to free us from rigid adherence to specific political concepts and rationalities (in particular, those that the link politics and violence). I raise questions concerning her method, the eliminability of violence, and what a genealogical critique can and cannot do.
11. Philosophy Today: Volume > 58 > Issue: 2
Johanna Oksala

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I respond to questions and criticisms of my book from Jana Sawicki and Kevin Thompson. I address Jana Sawicki’s questions about my method and the limits of a Foucaudian critique. In response to Kevin Thompson’s questions, I explicate my understanding of the governmentalization of violence, immanent critique, and political spirituality.