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101. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 4
Kyle Novak

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Rosi Braidotti has recently argued that the emerging scholarship on posthumanism should employ what she calls nomadic thinking. Braidotti identifies Gilles Deleuze’s work on Spinoza as the genesis of posthumanist ontology, yet Deleuze’s claims about nomadic thinking or nomadology come from his work on Leibniz. I argue that for posthumanist thought to theorize subjectivity beyond the human, it must use nomadology to overcome ontology itself. To make my argument, I demonstrate that while Braidotti is correct about Spinoza’s influence on Deleuze, his work on Leibniz is necessary to adequately conceptualize nomadology. I employ Deleuze and Guattari’s figure of the Thought-brain as a model for conceptualizing posthumanist subjectivity that they claim goes beyond the subject itself.
102. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 4
Massimiliano Simons Orcid-ID

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In his 2018 essay Down to Earth, the French philosopher Bruno Latour proposes a hypothesis that connects a number of contemporary issues, ranging from climate denialism to deregulation and growing inequality. While his hypothesis, namely that the elites act as if they live in another world and are leaving the rest of the world behind, might seem like a conspiracy theory, I will argue that there is a way to make sense of it. To do so, I will turn to two other authors, Timothy Mitchell and Shoshana Zuboff, to highlight the kind of logic that Latour seems to have in mind. In the final section, I will propose to capture the commonalities of these authors through the concept of shifting reciprocities and will return to Latour’s political plea to define one’s territories, reinterpreted as reciprocities.
103. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 4
József Kollár, Dávid Kollár Orcid-ID

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In our article, we argue, following Nelson Goodman and Arthur Danto, that in contrast to the essentialist conception of authenticity, it is more fertile to consider authentic patterns not as the inner core of the person, but as a case of metaphorical exemplification. According to our approach, if we accept that authentic style is a metaphorical exemplification, then, based on Richard Rorty’s concepts of language and metaphor, style can be seen as an exaptation or reuse of symbols previously adapted through cultural selection to other specific functions. To support this approach, we proceed as follows. First, using Goodman’s and Danto’s model, we argue that authentic style can best be grasped through metaphorical exemplification. We then show that the metaphorical use of linguistic, pictorial, and other symbols is the result of exaptation. According to our results, the authentic style is the exaptation of symbols previously adapted to culturally selected functions. We then separate authenticity from creativity through the concepts of style and manner—borrowed from Danto—and we point out that whether a particular symbol is authentic or not is not affected by whether creative or mechanical mental processes are responsible for its creation. Finally, we examine the relationship between authenticity and autonomy, and we show that in an environment that promotes autonomous decisions and authentic style, agents that originally generated inauthentic symbols may be able to produce authentic ones.
104. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 4
Andrew Song Orcid-ID

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This article advances a close reading of Hannah Arendt’s use of the phrase amo: volo ut sis in her posthumously published lecture “Willing.” Through this close reading, the essay argues that this affirmation of love, which Arendt translates as “I love you, I want you to be,” describes an enduring activity by which we unite our minds to the world. This argument is analyzed formally and practically: the formal aspect addresses love as an activity which has its end in itself and the practical aspect enumerates the binding character of love. To clarify these aspects, the article will focus on the sections on Augustine and Duns Scotus, requiring, also, a closer look at Arendt’s theological methodology.
105. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 4
Madeleine Shield Orcid-ID

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For many philosophers, there is a tension inherent to shame as an inward-looking, yet intersubjective, emotion: that between the role of the ashamed self and the part of the shaming Other in pronouncing the judgement of shame. Simply put, the issue is this: either the perspective of the ashamed self takes precedence in autonomously choosing to feel shame, and the necessary role of the audience is overlooked, or else the view of the shaming Other prevails in heteronomously casting the shame, and the ashamed individual’s agency becomes problematically understated. I argue that this debate is fundamentally misguided insofar as it assumes that shame must be exclusively contingent upon either the perspective of the self or that of the Other, when it is in fact dependent upon both at once. This is the “double movement” of shame: an appraisal of the self that is at once social and private.

the sheehan-faye debate, continued

106. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 4
Peg Birmingham, Ian Alexander Moore

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107. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 4
Emmanuel Faye, Aengus Daly

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Thomas Sheehan’s attack on my book Heidegger, l’introduction du nazisme dans la philosophie, addressed neither the book’s topic nor its arguments. He instead highlighted a few isolated details in a sophistic and biased fashion. Moreover, his exposition was interspersed with ad personam insults not typically found in philosophical or scientific discussions. Although I had hitherto resolved not to respond to personal attacks, I owe it to the memory of Johannes Fritsche, who was also attacked by Sheehan, to take my turn to speak and to thereby pay intellectual tribute to Professor Fritsche. The article returns to the interpretation of Being and Time and analyzes the meaning and connotations of Heidegger’s use of the German term Bodenlosigkeit. The key methodological issue concerns the need to study the semantic, historical, and political context of concepts instead of hiding these issues by reducing everything to a battle between dogmatic positions.

book reviews

108. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 4
Barnaby Norman

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109. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 4
Rafael Vizcaíno

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110. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 4
Yuhui Li Orcid-ID

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111. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 3
Florence Burgat, Orcid-ID Elisabeth Lyman, Holly James

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Can humanity abandon its meat-based diet, and is it willing to? This diet is unique in that it institutes an endlessly bloody relationship to animals. Highlighted time and again in analyses of the sacrificial system, the possibility of substituting a plant-based offering (or an object) for one that requires killing, replacing the latter with the former and eventually achieving equivalence between the two, could prove unexpectedly fruitful in contemporary discussions of substitutes for meat (both plant-based meats, which imitate animal meat but do not contain it, and cultured animal muscle tissue, commonly referred to as in-vitro meat). This is the guiding question and the answer, in the form of a structuralist hypothesis, that this article proposes to clarify and develop.

112. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 3
Matteo J. Stettler, Matthew Sharpe

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This article challenges the recurrent critique that Pierre Hadot’s identification of ancient philosophy with the practice of spiritual exercises introduces a non- or irrational dimension into metaphilosophy. The occasion to do this is provided by Kerem Eksen’s recent reading of Descartes’s Meditations as consisting of solely intellectual, rather than spiritual, exercises—since the latter, Eksen claims, involve extrarational means and ends. Part 2 presents an alternative account of the role of cognition in the ancient meditatio at issue in understanding Descartes’s antecedents. This account is indebted to Michel Foucault’s characterization of ancient meditation as involving two cognitive mechanisms: an appropriation of thought, and an experiment in identification. Part 3 argues that attempts such as Eksen’s to depict spiritual exercises as wholly noncognitive themselves are the product of an “unexamined Cartesianism” that is fundamentally at odds with the monistic psychology of ancient Stoics like Marcus Aurelius as discussed in Hadot’s studies.

113. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 3
James Hill Orcid-ID

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Markus Gabriel’s metaphysical nihilism—elaborated and defended most completely in his book Fields of Sense—contends that there is no legitimate ontological sense or reference attached to the words “the world.” In this paper, I present a detailed case for concluding that this project, at least in its current form, is unsuccessful. I argue, in particular, that Gabriel has at best shown that an absolutely unrestricted extensional domain cannot exist, but that his attempt to parlay this into a general rejection of metaphysics is unsuccessful and indeed incoherent. Finally, I offer a speculative diagnosis of how Gabriel ended up in this predicament.

114. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 3
Eliran Bar-El Orcid-ID

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This article positions relational social theories against theories of non-relation. Relational social theories consider relations to be primary as opposed to objects. In contrast, two theoretical positions—psychoanalysis and Marxism—hold non-relation (or void) as the origin of any social relations. Not coincidentally, psychoanalysis and Marxism also hold the position of the subject, which relational social theories abolish as yet another object. What makes the link between non-relation and subject possible for psychoanalysis and Marxism, is the affirmation of a constitutive negativity embodied in-and-through social antagonisms of sexuality and class-struggle. The article shows, therefore, that by precluding this constitutive negativity, relational social theories lose sight of these two critical sites.

115. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 3
Natan Elgabsi Orcid-ID

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This existential phenomenological exploration concerns how writing is not the mere tool for communication and commemoration, or the supplementary image of a memory, but is closely connected to the phenomenon of the grave. The exploration aims to show a transgenerational mode of human existence and moral life, by considering how the becoming of a historical, which is to say a transgenerational subject through the features that writing and the grave together lets us capture, is also importantly bound to the becoming of a moral subject, or an “I,” in relation to the passed away other.

116. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 3
Timothy Stock Orcid-ID

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I propose a critique of Heidegger’s poetics, and show that poetic critique of Heidegger is also philosophical critique on Lévinasian lines. I identify an obsessional erasure of absence in Heidegger’s poetics, a neglect of the immemorial other. Lévinas frames this critique through Valéry’s Eupalinos, a dialogue of an immemorial Socrates, in Limbo after his own death, praising architecture over his own, lost, philosophy. Separating poetics from ontology, Lévinas’s immemorial acknowledges irrecuperable traces, murmurs, or echoes of alterity; poetry, as commemoration, marks the distance between loss and absence. This contrasts with Heidegger’s eulogy of Max Scheler and its echo in the Gedachtes, metaphysical (“metontological”) and poetic monuments that seek an incompletable divorce from sensation and persons. I present Mark Doty’s elegy Atlantis as an illustration of Lévinas’s central philosophical critique of Heidegger’s thinking of death and persons. Atlantis embodies the immemorial; architecture alive with sound, an impossible city populated by absence.

117. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 3
Ian Maley

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In reply to Hagi Kenaan’s recent book Photography and Its Shadow, this essay argues for a theory of photography informed by Nietzsche’s perspectivism. It argues that Nietzsche’s perspectivism offers tools for a theory of photography as a way of life and for a positive conception of the inherent nothingness and artificiality of the photographic image. The first part examines Kenaan’s criticism of photography as an agent of post-modern malaise and nihilism in line with Nietzsche’s theory of the death of God. In response, the second part explores perspectivism as a visual and literary mode of thought for creating new horizons for understanding self and world, new relationships between desire and images, and a new conception of truth and falsity. The third part examines the writings of American artist Andy Warhol, who I argue exemplifies a perspectivist approach to photography and cinema in dialogue with the groundlessness and artificiality of images.

118. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 3
Peter Milne Orcid-ID

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This takes a little-known reading of Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony” by Lyotard as the starting point for an examination of the relation between body and law. Lyotard’s late notion of the intractable serves as a frame for this examination: explicitly claimed to be an absolute condition of morals, I argue it also has political implications, which are here drawn out through the link between the intractable and the body. In Lyotard’s later writings, the body is usually associated with an originary affectivity, which is sometimes equated with sexual difference but sometimes appears to come “before” and exceed this law of bodily differences. It is the latter case, I argue, that allows for a path to be opened beyond the bodily violence of the law to be found in Kafka, especially if this is framed in terms of a certain “politics of incommensurability.”

119. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 3
Mark Losoncz Orcid-ID

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This article analyzes Quentin Meillassoux’s concept of cessation. First, the article argues that this concept plays a decisive role in Meillassouxian philosophy. Second, by taking into consideration medieval and early modern debates on annihilation, it critically examines the conclusions elaborated in After Finitude. After that, it conceptualizes the relation between absolute time and absolute contingency, keeping in mind the critical reception of Meillassoux’s philosophy. Finally, the article turns to his insights into death and resurrection, and it confronts them with phenomenological theories of mortality. The conclusion is that Meillassoux faces several essential difficulties with regard to the concept of cessation that seem to be unsalvageable.

120. Philosophy Today: Volume > 66 > Issue: 3
Jeffrey Bernstein

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Ernst Cassirer’s The Myth of the State is often read as being insufficiently attentive to the possibility of fascism. In this paper, I examine, and partially contest, this reading. In his usage of the figures of Spinoza and prophetic Judaism, Cassirer develops a conception of the political capacity of the philosopher as pedagogically attempting to replace mythical thought with rational thought. In the end, Cassirer was aware of the onset and dangers of fascism.