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1. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Peg Birmingham Superfluity and Precarity: Reading Arendt Against Butler
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In this essay I take up Butler’s and Arendt’s respective accounts of the production of precarity and superfluity, asking whether they are proximate accounts, as they seem to be, or whether Butler’s turn to precarity misses the radical nature of Arendt’s genealogy of the production of superfluity, a genealogy that begins at the inauguration of modernity, attempts to find a “perfect superfluousness” in the death camps, and continues unabated in the contemporary global world. Reading Arendt against Butler, I argue that an ontology rooted in bodily precariousness cannot adequately address the production of superfluity which produces precarity as one of its effects. If precarity is an effect of superfluity, as I argue it is, then precarity’s remedy is found not in an appeal to the general ontological condition of bodily precariousness, but in a confrontation with the production of superfluity that threatens to eradicate all conditions of worldly and earthly existence, including the ontological condition of bodily vulnerability.
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2. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Jana V. Schmidt “Words crumbled in my mouth like rotten mushrooms”: Hannah Arendt’s Fatherless Thought
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A near exclusive focus on Hannah Arendt’s concept of forgiveness from her major work The Human Condition has obscured the equally important model of reconciliation in her writings on aesthetics and in her Thought Notebook. By engaging Arendt in a dialogue with her contemporaries and friends Ingeborg Bachmann and Hermann Broch, on the one hand, and with the classic thinkers of tragedy, Aristotle and Goethe, on the other hand, I show how reconciliation responds to the situation of fatherlessness after 1945 and, as a “reconciliation with reality,” offers a new basis for intersubjectivity. Having, as Arendt writes, “enough of origin within” ourselves to do without pre-established categories cannot mean that we must begin to “father” ourselves but that, on the contrary, our inception as beings born to begin anew leaves us radically forlorn and yet equipped with everything we need to “make world” with one another. The essay contends that imagination, judgment, and understanding build a network of thought figures in Arendt that are tied to reality through the work of reconciliation.
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3. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Leonard Lawlor Difference and Dependency, Violence and Sublimation: Two Questions for Kelly Oliver
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This essay assesses Kelly Oliver’s long publication career by focusing on two novel ideas we find in her work. Both are ideas belonging to the new kind of ethics Oliver envisions. On the one hand, there is the idea of dependency. Through dependency, she aims to ground an obligation to care for the ones who provide the care to the dependents. The second idea is sublimation. Through her studies of psychoanalysis, Oliver shows that sublimation allows the subject to distance herself from the violence of the drives. Sublimation is Oliver’s response to constitutive violence. In regard to Oliver’s ethical vision, I raise two questions. The first concerns the kind of obligation Oliver grounds; it seems to be hypothetical and not categorical. The second question concerns constitutive violence, whose existence Oliver seems to argue against. I conclude my essay by arguing that we must recognize the constitutive violence in all experience, and find a response to it.
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4. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Kelly Oliver Rethinking Response Ethics: A Response to Len Lawlor
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Working against both Hegelian recognition and ethics based on vulnerability, I argue for response ethics or an ethics of ambivalence. While the ideal of mutual recognition is admirable, in practice, recognition is experienced as conferred by the very groups and institutions responsible for withholding it in the first place. In other words, recognition is distributed according to an axis of power that is part and parcel of systems of dominance and oppression. I both challenge the concept of vulnerability as exclusive to, or constitutive of, humanity, on the one hand, and criticize the concept for leveling differences in levels of vulnerability, on the other.
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5. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Travis Holloway Neoliberalism and the Future of Democracy
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This paper describes neoliberalism and summarizes new works on democracy in Continental philosophy. Unlike laissez-faire or liberal economic theory—a “leave us alone” strategy in which the state does not interfere with private enterprise—neoliberal governments use the resources of the state to assist the market directly and employ the market to direct or oversee the resources of the state. Alongside neoliberal government, and in its wake, is a society in which the guiding axioms for each human being are self-entrepreneurship and competition. Over the last decade, however, a new body of philosophical work has been dissociating democracy from neoliberal government, critiquing a failed system of political representation, and considering to what extent democracy must take place beyond or outside of the current state. Of equal concern to these philosophers is how to take flight from a way of life that is characterized by self-entrepreneurship and competition. For some, the start of a political future beyond neoliberalism hinges upon a recent distinction between constituent and destituent forms of power. Whereas constituent power attempts to reform one’s government through demonstrations in public space, destituent power abandons the project of reforming one’s government momentarily or even completely in order to experience another form of life entirely.
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6. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
James Martel Arendt and the Pilgrims: Individualism, Community, and American Exceptionalism
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Although Arendt rejects all manifestations of what she calls “the absolute,” the way that theology trumps politics, she yet overlooks the theological basis of one of her most cherished models of political origins, the story of the Mayflower Compact. Arendt sees the Mayflower Compact as affording a basis for a community that is joined only through mutual promising, allowing a maximal amount of individualism and struggle within a collectively determined entity. Yet she downplays the role that theology serves in supporting this compact. In overlooking the connection between the Pilgrim’s ideology and Rousseau’s concept of the general will which has its own Calvinist origins, Arendt evinces a tendency to forgive a basis for politics in America which she vehemently rejects in the European context. Insofar as liberalism is itself redolent of this Calvinist form of pseudo-individualism, Arendt demonstrates an alternative model even as it remains tangled with its theological origins.
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7. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Lucy Benjamin Adriana Cavarero, Inclinations: A Critique of Rectitude
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8. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Pascal Massie Robert C. Scharff, How History Matters to Philosophy: Reconsidering Philosophy’s Past after Positivism
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9. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Gabriel Serbu Patrick Hayes and Jan Wilm, eds., Beyond the Ancient Quarrel: Literature, Philosophy, and J. M. Coetzee
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10. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Bettina Bergo On Learning to Hear Ethical Loneliness
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11. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Robert Bernasconi Invisible Tears and Voices Unheard: On Jill Stauffer’s Ethical Loneliness
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12. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Yannik Thiem Method Woes: Listen, O Philosophy!
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13. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
James Hatley The Glory of Signification: A Response to Jill Stauffer’s Ethical Loneliness
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14. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Krista K. Thomason Responding to Ethical Loneliness: The Boundaries of Autonomy and Reparative Listening
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15. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 2
Jill Stauffer Building Worlds/Thinking Together about Ethical Loneliness
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16. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 3
Christopher P. Long Symptoms of Interruption: Responding to Bianchi’s The Feminine Symptom
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17. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 3
Cinzia Arruzza Aleatory Feminism in Emanuela Bianchi’s The Feminine Symptom
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18. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 3
Emanuela Bianchi Beyond Acting and Being Acted Upon: A Response to Christopher Long and Cinzia Arruzza
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19. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 3
Facundo Vega “God is Death”: The Oblivion of Esotericism and Stimmungen in Leo Strauss’s Heidegger
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Leo Strauss’s critical engagement with Martin Heidegger’s thought is widely recognized. Central to Strauss’s depiction of Heidegger’s intellectual and political failures is the latter’s disdain for political philosophy. For Strauss, in fact, Heidegger overlooked important inquiry into the good political order insofar as he replaced political philosophy with a belief in Dasein’s finitude as key to attaining a virtuous life. However, Strauss’s unfavorable rendition of Heidegger’s mortalism, the article explains, neglects esoteric maneuvers—imbued with political inflections—advanced by the author of Sein und Zeit. By analyzing Heidegger’s esotericism as well as his search for the permanence of the secret and inscrutable, the article shows how Strauss disregards Heideggerian sigetics (Sigetik) when foregrounding what he views as Heidegger’s disdain for political philosophy. Through the theoretical trajectory proposed by this essay, in sum, we will see that Heidegger’s exceptionalist esotericism is what Strauss ignored.
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20. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 3
Dieter Thomä, Ian Alexander Moore, Orcid-ID Gregory Fried Venturing to the Brink of Philosophy: Commentary on the Original Version of Martin Heidegger's "What Is Metaphysics?"
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