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61. Symposium: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Radu Neculau The Sublimity of Violence: Kant and the Aesthetic Response to the French Revolution
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Kant identified in the “spectators’” enthusiastic response to the French Revolution the clear sign of a moral disposition in humankind. Following Hannah Arendt’s classic interpretation, but departing from it in important respects, I attempt to show in this paper that the “spectatorial” account of Kant’s view of the French Revolution makes sense only if it is understood in terms of a subject’s aesthetic response to objects of natural sublimity, and only if this aesthetic experience is instrumentalized for purposes of moral education.
62. Symposium: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Ileana Szymanski Gianni Vattimo
63. Symposium: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
James Mensch Violence and Embodiment
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While the various forms of violence have been the subject of special studies, we lack a paradigm that would allow us to understand the different forms of violence (physical, social, cultural, structural, and so on) as aspects of a unified phenomenon. In this article, I shall take violence as destructive of sense or meaning. The relation of violence to embodiment arises through the role that the body plays in our making sense of the world. My claim is that violence is destructive of this role. It undoes the role of the bodily “I can” in making sense of our surrounding world - be this its physical, cultural, or socialsignificance.
64. Symposium: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Jim Vernon Erfahren and Erleben: Metaphysical Experience and its Overcoming in Heidegger’s Beiträge
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This paper presents the origin, development and trajectory of our modes of experiencing beings as presented in Heidegger’s Contributions to Philosophy. It begins by detailing the historical development of our subjective experience of beings leading up to its current arrangement within the modern, technological worldview, and then proceeds to grapple with Heidegger’s recommended pathway out of our technological mode of experience into a more primordial one. I close with some critical reflections on Heidegger’s leap out of technological ‘lived-experience’ (Erleben) into a more authentic ‘experience’(Erfahren) of beings.
65. Symposium: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Dan Mellamphy, Nandita Biswas Mellamphy Paulitics
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In this essay we offer an interpretation of Alain Badiou’s theorisation of Paul the Apostle as a “universal singularity.” Our aim is to explore the extent to which Badiou’s articulation of political subjectivity provides a radically different locus and topos for the “political”—one that is rooted not in a concept of the abstract individual but rather in the material and generative process of individuation (“subjectivation”). Following Badiou, we explore the implications of the ontological shiftthat Paul represents—the shift from an external “body politic” (that of the polis, political crew or community) to an internal “body politic” (based on complicitous bodies, embodiments, incarnations—here a ‘body politic’ complicitous with the Christ-event). In this respect, Badiou’s reading of Paul establishes “the political” as “the subjective” precisely in the sense that the locus of the political is the complicitous subject as such rather than an externalised abstraction such as “thestate.” Paulitics manifests itself in and as this subject subjected to the event—the “militant subject” that embodies and endures its “process,” its “truth procedure.”
66. Symposium: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Gert-Jan Van Der Heiden The Scintillation of the Event: On Badiou’s Phenomenology
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In Le Sens du monde, Nancy argues that “some value of scintillating phenomenality remains invincibly attached” to Badiou’s notion of the event. This paper examines to what extent Nancy’s comments still apply to Badiou’s phenomenology of the event developed in Logiques des mondes. In particular, although Badiou provides a thorough account of the event from the perspective of the consequences it enables, I show on the basis of Nancy’s suggestion that he tends to neglect an account of the event from the perspective of its occurrence and its passage.
67. Symposium: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Nick Srnicek What is to be Done?: Alain Badiou and the Pre-Evental
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While Alain Badiou’s resuscitation of the subject has provided continental philosophy with new possibilities for political activism, its reliance on rare events has also paved the way for a potentially paralysing pre-evental situation. The aim of this paper is to examine Badiou’s own writings for hints of a theoreticallyjustified pre-evental politics—one that not only works within the ambit of his philosophical project but is also capable of explaining Badiou’s practical engagements in the politics of France. Two solutions are offered through an examination of the implications of heterogeneous situations: a repetition of events and apre-evental mobilisation of the uncounted.
68. Symposium: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Antonio Calcagno Introduction: Rethinking the One and the Many with Badiou
69. Symposium: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Gabriel Riera “Living with an Idea”: Ethics and Politics in Badiou’s Logiques des mondes
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The essay addresses the main shifts in Badiou’s conception of the event and the subject as they unfold in his late Logiques des mondes. In this text he develops an objective phenomenology of appearing in view of specifying the logical character of real change. The main focus of the essay is how Logiques des mondes stipulates a set of directives for an “ethics of living with an Idea,” that is, a subjective incorporation to truth as exception. How does Badiou’s text write what is excluded from the inertia of a restricted economy of Being? I show that in order to account for this exception, Logiques des mondes must resituate the notionof site, prevalent in Being and Event, and that it does so in terms of the notion of world and of the localisation of appearing (both of which entail the formulation of an objective phenomenology of appearing or logic of appearing). This logic posits the articulation of a new transcendental regime whose major coordinates unfold as a true war machine against cultural relativism, or what Badiou calls “democratic materialism” and to which he contraposes a “materialist dialectics”(dialectique matérialiste).
70. Symposium: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Alain Badiou, Simon Critchley Comments on Simon Critchley’s Infinitely Demanding
71. Symposium: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Florentien Verhage The Body as Measurant of All: Dis-covering the World
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In this paper I re-evaluate Merleau-Ponty’s use of the term “measurant.” I argue that Merleau-Ponty’s “body as measurant” (VI 249/297) describes embodied perception as a tuning into and a dis-covering of a world that is never completely in its grasp. I dis-cover in the world objects and other persons, which sweep me away from the centre of the world and which offer me new perceptual dimensions. This relation does not necessarily imply agreement and harmony, but it suggests that all our interactions, even those that are disharmonious and ambiguous, take place in a back-and-forth of response and transformation.
72. Symposium: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Tzuchien Tho The Consistency of Inconsistency: Alain Badiou and the Limits of Mathematical Ontology
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Alain Badiou’s reception in the English-speaking world has centred on his project of a “mathematical ontology” undertaken in Being and Event. Its reception has raised serious concerns about how mathematics could be relevant to concrete situations. Caution must be taken in applying mathematics to concrete situationsand, without making explicit the equivocal senses of “consistency” as it operates in Badiou’s thought, this caution cannot be precisely applied. By examining Being and Event as well as looking backwards at his first philosophical work, The Concept of Model, some key distinctions on the meaning of “consistency” will be clarified.
73. Symposium: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Alberto Toscano Emblems and Cuts: Philosophy in and against History
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Alain Badiou’s theory of the subject has consistently opposed a vision of History as meaning and totality, for the sake of an internal, subjective and discontinuous grasp of the periodisation of political “sequences.” This article examines the theoretical trajectory that leads Badiou to dislocate the historical dialectic, generating a comprehension of political time which is no longer bound to an ordered matrix of expression and development; it also considers Badiou’s relation tovarious strands of anti-humanist anti-historicism and tackles the theoretical tensions that inhere in his disjunction of nature and history. The article concludes by discussing the effect of Badiou’s notion of periodisation on the very historicity and mutability of his own philosophical apparatus, and the immanent threat posed to his thinking of the event by an ‘absolute historicism.’
74. Symposium: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Jeff Love, Todd May From Universality to Inequality: Badiou’s Critique of Rancière
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Alain Badiou argues in “Rancière and Apolitics” that Rancière has appropriated his central idea of equality from Badiou’s own work. We argue that Badiou’s characterisation of Rancière’s project is correct, but that his self-characterisation is mistaken. What Badiou’s ontology of events opens out onto is not necessarily equality, but instead universality. Equality is only one form of universality, but there is nothing in Badiou’s thought that prohibits the (multiple) universality he positsfrom being hierarchical. In the end, then, Badiou’s thought moves in a Maoist direction while Rancière’s in an anarchist one.
75. Symposium: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Graeme Nicholson Justifying your Nation
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This article examines Heidegger’s account of existence by proceeding through one of his early accounts of our historical being and then looking at two of his later treatments of our historical being. Throughout his whole work, Heidegger seeks to show that destiny, das Geschick, is the essential constituent of history, die Geschichte. My own argument—--which is intended as an extension and application of Heidegger’s, not merely an exegesis--—is to formulate a still broader concept derived from das Geschick, which I call civilisation. I conclude with the claim that civilisation is a normative principle as well as a descriptive one, and can take on the role of justifying thelaws and institutions of our communities.
76. Symposium: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Kimberly Baltzer-Jaray Adolf Reinach is not a Platonist
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Contemporary scholars have generally labelled Adolf Reinach, a founding member of early phenomenology’s Göttingen Circle, a Platonist. Because Reinach conceives of states of affairs as neither real nor ideal, as involved with timeless essences and necessary logical laws, many have hastily concluded that states of affairs are Platonic entities. In this essay, I analyse Barry Smith’s argument that Reinach is a Platonist. Smith’s widely accepted argument often becomes utilised to show that Reinach and other phenomenologists, including Husserl, are Platonic realists (or, simply, Platonists). A closer look at Reinach’s text indicates, however, that he is notcommitted to Platonic realism.
77. Symposium: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Todd May Democracy is Where We Make It: The Relevance of Jacques Rancière
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How might we think about equality in a non-hierarchical fashion? How might equality be conceived with some degree of equality? The problem with the presupposition of liberalism is that, by distributing equality, liberals place most people at the receiving end of the political operation. There are those who distribute equality and those who receive it. Once you start with that assumption, the hierarchy is already in place. It’s too late to return to equality. Equality, instead of being the result of a political process, must be conceived as the presupposition of those who act. It must be the expression of political actors rather than the possession of a political hierarchy. In the formulation of Jacques Rancière, whose ideas form the framework of my thinking in this paper, “Politics only happens when these mechanisms are stopped in their tracks by the effect of a presupposition that is totally foreign to them yet without which none of them could ultimately function: the presupposition of the equality of anyone and everyone.”
78. Symposium: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Christian Lotz Representation or Sensation?: A Critique of Deleuze’s Philosophy of Painting
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In this paper, I shall present an argument against Deleuze’s philosophy of painting. Deleuze’s main thesis in Logic of Sensation is twofold: [1] he claims that painting is based on a non-representational level; and [2] he claims that this level comes out of the materiality of painting. I shall claim that Deleuze’s theses should be rejected for the following reasons: first, the difference between non-intentional life and the representational world is too strict. I submit that the nonintentional relation that painting opens up is itself part of andemerges out of the representational force of painting. If this would not be the case, then the criterion for differentiating between paintings and other objects cannot be developed. Indeed, Deleuze fails to give us a criterion. Second, Deleuze’s way of dealing with materiality in painting remains unsatisfactory insofar as he is unable to take into account how materiality is charged with an “attitude toward the world.” In sum, materiality can only be painting’s materiality if we understand it as being formed and disclosed in representation.
79. Symposium: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Lambert Zuidervaart Ethical Turns: Adorno Defended against his Devotees
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This essay examines the nexus of politics and ethics in Theodor W. Adorno’s thought. First, the essay takes issue with emphaticethical readings of Adorno that overlook both the societal reach and the inherent limitations to his politics. These limitations arise from his neglecting questions of collective agency and societal normativity. Then, the essay shows that such neglect creates problems for Adorno’s moral philosophy. It concludes by suggesting that to do justice to the insights in Adorno’s thought a democratic politics of global transformation is required.
80. Symposium: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Ashley Woodward The Verwindung of Capital: On the Philosophy and Politics of Gianni Vattimo
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Gianni Vattimo occupies the relatively rare position of being both a prominent philosopher and an engaged politician. This article outlines Vattimo’s philosophy of “weak thought” and his democratic socialist politics, and argues that there is a “gap” between them: his stated political positions seem at odds with aspects of his philosophy. This gap between the philosophical and the political is examined with reference to the topic of globalised capitalism. I then apply Vattimo’s own strategy in reading other philosophers to his thought, attempting to draw out the possible political implications of weak thought against his own stated position. I do this through theapplication of one of Vattimo’s central concepts, Verwindung (“twisting-free”), to globalised capitalism. I conclude with some reflections on the prospects for a politics of weak thought.