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61. Symposium: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Jeffrey Renaud Rethinking the Repressive Hypothesis: Foucault’s Critique of Marcuse
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In The History of Sexuality, Volume One, Michel Foucault ostensibly sets out to reject the “repressive hypothesis” as an inadequate characterization of the relationship between sex, power and knowledge. Given the obliqueness of his polemical attack against this hypothesis and its representatives, however, some commentators have attempted to elucidate and assess his position by situating Herbert Marcuse’s critique of sexual repression within the ambit of Foucault’s argument. The following essay contributes to this investigation by highlighting Foucault’s implicit and explicit remarks against Marcuse in the first volume of The History of Sexuality and the series of interviews surrounding the publication of this text. I will concentrate on his claim that, by reducing power to a purely “negative,” repressive force exercised against the majority of individuals, Marcuse misses the “positive” or “productive” operations of power that constitute the sexual subject. To address this charge, I depart from the usual procedure of explicating Marcuse’s analysis of sexual repression in Eros and Civilization and turn, instead, to his later work on “repressive desublimation” in One-Dimensional Man, where his emphasis on the productive dimension of repressive power comes into full view. By challenging Foucault’s dismissal of the “repressive hypothesis” on the basis of a more faithful reading of Marcuse, I hope to open up a space for further inquiry into the connections between these two seemingly irreconcilable positions.
62. Symposium: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Joachim Feldes Alfred von Sybel—A Life Between the Lines
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Though seen in several photographs, Alfred von Sybel remained for many years a rather unknown member of the early phenomenological movement. Detailed documentation of his life and work only became available following research on the “Circle of Bergzabern,” a group comprised of former members from the “Philosophical Society Göttingen”: von Sybel, Conrad, Conrad-Martius, Hering, Koyré, Lipps and Stein, were listed as the seven participants. In the Phänomenologenlied, written in 1907, von Sybel outlined the groups’ approach: “to the things themselves” (zu den Sachen selbst), in a programmatic way, and it became an integral part of their meetings. Following his extensive correspondence, this article reveals von Sybel’s desperate search for fellowship and orientation, which resulted in a very puzzling life. Thus, this first ever-published comprehensive biography of von Sybel mirrors the mysteries surroundingthe song: different versions exist and due to a lack of details it remains a puzzle which version is the original one.
63. Symposium: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Jim Vernon Liberation Theology: Hegel on Why Philosophy Takes Sides in Religion Conflict
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Hegel famously identifies Protestant conscience and its corresponding state as reflecting the unity of ethical and religious principles, thereby bringing into actuality the truth of human spirit. However, he also reminds us that it is vital to free states that the Church remain divided, rather than unifying into one sect. Thus, he affirms a secular state above religious conflict, but explicitly takes sides in one such conflict, out of the interest philosophy has in the development of the Protestant nation-state. In this paper, I resolve this tension by articulating Hegel’s account of philosophy’s interest in historical movements in general, and of the historical relationship between religion and the state in particular. Focusing on his account of the contemporary struggle between Catholicism and Lutheranism,I then develop an account of philosophy’s interest in religious conflict. I close with some schematic remarks on the ‘Hegelianism’ of some recent Catholic movements.
64. Symposium: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Omar Rivera Mariátegui's Avant-Garde and Surrealism as Discipline
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This essay explains Mariátegui’s critical relationship with Breton in terms of his views on Surrealism. In order to understand this relationship, this essay engages in an analysis of (i) Mariátegui’s notion of the avant-garde as a synthesis of aesthetics and politics and of (ii) the positioning of Mariátegui’s avant-garde in relation to post First World War European bourgeoisie and fascism. This interpretation of Mariátegui’s reveals a determination of Surrealism as discipline that preserves this movement’s revolutionary task in different geo-historical sites. With attention to the difficult, non-systematic character of Mariátegui’s writings, this essay also provides a series of concepts that could assist further interpretations of Mariátegui’s aesthetics and politics.
65. Symposium: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Debra Bergoffen (Un)Gendering Vulnerability: Re-scripting the Meaning of Male-Male Rape
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The testimonies of men raped by men in Uganda indicate that the meaning of rape as an aggression that enforces the gendering of women as vulnerable and therefore dependent on men's protection needs to be reformulated to account for the fact that being raped transforms a man into a woman. In describing their humiliation, these men reveal that gendered masculinity is grounded in a flight from vulnerability that depends on the presence of vulnerable/rapeable victim bodies. Their words teach us that as long as men's illicit identity as autonomous and invulnerable is illegitimately secured by stigmatizing vulnerability, heterosexual and male-male rape will be used to denigrate women and men alike. They indicate that the antidote to the scourge of rape lies in delegitimizing gender systems that victimize vulnerability and in creating cultural norms that recognize vulnerability as inherent in the interdependence and dignity of the human condition.
66. Symposium: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Lois Parkinson Zamora Exuberance by Design: New World Baroque and the Politics of Postcoloniality
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My essay consists of three parts. In the first section, I review the historical context of Baroque aesthetics as it is developed during the late 16th and 17th centuries in Europe and then I track its development in Latin America into the third quarter of the 18th century. The principled excess of the Baroque, to adapt Cyrano de Bergerac’s formulation cited below, was designed for theological and imperial purposes. Secondly, I address more recent literature and literary theory. Why, in the early 20th century, did Latin American poets, novelists, essayists and critics begin to rediscover, recover and reconstitute Baroque modes of expression? What was it about this Catholic, monarchical, colonizing aesthetic that now seemed suited to postcolonial purposes? I refer to several theorists and writers who pioneered and/or inspired the 20th-century idea of the New World Baroque as a rebellious retort to Europe rather than a passive reflection. My third section considers how to teach the politics of Baroque aesthetics, and why Baroque aesthetics remains relevant today.
67. Symposium: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Kenneth Dorter Thought and Expression in Spinoza and Shankara
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Philosophers from traditions that are not only entirely different but apparently uninfluenced by each other sometimes show remarkable similarities. In the case of Spinoza and Shankara such similarities include the dual-aspect model according to which the apparent pluralism of the world rests on an inadequate perception of its oneness, and the way the overcoming of that inadequacy is conceived as a liberation from the passions and an achievement of immortality. A significant difference between the two, however, is that Spinoza's explanations are epistemologically conceived while Shankara's are conceived ontologically. Not that Spinoza lacked an ontology or Shankara an epistemology, but rather their explanatory approaches emphasize the differences of the worlds within which they wrote.
68. Symposium: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Fiona Utley Considerations Towards a Phenomenology of Trust
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Merleau-Ponty identifies an intertwined affective state of anxiety and courage, claiming that these are one and the same thing, as a fundamental characteristic of human existence. I argue that trust, understood as phenomenologically basic, is the unity, or the something beyond, the singularly conceived states of anxiety and courage, and that trust itself cannot be conceived apart from these states. Merleau-Ponty says little, directly, about trust in his work, yet his focus on the fundamental precariousness of existence demands such an exploration. I explore how our ordinary day-to-day experience of existence is related to an intertwined affective state of anxiety and courage and how trust is operative in affective depth, in order to understand how it is we come to speak of trust not only in terms of proximity and distance, emotional depth and extension across time, but most markedly, in terms of how we see someone and what it is like to be in relation to them.
69. Symposium: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Martine Béland Nietzsche’s Greek Ethics: His Early Ethical Symptomatology Reconstructed
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This paper seeks to circumscribe the concepts, sources, and limits of Nietzsche’s early ethical thought through a reconstruction of his ethical "symptomatology." In the 1870s, Nietzsche stressed that the Greeks understood the true nature of the political phenomenon, and that this could correct fundamental errors that were responsible for the illness of German culture. His definition of the Greek ethos radically challenges modern democratic politics through a reassertion of aristocratic, heroic, and agonistic values. But because Nietzsche did not systematically describe his early ethics, a reconstruction is necessary. His metaphor of the philosopher as a “physician of culture” is a guide for this reconstruction. Using concepts of wellness and illness, Nietzsche identified different symptoms and possible remedies, and hoped to cure German culture through a therapeutic transvaluation of modernity. To reconstruct this symptomatology I turn to The Greek State, Homer’s Contest, and The Birth of Tragedy. First, I define the notions of “agon” and “eris” that are central to his reading of Greek ethics. I then describe four ethical symptoms and their remedies. I conclude with interpretative hypotheses that address issues that were left unanswered by Nietzsche. This symptomatology shows that his reading of Greek ethics functions as a radical—albeit fragmentary—normative critique of his time, and of our democratic age.
70. Symposium: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Amy A. Oliver Context and Kant in the Aesthetics of José Enrique Rodó and Samuel Ramos
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In the classic essays Ariel (1900) and Filosofía de la vida artística (1950), the Uruguayan José Enrique Rodó (1872–1917) and the Mexican Samuel Ramos (1897–1959) present distinctive and divergent claims about aesthetics. While Rodó asserts the existence of an innate and abundant aesthetic sensibility among Latin Americans, Ramos believes that aesthetic experience is relatively rare and that aesthetic sensibility needs to be cultivated. While historical grounding in the Latin American context is missing in the works of both Rodó and Ramos, Ariel contains an argument for an innate Latin American aesthetic sensibility linked to high moral development along with the hope that Latin America's youth will use their aesthetic and moral gifts to advance Latin America's place in the 20th century. In Filosofía de la vida artística, Ramos argues that the aesthetic experience in Mexico is far from innate or even widespread: on the contrary, it is rare and much in need of further development. Kant, referenced by both Rodó and Ramos, in his Critique of Judgment, argues against a relationship between aesthetic sensibility and moral capacity. Rodó, then, is at odds with Kant while Ramos's view is closer to Kant's.
71. Symposium: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Dezső Csejtei Ortega’s Aesthetics: A Dialogue between Spanish Reality and European Aesthetic Currents
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Ortega’s philosophy can be conceived as a permanent dialogue between contemporary European spiritual currents and Spanish reality. The following paper tries to justify this statement in the field of aesthetics. We examine the main intellectual periods of Ortega’s oeuvre from this point of view, beginning with neo-Kantianism, moving to his encounter with phenomenology and life-philosophies, adding a touch of existentialist thinking and, finally, reaching the balance of a hermeneutical life-philosophy in his books on Velázquez and Goya
72. Symposium: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Bryan Lueck Exposition and Obligation: A Serresian Account of Moral Sensitivity
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In The Troubadour of Knowledge, Michel Serres demonstrates, by means of an extended discussion of learning, that our capacity to adopt a position presupposes a kind of disorienting exposure to a dimension of pure possibility that both subtends and destabilizes that position. In this paper I trace out the implications of this insight for our understanding of obligation, especially as it is articulated in the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Specifically, I argue that obligation is given along with a dimension of moral possibility, and not, as Kant thought, as an unmediated fact of reason.
73. Symposium: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Mario J. Valdés Philosophical Hermeneutics and the Concept of Literary Art in Mexico
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This essay deals with two poetics of distinctly different traditions that arrived at the same concept of literary art, one in which the reader of, or listener to, a poem shares in the creative process with the poet. The first tradition I will examine is the that of the pre-Hispanic Mexican poets of the Cantares mexicanos and the 20th- century appropriation of their work by two of Mexico's most distinguished poets, Octavio Paz (1914–1998) and ]ose Emilio Pacheco (1939–2014), both awarded the Premio Cervantes, and Paz, the Nobel Prize. The second part of this essay examines the contemporary Continental tradition of philosophical hermeneutics that began with Martin Heidegger (1889–1976) and Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900–2001) and culminated in the work of Paul Ricoeur (1913– 2005). Although Heidegger is now well known among philosophers throughout the world, it should be noted that ]ose Gaos of the National University of Mexico, an exile from Spain, completed the first translation of Heidegger's Sein und Zeit in 1951, more than a decade before the English and French translations appeared.
74. Symposium: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
S. Hugo Moreno, Elizabeth Millán Introduction: The Aesthetic Tradition of Hispanic Thought
75. Symposium: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Alejandro A. Vallega Exodio / Exordium: For an Aesthetics of Liberation out of Latin American Experience
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This article identifies temporality as a constructed and elemental level of aesthetic experience, and exposes the elemental role of such aesthetic experience in the unfolding of contemporary Latin American liberatory thought. This particularly with regard to the sense of temporality that underlies the unfolding of the development of modernity, a development that occurs throughout the colonization of the Americas in the construction of a rational European ego cogito and its "other." Temporality in the westernizing linear sense figures a projective horizon for the perception and understanding of existence and its coming. The key aim and meaning of all existence under this linear temporality is order and progress. However, ultimately in looking at Latin American thought and experience one finds a distinct sense of history and temporality beyond the possible determination of that sustaining westernizing European thought. In the recognition of distinct temporalities space-times open for rethinking modernity (understood at large now with the inclusion of distinct Latin American experience and thought) and the accompanying senses of humanity, life, freedom, and philosophical thought's issues and ways of articulating beings.
76. Symposium: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Matthew Sharpe Publicizing the Essentially Private: Leo Strauss’s Platonic Aristophanes
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Political philosopher Leo Strauss’s extensive engagements with Aristophanes’s comedies represent a remarkable perspective in debates concerning the political and wider meaning of Aristophanes’s plays. Yet they have attracted nearly no critical response. This paper argues that for Strauss, Aristophanes was a very serious, philosophically-minded author who wrote esoterically, using the comic form to convey his conception of man, and his answer to the Socraticquestion of the best form of life. Part I addresses Strauss’s central reading of the Clouds, which positions this play as Aristophanes’s powerful, exoteric criticism of any purely theoretical philosophy that feels no need to explain or accommodate its pursuit to political life. Part II looks at Strauss’s remarkable reading of the Platonic Aristophanes’s central speech in the Symposium, which suggests that Aristophanes was a secret friend and admirer of philosophy conceived in the Platonic manner, as an erotic search for the truth of nature, beneath Aristophanes’s religiously pious and culturally conservative veneer. Indeed, Part III of the paper shows that Strauss’s readings of the Birds, Peace and Wasps indicate that Strauss believed that Aristophanes was such an esoteric friend to the philosophy he had lampooned in the Clouds.
77. Symposium: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
George Tomlinson Temporalizing a Materialist Concept of History
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This paper proceeds from the premise that time and temporality constitute a distinct philosophical problem for Marx and Engels’s materialist concept of history in The German Ideology. It is thus necessary to “temporalize” this concept of history: to situate it in relation to the active production of a dynamic difference between the past, the present, and the future. After revisiting the philosophical dimensions of Marx’s concepts of materialism, the human, and need, this article uncovers a temporality within the materialist concept of history that is irreducible to a historicist framework of linear, progressive time.
78. Symposium: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Daniel Brennan Václav Havel, Jan Patočka: The Powerless and the Shaken
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This article makes a case for considering Václav Havel’s political theory of the nature of dissent as more politically grounded than that of his mentor Jan Patočka. Against the criticism of Havel, which describes him as a less rigorous repeater of Patočka's ideas, this paper demonstrates how Havel appropriated Patočka's idea that the dissident is, similarly to a World War I trench soldier, fighting in a contemporary front in a demobilized war. However I argue that in Havel's thought, the understanding of dissent takes on a more practical and useful complexion than that of Patočka. This paper will explain and explore Havel’s concept of the power of the powerless, which is his key concept for defining the importance of dissidence, arguing that it is an idea that shares many similarities to Patočka's depiction of the power of dissent; however, the power of the powerless is a move past Patočka's thought in its attempt to make a practical liveable dissent.
79. Symposium: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Joanne Faulkner The Uncanny Child of Australian Nationhood: Nostalgia as a Critical Tool in Conceptualizing Social Change
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Nostalgic, socially privileged ideals of childhood have actively contributed to the formation of Australian national identity, as well as modern subject-formations more broadly. This paper argues that, while such nostalgia has been drawn on for normative ends—in the service of the management of the modern individual—nostalgia also has the power to disrupt our conceptions of the normal. In the context of the contemporary “crisis” of childhood particularly, opportunities to reconstitute ideals of “childhood” and “family” differently have become available to communities such as Aboriginal Australians, who previously have been denied access to these nostalgic forms.
80. Symposium: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Nathan Van Camp Enhancing the Natal Condition: Hannah Arendt and the Question of Biotechnology
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This paper turns to Hannah Arendt’s brief, poignant remarks about the advent of a biotechnological revolution as a starting point for a renewed reflection on her concept of natality. By expanding on Arendt's significant, but often overlooked, reference to the work of the German anthropologist Arnold Gehlen, it will be argued that that natality is a concept that subverts any rigid opposition between zoe and bios, biological birth and politico-linguistic birth. Consequently, it will be shown that Jürgen Habermas and Michael Sandel are mistaken to appeal to the concept of natality in their arguments against genetic enhancement.