The question ‘How does a person make an ethical decision?’ becomes all the more compelling and problematic when trying to behave ethically during, as A ́ gnes Heller puts it, ‘the total breakdown of ‘‘normal’’ ethical worlds’. In her philosophical work Heller pieces together a moral compass internal to individual subjectivity to employ during such times. Kierkegaard’s model of existential choice has played a formative role in Heller’s solution to the problem. In my article I describe (...) class='Hi'>Heller’s Kierkegaardian framework of choosing oneself as an ethical being and consider a recent critique of Heller’s Kierke- gaardian ethics of personality by Richard J. Bernstein, continuing the substantively pro- ductive tension between the irrational and rational forces that determine our ethical actions. In the process, I show common ground between Bernstein and Heller through an appropriation of Arendtian judgment. I turn to Heller’s most recent work in The Concept of the Beautiful in order to make this common ground tangible. (shrink)
This volume constitutes the largest collection of writings by the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben hitherto published in any language. With one exception, the fifteen essays, which reflect the wide range of the author’s interests, appear in English for the first time. The essays consider figures in the history of philosophy and twentieth-century thought. They also examine several general topics that have always been of central concern to Agamben: the relation of linguistic and metaphysical categories; messianism in Islamic, Jewish, and Christian (...) theology; and the state and future of contemporary politics. Despite the diversity of the texts collected here, they show a consistent concern for a set of overriding philosophical themes concerning language, history, and potentiality. In the first part of the book, Agamben brings philosophical texts of Plato and Benjamin, the literary criticism of Max Kommerell, and the linguistic studies of J.-C. Milner to bear upon a question that exposes each discipline to a limit at which the possibility of language itself is at stake. The essays in the second part concern a body of texts that deal with the structure of history and historical reflection, including the idea of the end of history in Jewish and Christian messianism, as well as in Hegel, Benjamin, and Aby Warburg. In the third part, the issues confronted in the first and second parts are shown to be best grasped as issues of potentiality. Agamben argues that language and history are structures of potentiality and can be most fully understood on the basis of the Aristotelian theory of _dynamis_ and its medieval elaborations. The fourth part is an extensive essay on Herman Melville’s short story “Bartleby, the Scrivener.”. (shrink)
Thesis Eleven is honoured to be able to publish this text by our late friend and mentor Agnes Heller. It was secured in the period before her recent death, and is published now posthumously in her memory. Echoing her earlier text written as an Imaginary Preface to Arendt’s Totalitarianism, it responds to themes in the later text, The Life of the Mind. These were among the most eminent of the minds referred to later as Women in Dark Times. Their (...) connection was not only institutional, via the New School, but represented a deep and ongoing affinity and critical engagement in political and philosophical terms. The imaginary letter arcs around issues and questions indicated by Cicero, Kant, Heidegger and Wittgenstein, including matters of republicanism, rhetoric and the question of thinking. Best of all, it shows Agnes Heller at work, at her best: it shows her thinking. Like Arendt, she offers inspiration, provocation, through thinking. (shrink)
In Wind and Whirlwind Ágnes Heller and Riccardo Mazzeo analyse utopias and dystopias in the works of philosophers and novelists and highlight the importance to find one's way avoiding the charming destructive traps.
Agnes Heller conversó con la Redacción de Areté el 24 de abril de 2003, durante una visita a la Universidad Católica para dictar la Lección Inaugural del Año Académico de la Facultad de Letras y Ciencias Humanas. En la conversación estuvieron presentes los profesores Pepi Patrón, Fidel Tubino y Miguel Giusti.
ABSTRACTMost students of politics are familiar with Carl Schmitt’s definition of politics as a friend–enemy distinction. Yet, only few know of alternative conceptions of politics in interwar Germany that emphasize cooperation and legality over confrontation and decisionism. To unlock such views, this article examines the work of Hermann Heller, a social-democratic constitutional theorist, and takes a close look at his conceptualization of politics as a sphere, activity and discipline. For Heller, ‘the political’ consists in turning human conflict into (...) social cooperation. For him, the political may be conflictual, but is also conditioned by shared norms and agreed rules. By consequence, to act politically means to order the antagonistic social relations that are typical of every human society. In this sense, politics is a purposeful activity, but one which leaves the content of every decision unconfined and the potentialities that follow endless. Like politicians, politics scholars must reflect on ethical and legal principles, while remaining focused on context-specific political problems. The study of politics cannot be disconnected from the study of law, ethics and social reality. Heller’s work showed that the way we conceive of politics is directly related to the way we study politics and vice-versa. (shrink)
This paper addresses an article by Felix Klein of 1886, in which he generalized his theory of polynomial equations of degree 5—comprehensively discussed in his Lectures on the Icosahedron two years earlier—to equations of degree 6 and 7. To do so, Klein used results previously established in line geometry. I review Klein’s 1886 article, its diverse mathematical background, and its place within the broader history of mathematics. I argue that the program advanced by this article, although historically overlooked due to (...) its eventual failure, offers a valuable insight into a time of crucial evolution of the subject. (shrink)
In this book the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben looks closely at the literature of the survivors of Auschwitz, probing the philosophical and ethical questions raised by their testimony."In its form, this book is a kind of perpetual commentary on testimony. It did not seem possible to proceed otherwise. At a certain point, it became clear that testimony contained at its core an essential lacuna; in other words, the survivors bore witness to something it is impossible to bear witness to. As (...) a consequence, commenting on survivors' testimony necessarily meant interrogating this lacuna or, more precisely, attempting to listen to it. Listening to something absent did not prove fruitless work for this author. Above all, it made it necessary to clear away almost all the doctrines that, since Auschwitz, have been advanced in the name of ethics."--Giorgio Agamben. (shrink)
This book provides a comprehensive insight into the ways in which psychoanalysts think and work. Mary Brownescombe Heller and Sheena Pollet bring together internationally known contributors trained at the Institute of Psychoanalysis to explore the broad range of clinical work, thinking, and teaching undertaken with children, families, adults and staff by psychoanalysts in the UK public health sector. Divided into four sections, _The Work of Psychoanalysts in the Public Health Sector_ covers: clinical work with parents and young children clinical (...) work with adults and their families analytic thinking in health service practice analytic support for health service staff. Experienced psychoanalysts discuss work with various client groups including parents with babies, children, adolescents who self harm, and adults with serious mental health conditions and psychosis. The book also explores how psychoanalytically-informed work can be used alongside other treatment methods, and how health service staff can best be trained and supported. _The Work of Psychoanalysts in the Public Health Sector_ offers the reader a broad perspective and a clear understanding of the various analytical concepts used in clinical practice. It will be invaluable reading for anyone interested in, or already using psychoanalytic ideas and techniques in the health sector, as well as students in training. (shrink)
Daniel Heller contends that public education is in a downward spiral because we have failed to notice the erosion of the basic curricular dimensions which support the preparation of students as active participants in our ever-changing world. While many books explain procedural knowledge such as how to differentiate instruction, how to create standards-based curriculum, or how to write a constructivist lesson—Curriculum on the Edge of Survival discusses the "what" and "why" rather than the how. What is the purpose of (...) schools in a free, democratic society, and why is the answer to that question crucial in deciding the most fundamental questions about curriculum? (shrink)
Daniel Heller contends that public education is in a downward spiral because we have failed to notice the erosion of the basic curricular dimensions which support the preparation of students as active participants in our ever-changing world. While many books explain procedural knowledge such as how to differentiate instruction, how to create standards-based curriculum, or how to write a constructivist lesson, the second edition of Curriculum on the Edge of Survival discusses the "what" and "why" rather than the how. (...) What is the purpose of schools in a free, democratic society, and why is the answer to that question crucial in deciding the most fundamental questions about curriculum? (shrink)
In this book, one of the most distinguished scholars of German culture collects his essays on a figure who has long been one of his chief preoccupations. Erich Heller's lifelong study of modern European literature necessarily returns again and again to Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche prided himself on having broken with all traditional ways of thinking and feeling, and once even claimed that he would someday be recognized for having ushered in a new millennium. While acknowledging Nietzsche's radicalism, Heller (...) also insists on the continuity of the story in which he does indeed occupy a central place. By considering Nietzsche in relation to Goethe, Rilke, Wittgenstein, Yeats, and others, Heller shows the philosopher's ambivalence toward the tradition he inherited as well as his profound effect on the thought and sensibility of those who followed him. It is hardly an exaggeration to say, as Heller does in his first essay, that Nietzsche is to many modern writers and thinkers—including Mann, Musil, Kafka, Freud, Heidegger, Jaspers, Gide, and Sartre—what St. Thomas Aquinas was to Dante: the categorical interpreter of a world, which they contemplate imaginatively and theoretically without ever much upsetting its Nietzschean structure. Thus it is Nietzsche's thought, so pervasively present in the themes of modernity, that gives coherence and unity to Heller's essays. What emerges from them is that, despite his iconoclastic declarations and unorthodox philosophical practices, Nietzsche deals with the human spirit's persistent concerns. His questions remain urgent, and even the answers, in all their contradictoriness, possess the commanding force of his inquiry. An example is the incompatibility of the famous extremes, the teaching of the _Übermensch_ and the Eternal Recurrence of All Things. These cancel each other out and yet grow from the same intellectual and spiritual roots, as is shown lucidly and cogently by one of Heller's most forceful essays, "Nietzsche's Terrors: Time and the Inarticulate." In fathoming the depth of this contradiction, Heller at the same time reveals the importance of Nietzsche for those who seek to understand the wellsprings of the epoch's disquiet, turmoil,_ and_ creativity. (shrink)
The work of Giorgio Agamben, one of Italy's most important and original philosophers, has been based on an uncommon erudition in classical traditions of philosophy and rhetoric, the grammarians of late antiquity, Christian theology, and modern philosophy. Recently, Agamben has begun to direct his thinking to the constitution of the social and to some concrete, ethico-political conclusions concerning the state of society today, and the place of the individual within it. In _Homo Sacer,_ Agamben aims to connect the problem of (...) pure possibility, potentiality, and power with the problem of political and social ethics in a context where the latter has lost its previous religious, metaphysical, and cultural grounding. Taking his cue from Foucault's fragmentary analysis of biopolitics, Agamben probes with great breadth, intensity, and acuteness the covert or implicit presence of an idea of biopolitics in the history of traditional political theory. He argues that from the earliest treatises of political theory, notably in Aristotle's notion of man as a political animal, and throughout the history of Western thinking about sovereignty, a notion of sovereignty as power over "life" is implicit. The reason it remains merely implicit has to do, according to Agamben, with the way the sacred, or the idea of sacrality, becomes indissociable from the idea of sovereignty. Drawing upon Carl Schmitt's idea of the sovereign's status as the exception to the rules he safeguards, and on anthropological research that reveals the close interlinking of the sacred and the taboo, Agamben defines the sacred person as one who can be killed and yet not sacrificed—a paradox he sees as operative in the status of the modern individual living in a system that exerts control over the collective "naked life" of all individuals. (shrink)
Agnes Heller is one of the leading thinkers to come out of the tradition of critical theory. Her awesome intellectual range and output includes ethics, philosophical anthropology, political philosophy and a theory of modernity and its culture. Hungarian by birth, she was one of the best known dissident Marxists in central Europe in the 1960's and 1970's. Since her forced immigration she has held visiting lectureships all over the world and has been the Hannah Arendt Professor of Philosophy at (...) the New School in New York for the last twenty years. This introduction to her thought is ideal for all students of philosophy, political theory and sociology. Grumley explores Heller's early work, elaborating her relation to Lukacs and the evolution of her own version of Marxism. He examines the subsequent break with Marxism and the initial development of an alternative radical philosophy. Finally, he explains and assesses her mature reflective post-modernism, a perspective that is both sceptical and utopian, that upholds a critical humanist perspective just as it critiques contemporary democratic culture. (shrink)
This provocative book attempts to resolve traditional problems of identity over time. It seeks to answer such questions as 'How is it that an object can survive change?' and 'How much change can an object undergo without being destroyed'? To answer these questions Professor Heller presents a theory about the nature of physical objects and about the relationship between our language and the physical world. According to his theory, the only actually existing physical entities are what the author calls (...) 'hunks', four-dimensional objects extending across time and space. This is a major contribution to ontological debate and will be essential reading for all philosophers concerned with metaphysics. (shrink)
Eyal Benvenisti has sought to provide an optimistic account of international law through reconceptualizing the idea of sovereignty as a kind of trusteeship for humanity. He thus sketches a welcome antidote to trends in recent work in public law including public international law that claim that international law is no more than a cloak for economic and political interests, so that all that matters is which powerful actor gets to decide. In this Article, I approach his position through a discussion (...) of the debate in Weimar about sovereignty between Carl Schmitt, Hans Kelsen and Hermann Heller. I try to show that Heller’s almost unknown legal theory might be helpful to Benvenisti’s position. Heller shared with Schmitt the idea that sovereignty had to have a central role in legal theory and that its role includes a place for a final legal decision. Indeed, much more than Schmitt, Heller regarded all accounts of sovereignty as inherently political. However, in a manner closer to the spirit of Kelsen’s enterprise than to Schmitt’s, he wished to emphasize that the ultimate decider - the sovereign decision unit of the political order of liberal democracy - is entirely legally constituted. Moreover, Heller argued that fundamental principles of legality condition the exercise of a sovereign power in a way that explains the specific legitimacy of legality and which might supply the link between sovereignty and ideas such as trusteeship and humanity. (shrink)
Psychological studies of touch and blindness have been fraught with controversy. Within this field there remains an important theoretical divide. Many researchers have taken a cognitive approach to the study of touch and blindness, relating these to higher order processes, such as memory and concept formation. Others adopt a theoretical perspective, arguing that it not necessary to consider the 'internal representation' of the stimuli, when investigating touch - thus people make use of information from the physical biomechanical properties of their (...) limbs as they assess the physical properties of objects. In addition, psychologists differ in the relative importance they place on the modality of sensory stimulation for subsequent perceptual experiences. Some psychologists argue that touch can do many of the things that are accomplished by vision, and claim that the mode of sensory stimulation is not critically important for perception, arguing that much information can be obtained through non-visual modalities. Others suggest that there are important consequences of a lack of visual experience, arguing for the importance of multiple forms of sensory input for conceptual development. New to the Debates in Psychology series, Touch, Representation, and Blindness brings together the leading investigators in these areas, each presenting the evidence for their side of the debate. An introductory chapter sets the theoretical and historical stage for the debate, and a concluding chapter draws together the different views and ideas set forth by the contributors, summarizing and resolving the discussion. (shrink)
This short article shows that Heller’s assertion that I have announced the death of the early modern French bourgeoisie is misplaced. At the same time, it defends the view that a prolonged period of economic stasis together with the low level of bourgeois classness make it impossible to sustain Engel’s view that absolute monarchy rested on a supposed balance between it and the nobility. In conclusion, it is suggested that Marxist analysis cannot be reduced to a treatment of class-anatogonisms.
The article tracks the development of Agnes Heller”s political philosophy as it evolves through the Marxism and reform communism of her years as a dissent Hungarian intellectual, followed by the period of her encounters with the Western Left and with the currents of postmodern liberalism.
The paper aims to investigate the meaning of historicity in the light of Ágnes Heller’s interpretation of history as ‘being-in-common’. By touching on the problem of the modern world’s axiological pluralism, the issue of the legitimation of moral theories and the dilemma of morals, the paper analyses Heller’s conception of human goodness as an incontrovertible, inexplicable and mysterious ‘fact’ that is able to illuminate the path of human life and determine the opening of the individual onto the world (...) with the same wonder that marks the beginning of any philosophical attitude. (shrink)
This is the second book by Michael Heller which presents to English readers his previously written papers on science and theology. The first one, The New Physics and a New Theology is worth mentioning in this context because in it, Michael Heller proposes a new direction in theology - the theology of science. The theology of science as envisioned by Heller is defined as an authentic theological reflection on the existence, foundations, methods, and results of modern science. (...) Its purpose is to break down the mutual lack of trust between science and theology and to help theology advance to a new stage, where it can participate creatively in the currents of modern thought. Philosophers of science examine the boundaries of natural science and what can be known by the methods of science alone. Theology extends beyond these boundaries to include the supernatural, although Heller is far from embracing any kind of dualism. His way of extending these boundaries is different. A good example is provided by Einstein's famous question, „Why is the world comprehensible?" Neither Einstein nor any other philosopher or scientist is able to answer this question. It is theology that has to take over and seek the answer to Einstein's question. Heller provides more similar issues. (shrink)
By dovetailing the classical concepts of virtue, beauty, harmony and happiness with the cardinal values of modern imagination, life and freedom, Agnes Heller galvanizes modernity's anthropological reflexivity and hints at the prospect of a classicism pertinent to the present. Beyond nostalgia for an ancient past or apology for a contemporary present, her moral anthropology is approached via a dialectical elucidation of aspects of epicurean theory attuned to modernity's complexity. Under the contemporary condition of waning postmodern challenges, escalating confusion and (...) cynicism, moral anthropology's task is as one of probing modernity's destiny for a non-predatory humanism that combines the existential wisdom of ancient theory with modern values. (shrink)
Professor Kenneth J. Arrow is one of the most distinguished economic theorists. He has played a major role in shaping the subject and is honoured by the publication of three volumes of essays on economic theory. Each volume deals with a different area of economic theory. The books include contributions by some of the best economic theorists from the United States, Japan, Israel and Europe.
Professor Kenneth J. Arrow is one of the most distinguished economic theorists. He has played a major role in shaping the subject and is honoured by the publication of three volumes of essays on economic theory. Each volume deals with a different area of economic theory. The books include contributions by some of the best economic theorists from the United Stated, Japan, Israel and Europe. This second volume is entitled Equilibrium Analysis and is divided into sections on general equilibrium and (...) on the microfoundations of macroeconomics. (shrink)