The aim of the paper is to examine the limits of Aristotle’s and Arendt’s contributions to a philosophical anthropology. By focusing on the concept of ‘potentiality’—and thus the ‘good life’ as a potentiality awaiting actualization—the limit emerges from the way Aristotle understands ‘life.’ His discussion of slavery is pivotal in this regard.
This book provides a highly original approach to the writings of the twentieth-century German philosopher Walter Benjamin by one of his most distinguished readers. It develops the idea of "working with" Benjamin, seeking both to read his corpus and to put it to work - to show how a reading ofBenjamin can open up issues that may not themselves be immediately at stake in his texts.The defining elements in Benjamin's writings that Andrew Benjamin isolates - history, experience, translation, technical reproducibility (...) and politics - are put to work; that is, their utility is established in engaging the works of others. The question is how utility is understood. As AndrewBenjamin argues, utility involves demonstrating the different ways in which Benjamin is a central thinker within the project of understanding the nature of modernity. This is best achieved by noting connections and points of differentiation between his work and the writings of Adorno and Heidegger.However, the more demanding project is that "working with" Benjamin necessitates deploying the implicit assumptions within his writings as well as demanding of his formulations more than is provided by their initial presentation. What is at stake is not the application of Benjamin's thought. Ratherwhat counts is its use.Working with Benjamin engages with the themes central to Benjamin's work with deftness, daring and critical insight while at the same time situating those themes within current academic and cultural debates. (shrink)
Stoicism has had a diverse reception in German philosophy. This is the first interpretive study of shared themes and dialogues between late nineteenth-century and twentieth-century experts on classical antiquity and philosophers. Assessing how modern philosophers have incorporated ancient resources with the context of German philosophy, chapters in this volume are devoted to philosophical giants such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Wilhelm Dilthey, Walter Benjamin, Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, Hans Jonas, Hans Blumenberg, and Peter Sloterdijk. Among the ancient Stoics, the focus is on (...) Seneca, Epictetus, and doxography, but reference will also be made to texts that have so far been neglected by non-specialists. Often references to Stoic texts are playful, making it hard for non-specialists to reconstruct their understanding of the sources; by illuminating and enhancing the philosophical significance of these receptions, this book argues that they can change our understanding of Greek and Roman Stoic doctrines and authors, twentieth-century continental philosophy, and the themes which coordinate their ongoing dialogues. Some of these themes are surprising for Stoicism, such as the poetics of tragic drama and the anthropological foundations of hermeneutics. Others are already central to Stoic reception, such as the constitution of the subject in relation to various ethical, ecological, and metaphysical powers and processes; among these are contemplation and knowledge; identity and plurality; temporality, facticity, and fate; and personal, social, and planetary forms of self-cultivation and self-appropriation. Addressing the need for a synoptic vision of related continental readings of Stoicism, this book brings ancient texts into new dialogues with up-to-date scholarship, facilitating increased understanding, critical evaluation, and creative innovation within the continental response to Stoicism. (shrink)
Benjamin provides new and important readings of key canonical texts in the history of philosophy in his sustained philosophical reworking of ontology. Amongst texts included are Hegel's _Difference Essay_ and the _Shorter Logic_ and Heidegger's _Time and Being_ and _The Question of Being_. The effective presence of ontology, defined as `an original difference', will be familiar to readers of his earlier writings. This book represents his most thorough and original contribution to contemporary philosophy to date.
Jean-Francois Lyotard was one of the founding members of the College Internationale de philosophie. Ha has taught at Vincennes, Saint Denis and is currently Professor of Philosophy at the University of California at Irvine. Several of his books have appeared in English, notable The Postmodern Condition, Just Gaming and The Dirrerend. The Lyotard Reader is a collection of Jean-Francois Lyotard's most important and significant papers to date. While they are all written from within philosophy, they seek to address subjects as (...) wide-ranging as film, painting, psychoanalysis, Judaism and politics. The originality of Lyotard's work means that it can not be readily situated within any one philosophical tradition. Instead he returns philosophy itself to debates across a range of areas and, in so doing, redefines the philosophical enterprise. A number of chapters in The Lyotard Reader appear for the first time in English. This is the most comprehensive collection available of Lyotard's work, work has profoundly influenced debates on the Enlightenment, on modernity, on postmodernity, on the transmission f information, on literary theory and on philosophy. (shrink)
The project of this paper is present a specific engagement with Kant’s account of genius in the Critique of the Power of Judgment. Genius is a theory of production. Moreover, once genius is linked to production the philosophical moves way from the centrality of both the given and the subject and thus towards the produced. Such a possibility locates Kant’s engagement with genius at the threshold between aesthetics and a philosophy of art. The latter only emerges when centrality is attributed (...) to the object: the object as the locus of presentation. This necessitates a move beyond the cognitive. Kant on genius is therefore at that threshold, on the other side of which is Hegel. (shrink)
Of the many elements within Schmidt’s work that warrant discussion the attempt to differentiate the ethical from the conceptual is one of the most significant. That it is in part grounded in a reading of Kant makes it even more important. The aim of this essay is to question the way this differentiation is established and then justified. Part of the argument is to show the limits within Schmidt’s way of addressing what is central to any philosophical anthropology namely a (...) concern with the being of being human. (shrink)
Offers a sustained meditation on the role of interruption in modernity. This book departs from and elaborates an important but overlooked dimension of Walter Benjamin's discourse: the question of style as it bears upon temporality and spatiality. This work suggests that the time has come to revise existing paradigms.
The aim of the paper is to investigate the role of allegory in Philo and specifically in his text On the Migration of Abraham. This involves the twofold move of arguing that even though Philo remains a Platonist and that his language is Platonic in orientation what occurs is a transformation of seeing, which is an immediate activity, into reading, which is always mediate. The second elements stems from this insistence on mediation. It results in freeing allegory from the hold (...) of the allegorical/literal opposition. Allegory is transformed as a result in the name of an ineliminable allegoresis. (shrink)
Art, Mimesis and the Avant-Garde explores the relationship between art and philosophy. Andrew Benjamin argues for a reworking of the task of philosophy in terms of the centrality of ontology. It is in relation to this centrality, understood through the differences between modes of being, that art, mimesis, and the avant-garde come to be presented. A fundamental part of this book is the original interpretations of important contemporary painters and their themes: Lucian Freud's self-portraits, Francis Bacon 's use of mirrors, (...) R. B. Kitaj and Jewish identity, Anselm Kiefer and iconoclasm. Apart from painting, Benjamin considers architecture, literature, and the philosophical writings of Walter Benjamin and Descartes in elaborating the various aspects of ontological difference. Benjamin develops the theory of the avant-garde as a philosophical category rather than a historical marker, thus bringing the worlds of contemporary art criticism and contemporary philosophy closer together. (shrink)
Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin have emerged as figures of great importance in the current debates about modernity. The central and privileged place of the philosophical problem of modernity has been threatened by the possibility advanced by Jean-François Lyotard that modernity as a project is over and the new concern is the postmodern. The work of Adorno and Benjamin is the background against which the problems of modernity and postmodernity are addressed in this volume. This collection brings together some of (...) the most innovative academics working in the area of European radical philosophy. Issues covered range from art, literature and music to feminism and Judaism. (shrink)
Technology has a history structured by discontinuities. The first important philosophical expression of such a conception of technology was advanced by Walter Benjamin when he defined art works in relation to specific techniques of production. At the present art and architecture occur within an age defined by the move from ’technical reproducibility’ to digital reproducibility. The move has an impact on how technology is understood and its relation to architecture conceived. Adapting Walter Benjamin’s work in this area provides the basis (...) for a response to Soren Riis’ important treatment of the relationship between architecture and technology in his paper “Dwelling in-between walls: the architectural surround”. (shrink)
An understanding of what we mean by the present is one of the key issues in literature, philosophy, and culture today, but also one of the most neglected and misunderstood. _Present Hope_ develops a fascinating philosophical understanding of the present, approaching this question via discussions of the nature of historical time, the philosophy of history, memory, and the role of tragedy. Andrew Benjamin shows how we misleadingly view the present as simply a product of chronological time, ignoring the role of (...) history and memory. Accordingly, discussion of what is meant by the present disappears from philosophical concern. To draw attention to this absence, Andrew Benjamin introduces the notion of hope and asks what this concept can tell us about the present. At the heart of the outstanding work is an emphasis on the relation between hope and the Jewish tradition. Through discussions of philosophical responses to the Holocaust, the work of Walter Benjamin, Daniel Libeskind's Jewish Museum, and the poetry of Paul Celan, _Present Hope_ shows how we must look beyond the purely philosophical horizon to understand the present we live in. (shrink)
This engrossing study, first published in 1989, explores the basic mutuality between philosophy and translation. By studying the conceptions of translation in Plato, Seneca, Davidson, Walter Benjamin and Freud, Andrew Benjamin reveals the interplay between the two disciplines not only in their relationship to language, but also at a deeper, cognitive level. Benjamin engages throughout with the central tenets of post-structuralism: the concept of a constant yet illusive ‘true’ meaning has lost authority, but remains a problem. The fact of translation (...) seems to defy the notion that ‘meaning’ is reducible to its component words; yet, to say that the ‘truth’ is more than the sum of its parts, we are challenging the very foundations of what it is to communicate, to understand, and to know. In Translation and the Nature of Philosophy, the author sets out his own theory of language in light of these issues. (shrink)
This collection explores, in Adorno's description, `philosophy directed against philosophy'. The essays cover all aspects of Benjamin's writings, from his early work in the philosophy of art and language, through to the concept of history. The experience of time and the destruction of false continuity are identified as the key themes in Benjamin's understanding of history.
Critique as a philosophical concept needs to be recast once it is linked to the possibility of a productive opening. In such a context critique has an important affinity to destruction and forms of inauguration. Working through writings of Marx and Walter Benjamin, specifically Benjamin's 'The Meaning of Time in the Moral World', destruction and inauguration are repositioned in terns of othering and the caesura of allowing.
The presence of COVID-19 has elicited a range of philosophical responses. The aim of this paper is to engage with the position advanced by Giorgio Agamben. Part of the critique of Agamben involves critique of populism. In response to populism the paper advances a different philosophical position this time ground in the concept of solidarity. The work of Hannah Arendt provides the basis for this response.
Le visage est-il un phénomène simple ou complexe? Serait-il juste de le définir comme cet aspect de l’être humain qui dépasse tout effort de compréhension et de totalisation, ou bien y a-t-il d’autres caractéristiques de ce phénomène qu’il faut inclure dans toute définition ou description du visage? Le visage est un événement fondamental. Parmi les multiples manières d’approcher l’être, de se rapporter...
The paper both connects and disassociates the work of Walter Benjamin and Aby Warburg. There are two interrelated undertakings. The first involves the relationship between philosophy and art history and thus how art history figures within the philosophical. The second pertains to the status of the image. Part of the argument to be advanced is that an engagement with philosophical approach to art history yields a concern with the image in which it is the image's material presence that proves decisive. (...) Indeed, it is by insisting on the object's materiality that it then becomes possible to locate the effective presence of the gesture as integral to the work of art. The contention is that gesture is the intersection of art's material presence and the concerns of meaning. The paper us develop via an engagement with works by Edgar Degas and Luca Signorelli. (shrink)
Though this chapter is co-authored, I was responsible for eight of its nine sections. Rather than foreshadowing the chapters to come in this edited volume, I have attempted to synthesize and supplement them in order to present an initial picture of the significance of Stoicism for German philosophy roughly since the late 19th century. With the exception of Friedrich Nietzsche, this vast field of Stoic reception has received almost no attention before. Particularly noteworthy elements in this chapter include sections on (...) the relationship between German specialist scholarship since the 1850s and German philosophy and a long section on Karl Löwith. (shrink)
Abstract The role of actual works of art with philosophical writing is often reduced to the status of example or illustration. As such the materiality of art work is rarely discussed let alone deployed as the basis of philosophical reflection. In this paper works by Francesco Mosca, and Bernini are used to question Heidegger's writings on sculpture. What such an approach opens up is the possibility that art may set the measure for philosophy.
Colour plays a fundamental role in the philosophical treatments of painting. Colour while it is an essential part of the work of art cannot be divorced from the account of painting within which it is articulated. This paper begins with a discussion of the role of colour in Schelling's conception of art. Nonetheless its primary concern is to develop a critical encounter with Jean-François Lyotard's analysis of the Dutch painter Karel Appel. The limits of Lyotard's writings on painting, which this (...) paper will attribute in part to Lyotard's ‘empiricism’, becomes most apparent in his treatment of colour. (shrink)
Painting can only be thought in relation to the image. And yet, with (and within) painting what continues to endure is the image of painting. While this is staged explicitly in, for example, paintings of St. Luke by artists of the Northern Renaissance—e.g., Rogier van der Weyden, Jan Gossaert, and Simon Marmion—the same concerns are also at work within both the practices as well as the contemporaneous writings that define central aspects of the Italian Renaissance. The aim of this paper (...) is to begin an investigation into the process by which painting stages the activity of painting. This forms part of a project whose aim is an investigation of the way philosophy should respond to the essential historicity of art (where the latter is understood philosophically). (shrink)
The question of the other appears to be a uniquely human concern. Engagement with the nature of alterity and the quality of the other are philosophical projects that commence with an assumed anthropocentrism. This anthropocentrism will be pursued by way of Hegel's discussion of "disease" in his Philosophy of Nature. Disease is implicitly bound up with race, racial identity and animality, and provides an opening to the question: what if the other were an animal? Any answer to this question should (...) resist a founding anthropocentrism by no longer being limited by the opposition human/non-human. This gives rise to the possibility of engaging philosophically with questions of race and ethnicity. (shrink)