This groundbreaking handbook of character strengths and virtues is the first progress report from a prestigious group of researchers who have undertaken the systematic classification and measurement of widely valued positive traits. Character Strengths and Virtues classifies twenty-four specific strengths under six broad virtues that consistently emerge across history and culture. This book demands the attention of anyone interested in psychology and what it can teach about the good life.
This essay aims to identify several related themes that regularly appear in posthumanist scholarship but which have not been theorized sufficiently, including the rhetoric of temporal and historical rupture, the logic of dialectical reversal, the effacement of human/animal difference, and above all the critical ascendancy of the term “posthumanism” itself. If one of the aims of posthumanism is to render the face of the human unknowable to itself, then to what extent does the human that re-names itself “posthuman” do so (...) in order to lay claim once again to a dubious self-knowledge? The rhetoric of posthumanism, moreover, implies a progressive narrative that ironically mirrors the Enlightenment principles of perfectibility that it would oppose. Drawing from Derrida’s notion of the “democracy to come,” I argue that the advent of the posthuman must always remain deferred. Just as the promise of democracy remains unfulfilled, the posthuman must infinitely postdate its arrival in any present. (shrink)
In The Beast and The Sovereign Volume 2, a collection of ten lectures focused on the “odd couple” of Heidegger and Robinson Crusoe, Jacques Derrida devotes a substantial portion of his second lecture to one of the most well-known scenes in Defoe’s novel: Robinson’s discovery of “the print of a man’s naked foot on the shore” (Derrida 31, Defoe 162). Having lived alone on his island for fifteen years, Robinson is “thunder-struck,” as if having “seen an apparition” (162). After running (...) up and down the shore in a failed effort to find additional prints, Robinson flees in terror to his “castle,” observing that “never frighted hare fled to cover, or fox to earth, with more terror of mine than I to this retreat” (162). .. (shrink)
Aping apes: Edgar Allan Poe's "The murders in the Rue Morgue" and Richard Wright's Native son -- Slavery's bestiary: Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus tales -- Autoimmunity and ante-racism: Philip Roth's The human stain -- Ashamed of shame: J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace.
The scandal of the human: immanent transcendency and the question of animal language -- Sovereign silence: the desire for answering speech -- The gravity of melancholia: a critique of speculative realism -- Listing toward cosmocracy: the limits of hospitality.
The critical reception of Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus Tales has often interpreted these animal fables as allegories of American slavery. Such an approach, however, risks what Steve Baker calls the ‘denial of the animal’, which displaces animal signifiers onto human signifieds. Through readings of ‘The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story’ and ‘How the Birds Talk’, I ask what it might mean to take seriously the numerous historical, political and philosophical questions posed by the animal ‘form’ that these characters assume, including Heidegger's (...) ontological differentiation between thing, animal and human, and Derrida's displacement of the conventional Cartesian distinction between animal reaction and human response. I argue that the racist equation of blacks with mimicry relies precisely on this dubious opposition. Remus's stories thus challenge our understandings of both race and language by showing how repetition and mimicry condition every ‘human’ response. (shrink)
This essay enters the debate over the French appropriation of Poe not by seeking redress for the supposed political misdeeds of either Poe or the French, but rather, by addressing itself to the American response to the French reception of Poe. While American cultural studies critics in particular have sought to hold the French accountable for ignoring Poe's troubling biography — one in which the question of Poe's relationship to, and possible support of, antebellum slavery remains unanswered to this day (...) — I argue that the important question of how we as critics situate ourselves in relation to material history is too often buried under a moralizing rhetoric of accountability. Following from, and extending, Jacques Derrida's notion of ‘speciality,’ I maintain that material history is itself a kind of conjuration that belies any strict distinction between the material and the immaterial. Against the demand for accountability, the notion of history‐as‐conjuration allows us to address questions of historical responsibility in a manner that circumvents the impulse to hold Poe accountable for his crimes’. (shrink)