There is something appropriate about Lyotard’s last printed work being his most intimate and revealing. Best known for The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, Lyotard died in the April of 1998, leaving his Confession d’Augustin, as Dolorès Lyotard tells us in her “Forewarning,” “scarcely half” finished. Although his New York Times obituary claimed that “awaiting publication is his final book about the ‘Confessions’ of St. Augustine”, this work is less a book about the Confessions as it (...) is an insight into a twentieth century philosopher at the end of his life. Revealed here is a philosopher struggling with the perennial themes of Augustine’s own odyssey: confession as praise and contrition. Perhaps it was Lyotard’s own battle with leukemia and his growing sense of mortality that gave him such insights into Augustine’s early fallacy of thinking of God as encircling and filling all things throughout space that he is able to write, “Such is flesh visited, co-penetrated by your space-time, disturbed and confused with this blow, but steeped in infinity, impregnated and pregnant with your overabundant liquid: the waters of the heavens” ; and regarding the relationship between time and immunity, Lyotard understands that, “God only sees himself in God. Compared with the incomparable brightness, all is night, and speech is noise after the silence of lauds. In the sky of skies, the heaven of heavens, wisdom celebrates its glory. The intelligence with which the angelic creatures are infused is not co-eternal with their creator, but it is exempt from becoming”. Passages like these not only present Augustine in a new light, but invite readers to see themselves in this light as well. (shrink)
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, psychoanlaysis, Judaism and politics. The originality of Lyotard's work means that it cannot 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.
Jean-Francois Lyotard is often considered to be the father of postmodernism. Here leading experts in the field of cultural and philosophical studies, including Barry Smart, John O' Neill and Victor J. Seidler, tackle many of the questions still being asked about this controversial figure.
Jean-François Lyotard (1924-1998) was one of the most important French philosophers of the Twentieth Century. His impact has been felt across many disciplines: sociology; cultural studies; art theory and politics. This volume presents a diverse selection of interviews, conversations and debates which relate to the five decades of his working life, both as a political militant, experimental philosopher and teacher. Including hard-to-find interviews and previously untranslated material, this is the first time that interviews with Lyotard have been presented (...) as a collection. Key concepts from Lyotard's thought – the differend, the postmodern, the immaterial – are debated and discussed across different time periods, prompted by specific contexts and provocations. In addition there are debates with other thinkers, including Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida, which may be less familiar to an Anglophone audience. These debates and interviews help to contextualise Lyotard, highlighting the importance of Marx, Freud, Kant and Wittgenstein, in addition to the Jewish thought which accompanies the questions of silence, justice and presence that pervades Lyotard's thinking. (shrink)
Starting with Lyotard's characterisation of postmodernity as incredulity, this is related to another of his key concepts - that of 'performativity'. Lyotard appears to deploy performativity to characterise those technologies that bring about the optimisation of efficient performance. However, there is another sense of performativity where it is linked to performance. Performance conditions the possibility of any and all performatives, or to put it another way, as performance is itself enabled by performativity, so too performativity is realised through (...) its performance. Both senses of performativity and the linkage between them are clearly manifested in the space of knowledge production that is the contemporary university. This linkage is itself a feature of the semiotic process within which contemporary knowledge and knowledge production is located and which Lyotard himself recognised, albeit implicitly. The implication of this therefore is that Lyotard himself performs his text and in so doing both manifests and contributes to realising both senses of performativity. (shrink)
Preview: /Review: Piotr Schollenberger, Jednostkowość i wydarzenie. Studia z estetyki Lyotarda, 283 pages./ Piotr Schollenberger’s book entitled Jednostkowość i wydarzenie. Studia z estetyki Lyotarda is a thorough and extensive – nearly 300-page – philosophical analysis of a number of topics selected from the vast, polyphonic and complex body of Jean-François Lyotard’s philosophy. It ought to be noted that Schollenberger does not focus his analysis on themes that prevail in the existing interpretations of the philosophy of Lyotard.
Lyotard's notion of the differend can be analysed as a philosophical theory of radical disputes, that is, disputes with no possible resolution other than the silencing of one of the parties. The concept is explicitly meant to shed light on ethical, historical and political debates, while literature and psychoanalysis are strikingly absent from this theory. However, the concept of the differend is crucial to Lyotard's own discussions of literature and art. Developing from a reading of some of his (...) texts on literature and art and on psychoanalysis, this essay shows how the concept of the differend operates in Lyotard's understanding and appreciation of literature and art, in order to then ask how the differend can help us think issues of ‘modernity’, ‘modernism’ and ‘postmodernism’ in terms other than those of literary history, and can help us think experimental writings and artistic practices of the twentieth century in terms other than those of provocation or scandal. (shrink)
This paper explores the continuing relevance to education of ideas about art and resistance that Jean-François Lyotard signalled in his curated exhibition in 1985 at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris entitled Les Immatériaux. The exhibition was for Lyotard the ‘staging’ of a resistance at the dawning of an information age that challenged the prioritisation of computerised ‘data’ through the very deconstruction of data as presented in artistic form. While the implications of this event for art exhibitions are (...) still being theorised and debated, it is the insight Les Immatériaux provides as pedagogical encounter that is the focus of this article. The paper explores the exhibition in the context of the immateriality of art and develops this argument towards a notion of artistic testimony that then culminates in an analysis for the pedagogical significance of the exhibition in the information drenched, highly networked context of contemporary education. (shrink)
Brings together previously unpublished essays by one of the most important philosophers of the last three decades of the 20th century. This authorized compilation of 13 essays reflect the main stages of Lyotard's thought-the libidinal, the pagan, and the intractable-leading toward his account of the postmodern in contemporary thought and culture.
This article explores the changing position of Lyotard's writing on Algeria within his corpus. The essays gathered together in La Guerre des Algériens: Ecrits 1956–63, and published much later in 1989, are certainly among his most overtly politically engaged. These pieces track the progress of the War of Independence from the early signs of unrest in 1952 to what Lyotard perceives as the divisive effects of FLN ideology in the aftermath of independence, and the collection as a whole (...) underlines not only the conflict between coloniser and colonised but also that between the rural masses and the bourgeoisie. Nevertheless, despite his commitment to Algerian independence at the time of writing, Lyotard later lamented the failings of these essays. He also alters his stance on his own use of Marxism, and condemns his attempts to offer a Marxist revolutionary critique. He then chose to republish the work in 1989, yet this volte-face testifies to the author's ongoing ambivalence towards his own writing on decolonization. At one moment, Lyotard mocks and undermines his own efforts to understand and systematize the mechanics of the liberation movement. Yet he then goes on to suggest that the Algerian conflict exemplifies his later concept of the ‘differend’. This unease both within and towards the volume La Guerre des Algériens will be the focus of this article. The essays’ eclecticism, and Lyotard's own altering response to them, can be understood as an early testimony to an increasing scepticism towards Marxism in French critical thought, and, at the same time, towards what Lyotard conceived as dogmatic ‘theory’, in the context of decolonization in Algeria. (shrink)
Following Lyotard's death in 1998, this book provides an exploration of the recurrent theme of education in his work. It brings to a wider audience the significance of a body of thought about education that is subtle, profound and still largely unexplored. This book also makes an important contribution to contemporary debates on postmodernism and education.
Philosophical aesthetics have seen an amazing revival over the past decade, as a radical questioning of the very grounds of Western epistemology has revealed that descriptions of what used to be seen as specific to aesthetic experience can instead be viewed as a general model for human cognition. In this revival, no text in the classical corpus of Western philosophy has been more frequently discussed and debated than the dense, complex paragraphs inserted into Kant's Critique of Judgment as sections 23-29: (...) the Analytic of the Sublime. This book is a rigorous explication de texte, a close reading of these sections. The Analytic of the Sublime, he points out, tries to argue that human thought is always constituted through a similar incompatibility between different intellectual and affective faculties. These lessons thus try to isolate the analysis of a differend of feeling in Kant's text, which is also the analysis of a feeling of differend, and to connect this feeling with the transport that leads all thought (critical thought included) to its limits. (shrink)
First published in 1985, the _Handbook for Achieving Gender Equity Through Education_ quickly established itself as the essential reference work concerning gender equity in education. This new, expanded edition provides a 20-year retrospective of the field, one that has the great advantage of documenting U.S. national data on the gains and losses in the efforts to advance gender equality through policies such as Title IX, the landmark federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in education, equity programs and research. Key features include:_ (...) Expertise_ – Like its predecessor, over 200 expert authors and reviewers provide accurate, consensus, research-based information on the nature of gender equity challenges and what is needed to meet them at all levels of education._ Content Area Focus_ – The analysis of gender equity within specific curriculum areas has been expanded from 6 to 10 chapters including mathematics, science, and engineering._ Global/Diversity Focus_ – Global gender equity is addressed in a separate chapter as well as in numerous other chapters. The expanded section on gender equity strategies for diverse populations contains seven chapters on African Americans, Latina/os, Asian and Pacific Island Americans, American Indians, gifted students, students with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. _ Action Oriented_ – All chapters contain practical recommendations for making education activities and outcomes more gender equitable. A final chapter consolidates individual chapter recommendations for educators, policymakers, and researchers to achieve gender equity in and through education._ New Material_ – Expanded from 25 to 31 chapters, this new edition includes: *more emphasis on male gender equity and on sexuality issues; *special within population gender equity challenges ; *coeducation and single sex education; *increased use of rigorous research strategies such as meta-analysis showing more sex similarities and fewer sex differences and of evaluations of implementation programs; *technology and gender equity is now treated in three chapters; *women’s and gender studies; *communication skills relating to English, bilingual, and foreign language learning; and *history and implementation of Title IX and other federal and state policies. Since there is so much misleading information about gender equity and education, this _Handbook_ will be essential for anyone who wants accurate, research-based information on controversial gender equity issues—journalists, policy makers, teachers, Title IX coordinators, equity trainers, women’s and gender study faculty, students, and parents. (shrink)
One of the less-appreciated modalities of Lyotard’s rethinking of aesthetics is a consideration of the way that technologies, and in particular information technologies, reconfigure the nature of aesthetic experience. For Lyotard, information technology presents a particular problem in relation to the arts and aesthetic experience. When art uses communication technologies themselves as its matter or medium, the “traditional” model of aesthetic experience becomes problematised. Lyotard argues that this is the case because information technologies determine or “program” a (...) conceptual meaning in advance of an aesthetic experience. Therefore, we no longer have a situation of the “free play” between sensible forms and concepts that constitutes the aesthetics of the beautiful for Kant. Lyotard argues, however, that this decline in aesthetic experience as traditionally conceived need not be understood negatively: rather, it may be seen positively in so far as it furthers experimentation with materials. This chapter concludes by highlighting the positive potentials Lyotard sees in what may now be termed “new media arts,” but also indicates the limitations in Lyotard’s analysis – delimited in part by the theoretical models of information and communication he employed – and suggests directions for further research into new aesthetics from the bearings Lyotard has given us. (shrink)
One of the major cultural philosophers of our time addresses, in his powerful and allusive critical voice, Malraux's reflections on art and literature. The result tells us as much about Lyotard as it does about Malraux.
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)
Lyotard talks of performativity or the subsumption of education to the efficient functioning of the social system. Education is no longer to be concerned with the pursuit of ideals such as that of personal autonomy or emancipation, but with the means, techniques or skills that contribute to the efficient operation of the state in the world market and contribute to maintaining the internal cohesion and legitimation of the state. But this requires individuals of a certain kind -- not Kantian (...) autonomous persons but Foucault's normalized and governable individuals. In constituting such individuals discourse is critically important. But how discourse effects this through the force of language is not fully developed by Foucault. This paper draws upon the performative account of language offered by John Austin to develop more fully comments made by Foucault on the force or effects of language in constituting normalized and governable individuals for the march of performativity. (shrink)
This paper argues the Lyotard's The Postmodern Condition is to be interpreted as a response to nihilism, especially in relation to the question of the legitimation of knowledge and the so-called crisis of narratives, and that, therefore, it provides an appropriate response to the question of nihilism in educational philosophy. The paper begins with a discussion of Nietzsche's and Heidegger's views of nihilism as a prolegomenon to Lyotard's views concerning European nihilism and the end of grand narratives. These (...) are important sources for a philosophical reception of the problem and the context in which Lyotard formulates his response and the immediate sources against that conditions Lyotard's response. The problem of nihilism raises its head in education in a double way: in relation to both the foundation of knowledge and the problem of its legitimation and the problem of values. (shrink)