The article presents the conceptual groundwork for an understanding of the essentially improvisational dimension of human rationality. It aims to clarify how we should think about important concepts pertinent to central aspects of human practices, namely, the concepts of improvisation, normativity, habit, and freedom. In order to understand the sense in which human practices are essentially improvisational, it is first necessary to criticize misconceptions about improvisation as lack of preparation and creatio ex nihilo. Second, it is necessary to solve the (...) theoretical problems that derive from misunderstandings concerning the notions of normativity, habit, and freedom – misunderstandings that revolve around the idea that rationality is a form that is developed out of itself and thus works in a way similar to algorithms. One can only make sense of normativity, habit, and freedom if one understands that they all involve conflictual relationships with the world and with others, which in turn enables one to adequately take into account their constitutive connection to improvisation, properly understood. In outlining these conceptual connections, we want to prepare the foundations for an explanation of rational practices as improvisational practices. The article concludes by stating that human rational life is improvisatory because the conditions of human practice arise out of practice itself. (shrink)
In this paper, we develop an understanding of recognition in terms of individuals’ capacity for conflict. Our goal is to overcome various shortcomings that can be found in both the positive and negative conceptions of recognition. We start by analyzing paradigmatic instances of such conceptions—namely, those put forward by Axel Honneth and Judith Butler. We do so in order to show how both positions are inadequate in their elaborations of recognition in an analogous way: Both fail to make intelligible the (...) fundamental nexus between relations of recognition and individuals’ capacity for conflict. We then move on to reconsider aspects of Hegel's view of recognition—ones that, from our viewpoint, have been unjustly neglected in the debate about recognition: his focus on the constitution of relations of recognition in conflict and on the status of being an author of acts of recognition. On this basis, we then spell out in a more systematic way what we take to be a more convincing conception of recognition. This puts us in the position to gesture at some consequences of this conception in practical contexts, above all with regard to the justification, role and structure of political institutions. (shrink)
The concept of second nature promises to provide an explanation of how nature and reason can be reconciled. But the concept is laden with ambiguity. On the one hand, second nature is understood as that which binds together all cognitive activities. On the other hand, second nature is conceived of as a kind of nature that can be changed by cognitive activities. The paper tries to investigate this ambiguity by distinguishing a Kantian conception of second nature from a Hegelian conception. (...) It argues that the idea of a transformation from a being of first nature into a being of second nature that stands at the heart of the Kantian conception is mistaken. The Hegelian conception demonstrates that the transformation in question takes place within second nature itself. Thus, the Hegelian conception allows us to understand the way in which second nature is not structurally isomorphic with first nature: It is a process of ongoing selftransformation that is not primarily determined by how the world is, but rather by commitments out of which human beings are bound to the open future. (shrink)
Since Kant, many philosophers have struggled to overcome the problems of an empiricist conception of the self. In this paper I argue that Heidegger’s philosophy in Being and Time has to be considered as one of the most powerful attempts to gain an anti-empiricist conception of the self and its unity. I highlight the power of Heidegger’s conception by contrasting it with contemporary empiricist conceptions, namely those of Dennett and Velleman. The basic aspect of Heidegger’s conception can be captured by (...) the claim that the unity of the subject is constituted by relations to an open future. (shrink)
Der Aufsatz unternimmt den Versuch, die grundlegenden Strukturen von Hegels Modell der Intersubjektivität zu explizieren, wie er es in der Phänomenologie des Geistes zeichnet. Dieses Modell antwortet auf die Frage, wie Anerkennung in intersubjektiven Beziehungen verwirklicht ist. Ich vollziehe nach, dass Hegels komplexe Antwort auf diese Frage weder in den Überlegungen zum Selbstbewusstsein noch in denen zur sittlichen Substanz vollständig ist. Sie komplettiert sich erst in seinen Ausführungen zum Gewissen.
This paper aims to offer a new and alternative perspective on the basic idea of Levinas’s philosophy. My claim is that the latter can be more appropriately understood not as a contribution to a new way of thinking about ethics or the realm of the ethical as such, but rather toward the theory of normativity. The goal of Levinas’s reflections on alterity is to exhibit the normativity that is in play in all modes of understanding. Levinas tries to understand how (...) intentional beings are normatively bound by one another. This paper tries to give answers to the questions of why Levinas addresses questions of alterity, what is distinctive about these questions according to his way of thinking, and why one should consider Levinas’ thought from the perspective of the articulation of a theory of normativity. (shrink)
Humans have developed various practices to confront the indeterminacy of their existence. Roughly speaking, there are two types of such practices. On the one hand are those through which humans control the uncertainty that permeates their actions and choices. These are practices of self-reassurance and risk reduc- tion. On the other hand are practices in which humans welcome or search out uncertainty, practices that are explicitly open to the risk of failure. One particu- larly remarkable example of the latter set (...) is art. Art is a practice that embraces the uncertainty of human existence in a special way. Generally speaking, art- works do not aim to reassure. Rather, they are open to uncertainty. Thus, art represents a special mode of reflecting on a constitutive feature of human exis- tence, namely, the possibility of failure. What does it mean that art is, in princi- ple, always susceptible to failure? The present article explores this question. (shrink)
The paper puts forward a criticism of two interdependent aspects of Donald Davidson’s and John McDowell’s respective philosophies of language. On the one hand, I criticize the notion that successful communication can be treated as the starting point for explaining the social dimension of linguistic meaning. On the other hand, I deal with the problematic way in which the authors seem to claim that language’s openness to the world, which for them explains its relationship to the world in general, can (...) be taken for granted. As for the social dimension of language, I argue that conflict – and not instances of successful communication – should be seen as the rule in the constitution of linguistic meaning. This revised understanding of language’s irreducible sociality lays the groundwork for a reconception of language’s relation to the world: in linguistic practices, we always have to engage in a struggle to open up linguistic structures to the world, such that language’s relation to the world cannot be taken for granted when thinking about the significance of the fact that language has any meaning at all. (shrink)
Le présent livre a pour objet la "renaissance du pragmatisme" dans la philosophie contemporaine, qu'il tente d'éclairer en analysant les relations systématiques entre le concept de pratique et celui d'intersubjectivité. Il est le résultat de l'effort collectif de chercheurs issus de plusieurs pays, formés dans des traditions philosophiques différentes, et désireux de surmonter par le dialogue l'opposition entre philosophie anglo-américaine et philosophie continentale..
Les diverses formes de vie en commun appellent des modalités de reconnaissance très différentes. Mais il s'agit toujours de combats pour une insertion sociale réussie. Voici une tentative de déclinaison de la nature sociale de l'homme de façon à saisir les grammaires de l'humain comme les grammaires de la reconnaissance. Plusieurs articles en allemand et en anglais.
Relying on Heidegger’s ›Being and Time‹, the paper discusses music as a discrete form of thinking. It argues that music should be understood as the future-oriented articulation of humans’ fundamentally affective relatedness to the world. Conceiving of music as the articulation of fundamental affectivity allows us to combine formalist and expressivist approaches to music: Music must have form in order to articulate, but has significance only insofar as it articulates humans’ fundamentally affective relatedness to the world. By taking this approach (...) we are able to account for the discreteness of music as a form of thinking without limiting ourselves to art music. (shrink)
This book collects essays from the 2006 and 2007 International Philosophy Colloquia Evian, centred around a central problem in the philosophy of mind: the relationship between the human faculty of sensory experience and the faculty of conceptual reflection, that is self-consciousness. Containing articles by philosophers of eight nationalities, in three languages (English, French, German), and of "analytical" as well as "continental" provenance, it beautifully represents the spirit of the colloquia. Authors include Joshua Andresen (AU Beirut), Valérie Aucouturier (Kent U / (...) U Paris I), Karin de Boer (KU Leuven), Santiago Echeverri (U Genève), Roberto Farneti (LU Bolzano), Tim Henning (JLU Giessen), Felix Koch (Columbia U), Christophe Laudou (Madrid), David Lauer (FU Berlin), Jason Leddington (Bucknell U), Nicolas Monseu (UC Louvain), Soraya Nour (HU Berlin), Hans Bernhard Schmid (U Wien), Henning Tegtmeyer (U Leipzig). (shrink)
This book attempts to give a systematic account of the development of semantic holism within the philosophy of language in the 20th century. One of the things that might make it interesting is that it covers philosophers from the analytic tradition (Hilbert, Schlick, Sellars, Davidson, McDowell) as well as structuralist and post-structuralist philosophers (Saussure, Jakobson, Hjelmslev, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida). It is not only claimed that these philosophers address what can intelligibly be recognized as the same systematic questions concerning the constitution of (...) linguistic meaning, but also that the development of holistic approaches in the two traditions follows the same course, leading from formalist to post-formalist varieties of holism. This course implies the rejection of the myth of a pure or autonomous structure of language in favour of a view of language which sees linguistic practice as necessarily interwoven with the natural and social world. (shrink)
The paper aims at reevaluating a conception of the aesthetic that was developed by Kant and Hegel but that has been widely neglected due to the fact that their positions in aesthetics have been wrongly considered to be antagonistic to one another. The conception states that the aesthetic is a practice of reflecting on other human practices. Kant was the first to articulate this conception, but nevertheless falls short of giving a satisfying account of it, as he doesn’t succeed in (...) explaining its objective aspect. I claim that Hegel resolves this problem by understanding works of art as objects that thermalize essential orientations of historical-cultural practices. But his explanation fails to grasp the specificity of art as a reflective practice. However, Hegel’s position gives us a hint for how to deal with this problem: Reflection has to be understood in a practical, and not in a cognitive sense. (shrink)
The paper argues that the concept of second nature has two aspects that are inherently bound up with one another. Firstly, second nature has to be conceived of as a concept that has a critical force. Secondly, art has to be understood as an essential part of what second nature is. The paper explains these two dimensions of the concept by drawing on Hegel’s and Heidegger’s conceptions of second nature as the nature of essentially incomplete beings. Since the incompleteness in (...) question always has to be reproduced, human beings have to develop and constantly engage in practices of self-criticism. As a practice of self-criticism, art is constitutive of second nature understood in this way. Thus, the specificity of art is to be found in its form of self-criticism as articulated through objects, which for their part give orientation to beings that realize their second nature through their practices. In the end, art prompts them to revise and enliven these practices. (shrink)
"Übergangsholismus" entwickelt Ansätze zu einer begrifflichen Rekonstruktion des semantischen Holismus nach Davidson und Derrida. Ich argumentiere dafür, dass eine solche Rekonstruktion ohne den Begriff des Ganzen auskommt. Den Ausgangspunkt bildet Derridas Konzept der différance, das als Konzept für die Beziehungen in holistischen Strukturen vorgestellt wird. Die Elemente einer holistischen Struktur werden demnach durch die Beziehungen, in denen sie stehen, bestimmt. Solche Bestimmung aber ist, wie ich im Anschluss diskutiere, an Praktiken mit sprachlichen Ausdrücken gebunden. Mit Derrida wird so ein unauftrennbarer (...) Zusammenhang von bedeutungsstiftenden Strukturen und Praktiken nachvollzogen. Davidsons Konzeption der Übergangstheorie stützt auch dieses Modell. In Anlehnung an Davidsons Thesen zu dieser Konzeption behaupte ich des weiteren, dass der Übergangsholismus die Konstitution sprachlicher Bedeutung in einer Weise beschreibt, dass sie stets die Veränderung von Sprache impliziert. Gegen Davidson lässt sich wiederum aus Derridas Perspektive ergänzen, dass dieser Mechanismus sowohl die Veränderung als auch die Kontinuität von Sprache zu rekonstruieren erlaubt. (shrink)
Neuere Sprachphilosophien schenken dem Unterschied von gesprochener und geschriebener Sprache keine große Rücksicht. Ich behaupte allerdings, dass die Schrift einen Einblick in die irreduzible Verbindung von Sprache und Selbstbewusstsein erlaubt. Sprachliches Verstehen weist, so wird dargelegt, grundsätzlich eine explikative Dimension auf. Vor diesem Hintergrund lässt Schrift sich als eine Form der Explikation von Sprache begreifen.