Recent philosophers, political scientists and cultural theorists have suggested that the concept of cosmopolitanism is useful to theorize an ideal relationship between different nations, and to confront the problems faced by asylum-seekers and refugees. Here, La Caze discusses Immanuel Kant's view of cosmopolitanism which occurs in the context of his teleological philosophy of history and his views on politics.
Government refusals to apologise for past wrongful practices such as slavery or the removal of indigenous children from their parents seem evidently unjust. It is surprising, then, that some ethical considerations appear to support such stances. Jacques Derrida's account of forgiveness as entirely independent of apology appears to preclude the need for official apologies. I contend that governments are obligated to apologize for past injustices because they are responsible for them and that official apologies should not involve a corresponding expectation (...) for forgiveness. My argument is that an apology and forgiveness are asymmetrical because an apology is based on respect, a perfect duty, and can be a public act, whereas forgiveness is based on love, is an imperfect duty, and is a personal undertaking. It follows from this asymmetry that an apology is a prerequisite for reconciliation, but forgiveness is discretionary. Refusals to apologize tend to impede the reconciliation process and make the possibility of forgiveness remote. The concept of reconciliation has also been criticized on the grounds that reconciliation implies a former harmony that should be restored and fault on both sides. However, I argue it should be understood as a willingness to work together without a presumption of having overcome the past. (shrink)
Is love essential to ethical life, or merely a supplement? In Kant’s view, respect and love, as duties, are in tension with each other because love involves drawing closer and respect involves drawing away. By contrast, Irigaray says that love and respect do not conflict because love as passion must also involve distancing and we have a responsibility to love. I argue that love, understood as passion and based on respect, is essential to ethics.
Is love essential to ethical life, or merely a supplement? In Kant's view, respect and love, as duties, are in tension with each other because love involves drawing closer and respect involves drawing away. By contrast, Irigaray says that love and respect do not conflict because love as passion must also involve distancing and we have a responsibility to love. I argue that love, understood as passion and based on respect, is essential to ethics.
In a suggestive reading of Descartes’ The Passions of the Soul, Luce Irigaray explores the possibility that the passion of wonder, the first of all the passions, can provide the basis for an ethics of sexual difference. Wonder is the first of all passions because it has no opposite, is prior to judgment and comparison, and because it is united to most other passions. Wonder is surprise at the extraordinary, and Irigaray believes it is the ideal way for women and (...) men to regard each other, as it is prior to judgement, and thus free of hierarchical relations, contrary to traditional ethics. In this sense, it leaves us open to new experiences and the distinctiveness of the other. For Descartes, a different passion, the passion of generosity, gives the key to ethics. Generosity is a species of wonder combined with love, which he understands as proper self-esteem. This proper self-esteem ensures that we have appropriate esteem for others by recognising them as like ourselves in the most important respects – the capacity to exercise free will and the resolve to use it well. He believes that if we value ourselves appropriately, then we will respond to others appropriately. This passion must be cultivated as a habit and virtue. In this paper, I examine how wonder and generosity can be linked to ethics, the relationship between these two passions, and Iris Marion Young’s view that Irigaray’s understanding of wonder can easily be extended to any structured social difference, such as race, class and religion by adopting a stance of ‘moral humility’ and accepting that our relations with others are asymmetrically reciprocal. (shrink)
This book develops and demonstrates in depth and breadth the contribution of phenomenologists to understanding forgiveness. Featuring all new material from a diverse mix of philosophical authors, the book will be of interest to students and scholars in both phenomenology and moral psychology.
My paper considers the role of wonder and admiration in times of crisis. I argue that wonder should be understood in René Descartes’ (1649/1989) sense, as a response to something unfamiliar that is based on the object, rather than our judgements about it. In contrast, in admiration, we must judge the objects as admirable, that they have some valuable traits. In ordinary times, it may be immoral acts that stand out as unfamiliar and so provoke wonder. However, I will focus (...) on the importance of wonder in times of crisis, to recognise the unfamiliar, when many or most are treating the immoral as normal, as Hannah Arendt (2003) describes it. Then admiration is the response that can enable us to take the unfamiliar as valuable moral exemplars and to emulate them. Nevertheless, I will argue, contra Linda Zagzebski (2015) that we can admire a person, action, or character trait without necessarily being motivated to emulate them. Also, I contend that we can have ambivalent feelings mixed with our admiration and still be moved to emulate others. The complexity of the relation between these three emotions and attitudes—wonder, admiration, and emulation—means that while they can contribute to resistance to immorality in times of crisis, they are untrustworthy in myriad ways. (shrink)
Derrida's purpose in ‘Death Penalties’ (2004), is to show how both arguments in favour of capital punishment, exemplified by Kant's, and arguments for its abolition, such as those of Beccaria, are deconstructible. He claims that ‘never, to my knowledge, has any philosopher as a philosopher, in his or her own strictly and systematically philosophical discourse, never has any philosophy as such contested the legitimacy of the death penalty.’ (2004, 146) Derrida also asks how it is possible ‘to abolish the death (...) penalty in a way that is based on principle, that is universal and unconditional, and not because it has become not only cruel but useless, insufficiently exemplary?’ (2004, 137) In my paper, I examine Derrida's claim about the lack of systematic opposition to the death penalty on the part of philosophers and suggest an answer to his question concerning the possibility of a universal and unconditional opposition to capital punishment. (shrink)
My paper explores the power that forgiveness and the promise, as potentialities of action, have to counter the two difficulties that follow from the possibility of being able to begin something new or what Arendt calls the ‘frailty of human affairs’: irreversibility and unpredictability. Acts of forgiving and promising are expressions of freedom and natality, as they begin human relations anew: forgiveness creates a fresh beginning after wrong-doing, and the promise initiates new political agreements. Arendt argues that forgiveness and the (...) promise depend on plurality. They also create more favorable conditions for people to live together in the public world. Historically, forgiveness has been important in political thought in the form of pardon. In contrast, promises have been conceptualised in political thought primarily in contract theories. (shrink)
To elucidate the tensions in the relation between ethics and politics, I construct a dialogue between Kant, who argues that they can be made compatible, and Derrida, who claims to go beyond Kant and his idea of duty. For Derrida, ethics makes unconditional demands and politics guides our responses to possible effects of our decisions. Derrida argues that in politics there must be a negotiation of the non-negotiable call of ethical responsibility. I argue that Derrida's unconditional ethics cannot be read (...) in precisely Kantian terms because his `impossible reals' can be destructive. Moreover, Derrida expands the reach of ethics beyond Kant by making all ethical demands unconditional or perfect, yet he does not articulate a politics that would enable us to respond to these demands. We need to take account of these difficulties in theorizing how ethics should constrain politics and how politics can provide the conditions for ethics. (shrink)
A consideration of what are sometimes known as the reactive attitudes is useful to outline more positive conditions of ethical restoration. This paper focuses on the ways in which perceptions and experiences of guilt and shame are shaped by political conceptions of who belongs to the more guilty and shameful parties. I use the debate between Karl Jaspers and Arendt over guilt and responsibility, as well as Jean-Paul Sartre’s and Giorgio Agamben’s work on shame, to develop an account of the (...) political aspects of perceived and felt guilt and shame in people who are oppressed. I discuss how some philosophers, for example Cheshire Calhoun, have argued that the oppressed should accept the burdens of guilt and shame expected of them because of the social nature of our ethical experience; and then show how that view can be questioned. However, I argue that the view that members of oppressed groups should experience the guilt and shame expected of them by dominant groups ought to be challenged. In this paper, I demonstrate that the debate concerning shame and guilt has obscured emotions that are responses to the actions of others, such as humiliating treatment, thus leading to an inappropriate focus in philosophical discourses on the victims of wrongdoing rather than the perpetrators. This focus implicitly supports the dynamics of humiliation, as I will show. (shrink)
In ‘History of the Lie: Prolegomena’ (2002) Jacques Derrida examines Hannah Arendt’s analysis of the modern lie in politics in her essays ‘Lying in Politics’ (1972) and ‘Truth and Politics’ (1968/ 1993). Arendt contrasts the traditional lie, where lies were told and secrets kept for the greater good or to defeat the enemy, with the modern lie, which comprises deception and self-deception on a massive scale. My paper investigates the seriousness of different kinds of lies in political life in the (...) light of Arendt and Derrida’s reflections on lying and contemporary lies in politics and shows where concern should focus. (shrink)
: In a reading of René Descartes's The Passions of the Soul, Luce Irigaray explores the possibility that wonder, first of all passions, can provide the basis for an ethics of sexual difference because it is prior to judgment, and thus nonhierarchical. For Descartes, the passion of generosity gives the key to ethics. I argue that wonder should be extended to other differences and should be combined with generosity to form the basis of an ethics.
To elucidate the tensions in the relation between ethics and politics, I construct a dialogue between Kant, who argues that they can be made compatible, and Derrida, who claims to go beyond Kant and his idea of duty. For Derrida, ethics makes unconditional demands and politics guides our responses to possible effects of our decisions. Derrida argues that in politics there must be a negotiation of the non-negotiable call of ethical responsibility. I argue that Derrida's unconditional ethics cannot be read (...) in precisely Kantian terms because his 'impossible reals' can be destructive. Moreover, Derrida expands the reach of ethics beyond Kant by making all ethical demands unconditional or perfect, yet he does not articulate a politics that would enable us to respond to these demands. We need to take account of these difficulties in theorizing how ethics should constrain politics and how politics can provide the conditions for ethics. (shrink)
I begin by examining the logic of autoimmunity as characterized by Jacques Derrida, ‘that strange behaviour where a living being, in quasi-suicidal fashion, ‘‘itself’’ works to destroy its own protection, to immunize itself against its own immunity’ (Borradori, 2003: 94). According to Derrida, religion, democracy, terrorism and recent responses to the trauma of terrorism can be understood in terms of this logic. Responses to terrorism are ‘autoimmune’ and increase the trauma of terrorism as well as risking democratic values. I argue (...) that the risks of autoimmunity can be negotiated in better ways if we see how autoimmunity relates to another important Derridean concept, hospitality. (shrink)
The work of Iris Marion Young (1949–2006) comprises major contributions in the areas of feminist phenomenology, international justice, political theory, and ethical responses to differences. Many of Young's articles, such as ‘Throwing like a Girl’, ‘Pregnant Embodiment’, ‘Women Recovering our Clothes’, ‘Gender as Seriality’, and ‘House and home’, in addition to her books Justice and the Politics of Difference (1990) and Inclusion and Democracy (2000) are particularly significant. My paper shows how Young's earlier essays in feminist phenomenology concerning the lived (...) body can be linked to her later political thought, despite her own separation of these two strands in her work. Furthermore, I explore her legacy by examining how feminists have challenged her self-criticisms and have also developed Young's ideas in these fields, including her work on oppression and responsibility. (shrink)
Some forms of envy and resentment are centrally connected with a concern for justice and so should not be morally condemned but accepted. Envy and resentment enable us to discern and respond to injustices against ourselves and others. I argue that whereas envy and resentment as character traits or dispositions may be ethically deplorable, as episodic emotions they can be both moral responses to injustice and lead to action against injustice.
I argue that Sartre's understanding of needs is not inconsistent with his conception of the human condition. I will demonstrate that his use of the term "needs" signals a change of focus, not a rejection of his earlier views. Sartre's Iater "dialectical" account of human needs should he read, in light of his phenomenological account in Being and Nothingness, as aspects of our facticity and situation. Satisfying needs is compatible with a range of choices about how to satisfy those needs (...) and what they mean for us. I contend that Sartre remains true to the phenomenological roots of his work and avoids a commitment to a human nature or essence. Finally, I will address some of the questions that arise from Sartre's focus on needs in his dialectical ethics. I will begin by examining Sartre's early account of the human condition, and then consider his focus on needs in relation to this account. (shrink)
Iris Marion Young's work spans phenomenology and political philosophy. Her best‐known work in feminist phenomenology “Throwing like a girl,” drawing on the work of Simone de Beauvoir and Maurice Merleau‐Ponty, established the importance of gendered forms of bodily comportment and motility and has inspired articles both criticizing and extending her view to other fields. She has also articulated the phenomenological experience of chosen pregnancy, homemaking, the need for private space, the experience of wearing clothes, and other significant situations. Young's more (...) political philosophy articulates the five faces of oppression: exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism and violence, and domination in order to develop an account of justice that overcomes both and respects group differences. Her book Inclusion and Democracy considers these questions on a more international scale and considers how oppressed groups can be included in political institutions. Finally, her posthumously published work on responsibility argues that we have global responsibilities for injustices that occur, although we might not have intended to harm others. (shrink)
What does Le Premier Homme bring specifically to our understanding of Camus’s view of love? The novel allows us to understand love as love of specific human individuals, as well as love of life and the world, and a sense of the frailties of love. While many commentaries have touched on the idea of the importance of love in this work, they have tended to focus more on the disguised autobiographical elements concerning the people in Camus’s life. They have also (...) centred on the descriptive aspects of the work. What I would like to do is look at how love is presented in more depth, and show how specific kinds of love are valorized, and how these different kinds of love are all connected. (shrink)
This paper explores the potential of realist cinema to portray resistance to oppression and restrictions on people’s lives. Wadjda presents a special case in world cinema in being made in Saudi Arabia, which until recently had no film industry or distribution system. The director, Hafaa Al Mansour, has been praised for making the film there at all. Yet this ignores the film’s power in taking a slice of time in the life of a young Riyadh girl, Wadjda, and focussing on (...) her desire to own a bicycle. The film’s realism depicts restrictions on women’s lives in Saudi Arabia and at the same time affirms hope in gradual change through the natality, in Hannah Arendt’s sense, of a child who does not see these constraints as insurmountable obstacles. I argue that realist films can demonstrate the importance of gradual political progress and can anticipate those advances. (shrink)
Early in his career, Max Deutscher he started to explore questions in the philosophy of mind, which continue to interest him. His early reading of Jean-Paul Sartre, and the work of Gilbert Ryle, informs all his work. My paper traces the theme of genre in philosophy as it is exemplified and discussed throughout Deutscher’s work, including Judgment After Arendt (2007).
Immanuel Kant is often thought of as an excessively austere figure of the enlightenment, eschewing especially the emotions. Yet his contribution to the enlightenment includes a distinctive sensitivity to the role that love and the beautiful, particularly in nature, play in our ethical lives. There are a number of arguments scattered through Kant’s work that aim to establish a connection between love of the beautiful and morality. My goal is to connect the most significant of these to build a picture (...) of his concern with the topic, and to assess the arguments for their insight and their revelation of complexity and significance of Kant as an Enlightenment thinker. What I show here is that love of the beautiful is meaningfully connected to morality in a range of ways; thus this love of the beautiful indicates the crucial, if not predominant, role of emotions in Kant’s moral philosophy. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant, in ‘What is Orientation in Thinking?’ focuses on reason as the touchstone for speculative thought. The question of how to orient ourselves in thinking is still pressing, particularly if one does not take reason as providing principles for judgment. Hannah Arendt and Michèle Le Dœuff focus on this problem of orientation from a practical point of view and build up a compelling picture of how we can orient our thought. Both take imagination to be central to good judgment, (...) in addition to critical rationality. The project of enriching our imaginary and improving our judgments is an essential one in both ethics and politics, since imagination can either enable creative changes in our thinking or be stymied by pernicious myths. Arendt’s writings offer an account of the significance of the imagination to reliable judgment and suggest ways to avoid the extremes of arrogance and diffidence. Furthermore, Le Dœuff argues in recent work that we should challenge a range of myths in the epistemic imaginary and chart a course that involves hope for the future. I consider how it is possible to enrich the imaginary to overcome damaging myths, on Le Dœuff’s account, by taking political questions, particularly feminist ones, as reference points and also by avoiding the opposites of lack of faith in one’s own judgement and over-confidence. (shrink)
One of the few philosophers who comments on fashion, Kant claims in his Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View that fashion should be classified as vanity and foolishness. He writes ‘it is novelty that makes fashion popular, and to be inventive in all sorts of external forms, even if they often degenerate into something fantastic and somewhat hideous, belongs to the style of courtiers, especially ladies. Others then anxiously imitate these forms, and those in low social positions burden themselves (...) with them long after the courtiers have put them away. – So fashion is not, strictly speaking, a matter of taste (for it can be quite contrary to taste), but of mere vanity in giving oneself airs, and of rivalry in outdoing one another by it.’ (Anthropology, 2006, 7: 246) Kant’s condemnation of fashion depends on him associating fashion exclusively with mere novelty in production (as opposed to true originality) and imitation in fashion’s wearers. In this paper I distinguish fashion understood as invention for its own sake followed by slavish imitation with a true fashion, which like art, involves both taste and ‘genius’ as understood by Kant. Taste involves a judgement of a particular to be, for example, beautiful. This judgement must be one that we can communicate to others. Genius is in fashion that is original and provides a model to others. (See Kant, Critique of the Power of Judgement, 5: 308) While notable designer fashion provides the most obvious examples, this way of looking at fashion does not preclude the possibility of this kind of genius developing outside or alongside the fashion industry. Furthermore, wearers of fashion have to exercise their sense of taste in choosing what to wear and how to wear it. This sense of taste appeals to others and requires an enlargement of our thought just as our taste in art does. Thus seen, fashion and interest in fashion has a potential for improvement of the self as other forms of taste arguably do. (shrink)
Sartre reflected on questions related to terror and terrorism throughout his career and these questions shaped his understanding of ethics and politics. In exploring these connections I link Sartre’s controversial remarks about the terrorism he observed during his lifetime to our more recent experiences of terrorism in the USA, Bali, Madrid and London. In Colonialism and Neo-Colonialism, Robert Young claims that Sartre moves from ethics to politics in his account of colonialism, understanding that shift as one from a concern with (...) individual freedom to commitment to political causes. (2001a, viii) In contrast, Azzedine Haddour says that Anti-Semite and Jew (1995) and ‘Black Orpheus’ (2001b) demonstrate ‘the inextricable link between ethics and politics in his critiques of anti-Semitism, racism and colonialism.’ (2001a, 8) While Sartre condemns these phenomena in ethical terms, some of his statements in response to them appear to suggest that ethical assessment is irrelevant. I aim to make some sense of this seeming inconsistency in Sartre’s views, and consider how differing conceptions of ethics are inflected in his political statements, particularly those concerning terrorism. (shrink)
This edited collection enriches scholarship on Arendt by considering her contributions to and reflections on the history of thought. The chapters bring Arendt into new conversations with her contemporaries, as well as examining the themes of Arendt's writing in light of her engagement with philosophical and literary history.
This cross-disciplinary collection explores Vladimir Jankélévitch’s thought on love, forgiveness, humility, virtue, bad conscience, remorse, death, reconciliation, music, and religion. It examines his relations with philosophers such as Henri Bergson and Plotinus. The chapters are linked by the theme of intangibility, or what cannot be touched.
This book provides an account of ethical restoration in situations that bring ethical and political questions together. It shows how punishment as well as forgiveness and reconciliation are necessary to properly restore peace and justice in both transitional and democratic societies.
This book investigates the interrelations between aesthetics, ethics and politics in a variety of visual media forms, ranging across art installations, film and television, interactive documentaries, painting, photography, social media and videogames. An international mix of emerging and established authors, with interdisciplinary expertise, explores how different ethical questions, political implications and aesthetic pleasures arise and shape one another in distinct visual media. Investigating themes such as the use of cinema as a medium for ethical and political thought, how documentary subjects (...) both conceal and reveal truth, the new ethical challenges arising from interactive media and the role of images in responding to political events and trauma, this is a groundbreaking work about the interrelations of aesthetic, ethical and political values in visual media. (shrink)
The unthought means that which it is possible to think, but which has not yet been thought, and also what we are prevented from thinking. Philosophical systems can prevent us from thinking otherwise and restrictions on women’s access to knowledge can prevent women from thinking apart from what is prescribed as suitable. The unthought is both what hasn’t been thought and what could be thought if there wasn’t a barrier of some sort. Michèle Le Dœuff directs us towards the unthought (...) as a measure of the extent to which writers on women’s education have allowed the possibility of women’s access to the unthought, not just to received knowledge to date. This unthought is also connected to creativity and originality, and philosophy that is not systematic. In this paper, I elucidate the nature of Michèle Le Dœuff’s project and the structure of her argument in The Sex of Knowing (2003) through the idea of the unthought. (shrink)
Euzhan Palcy’s film A Dry White Season, set in apartheid South Africa, portrays a resistance not intended to lead to victimhood, yet leads to the death of the Afrikaans protagonist, Benjamin Du Toit. The narrative follows Ben as they are educated about Black South Africans’ suffering under apartheid, their growing activism and simultaneous increasing victimization beside that of their Black friends. I first examine how early political critics of the film thought it stressed the victimization of the white character at (...) the expense of that of the Black characters. Next, I interpret the film by considering how Palcy’s aims, the influence of their compatriot Aimé Césaire’s anticolonial views, and the details of the film’s structure, illuminate the film’s philosophical insights into victimization and resistance. I show how the film’s representation of Ben’s secondary victimization and witnessing highlights the victimization of apartheid. (shrink)
No presents the television campaign for the 1988 plebiscite on whether the Pinochet regime should stay as the government for eight more years (‘Yes’) or hold democratic elections (‘No’). The ‘No’ campaign uses the Aristotelian idea that happiness is an intrinsic value and thus the best concept to galvanise a traumatised nation in favour of change. My paper examines the film’s presentation of how a response to the trauma of the regime becomes transformed into resistance through the idea of a (...) possible future happiness. (shrink)
This article focuses on how the work of Iris Marion Young (1949-2006) has contributed to legal and political theory. Her ground-breaking book Justice and the Politics of Difference and her later work Inclusion and Democracy, as well as numerous articles, have been very influential. These texts involve the articulation of the numerous structural ways in which oppressed groups can be treated unjustly and the kind of legal, political, and social structures that need to be put in place to overcome these (...) injustices. The axes of injustice include gender, race and ethnicity, disability, age, and sexual orientation. The article will consider her contribution to thought concerning achieving justice and overcoming oppression and domination, especially in relation to marriage, citizenship, democracy and international relations. Let me begin with her best-known work on justice and oppression. (shrink)
The tension between the absence of identity and the feeling of presence theorised in Jacques Derrida’s philosophy is revealed in D’ailleurs Derrida, a film by Safaa Fathy (1999). Fathy’s film has had limited scholarly attention, yet it makes a distinctive contribution both to understanding and questioning Derridean thought. I argue that the not-meness of identity is revealed by Fathy through the theme of ‘elsewhere’ (ailleurs) in the film and yet it allows the audience to experience the tone and cadence of (...) Derrida’s speaking voice, in counterpoint with contemporary and archival images, thus providing a sense of his philosophy in relation to his life. The film shows how forms of absence such as silence, the not-said, and even pauses are essential to his work. Ultimately the film operates by giving Derrida the location, space, and time to articulate his views on identity, the close relationship between writing and filming, the experience of being ‘the Marrano’s Marrano’, circumcision, forgiveness and hospitality, and absence and presence. Nevertheless, Fathy’s film both reflects and questions his philosophical focus on absence and spectrality through a range of cinematic techniques, including reverse shots and cross-cutting between locations. (shrink)
Kant suggests in The Metaphysics of Morals that we may sometimes say something untrue or insincere since others are free to interpret our statements as they wish. (1996, 6:238) Yet he also argues that even in conflict situations we should be truthful so as to not eliminate trust and to make it possible for a rightful condition to arise. My paper considers the conditions Kant believes essential to maintain basic trust so that in better times peace is possible. It also (...) considers their relation to sincerity. I argue that Kant’s view can provide a model for building political trust after wars and other forms of conflict. Furthermore, I consider the need for the possibility of help as also necessary for trust, through the work of Jean Améry. In certain situations, sincerity is not the most important thing. More important are truthfulness and the willingness to act as if we were sincere and thought others and the world worthy of our trust. (shrink)
The tension between the absence of identity and the feeling of presence theorised in Jacques Derrida's philosophy is revealed in D'ailleurs Derrida, a film by Safaa Fathy (1999). Fathy's film has had limited scholarly attention, yet it makes a distinctive contribution both to understanding and questioning Derridean thought. I argue that the not-meness of identity is revealed by Fathy through the theme of ‘elsewhere’ (ailleurs) in the film and yet it allows the audience to experience the tone and cadence of (...) Derrida's speaking voice, in counterpoint with contemporary and archival images, thus providing a sense of his philosophy in relation to his life. The film shows how forms of absence such as silence, the not-said, and even pauses are essential to his work. Ultimately the film operates by giving Derrida the location, space, and time to articulate his views on identity, the close relationship between writing and filming, the experience of being ‘the Marrano's Marrano, circumcision, forgiveness and hospitality, and absence and presence. Nevertheless, Fathy's film both reflects and questions his philosophical focus on absence and spectrality through a range of cinematic techniques, including reverse shots and cross-cutting between locations. (shrink)
Luiz Cost Lima argues in The Limits of Voice that Kant’s Critique of Judgment plays a pivotal role in furthering aestheticization, or the objectification and universalization of aesthetic experience. He introduces the term criticity to refer to the act of questioning and finds that Kant poses the alternatives of aestheticization and criticity. However, Costa Lima sees Kant and most of the following literary criticism as accepting aestheticization, with exceptions such as Schlegel and Kafka. (xii) He states ‘The effective actualization of (...) an aesthetic experience is then defined by the fact that it constitutes a mute universality, one that necessarily cannot be communicated’. (100) Yet Kant’s view is that aesthetic experience is communicable. I suggest the tension between the two can be resolved through the distinction between actual and potential communication, and argue that what is foremost for Kant is the potential to communicate aesthetic experience, not its privacy. Thus I demonstrate how Kant can be seen as a proponent of criticity and can account for our capacity to share experiences and judgments of taste. Furthermore, I contend that Hannah Arendt’s work on ethical and political judgment, particularly in Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy (1982), can be seen as an another example of criticity in the moral and political spheres, and show how she extends both Kant’s aesthetic work and Costa Lima’s ideas. Arendt, like Kant, shows how aesthetic experience is potentially communicable. Finally, I explain how Arendt turns Kant’s aesthetic judgement to criticity in ethical and political judgment through developing an intersubjective account of judgment. In that sense, aesthetic experience is able to find a way out of muteness and Costa Lima’s concept of criticity can find a place in other fields. (shrink)
In her recent book, Violence and the Philosophical Imaginary, Ann Murphy suggests that the philosophical imaginary, in particular that of contemporary continental philosophy, is imbued with images of violence. The concept of the philosophical imaginary is drawn from the work of Michèle Le Dœuff to explore the role of images of violence in philosophy. Murphy sets the language of violence, reflexivity, and critique against that of vulnerability, ambiguity and responsibility. Her concern is that images of violence have become and may (...) become more ‘neutralised, domesticated or eroticised’ in objectionable ways. There is no doubt Murphy has isolated and highlighted a striking feature of the continental imaginary in a clear and thoughtful way. My paper takes Murphy’s argument further by elaborating a Le Dœuffian argument that theorises the reversal of priority from violent language to the violence of language. I take Murphy’s injunction for attention and sensitivity seriously by examining the language of violence and exposing that which is unfamiliar, what has become incorporated and what is revealed by the language that is used. The language of the third Reich and the language of the Rwandan genocide will be briefly compared to demonstrate these points. Our responsibility is to recognise the use of euphemism and metaphor to sometimes cover and sometimes blatantly advertise the horrifying truth. The focus on violence in philosophical language can lead us away from the violence of genocidal language and other violent language that philosophers, like all responsible people, are called to witness. (shrink)