This paper explicates Simone de Beauvoir’s concept of “decline” in ageing and assesses both its plausibility and its ethical and political promise. Though I maintain that the concept is largely plausible, and that it helps us to envision social justice for the aged, I also note certain limitations, and these lead me to suggest philosophical and ethical caution as to its range of application. Briefly, both in theory and in practice, Beauvoir appears to questionably conflate the decline of the phenomenological (...) subject with that of a younger adult version of the psychological self or structure of the personality. Through examinations of Beauvoir’s account of dementia and her paternalism towards her dying mother and the declining Jean-Paul Sartre, I suggest how her concept of decline may fall short, but also how her rich phenomenological descriptions point the way to a pluralistic approach to ageing as a social justice issue. (shrink)
The author argues thatJean-François Lyotard’s later antihumanism may be plausibly read as aradicalization of Heidegger’s, on the grounds that a) the philosophy of Beingas Event or Ereignis forms theontological basis of Lyotard’s antihumanism, and b) Lyotard reconfigures theplace of the human being vis-à-vis the revelation of Being – specifically,denying that humankind is the clearing in which Being reveals itself, andtherefore a privileged zone of dispensation. Rather, Being as Ereignis – linguistically cashed out forLyotard, as phrases – structures the human being (...) completely, denying humanmastery of language and thereby decentring human beings as subjects of ethics. (shrink)
Looking at the breadth of Joan Didion's writing - from journalism, essays, fiction, memoir and screen plays - it may appear that there is no unifying thread, but in this original exploration of her work Matthew R. McLennan argues that 'the ethics of memory' - the question of which norms should guide public and private remembrance - offers a promising vision of what is most characteristic and salient in Didion's works. By framing her universe as indifferent and essentially precarious, McLennan (...) demonstrates how this outlook guides Didion's reflections on key themes linked to memory: namely witnessing and grieving, nostalgia, and the paradoxically amnesiac qualities of our increasingly archived public life that she explored in famous texts like Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The Year of Magical Thinking and Salvador. McLennan moves beyond the interpretive value of such an approach and frames Didion as a serious, iconoclastic philosopher of time and memory. Through her encounters with the past, the writer is shown to offer lessons for the future in an increasingly perilous and unsettled world. (shrink)
This article offers a definition of medical humanism and identifies four key contemporary medical humanists in France. It then makes two claims about the historical provenance of their humanism. First, they define it in opposition to a process of iatric medicalization that they trace to certain conceptual errors made by Descartes. But second, they remain more Cartesian than they seem to realize because they accept Descartes's knotting together of humanity, ethics and language. By looking at Gori and Del Volgo, Roudinesco (...) and Ricoeur, the author is able to show how French medical humanism repeats the Cartesian gesture of locating humanity in language - thus facing the problem of the moral standing of so-called "marginal" human persons and non-human animal persons. The author concludes with a call to radicalize French medical humanism in pursuit of a more inclusive medical "personism". (shrink)
This paper explores Levinas’s Carnets de captivité and Écrits sur la captivité in light of Badiou’s category of ‘antiphilosophy’. We make four movements: firstly, a description of what antiphilosophy is; secondly, an explanation of why the category of antiphilosophy is important to a reading of Levinas; thirdly, an exposition of the antiphilosophical elements of the Carnets and Écrits on captivity; and fourthly, we situate our reading of the notebooks within the larger context of Levinas’s post-captivity work.
The posthumous Pourquoi Philosopher? collects Jean-Fran ç ois Lyotard’s previously unpublished four-part introductory course in philosophy, delivered to students of the Sorbonne in 1964. The interest of this text is both historical (appearing at an important juncture in French thought) and meta-philosophical (answering the question "why philosophize?" in such a way that a philosophy of philosophy - or rather several - is offered for consideration). The text will be of interest to readers of various levels of philosophical sophistication.