This article examines Nietzsche's engagement with Stoic philosophical therapy in the free spirit trilogy. I suggest that Nietzsche first turned to Stoicism in the late 1870s in his attempt to develop a philosophical therapy that might treat the injuries human beings suffer through fate or chance without recourse to the metaphysical theodicies discredited by Enlightenment skepticism and positivism. I argue that in HH and D Nietzsche adopts a conventional form of Stoic therapy. The article then shows how Nietzsche came to (...) take a critical stance against Stoic therapy on the grounds that it entails a radical extirpation of the value judgments that underpin the emotions. For this reason, I claim that in GS he attempts to develop a rival philosophical therapy, one that aims to enable human beings to unconditionally affirm fate but without this affirmation entailing, as it does for the Stoics, the dissolution of all emotional valuations. However, despite Nietzsche's belief that he had fundamentally broken with Stoicism, I argue, first, that Nietzsche's therapy in GS is deeply indebted to a "cosmic" model of Stoicism, which consists in the loving consent to the events that happen to us, and second, that he gives us no reasonable account of how it is possible to unconditionally affirm fate without adopting some form of Stoic indifference or apatheia. (shrink)
This book provides a critical overview of the role of the emotions in politics. Compassion is a politically charged virtue, and yet we know surprisingly little about the uses (and abuses) of compassion in political environments.Covering sociology, political theory and psychology, and with contributions from Martha Nussbaum and Andrew Linklater amongst others, the book gives a succinct overview of the main theories of political compassion and the emotions in politics. It covers key concepts such as humanitarianism, political emotion and agency (...) in relation to compassion as a political virtue.The Politics of Compassion is a fascinating resource for students and scholars of political theory, international relations, political sociology and psychology. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This article examines Foucault as a rhetorician rather than as a historian of parrhesia and rhetoric. It explores what we can learn about his philosophy by examining it through the lens of his rhetorical practices. Focusing on his famous 1961 preface to History and Madness, it suggests that Foucault’s model of philosophy entails a rhetoric of conversion or transformation.
This paper critically examines Hannah Arendt's claim that we should conceive forgiveness as a specifically political or worldly virtue. According to Arendt, the virtue of forgiveness is necessary if we are to halt the reactive rancour that always threatens to destroy the space of politics. This paper suggests that in building her case for the politics of forgiveness Arendt confusingly intermingles three conceptual threads - mercy, Christian forgiveness and forgiveness driven by eros. Drawing on Nietzsche's scattered analyses of these threads, (...) it argues that all three of these modalities of forgiveness jeopardize rather than restore the circuits of mutual recognition that are integral to democratic communities. Nietzsche shows that these shadings of unconditional or unilateral forgiveness do not necessarily arise from a will to live together, as Arendt assumes, but are anchored in and oriented by our need to console ourselves for the narcissistic wounding we inevitably suffer in the struggle for recognition. (shrink)
This paper examines Foucault's history of the ancient practices of the self. It suggests that his historical reconstruction usefully distinguishes quite different models of self-cultivation in antiquity, and in doing so helps us to identify and understand the parameters and ambitions of much nineteenth-century German philosophy, especially the ethics of self-cultivation Nietzsche formulates in his middle works. However, it also shows how FoucaultÕs casual formulation of an 'aesthetic of existence' is seriously misleading as a guide to the ancient practices of (...) the self, most notably the Stoic tradition. This paper argues that Foucault does not properly take into account how Stoicism conceives the desire to flee from or break with oneself, which Foucault places at the centre of his own askesis, as a pathological agitation that requires therapy. From the Stoic perspective, in other words, Foucault's askesis of constantly losing oneself is symptomatic of a failure to care for oneself. (shrink)
This volume offers the first English language collection of academic essays on the post-Holocaust thought of Jean Améry, a Jewish-Austrian-Belgian essayist, journalist and literary author. Comprehensive in scope and multi-disciplinary in orientation, contributors explore central aspects of Améry's philosophical and ethical position, including dignity, responsibility, resentment, and forgiveness.
Nietzsche's The Gay Science is a deeply personal book, yet also an important work of philosophy. Nietzsche conceives it as a philosophical autobiography, a record of his own self-transformation. In beautifully composed aphorisms he communicates his central experience of overcoming pessimism and recovering the capacity to affirm joyfully the tragedy of life. On the basis of his experiments in living, Nietzsche articulates his most famous philosophical concepts and images: the death of God, the exercise of eternal recurrence, and the ideal (...) of self-fashioning. This book explains the ancient and modern philosophical contexts that shape Nietzsche's central concern with the affirmation of life. It surveys Nietzsche's philosophy as a whole, explains the pivotal place of The Gay Science as the source of his ideal of tragic joy, and shows how he revives an ancient conception of philosophy as a way of life and the philosopher as physician. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Recent scholarship shows that in the late 1870s and early 1880s Nietzsche attempted to make contemporary naturalism, especially various strands of evolutionary biology, the basis of a new method of historical inquiry and a new style of moral criticism and experimentation. This scholarship demonstrates that nineteenth-century evolutionary thought was crucial to Nietzsche's formulation of his moral and political project. In this article I claim that Nietzsche did not simply draw on and apply contemporary naturalistic theories. Rather I argue that (...) he attempted to refract the ancient model of philosophy and its “spiritual exercises” through the new evolutionary paradigm. In particular, this article argues that Nietzsche tried to hinge one particular ancient spiritual exercise—the “view from above”—to the new evolutionary naturalisms. Nietzsche, I suggest, recast this spiritual exercise in terms of Darwinian evolution. Nietzsche's anchoring of the classical model of philosophy in contemporary naturalisms underpins and explains his claims that joy is the key “philosophical” emotion. By ascending to the Darwinian view from above, as we might call it, Nietzsche suggests that the “joyful” scientist experiences Schadenfreude—he can delight in rather than lament human misfortune and suffering. Nietzsche's fröhliche Wissenschaft derives from and expresses Schadenfreude. I argue that despite his attempt to found his philosophy on the new strands of Darwinian naturalism Nietzsche's own ethical orientation fatally compromises his naturalism. (shrink)
In 1967, Hannah Arendt published an essay with the deceptively simple title “Truth and Politics”. Most scholarly discussions of her essay consider her distinction between a traditional political art of limited, deliberate, strategic lying and modern, organised, global lying and self-deception and then evaluate her qualified defence of the virtues of mendacity. This article suggests, however, that her essay has a much broader ambit: viz., to defend the political value of truth-telling. The main purpose of this article is to demonstrate (...) that she formulates her essay as an apology of the truth-teller in politics and of her own truth-telling in her controversial report of the Eichmann trial. It first surveys the personal motives of Arendt’s political defence of frank speech. It shows that in developing this defence she significantly revises her scepticism about the value of truth-telling in politics. She does so by identifying three different types of truth-teller with distinctive political roles: philosophers who exemplify the truth in their own lives, citizens who see the world from other people’s perspectives, and poets and historians whose stories reconcile citizens to the past. Finally, it argues that the tragic political perspective Arendt sought to revive requires acknowledging value of the emotions in making political judgments. (shrink)
There has always been a tension between a critique of ‘real existing conditions’ and meta-theoretical paradigms through which the tasks of critique can both be anchored and images of humankind explored.
In 1967, Hannah Arendt published an essay with the deceptively simple title “Truth and Politics” (1967). Most scholarly discussions of her essay consider her distinction between a traditional political art of limited, deliberate, strategic lying and modern, organised, global lying and self-deception and then evaluate her qualified defence of the virtues of mendacity. This article suggests, however, that her essay has a much broader ambit: viz., to defend the political value of truth-telling. The main purpose of this article is to (...) demonstrate that she formulates her essay as an apology of the truth-teller in politics and of her own truth-telling in her controversial report of the Eichmann trial. It first surveys the personal motives of Arendt’s political defence of frank speech. It shows that in developing this defence she significantly revises her scepticism about the value of truth-telling in politics. She does so by identifying three different types of truth-teller with distinctive political roles: philosophers who exemplify the truth in their own lives, citizens who see the world from other people’s perspectives, and poets and historians whose stories reconcile citizens to the past. Finally, it argues that the tragic political perspective Arendt sought to revive requires acknowledging value of the emotions in making political judgments. (shrink)