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Guest editors Arthur Bradley and Eletta Stimilli

Volume 68

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Displaying: 1-20 of 28 documents

1. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
Marcus Quent Critique without End(s): Crossroads in Critical Thinking
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Critique currently leads a life akin to a zombie. It is torn between attempts to surpass it and radical gestures of its dismissal, while moderate forces dwell on the business of inventorying its history. Starting from critique’s historical turn on itself, this essay focuses on destabilization and self-questioning as its essential features. Regarding Adorno’s model, it seeks to locate critique’s focal point before it was split by surpassing and dismissal. This model is still challenging because it is situated at a crossroads in critical thinking where the historical aspect of failure is tied to structural aspects of critique: resistance, disruption, and dissolution. It concerns a movement of critique that leads into delirium—without thereby abandoning its claim to objectivity. In the contemporary situation, where critique is at once generalized and dismissed, it is precisely the specific link of disrupting and claiming objectivity that challenges the universalized regime of opinion.
2. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
Niki Young Object-Oriented Animals: Towards a Theory of Animality in OOO
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In Graham Harman’s Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO), an apparent tension arises between his pursuit of a self-proclaimed “new theory of everything,” or general ontology, and his assertion that any ontology must be able to account for distinctions among various regions of being. This paper delves into this tension between universality and specificity, particularly concerning the question of animal ontology, and examines the potential for constructing an object-oriented animal ontology. By juxtaposing Harman’s perspectives with those of Matthew Calarco and other scholars, I aim to demonstrate the feasibility of developing an animal ontology using the framework of OOO.
3. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
Martin Zwick A Systems Theoretic View of Speculative Realism
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Recent developments in Continental philosophy have included the emergence of a school of “speculative realism,” which rejects the human-centered orientation that has long dominated Continental thought. Proponents of speculative realism differ on several issues, but many agree on the need for an object-oriented ontology. Some speculative realists identify realism with materialism, while others accord equal reality to objects that are non-material, even fictional. Several thinkers retain a focus on difference, a well-established theme in Continental thought. This paper looks at speculative realism from the perspective of systems theory. Many of the tenets of speculative realism have long been features of systems metaphysics and are expressed clearly in a systems framework. However, some views of some speculative realists differ substantially from systems theoretic ideas.
4. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
Andrey Gordienko Foucault, Badiou, and the Courage of Philosophy
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While regarding twentieth century French philosophy as a protracted conceptual war, Badiou has largely avoided an encounter with Foucault on the philosophical battlefield. According to Badiou, Foucault constructs a history of systems of thought starting from something other than philosophy (linguistic anthropology, postmodern sophism, democratic materialism) and, in so doing, exits the philosophical battleground. The present essay explores the prospect of rapprochement between these two thinkers, drawing attention to their shared concern with the theme of true life. For Foucault and Badiou, the life in truth and for truth compels the subject to invent a new way of being at the site of exception to what there is. Although Badiou remains ambivalent about the Foucauldian notion of the philosophical subject, he ultimately endorses Foucault’s conception of the philosophical life, which calls for courage insofar as it summons the human animal to think differently and become other than what one is.
5. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
Teresa Álvarez Mateos Language and Silence in the Novels of J. M. Coetzee
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Silence is reserved for what cannot be verbally expressed. The well-known Wittgensteinian quote summarizes an established understanding of the relationship between language and silence: because language is not enough to account for reality and thinking, it must be transcended by other means of expression, like music or silence. But what if the opposite is the case and silence is not the extension but the precondition of language, the ultimate source of meaning? This paper explores how this is the phenomenological and Derridean philosophical framework of Coetzee’s novels, a literary universe created from the will to signify and build singular meanings.
6. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
Eduardo Mendieta, Alan R. Wagner The Aristotelian Robot: Towards a Moral Phenomenology of Artificial Social Agents
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In this essay an engineer and a philosopher, after many conversations, develop an argument for why the Aristotelian version of virtue ethics is the most promising way to develop what we call artificial moral, social agents, i.e. robots. This, evidently, applies to humans as well. There are several claims: first, that humans are not born moral, they are socialized into morality; second, that morality involves affect, emotion, feeling, before it engages reason; third, that how a moral being feels is related to some narrative, whether moral or not; and finally, that narrativity is what builds a sense of a “moral” I, namely an authorial moral self.
7. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
Daryl Koehn Grounding and Limiting Political Corporate Social Responsibility (PCSR) Using a Neo-Aristotelian Approach
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This paper offers a neo-Aristotelian approach to PCSR aimed at enabling us to more systematically ascertain which sorts of corporate political activities, if any, might be politically acceptable. Part 1 sketches Aristotle’s account of the “political.” Aristotelian politics have at least four key dimensions. When we speak of PCSR, we should, from this Aristotelian perspective, evaluate how specific behaviors accord with or undermine these four aspects of political life. Part 2 of the paper explores which forms of activity by corporations qualify as genuinely (and thus acceptably) political within a neo-Aristotelian framework. Part 3 highlights strengths and limitations of this approach to PCSR.
8. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
William Konchak Rethinking Truth and Method in Light of Gadamer’s Later Interpretation of Plato
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As is well known, Plato was a significant influence on Gadamer’s thought. Nevertheless, Gadamer’s interpretation of Plato changed through the years, and he became increasing sympathetic towards Plato in his later works after 1960’s Truth and Method. This article will examine how Gadamer’s writings on Plato after Truth and Method may inform our interpretation of his magnum opus. I will present the case that this not only leads to rethinking Gadamer’s relation to Plato, but also has wider implications for his hermeneutics and for potential reconsiderations of key aspects of the text. I point to the possibility that if we do not sufficiently appreciate these changes in Gadamer’s interpretation of Plato, this may not only distort our understanding of Gadamer’s reading of Plato, but perhaps more importantly neglect how Platonic conceptions may inform his own hermeneutic project as it is outlined in Truth and Method.
9. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
Jack Montgomery The Socratic Moment
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This essay attempts to rethink what is here called “the Socratic Moment” in Western philosophy, that is, the unique turn that philosophy takes in the early Socratic dialogues of Plato. The essay begins by contesting the traditional view that the goal of Socratic inquiry is to gain irrefutable knowledge of ethical concepts such as courage, justice, friendship, and the holy for the purposes of future action. It argues instead, through a close reading of key passages from Plato’s Apology and Euthyphro, that Socratic inquiry actually begins with the concept under consideration in order to put the interlocutor themself—their beliefs and their actions—into question.
10. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
Sophie Nordmann The Challenge of a “Paradoxology”: Hermann Goldschmidt and Vladimir Jankélévitch
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This article takes as its starting point the central place given to contradiction by Hermann Goldschmidt in his book Contradiction Set Free, and it compares his approach with that of the philosopher Vladimir Jankélévitch. At the same time as Goldschmidt, Jankélévitch also assigned a central role to contradiction in thought, so much so that he often referred to his own philosophical method as “paradoxology.” For him, as for Goldschmidt, paradox is the driving force behind thought that is always on the move. This article presents the main features of Jankélévitch’s paradoxology and illustrates it with two themes: forgiveness and Jewish identity. By highlighting this proximity between Goldschmidt’s approach and that of Jankélévitch, I suggest that they are both part of a more general movement in continental philosophy in the second half of the twentieth century, one of whose main challenges was to rethink philosophical rationality in depth.
11. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
Roman Karlović, Peter Bojanić Goldschmidt and Yiddish Anarchism
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While Hermann Levin Goldschmidt didn’t read Yiddish anarchists, there seems to have been a convergent evolution in their thinking. Goldschmidt’s looking up to Jewish lore as a source of liberating creativity is commonly encountered in Yiddish anarchist texts. His view of action as a constant response to internal and external challenges in the struggle for an open future is developed by Isaac Nachman Steinberg on the basis of nineteenth-century vitalism. Goldschmidt’s theory of anarchist individualism as willed self-limiting solidarity has a compelling parallel in Hillel Solotaroff’s view of history. His use of impressionism and photography to eternalize the immediacy of human actuality is akin to Rudolf Rocker’s championing of decadent literature. In both cases, the goal of anarchism is not a dictatorship of the former downtrodden, but a continuous and contradictory evolution of freedom in ever-changing contexts.
on political theology
12. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 1
Arthur Bradley, Elettra Stimilli Introduction: Political Theology 1922–2022?
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13. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 1
Arthur Bradley Hobbes’s Medeas: Sparagmos and Political Theology
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This article explores Thomas Hobbes’s political translations of Euripides’s Medea and, particularly, his representation of the Dionysian ritual of killing and dismembering a sacrificial victim (sparagmos). To answer the question of what forms political theology may take in modernity, I contend that Hobbes seeks to reverse the political theological meaning of ancient Greek sparagmos—which was originally depicted in Euripides as a legitimate religious sacrifice whose objective was to reunify the polis—by turning it into a senseless act of political violence that will dissolve the civil state into competing interest groups or body parts. If Hobbes seeks to expel religious sacrifice from his political state into archaic pre-history, however, the article goes on to argue—via Bramhall, Schmitt, and Cavarero’s revisionary readings of his work—that the philosopher’s critique of Medea ends up bestowing a legitimacy upon the tragic heroine that disarticulates the political theological unity upon which his Commonwealth is founded. In the tragic figure of Medea, Dionysian sparagmos returns to dismember and even potentially consume the body parts of the Leviathan.
14. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 1
Dario Gentili Decision, Choice, Disclosedness: The Neoliberal Use and Neutralization of Carl Schmitt’s Decisionism
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This paper considers whether the category of sovereign “decision,” as it is used in Carl Schmitt’s Political Theology, has analogies with the paradigm of “choice,” as it is theorized in neoliberalism. Both decision and choice belong to that mode of judgement that “cuts” the field of alternatives into two, into two “extreme” alternatives. This mode of judgment not only presupposes the subject of the decision, but also sets up the terms of the choice, clearly indicating the optimal option. For Schmitt, a political decision arises in a “case of necessity”: in the “serious case” of war. And yet, it is precisely the neoliberal depoliticization of war that reduces it to a rule, and every choice fundamentally to a stance for or against. To escape from the neoliberal reduction of political decision in the form of a choice, I examine another mode of decision, absent from Schmitt’s texts: “disclosedness.”
15. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 1
Elettra Stimilli Political Theology Put to the Test of the Unexpected
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This essay returns to Jacob Taubes’s messianism in order to short-circuit a contemporary political and conceptual impasse between left- and right-wing Schmittianisms. It first seeks to expose the limits of both Schmitt’s originary political theology and post-war Italian Marxist rehabilitations of Schmitt, which, it is argued, remain caught in the same political-ontological matrix. To answer the question of what (if anything) might come after political theology, the essay turns to Jacob Taubes’s “counter-political theology” in order to find an alternative genealogy for modern democracy, not in Schmitt’s Christian conservative hierarchy, but in the antinomian and heretical elements within the Judaeo-Christian tradition. In conclusion, the essay argues that Taubes transforms the political theological impasse and makes possible a new reading of the contemporary political false choice we face between democracy and authoritarianism, liberal pluralism and populism.
16. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 1
Montserrat Herrero Power as Gift: Derrida’s Political Theology of Sovereignty
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The article addresses the question of whether Derrida in his political theology can be considered an “unfaithful” reader of Schmitt. While Derrida does not quote Schmitt’s Political Theology, some of his assertions are reminiscent of Schmitt’s disciplinary use of political theology. Indeed, Schmitt’s account of the relationship between exception, decision, and sovereignty was abundantly discussed in Derrida’s last seminar, The Beast and the Sovereign. Derrida attempts in this seminar to deconstruct the sovereignty of the nation-state and its onto-theologico-political foundation. The question I raise in this article is whether, in previous years, Derrida himself had not implicitly made a different political theology that, considering the negative theological path, develops an alternative idea of power. The hypothesis explored is that this alternative paradigm is derived from one of the names of the impossible: the gift.
17. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 1
Antonio Cerella Power’s Two Bodies: A Critique of Agamben’s Theory of Sovereignty
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This article seeks to problematize Agamben’s interpretation of sovereignty in light of the “archaeological method” he uses in his Homo Sacer project. In contrast to Agamben’s exposition, which treats biopolitics as the original and ontological paradigm of Western politics, the essay discusses how, historically, sovereign power has been conceived as a “double body”—transcendent and immanent, sacred and sacrificial, absolute and perpetual—from whose tension conceptual and political metamorphoses of sovereignty arise. The first attribute of sovereignty—absoluteness, on which Agamben has often focused—should be seen as an ordering and essentially modern function of its second “body”: the perpetuity of power. The article illustrates, then, how the retrospective projections through which the Italian philosopher constructs his ontological reading of sovereignty depend on some logical and epistemological lacunae that characterize his “archaeological method,” which is based, essentially, on an arbitrary use of historical analogies.
18. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 1
Nader El-Bizri Perspectives on Modern Islamist Political Theology
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This paper addresses the notion of political theology by way of accounting for modern manifestations of transnational Islamism with a particular emphasis on the establishment of theocratic rule through the contemporary political spheres of praxis in Twelver-Shiism (Shīʿa Ithnā-ʿAsharīyya). This is undertaken by way of giving some principal highlights concerning the conceptual aspects that can be accounted for from the standpoint of political theology in the broad context of Islamist fundamentalist movements. A more detailed focus is also presented in this context on the eschatology that underpins the theocracy of contemporary Twelver-Shiism in terms of its religious outlooks on history, and the conduct of its communal affairs along with the organization of its associated politicized institutions.
19. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 1
Saul Newman Political Theology and the Anthropocene
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Carl Schmitt’s political theology—which refers to the translation of theological concepts into secular political and legal categories, namely sovereignty and the state of exception—is defined against a background of “metaphysical” constellations where, according to Schmitt, bourgeois individualism and the nihilism of technology have come to dominate the modern age. My argument is that our contemporary age is dominated by a new “metaphysical” constellation—the Anthropocene. This condition—to which the ecological crisis is inextricably related—demands an entirely different kind of political theology to Schmitt’s sovereign-centric and anthropocentric version. As an alternative, I propose a political theology of planetary entanglement and care based on approaches from eco-political theology (Moltmann, Latour, Keller) and animal studies (Deleuze, Agamben, and Ciamatti).
20. Philosophy Today: Volume > 68 > Issue: 1
Iwona Janicka The Janus Face of Cosmopolitics: The Concept of Universality in Isabelle Stengers and Bruno Latour
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Scholars in multispecies ethnography, the ontological turn, new materialisms, science and technology studies (STS), assemblage urbanism and other movements within the posthumanities broadly considered often treat cosmopolitics, initially proposed by Isabelle Stengers and subsequently taken up by Bruno Latour, as a single coherent concept. However, Stengers’s cosmopolitics differs considerably from Latour’s. The difference is most clearly visible in their contrasting positions on the concept of universality. Even though their divergence on universality could be considered a minor philosophical dispute among intellectual allies, it should not be underestimated. It determines what sort of political practice each of these philosophers envisions with cosmopolitics. Their visions of political practice are substantially different. This article will examine Latour’s and Stengers’s diverging positions on universality, delineate the two types of cosmopolitics, and, finally, analyze what sort of political practice each of these cosmopolitics implies.