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Philosophy Today

Volume 67, Issue 3, Summer 2023
Special Topic: Hermann Levin Goldschmidt’s Contradiction Set Free

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special topic: herman levin goldschmidt's contradiction set free
1. Philosophy Today: Volume > 67 > Issue: 3
Willi Goetschel Introduction to the Special Topic: Hermann Levin Goldschmidt’s Contradiction Set Free
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The introduction to a special theme focus on Hermann Levin Goldschmidt’s thought, this article briefly situates his central work Contradiction Set Free in the context of the time of its publication before it introduces the papers that examine the book from various perspectives to highlight its significance for a critical approach to philosophy today.
2. Philosophy Today: Volume > 67 > Issue: 3
Elaine Coburn Contradiction Set Free: Reflections on Contemporary Being-All-Together
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“The human other, each singular and whole in its own right, is never the same but always a different person. Human beings don’t repeat each other; they contradict each other” (Goldschmidt, Contradiction Set Free). Originally published in German in 1976, in the long shadow of the Shoah, in response to the threat of atomic holocaust, and amidst growing recognition of ecological disaster, Goldschmidt’s Contradiction Set Free argues that emancipation lies in diversity rather than in unity, in the freeing up of contradiction rather than in uniformity. I offer a close reading of Goldschmidt’s plea for pluralism, the foundation for our inescapable moral and political responsibilities to others. Today, what insights—and what hope—does his dialogic offer for the “joyfully creative” realization of our responsibilities to the other, both human and in the natural world?
3. Philosophy Today: Volume > 67 > Issue: 3
Daniel Silver Goldschmidt and Social Theory: Conflict and Dialogue
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The concepts of contradiction and dialogue are crucial to Hermann Goldschmidt’s Contradiction Set Free. In this paper, I place Goldschmidt into dialogue with two social thinkers for whom similar ideas were equally crucial: Georg Simmel and Donald Levine. In the case of Simmel, I highlight his theory of conflict specifically, but more generally his commitment to duality and ambiguity. In the case of Levine, I feature his attempt to articulate what he calls a “dialogic” narrative of the sociological tradition. I seek to evaluate Goldschmidt’s own thinking by his own criteria, by asking whether the sociological and the philosophical approaches to these questions are parallel, in opposition, or an instance of a contradiction in Goldschmidt’s sense.
4. Philosophy Today: Volume > 67 > Issue: 3
Asaf Ziderman HR Office Morality: Goldschmidt and the Relevance of His Critique of Dialogism
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Herman Levin Goldschmidt delineates and critiques four types of “dialogism,” four ways of derailing dialogical discourse and praxis. In the following, I examine two of them: “Pan-dialogism” is the glossing over the effect of power differentials such as gender, class, and race as relevant factors in the constitution of dialogue. “Pluralogic” is the evading of true dialogue, which is intense and exclusive, by conducting simultaneously multiple superficial conversations. Pluralogic enables to escape the internal turmoil and conscience’s call for critiquing that are part and parcel of true dialogue. To examine the two dialogisms, I use Martin Buber’s thought, which Goldschmidt sees himself as continuing, as a case in point as well as a resource to further unpack Goldschmidt’s thought. In the course of the paper, I criticize what I call “Human Resource Office Morality,” the celebration of mere diversity at the expense of true contradiction.
5. Philosophy Today: Volume > 67 > Issue: 3
Anne-Marie Fowler Dialogue Set Free?: Goldschmidt’s Reading of Leviticus 19:18 Encounters ChatGPT
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Goldschmidt’s evocation of Leviticus 19:18 in Contradiction Set Free accomplishes heavy lifting within the distinction of the dialogic from the dialectic. Analogized to a necessary recognition of each particular and unique fulfillment of the immediate command to “love your neighbor as yourself,” dialogue is temporalized within an already near, yet not ever complete, messianic infinite. As an ongoing, active and unfinished composition of unique “nows,” dialogue’s structure is likewise epistemically distinct from the structure of dialectical synthesis. How might this distinction’s lens of Leviticus 19:18 illumine opportunities—and obstacles—for “dialogue” between humans and artificial systems? Does examining the specific case of OpenAI’s ChatGPT under the lens of Goldschmidt’s text suggest that certain questions about generative AI learning capacity might actually be questions of time?
6. Philosophy Today: Volume > 67 > Issue: 3
Alexander Wolfson Overdetermination, Ambivalence, Contradiction
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This paper employs a psychoanalytic framework of the concept of contradiction to engage the methodological self-assuredness in which the philosophical concept of contradiction, as developed by Goldschmidt, is mapped onto a historical framework. Through readings of passages by both Freud and Goldschmidt it questions if, unlike the concept of contradiction found within Western metaphysics, “psychoanalytic contradiction” retains a capacity to call into account its own conceptual articulation.
7. Philosophy Today: Volume > 67 > Issue: 3
André Flicker Tracing the Singular of Contradiction in Contradiction(s) Set Free
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Goldschmidt’s Contradiction Set Free confronts us with a variety of topics, political and philosophical topoi, in which he traces contradictions of thought and action. This article focuses on Goldschmidt’s omission of the sphere of language as a site of contradiction in Contradiction Set Free. I argue that it is a deliberate choice on the part of Goldschmidt to not project a metalanguage of contradiction, but to probe philosophy’s involvement in the practice of language and thus present a critique of philosophy through the contradictory impulse of language. First, I discuss the status Goldschmidt ascribes to the work of language for philosophy. From here, I engage in a discussion of the meaning of Ergriffenheit (awe) in Contradiction Set Free. Finally, I analyze two of Goldschmidt’s uses of parables and conclude with a reference to a parable by Franz Kafka.
8. Philosophy Today: Volume > 67 > Issue: 3
Nils Roemer Hermann Levin Goldschmidt and the Futurology of an Uncertain Future
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This article discusses Hermann Levin Goldschmidt’s philosophical work , first published in 1976 as within the context of the field of futurology. Whereas his historical work seeks to restore a legacy that the Holocaust destroyed, his philosophical argument against the futurologists reclaims the future from the realms of forecasting and planning. Goldschmidt gains this unique philosophical position on the future from the perspective of German Jewish philosophers and scholars who shaped his historical work. The intersection of different lines of inquiry and scholarship that informed Goldschmidt’s perspective took shape within the contexts of his experience of exile and as a witness of World War II and the Holocaust. For Goldschmidt, to take the future seriously was to remain open to its possibilities.
9. Philosophy Today: Volume > 67 > Issue: 3
Ben Meyerson Clearing Up Correlationism: Goldschmidt, Meillassoux, and the Problem of Finitude
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In After Finitude, Quentin Meillassoux speculates from the principle of noncontradiction’s a priori enclosure toward a standpoint of absolute contingency. Based on his propositions, I argue that his thinking continues to reproduce a contradiction between the finitude of the subject and the infinitude of the noumenal world. Accordingly, I eschew the principle of noncontradiction in favor of a principle of contradiction derived from Hermann Levin Goldschmidt’s Contradiction Set Free. Goldschmidt formulates contradiction as an Either-And-Or whereby the two contradictory terms share a space between them in which there elapses a continuous process of negotiation. If the relation between finitude and infinitude is an Either-And-Or, then there is an interpenetration between the finite and the infinite, between bounded subject and noumenal world. Goldschmidt’s method reinvigorates the contradiction with which Meillassoux is grappling and introduces a more immanent mode of infinitude that echoes certain Spinozist and pre-Spinozist strains of Jewish thought.
10. Philosophy Today: Volume > 67 > Issue: 3
Lucas Ballestín Žižek’s Politics of Fetishism
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This article reconstructs Slavoj Žižek’s theory of ideology as a form of fetishistic disavowal. By seeking out Žižek’s relevant influences and clarifying them, the article seeks to make the theory of fetishistic disavowal in politics intelligible to a wider audience. Moreover, the article argues that the theory of ideology advanced by Žižek in this period of his work can be understood as a theory of unconscious defense, a fact that raises important questions about the utility of psychoanalysis for political philosophy. The article also considers issues pertaining to political belief, practical irrationality, and real abstraction.
11. Philosophy Today: Volume > 67 > Issue: 3
Brigita Gelžinytė Thinking in the Stillness of Life: On Hegel’s Notion of Experience
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The text approaches the Hegelian dynamic between truth and certainty as it appear in the beginning of the Phenomenology as a question of truth and the sense of truth. Since this difference exceeds a merely epistemic stance and cannot be captured in terms of conceptual content, it leads to another mode of inquiry, namely, to that of a different relatedness to knowledge. Hegel’s emphasis, as I will attempt to show, on thinking the question of self-relatedness of thought in terms of experience (which is always negative) in the first place, may provide a means to identify such a mode of self-relatedness that precedes the “self” of consciousness. Such an approach would put the question of the self both against its rigid modern critiques on the one hand, and its contemporary dissolution into naturalistic objectified oblivion on the other. In this way, the essay also challenges Heidegger’s critical stance towards the Hegelian notion of “the experience of consciousness” by presenting it rather as a “consciousness of experience.” For here this double genitive expresses a repetition or return that appears as a kind of afterimage of a still-life.
12. Philosophy Today: Volume > 67 > Issue: 3
Gustav Strandberg Wasting Oneself Away: Nietzsche and Schürmann on the Expropriation of the Subject
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In this article, I examine Reiner Schürmann’s interpretation of Nietzsche’s critique of subjectivity. By focusing on Nietzsche’s reflections on the difference between weight and lightness, I analyze Nietzsche’s critique of the appropriative nature of man and relate it to his understanding of the expropriative tendency in human existence. In the second part of the article, this Nietzschean understanding of subjectivity is developed through Schürmann’s interpretation of Nietzsche. Here, the onus is placed on Schürmann’s understanding of “the will to power.” For Schürmann, the will to power is the completion of man’s appropriative nature at the same time as it is points beyond subjectivity and towards an understanding of man as an expropriative being. The aim of the article is to show up Nietzsche’s importance for Schürmann’s thought and to investigate how his interpretation can shed light on what existence would become if it transcended the limits of the appropriating subject.
13. Philosophy Today: Volume > 67 > Issue: 3
Aloysius N. Ezeoba W. Norris Clarke’s “Substance-in-Relation”: A Viable Model for Reconstruction of African Personalism
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W. Norris Clarke described his personalism as “substance-in-relation,” which emphasizes the equality of primordial modes of substance and relation as a solution to the dichotomy between substance and relation created in the history of metaphysics of the human person. African personalism seems to conceive the human person as essentially relational, which is mostly expressed in the saying: “I am because we are.” Though some contemporary African scholars, like Molefe, try to indicate the priority of the individual, the relational concept remains dominant, which makes it inclined toward collectivism, that most often seems to repress the individual (substance). This article aims to attempt a proposal of a reconstruction of African personalism using the model of Clarke’s personalism by laying equal emphasis on the primordial modes of substance and relation in order to guard against individualism on the one hand and collectivism on the other hand.
14. Philosophy Today: Volume > 67 > Issue: 3
Zhen Liang Chinese Philosophy as the Pursuit of the Dao: An Inquiry into the Common Quest of Philosophical Thinking in Both Chinese and Greco-European Traditions
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This paper argues for an interpretation of Chinese philosophy as the pursuit of the Dao rather than the popular reading of it as a kind of wisdom literature. I examine the shared pursuit of two major Chinese schools of thought: Daoism and Confucianism—Dao, and compare it to the task of philosophy represented in the works of two major western thinkers—Hegel and Heidegger. By investigating the Dao comparatively with Hegel’s Concept and Heidegger’s philosophia, I reveal the common quest of philosophical thinking in both traditions.
book reviews
15. Philosophy Today: Volume > 67 > Issue: 3
David Farrell Krell Jacques Derrida, Hospitalité, vol. I, Séminaire (1995–1996)
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16. Philosophy Today: Volume > 67 > Issue: 3
Avery Goldman Eduardo Sabrovsky, Modernity as Exception and Miracle
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17. Philosophy Today: Volume > 67 > Issue: 3
Nico Buitendag Chantelle Gray, Anarchism after Deleuze and Guattari: Fabulating Futures
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