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1. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Paolo Diego Bubbio Editor’s Introduction: Sacrifice and Other Uprisings
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2. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand Solger, Alexander Crist On the Unity of Revelation and True Philosophy
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In this text, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand Solger (1780–1819), an influential but often overlooked figure in German Idealism and German Romanticism, offers an account on the relationship between revelation and philosophical thought. For Solger, the being of the eternal reveals itself in and to existence as a “creation out of nothing.” Similarly, existence seen from the position of the being of the eternal is the “nothing of being.” For the being of the eternal to enter into existence requires the sacrifice of existence, that is, the annihilation of the nothing of being. For Solger, the task of philosophy is to think these oppositions of the eternal and existence as a complete “passing over” movement, one which is comprised of creation and annihilation. Ultimately, “true philosophy” should attempt to think the “absolute fact” of revelation, namely, revelation as both thought in consciousness and experienced in its actuality in existence.
3. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Maurizio Ferraris, Daniele Fulvi The Sacrifice of Heidegger
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In this article, Ferraris examines the notion of sacrifice in the philosophy of Heidegger. Focusing specifically—but not exclusively—on Heidegger’s Beiträge zur Philosophie, Ferraris shows that sacrifice is a fundamental aspect of Heidegger’s thematization of human finitude. More specifically, Ferraris shows the central role played by sacrifice in highlighting the radical level of truth and authenticity that the event of death carries within itself. Hence, Ferraris argues that it is through sacrifice—and mourning—that we understand what death is, as the self-transcendence of Dasein makes the transcendence of Being possible.
4. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
René Girard, Stefano Tomelleri Mimesis and Social Interactions: Conversations with René Girard
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In this 1996 interview, published here in English translation for the first time, René Girard retraces some of the main aspects of his mimetic theory, such as the mimetic nature of desire and sacrificial scapegoating. In particular, Girard focuses on the similarities and differences between the role of sacrifice in primitive societies and in our contemporary Western society. Girard argues that fashion is essentially mimetic and that nowadays fashions incline towards forms of negative escalation, and finds evidence of such “minimalism” both in art and literature. In Girard’s view, all forms of scapegoating are founded on the crisis of differences, and the victimage mechanism is a fundamental structure of society. Girard concludes by advocating for a renunciation of rivalry, which he argues is one of the fundamental messages of the Christian Gospels.
5. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Michael Kirwan S. J. "Beyond the Gates": René Girard and the Persistence of Sacrifice
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In 1972, René Girard’s La Violence et le Sacré was published, bringing widespread attention to his insights correlating religion, violence, and social and cultural formation. In 1992, the British philosopher Gillian Rose published an acerbic critique of Girard, taking issue with his demonization of the language and concept of sacrifice. For Rose, this placed Girard in the company of “postmodern” philosophers whose distrust of modern rationality and embrace of messianic alternatives amounted to an “exodus” from the imperium of reason. This article will revisit the dispute thirty years on: is it true that Girard has “left the city,” as Rose maintains? The charge is countered by a demonstration of the connection between Girardian theory and two areas of philosophical investigation: theodicy and the problem of evil; and political theory in the light of the ”return of the theo-political.” In the light of these, an overall re-assessment of Rose’s critique will be offered. Throughout, the persistence of ”sacrifice” as a philosophical and theological category will be noted.
6. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Ann W. Astell Nursing in Wartime: Edith Stein and Simone Weil on Empathic Attention
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Edith Stein and Simone Weil both trained as Red Cross nurses for wartime service. For both philosophers, the activity of a nurse demands an empathic attention to the afflicted. Stein envisions herself as an attendant nurse in her memoirs; Weil similarly casts herself in a nurse’s role in her proposal for an elite, sacrificial nurses’ corps. This essay examines the practice of wartime nursing as a school for, and an expression of, their complimentary philosophies of human beings seen in their physical, epistemological, and spiritual interrelatedness.
7. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Ruth Groenhout Agency, Aging and Self-Sacrifice: A Dialogue with Beauvoir about Older Women
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Simone de Beauvoir’s discussion of the place of aging and menopause in The Second Sex offers only brief glimmers of older women’s agency tucked in among descriptions of the female elderly frantically, but futilely, searching for meaningful roles. Aging is particularly difficult to think through from an existentialist perspective that emphasizes agency and control over one’s world. Beauvoir’s later work in The Coming of Age offers more carefully detailed perspective for considering aging and the meaning of the sacrifice of life’s projects. The difficulty of maintaining a sense of identity and meaning increases as agency becomes limited and the weight of one’s past life and decisions becomes greater. Moving from The Second Sex to The Coming of Age in dialogue with Beauvoir clarifies when loss of control and agency destroys life’s value, but also when a deliberate choice to sacrifice agency may be meaningful and value-laden.
8. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Paolo Diego Bubbio, Gianni Vattimo Interpretation, Religion, Politics: A Conversation
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In this 2017 conversation, Gianni Vattimo discusses with Paolo Diego Bubbio the core themes of his own philosophical journey. Vattimo first comments on the legacy of his mentor Luigi Pareyson and on the differences between Pareyson’s conception of the relation between truth and interpretation and his own. Vattimo and Bubbio then elaborate on the return to Hegel and the possibility of a “hermeneuticized” Hegelianism. The participants also discuss Vattimo’s view of religion and the role that the Christian notion of caritas plays in his “weak hermeneutics.” Finally, Vattimo comments on his recent political writings and on his view of a “hermeneutic communism,” arguing that revolution is possible only as a collective inner transformation. Vattimo concludes by mentioning his recent essays, collected under the title Being and Its Surroundings, in which he presents the radical thesis of Heidegger’s philosophy as a new form of theology.
9. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Sarah Bacaller, Paolo Diego Bubbio Reply to On the Hegelian Doctrine, or: Absolute Knowledge and Modern Pantheism
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In this review, Hegel responds to criticisms leveled against his philosophy by the anonymous author of Ueber die Hegelsche Lehre, oder: absolutes Wissen und moderner Pantheismus (1829). Frustrated by his interlocutor’s apparent inability to coherently interpret his work, Hegel scathingly attempts to discredit the character of the text in focus and its author’s critical capacity. He does so by showcasing examples of misrepresentation and misunderstanding in the author’s writing. Hegel contests the increasingly common charge of “pantheism” being leveled against him at that time, wielded here by the anonymous author in a fairly unoriginal comparison between Hegel’s “doctrine” and Spinoza’s system. This review gives insight into the character of early theological responses to Hegel, and highlights Hegel’s polemical tendencies.
10. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Magdalena Zolkos The Nocturnal Order of Visuality: Images, Dreams, and Uprisings in Didi-Huberman
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Didi-Huberman conceptualizes images as unstable and incongruent events in disagreement with the art historiographic discourses that reduce visuality to the contents of representation. I analyze the link between Freud’s dream-theory and Didi-Huberman’s philosophy of images, focusing on the notion of dreams and images as instance of (up)rising against repression and erasure. Didi-Huberman does not simply “apply” psychoanalysis to disrupt the dominant art historiography; his interpretation of the dream book speaks to his originality as a reader of Freud who brings to the fore the importance of visual categories in psychoanalysis. Viewing images as disunified and “rent” has also political implications. The name of this power in Didi-Huberman’s project is anadyomene (“she that rises”); the imaginal rhythm of pendular dialectical movement between appearance and disappearance. I discuss Didi-Huberman’s analyses of photographs of camps and ghettos, and of uprisings, which highlight the link between the imaginal unconscious and aesthetics of anadyomene, and political subjectivization and resistance.
11. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
List of Contributors
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12. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Charles Barbour Introduction: The Meanings of History
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13. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Nicole Loraux, Alex Ling Aspasia, Foreigner, Intellectual
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The brilliant Aspasia owes her fame to two men. She was the beloved and revered companion of Pericles, the most powerful and prestigious Athenian of the city’s golden age (460–430 BCE), and the privileged and respected interlocutor of Socrates. Her position as a valued companion and recognised intellectual—exceptional in a city where custom dictated that silence and invisibility represented a woman’s greatest glory—was no doubt connected with her status as a metic (resident alien). This status, while denying her the right to become the legal spouse of the man whose life she shared, allowed her—at the risk of a somewhat sulphurous reputation—the freedom to be seen, to think, and to express herself. While the beautiful woman from Miletus has remained silent, if we assume that the insults she was showered with were essentially aimed at her lover, the leader of the democrats, the sources we have at our disposal allow us to study her relationships with Socrates and Pericles.
14. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Karl Löwith, J. Goesser Assaiante, S. Montgomery Ewegen The Human and History (1960)
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15. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Matthias Fritsch Discourse Ethics and the Intergenerational Chain of Concern
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This paper addresses the question of what discourse ethics might have to contribute to increasingly urgent issues in intergenerational justice. Discourse ethics and deliberative democracy are often accused of neglecting the issue, or, even worse, of an inherently presentist bias that disregards future generations. The few forays into the topic mostly seek to extend to future people the “all affected principle” according to which only those norms are just to which all affected can rationally consent. However, this strategy conflicts with core commitments of discursive ethics, as it renders agreement hypothetical and discursive participation virtual. I will attempt a supplementary route toward a connection between discourse ethics and intergenerational justice. Discourse ethics must be concerned, in what Habermas calls the symbolic reproduction of the lifeworld, with the emergence of rational minds capable of assessing reasons for proposed norms and policies, and such emergence is an intrinsically intergenerational affair. Symbolic reproduction links overlapping and non-overlapping generations in what has been elaborated as a chain-of-concern model, which I show to be linked to forms of indirect reciprocity among more than two parties. I conclude by discussing some consequences of this model for the all affected principle when viewed as specifically applied to future generations.
16. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Simone Weil, Chris Fleming Reflections on War
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In this essay from 1933, Simone Weil—only 24 at the time—offers her analysis of war, particularly as it appears in leftist discourse and revolutionary movements, and set in the context of a brewing war with Germany. In Marxism, and in leftist theory more generally, Weil finds no consistent attitude towards armed conflict, and certainly no principled opposition to it. Through certain historical falsifications and philosophical feints, leftists—of which Weil counted herself—end up propagating the very forms of oppression to which they declare themselves opposed. For Weil, “la guerre révolutionnaire est la tombe de la revolution” [revolutionary war is the tomb of the revolution], as long as workers are denied the means of waging it without a state machine controlling them, without military courts, and without execution for desertion. The conventional attitude towards (and the means of) revolutionary war threatens, in the words of Marx, to perfect the state apparatus rather than to overthrow it.
17. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Ian Alexander Moore On the Manifold Meaning of Letting-Be in Reiner Schürmann
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18. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Günther Anders, Christopher John Müller, Jason Dawsey Resistance Today
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Following decades of neglect, the work of the German Jewish philosopher, literary author, cultural critic, and poet Günther Anders (1902–1992) is gaining increasing recognition in the English-speaking world. This translation of “Résistance heute” (Resistance Today) makes one of Anders’s most programmatic and polemical short texts available. Published at the height of his anti-nuclear activism, “Resistance Today” is the written version of a speech Anders delivered in November 1962 upon acceptance of the northwest Italian city of Omegna’s Resistance Prize (other notable recipients included Jean-Paul Sartre and Frantz Fanon). It first appeared in print in the West German left-wing journal Das Argument in November 1963. Clearly written for the occasion, the text condenses (and often further radicalizes) key premises about the end of history, the amoral character of work, and the continuity between Nazi totalitarianism, the nuclear age and the world of consumerism that are developed in great nuance across a range of books that Anders had recently published. Key co-ordinates include: Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen 1 (The Obsolescence of Human Beings 1, 1956), his groundbreaking critique of technology; Der Mann auf der Brücke (The Man on the Bridge, 1959), a philosophical travel diary occasioned by Anders’s 1958 visit to Japan and his participation at the World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs in Tokyo; Burning Conscience (1961), a correspondence with the American reconnaissance pilot Claude Eatherly, who scouted the target area before the Enola Gay went on to drop the atom bomb on Hiroshima. It seems likely that Burning Conscience, which turned into an international bestseller, occasioned the award of the prize.
19. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Babette Babich Günther Anders’s Epitaph for Aikichi Kuboyama
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Günther Anders’s poem Du kleiner Fischerman is read here as a text contribution to the irruption that is violence and its enduring (omnipresent) aftermath. The essay includes a discussion of transmedial expression, including dramatization, or television and social media, text and subtext, as well as the inspiration of Anders’s poem as a work of art continuing in our times: the ongoing exclusion(s) of certain names and certain thinkers as of certain musical modes, including electronic musical works, as of voices and of collective memory, or oblivion. Reading Raymond Williams along with Anders and Adorno on television updated in today’s era of screen-being, this essay reads the challenges of on-line music magazines, Leonard Cohen and k.d.lang, between modes of memorialization, including a reading of Anders’s poetic memorial on the violence of Walter Benjamin’s death to conclude with Ivan Illich on the ongoing expropriation of death (and health) today.
20. Journal of Continental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Adriana Cavarero, Daniele Fulvi Feminist Thought. A Theoretical Approach
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In this essay, Cavarero thematically highlights the main issues of feminist thought, by criticizing the patriarchal system and its theoretical products—such as the concepts of complementarity of the sexes and of equality—through the lens of sexual difference. In doing so, she radically criticizes the so-called binary economy, namely the interpretative model on which the patriarchal system is based, in which the sole male sex is self-represented, establishing at the same time a representation of the female sex that is functional to men. Accordingly, by criticizing both the traditional and the postmodern approach, she aims to rethink from a feminist point of view the question of the subject, of the identity, and of the self. In this respect, she advances an account of the self as relational, namely a self that is given only through its relationship with others, hence rejecting the abstract universality of the male subject of traditional metaphysics. Subsequently, Cavarero presents a notion of identity as an interplay of relations that makes it fluid and dynamic, and not as fixed and permanent, as per the metaphysical tradition that understands it as universal substance. In conclusion, she argues that the unicity of the self—and of each human being—can be grasped only through a narrative discourse that counterposes the philosophical investigations on the essence of an absolute and universal principle of reality, and emphasizes the singular and unrepeatable nature of the self.