Friday, March 13, 2009

I am the conflict, their being bound together. I am both the combatants, and am the strife itself

Reading Hegel: The Introductions - Google Books Result
by G. W. F. Hegel, Aakash Singh, Rimina Mohapatra - 2008 - Philosophy - 272 pagesI am not one of those taking part in the strife, but I am both the combatants, and am the strife itself. I am the fire and the water which touch each other, ... Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition: Glenn Alexander ...
Glenn Alexander Magee's pathbreaking book argues that Hegel was decisively influenced by .... air, fire, and water understood in the classical Greek sense). ...
Hegel's Lectures on the History of Philosophy
The extinction of the soul, of the fire in water, the conflagration that ..... But in truth, the object is for me something essentially free, and I am for ...
Hegel's Dialectic of Desire and Recognition: Texts and Commentary - Google Books Result
by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, John O'Neill - 1996 - Philosophy - 331 pages We must not ignore, however, that Hegel carefully draws the distinction between the Platonic ... I am fire and water" ...
Hegel's Hotel: DGB Philosophy...Floor 3: More Essays on The ...
While each pre-Socratic philosopher gave a different answer as to the identity of this element (water for Thales, air for Anaximenes, fire for Heraclitus), ...
Alison Stone - Petrified Intelligence: Nature in Hegel's ...
6 Sep 2005 ... On Stone's reading, Hegel's philosophy of nature could still be relevant ... air, fire, and water) in a proto-rational manner, according to the laws .... but unfortunately I am not ultimately persuaded that Hegel belongs ...
The Phenomenology of Spirit Reader: Critical and Interpretive Essays - Google Books Result
by Jon Bartley Stewart - 1997 - Philosophy - 507 pages We must not ignore, however, that Hegel carefully draws the distinction between ... I am fire and water" (Vorlesungen iiber die Philosophie der Religion, ...
Existential Primer: Georg W. F. Hegel
With great relief, Hegel move to Frankfurt am Main in October 1796. ..... simply meant the opposite elements forming all reality: earth / air, fire / water.
slacktivist: Hegel's Bluff
29 Jun 2005 ... The cold pools provides refreshing drinking water to weary travelers. ... The fire and passion for revolution in a person is usually inversely ... Posted by: pharoute Jun 30, 2005 at 12:03 AM. Hegel's Bluff: What the ...
Journeys to Selfhood: Hegel & Kierkegaard - Google Books Result
by Mark C. Taylor - 2000 - Philosophy - 298 pages Hegel confesses: I am the strife, for the strife is just this conflict, which is not any indifference of the ... 1 am the fire and the water which touch one ... 8:58 PM

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

If one understands reason like Habermas does, one can begin to think about what its place should be

Working notes literary criticism, philosophy, and other things I'm up to and working on in princeton and elsewhere Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Rationality by Mike Johnduff

It strikes me, reading Habermas, that his achievement is (among many, many things) not so much the linkage of critical thought to empirical inquiry, nor the theorization of a rich notion of communication, but the recuperation of a field of rationality that remains less decidable than many thinkers (postmodern especially) would like to believe. Or rather, he understands that if you take their word for it, rationality (in its Enlightenment form) is so overarching, so massive in its effects, and so singularly responsible for the worst fictions about acting subjects and their world that one would think real discerning, responsible uses of it are few, or at least very hard to find--and affirms that this is the case. In other words, Habermas on a certain level restores meaning to reason by affirming what anti-Enlightenment thinkers say about reason: that a genuine use of it is very hard to find, even though it is everywhere. He then allows one to say that what we need is not to focus on how reason is ubiquitous and responsible for all atrocities, but on what a real genuinely responsible use of reason might actually look like.

It's not that we should brush off the effects of rationality. It's that, after reading something like Dialectic of Enlightenment, or Heidegger's accounts of reason, you lose all sense of the specificity of reason, and therefore any way (rational or irrational) of turning reason back towards the cultivation of a responsible function. As should be clear from my hesitant parenthesis here, this view also trades in a not unwarrented concern that any correction of reason will itself have to be rational--Freud in particular helped us see (and still helps us see) just how hard it is to think of something truly beyond reason, or that won't use reason against itself precisely in the effort to think reason's limits.

For me, Habermas gets a little too odd when he begins to say that the relative invisibility of genuine acts of reason means, not that they are rare, but that they are indeed everywhere: that certain aspects of practical action are themselves expressions of a certain form of rationality. This leads him to start to outline the amazing notions of the public sphere and discourse ethics. But I would rather he deemphasized the rationality of practical action and thought it more purely as mere action which may occasionally have a rational dimension. This would stay truer to the insight I'm outlining above: that reason is not as ubiquitous as we might think it is. This of course precisely means that reason isn't elevated into any particular good in itself, but that it remains just like any other specific (that is, not practical or pragmatic, as in Habermas) form of action that we engage in. It has its own specificity, and its own determinate or (at least) determinable force. But in the end what we see is that there is a realm which thinking that is anti-Enlightenment and anti-reason overlooks when it understands rationality in its particular sense: the realm in which the extension of reason, its genuine deployment, remains undecidable as to its effects (Derrida, for his part, will theorize precisely this undecidability of reason, and it is in this that he is most powerful, I think--attempting as he is the project of Freud sketched above, but with greater rigor). In the anti-rationality model, it could either prop up various forms of technical and political domination, or it could allow liberation.

What Habermas continually emphasizes (and Heidegger does this too, to his great merit, though with different motivations) is that the either/or here is way too rigid and is itself an effect of the ideology of those dominant forces, as well as the aspects of the liberatory forces which counter-productively rely on their opposition to the dominant. Rationality is only operative in the space at which it is extending itself or distributing itself further and further, such that it can be appropriated by both sides. This means that the use of reason isn't inherently, just because it is reason, going to fall into the hands of either. Again, I don't think that this space is as sustained in forms of practical and pragmatic action as Habermas does (I think it takes place in smaller spheres, like the classroom), but I do think he's right when he says that the cultivation of a sort of mastery of--or at bottom at least some ability to redirect--this space is what is crucial, and is what is left out in many accounts of reason. If one understands reason like Habermas does, one can begin to think about what its place should be--which is more than any mere denunciation of it (or an account of it that merely adds up to a denunciation of it) can really do. Posted by Mike Johnduff What is written about: , , , ,

Foucault, Gramsci, Hume, Wittgenstein

Home Go to Books Book Search New Titles Forthcoming Titles Introductory Philosophy
On this page you can find all the latest Philosophy titles. The Book Search function allows you to search a database of all titles published by Informa Healthcare, Psychology Press, Routledge and other publishing companies within the Taylor & Francis Group.

Education, Autonomy and Critical Thinking
By Christopher Winch
The concepts of autonomy and of critical thinking are of key importance in many contemporary accounts of the aims of education. Education, Autonomy and Critical... March 2009 Paperback: 978-0-415-54392-7 (Routledge) more information about Education, Autonomy and Critical Thinking

Hume's Difficulty

Time and Identity in the Treatise
By Donald L.M. Baxter
In this volume--the first, focused study of Hume on time and identity--Baxter focuses on Hume’s treatment of the concept of numerical identity, which is central to... March 2009 Paperback: 978-0-415-80477-6 (Routledge) more information about Hume's Difficulty

Gramsci and Global Politics

Hegemony and resistance
Edited by Mark McNally, John Schwarzmantel
The aim of this book is to explain and assess the relevance of the ideas of Gramsci to a world fundamentally transformed from that in... March 2009 Hardback: 978-0-415-47469-6 (Routledge) more information about Gramsci and Global Politics

Intergenerational Justice

Rights and Responsibilities in an Intergenerational Polity
By Janna Thompson
In this timely study, Thompson presents a theory of intergenerational justice that gives citizens duties to past and future generations, showing why people can make... March 2009 Hardback: 978-0-415-99628-0 (Routledge) more information about Intergenerational Justice

Theology, Creation, and Environmental Ethics

From Creatio Ex Nihilo to Terra Nullius
By Whitney Bauman
Winner of the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise, 2009
This book argues that the Christian doctrine of creatio ex nihilo (creation out of nothing) sets... March 2009 Hardback: 978-0-415-99813-0 (Routledge) more information about Theology, Creation, and Environmental Ethics

Justice, Intervention, and Force in International Relations

Reassessing Just War Theory in the 21st Century
By Kimberly A. Hudson
This book analyses the problems of current just war theory, and offers a more stable justificatory framework for non-intervention in international relations.
The primary purpose of just war theory... March 2009 Hardback: 978-0-415-49025-2 (Routledge) more information about Justice, Intervention, and Force in International Relations

Foucault's Law

By Ben Golder, Peter Fitzpatrick
Foucault’s Law is the first book in almost fifteen years to address the question of Foucault’s position on law. Many readings of Foucault’s conception of... February 2009 Paperback: 978-0-415-42454-7 (Routledge-Cavendish) more information about Foucault's Law

Movement and Experimentation in Young Children's Learning

Deleuze and Guattari in Early Childhood Education
By Liselott Mariett Olsson
In contemporary educational contexts young children and learning are tamed, predicted, supervised, controlled and evaluated according to predetermined standards. Contesting such intense governing of the... February 2009 Paperback: 978-0-415-46867-1 (Routledge) more information about Movement and Experimentation in Young Children's Learning

Capabilities Equality

Basic Issues and Problems
Edited by Alexander Kaufman
The capabilities approach to equality, developed by Amartyr Sen and Martha Nussbaum, seeks to answer the question: what is a proper measure of a person's... February 2009 Paperback: 978-0-415-49978-1 (Routledge) more information about Capabilities Equality

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Philosophy and Language
By Alice and Lazerowtiz, Morris, Ambrose
February 2009 Paperback: 978-0-415-48844-0 (Routledge) more information about Ludwig Wittgenstein

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Give Alexander credit for his emphasis on personal feeling

Customer Reviews The Luminous Ground: The Nature of Order, Book 4 by Christopher Alexander

Borrowed spiritual wisdom, August 8, 2004 By Bob Rosen "metroart" (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews

Alexander's Pattern Language series was/is a great accomplishment. It made the mysteries of good architectural design accessible to everyone. It attempted to liberate home- and town-building from the arrogant priesthood of professional architects and exposed the bankrupt values behind so much of contemporary building. It offered a deeply human alternative much more in tune with the way we really live. Not surprisingly it did very little to change professional practices. [..]

The art history illustrations are lovely (by comparison, most of Alexander's own paintings and drawings look rather second-rate), but the half-baked metaphysical ramblings, dressed up as pseudo-science, are very tedious, overly intellectual, and hardly new. The 2500-year-old Buddhist canon and many other spiritual traditions, like Sufism, Taoism, the Hindu Upanishads or Native American and Aboriginal religious cosmologies, have all expressed this vision far more eloquently and effectively. Alexander gives these venerable traditions barely a nod of acknowledgment, except as visual evidence supporting his own vague and untestable theories - since they make no claims to Scientific Truth, as Alexander does relentlessly, he just ignores or co-opts their immense contributions.

Give Alexander credit for his emphasis on personal feeling, but educating our feeling to make ever more accurate side-by-side discriminations between "degrees of life" can take us only so far as an aesthetic method. Being an artist is more a matter of life-long discipline and *practice* - above all, learning how to cultivate the right state of mind - natural and open, free from fixed concepts, beyond even the most refined intellectual judgments of good and bad, beautiful and ugly. It's not something to rattle on about for page after repetitive page, it's something to do - to discover how to do through doing, through direct experience. In my own work, books like John Daido Loori's Zen and Creativity and Chogyam Trungpa's Dharma Art, or Suzuki Roshi's Not Always So have been much more helpful and to the point. 3:34 PM