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Sunday, September 6
by Debashish on September 6, 2009 07:14PM (PDT)
"The Crisis of the Mind" was written by by the French Symbolist poet and essayist Paul Valery at the request of John Middleton Murry. "La Crise de l'esprit" originally appeared in English, in two parts, in The Athenaeum (London), April 11 and May 2, 1919. The French text was published the same year in the August number of La Nouvelle Revue Française.
Valery's post WWI text, read today, bears a curiously contemporary prescience in its final aphoristic paragraphs, though it is also marked by the pervaisve Eurocentrism of the turn of the 19th/20th c. It also illustrates a form of poetic thinking and writing style which braids a scientific temper with Nietzschean mysticism in what he calls "a physics of the imagination."
The striking yet understated ending points to the way ahead for contemporary man in the thought of Valery (following in the wake of Mallarme and other French modernist thinkers). It lies in a new freedom at the margins of modernity and its social determinism. In thinking this self-reconstitution, the human can perhaps reconfigure himself in his historicity. more »
Saturday, August 29
by Rich on August 29, 2009 07:59PM (PDT)
In light of the invectives that were hurled decrying Peter Heehs as "Mr. Objective" due to the academic style of his biography of Sri Aurobindo, it should give us pause to note that the phenomena of "objectivity" did not emerge fully formed from the head of Zeus and that in fact "objectivity" has a Foucauldian history all its own. A history that that is intrinsically coupled to the evolution of the scientific subject and that has undergone several epistimic ruptures over the centuries that has radically changed the meaning of the concept.
Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2008.
"Objectivity has a history, and it is full of surprises. In Objectivity, Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison chart the emergence of objectivity in the mid-nineteenth-century sciences—and show how the concept differs from its alternatives, truth-to-nature and trained judgment. This is a story of lofty epistemic ideals fused with workaday practices in the making of scientific images."
"This richly illustrated book deeply renews the meaning of accurate reproduction by showing how many ways there have been to be 'true to nature.' Art, science, and reproduction techniques are merged to show that 'things in themselves' can be presented with their vast and beautiful company. This splendid book will be for many years the ultimate compendium on the joint history of objectivity and visualization."
—Bruno Latour, author of Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy
As Daston and Galison argue, atlases shape the subjects as well as the objects of science. To pursue objectivity—or truth-to-nature or trained judgment—is simultaneously to cultivate a distinctive scientific self wherein knowing and knower converge. Moreover, the very point at which they visibly converge is in the very act of seeing not as a separate individual but as a member of a particular scientific community. Embedded in the atlas image, therefore, are the traces of consequential choices about knowledge, persona, and collective sight. Objectivity is a book addressed to anyone interested in the elusive and crucial notion of objectivity—and in what it means to peer into the world scientifically.
Objectivity by Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison is not just a fine book, it is that rare thing, a great book. It is almost shockingly original, genuinely profound, and amazingly learned without ever being pedantic. It should force everyone interested in science and its history or in objectivity and its history to think more deeply about what they think they already know. It gives me great satisfaction to learn that thinking and writing of this brilliance and depth are still going on, even in this age of consumerism and mass markets.”
— Hilary Putnam, author of Ethics without Ontology
“Historically brilliant, philosophically profound, and beautifully written, Objectivity will be the focus of discussion for decades to come. At one and the same time a history of scientific objectivity and a history of the scientific self, rarely have rigor and imagination been combined so seamlessly and to such deep effect. No one who opens this book can fail to be engaged and provoked by its energy, ideas, and arguments. One emerges from reading it as if from a series of intellectual earthquakes — sound but no longer safe.”
— Arnold Davidson, author of The Emergence of Sexuality: Historical Epistemology and the Formation of Concepts more »
Saturday, August 22
by Debashish on August 22, 2009 12:21AM (PDT)
Etienne Balibar (1942- ) is a French philosopher and political theorist who was among the principal students of Louis Althusser. In this thought dialog with Alain Badiou (a worthy counterpart of the interview on Universalism carried on sciy earlier), Balibar conducts a sophisticated investigation on universalism - its dichotomies, its establishment as truth and the responsibility implicit in its pursuit.
Why is universalism always ridden with contradiction? Can it be spoken of in a singular fashion or can it be reduced to the proper side of a single dichotomy? In tracing a speculative history of universality, Balibar moves through the variety of dichotomous displacements through history to bring to focus the intrinsically dialectical essence of universalism.
This leads him to the political question of the establishment of universalism. Balibar extends the philosophical discourse of dialectics to the perpetuallly revolutionary essence of the politics of universalism - that is, it is in ceaseless reviolution that the single-dual ideal of what Balibar calls "equaliberty" becomes the quasi-transcendental horizon of realization. One may say that social consciousness expands in this process in unpredictable dimensions.
Finally, on the question of the responsibility intrinsic to the pursuit of universalism, Balibar points out how the question of violence is also intrinsic to it. This question is not merely an external or extensive one, a fact of revolution as mentioned before, but an internal and intensive responsibility - that of the violence of internal exclusivism. This is the specter of the terror of totalism or absolutism which we are so familiar with today. Balibar points to the always present specter of this danger and something the responsibility of the pursuit of universalism needs to be constantly vigilant about. - db more »
Thursday, August 20
An Interview with Alain Badiou: “Universal Truths & the Question of Religion” by Adam S. Miller, Journal of Philosophy and Scripture
by Debashish on August 20, 2009 01:11AM (PDT)
Is universalism an ideology in the self-proclaimed name of the Human which is meant to spread its normative hegemony over all forms of particularism, with a discursive disciplinary and regulative mechanism so ubiquitous that it disappears into unnoticeability? And in doing so, does it indeed wipe out all particularisms, or being itself a particularism pretending to be undeniably universal, does it instead enable a numberless plethora of fundamentalistic particularims to be equal claimants to the right of universalism in innumerable contested definitions of the Human?
What then happens to universalism? Must we discsard this utopian ideal of the Enlightenment in the rubbish heap of History? Or is it an alternate locus that we must seek for it, a locus in which difference can inhere at the horizon of identity ? Alain Badiou (1937- ), prominent French philosopher and former chair of Philosophy at the Ecole Normale Superieure, addrersses these questions in a book on St. Paul, where he develops his notion of universalism as a revolutionary aspect of becoming rooted in the idea of the Event. Such an Event cannot be predicted outside the appearance of dialectical contradictions, but in its appearance, such contradications lose their contradictory significance, either in an indifference or in a coexistence where new properties subsume their significance beyond contradiction. Perhaps it may not be too far to apply Sri Aurobindo's phrase to this event-ual nature of the becoming: "Trasncendence transfigures," though to Badiou such transcendence does not bear any inevitability or predictability to it.
In the present interview with Adam S. Miller of the Journal of Philosophy and Scripture, Badiou expands on his views on universalism and also inflects his positions vis-a-vis that of Giorgio Agamben and Slavoj Zizek. - db more »
Tuesday, August 18
The Fundamentalism Project: A series from the University of Chicago Press Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby, Editors
by Rich on August 18, 2009 05:15PM (PDT)
The Fundamentalism Project (1991–95), a series of five volumes edited by the American scholars Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby. Marty and Appleby viewed fundamentalism primarily as the militant rejection of secular modernity. The Fundamentalism Project has produced the definitive text on the phenomena of Fundamentalism more »
Sunday, August 9
by Debashish on August 9, 2009 01:53PM (PDT)
This book review by William Connolly, one of the most original political philosophers of our times, turns its attention on Stephen White's book Sustaining Affirmation, inflected with the sensibility of contingent and unpredictable becoming borrowed from Don DeLillo's novel White Noise. But much more than a book review, it is an engagement with White's text so as to affirm a number of positions held by Connolly himself, pertaining to his existential faith in immanent naturalism and the ontological condiitons for an evolutionary pluralism in the micropolitcs of contemporarary social life.
Connolly constellates his thought with what he calls the radical Enlightenment of Spinoza and a lineage he draws from this leading through Nietzsche, Bergson, Foucault and Deleuze. What one may see as common among these thinkers is the affirmation of a creative Becoming-without-Being or a Being as Becoming. That there is an infinte abundance to this which exceeds the human power of thought but to which thought can lend itself as an instrument of meaning and a part of its generous creative process, form core aspects of the faith which Connolly calls "immanent naturalism." Among the most pertinent causes driving this geneaolgy of postmodern thinking is the reaction against ontotheology, where a transcendental Being is inscribed with the name of God and assimilated into a fundamentalist metaphysics with an ideology, teleology, theology and normative boundaries to differentiate an inside and outside and institutional strutures to enforce these boundaries. Modernity is characterized by a displacement of the ideology of the Enlightenment onto pre-modern ontotheologies with a totalitarian scope in terms of absolute systemic knowledge and a cosmic-scaled will to power as technology. This ontology of the modern has also transformed mysticisms of the past into ontothelogies.
It will be clear from Connolly's text that he is hardly against the private affirmation of a faith in transcendental Being, but that this needs to be scrupulously rejected from becoming an ideology and needs to be subordinated to a practice of creative Becoming through openness to temporal proceses leading towards ever greater horizons of meaning and experience. -db more »
Monday, August 3
by Rich on August 3, 2009 11:06AM (PDT)
Continuing with Zizek on Fundamentalism in this excerpt Zizek takes on the Jewish God, Egyptian mysteries, India and British Colonialism Daniel Dennet, the Other, Multicultural Racism, etc:. Also in the post itself is an article on the same subject, here is an excerpt, in which his sometimes overt Lacanian fundamentalism is palpable :
Schelling who wrote: "God is a life, not merely a being. But all life has a fate and is subject to suffering and becoming. /.../ Without the concept of a humanly suffering God /.../ all of history remains incomprehensible." Why? Because God's suffering implies that He is involved in history, affected by it, not just a transcendent Master pulling the strings from above: God's suffering means that human history is not just a theater of shadows, but the place of the real struggle, the struggle in which the Absolute itself is involved and its fate is decided. This is the philosophical background of Dietrich Bonhoffer's deep insight that, after shoah, "only a suffering God can help us now" - a proper supplement to Heidegger's "Only a God can still save us!" from his last interview. One should therefore take the statement that "the unspeakable suffering of the six millions is also the voice of the suffering of God" quite literally: the very excess of this suffering over any "normal" human measure makes it divine. Recently, this paradox was succinctly formulated by Juergen Habermas: "Secular languages which only eliminate the substance once intended leave irritations. When sin was converted to culpability, and the breaking of divine commands to an offense against human laws, something was lost." Which is why the secular-humanist reactions to phenomena like shoah or gulag (AND others) is experienced as insufficient: in order to be at the level of such phenomena, something much stronger is needed, something akin to the old religious topic of a cosmic perversion or catastrophe in which the world itself is "out of joint." Therein resides the paradox of the theological significance of shoah: although it is usually conceived as the ultimate challenge to theology (if there is a God and if he is good, how could he have allowed such a horror to take place?), it is at the same time only theology which can provide the frame enabling us to somehow approach the scope of this catastrophe - the fiasco of God is still the fiasco of GOD. more »
Thursday, July 30
by Rich on July 30, 2009 11:32AM (PDT)
This is part of (midway through) an excellent lecture by Zizek on Fundamentalism. In this particular part of the lecture he considers the differences in how Derrida and Habermas treat the question of "the other" and how in his view they actually compliment each other. In the other parts of the lecture Zizek gives his insight into why, if Max Weber were writing today, he would call his book, "Taoism and the Spirit of Capitalism", (aka why westernized Buddhism or Taoism is the perfect compliment to neo-liberal globalization). Zizek also addresses the differences in fundamentalism between the type practiced by Tibetean Buddhist and Amish versus moral majority Christianity and radical Islam as well as eurocentric tendencies to exoticize the other
About half way through this part of the lecture are some questions raised (that are difficult to hear) but if one listens to the entire lecture (either the series of nine u tube videos or the mp3) one will be richly rewarded, because Zizek is here, at the top of his game wildly speaking to issues of fundamentalism, eurocentrism, orientalism, and otherness.
The link to the utube page with the entire series of nine videos and the mp3 download of the lecture is given in the body of the post.... more »
Wednesday, July 29
The Other of Derridean Deconstruction: Levinas, Phenomenology and the Question of Responsibility by Jack Reynolds
by Debashish on July 29, 2009 12:13AM (PDT)
Postmodernism destabilizes the determinable construction of the world through its emphasis on the Other. If Jacques Lacan approaches the Other psychologically, there are also phenomenological and theological approaches to the Other. Jacques Derrida was one of the great masters of contemporary thought who enagaged all his life with the various possibilities of the Other. Is the "other" a relative difference or an absolute difference? To what extent can it be assimilated to the subject? Is it closer to the phenomenological Other of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty or to the Other of the exitential theology of Kierkegaard and Levinas? These are the nuances with which Derrida grappled.
In this essay, Jack Reynolds explores Derrida's engagement with the Other and its ambiguities. In the process, he dwells on the late preoccupation of Derrida with the messianic. Reynolds draws the important distinction betwen the messianic and messianism in Derrida's thought; before concluding with the treatment of the Other in the phenomenological non-dualism of Merleau-Ponty. - db more »
Tuesday, July 28
by Rich on July 28, 2009 06:27PM (PDT)
The big Other designates radical alterity, an otherness which transcends the illusory otherness of the imaginary because it cannot be assimilated through identification. Lacan equates the big Other with language and the law, and hence the big Other is inscribed in the symbolic order. Indeed, the big Other is the symbolic insofar as it is particularized for each subject. Thus, the Other is both another subject in its radical alterity and unassimilable uniqueness and also the symbolic order which mediates the relationship with that subject. more »
Thursday, July 23
by Debashish on July 23, 2009 04:26PM (PDT)
Bruno Latour (1947-) is Professor and vice-president for research at the Institut d'études Politiques de Paris. Latour is a leading and very influential anthropologist of Modernity whose major contribution may be called holistic politcal epistemology. This, for Latour, is not a form of idealism, but what, following William James, he calls "radical empiricism." Latour is (in)famous for his pronouncement "We have never been modern." By this he means that the overarching hubris of modernity for human autonomy and mastery is a sub-narrative in a larger embeddedness in holistic properties which is only beginning to make its imperative critical demands on human attention. This emergence depends on the recognition of a change of telos and and a political epistemology of interdisciplinarity which takes humanity beyond itself into the fullness of global embodiment. In this essay, he reflects on environmentalism, society, technology and theology. - db more »
Tuesday, July 14
by Rich on July 14, 2009 08:25PM (PDT)
So what became of otherness? We are engaged in an orgy of discovery, exploration and “invention” of the Other. An orgy of differences. We are procurers of encounter, pimps of interfacing and interactivity. Once we get beyond the mirror of alienation (beyond the mirror stage that was the joy of our childhood), structural differences multiply ad infinitum – in fashion, in mores, in culture. Crude otherness, hard otherness – the otherness of race, of madness, of poverty – are done with. Otherness, like everything else, has fallen under the law of the market, the law of supply and demand. It has become a rare item – hence its immensely high value on the psychological stock exchange, on the structural stock exchange. Hence too the intensity of the ubiquitous simulation of the Other. This is particularly striking in science fiction, where the chief question is always “What is the Other? Where is the Other?” Of course science fiction is merely a reflection of our everyday universe, which is in thrall to a wild speculation on – almost a black market in – otherness and difference. A veritable obsession with ecology extends from Indian reservations to household pets (otherness degree zero!) – not to mention the other of “the other scene”, or the other of the unconscious (our last symbolic capital, and one we had better look after, because reserves are not limitless). more »
Monday, July 6
by Debashish on July 6, 2009 04:17PM (PDT)
Robert Sardello, Ph.D. is a Jungian psychologist and scholar of Gaston Bachelard and Rudolf Steiner. He is a co-founder of The School of Spiritual Psychology, and the author of a number of books, inclusing the recently published Silence. He served as Chairman of the Department of Psychology at the University of Dallas, head of the Institute of Philosophic studies there, and graduate dean. He is also co-founder and faculty member of The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, whichas undertaken the Bachelard Translation project, and through which most of Bachelard's English translations are available.
In November 2002, The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture sponsored a conference titled "Matter, Dream, and Thought: A Symposium of the works of Gaston Bachelard." Sardello's contribution to that Symposium dealt with one of the elements which form Bachelard's meditations on the Imagination of Matter - Air. more »
Sunday, July 5
by Rich on July 5, 2009 07:21PM (PDT)
Bachelard was a philosopher/poet of the imagination and poetic reverie. While his works on poetics and phenomenology are classics of the genre, the concepts he developed in the philosophy of science such as the epistemological rupture were taken up and developed both by Thomas Kuhn and Michel Foucault
* A man is a man to the extent that he is a superman. A man should be defined by the sum of those tendencies which impel him to surpass the human condition..... Gaston Bachelard... more »
Sunday, June 21
by Debashish on June 21, 2009 11:33AM (PDT)
"Unbeknownst even to some of its promoters, the creation of mental constructs . . . takes the place of attention to the advent of the Unpredictable. That is why the 'true' mystics are particularly suspicious and critical of what passes for 'presence'. They defend the inaccessibility they confront." - Michel de Certeau.
The writings of Michel de Certeau on mysticism are interdisciplinary, original and tantalizing. They draw on disciplines ranging from history, theology and spirituality to psychoanalysis, semiotics and cultural theory. While de Certeau concentrated on sixteenth and seventeenth-century French and Spanish spiritualities with their emphasis on 'spiritual experience', one of his most controversial views was that mysticism is not purely a matter of interiority but is a form of disruptive 'social practice'.
In a time of institutionalized comforts, of Integral Theory, Integral Religion and Integral Psychology, the caution of Michel de Certeau becomes more pressing than ever. De Certeau relates the rise of mysticism with social conditions which "possess" and displace experience within the language of orthodoxy. The science of 'mystics' he proposes is not so much a system of named experiences as a blueprint of praxis, a language of tactical retreat, a shifting map of recognized departures and social attitudes of refused identification. In this article, Philip Sheldrake, Vice-Principal and Academic Director of Saturn College, Salisbury and Honorary Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Wales, Lampeter, opens a window on de Certeau's studies and caveats on mysticism. more »
A Review of Dipesh Chakrabarty's "Provincializing Europe" by Amit Chaudhuri (London Review of Books) Debashish
AntiMatters vol 3 no 4 is out koantum
Classicism, post-classicism and Ranjabati Sircar’s work: re-defining the terms of Indian contemporary dance discourses by Alessandra Lopez y Royo Debashish
LACMA 111909 - Debashish Banerji Debashish
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Within the limits of capitalism, economizing means taking care - Bernard Stiegler
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Within the limits of capitalism, economizing means taking care - Bernard Stiegler