Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 37 items for :

  • Refine by Access: All content x
  • Refine by Content Type: All x
Clear All Modify Search
Restricted access

Towards a Historical Ontology of Violence

Yusuf Has

My aim in this article is to move the problematic of violence and its role in politics to a historico-ontological plane. I propose a perspective that breaks with the dominant subjectivist concept of human violence and its metaphysical foundations, which fail to distinguish this concept from that of aggression. According to this perspective, we are already in the field of violence in our everyday social existence, regardless of our personal choices or intentions, the sources of which are systemic. The ontological essence of this systemic violence lies in the fact that it is not external to human subjects but is engraved in their very social being by penetrating into the discourses, practices and frames of mind that make up their historical disposition, which makes it in many instances harder to escape than subjective violence. What I call from this ontological perspective the 'violence of closure' has the effect ultimately of suppressing the possibilities of social being open to human beings in their given historical situation, by normalising the existing way of social and political existence, and closing them off to alternatives. I argue that to this violence of closure must be opposed the violence of dis-closure, which, in its various particular intellectual and practical forms, can open up human social existence to its repressed possibilities.

Restricted access

Ontologies and Politics of Biogenomic 'Race'

Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther and Jonathan Michael Kaplan

All eyes are turned towards genomic data and models as the source of knowledge about whether human races exist or not. Will genomic science make the final decision about whether racial realism (e.g. racial population naturalism) or anti-realism (e.g. racial scepticism) is correct? We think not. The results of even our best and most impressive genomic technologies under-determine whether biogenomic races exist, or not. First, different sub-disciplines of biology interested in population structure employ distinct concepts, aims, measures and models, producing cross-cutting categorisations of population subdivisions rather than a single, universal biogenomic concept of 'race.' Second, within each sub-discipline (e.g. phylogenetics, conservation biology), genomic results are consistent with, and map multiply to, racial realism and anti-realism. Indeed, racial ontologies are constructed conventionally, rather than discovered. We thus defend a constructivist conventionalism about biogenomic racial ontology. Choices and conventions must always be made in identifying particular kinds of groups. Political agendas, social programmes, and moral questions premised on the existence of naturalistic race should accept that no scientifically grounded racial ontology is forthcoming, and adjust presumptions, practices and projects accordingly.

Restricted access

An Intellectual Genealogy of the Revolt against “Esprit de Système”

From the Renaissance to the Early Enlightenment

Jeffrey D. Burson

of Aristotle; of Neoplatonists like Plotinus, Porphyry, and Iamblichus; and of Hermetic texts. In this way, then, both Ficino and Pico synthesized scholastic ontological hierarchies with the moral philosophy of humanism, and their systems popularized

Restricted access

From Exoticism to Authenticity

Textbooks during French Colonization and the Modern Literature of Global Tourism

Claudine Moïse

frames that shaped destinies. Until the 1960s, during which individuals started questioning the ontological bedrock of nation-states, “le programme institutionnel,” 1 which delineated identities and determined lives, had long allowed for the socialization

Restricted access

Revisiting the Menkiti-Gyekye Debate

Who Is a Radical Communitarian?

Motsamai Molefe

ontological progression from an ‘it’ to ‘it’, talk of ancestors, among others. Notwithstanding some of what I consider to be controversial elements in Menkiti’s articulations on the idea of personhood, I am convinced that a charitable reading will not warrant

Restricted access

Book Reviews

The Rise and Decline of the State, by Martin van Creveld. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Reviewed by Roger Deacon

Sustaining Affirmation: the Strengths of Weak Ontology in Political Theory, by Stephen K. White. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000, 160 p. Reviewed by Jocelyn Maclure

Perception, Knowledge and Belief: Selected Essays, by Fred Dretske. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. ISBN 0 521 77742 9. Reviewed by Deane Baker

Body Talk: Philosophical Reflections on Sex and Gender, by Jacquelyn N. Zita. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998. Reviewed by Michael Lambert

The Study of History: A Bibliographical Guide, compiled by R.C. Richardson. 2nd edition. Manchester & New York: Manchester University Press, 2000. Reviewed by Roger Deacon

Restricted access

Logic, Paralogisms and Social Distinction

Michel Lallement

In La Barrière et le Niveau (1925), the French philosopher Edmond Goblot applied a logic of quality to the social world. The major thesis which Goblot defended at that time was: having no titles or property, the bourgeois class constructed itself superficially through value judgements, building upon commonly shared appreciations, however intrinsically contradictory they may be. If we accept this logical reading found in La Barrière et le Niveau, then two different types of paralogism, useful for sociological theory, merit consideration: paralogisms of criteria and paralogisms of judgement. When interpreted in this way, Goblot’s work presents a threefold theoretical interest: it associates logic and sociology in an original way; it illustrates the heuristic relevance of a social ontology approach, and it provides a grid of sociocultural analysis of the social classes which is still relevant today.

Restricted access

Person, Personhood and Individual Rights in Menkiti’s African Communitarian Thinking

Dennis Masaka

In this article, I argue that individuals could be entitled to rights, outside those that are communally conferred, as part of the primary requirement of being ‘persons’ in the African communitarian set-up if the terms ‘person’ and ‘personhood’ are understood differently from the way they are currently deployed in the communitarian discourse. The distinction between these two terms is the basis of my thesis where clarity on their meanings could be helpful in establishing the possibility of ascribing rights outside those that are communally conferred. I argue that ontologically, a ‘person’ is prior to ‘personhood’ (understood in the normative sense) which is considered to find its fuller expression in a community and by virtue of this, I think that he or she is entitled to some rights outside those that are defined and conferred by the community. This is my point of departure in this article.

Restricted access

Understanding Non-racialism as an Emancipatory Concept in South Africa

Raymond Suttner

Non-racialism is examined in relation to the concepts of race, generic humanism and universalism in order to establish conditions under which non-racialism can be implemented as an emancipatory concept. Denial of the salience or even the existence of the concept 'race' and also tendencies to organise on the basis of race essentialism are examined. It is accepted that race does not exist at an ontological level, in that it is not required for the constitution of the human subject. But race does exist historically and socially. To ignore its existence in addressing the question of non-racialism would be to deny the validity of the experience of racial inequality. At the same time, organisation on the basis of race, while sometimes motivated by strategic considerations, carries the danger of slippage and a permanent racialised identity. The post-1994 period is seen as opening the road to universalism and thus removing the basis for strategic essentialism.

Restricted access

Strategies of Governance

Michel Foucault on Power

Roger Deacon

How and why is it that we in the West, in our arduous and incessant search for truth, have also built into and around ourselves intricate and powerful systems intended to manage all that we know and do? This, arguably, was the key problem to which Foucault applied himself. Central to his critical, historical ontology of Western, and especially Enlightenment, reason is an investigation of the constitutive relations between the operation of power relations, the production of knowledge, and ways of relating ethically to oneself and others. This article examines Foucault’s account of the relations of power which are said to underpin contemporary thought and to regulate and subject modern individuals. Contrary to the belief that Foucault’s conception of power is dogmatic and all-encompassing, leaving no room for progressive resistance or change and flowing over into the realm of theory such that truth itself becomes questionable, it is argued here that Foucault offers us an analysis of relations of power as ‘strategies of governance’ which depend for their operation on the existence of free subjects capable not only of resistance but of positively producing effects of truth in reality.