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John Paul Stadler and Brian Bergen-Aurand

Damon R. Young, Making Sex Public and Other Cinematic Fantasies (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018). 301 pp. ISBN: 978-1-4780-0167-6 / 978-1-4780-0133-1 (hardback, $104.95; paperback, $27.95)

Mauro Carbone, Philosophy-Screens: From Cinema to the Digital Revolution (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2019). 166 pp., ISBN: 9781438474656 / 9781438474649 (hardback, $80.00; paperback, $20.95)

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The Dynamics of Democratization: Elites, Civil Society and the Transition Process, by Graeme Gill. London: Macmillan, 2000. ISBN 0-333-80197

History of Shit, by Dominique Laporte. Translated by Nadia Benabid and Rodolphe el-Khoury. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2000. ISBN 0-2626-2160-6

An Introduction to Philosophy, by Jon Nuttall. Cambridge: Polity, 2002. ISBN 0-7456-1662-3

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Ze'ev Emmerich

What marks the difference between modern and non-modern political philosophy? Such a question could be understood in two ways. On the one hand, it could be understood as a question concerning formal differences between modern and pre/non-modern modes of philosophising. On the other hand, it could be understood as a question about the changing nature of the object of the philosophical enterprise, namely a question concerning the historical differences between modern and pre-modern (domestic as well as international) politics. Contemporary political philosophy has focused primarily on meeting the first, formal, challenge. By failing to take proper account of the effects that major historical developments—especially the rise of commercial society and global market economy—have had on the character of political life, much of contemporary political theory tend to view its enterprise as essentially an extension to or an application of ethics. What is needed instead is a 'political economy'. Political philosophy must rise to this challenge if it wishes to help us contend with our present predicament. The final part of the article outlines a realist, non-moralistic, political philosophy which takes account of the interplay between human 'sentiments' and 'reason' in a commercial world order.

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The Horse of Sakha

Ethnic Symbol in Post-Communist Sakha Republic (Iakutiia)

Emilie Maj

This report is on contemporary processes related to horse breeding in Sakha (Iakutiia), northeastern Russia. I demonstrate the importance of the horse figure in the philosophy of the Sakha, a hunting and herding people of Siberia, as well as the parallelism between the diminishing utilitarian function of the horse and reinforcing symbolism in the post-communist context.

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Interview

Propaganda’s Role in Liberal Democratic Societies

Jason Stanley and John B. Min

Stanley and Min discuss how propaganda works in liberal democratic societies. Stanley observes that the inability to address the crisis of liberal democracies can be partially explained by contemporary political philosophy’s penchant for idealized theorizing about norms of justice over transitions from injustice to justice. Whereas ancient and modern political philosophers took seriously propaganda and demagoguery of the elites and populists, contemporary political philosophers have tended to theorize about the idealized structures of justice. This leads to a lack of theoretical constructs and explanatory tools by which we can theorize about real-life political problems, such as mass incarceration. Starting with this premise, Stanley provides an explanation of how propaganda works and the mechanisms that enable propaganda. Stanley further theorizes the pernicious effects that elitism, populism, authoritarianism, and “post-truth” have on democratic politics.

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Peter O'Brien

This article analyzes the most influential weltanschauungen at play in the politics of immigration in Europe. I categorize relevant value judgments into what I, following Theodore Lowi, call "public philosophies." I highlight three competing public philosophies in the politics of immigration in Europe: 1) liberalism; 2) nationalism; and 3) postmodernism. Liberalism prescribes universal rights protecting the autonomy of the individual, as well as rational and democratic procedures (rules of the game) to govern the pluralism that inevitably results in free societies. Against liberalism, nationalism stresses community and cultural homogeneity in addition to a political structure designed to protect both. Rejecting both liberalism and nationalism, postmodernism posits insurmountable relativism and irreducible cultural heterogeneity accompanied by ultimately irrepressible political antagonism. I examine the three outlooks through a case study of the headscarf debate. The article concludes with consideration of how normative ideas combine with other factors to influence policymaking.

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Death Camps and Designer Dresses

The Liberal Agenda and the Appeal to 'Real Existing Socialism'

Lorna Finlayson

Political philosophers tend to notice their differences more than their similarities. I suggest that contemporary analytic political philosophy in fact exhibits a 'dominant paradigm', the main features of which are a commitment to liberal capitalism and a preference for the designing of 'just institutions.' To subscribe to this paradigm involves making a decision about how to manage the philosophical 'agenda.' In order to focus on certain issues within this paradigm, alternatives, most notably socialism, have to be excluded from prolonged consideration. A popular way of supporting this policy is by reference to the perceived failure of 'real existing socialism.' Taking the late political philosopher Brian Barry, among others, as an example, I argue that this argumentative strategy is unconvincing, and furthermore that its deployment tells a worrying story about the practice of political philosophy.

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Dan Flory

This article modifies philosopher Tamar Szabó Gendler's theory of imaginative resistance in order to make it applicable to film and analyze a distinctively adverse kind of resistant response to James Cameron's Avatar (2009). Gendler's theory, as she states it, seeks to explain resistance to literary stories in a straightforwardly cognitivist, but narrowly rationalistic fashion. This article introduces elements from recent work at the intersection of philosophy of film and the emotions to augment Gendler's theory so that it can be used to explain why some viewers hesitate or even refuse to imagine some cinematic fictional worlds. The method used is analytic philosophy of film. The analysis reveals that some viewers are cognitively impoverished with regard to imagining race in general: they will likely have extreme difficulty in centrally imagining racially "other" characters, which also bodes ill for their real-world prospects for moral engagements concerning race.

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Penny Enslin

Like other major developments in political philosophy, John Rawls’s Political Liberalism (PL) has raised important issues for philosophy of education. Rawls’s defence of liberalism as a political doctrine whose principles do not depend on any one comprehensive moral or philosophical doctrine for their justification, against comprehensive liberalism, which by contrast expresses a particular conception of the good life, engages with current controversies in schooling policy in liberal democracies like the United States and the United Kingdom, and potentially in South Africa.2 In such societies there are groups which oppose what is seen as the tendency of liberal education, with its emphasis on the development of qualities like autonomy and individuality, to show intolerance towards particular ethnic, cultural or religious groups and to threaten their continued existence. Their objections appear to require a political rather than a comprehensive liberal approach to schooling.

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Ruth Kitchen

For Sartre, shame is not an ethical but an ontological experience. With this in mind, the article examines the philosophical connection between shame and ambiguity through analysis of the experiences of abortion and the Nazi Occupation. The article demonstrates how Beauvoir develops Sartre's ontological notion of shame into an ethical philosophy of ambiguity as a result of wartime experiences. It demonstrates how encounters with shame, abortion, ambiguity and Occupation life in Beauvoir's 1945 novel Le sang des autres elucidate and are developed by Sartre and Beauvoir's philosophies of shame and ambiguity. The paper proposes that Sartre's and Beauvoir's thought was shaped by living through the Nazi Occupation and reveals how the memory of wartime shame is activated in contemporary ethical dilemmas in later literary works of both writers.