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The Return of the Animal

Posthumanism, Indigeneity, and Anthropology

Danielle DiNovelli-Lang

The vectors by which the question of the animal has confronted the discipline of anthropology are both diverse—from paleoarchaeological fascination with the transition from ape to man to sociocultural accounts of human-animal conflict—and fraught insofar as they tend to loop back into one another. For instance, while posthumanism is intellectually novel, to take its line of critique seriously is to recognize that the science of man has depended on the philosophical animal from the start. A still tighter loop could be drawn around Lévi-Strauss's foundational interest in animal symbolism and the Amazonian ontologies undergirding Latour's amodern philosophy. Three related interdependencies pull hard on these loops: 1) philosophy and anthropology; 2) the human and the animal; 3) modernity and indigeneity. This last interdependency is notably undertheorized in the present efflorescence of human-animal scholarship. This article attends to some of the consequences of modernity/indigeneity's clandestine operations in the literature.

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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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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.

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Dannica Fleuß and Gary S. Schaal

The article analyzes the (often implicit) understanding of democratic theory that is presupposed by scholars who engage in this practice and provides an answer to the question: “What are we doing when we are doing democratic theory?” We flesh out the core features of this scholarly activity by relating it to and differentiating it from assessments made from the perspective of political philosophy and political science. We argue that democratic theory aims at proposing institutional devices that are (a) problem-solving approaches and (b) embodiments of normative principles. This two-faced structure requires democratic theorists to engage in feedback loops with political philosophy on the one hand and empirical political science on the other. This implies that democratic theorists must adopt a dynamic approach: democratic theories must “fit” societal circumstances. In consequence, they must be adapted in case of fundamental societal transformations. We exemplify this dynamic character by referring to digitalization-induced changes in democratic societies and their implications for democratic theorists’ practice.

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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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Flowers from Palestine

A Chapter from Selma Lagerlöf's Novel Jerusalem and a Book from the Library of the Hochschule Für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg

Margaretha Boockmann

With the founding of the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien (HfJS) in 1979 the library of the institution, which currently contains some 50,000 volumes, was also established. Corresponding to the subjects taught at the HfJS, the library contains books on the Bible and Biblical exegesis, Talmud and rabbinic literature, Jewish history, philosophy, literature and art, as well as the several languages that are taught in relationship to these subjects.

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Jeffrey Wilson

Since Kant, modern philosophy has reacted critically and most often dismissively to any theories or inquiries deemed “metaphysical.” The Critique of Pure Reason shows that although human beings naturally seek knowledge of things that are beyond the limits of all possible experience (i.e., metaphysical knowledge), the categories by means of which we are capable of knowledge are all restricted in their legitimate application to objects of possible experience.

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Adrian van den Hoven

This collection of twenty-one articles by thirteen American, six British, and two Canadian scholars is divided into four sections: Sartre and Philosophy; Sartre and Psychology; Sartre: (Auto)biography, Theater, and Cinema; and, finally, Sartre and Politics. The great diversity of approaches and commentaries is a tribute to the stature of Sartre, whose writings continue to have an impact on the English-speaking world and farther afield.

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Yiwei Zheng

‘Pure reflection’ is an important concept that bridges Sartre’s ontology and ethics in his early philosophy. In Being and Nothingness, Sartre devoted a section (Part Two, Chapter Two, Section III) to a discussion of the ontological characteristics of pure reflection. In Notebooks for an Ethics,3 he explored the ethical implications of the ontological characteristics of pure reflection (that he had presented in Being and Nothingness) and he used pure reflection as an essential stage leading to an ethical life of ‘authenticity’.

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Fixing Men: Sex, Birth Control, and AIDS in Mexico, Contemporary South Africa, by Matthew Gutmann Marc Epprecht

The Political Philosophy of Needs, by Lawrence Hamilton David James

Foucault, Psychology and the Analytics of Power, by Derek Hook Grahame Hayes

Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory, 2nd edition, by Bhikhu Parekh Joleen Steyn-Kotze

The Plot to Kill God: Findings from the Soviet Experiment in Secularization, by Paul Froese Gerald West