‘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’.
Leonid Mikhailovich Goryushkin (1927–1999)
After a long and serious illness, the celebrated Russian historian of Siberia, Leonid Mikhailovich Goryushkin, died on 26 September 1999 at the age of 71 in Novosibirsk. At the time of his death, he was the first Director of the newlyformed Institute of History at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SO RAN), previously part of the Institute of History, Philology and Philosophy of the Soviet Academy of Sciences (SO AN SSSR) where he had worked for thirty-six years.
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
Critical Theory and Social Change in South Africa
Beyond Hegel and Nietzsche: Philosophy, Culture and Agency, by Elliot L. Jurist. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2000.
The Postnational Constellation: Political Essays, by Jürgen Habermas. Translated, edited and with an introduction by Max Pensky. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2001.
Pluralism and the Pragmatic Turn: The Transformation of Critical Theory. Essays in Honor of Thomas McCarthy, edited by William Rehg and James Bohman. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2001.
With this issue, Contributions to the History of Concepts, a publication of the History of Political and Social Concepts Group (HPSCG), relaunches under the auspices of a new publisher and new sponsorship, and with a new editorial team. Berghahn Journals, the new publisher, is an independent scholarly publisher in the humanities and social sciences. The new host and sponsor is the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, an intellectual center for the interdisciplinary study and discussion of issues related to philosophy, society, culture and education.
A Review of Multispecies Ethnography
Laura A. Ogden, Billy Hall, and Kimiko Tanita
This article defines multispecies ethnography and links this scholarship to broader currents within academia, including in the biosciences, philosophy, political ecology, and animal welfare activism. The article is organized around a set of productive tensions identified in the review of the literature. It ends with a discussion of the “ethnographic” in multispecies ethnography, urging ethnographers to bring a “speculative wonder” to their mode of inquiry and writing.
Freedom, without Power
This article attributes the conception of 'freedom-without-power' which dominates contemporary Western political philosophy to a reification of social agency that mystifies contexts of human capacities and achievements. It suggests that Plato's analogy between the structure of the soul and the polis shows how freedom is a consequence, rather than a condition, of political relations, mediated by inter-subjective contestation. From this basis, the article draws on the work of Raymond Geuss to argue against pre-political ethical frameworks in political philosophy, in favour of a more contextually sensitive, self-critical approach to ethics. Such reciprocal ethical-political integration addresses problems of ideological complicity that may arise if freedom is discretely abstracted from history and power in political philosophy. Finally, the article roughly reconstructs a critical account of African identity from writings of Steven Biko to illuminate symptoms of 'meritocratic apartheid' in South Africa today which Thad Metz's influential pre-political conception of ubuntu obscures, by abstracting the figure of African personhood from politically significant historical conditions.
Andrew Benjamin and Francesco Borghesi
This special issue arose from a workshop on “Peace and Concord from Plato to Lessing”, organised by the editors and which took place at the University of Sydney on 18 and 19 September 2017. Central to the work of both the editors is the relationship between the concepts of ‘concord’, ‘peace’ and ‘dignity’ within a setting created by a concern with the development of a philological anthropology. Their work combines both intellectual history and philosophy, a combination that is reflected in the contents of the special issue of Theoria. The importance of these terms is that they allow for another interpretation of the ethical and the political. Central to both is the location of human being within a larger cultural context. That context demands an approach in which philosophy does not exclude history, and history recognises that it is already informed philosophically. If there is a unifying term, it is ‘culture’. The approach taken within the larger project starts with the centrality of culture as that which demands to be thought. And yet culture is neither tranquil nor unified. As Walter Benjamin argued, there ‘is no document of culture which is not at the same time a document of barbarism’. Allowing for culture’s centrality entails a reconfiguration of both philosophy and intellectual history.
Richard Rorty and American Intellectuals
Rorty wrote his Achieving Our Country as a philosopher, intellectual, academic and citizen, and each of these perspectives lead to a different emphasis in reading his book, and to a different story (and ‘storytelling’ is one of the themes of the book). The emergent pictures vary: the philosopher tells a story of the growing isolation and cultural sterility of analytic philosophy in the United States of America after the Second World War; the intellectual tells a story of the political bareness and practical uselessness of (the majority of) American leftist intellectuals in the context of the emerging new global order at the turn of the 21st century; the academic tells the story about humanities’ departments at American universities, especially departments of literature and cultural studies, and their students, and contrasts their possible future fate with the past fate of departments of analytical philosophy and their students; and, finally, the citizen tells a story about the nationhood, politics, patriotism, reformism (as well as the inherent dangers and opportunities of globalization). Rorty plays the four descriptions off against one another perfectly and Achieving Our Country represents him at his very best: Rorty is passionate, inspiring, uncompromising, biting and very relevant to current public debates. Owing to the intelligent combination of the above perspectives, the clarity and elegance of his prose, and (although not revealed directly) the wide philosophical background provided by his new pragmatism, the book differs from a dozen others written in the 1990s about the American academy and American intellectuals. It also sheds new and interesting light on Rorty’s pragmatism, providing an excellent example of the application of his philosophical views. One has to note that, generally, it is almost impossible to think of any piece written by Rorty outside of the context of his philosophy, and Achieving Our Country is no exception to this rule.
After decades of separation between Sartre's philosophy and Foucault's philosophy, we are now in a position to offer an analysis free from all dogmatic presuppositions. On the basis of certain themes, such as the study of the mechanisms of power, systems of marginalization, and how subjectivity is constituted, it is now possible to create links which go beyond the sterile polemics which have so often marked French philosophy. Today, Sartre and Foucault can be re-read as two very important tool-keys for giving us a way to understand the developments arising during our time. Their personal polemic of the mid-1960s must be re-read as a mutual misunderstanding. Notwithstanding some of the acerbic remarks the two philosophers said about each other, we will see that in these same pages can be found ways of thinking, especially regarding the conception of subjectivity, which can bring together these two intellectual itineraries.
French Après quelques décennies de séparation académique entre la philosophie sartrienne et foucaldienne, nous pouvons maintenant déployer une analyse qui se détache de tous les préjugés dogmatiques. À partir de certaines thématiques particulières comme celles de l'étude des mécanismes du pouvoir, des systèmes de marginalisation, de constitution de la subjectivité, il est possible aujourd'hui de construire des liens qui dépassent les stériles polémiques qui ont souvent marqué la philosophie française. Aujourd'hui Sartre et Foucault peuvent être relus, en fait, comme deux boites-à-outils très importantes pour donner une clé de lecture des évènements marquants de l'époque contemporaine. Leur polémique personnelle du milieu des années soixante doit être relue, en effet, comme une incompréhension réciproque : malgré les échanges acerbes entre les deux philosophes, nous verrons dans ces pages que certaines considérations, surtout à propos de la conception de la subjectivité, peuvent rapprocher les deux parcours intellectuels.