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Opposing Political Philosophy and Literature

Strauss's Critique of Heidegger and the Fate of the 'Quarrel between Philosophy and Poetry'

Paul O'mahoney

Strauss's critique of Heidegger's philosophy aims at a recovery of political philosophy, which he saw as threatened by Heidegger's radical historicism; for Strauss, philosophy as a whole could not survive without political philosophy, and his return to the classical tradition of political philosophy, while inspired by the work of Heidegger, was directed against what he saw as the nihilism that was its consequence. Here I wish to examine a dimension of Strauss's critique which, though hinted at, remains neglected or unexplored by Strauss: that is, how the critique of Heideggarian historicism should naturally link with Strauss's frequent attention to the issue of the ancient 'quarrel between philosophy and poetry'. It has often been observed by other commentators that through Heidegger's work, philosophy appears liable to be supplanted by contemporary literature, whether poetry or philosophy. As some of Strauss's explicit statements extend his definition of what falls under the category of 'poetry' in the modern age to contemporary novels and poetry, this aspect of Heidegger should have commanded more of his attention. Endurance of the quarrel between philosophy and poetry becomes through the prism of Strauss's work the confrontation of political philosophy with literature, particularly the novel form. It was not so much the rise of modern, non-teleological natural science that threatened the endurance and dignity of philosophy, then, but the rise of modern literature; the critique of historicism, when viewed in the light of the enduring 'quarrel', should lead one to a consideration of a crucial issue which remained oddly neglected, or was only hinted at, by Strauss.

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Judith G. Coffin

Catherine Rodgers, Deuxième sexe de Simone Beauvoir [sic]: Un Héritage admiré et contesté (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1998).

Simone de Beauvoir: Le Deuxième Sexe, Le Livre Fondateur du féminisme moderne en situation, ed. Ingrid Galster (Paris: Honoré Champion, 2004).

Cinquantenaire du Deuxième sexe, eds. Christine Delphy and Sylvie Chaperon (Paris: Syllepse, 2002).

Le Deuxième Sexe de Simone de Beauvoir: Textes réunis et présentés par Ingrid Galster, ed. Ingrid Galster (Paris: Presses de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2004).

Margaret A. Simons, Beauvoir and the Second Sex: Feminism, Race, and the Origins of Existentialism (New York and Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001).

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Historicizing Strong Metaphors

A Challenge for Conceptual History

Rieke Schäfer

The debate between metaphor theorists and conceptual historians has been intensifying in recent years. This article takes this debate beyond the bias toward Blumenberg's metaphorology, and starts from the interaction view of metaphor as formulated by Max Black. The article opens with a theoretical framework that reformulates Black's notions of metaphorical resonance and emphasis. It adapts them to the requirements of Conceptual History, and adds a third, historical criterion for metaphoricity. It then applies these suggestions to the history of the metaphor play/game/Spiel/jeu within twentieth-century political thought. Here, the focus lies on the role this metaphor plays in the conceptual relations between the ideas of political order, conflict, and immanence.

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R. Bruce Douglass

John Rawls is widely thought to have revitalised political philosophy. This paper discusses that claim critically in the light of Rawls' own characterisation of his project as well as a series of objections that have been raised by critics from diverse points of view. It concludes that the criticisms advanced by the authors in question help to clarify what exactly Rawls accomplished. He did revitalise liberal political philosophy, but in a manner that lacks much of the traditional substance of political philosophy. The paper concludes by discussing the significance of this finding and its implications for the future of political philosophy.

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Kudzai Matereke

Adopting an African-focused perspective in the analysis of African experiences of mobility enables us to confront the limits imposed by a historicist-induced articulation of African experiences of mobility. This article offers some concluding remarks to a section on African mobilities and attempts a critical analysis of how an African-based perspective of mobility serves to decenter or provincialize the Western-centric discourses of mobility. This undertaking is important in the attempts to fashion African modes of thought that serve as a counternarrative to European thought and to subvert the misrepresentations of im/mobilities of Africa and things African.

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Andrey Vozyanov

Mobility requires waiting, especially in intermodal transportation systems. People must wait in airports, stations, and vehicles; at bus stops; in queues at registration desks and luggage checks; at boarding; and elsewhere. Waiting is part of the public transportation routine. As Ohmori and Harata report, an average commute time for train commuters in Tokyo is sixty-nine minutes.

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Adrian van den Hoven

In his lengthy interview with Bernard Dort, published in Sartre on Theater1, the dramatist gives a detailed justification for the theme and setting of his play. His goal was “to demystify heroism – that is, military heroism – by showing its link with limitless violence.” Sartre decided not to situate the action in France “because [he] wanted [to have] a fairly wide audience” and satisfy in that way “an aesthetic need of theater, the need for distancing the object to some extent by displacing it in space in and time”.

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Saul Dubow

Liberalism in South Africa has attracted criticism from many quarters. A persistent objection focuses on the association between liberalism and capitalism, with liberals often cast as defenders of privilege and inequity and thereby as aligned with domination rather than liberation. This characterisation relies on a great deal of oversimplification. The length of the South African liberal tradition, and its diverse influences, means that South African liberalism resists easy definition. It is better seen as a family of resemblances than in terms of a lineage. The historical development of South African liberalism has therefore to be understood, above all, in terms of local conditions and contexts. By looking at its long history in this manner, it is possible to identify persistent strands of thought that are often disposed to support redistributive mechanisms. These may not be fully egalitarian and they may be pursued for pragmatic and prudential ends rather than as a matter of principle. Nevertheless, they include principled opposition to apartheid policies. Free-market ideologues have been exceptional within the long liberal tradition. An historical appreciation of the redistributive components of South African liberalism may help those who wish to revive modern liberalism as a social democratic movement.

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Jewish Heritage in France

Evaluation of Twenty Years Work and Protection

Dominique Jarrassé

France awoke fairly late to the realisation that specific protection was required for its Jewish heritage. For many years, the only thought was to safeguard a few eighteenth-century buildings of exceptional quality without considering their value as representatives of the Jewish inheritance. Thus, in 1924, the synagogues under threat at Carpentras and Cavaillon were saved by being classified as historic monuments. It was not until the 1980s that a campaign to research and protect this heritage got under way. The regional Departments for the Preservation of Historic Monuments were given the idea of ‘recent heritage’ by their supervising ministerial department.

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Anna Bara and Sveta Yamin-Pasternak

Religion and Magic in Socialist and Post-Socialist Contexts I: Historic and Ethnographic Case Studies of Orthodoxy, Heterodoxy, and Alternative Spirituality. Alexandra Cotofana and James M. Nyce, eds. (Stuttgart; ibidem Press, 2017), 200 pages. ISBN: 9783838210391. Paperback, $45.00.

Litsom k moriu: Pamiati Liudmily Bogoslovskoi. Igor Krupnik, ed. (Moscow: Moskva, 2016), 647 pages. ISBN 978-5600013650.