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Speaking in Celestial Signs

The Language of Western Astrology and the (Tenuous) Bonds of Occult Sociality

Omri Elisha

particular, individuals disillusioned with conventional religious affiliations and authorities are more eager than ever to embrace esoteric and eclectic paths of metaphysical knowledge and personal growth. As in previous waves of occult experimentation, such

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Metaphysical Questions in Sartre's Phenomenological Ontology

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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Peephole Metaphysics in the Poetry of Ted Hughes

Antony Rowland

An ontological need persisted in the writing of Ted Hughes, and continues in critical responses to it. This has manifested itself in various forms: Leonard Scijay detects a ‘mystical consciousness of the oneness of Creation’; in his recent book The Laughter of Foxes: A Study of Ted Hughes, Keith Sagar eulogises the ‘inner being’ of the poet. Although different, these descriptions share a vague appreciation of Hughesian ‘Being’ (or ‘Existenz’): Scijay has located it more specifically in Eastern metaphysics, Zen, and the Japanese concept of satori (the ‘totalistic unity with the infinite’). Critics have mostly agreed that Hughes does not adhere to an existentialist rewriting of Existenz, but they have not always responded generously to the various depictions of Being: Eric Homberger detects the Nazi conception of Rausch in the poet’s ‘fascistic exaltation of violence for its own sake’. More recently, critics more sympathetic to Hughes have attempted to locate Existenz elsewhere. Dwight Eddins recognises der Wille in the ‘universal force-field’ confronted in the poetry; Joanny Moulin uncovers the moments in which the narrators experience the imprint of the Lacanian ‘real’ in empirical reality. All these different critical perspectives have provided valuable insights into Hughes’s writing: it cannot be denied that the vigour of his work arises partly from its engagement with metaphysics of presence. Perhaps what could be added to this body of criticism is a critique of ontology itself. The possibility remains that a requirement persists in Hughes’s poetry to locate a form of Being that has been invented in order to find it. In Negative Dialectics Theodor Adorno describes such an ontological need as a manifestation of ‘peephole metaphysics’.

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Battle of Cosmologies

The Catholic Church, Adat, and ‘Inculturation’ among Northern Lio, Indonesia

Signe Howell

Western ideas, values, objects, and practices may, or may not, find resonance in a community whose ontological reference points are very different. Where old and new metaphysical and moral systems confront one another, local reactions and resulting

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Wu Wei East and West

Humanism and Anti-Humanism in Daoist and Enlightenment Political Thought

Eric Goodfield

Some contemporary authors have witnessed the flourishing of the Sinophilia of the Early Enlightenment and the direct impact of Daoist and Chinese thought on the ideas of Spinoza, Leibniz, Voltaire, Quesnay and the philosophes and have proceeded to make overt connections between the Daoist notion of 'non-action' or Wu wei and Enlightenment doctrines of laissez-faire. In contrast to such approaches, I argue that these frequent conceptual comparisons have often been inappropriate where touchstone humanist notions devoid of the Dao de Jing's fundamental spiritual and metaphysical commitments are brought forward as evidence of interconnection.

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Sartre and the Death of God

John H. Gillespie

at issue. Clearly Nietzsche views that death as sociological, that is, that belief in God no longer provides an unshakeable foundation for society’s values. In Nietzsche’s time, however, despite the metaphysical crisis represented in his writings, and

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John Rawls and the Revival of Political Philosophy

Where Does He Leave Us?

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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From Perception to Action

Sartre's Practical Phenomenology

Blake D. Scott


This paper re-examines the well-known problem of how it is possible to have an “intuition of absences” in Sartre's example of Pierre. I argue that this problem is symptomatic of an overly theoretical interpretation of Sartre's use of intentionality. First, I review Husserl's notion of evidence within his phenomenology. Next, I introduce Sartre's Pierre example and highlight some difficulties with interpreting it as a problem of perception. By focusing on Sartre's notion of the project, I argue instead that the problem is better understood at the level of action. In support of this interpretation, I conclude with a brief comparison to the early work of Paul Ricoeur. By borrowing some of Ricoeur's phenomenological vocabulary tailored to action, I reinterpret Sartre's example as a practical problem.

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Sartre on William Faulkner's Metaphysics of Time in The Sound and the Fury

Justin Skirry

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"Metaphysical Considerations Can Come Later, But the People Have Children to Feed"

An Interview with Aimé Césaire

William F.S. Miles

Nineteen eighty-two marked a milestone in the history of Martinique and the career of Aimé Césaire. One year had passed since François Mitterrand's election as president and Césaire's declaration of a "moratorium" on challenging the island's status as a French département (state). Pro-independence violence still rocked the French West Indies. In this interview Césaire discusses the burdens of material dependency, dangers of in- and out-migration, centralizing legacies of France, opportunities afforded by Socialist governance, the need for decentralization, and the future of Martinican identity. The interview reveals Césaire's strategic flexibility within inviolate principles, his unique capacity to channel his people's psyche, his keen recognition of the relationship between nationalism and economics, and his sensitivity to micropolitics and intra-island differences.