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Collective Singulars

A Reinterpretation

Nikolay Koposov

The article proposes a semantic theory of collective singulars, or singular collective names, designating basic historical concepts, which came into being in the period of the Enlightenment. Their logical structure seems to be internally contradictory, for they refer at the same time to universal values and ideas and to concrete historical occurrences. They also entail two different principles of category-formation—the logic of general names and that of proper names. The two logics are equally rooted in our cognitive makeup; however, different cultures favor either one or the other. The article examines the transformation of the balance of the two logics in European thought from the Middle Ages to the present. The formation of the idea of universal history has brought about an equilibrium of the two logics, while the contemporary "crisis of the future" is accompanied by the rise of the logic of proper names.

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Singularity and Uncertainty

Counter-Ethics of Gender and Sexuality in an Indian Dream Analysis

Sarah Pinto

On the cusp of India’s Independence, a young woman in Punjab met with a psychiatrist for a conceptual experiment – the development of a ‘more objective’ and ‘Oriental’ theory of dream analysis. Known to us only as Mrs A., not only did she offer a ‘daydream’ to analyst Dev Satya Nand, she presented an intimate account of mid-twentieth-century upper-class Indian marriage, sexuality and womanhood. In her portrayal of the stakes of kinship, she posed an alternate vision – an ethic of singularity and uncertainty formed out of, but departing from, concepts of security and emplacement. This article explores Mrs A.’s account, using the work of twenty-first-century artist Shahzia Sikander to theorize her vision of possibility, and developing the concept of a counter-ethic – a formulation that presses against the parameters of an overarching ethic, occupying its conceptual and social infrastructure, but nurturing a new vision at the points it cannot be sustained.

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‘Sensuous Singularity’

Hamish Fulton’s Cairngorm Walk-Texts

Alan Macpherson

The purpose of this article is to consider walking artist Hamish Fulton’s ‘walk-texts’ as ethical responses to the environment. In light of the environmental crisis that manifests in the proposed stratigraphic designation ‘Anthropocene’, Jane Bennett’s writing on enchantment offers a direction for thinking about how an ecologically ethical sensibility might be cultivated. Fulton’s communicative response to his walking art, I argue, embodies the discernment of ‘things in their sensuous singularity’ that Bennett identifies as a key attribute of enchantment. Yet, in his own writing on his art practice, the walk-texts are conceived as secondary – a necessary counterpart to walking as an experiential activity. By honing in on two recurring strategies we find in Fulton’s Cairngorm walk-texts – the list and the return – I argue that his work offers a linguistic mode that holds great potential for tuning us to environmental ethics in the Anthropocene.

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Joseph S. Catalano

My goal in writing this article is to give a brief overview of the two volumes of Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason. After a brief introduction, I proceed in three stages that move from the abstract to the concrete. I thus trace the development of such notions as comprehension into the dialectic, praxis into singularity and incarnation, the practico-inert into the totalization-of-envelopment, and the enhancement of the notion of scarcity as a general historical condition into a collective free choice. I also suggest new divisions for Critique II.

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Trauma, Time, and the ‘Singular Plural’

The Israeli Television Series Fauda

Nurith Gertz and Raz Yosef

The Israeli television series Fauda tells the story of an undercover unit pursuing a notorious terrorist to avenge terror attacks that he masterminded and to prevent his future attacks. The series bolsters Israeli collectivity by re-enacting past traumas and capitalizing on the fear of traumas yet to come, but it also dismantles national unity by portraying other ways for individuals to develop relationships with the collectives to which they belong and by attempting to find alternative temporalities to ‘traumatic time’ that returns to haunt the present from the future. While the plot aims to reinforce national identity by overcoming situations of imminent disaster, the televisual language creates another time based on overlaps between the various narrative threads of both Israeli and Palestinian identities, thus opening up new opportunities for co-existence and another relationship between the singular and the plural.

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Democracy in the Plural?

The Concepts of Democracy in Swedish Parliamentary Debates during the Interwar Years

Anna Friberg

The article explores some of the composite concepts of democracy that were used in Sweden, primarily by the Social Democrats during the interwar years. Should these be seen as pluralizations of the collective singular democracy or as something qualitatively new? By showing how these concepts relate to each other and to democracy as a whole, the article argues that they should be considered statements about democracy as one entity, that democracy did not only concern the political sphere, but was generally important throughout the whole of society. The article also examines the Swedish parliamentarians' attitudes toward democracy after the realization of universal suffrage, and argues that democracy was eventually perceived as such a positive concept that opponents of what was labeled democratic reforms had to reformulate the political issues into different words in order to avoid coming across as undemocratic.

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Singular Pluralities

A Critical Review of Religious Pluralism

Anne-Sophie Lamine

From the 1980s onwards, much research has been carried out in order to analyze and compare the situation and the management of religious plurality in Western countries. While scholars in the social sciences of religion have seized on the question of plurality, those in migration studies have started to pay more and more attention to the religious dimension of migrants and their descent. Although macro-level plurality is more commonly investigated, internal religious plurality is of equal importance. This article provides a critical review of the various approaches of religious pluralism and emphasizes some under-investigated areas such as conflicts and internal plurality.

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Even governmentality begins as an image

Institutional planning in Kuala Lumpur

Richard Baxstrom

This article considers the complexity of contemporary urban life in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, through an analysis of planning and the plan itself as a thing in this environment of multiplicity. It argues that the plan functions as a vehicle for action in the present that does not require a singular vision of the future in order to succeed. Plans in the context of governance and urban development gesture to “the future,” but this gesture does not require “a future” in order to function in a highly effective manner. The evidence presented indicates that the primary effectiveness of the plan largely relates to its status as a virtual object in the present. Such virtual objects (plans) bind subjects to the conditions of the present within the desires and limits asserted by the institutions seeking to dominate contemporary life in the city, but this domination is never absolute, singular, or complete.

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Seth Farber

Marc Ellis is one of the few Jewish American intellectuals who supports the Palestinian struggle against Israeli domination and oppression. His writings have been highly praised by progressive intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and by the late Edward Said, although his work is ignored or decried by organized Jewish community leaders and most academics in the U.S. Ellis's oeuvre is clearly in the Jewish theologian tradition; however he is a singular and innovative thinker who is known for crossing interdisciplinary (among other) boundaries.

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Stephen Prince

In this issue of Projections, Dan Flory examines issues of race in film from a singular angle. He is interested in understanding how disgust reactions, manifested by viewers in relation to characters and situations, are inflected by racial dimensions of meaning and experience. Examining a wide range of films, he approaches the issue from the perspective of analytic philosophy and argues that the ways that viewers embody their sense of race through disgust reactions has implications for cognitive film theory.