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Co-hosted by CCG, ADRI, and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, this seminar series features invited presentations from Deakin staff and a mix of local, national and international scholars.
To find out more about the seminar series, or to express your interest in attending or presenting, email Sean Bowden.
14 March - Associate Professor Jean-Philippe Deranty
20 March - Dr Jack Reynolds
27 March - Dr Matthew Sharpe
3 April - Dr Colin Marshall
17 April - Dr Jon Roffe
24 April - Dr Justin Clemens
1 May - Dr Magdalena Zolkos
8 May - Dr Simon Lumsden
15 May - Dr Antonia Pont
29 May - Peter Woelert
5 June - Stan van Hooft
12 June - Paul Redding
10 July - Petra Brown
17 July - Marguerite La Caze
24 July - Alexander Naraniecki
31 July - Sean Bowden
7 August - Erin Manning
14 August - Tamas Pataki
21 August - George Duke
28 August - TBA
4 September - Justine McGill
11 September - Vanessa Lemm
18 September - Paul Patton
25 September - TBA
2 October - Andrew Inkpin
9 October - Geoffrey Boucher
16 October - Warwick Fox
30 October - Peter Harrison
The Naked Self: Some Kierkegaardian Contributions to Analytic Philosophy of Personal Identity
Kierkegaard is a philosopher with striking - and often confronting - things to say about the nature, structure, constitution and importance of selfhood, yet his work has been almost totally absent from contemporary discussions of self and identity. I argue that Kierkegaard’s reflexive understanding of memory and anticipation, particularly his discussions of ‘contemporaneity’ as an experience of phenomenal co-presence with past and future events, offer useful insights for these discussions. However, Kierkegaard’s understanding of selfhood also challenges contemporary accounts of the self (both metaphysical and practical) due to its fundamentally normative, eschatologically-oriented nature, and its corresponding dual temporality. Ultimately, Kierkegaard offers an irreducibly first-personal, temporally-emplaced model of selfhood that points beyond some of the current impasses in personal identity theory.
Patrick Stokes is Lecturer in Philosophy at Deakin University. His current research is concerned to bring Kierkegaard into dialogue with contemporary analytic philosophy, as well as to explore the temporal and perspectival aspects of the question of selfhood. He is the author of Kierkegaard’s Mirrors: Interest, Self and Moral Vision (Palgrave, 2010) and, with Adam Buben, the co-editor of Kierkegaard and Death (Indiana UP, 2011).
Historicist objections to the centrality of work, and a tentative rejoinder
The place of work in the contemporary theoretical field is a paradoxical one. Many empirical inquiries continue to be based on the assumption that work and employment are key factors in the study of major social phenomena such as inequality (economic, sexual or cultural), or shifts in family structures. This assumption is largely relayed in public discourse and policy discussions. On the other hand, there is widespread consensus in the theoretical arms of the humanities and social sciences that the work paradigm is now obsolete, both on descriptive and normative grounds. Adding to this complexity, substantive new models have emerged, notably the “psychodynamics of work” in France, which challenge this theoretical consensus. This paper places itself within this overall project to reaffirm and redescribe theoretically the centrality of work. I focus in this paper on the historicist assumptions at the heart of the theoretical consensus against the centrality of work. I identify four major reference points for these historicist objections: Marxist, Foucauldian, social-theoretical and anthropological. In a final part, I make some suggestions to indicate the contours of a rejoinder against such powerful objections.
Jean-Philippe Deranty is Associate Professor in Philosophy at Macquarie University. He is the author of Beyond Communication: A Critical Study of Axel Honneth’s Social Philosophy (Brill, 2009), and is the editor of a number of volumes including Jacques Rancière: Key Concepts (Acumen, 2010) and, with Alison Ross, Jacques Rancière and the Contemporary Scene (Continuum, 2012). Jean-Philippe is also a member of the editorial board of Critical Horizons.
Time, Philosophy and Chronopathologies
This talk presents in a condensed form some of the core arguments of my recent book, Chronopathologies, but it also borrows the title of John McCumber’s recent book, Time and Philosophy, because I present both a diagnosis of the centrality of time to the divided house that I think contemporary philosophy remains, as well as a sort of negative prescription regarding how we might better avoid particular chronopathologies, or time-sicknesses, that are endemic to these philosophical trajectories. To the extent that such sicknesses are at least partly inevitable, this paper consists in a call to be more attentive to this tendency, and to the methodological, metaphilosophical, and ethico-political consequences that follow from them.
Jack Reynolds is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at La Trobe University. He is the author of Merleau-Ponty and Derrida: Intertwining Embodiment and Alterity (Ohio UP, 2004), Understanding Existentialism (McGill-Queens, 2006), Analytic Versus Continental: Arguments on the Methods and Value of Philosophy (Acumen, 2010, with James Chase) and, most recently, Chronopathologies: Time and Politics in Deleuze, Derrida, Analytic Philosophy and Phenomenology (Lexington, 2011).
Reading Hadot via Costa Lima: Philosophy as a Way of Life and “the Control of the Imaginary”
In this paper, I use Brazilian thinker Costa Lima’s ideas concerning the “control of the imaginary” in literary theory to reexamine Pierre Hadot’s history of philosophy, as involving the progressive loss of the connection between theoretical discourse and existential practices, following the end of the classical-hellenistic period. In Control of the Imaginary, The Dark Side of Reason and elsewhere, Lima advances a sweeping claim that the Western heritage of literary theorising, from the Romans onwards, has been characterised by a series of, political and theoretical, operations of “controlling” the creative imagination operative in the creation and reception of literary fictions; subordinating this creativity, and its capacity to generate alternative “as if” worlds, to accepted notions of truth, verisimilitude, decorum, and morality. In Lima’s narrative, Aristotle’s Poetics with its notion of mimesis represents a resource to which literary theory should return to theorise what he terms the “criticity” (criticidade) of poetic and literary writings, as means to hold at a distance, and challenge, prevailing epistemic and other norms. In Hadot’s account of Western philosophy, ancient Greek philosophy’s pedagogic and existential concern with forming, as much as informing, students was correlated to the rich variety of distinctly literary forms that ancient texts take: up to the penning of tragedies by a philosopher like Seneca, but including Plato’s and Aristotle’s dialogues. Indeed, Hadot explicitly argues that in the ancient philosophical paradigm, the “imagination”, the literary and the rhetorical, found a place in philosophical discourses - particularly concerning the figure of the sage - which has since been largely lost. Does Hadot’s narrative, linking the atrophy of philosophy as a way of life with the diminution of the literary forms of philosophy, speak to or even echo Lima’s concerns in the literary field? This paper will address the question, not without noting significant qualifications that need to be appended to such a claim.
Matthew Sharpe is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Deakin University. His ongoing research interests include political philosophy, psychoanalysis, critical theory, epistemology, and conservative and reactionary political thought. He is the author of Slavoj Zizek: A Little Piece of the Real (Ashgate, 2005), the co-author with Geoff Boucher of ZiZek and Politics (Edinburgh UP, 2010) and The Times Will Suit Them: Postmodern Conservatism in Australia (Allen & Unwin 2008), and the co-author with Jo Faulkner of Understanding Psychoanalysis (Acumen 2008).
The mind as an idea in Spinoza’s Short Treatise
Spinoza’s account of the mind in the Short Treatise differs significantly from that in the Ethics. One claim that remains constant, however, is that the mind is an idea (more specifically: an idea of the body). After considering the significance of this counter-intuitive claim, I examine Spinoza’s argument for it in the Short Treatise. This examination suggests that Spinoza’s grounds for accepting the mind-as-idea view must extend beyond those he explicitly offers. I conclude with a proposal about what Spinoza’s actual grounds were, and give some reasons for thinking that the view is more plausible than it first appears.
Colin Marshall is Gerry Higgins Lecturer in the History of Philosophy at the University of Melbourne. He is the author of a number articles on Spinoza and Kant in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosopher’s Imprint and the British Journal for the History of Philosophy.
For a Philosophy of the Market: The case of Elie Ayache
While censorious moral proclamations and weighty political discourse are readily at hand these days in response to any fluctuation in the global market, we for the most part remain without any intrinsic and philosophical account of the market. Given the market’s ubiquity and influence, this seems more than just a minor lacuna in the philosophical demand to adequately think reality.
One striking exception to this state of affairs, though, is the work of Elie Ayache. In his 2010 work The Blank Swan, and drawing on a range of philosophers including Deleuze, Badiou, Meillassoux and Bergson, Ayache argues that the market is a newly formed and ontologically distinct space, what he calls the “privileged medium of contingency.” For Ayache, market trading, and more specifically the trading of financial instruments called derivatives, are revelatory of the nature of the market as such.
My goal in this paper will be to discuss four points: 1) Ayache’s (Bergsonian) critique of the notion of possibility and his reassessment of the role of predictive modelling in our understanding of the market; 2) the correlative reconceptualisation of the concept of the market as the medium of derivatives (what Ayache comes to call contingent claims); 3) the (Deleuzean) consequences of Ayache’s account of the market; and 4) the potential demise of the market at the hands of automated algorithmic trading (or the replacement of the trader with the mathematician).
Elie Ayache will follow the paper with a response.
Jon Roffe is a Mackenzie Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Melbourne. He is the author of Badiou’s Deleuze (Acumen 2011) and the forthcoming book of aphorisms Muttering for the Sake of Stars. The founding convenor of the Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy (www.mscp.org.au), he is also an editor of Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy (www.parrhesiajournal.org) and the co-editor of a number of books on recent and contemporary French philosophy.
Elie Ayache graduated from Ecole Polytechnique in 1987, traded options in open outcry markets until 1995, co-founded ITO 33, a derivative pricing technology firm, in 1998 and published The Blank Swan: The End of Probability in 2010.
For those interested in Ayache’s work, the following pieces may be of interest:
* Interview on The Blank Swan (http://www.ito33.com/sites/default/files/articles/1005_coverstory.pdf)
* The End of Probability (http://www.ito33.com/sites/default/files/articles/1011_ayache.pdf)
Those with a background in finance may also like to consult:
* Actuarial Value vs Financial Price (http://www.ito33.com/sites/default/files/articles/1111_ito33.pdf)
* Can anyone solve the smile problem? (http://www.ito33.com/sites/default/files/articles/0401_ayache2.pdf)
Conformity to Law in Kant’s 3rd Critique
Immanuel Kant is often held to have created the very epitome of a juridical philosophy, in which reason is established as a tribunal and the problem of judgement is concomitantly preeminent. This situation would be exemplified by the very title of the 3rd Critique: Critique of Judgement. My position is very different from this. It is precisely because Kant seeks to find a space that is not determined by the law that he so strenuously attends to it, and in the 3rd Critique he discerns a new kind of judgement that is at once utterly in conformity to law and yet nonetheless exceeds it.
The ‘Origins’ of European Fascism. Memory and Violence in Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon
The cultural theory approach to national collective trauma has emphasized cinema’s possibilities of problematizing narrativity and the representation of historical violence. In addition, what needs to be recognized is the non-linear temporal aspect of traumatic memory. Michael Haneke’s 2008 film The White Ribbon offers rich material for the study of mnemonic representations of historic violence: it tells a story of violent attacks and assaults that interrupt cyclical life of a village in Northern Germany in 1913/1914. The narrator frames the story of violence as a study of the origins of fascism as the alleged perpetrators are young children, who rebel against the disciplinary powers of patriarchal authority. Coming into maturity during World War I, they will become the generation of Nazism’s followers.
Magdalena Zolkos is a Senior Research Fellow in Political Theory at the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at the University of Western Sydney. Magdalena has research interests in memory studies, literary trauma theory, continental philosophy, and radical democratic theory. She is the author of Reconciling Community and Subjective Life: Trauma Narrative as Political Theorizing (Continuum 2010), and editor of On Jean Amery: Philosophy of Catastrophe (Lexington 2011).
Care and selfhood in Heidegger’s Being and Time
For Heidegger the philosophical tradition, culminating in Hegel, had interpreted all that was meaningful, or based its metaphysical interpretation of being, through an expanded notion of the self. Heidegger tries to displace this notion from its privileged position by undermining the representation of the subject as a unified and transparent self-relation. It is argued here that Heidegger’s examination of conscience is the central site of his challenge to self-determining subjectivity. In conscience he corrects the metaphysical subject by presenting a model of selfhood that is irreconcilably divided.
Simon Lumsden is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of New South Wales. His research is primarily concerned with German Idealism, Poststructuralism and the relation between these traditions. He has published widely in these areas. He is currently completing a manuscript concerned with the development of self-consciousness in German Idealism and the critique of the subject in Heidegger and Poststructuralism.
Thinking time and change via Deleuze
This paper offers a close reading of Gilles Deleuze’s approach to thinking time in relation to the notions of difference and repetition. If we seek to come to a rigorous thought of what enables change, or what the mechanisms for change might be, Deleuze’s scholarship in Bergsonism and Difference and Repetition makes an important contribution to this project. This paper will unpack in a clear and accessible way some of the crucial terms and movements of this stage in his undertaking, as well as linking these to questions of artistic production and ascetic registers.
Antonia Pont is a Melbourne-based poet and theorist. She is Lecturer in Text (Literary Studies and Professional and Creative Writing) at Deakin University, teaching in writing, literature and philosophy. Her research is mostly preoccupied with time, ontologies, thinking change and the ‘evental’, loss constellations and aporia in the Derridean lineage, the invention, inaccurate autobiographies, praxis, and the question of ontology as ethical undertaking.
note that the room for this seminar is HE2.016
Why Technology is not an ‘Extension of the Body’
The thesis that (human) technology constitutes an ‘extension of the human body’ and this body’s sensory and motor capacities has been surprisingly long-lived. First comprehensively developed by Ernst Kapp, almost every famous philosopher discussing technological phenomena has at some stage expressed views that align in one sense or another with the extension thesis. Arguably, the extension thesis also anticipates more recent ‘extended mind’ style arguments; at least those that are built upon notions of parity between internal (biological) and external cognitive resources. In this paper I take a scrutinizing look at the extension thesis and identify some of its major shortcomings. My critique of the extension thesis will be developed along two lines.
Peter Woelert is a Research Fellow at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne, with a background in sociology (MA, University of Frankfurt, Germany) and philosophy (PhD, University of New South Wales). His research primarily focuses on the embodied, cultural and technological dimensions of cognitive activity, usually combining perspectives from distributed cognition approaches and phenomenology. More recently, Peter has become increasingly interested in the behavioural effects and cognitive dimensions of formalizing modes of governance. Recent papers include “Idealization and external symbolic storage: The epistemic and technical dimensions of theoretic cognition” and “Human cognition, space, and the sedimentation of meaning” (both published in Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences).
Sex, Temperance and Virtue
According to Raja Halwani, “The virtue of temperance and the vice of intemperance are the virtue and the vice when it comes to sex and sexual activity because they hit at the core of the issues of sex, namely sexual desire itself.” The purpose of my paper is to elaborate on this claim, critique parts of it, and offer a fuller account of the virtues that pertain to sex. I begin by criticising Halwani’s conception of virtue ethics and accuse him of wrongly importing considerations from moral theory. I then explore his neo-Aristotelian account of temperance, arguing that it fails to capture what is distinctive about sexuality so as to raise specifically virtue-ethical concerns as opposed to moral ones. Halwani’s dependence on the notion of moral wrongness in relation to sexuality cannot be supported in an Aristotelian framework. I then invoke Michel Foucault to argue that the sphere of sexuality is marked by distinctive ethical constraints that tie in with Aristotle’s concept of eudaimonia and that the virtue of temperance should therefore be conceived differently.
Stan van Hooft is Professor of philosophy at Deakin University. His is the author of numerous works, including, most recently, Hope (Acumen, 2011) and Cosmopolitanism: A Philosophy for Global Ethics (Acumen, 2009), which was shortlisted for the Australian Museum Eureka prize for research in ethics in 2010. Professor van Hooft’s current research centres on Global Ethics and Political Philosophy, the concept of caring in contemporary moral theory and the role of hope in politics and religion.
Bonhoeffer: Kierkegaard’s ‘single individual’ in a ‘state of exception
Throughout the 1930s, Bonhoeffer protested the influence of National Socialism on the German church. He also preached pacifism, and established an illegal seminary to train the leaders of the Confessing church to resist the authorities using the Sermon on the Mount. Yet, the same Bonhoeffer became involved in conspiracy only a couple of years after the closure of the seminary, thereby abandoning the pacifism he found in the Sermon on the Mount. He became a double agent in the Abwehr and was killed for this after the failure of the July 20th plot, when papers were found implicating Bonhoeffer as a conspirator. For many Bonhoeffer scholars and admirers, Bonhoeffer’s decision to turn away from pacifism to conspiracy remains intelligible in the context of Christ’s self-sacrifice and the suffering church-community.
I’m going to take as a given that Bonhoeffer’s Christology does indeed provide the continuing thread between pacifism and conspiracy. Christ is the unifying figure in Bonhoeffer’s action, both as a pacifist and as a conspirator. However, I argue that Bonhoeffer’s involvement in conspiracy cannot be understood primarily in the context of self-sacrifice and the suffering Christian church-community. I will do this in three parts. First, I will argue that the relationship of Bonhoeffer’s Christ to the disciple is not mediated through community, but is more direct in a way that is closer to Kierkegaard’s Abraham in Fear and Trembling. Second, through an analysis of Bonhoeffer’s concept of ‘the extraordinary’ in his pacifist text Discipleship, and the concept of the ‘extraordinary situation’ in the conspirator text Ethics, I show that Christ as the unifying figure may lead to a deity who commands peace in the Sermon on the Mount but remains free to command killing in an ‘extraordinary situation’. Third, through a comparison with Karl Barth’s ‘extreme case’, Grenzsituation, and Schmitt’s ‘state of exception’, Ausnahmezustand, it will become clear that Bonhoeffer’s disciple in the extraordinary situation ‘suspends’ the normal state of affairs, in a way that disturbingly mirrors Schmitt’s argument for dictatorship and the right of the sovereign to suspend the law in a state of exception. I suggest Bonhoeffer’s political involvement from pacifism to conspiracy may be seen as an example of the ‘single individual’ that enacts a suspension of ethics in a Schmittian sense.
Finally, I will draw attention to the intellectual source of Bonhoeffer’s ‘extraordinary situation’ and Schmitt ‘state of exception’: the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard and his concept of the ‘teleological suspension of the ethical’ in Fear and Trembling. Through the engagement with both Kierkegaard and Schmitt, I want to show Bonhoeffer’s involvement in conspiracy is problematic for anyone who wants to interpret his involvement in conspiracy as intelligible in the context of Christ’s self-sacrifice and the suffering church-community.
Petra Brown is a PhD candidate at Deakin University.
A taste of ashes: vengefulness and impossible reciprocity in Beauvoir
Written just after the liberation of France and during the trials of collaborators, Beauvoir’s little-discussed essay ‘An Eye for an Eye’ (1946) describes the worst of crimes as those that reduce the human being to a thing. She suggests that we can only truly understand reactions of outrage to these crimes, such as vengefulness, in these extreme situations when we feel them in their ‘true concreteness’. I argue that the essay works to undermine her own refusal to sign the petition for clemency for Robert Brasillach, an anti-Semitic writer tried, convicted and executed for treason. Beauvoir sets out to understand why what she sees as the need for revenge and a restored reciprocity in the light of these crimes usually cannot be satisfied. Both private revenge and state punishment fail to bring about the perpetrator’s recognition of what they have done, their own ambiguous existence or an acknowledgement of the perspective of the victim. Here Beauvoir parallels this impossible reciprocity with that of love. I show how her position shifts in The Second Sex (1949) and argue that we must distinguish these emotional reactions of outrage from reciprocal loving relations. Furthermore, I demonstrate that Beauvoir’s support for capital punishment in this case is in tension with her developed existential account and her own account of vengefulness in the essay.
Marguerite La Caze is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Queensland. Her research interests include European philosophy, feminist philosophy, moral psychology and aesthetics. She is the author of Wonder and Generosity: Their Role in Ethics and Politics, (forthcoming with SUNY), and The Analytic Imaginary (Cornell UP, 2002). Marguerite is the current Chair of the Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy.
In Popper’s Midrash: Is Karl Popper a Jewish philosopher?
This paper seeks to rewrite our understanding of Popper through an exploration of his thought in relation to twentieth century Jewish philosophers particularly Leibowtiz, Levinas and Wittgenstein. As most Popper scholars have written about Popper from an Anglo- analytic or philosophy of science perspective, this paper seeks to reposition Popper within, yet not limited to the ‘continental’ tradition. This paper builds upon existing scholarship on Popper’s formative Viennese environment and its Jewish context by Malachi Hacohen (2000), the Kantian basis for Popper’s philosophy (Naraniecki 2010), as well as new perspectives by Michael Fagenblat on the on the way Kantianism has helped to reframe fundamental features of Jewish thought such as an opposition to idolatry and theodicy. This paper argues that the central Kantian and Midrashic aspects that Flagenblat associates with the thought of Levinas and Leibowitz can also help to explain key characteristics of Popper’s philosophy.
Alex Naraniecki is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation. His current research project is entitled ‘New Foundations for Multiculturalism’ and he is currently working on various publications and research projects focusing on the development of multiculturalism in Australia as well as the role of recognition and dialogue in promoting intercultural relations. Alex is also involved in collaborative research projects within the Migration and Intercultural Relations Research Cluster.
Expressive Agency in Deleuze’s Logic of Sense
It is common to differentiate between two kinds of events: actions and mere occurrences. Whereas the latter are events which are passively undergone, the former are things that are actively done. Actions, it is typically held, are the intentional doings of some agent. In The Logic of Sense, however, Deleuze appears to collapse the distinction between actions and mere occurrences, holding that events of both kinds are ultimately only ever impassive happenings. He asserts an ontological distinction between the corporeal realm of causes (including psychological causes) and the realm of events, holding that events exist only as the ‘expressible’ of propositions. In relation to the category of action, this gives rise to the counter-intuitive thought that what I appear to actively do does not really depend on my prior willing or conscious intention to do it; it rather depends on the open-ended expression of the ‘sense’ of what I do. And insofar as my apparent action does not coincide with my conscious intention or volition, it appears to me as something for which I am not ultimately responsible.
At the same time, however, Deleuze does not jettison the idea of ‘willing the event’ in The Logic Sense. Nor does he dismiss the ideas of agency and personal responsibility for what happens. ‘Willing the event’, however, does not consist in directly willing some particular action. It rather consists in expressively engaging with the pure ‘sense-event’ in which all events are determined.
In order to make sense of this position, this paper will offer an outline of a conception of ‘expressive’ agency that Deleuze appears to be working with in The Logic of Sense. This account involves four claims. The first claim is that while the intentional agent can no longer be thought to be behind her actions in the traditional sense, she is certainly ‘out there’ in her actions such as these are made sense of by others. The second claim is that while the actions of agents are multiply interpretable by others, these others are themselves ‘out there’ in their multiply interpretable actions. The third claim is that an action will count as the action of a particular agent insofar as both this agent and other agents are able to recognize him in that action. The final claim is that these multiple interpretations and recognitive processes take place in a shared expressive medium - call it ‘language’ - which is not fixed but always being produced. Taking these four claims together, we will see that an action will come to count as mine, not because I directly will it and subsequently achieve what I intended to do; but because both I and others expressively produce the conditions in which we are able to recognize a particular action as expressing something about me as an agent.
Dr Sean Bowden is an Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Deakin University, Australia. He is the author of The Priority of Events: Deleuze’s Logic of Sense (Edinburgh University Press, 2011), and the co-editor of Badiou and Philosophy (EUP, 2012).
The Art of Time
Erin Manning holds a University Research Chair in Relational Art and Philosophy in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University (Montreal, Canada). She is also the director of the Sense Lab, a laboratory that explores the intersections between art practice and philosophy through the matrix of the sensing body in movement. She is the author of Always More Than One: Individuation’s Dance (Duke UP, forthcoming), Relationscapes: Movement, Art, Philosophy (MIT Press, 2009), and Politics of Touch: Sense, Movement, Sovereignty (Minnesota UP, 2007). From August 6-17, Erin has an exhibition at Deakin University’s Phoenix Gallery, entitled Weather Patterns.
Divided minds, selves, egos and internal objects
Partitive conceptions of mind have a long history in philosophy. Various types have been advanced to resolve certain troublesome aspects of self-experience and irrationality in belief and action. Some of these conceptions propose, radically (and roughly), that the mind (self, ego) splits into parts (sub-systems, component selves, subsidiary egos), that have perspectives and aims which are not shared with other parts, and function as independent centres of agency. Plato’s tripartite division of mind is of this kind, as is (I believe) Freud’s structural theory. W. R. D. Fairbairn’s elegant account of the ‘basic endopsychic situation’ involving ‘a multiplicity of egos’ linked to specific internal objects is emphatically of this kind; indeed, Fairbairn allows that internal objects, though not ego structures, may also acquire a ‘dynamic independence’, which seems to mean, at least, that they too are independent centres of agency.
Many philosophers, and some psychoanalysts, reject these partitive conceptions, for a variety of reasons; amongst them: that they are incoherent; that they fail to provide identity conditions for subsidiary parts or internal objects; that they are in conflict with the conception of a substantial unified self inherent in common-sense psychology and therefore sever the fundamental links between such psychology and psychoanalytic understanding; that they are unnecessary to answer to the clinical material. I will examine some of these objections against the backdrop of Fairbairn’s conception of endopsychic structure and attempt to develop a partitive conception of the self which is in many ways faithful to Fairbairn’s picture while preserving sufficient elements of a notion of the mind as a unity to answer some of the salient objections.
Dr Pataki is honorary senior fellow at the University of Melbourne and honorary fellow of Deakin University. He studied philosophy at the University of Melbourne and psychoanalysis at University College, London University. He has been a lecturer in philosophy at RMIT, University of Tasmania and University of Melbourne. He co-edited, with Michael Levine, Racism in Mind (Cornell 2004) and is the author of Against Religion (Scribe, 2007) as well as of several articles and book chapters on the philosophy of mind, and numerous popular pieces and reviews.
Eclipse of Practical Reason
Contemporary expressions of doubt about the possibility of a substantive employment of practical reason generally seek historical support from Hume. Defenders of substantive conceptions of practical rationality, by contrast, tend to draw inspiration from Aristotle, Aquinas or Kant. My focus in this paper is upon developments in the period between 1600 and 1650 for theories of practical rationality. My claim is that an examination of this period, which is perhaps associated most readily with the rise of a mechanistic philosophy of nature, is not only crucial for understanding the motivations for scepticism about practical reason later expressed with particular force by Hume, it also can also clarify the conditions that would need to be met for a successful defence of a substantive account. Such an analysis - or at least so I argue - also demonstrates that an approach to practical reason that adopts suitably modified Thomistic assumptions is better able to meet the relevant conditions than one deriving inspiration from Kant. The structure of the paper is as follows. In section one I sketch the distinction between substantive and procedural conceptions of practical rationality, using the Thomistic and Humean accounts as ideal-types of such theories. This provides the background for an analysis of developments in the first half of the seventeenth century, which is the central focus of section 2. Section 3 closes with some reflections on the lessons of the period between 1600 and 1650 for contemporary debates on the possibility of developing a substantive account of practical reason.
George Duke lectures in philosophy in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Deakin University. His research interests include the philosophy of language, the history of analytical philosophy and political philosophy. He has published on Michael Dummett’s theory of abstract objects, theories of abstract singular terms and the conceptual presuppositions of analytical philosophy.
Messianic sovereignty: reading Nietzsche with Benjamin
Early in the second essay of On the Genealogy of Morals Nietzsche introduces the figure of the “sovereign individual,” bearer of the “right to make promises” and the “extraordinary privilege of responsibility.” He then promises to reveal the history of human development which culminates in the emergence of a consciousness which is ripe for such responsibility. However, by the end of the essay the “sovereign individual” has disappeared. Instead, Nietzsche dramatically invokes a “redeeming man of great love and contempt” who “must come one day,” and then declares that at this point, he must fall silent.
In seeking the origins of responsibility we are thus led to discover a messianic expectation or promise. What does this mean for Nietzsche’s approach to sovereignty and responsibility? Is the sovereign individual a moral figure, or is his sovereign practice of responsibility better understood in political or religious terms? This paper will draw upon Walter Benjamin’s deployment of a similar nesting of secular and religious thought to explore these questions. To read Nietzsche with Benjamin will lead to an interpretation of the “sovereign individual” as an allegorical figure of messianic politics, rather than an image of modern moral achievement or aspiration.Justine McGill is a lecturer in philosophy, currently teaching at La Trobe University. She is the co-editor, with sociologist Craig Brown, of an interdisciplinary collection on Violence in France and Australia: Disorder in the postcolonial welfare state (Sydney University Press, 2010). She has research interests in Nietzsche studies, continental philosophy, early modern thought, film theory, feminist philosophy and Asian philosophy, particularly Buddhist thought. She is also interested in bringing analytic, continental and Asian philosophical perspectives into dialogue (for example, in exploring philosophy of mind and consciousness). She is currently working on a book about the concept of responsibility in modernity.
Nietzsche’s Politics of the Event
This paper offers an analysis of Nietzsche’s politics of the event (Ereignis). In Nietzsche’s published works as well as in the Nachlass, one can distinguish between several different uses of the term Ereignis (event). On my hypothesis, Nietzsche’s conception of the event is inseparable from his conception of the great human being. Therefore an analysis of the former must come hand in hand with an analysis of the latter. I argue that Nietzsche provides a politics of the event and that this politics denotes the task of cultivating great human beings. On my account, one can distinguish between two different politics of the event in Nietzsche. On the one hand, there is what Nietzsche refers to as small politics (“kleine Politik”) understood as a politics of the state or of moral and religious institutions which seek to produce conditions which favor the emergence of great human beings. At the heart of this politics stands the belief that the rise of great human beings is inherently contingent and hence requires the task of transforming contingency into necessity, of turning the occurrence of great human beings into a necessity. We are here dealing with an active politics of liberation which seeks to change the course of history giving it a new direction and a new aim. On the other hand, we can distinguish in Nietzsche a great politics (“grosse Politik”) of the event which is not inscribed into the program of a particular political or moral institution. Rather it is a politics beyond politics and morality where the aim is not to change the course of time but rather to affirm the eternity of the moment. At the center of this politics stands Nietzsche’s conception of amor fati. We are here dealing with a passive-receptive politics situated beyond the historical course of time. From its perspective, the great human being is a reflection of the eternal value and worth of the whole of life beyond human measure. From the perspective of this politics, the challenge is not to turn the contingent into the necessary but rather to attain knowledge of necessity for only the latter can truly free up in the human being life’s potential for culture. Small politics is a human, perhaps all too human practice which inscribes the event in the historical becoming of humanity, whereas great politics is a politics of life which inscribes the event in the eternal return of the same. In what follows, I wish to show the different elements and entanglements of these two politics of the event in three recurrent figures in Nietzsche’s philosophy: the historical agent, the genius and the philosopher in both his early and late work.
Professor Lemm is Head of the School of Humanities, UNSW. She is the author of Nietzsche’s Animal Philosophy: Culture, Politics and the Animality of the Human Being (Fordham, 2009), and has edited books on Foucault and Hegel. Her research focuses on the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, contemporary political thought, biopolitics, the question of theanimal, philosophy of culture and cultures of memory, and theories of justice and the gift.
Power, Government and Strategy: Foucault’s Reconsideration of Power after 1976
Foucault’s lectures in 1976 open with the statement of an intellectual crisis. They proceed to a series of questions about the nature of power and the ways that he has conceived of it up to this point: what is power? How is it exercised? Is it ultimately a relation of force? Only some of these questions are answered in the course of these lectures. His answer to the overriding question, what is power?, is not forthcoming until after the discovery of governmentality in his 1978 lectures. It is not fully developed until after his lectures on liberal and neoliberal governmentality in 1979.This talk aims to retrace his answers to the questions in the light of the published lectures and to examine the consequences of these answers for his analysis of neoliberal governmentality.
Paul Patton is Professor of Philosophy at the University of New South Wales and Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He has published extensively on contemporary European philosophy and political philosophy. He is the author of, among other works, Deleuzian Concepts: Philosophy, Colinization, Politics (Stanford University Press, 2010) and Deleuze and the Political (Routledge, 2000).
Parody and Truth in Nietzsche’s Genealogy
In view of its apparently scholarly form the Genealogy of Morality is often viewed as a succinct, relatively systematic, and hence canonical exposition of Nietzsche’s mature views on morality. However, the status of this work’s claims appears to be challenged by Nietzsche’s views on the nature and value of truth, particularly through the self-cancellation of the ascetic ideal with which the work dramatically closes. In this paper I reconstruct a framework for interpreting the Genealogy’s project and argue that Nietzsche’s overarching intention was to parody a scholarly work. I then explore whether the intention to parody undermines the work’s apparent historical, psychological and metaethical claims, and whether it results in incoherence (intentional or otherwise). I attempt to show how successful negotiation of these difficulties allows the Genealogy to be seen as exemplifying Nietzsche’s idea of ‘Gay Science’ and - in supposed contrast to Wagner - blending cheerfulness and profundity.
Andrew Inkpin has first degrees in theoretical physics from the University of York, and in philosophy, art history and psychology from the Friedrich Schiller University, Jena. His graduate studies in philosophy were at University College London, where he completed an MPhil and PhD. His main research interests are in modern European philosophy, especially phenomenology (in particular Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty), Wittgenstein and Nietzsche.
Art as the “Plenipotentiary of Impulse”: A Reconstruction of Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory in Light of His Reading of Freud
Geoff Boucher is a Senior Lecturer in the Psychoanalytic Studies Programme and in Literary Studies at Deakin University. He is the author of several books on critical theory, including The Charmed Circle of Ideology (2008) and Zizek and Politics (2010). His books on Understanding Marxism and Adorno Reframed are appearing in 2012. He works on contemporary culture from a perspective influenced by Lacanian psychoanalysis, publishing in the fields of continental philosophy and psychoanalytic studies.
General Ethics and the Theory of Responsive Cohesion
In this talk I will outline the nature of ethics and discuss its expansion from interhuman ethics to environmental ethics to what I have referred to as General Ethics. By General Ethics I mean the development of a single, integrated approach to ethics that encompasses the realms of interhuman ethics, the ethics of the natural environment, and the ethics of the human-constructed, or built, environment. I will outline my own approach to General Ethics, which I refer to as the theory of responsive cohesion. This approach is both different from and more expansive than others on offer because it sees the basis of value as lying in a particular form of organization or structure that things can assume as opposed to particular kinds of higher-order powers or capacities that some things have, such as autobiographical self-awareness, rationality, sentience, being alive, or the capacity to maintain some kind of holistic integrity (all of which themselves represent a subset of the total class of responsively cohesive structures). A range of significant ethical implications follows from this approach.
Warwick Fox is Emeritus Professor at the University of Central Lancashire. He has published widely in environmental philosophy in particular and, more recently, on the extension of this work into what he has referred to as General Ethics. He is represented in leading anthologies and encyclopedias in the area, has served on the editorial advisory boards of some of the leading journals in the area (including Environmental Ethics, Organization and Environment, and Environmental Values), and his books include Toward a Transpersonal Ecology: Developing New Foundations for Environmentalism (State University of New York Press, 1995, and Green Books, UK, 1995), Ethics and the Built Environment (ed., Routledge, 2000), and A Theory of General Ethics: Human Relationships, Nature, and the Built Environment (The MIT Press, 2006).
What was Philosophical about Natural Philosophy?
Historians are agreed upon that fact that ‘science’ is a relatively recent conception and that ‘natural philosophy’ was, roughly speaking, the pre-nineteenth century equivalent. However, there remains room for discussion about the exact identity of this early enterprise. In this paper I survey some common claims about the category ‘natural philosophy’, and propose that we understand this activity better if think less about disciplines, doctrines, and methods, and a more about the way in which particular intellectual activities shape the person, mould behaviour and mental habits, and render the mind susceptible to the reception of particular truths. Natural philosophy, I will suggest, can be regarded as a means of intellectual and moral formation, in other words, as contributing in important ways to the classical philosophical goal of the good life.Professor Peter Harrison is Director of the Centre for the History of European Discourses at the University of Queensland. Prior to taking up this position, he was for a number of years the Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford. At Oxford he was a member of the Faculties of Theology and History, a Fellow of Harris Manchester College, and Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre where he continues to hold a Senior Research Fellowship. He has been a Visiting Fellow at Oxford, Yale, and Princeton, is a founding member of the International Society for Science and Religion, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. In 2011 he delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh. His five books include, most recently, Wrestling with Nature: From Omens to Science (Chicago, 2011) and The Cambridge Companion to Science and Religion (Cambridge, 2010). He has published over 60 articles or book chapters. He is currently editing his Gifford Lectures under the working title of ‘Science, Religion and Modernity’ and is also working on a project concerned with conceptions of progress in history and the historical sciences.