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THE STONE - Opinionator

THE STONE - Opinionator
This is the second in a series of interviews about religion that I am conducting for The Stone. The interviewee for this installment is Louise Antony, a professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the editor of the essay collection “Philosophers Without Gods: Meditations on Atheism and the Secular Life.” Gary Gutting: You’ve taken a strong stand as an atheist, so you obviously don’t think there are any good reasons to believe in God. But I imagine there are philosophers whose rational abilities you respect who are theists. Louise Antony: I’m not sure what you mean by saying that I’ve taken a “strong stand as an atheist.” G.G.: That is what I mean. L.A.: O.K. I say ‘there is no God’ with the same confidence I say ‘there are no ghosts’ or ‘there is no magic.’ That’s not to say that I think everything is within the scope of human knowledge. G.G.: Yes, I do think it’s relevant to ask believers why they prefer their particular brand of theism to other brands.

Third Person: Politics of Life and Philosophy of the Impersonal Roberto Esposito puts forth a radical and provocative thesis: the triumph of the category of "the person" that, since the end of World War II has accompanied the discourse on human rights, is not the source of its success, but rather of its failure. The notion of the person, which has, since the days of Roman law and even more pointedly in its Christian elaboration, indicated the transcendent value of a human being, is incapable of bridging the gap between humanity and the logic of citizenship, precisely because it is what creates such a gap. By opposing the person, as something artificial and endowed with moral and political significance, to mere humanity in its naturalness, Roman law gave rise to the "dispositif" of the person (p. 9), that is, to a notion that has, throughout its various Western morphologies, always been able to produce very real and tangible effects. How is this possible despite the triumph of the notion of the person?

Spirit is a Bone | Critical Theory & Continental Philosophy Julian Baggini — I still love Kierkegaard I fell for Søren Kierkegaard as a teenager, and he has accompanied me on my intellectual travels ever since, not so much side by side as always a few steps ahead or lurking out of sight just behind me. Perhaps that’s because he does not mix well with the other companions I’ve kept. I studied in the Anglo-American analytic tradition of philosophy, where the literary flourishes and wilful paradoxes of continental existentialists are viewed with anything from suspicion to outright disdain. In Paris, Roland Barthes might have proclaimed the death of the author, but in London the philosopher had been lifeless for years, as anonymous as possible so that the arguments could speak for themselves. Discovering that your childhood idols are now virtually ancient is usually a disturbing reminder of your own mortality. It’s easy enough to see why I fell in love with Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard was not so much an oasis in this desert as a dramatic, torrential thunderstorm at the heart of it.

Das Philoblog A Lecture on Ethics Home > Ludwig Wittgenstein > A Lecture on Ethics Before I begin to speak about my subject proper let me make a few introductory remarks. I will now begin. Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 1929 PHILOSOPHY'S OTHER: 'THEORY' ON THE WEB The Life of Understanding: A Contemporary Hermeneutics Risser's book is a collection of seven articles, four previously published. Each article comes up with new ways to express Heideggerian and Gadamerian insights but it is far from a rehash of old ground. The book makes new forays into die Sache selbst; often has implicit reservations about Gadamer's emphasis, at the very least; addresses many recurrent philosophical chestnuts; and richly juxtaposes Gadamer to Nietzsche, Vattimo, Schleiermacher, Derrida, Agamben, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Stoicism, Jabès, Rilke, and Hegel among, in passing, many others. The first three essays are loosely centered on issues of tradition and its transmission. The first essay is centered around the idea of a hermeneutic of convalescence. The second essay is divided into four parts. The third essay is about Bildung and Gadamer's appropriation of the concept. The fourth essay is centered around two themes, weaving and arithmos. The fifth essay considers an incapacity at the heart of language.

Plato's Erotic World: From Cosmic Origins to Human Death Jill Gordon examines the role of eros in the fictive world of Plato's dialogues. By exploring dialogues not typically recognized as 'erotic', she aims to show that Plato consistently presents eros as a central and inextricable feature of human existence from beginning to end, one which, if properly directed, provides the foundation of a well-lived life. The book has many merits, but also some notable shortcomings, both of which are discussed below. Gordon begins with her analysis of the Timaeus, which provides the basis for the rest of the book's arguments. Eros, she contends, is present in the demiurge's original mixing of the human soul. It is not, therefore, an incidental feature of embodied existence, but rather an essential, divine component of the human soul from its very creation. In Chapters 2 through 5 Gordon treats the role of eros in human life and identifies the kinds of practices, attitudes, and relationships required to make proper, philosophical use of it.

Essays on Anscombe's Intention This publication marks a new stage in the reception of Anscombe's thought. In the decades following the publication of Intention, readers saw Anscombe's philosophy of action largely through a Davidsonian lens. Davidson's selective reconstruction was more accessible and less Wittgensteinian than the original. As the present volume shows, those days are over. The editors go out of their way to facilitate the introduction. What have we hitherto missed in Intention? In their paper, "Anscombe on Expression of Intention: An Exegesis," Richard Moran and Martin Stone offer a reading on which Anscombe does hold a process view of intending to act. On the orthodox reading, Anscombe distinguishes expressions of intention, such as "I am going to take a walk," from two related topics, namely intentional action and the intention with which an action is done. Moran and Stone conclude that the general use covers all three of Anscombe's divisions of intention. Here is another quite ordinary case.

The Self and Self-Knowledge This is a stimulating collection of essays on the nature of people and the various ways in which we represent ourselves. I primarily recommend it to epistemologists concerned with distinguishing ignorance of oneself (and unwarranted or accidentally accurate self-representation) from genuine self-knowledge. The nature of self-knowledge -- and the authority we typically grant a person's account of her beliefs and actions -- are the twin themes of eight of the volume's twelve essays. There are also several contributions of interest to philosophers of mind, as roughly half of the authors advance hypotheses about the cognitive mechanisms involved in perception, action and introspection; and a little something for metaphysicians: two essays address classical puzzles about the nature of people and their persistence over time. According to Peacocke's taxonomy, distinctively conceptual representation of oneself is Degree 2 self-representation (88). Puzzles remain.

Perry Anderson reviews ‘Rationalism in Politics, and Other Essays’ by Michael Oakeshott, edited by Timothy Fuller · LRB 24 September 1992 Rationalism in Politics, and Other Essays by Michael Oakeshott, edited by Timothy Fuller Liberty, 556 pp, $24.00, October 1991, ISBN 0 86597 094 7 A few months alter the fall of Margaret Thatcher, the most original thinker of post-war Conservatism died. Perhaps partly because of the commotion caused by the change of national leadership, the passing of Michael Oakeshott did not attract much public notice. Oakeshott has most frequently been taken as the wayward voice of an archetypical English conservatism: empirical, habitual, traditional, the adversary of all systematic politics, of reaction no less than reform; a thinker who preferred writing about the Derby to expounding the Constitution, and found even Burke too doctrinaire. In England, where Schmitt’s incandescent early manifesto for the Roman Church was edited in a Catholic series of Essays in Order, polarities were not so acute. Nor was this was the only parallel in their outlook. You are not logged in

Utopia of Understanding: Between Babel and Auschwitz The appearance in English of Donatella Ester Di Cesare's Utopia of Understanding: Between Babel and Auschwitz brings a distinctive development within the philosophical study of hermeneutics to an Anglophone readership. Although her project in this book is broad in scope, her concerns coalesce around an original approach to the notion of understanding. Her argument may be grasped as an attempt to build on but also challenge and even move beyond the 'ontological turn' in the tradition of hermeneutics associated with Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer.[1] For those, who accept the terms of this turn, hermeneutics no longer centers on the so-called 'art' of understanding or on epistemological considerations of our cognitive ability to understand. Rather, hermeneutics comes to treat understanding in an ontological register as the characteristically human availability, or, openness, to the being of those beings, with which we find ourselves involved.

John Searle on Foucault and the Obscurantism in French Philosophy It is sometimes noted–typically with admiration–that France is a place where a philosopher can still be a celebrity. It sounds laudable. But celebrity culture can be corrosive, both to the culture at large and to the celebrities themselves. So it’s worth asking: What price have French philosophy and its devotees (on the European continent and elsewhere) paid for the glamour? Perhaps one casualty is clarity. Some precincts of the continental philosophical tradition, though surely not all of them, have an unfortunate tendency to regard the philosopher as a star who fascinates, and frequently by obscurity, rather than as an arguer among equals. The erectile organ can be equated with the √-1, the symbol of the signification produced above, of the jouissance [ecstasy] it restores–by the coefficient of its statement–to the function of a missing signifier: (-1). Chomsky’s criticism of Lacan and the others provoked a wide range of comments from our readers. Related Content: