Latest Issue

Vol. 20, No. 2 (Fall 2016)

Regular Articles

TANO POSTERARO, Transcendental Stupidity: The Ground Become Autonomous in Schelling and Deleuze[abstract]

The activity of thinking has been traditionally set against the risk of error and its concomitants: inconsistency, incoherence, the false. Philosophy pursues and protects the truth; such is its mission statement. But this is, for Deleuze, an inadequate conception that gives us the image of a thought so weak, so thin and impoverished, that everything happens as if from the outside. What, asks Deleuze, of stupidity? How are we to account for it transcendentally? In his attempt at an answer, Deleuze draws directly from Schelling’s Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom, though without clearly articulating either the form of Schelling’s concepts or presenting how exactly they are supposed to account transcendentally for stupidity. Further still, Deleuze seems implicitly to recapitulate—to the serious detriment of his conceptual sche-matic, as Derrida famously claimed in The Beast & the Sovereign—Schelling’s belief in a freedom that is solely human, and therefore the refusal of a capacity for stupidity to the animal as well. The present article intervenes here, reconstructing the Schellingian concepts necessary to an understanding of Deleuze’s theory, and sketching in conclusion the possibility of a revised account that need not stratify itself so straightforwardly along the human/animal divide.

WILLOW VERKERK, Nietzsche’s Agonistic Ethics of Friendship [abstract]

In this essay, I argue that Nietzsche’s account of friendship must be understood as part of his therapeutic philosophy that promotes shared self-overcoming. Previous accounts of Nietzschean friend-ship give a strong foundation, but concentrate on his middle works and overlook the role of agon in higher friendship. In order to grasp the ethical connections that Nietzsche makes between friendship, agon, and self-overcoming, I argue that we must turn to Nietzsche’s writing on friendship in Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil, as well as in the middle works. Nietzsche brings enmity into friendship not to deny the possibility of friendship, but instead to transform friendship into an exercise of therapeutics that pro-motes free-spiritedness and, in doing so, challenges the life-denying practices of nihilism

SOPHIE CLOUTIER, La banalité du mal et la volonté. Revisiter l’héritage augustinien chez Arendt [abstract]

La notion arendtienne de « banalité du mal » est au cœur d’une controverse depuis la parution en 1963 de Eichmann à Jérusalem : Rapport sur la banalité du mal. L’objectif de cet article n’est pas de reprendre l’entièreté du débat, mais de clarifier la pluralité des racines théoriques de Hannah Arendt, et plus particulièrement l’héritage augustinien du mal comme privatio boni. Il s’agit d’une source très peu commentée qui permet pourtant d’analyser le rôle de la volonté dans la banalité du mal et de mettre en lumière la réponse d’Arendt au mal dans l’amor mundi et la formation du caractère.

MARJOLAINE DESCHÊNES, Filiation, corps, sexe et genre dans le parcours ricœurien de la reconnaissance-identité [abstract]

Dans Parcours de la reconnaissance, « se reconnaître dans le li-gnage » est conçu comme la première expérience de reconnaissance de soi paisible. Traitant de filiation, Ricœur cite deux auteurs peu compatibles entre eux : Françoise Héritier et Pierre Legendre. Cet article élucide ce passage, montrant que ce double appel est motivé chez Ricœur par un souci de voir l’« ordre des places » filiales rester intact. La référence à Héritier exprime un féminisme en germe chez Ricœur, différencialiste, plaidant pour un binarisme des sexes sans hiérarchie. Quant à la référence à Legendre, elle sert de propédeutique à la phénoménologie ricœurienne du don « sans prix », mais dénote aussi l’appréhension de Ricœur quant à certaines demandes contemporaines de reconnaissance. Dans le parcours ricœurien de la reconnaissance-identité, où « se reconnaître dans le lignage » paraît essentiel, trouve-t-on la place pour des personnes intersexuées, transsexuelles, transgenres ou issues de familles monoparentales, homoparentales, alloparentales ? En plus de répondre à cette question, j’explique pourquoi Ricœur rejette le lacanisme de Legendre, et comment il critiquerait le structuralisme d’Héritier s’il avait pris le temps de le faire.

GARY FOSTER, Sartre and Contemporary Moral Psychology [abstract]

Much has been written about Sartre’s contribution to the field of psychology. His phenomenology as whole and his proposal for an existential psychoanalysis in particular, have contributed to the field of humanist psychology in general and existential psychology specifically. Less has been written, however, about Sartre’s contribution to the field of moral psychology apart from the occasional analysis of his notion of “bad faith” or the use, by moral philosophers, of some of his colourful examples to illustrate a point. In this article, I want to examine an issue in contemporary moral psychology in light of Sartre’s philosophy, particularly as he develops it in his early major work, Being and Nothingness. The issue that I wish to address is that of practical reason. In contrast to both the neo-Humean and neo-Kantian positions, I want to explore a Sartrean alternative, which situates moral motivation neither in ordinary empirical desires, nor strictly in practical reason. Moral motivation, on a Sartrean account, is rather to be understood in ontological terms as an expression of the desire to be.

JOSEPH AREL, Conscience and the Oracular Affirmation of Contingency in Action [abstract]

Hegel argues that we must recognize the essential role that contingency plays in moral action. Because the role that Hegel finds for contingency is both outside of one’s control and idiosyncratic, his view represents a significant challenge to the ideas that in morality we only account for what we can control and that our motivations should not be idiosyncratic needs. To bring out this significance, I look at three ways in which Hegel characterizes the relationship between the necessity of the moral law and the contingency of moral action, by drawing on three figures Hegel has emphasized in the history of moral action.

ELISA MAGRÌ, Hegel and the Genesis of the Concept [abstract]

According to Habermas, Hegel’s early reflections in Jena on labour and language do not bear upon logical categories. In Habermas’s view, the formative model that Hegel proposes in his early texts on labour and language is lost in his mature philosophy. In this paper, I shall propose an intra-systematic reading of Hegel’s philosophy that challenges Habermas’s dualistic reading. I shall point out the dialectical relation between labour, memory, and the logical concept (Begriff). In doing so, I will emphasize the fact that memory and labour are based on the refutation of the use of mechanical causality in the genesis of the subject, the argument for which is illustrated in the Science of Logic. Finally, I will argue that the genesis of the logical concept coincides with a formative process that is grounded in the Science of Logic and yet underlies the genesis of subjectivity as spontaneous capacity of self-determination

J. COLIN MCQUILLAN, Philosophical Archaeology and the Historical A Priori: from Kant to Foucault [abstract]

Most accounts of the historical a priori can be traced back to Husserlian phenomenology. Foucault’s appeals to the historical a priori are more problematic because of his hostility to this tradition. In this paper, I argue that Foucault’s diplôme thesis on Hegel, his studies of Kant’s Anthropology, his response to critics of The Order of Things, and his later work on Kant’s essay “An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?” all suggest that eighteenth- and nineteenth-century German philosophy helped to shape his conception of the historical a priori.

ROBERT TRUMBULL, The All-Seeing Sovereign: Blindness and Vision in Derrida’s Death Penalty Seminars [abstract]

This article explores an intriguing, yet underdeveloped line of inquiry in Derrida’s late Death Penalty Seminars concerning the inherent visibility or spectacle of the death penalty. Showing how this inquiry surfaces in Derrida’s engagement with Foucault, the article argues that Derrida’s Seminars offer crucial resources for critically analyzing, and thus rethinking, sovereignty and the principle of capital punishment. In particular, it demonstrates how visibility forms a key component of the structural scaffolding around the death penalty put under pressure by deconstruction. It then develops this claim by drawing salient connections between the Seminars and Derrida’s work on other visual forms.

PETER GRATTON, Foucault’s Last Decade: An Interview with Stuart Elden, Eduardo Mendieta, and Diana Taylor [abstract]

At the time of his death in 1984, Foucault’s late career forays into Stoicism and other sets of ancient texts were often little understood, except as part of a larger project on the history of sexuality. Indeed, outside of France and outside of an incipient queer theory, Foucault was often taken up in terms of debates over post-structuralism and postmodernism—themes all but absent from his writings. More than thirty years later, after the publication of all of his lecture courses at the Collège de France from 1970–1984 as well as his collected writings, we have gained a better understanding of the deep continuities in his set of concerns from Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique (1961) to the third volume of his history of sexuality series, Le Souci de soi (1984). Yet many Foucault scholars continue to see momentous shifts in his writings, e.g., from knowledge (1960s) to power (1970s) to ethics (1980s), and the almost bewildering range of texts he covered in the years after finishing the first volume of his history of sexuality series, La Volonté de savoir, (1976), lead to very different interpretations concerning what Foucault was attempting to do and how much his rendering of ancient texts differed from his own claims. Stuart Elden’s Foucault’s Last Decade, (Polity, 2016) steps into this breach, using archival work to fill in many of the details of this period, from when and on what Foucault was lecturing to listing those with him in that amusing late photo of a beaming Foucault in an ill-fitting cowboy hat. The publication of Elden’s book marks a good time to assess this often misunderstood period in Foucault’s work, and we have gathered Stuart Elden (University of Warwick) and two more of Foucault’s best interpreters, Eduardo Mendieta (Pennsylvania State University) and Dianna Taylor (John Carroll University), to do so.
Review Essay

TERRANCE H. MCDONALD, Rupturing Theories of Affect and Film Theory: The Potentialities of Brinkema’s Revival of Form