Through the philosophies of Bergson and Deleuze, my paper explores a different theory of time. I reconstitute Deleuze’s paradoxes of the past in Difference and Repetition and Bergsonism to reveal a theory of time in which the relation between past and present is one of coexistence rather than succession. The theory of memory implied here is a non-representational one. To elaborate this theory, I ask: what is the role of the “virtual image” in Bergson’s Matter and Memory? Far from representing the simple afterimage of a present perception, the “virtual image” carries multiple senses. Contracting the immediate past for the present, or expanding virtually to hold the whole of memory (and even the whole of the universe), the virtual image can form a bridge between the present and the non-representational past. This non-representational account of memory sheds light not only on the structure of time for Bergson, but also on his concepts of pure memory and virtuality. The rereading of memory also opens the way for Bergsonian intuition to play an intersubjective role; intuition becomes a means for navigating the resonances and dissonances that can be felt between different rhythms of becoming or planes of memory, which constitute different subjects.
The narrative approach to identity has developed as a sophisticated philosophical response to the complexities and ambiguities of the human, lived situation, and is not – as has been naively suggested elsewhere – the imposition of a generic form of life or the attempt to imitate a fictional character. I argue that the narrative model of identity provides a more inclusive and exhaustive account of identity than the causal models employed by mainstream theorists of personal identity. Importantly for ethical subjectivity, the narrative model gives a central and irreducible role to the first-person perspective. I will draw the connection between narrative identity and ethical subjectivity by way of an exposition of work by Paul Ricoeur and Marya Schechtman, and a brief consideration of Korsgaard’s work on practical identity and normative ethics. I argue that the first-person perspective – the reflective structure of human consciousness – arises from human embodiment, and therefore the model of identity required of embodied consciousness is more complex and irreducibly first-personal than that provided in a causal account. What is required is a self-constitution model of identity: a narrative model of identity.
Addressing the matter of attention from a phenomenological perspective as it bears on the problem of becoming aware, I draw on Edmund Husserl's analyses and distinctions that mark his “genetic” phenomenology. I describe several experiential levels of affective force and modes of attentiveness, ranging from what I call dispositional orientation and passive discernment to so-called higher levels of attentiveness in cognitive interest, judicative objectivation, and conceptualization. These modes of attentiveness can be understood as motivating a still more active mode of reflective attention, i.e., philosophical attentiveness, and to this extent, even it would be subject to varying influences of affection. What role, if any, does affection play in a peculiar kind of reflective attention that is phenomenological? I conclude by briefly considering phenomenological reflective attentiveness and its relation to affection.
This essay examines Jacques Derrida’s contribution to recent debates in animal philosophy in order to explore the critical promise of his work for contemporary discourses on animal ethics and vegetarianism. The essay is divided into two sections, both of which have as their focus Derrida’s interview with Jean-Luc Nancy entitled “‘Eating Well’, or the Calculation of the Subject.” My task in the initial section is to assess the claim made by Derrida in this interview that Levinas’s work is dogmatically anthropocentric, and to determine whether Levinas’s conception of ethics leaves a place for animals. In the second half of the essay I turn to an analysis of Derrida’s discussion of vegetarianism and its critical relation to the humanism and anthropocentrism that he is calling into question. The main argument that I seek to advance here is that deconstruction should not be strictly identified with vegetarianism (as certain of Derrida’s readers have suggested), but rather that what is needed is a thorough deconstruction of existing discourses on vegetarianism, a project that remains largely to be developed.
In this essay, which is preceded by an interview with the translator, the author revisits her earlier critique of Merleau-Ponty’s privileging of the visible, but also takes further her own thinking by drawing specifically on the issues raised within the context of painting. The focal point of her discussion is Merleau-Ponty’s essay, “Eye and Mind.”
In this essay I critique a particular reading of Bergson that places an excessive weight on the concept of the ‘virtual’. Driven by the popularity of Deleuze’s use of the virtual, this image of Bergson (seen especially through his text of 1896, Matter and Memory, where the idea is introduced) generates an imbalance that fails to recognise the importance of concepts of actuality, like space or psychology, in his other works. In fact, I argue that the virtual is not the key concept for Bergsonism and that there is a good deal of evidence in Bergson’s other writings, especially those connected with his actualist notion of ‘refraction’, to think of him as a perspectivist philosopher. Moreover, it will be seen that Virtualism resides within an economy of reflection that is subsumed within the broader paradigm of Actualist refraction. Taking these optical metaphors seriously, the virtual becomes a perspectival image seen from an actual position, or rather, an interacting set of actual positions. This interaction is termed ‘virtualization’, denoting the substitution of a substantive conception with a processual one. In the first two parts of the essay, I direct my remarks more towards Deleuzian readings of the actual rather than Deleuze himself (Deleuze is so open about the biases he brings to his reading of Bergson as to be beyond criticism). In the second two sections, I pursue a philosophical argument for the probity of a non-Virtualist position as such within philosophy, based upon the concept of refraction. This is done not only because it is important that we remain open to other readings of Bergson that are not so heavily mediated in one direction, but also in view of the power of refraction as a new concept for reconciling actual modes such as molar identity, the present, and extension, with their virtual opposites.
For the most part, attention occurs as a theme adjacent to much more topical and innovatingly operating acts: first, the intentional act, which represents a destitution of the abstract opposition between subject and object and which paves the way for a detailed analysis of our perceptive horizontal subjective life; second, the reductive act, specified in a psycho-phenomenological sense as a reflective conversion of the way I am looking at things; third, the genetic method understood as a genealogy of logic based on our experiential affective pre-discursive world-life. In this respect, here are some of the leading questions of my investigation: What are the differences and the proximities between these methods and attentional activity? Why is the latter not put to the fore as a method? To what extent is this secondary part played by attention linked to the constitution of phenomenology as opposed to psychology (for which attention is a central theme), and what does it mean for the impossibility of phenomenology to freeing itself completely from psychology?
For Habermas, a moral point of view is based in the procedural requirements of our linguistic competence. For Levinas, it is the way in which we find ourselves related in speech to the face of the other that we find ourselves obliged to the other. But these differing conceptions of the moral significance of language need not be seen as opposed to each other. Rather, they can be conceptualized as complimentary accounts of the ways in which a moral point of view onto life is inextricably bound up for us with our capacities as linguistic creatures. While Habermas enables us to see the importance of language as a rule-governed social practice for the constitution of a moral point of view, Levinas draws our attention to the way in which the moral significance of language so conceived lies in a form of sensibility, a sensible “exposure” or “vulnerability” to the other person, older than language itself. Appropriately coordinated, these two perspectives give us a more adequate understanding than either can on its own of the central place of language in our lives as moral agents.
One prominent interpretation of Heidegger’s thought on issues that are traditionally called “ethical” is that it gives us a formal description of how to reach authenticity (the early Heidegger) or how to gain a free relationship to technology (the late Heidegger) without stating any positive prescriptions. However, as Hubert L. Dreyfus (1995, 2000) has argued, there is more than pure formalism to Heidegger’s thought: he points again and again to how important rootedness, Boden and Heimat, are in trying to overcome the technological understanding of being. Notoriously, Heidegger sees a special role to the Greek–German linguistic axis in internally challenging the tradition of Western metaphysics. This putative special status is in an unsettling way connected to Heidegger’s antidemocratic ideas and to the “closedness” of the tradition that according to him is able to challenge the technological world. We will claim here that there is a way of opening up and thus, in a sense, democratizing the role of tradition and rootedness. However, this democatization has to be done without losing sight of the importance of positive content (as opposed to formal description) in overcoming technology. This opening up is connected to the idea of local gods in later Heidegger as interpreted by Dreyfus; however, the democratization comes at the price of making ethics local as opposed to universal.
Issue Title: Special Section: Irigaray on Merleau-Ponty's "Eye and Mind" In Heidegger on Ontotheology: Technology and the Politics of Education, I argue that Heidegger's ontological thinking about education forms one of the deep thematic undercurrents of his entire career, but I focus mainly on Heidegger's later work in order to make this case. The current essay extends this view to Heidegger's early magnum opus, contending that Being and Time is profoundly informed - albeit at a subterranean level - by Heidegger's perfectionist thinking about education. Explaining this perfectionism in terms of its ontological and ethical components (and their linkage), I show that Being and Time's educational philosophy seeks to answer the paradoxical question: How do become what we are? Understanding Heidegger's strange but powerful answer to this original pedagogical question, I suggest, allows us to make sense of some of the most difficult and important issues at the heart of Being and Time, including what Heidegger really means by possibility, death, and authenticity.[PUBLICATION ABSTRACT
In Heidegger on Ontotheology: Technology and the Politics of Education, I argue that Heidegger’s ontological thinking about education forms one of the deep thematic undercurrents of his entire career, but I focus mainly on Heidegger’s later work in order to make this case. The current essay extends this view to Heidegger’s early magnum opus, contending that Being and Time is profoundly informed – albeit at a subterranean level – by Heidegger’s perfectionist thinking about education. Explaining this perfectionism in terms of its ontological and ethical components (and their linkage), I show that Being and Time’s educational philosophy seeks to answer the paradoxical question: How do become what we are? Understanding Heidegger’s strange but powerful answer to this original pedagogical question, I suggest, allows us to make sense of some of the most difficult and important issues at the heart of Being and Time, including what Heidegger really means by possibility, death, and authenticity.
The activities of glancing and attending are rarely compared, yet they have significant affinities to the point where we may say that glancing is a mode of attending while the latter, in turn, often proceeds by glances. This paper explores these affinities, showing that each activity is a form of “reactive spontaneity” (James) and that each engages in a particular version of advertence. Mental as well as ordinary perceptual glances are examined, with examples being taken from laboratory studies, everyday life, meditation, and the psychotherapeutic technique of focusing. In the end, the two acts collaborate closely, enhance each other, and can be considered conterminous in many of their aims and procedures for reaching them.