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Levinas, language and subsumption

Levinas, language and subsumption

In a recent post at Accursed Share,  Joshua poses Levinas’ critique of Heidegger as rooted in the limitations of comprehension, even the extended notion of comprehension to be found in Heidegger’s work.  His post is based on a reading of Levinas’ essay “Is ontology fundamental?” (Emmanuel Levinas: Basic Philosophical Writings: pp1-32 – henceforth BPW).   He is clear and concise is… Read more →

Movement and the Knights within 'Fear and Trembling'

Movement and the Knights within ‘Fear and Trembling’

It is perhaps dangerous to be too assertive when giving an account of Kierkegaard. There’s a whole series of multiple meanings and possibly even the odd trap and foil for the unsuspecting, though less so than in Nietzsche. To think on from Kierkegaard, however, is to grant oneself a license to be wrong about what he said but still right… Read more →

Necessity and empiricism via Kierkegaard

Necessity and empiricism via Kierkegaard

The first three elements in Fear and Trembling are the ‘preface’, the ‘attunement’ and the ‘exordium’. In the preface Kierkegaard makes an almost direct, if somewhat ironic and sarcastic, appeal to the audience, an audience beyond his contemporaries. The tone ranges from a side-swipe at those who would be reading him, an almost arrogant assumption that he will be read,… Read more →

practice of objective reality

practice of objective reality

(questions in note form that are partly naive and part of my current work, questions as connections, as the objective reality of a thinking practice) “Thus Marx, rather than Kierkegaard or Hegel, is right, since he asserts with Kierkegaard the specificity of human existence and, along with Hegel, takes the concrete man in his objective reality.” (Sartre, The search for… Read more →

face+drawing+on+wall_54305003This excellent example of the way categories or names prescribe our way of conceiving or thinking through problem came through the nettime email list recently.

On 29/09/2007, Thijs wrote:

> “[…] In contrast to most post-modern nation states, Islamic  fundamentalism offers the kind of warm hearth for which many shaken Western souls might yearn.”

Maybe it would be more accurate to say that words like “fundamentalism” and “terrorism” offer the kind of warm hearth for which many shaken Western souls might yearn: the ability to lump together a wide range of social phenomena that they don’t understand under a few convenient labels taken from American and European history, such as American Protestant fundamentalism and the French revolutionary Terror of the 1790s.

Here are some possible alternatives (which I’m sure could be improved):

Al Qaeda: Salafi nationalist guerilla network

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood: Sunni reformist party

Hamas: Sunni Palestinian nationalist party and militia

Hizballah: Shia Lebanese nationalist party and militia

Two things leap out of this sort of classification: the need to know something about Islam in order to know what the Arabic words mean, and the need to take nationalism seriously as a force that motivates opposition movements.


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The problem of Theodicy

or the existence of evil. A very nice presentation of the theodicy problem in its classical formulation.  One of the things to note (for my students who were working with me last year on Hume’s Dialogues where this formulation is also present) is the nature of the four options as exhausting the logical space of possibility.  This at least is… Read more →


The new issue of the excellent journal (indeed perhaps the best philosophical journal around at the moment) out soon … Technorati Tags: urbanomic , deleuze , philosophy Urbanomic

The breath as an organ

The breath as an organ

The snoring man on the train, just behind and to our left, revolts us. Their noise is more penetrating, more cutting, even though it is lower in decibel than the irritating child a few seats in front with their high pitched and hyperactive voice testing the patience of the father figure accompanying them. The snoring man is filthy in his… Read more →

class, experience and affect

class, experience and affect

Some rather peculiar argument has broken out amongst some of the radical philosopher types in the blogosphere, apparently kicked off, in part at least, by the comments of a blogger called k-punk (which you can read here – k-punks trackbacks don’t seem to work but the page is there). Larval Subjects has a kind of round-up and commentary and there’s… Read more →