The Society for European Philosophy and The Forum for European Philosophy Joint Conference 2012

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Oct 23, 2013 (4 years and 16 days ago)

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The Society for European Philosophy and The Forum for
European Philosophy Joint Conference 2012


In association with the London Graduate School


5th
-
7th September 2012




CONFERENCE
ABSTRACTS




Table of Contents

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

1

PLENARY PANEL

2

PANEL A: The Limits of Hegel’s Dialectic

3

PANEL B:
The Problem of Use
-
Value

3

PANEL C: Contemporary Art/Contemporary Thought

4

PANEL D: The Impersonal Occurrence of Art

6

PANEL E: Bergson and/or Heidegger

7

PANEL F: Nonhuman Art, Nonhuman Philosophy: François Laruelle

and Allan Kaprow

8

PANEL G: Object, Refuse, Reject, Abuse: Cynicism and Nihilism in Foucault’s
The Courage of
Truth

9

PANEL H:
Exposing Dialectics

10

PANEL I: Critical Theory and Ideology Panel

10

ALPHABETICAL LIST OF SPEAKERS IN PARALLEL SESSIONS

12






1

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS



What
Can
Phenomenology Tell us about Social C
ognition?

Shaun

Gallagher

(Lillian and Morrie Moss Chair of Excellence in Philosophy at the University of
Memphis, Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science at the University of Hertfordshire in
England, Honorary Pro
fessor of Philosophy at the University of Copenhagen, Affiliated Research
Faculty Member at the Institute of Simulation and Training at the University of Central Florida)


In several recent papers the relevance of phenomenology, understood as a philosophic
al
method (in the tradition Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau
-
Ponty and others), has been challenged
specifically within the context of studies of social cognition. For example, Pierre Jacob (2011)
suggests that since processes that explain social cognition are

not available at the experiential
level, phenomenology misses the mark. Spaulding (2010, 131) from a theory of mind perspective
suggests that phenomenology is simply irrelevant. This is not the minority opinion in philosophy of
mind. Most, although not a
ll, theorists in philosophy of mind, psychology, and neuroscience would
locate the essential processes of social cognition at the subpersonal level and dismiss
phen
omenology as likely misleading.

In an attempt to respond to these dismissals of
phenomenolog
y, I address several questions.

First, are all aspects that are relevant to an
explanation of social c
ognition in fact sub
-
personal?

Second, how should such sub
-
personal
processes be cashed out on the experiential level, assuming that we do experience some
thing as
we interact with others? Third, what role does folk psychology play in an explanation of social
cognition? And finally, is phenomenology limited to introspection?



The Return of Subjectivity

Alphonso Lingis

(Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Pennsylvania State University)


Phenomenology’s description of the things as they show themselves to be depended on
the reality and apodicticity of self
-
consciousness. Ethical responsibility required the reliability of

self
-
consciousness. Linguistics defined self
-
consciousness as the speaker who issues a present
utterance identifying him
-

or herself with the grammatical subject of that utterance. But
pragmatics exhibits speech acts as social interactions; a speech act

is elicited and commanded by
an interlocutor. Deleuze and Guattari argue that one says what one has been ordered to say; all
statements are quotations. I argue that these positions do not eliminate subjectivity; they
engender a new conception of self
-
co
nsciousness.



It Does Not Have To Be Like This

Catherine Malabou

(Professor of Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University)


In this lecture, I will address, discuss and challenge the issue of radical contingency as
raised by Quentin Meillassoux in his book
After Finitude
, opening a new path toward a Kantianism
to come.





2

PLENARY

PANEL




New Materialities, Other
Deconstructions


Catherine Malabou
(Professor of Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University)

Martin McQuillan
(Professor, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Kingston)

Simon
Morgan Wortham
(Professor, Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts and S
ocial Sciences, Kingston)




If it is true that we are entering an epoch of new materialities for which we as yet have no
descriptive framework then philosophy must respond to this situation. The question of matter
after all is also a philosophical concept
. The empirical and all empiricisms are, as Derrida notes as
early as ‘Violence and Metaphysics’, philosophical gestures that embed themselves within the
history of philosophy. His reading of Levinas in this essay is to suggest the ways in which Levinas
de
monstrates that all empiricism is metaphysical, and a constant philosophical thematization ‘of
the infinite exteriority of the other’. Levinas in contrast understands the empirical not as a
positivism but as an experience of difference and of the other. ‘E
mpiricism’, claims Derrida,
‘always has been determined by philosophy, from Plato to Husserl as nonphilosophy: as the
philosophical pretention to nonphilosophy’. That is as philosophy’s way of affecting to speak in a
non
-
philosophical way. However, nothing

can more profoundly conjure the need for philosophy
than this denial of philosophy by philosophy. Within the metaphysical schema that is
nonphilosophy, the irruption of the wholly other solicits philosophy (i.e. the logos) as its own
origin, end, and othe
r. There is no escape from philosophy as far as empiricism is concerned; there
will only ever be a thinking about the empirical that is philosophical. It is this radicalization of
empiricism that deconstruction proposes as a breathless, inspiring journey f
or philosophy in the
later years of the twentieth century. As Derrida states in the opening paragraphs of the essay on
Levinas, it is the closure of philosophy by nonphilosophy that gives thought a future, ‘it may even
be that these questions are not philo
sophical, are not philosophy’s questions. Nevertheless, these
should be the only questions today capable of founding the community, within the world, of those
who are still called philosophers; and called such in remembrance, at very least, of the fact tha
t
these questions must be examined unrelentingly…’

So, the question of the materiality of a post
-
deconstructive age may not be a question that
philosophy has the resources to answer but which must nevertheless be thought about and so
determined in a philo
sophical manner. This panel will address this demand.






3

PANEL A
: The Limits of Hegel’s Dialectic


This panel is formed around the philosophical question of the ‘limits’ of Hegel’s dialectical
process. According to Hegel, the demarcation of a limit immanently suggests its own
transgression. If this is one defining feature of Hegel’s dialectic, how tod
ay are we to confront the
question of limits that at once draw attention to the immanent structure and unfolding of
dialectical logic and mark real historical and conceptual limitations? The papers in this panel are
situated on ‘two sides of the limit’: o
n the one hand, the internal limits of the dialectic itself (its
terms, categories, structure); and on the other hand, its external limits (its incapacity to grasp and
fully account for certain realities and negativities).


Hegel’s Concept of Abs
tract Negation

Hammam Aldouri

(PhD candidate, CRMEP, Kingston University)


This paper aims to examine the notion of ‘abstract negation’ as it emerges in the unfolding
of the concept of determinate negation in the famous fourth chapter of Hegel’s Phenomenol
ogy
of Spirit. The aim of the paper is twofold: first I want to bring into relief the place of abstract
negation in the formal deployment of the dialectical process as conceived in the
concept of
determinate negation
; second, I want to point toward a potential understanding of abstract
negation as the ‘origin’ or source of the dialectical process itself, a claim that, in a certain sense,
simultaneously subverts the process itself and vindicates its general logic.


Th
e Role of Dialectic in Marx’s Critique of Hegel

Ian Jakobi

(PhD candidate, CRMEP, Kingston University)


My paper will address the development of Marx’s method of critique in his Contribution to
a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law (1843). My aim will b
e to show in what ways Marx situates
his method of analysis in and through a critique of Hegel’s dialectical presentation of the state. I
will thereby seek to problematise the view that Marx conserves Hegel’s method while rejecting his
system by suggestin
g that Marx both demonstrates the limitations of Hegel’s dialectic while at the
same time revealing its real content. I will conclude by assessing the ability of Marx’s practical
alternative to dialectical thought to move beyond these limits.



PANEL B
:
The Problem of Use
-
Value



Contrary to Marx’s claim that there is ‘nothing mysterious about it’, the category of ‘use
-
value’ in his work raises a number of philosophical ambiguities. These difficulties are in part the
consequence of an inconsistent amou
nt of importance afforded to use
-
value by Marx himself.
Use
-
value explicitly features as an economic category in the
Grundrisse

and its significance is
vigorously defended in an 1881 polemic against Adolph Wagner. On the other hand, it is
conceptually redu
ced to the ‘physical properties of the commodity’ in the first few pages of
Capital
, and is subsequently rendered superfluous to the systematic development of the value
-
form. Given such ambiguity, there is the temptation to stabilise the place of use
-
value

within
Marx’s work (whether through uncritical acceptance or outright rejection). However, the papers in
this panel maintain that such stabilisation neglects the potential philosophical promise of the
concept. In short, it forecloses two possibilities: (1
) critically situating use
-
value in relation to other

4

philosophical problems in Marx’s work, such as materiality and temporality, and thus (2) enriching
the meaning of ‘use’ and ‘use
-
value’ in Marx more generally.


Use
-
Value and the Metabolism of Humanity
and Nature

Cas McMenamin

(PhD candidate, Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy

Kingston University)


This paper will situate use
-
value in relation to the ‘metabolism’ of nature and humanity in
Marx’s work. It will explore the following
questions: What can use
-
value teach us about the
‘double relationship’ between the social and natural in Marx? Does the concept of use
-
value
contain metaphysical assumptions about a primary matter external to and causally determining
human practice? Does t
he concept of use
-
value as a metabolic product retain any meaning
beyond its relation to exchange
-
value (i.e. outside of the commodity form)?


Use
-
Value and Temporality

George Tomlinson
(PhD candidate, Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Kin
gston
University)


This paper critically develops passages in the
Grundrisse

on the use
-
value of the
commodity labour
-
capacity/labour
-
power [
Arbeitsvermögen
]


that is, labour


doubly
characterized as the use
-
value which ‘confronts’ capital and the use
-
value ‘of capital itself’. These
passages beg a conception of the ‘use’ of the human in relation to self
-
expanding value (capital).
By situating them in the c
ontext of Marx’s analysis in
Capital

of the doubled (concrete and
abstract) character of labour (something not present in the
Grundrisse
), we are also introduced to
a number of problems at the level of the philosophy of time. Abstract labour is, of course,

a
temporal category: homogenous, quantifiable and divisible time which constitutes the measure
and substance of value. Yet it is far from clear what temporalities structure concrete labour in
Marx, such that this labour (which both produces and
exists

as

use
-
value for capital) is
dialectically

intertwined with abstract labour. In other words, concrete labour
-
time cannot be reduced to
various different activities which occur ‘within’ homogenous (clock) time. There needs to be some
consideration of concrete
labour
-
time as the ongoing negated ground of the commodification of
labour
-
power and the production of abstract labour.



PANEL C
:

Contemporary Art/Contemporary Thought



Each of the three papers on this panel addresses different aspects of the
conjunction between
contemporary works of art and thought; each of them thinks through the silent mark between
them, whether in psychoanalytic, phenomenological or post
-
phenomenological terms. What
emerges in the conjunction between the three papers, then,

are facets of the world, still human
yet always already on the way to a beyond


futurity, pre
-
figuration, opacity.



The Practice and Production of Addiction in Contemporary Art

Christopher Kul
-
Want

(Course director M.A. Fine Art and Acting course direct
or MRes Art: Theory
& Philosophy School of Art, Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design)


Reportedly more prevalent than ever in society, addictive disorders can migrate into any
activity exceeding the laws that govern enjoyment. Not only defined by

drug or substance abuse,

5

everything today is potentially classifiable as addictive: sex, work, eating, weight control, play,
shopping, exercise, relationships, the TV or its latest incarnation, the internet. This paper discusses
how recent discourses abou
t addiction can contribute to an understanding of contemporary art
and literature engaged in practices of apparent obsession, compulsion and repetition. Artists
relevant to this discussion are: Thomas Demand, Margarita Gluzberg, Matthew Hale, Thomas
Locher
, Sarah Morris and Julian Opie. Alan Ball’s tippex paintings of t.v. listings, and Robert Mabb’s
serial spirographs


which convey a sense of distraction and boredom through repetitive acts of
apparent adolescent introversion


are also relevant. Through t
heir peculiar blankness and lack of
bodily relation these art forms negate Romantic ideas about an obsessive


and individualistic


striving for radical, expressive effect. Rather, the sense of indifference that characterizes this work
in combination with

an (implausibly) public mode of address, indicates that what is at stake in this
work is a phenomenology of modernity as utopian longing: a phenomenology that recalls
Heidegger’s and Benjamin’s philosophies regarding time and the practice and production o
f
boredom.


Late in the Night, Perhaps Too Late: The Emergence of O
pacity in Anne Carson’s Nox

Jill Marsden

(Assistant Professor Philosophy and English, Faculty of Arts and Media Technologies,
The University of Bolton)


When the brother of the poet Anne Carson died she wrote an elegy for him ‘in the form of
an epitaph’. Her 2010 work
Nox
, an accordion
-
fold book in a hard edge box, is an art object of
profound beauty, a monument of a very precious kind. Part meditation on
loss (and on Catullus’s
poem 101), part scrapbook of letter fragments, grainy photographs and drawings,
Nox

is so
convincing a replica of Carson’s memory box that its pages give the illusion of texture, inviting the
recipient to feel for the imprint of pen

strokes and the ragged surfaces of pasted collage.

My paper explores the sensory experience of encountering this work. There is a tactile
pleasure in handling the pleated pages, a visual delight in the subtle palette of sepia
-
tint and
monochrome, of bri
lliant white and occasional dash of colour. More than this, however,
Nox

appeals to something
between

vision and touch, a sense in the process of being born. In describing
her brother, Carson evokes ‘a certain fundamental opacity of human being, which like
s to show
the truth by allowing it to be seen hiding’. My aim is to try and show how this opacity emerges in
the space of encounter with this captivating work, to pursue what it might mean to let ‘night’
appear.


Figuration, Movement, Coming to Presence in

the Thought of Nietzsche, Nancy, and Richter

Andrea Rehberg

(Assistant Professor Philosophy Department, Middle East Technical University)


The two complementary questions motivating this paper are, firstly, how can painting be
thought (and written) in the

contemporary philosophical constellation and, secondly, how does
painting think, what does it think? The starting point here is that painting


even when it is
figurative


does not represent an extra
-
artistic reality, does not imitate nature. Instead, th
e
process of figuration itself, as it happens in a painting, is investigated in its constituent elements,
in particular in its temporal and spatial aspects, in the materiality of colour and line.

What emerges in this investigation is that painting


arguab
ly even more so than the more
overtly temporal arts


is capable of staging the process of coming to appearance, of differing
(from) itself, i.e., the productive process as such.

To give more concrete shape to these reflections, the works of three seminal

thinkers of
art are addressed, namely those of Nietzsche, Jean
-
Luc Nancy, and Gerhard Richter.



6

PANEL D
:
The Impersonal Occurrence of Art



The papers on this panel share the conviction that the thinking of art should be

l
iberated
from the chains of
subjectivity, which has dominated the philosophy of art

for centuries. To this
purpose, the artist’s, or, in the case of music, the listener’s

relation to the work of art is critically
rethought in these papers, and understood as an

exposure and openness t
o the impersonal,
through which the work of art presences.

With the help of Nietzsche’s, Heidegger’s, and
Blanchot’s thoughts the papers look at

t
his event of exposure in different ways, by focusing on
music, visual art, and

literature, respectively,
though always in the light of the aforementioned
conviction.


Affirmation Through Music: the Transformative Power of Music in Nietzsche’s

Thought

Reha Kuldaşlı

(Philosophy Department Middle East Technical University)


In this paper I will investigate the
relationship between music and affirmation in the

context of Nietzsche's
thought. According to Nietzsche’
s agonistic ontology of life,

there is only the
“abyss of existence”, by which I mean becoming and the play of

forces which strive to take control
of p
henomena, as Deleuze also explains in his book

Nietzsche and Philosophy
. Nietzsche
understands music as the kind of force that is

capable of exposing human being to the groundless
nature of existence, especially as

Dionysian music. This paper will
problematize the shortcomings
of discussing music

in aesthetic or anthropocentric terms, outline Nietzsche’s account of music
and, by

elaborating the relationship between music and affirmation, argue that music is able to

affect the topology of forces in h
uman physiology through its exposing power and to

transform
them into a possible affirmation of life. The paper will also investigate the

‘musical’ nature of
Nietzsche’s own thinking, which deliberately attunes itself to the

agonistic play, rather than pau
sing, dissecting and grasping it.


From Creation to Responsiveness: the artist as τεχνίτης

Andrea Rehberg

(Philosophy Department Middle East Technical University)


With the assertion of the ontological insignificance of the artist vis
-
à
-
vis the work of

art, it
seems that the artist has simply been jettisoned from the space of art. This

paper, by contrast,
seeks to investigate a possible role for the artist in contemporary

philosophy of art. The aim is not
to re
-
introduce obsolete notions of a centralizin
g,

organizing subjectivity through the back door.
Instead, this paper attempts to rethink

the contribution of the artist from a non
-
anthropocentric,
post
-
humanist perspective.

But how can we speak of the artist without reifying them back into the
position
of an

original, God
-
like agency? Is it enough to say, as Heidegger does, that “in great

art…the artist remains inconsequential…almost like a passageway that destroys itself

in the
creative process for the work to emerge” (“The Origin of the Work of Art”)?

How can we understand the role of the artist, somewhere between these two extremes

of
the God
-
like creator and the impersonal, indifferent conduit between potentiality

and actuality?

The central claim of this paper is that another of Heidegger’s texts, nam
ely “The

Question
Concerning Technology” (QCT), allows us to think of the artist in more

subtle, differentiated ways,
neither in ‘hyper
-
subjectivist’ nor in merely ‘conductive’

terms. In QCT, Heidegger chisels out the
ancient Greek apprehension of the
τεχν
ίτης
,

whose main contribution to the emergence of the
artwork is the knowledge of how to

gather (
λέγειν
) the contributory factors (
α

τία
), but who is
not herself necessarily or

chiefly involved in the physical, material making of the artwork as it
finally
shows

itself. It is this delineation of the contribution of the
τεχνίτης
to the coming
-
to

presence

of the artwork that this paper seeks to mobilize in order to begin to develop a

‘post
-

7

metaphysical’ understanding of the role of the artist in contemporary a
rt. To

concretize these
reflections, they will be focused on a specific, especially pertinent

work of art, namely “Sun
Tunnels”, by Nancy Holt.


The Darkness That Resists: Blanchot and the Experience of Radical Otherness

Ramin Ismayilov

(Philosophy
Department Middle East Technical University)


Blanchot often


especially in his early writings on Mallarmé


characterizes the

essence of
the literary work of art as the appearing of “the dissimulation itself” (
The

Space of Literature
, (SL)),
which is the

origin of the demand posed on the

artist/writer. Yet, in his thought this appearing is at
the same time understood to be

inherently and “infinitely problematic” (SL), even impossible,
because the

dissimulation itself resists coming to presence. Facing thi
s impersonal resistance lying

in “the silent void of the work” (SL), namely the darkness
par excellence

that

precedes any
opposition of light and darkness, the writer thus experiences the

shattering of the unity of self, an
experience which corresponds to
the encounter with

radical otherness.

Focusing on the early
Blanchot
(Faux Pas, The Work of Fire, The Space of

Literature
),
this paper endeavours to throw
light on some of the details of Blanchot’s

understanding of the always interrupted movement of
the co
ming to presence of the

literary work of art. Moreover, it also traces the emergence of
radical otherness in

connection with the thinking of literature in Blanchot’s thought, and in this
context

seeks to locate a possible intertwining of the literary and t
he ethical even in the early

Blanchot’s writings.



PANEL
E
: Bergson and/or Heidegger



Henri Bergson and Martin Heidegger are two pivotal thinkers of the first half of the 20th
century, whose ideas structure much of contemporary ‘continental’ philosophy. Although
Heidegger was certainly influenced by Bergson’s thinking, their divergent respo
nses to basic issues
and problems in the philosophical tradition have shaped different currents within contemporary
thought. The renewal of interest in Bergson’s work in the last decades, however, has not been
accompanied by sustained analysis of what exa
ctly divides Heidegger from Bergson (or vice versa)
on key ontological and metaphysical problems. Our proposed panel at the SEP/FEP annual
conference will offer an initial attempt to do precisely this by focusing on three interrelated issues:
freedom, noth
ingness and creation. Understanding how Heidegger can take up Bergson’s
conception of freedom whilst criticising both the positivism involved in his critique of nothingness
and the subjectivism/voluntarism that underlies his ideas of creation and novelty i
s an essential
prerequisite, we contend, for understanding many debates in contemporary philosophy.


Bergson, Heidegger and the Question of Freedom

Matthew Barnard

(PhD candidate, Philosophy, Manchester Metropolitan University)


Begson and Heidegger: Much

Ado about Nothing

Christophe Perrin

(Post
-
Doc, Université catholique de Louvain)



Bergson’s Genius

Mark Sinclair

(Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Manchester Metropolitan University)



8


PANEL F
: Nonhuman Art, Nonhuman Philosophy: François Laruelle and
Allan Kaprow



What are the implications of the nonhuman turn in the Arts and Humanities? Specifically,
what is the meaning of the ‘non’ in the ‘nonhuman’, and what is the relationship between this
‘non’ and the definition of art and philosophy? If ‘non’
is simply a negation, it could be argued that
the assertion that there is something nonhuman in these practices is vacuously broad in that it
embraces
everything

other than human. And, indeed, in the realm of the performing arts, many
different kinds of ot
her
-
than
-
human things have taken the stage: animals and machines (Societas
Raffaello Sanzio), swirling mists and performing robots (Kris Verdonck), sand and paper (Cupola
Bobber), tuning forks and tomato ketchup (Zoe Laughlin). As Laughlin says in
The Perf
ormativity of
Matter

(2008), ‘materials perform. Stuff is constantly getting up to things.’ But is the removal of
the human here still too focused on the human as its opposite? What kind of performances might
nonhuman bodies enact beyond a negation of the
human?



The same might be said again in the philosophical domain as regards the claim that
nonhumans can do philosophy: the idea of philosophy performed by animals (Coetzee’s horse
-
philosophers), intelligent computers, and even cinema (Frampton’s ‘filmind
’) stretches its
definition to equally challenging limits. If, as Derrida argued, one can no longer be sure of what ‘is
not’ philosophy as much as what is, does that not leave too much of it on the outside, with no
starting point of its own at all, no anch
or (in propositional content, argumentative logic,
questioning, wonder, etc.) by which other, extended meanings might be oriented? Every (human
and

nonhuman) thing does philosophy, and so nothing does; everything is performance and so
nothing is.


Our pape
r/workshop examines the nonhuman through a different, expansive approach to
that of negation combines François Laruelle’s ‘non
-
standard philosophy’ and Allan Kaprow’s
‘nonart’. For Laruelle, the ‘non’ is not a negation but a
performance

of expansion, of br
oadening. It
operates in the same way that non
-
Euclidean geometries do not negate Euclid, but affirm it within
a broader paradigm that also explains alternative geometries that are only apparently opposed to
it. Non
-
standard philosophy is a democracy of th
ought that performatively extends the definition
of philosophy beyond the authority of standard philosophical approaches that always
humanize

it.
Form ‘superposes’ content as Laruelle performs what he preaches. As such, we will show how
Laruelle’s is a non
-
human philosophy, not through the negation of the human, but its extension, a
‘human
-
without
-
humanism’ that discovers (or ‘decides’) the human, and philosophy, in myriad
other realms (yet without either term becoming vacuous). Likewise, the ‘non’ in Kapro
w’s ‘nonart’
does not signal a negation of art, but an extension of what counts as ‘art’ (beyond convention and
habit) into the terrain of ‘life’ including attending to the life of nonhuman materials.
Kaprow’s
Activities should be conceived as performing j
ust the kind of ‘extended experimentation’ required
to come to know what our body can do in conjunction with the nonhuman: testing what
transformations might happen when a particular human body enters into composition with the
nonhuman body of ice, or a li
ghtbulb.
As we will discuss and show in this combined paper and
workshop, Kaprow’s response to the question: ‘What is art?’ will be constituted through a theory
of mutation that he shares with Laruelle


a theory in which not every nonhuman thing
is
, or
is

not
, art or philosophy, but any thing can
become

art or philosophy (by attention training in
Kaprow, performative decision in Laruelle). In the practical element, we will recreate one of
Kaprow’s most significant ‘activities’. People who attend this sessi
on will be invited to act out
Kaprow’s ‘score’


everyday action rendered unfamiliar in a manner that allows us to encounter
nonhuman materials anew as thoughtful/artful in their own right.


9


John Mullarkey

(Professor in Film and Television Studies

Kingston University, Chair of SEP)


Laura Cull

(Senior Lecturer in Theatre Studies

University of Surrey)



PANEL G
:

Object, Refuse, Reject, Abuse: Cynicism and Nihilism in
Foucault’s
The Courage of Truth



This panel will comprise of three papers examining related issues raised by Michel
Foucault’s revaluation of the importance of Cynicism in
The Courage of Truth
, his final series of
lectures delivered at the
Collège de France

in 1983
-

1984. Acknowledging that Cynicism has often
been presented as a marginal


and perhaps even trivial


figure in ancient philosophy due to its
rudimentary theoretical nature, Foucault nevertheless shows that considered as a mode of life


a
way o
f being and doing


Cynicism is in fact central to the history of Western culture. Our
intention is to examine three key aspects of Foucault’s account.


Cynicism, Scepticism, Nihilism

Keith Crome,

(Senior Lecturer in Philosophy Manchester Metropolitan Uni
versity)


In an undelivered passage from the lecture course
The Courage of Truth
, included by the
editors as an extended footnote, Foucault suggests that 19
th

century European nihilism should be
understood as an historically specific confluence of Sceptici
sm and Cynicism and adds that it is
thus an episode of a problem first posed in Ancient Greek culture, namely of the relation between
the will to truth and a style of existence. My aim will be to explicate this brief, but provocative
remark, and situate it

in relation to the Heideggerian and Nietzschean understandings of nihilism.


Cynicism as Anti
-
Platonism

Maxime Lallement

(PhD candidate, Department of Philosophy Manchester Metropolitan
University)


At the beginning of his account of Cynicism, Foucault d
raws attention to the parrhesiastic
role attributed to the Cynic in Antiquity. Likened both to an angel (
aggelos
) and to a dog, the Cynic
was seen as someone sent ahead of the political community to warn it against the dangers of life.
In this presentation
, I will argue that this mode of political action relies on an inverted form of
Platonism and, by confronting

the Cynic life with the task of the philosopher described in Plato’s
“Allegory of the Cave”, I will show that the philosophy of the Cynics is base
d upon a non
-
paradigmatic concept of truth.


Cynicism and Literature: The Cyni
cal Life of the Artistic Addict

Colin Wisely

(PhD candidate, Department of Sociology Manchester Metropolitan University)


Michel Foucault proposes in his final lecture series that we can see the influence of
Cynicism in the modern age through the bourgeois form of modern art. The principle of the artist
living his life as art in a scandalous fashion can be seen clearly as a t
heme in the treatment of
'drugs' from Thomas De Quincey and William Burroughs. I shall consider the importance of
confession in the literary trope and the impact of stoic and Cynic thought upon
Confessions of an
Opium Eater

and
Junky
.


10



PANEL H
:
Exposing
Dialectics



What is yet to be exposed about dialectics? What has dialectics still to expose about
philosophy? A common concern with the status of dialectical thought connects the papers to be
presented on this panel. However we seem to be out of fashion,

as papers concerned with
dialectics seem not to turn up at conferences or in journals with much frequency. If, as Nancy
writes, ‘dialectics, in general, is a process that arises from some given’, then where does a concern
with and a discussion of dialecti
cs belong in a contemporary philosophical scene built on the
rejection of givenness, be it in the form of idea, presence, signification, subjectivity, world or
phenomenon? Is it in fact possible to return to dialectics under these conditions? Or is Heidegg
er
correct when he says that the dialectic is a ‘genuine philosophic al embarrassment’?

‘Misconstrued, treated lightly,’ Derrida asserts, ‘Hegelianism only extends its historical
domination, finally unfolding its immense enveloping resources without obsta
cle.’ Can one, as
such, hold a position on dialectics without taking up a position within the dialectic? We will not
attempt in these three papers to definitively answer the questions we pose, but instead will seek
to mobilize the discussion with three app
roaches to dialectics. The three papers presented will aim
to both expose different understandings of the role of dialectical method in philosophy and to
consider what dialectics exposes when brought to bear on contemporary thought.


The roles of mimesis a
nd methexis in Nancy’s readings of Socratic dialectic and
phenomenological hermeneutics.

Nick Aldridge
(PhD candidate, Department of Philosophy Manchester Metropolitan University)


Nancy’s critique of dialectics as mobilized in his exposition of love in hi
s 1986 essay L’amour en
éclats (Shattered Love)

Leda Channer

(PhD candidate, Department of Philosophy Manchester Metropolitan University)


Approaches to Hegelian Dialectics

Adam Skevington

(PhD candidate, Department of Philosophy Manchester Metropolitan
University


PANEL I
:

Critical Theory and Ideology Panel



Ideology
-
critique is one of the central tasks of all strands of Critical Theory and it is
necessitated by Critical Theory’s concern for human emancipation. A key aspect of Critical Theory


and that which distinguishes Critical Theory from Traditional theo
ry


is its commitment to a
historical approach to knowledge. Knowledge is informed by the specific historical context of its
formation and the
-

possibly non
-
conscious
-

interests and prejudices of those whose knowledge it
is, as well as by general human l
imitations. As such knowledge is never objective. There is no
Archimedean point from which we discover eternal universal truths and hence knowledge must
always be subject to revision. As human beings we have interests and these are reflected in our
theorie
s and knowledge


whether we are aware of it or not
-

so there is no such thing as value
neutral knowledge. The rejection of ahistorical, objective, neutral knowledge becomes ideology
critique whenever the presumed value neutrality of a theory helps to pe
rpetuate oppressive
power structures and thus prevent human emancipation. Ideologies may hinder human

11

emancipation by declaring oppressive structures as objectively necessary. Or, they may by falsely
assuming the standpoint of neutrality actively contribut
e to the oppression (especially of minority
cultures). Generally, ideology crucially involves two moments: an experience of problematic social
conditions and at the same time the idea of justice. These two moments together necessitate the
legitimation of t
he oppressive structures. One example of ideology critique is the stance of many
Critical Theorists towards political liberalism, which is regarded as oppressive in its presumed
value
-
neutrality. Rather than achieving (impossible) genuine value neutrality,

political liberalism is
seen as a bias towards the economic and political interests of those in power, whose social
domination is now theoretically justified and preserved. Ideology critique aims to unmask the
inherent bias in such value neutrality and de
stabilize the confidence in proclaimed certainties in
order to open up a space for human emancipation.

But, while Critical Theory is united in ideology critique, the conception of ideology differs
across the different strands and with it the form of critiq
ue and the focus on various aspects of
social life. Different conceptions of ideology in turn might reflect changes within ideology itself


so that different strands of critical theory are (possibly) not distinguished by a different view they
take on ideo
logy but are themselves reactions to changed ideologies. This panel will look at the
different conceptions of “ideology” within the Critical Theory tradition and implications and also


with reference to the last point


examine the relation between the d
ifferent forms of critique and
the nature of ideology.


Stefano Giacchetti

(Loyola University Chicago)


Karin Stoegner

(University of Vienna)


Dagmar Wilhelm

(Teaching Fellow, Department of Philosophy University of Bristol)






12

ALPHABETICAL LIST OF
SPEAKERS IN PARALLEL SESSIONS



Structure and Intuition in Deleuze’s Renewal of Ontology

David J. Allen

(PhD candidate, Departmen
t of Philosophy

University of Warwick
)


In this paper, I will consider language and science as convergent philosophical problems in
Deleuze’s early project (culminating in 1968
-
69) of renewing ontology, and examine Deleuze’s
structuralism as the site of the convergence of these two problem.

In

his 1954 review of Jean Hyppolite’s
Logic and Existence
, Deleuze makes a decisive
commitment to a renewal of ontology orientated around the concept of ‘sense’ or ‘meaning’
(
sens
). This paper is motivated by a problem generated by these notions of ‘sense’, and of an
‘ontology of sense’, given the centrality for Deleuze’s project of the thought of Henri Bergson. In
Logic and Existence
, Hyppolite sets Bergson up as a counter
-
figur
e to his own Hegelian onto
-
logic
of sense. For Hyppolite, Bergson’s emphasis on philosophical ‘intuition’, and consequent
scepticism regarding the adequacy of language to grasp metaphysical truth, barred him from
grasping the properly ontological signific
ance of the concept of sense. Deleuze, however, sets out
to formulate an ontology of sense
in terms of

a return to Bergson. How does this manoeuvre
function?

To answer this question, I explore Deleuze’s philosophical appropriation of structuralism,
takin
g the concept of ‘structure’ as the key to understanding Deleuze’s overcoming of the tension
outlined above. In the concept of structure, Deleuze discerns a characterisation of sense which
gels with a more adequate characterisation of Bergson’s methodolog
ical concept of intuition. By
bringing together the concepts of structure and intuition


or, rather, by bringing out the
artificiality and falsity of their juxtaposition


Deleuze is able to deploy the concept of sense in an
ontological register, without

falling prey to the problems he diagnoses in Hyppolite’s attempt at a
Hegelian version of the same move.

In both a Bergsonian and a structuralist context, the question of the status and nature of
sense cannot be extricated from the question of the status and nature of science


of science’s
relation to sense, and to philosophy. ‘Structure’ is the founding co
ncept of a transdisciplinary
research programme in the ‘human sciences’ in the 1950s and ’60s in France which attempts to
theorise and practice a
new science of meaning
. Deleuze’s
philosophical

appropriation of this
concept thus has ramifications for the
status of philosophy in relation to the sciences; a troubled
relation which, I argue, is at the heart of the very need for a
renewal

of ontology.



Nietzsche in the L
ight of Elias

Tom Angier

(
Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Philosophy

University
of Kent
)


Philosophers, especially in the analytic tradition, have tended to accuse Nietzsche of two
related, informal fallacies: (a) the genetic fallacy, and (b) the fallacy of
ad hominem
.

They ground (a) centrally in book one of
On the Genealogy of Moral
ity
, where Nietzsche
traces contemporary European morality to what he calls a ‘slave revolt’. According to his narrative,
a set of positive
Ur
-
values, embedded in the life of unnamed ‘nobles’, was overthrown by the
collective might of reactive, life
-
denyin
g, individually weak ‘slaves’. It is this narrative that
supposedly instantiates the genetic fallacy: for why suppose that the
origin

of our moral code
determines its present value and function, or (even more implausibly) requires a ‘revaluation of all
val
ues’?

(b) is seen to be more diffusely present in Nietzsche’s work, but no less genuine for all
that. Nietzsche often spends time praising or attacking the character and/or behaviour of famous

13

figures, rather than demonstrating how their claims stand up/ f
ail to stand up to rational scrutiny.
He writes, for example, that ‘In origin, Socrates belonged to the lowest class: Socrates was plebs. .
. . he was ugly’.
1

But, ask Nietzsche’s critics, what bearing can this have on the cogency of
Socrates’
arguments

and
claims
? Once again, Nietzsche focuses on a thing’s origins, where this
focus seems irrelevant to arriving at a rational assessment of it.
2


Putting aside, for the moment, whether these accusations of fallacy have any weight, I
want to ask a further qu
estion: what if we turn this aspect of Nietzsche’s method against
himself
?
For this is, I shall argue, effectively what Norbert Elias does in his seminal book,
The Germans
. He
does so in two respects.

First, he outlines how Nietzsche’s ethical heuristic of

‘weakness’ versus ‘strength’ finds its
proper background in the German practice of duelling, which originated, in turn, from a culture of
unforgiving warrior virtue. Secondly, Elias elaborates how the German middle classes


of which
Nietzsche was a part


shifted their aspirations from an apolitical, purely artistic ideal of
Kultur

in
the early nineteenth century, to a thoroughly politicised, militarised and nationalistic ideal of the
Reich

in the late nineteenth century.
3

Although Elias does not draw th
is conclusion himself, there
are once again clear implications for understanding Nietzsche’s work. For the two broad ideals
between which Nietzsche’s theory of value moves are, I shall argue, precisely those of individual,
artistic creativity and military
-
cum
-
political heroism.

Do these sociological observations throw any light on Nietzsche’s moral and political
philosophy, or is to believe so merely to commit oneself to fallacy? On the one hand, the light shed
by Elias’ duelling hypothesis is, I will argue
, minimal, since Nietzsche’s categories of ‘weakness’ and
‘strength’ are multiply applicable, being much broader than those embodied in any particular
practice. On the other hand, Elias’ study of nineteenth century German middle class ideals is, I will
arg
ue, highly relevant, since it points up a deep incoherence within Nietzsche’s own, central ideal
of the powerful, all
-
conquering artist
-
creator


and thereby underscores a deep incoherence
within his political philosophy as a whole.

Having laid out the cru
cial import of Elias’ work for understanding Nietzsche’s, I shall end
by drawing some general conclusions concerning the genetic and
ad hominem

‘fallacies’. In fine, I
will argue no such generic fallacies exist, since the relevance of the origins of x to a
n assessment of
x depends wholly on what kind of assessment is at stake, what kind of thing x is, and moreover
what logical and empirical relations hold between x and its origins.


1

Twilight of the Idols
, ‘The Problem of Socrates’, 3.

2

The origin in this case is clearly an individual man, rather than a set of people or practices. But
formally the two are very similar, and indeed, one could argue that
ad hominem
is a species of
genetic fallacy (assuming they are fallacies in the first pl
ace).

3 This shift occurred, Elias argues, when the middle classes began to be allowed some share in the
political life and administration of the
Reich
.




The Aesthetics of the Between: On Beauty and the Erotic Object

Babette Babich

(
Prof
essor of
Philosophy
,

Fordham University
)


Beyond Rudolf Arnheim’s reflection on a feature common to architecture and sculpture as
frameless works of art, such that the “the figure determines its own fulcrum,” this presentation
articulates a phenomenological aesthetics of the subject, including the

subject’s observation of
and encounter with the museum object and with the experience of the museum or gallery itself in
the context of the philosophy of art and beauty. With a particular focus on the contemporary
sculptures of Jeff Koons and others like
Brancusi and Canova as well as Polykleitus, but paintings
too like Manet and Bougereau, in addition to the photography of Barbara Morgan and the dance,

14

but also literature and philosophy itself (Plato, Mann, Rilke, Stevens), the erotic dimensionality of
th
e beautiful in art is illuminated by a reading of Alexander Nehamas and Hans
-
Georg Gadamer on
the beauty in philosophical aesthetics and the experienced dimensionality of the art world. This
same context includes a discussion of the flâneur/ cyberflaneur,
questions of originality in art, and
of capital.



Coercing Autonomy: Free Speech, Symbols, and Kantian Critique

Clover Bachman

(
PhD in Literary and Cultural Theory, Carnegie Mellon University
)




Recent discussions of free speech, secular freedoms and
religious censure, religious
freedoms and secular censure, have returned us to foundational questions about coercion in
interpretive practices. The more subtle varieties of censorship which occur through the coercive
norms of cultural debate present us wit
h the task of rearticulating how the individual subject works
through problems of autonomy and judgment - including the capacity render an assertion of
subjective freedom knowable to the self and an other.

Rather than relying on Marx¹s scientifically coded

form of critique and or a specifically
Foucauldian critical attitude that brackets assertions of normativity, I want return in a more
focused manner how the Kantian subject of free speech is bound to a specific intellectual process
that seeks, not a state

of absolute critical freedom, but an ongoing awareness of the social nature
of subjectivity and the coercive contexts that give rise to metaphorical and symbolic accounts of
truth. Critique¹s aesthetic dimension - its capacity to subject its own encounter

with metaphors to
self
-
evaluation rather than hermeneutic acceptance opens up the bifurcated nature of subjectivity
- allowing us as juridical
-
political subjects (of limited freedom) to never
-
the
-
less view our selves as
radically autonomous subjects (of i
nfinite freedom). This point needs to be distinguished from
what Talal Asad describes as ³the banal argument that free speech is never totally free because in a
liberal society freedom is balanced by responsibility.² What this essay explores is how the co
ncept
of critique and the modern subject arises within conflicts of free speech, coercion and censorship.

The fear that critique has become a ³heroic attitude, a particular view of subjectivity and its
prime duty²
--

little more than one narrative of sub
jectivity among many possible others, seems to
have resurfaced (Asad)
.

Kantian critique, and the pressure it places on setting aside claims to metaphysical truth
can appear problematic in the context of recent debates on religion, secularity and free speec
h:
critique privileges reason but cannot actually demonstrate absolute rational freedom or pure
theory, despite its reliance on a logical model which is defined by demonstrability (Butler,
Foucault). Using critique as a pragmatic political or moral positio
n (to demystify ideological
assumptions) certainly can make it seem like little more than a historical transformation of
Christian mythos into logos (Milbank, Asad) or an a
-
historical assertion of rationality that replicates
intellectual absolutism even as

it claims to displace it.

However, the goal of critique is not a state of absolute intellectual freedom from which the
subject can at
-
last issue expedient and ³just² judgments. Rather Critique culminates in a more
subtle form of praxis
--

the subject¹s ow
n recognition of the conflicted conceptual basis of his or
her own subjectivity (Goetschel, Balibar). A critical subjectivity relies on interpretive moments of
critical reflection on the aesthetic experience of symbolic (rather than scientific) examples to

engage in analysis of the contingencies that inform the very sensus communis wherein the
intellectual autonomy that authorizes judgment is constituted.



Philosophy and Photography:
The shimmering image: affect and digital technologies


15

Stella Baraklianou

(
Lecturer, BA (Hons) Photography

S
chool of Art, Design and Media

University of
Portsmouth
)


Photography’s unique relationship with time, the idea of fixing an image in time has been
altered with the invasion of digital technology. How revolutionary is the

idea of the digital? What
essentially differentiates the idea of a stilled moment in time with its (digital) potentiality to
reverberate and pulsate within the same frame? From the capturing to the processing and
printing, images are subjected to open
-
end
ed alterity. However this is not just a question of
technological advancement but also of the question of an un
-
timely present. With reference to
Simondon’s
L’individu et sa genese physico
-
biologique

and Agamben’s
What is an apparatus

the
notion of diffra
cted and shimmering time will be explored, one that is conditioned and at the same
time, conditions the notion of subjectivity.



A Critical Evaluation of Parfit’s References to Nietzsche in ‘On What Matters'

Kit Barton

(
Pathway Leader, Business Studies

Webster Graduate School at Regent's College
London
)


The publication in 2011 of Derek Parfit’s book on ethical theory, entitled “On What
Matters”, was a much anticipated philosophical event. Once published, a number of prominent
philosophers suggested tha
t it might represent the most important step forward in thinking about
ethics in over one hundred years. Amongst other ideas, the book delivered the final version of
Parfit’s convergence theory, which if true would reconcile the opposing ethical systems o
f
consequentialism and deontology, a divide thought unbridgeable since the work of Henry Sidgwick
in 1874. The ramifications this would be immense, affecting both meta
-
ethics, by offering a
powerful new argument for ethical objectivism, and applied ethic
s, offering a new, unified ethical
system to use in moral deliberation and evaluation. From this wide
-
ranging field of consequences,
this paper will focus on Parfit's references to the work of Nietzsche, a philosopher that Parfit
writes, “is the most infl
uential and admired moral philosopher of the last two centuries”. Parfit
admits that if his convergence claim is to work then it must not be strongly challenged by
Nietzsche's claims. Parfit agrees with Nietzsche’s basic insight that morality is an histo
rically
-
conditioned phenomenon but he disagrees with any relativistic conclusion that could be drawn
from this. Parfit argues for progress in moral deliberation and ethical reasoning and so is like
Nietzsche insofar as he agrees that morality has a specif
ic history or genealogy. However, Parfit,
unlike Nietzsche, does not accept that this history eventually leads to a stage that is ‘beyond good
and evil’, where morality would have progressed beyond a concern with human suffering. This
paper will critical
ly evaluate Parfit’s references to Nietzsche and, more specifically, determine if
Parfit’s interpretation of Nietzsche’s conception of moral history is correct. In addition, it will
attempt to show that some of Parfit’s concluding arguments about moral pr
ogress in ‘On What
Matters’ are to some extent a
lready offered by Nietzsche in
Untime
ly Meditations
.



Visual Agnosia, Heidegger and Perceptual Error

David Batho

(
Graduate Student, Department of Philosophy

University of Essex)


I begin the paper by
presenting a case study. The example is of a woman, Lillian Kallir,

who suffers
from visual agnosia, a condition in which one cannot see objects as

determinate unities. While
those with visual agnosia can make out properties of objects

of their immediate environments,
they can’t see any unity through the properties such as would allow them to see
what
ever it is

16

that’s in front of them. Nonetheless, however,

Kallir could easily navigate her way about her
kitchen. As Oliver Sacks writes:

I

followed Lilian into the kitchen, where she set about taking the kettle off the stove and

pouring boiling water into the teapot. She seemed to navigate her crowded kitchen well,

knowing, for instance, that all the skillets and pots were hung on hooks on o
ne wall,

various supplies kept in their regular places. When we opened the refrigerator and I

quizzed her on the contents, she said, “O.J., milk, butter on the top shelf


and a nice

sausage, if you’re interested, one of those Austrian things … cheeses.” (
Sacks, pp.12
-
13)

This is somewhat puzzling. How could it be that Kallir could not see any unified objects

and yet, in
some sense, retain the capacity to visually navigate her kitchen?

In order to go about answering this problem, I will look to Heidegger’s

discussion of two
sensory capacities, perception and circumspection, in his elaboration of Plato’s
Theaetetus
. I will
draw attention to Heidegger’s use of the notion of ‘reckoning’, a concept which, I shall argue,
Heidegger uses to point to way in which pe
rception is a means of
maintaining
one’s grip on the
world, not simply through correcting local failures but also in checking that one’s grip is fit for
purpose so as to
prevent
failures from occurring. The concept of reckoning thus conceived draws
signifi
cant distance between Heidegger’s description of perception and that offered by Hubert
Dreyfus. Insofar as Dreyfus insists that attentive, focused perception is engaged only given a
failure of our ‘absorbed bodily coping’ (for instance, if the hammer head
flies off mid
-
hammering),
Heidegger’s suggestion that perception is intimately involved in our everyday activity so as to
allow for the continuation of the proper functioning
of ‘absorbed coping’ stands at odds with
Dreyfus’ portrayal. According to Heidegg
er, contra Dreyfus, we would struggle to cope without
perception.

By focusing on Heidegger’s notion of reckoning we shall also be able to address

the
problem with which we began, for we shall find a way to make sense of Kallir’s

ability to cope in
her envi
ronment despite being unable to see any unified objects at all.



Silence and Phenomenology in John Cage and Gilles Deleuze

Iain Campbell

(
PhD candidate, Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy

Kingston University
)


In this paper I will look at
the role of silence in the musical theory of John Cage and the
relation of this concept of silence to the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, including his collaborative
work with Félix Guattari. While silence is rarely addressed explicitly in Deleuze's writings
, I will
argue, through engagement with Cage, that it plays a key role in the development of his
ontological project. Furthermore, I will deepen this relation by considering opposing
interpretations of Cage


namely, the Deleuzian one I offer, and a phenom
enologically
-
oriented
one


and consider how the distinctions between these approaches can shed new light on the
specificity of Deleuze's relation to and break with phenomenology, and in turn Cage's connections
to phenomenological thought.

Cage's conceptio
n of silence centres on its impossibility


in even the most supposedly
silent of situations, such as Cage's famous example of his visit to an anechoic chamber, sound will
still be present


as in the sounds of his own nervous and circulatory systems that
Cage heard
while in the chamber. Cage's concept of silence, then, stands parallel to the 'blank' canvas of
Rauschenberg's white paintings: as a space upon which sound is articulated prior to artistic
intention and musical form, always present and exceeding

gestures intended to control it,
encouraging an emphasis on 'letting sounds be themselves'. While Cage is discussed only briefly in
Deleuze & Guattari's
A Thousand Plateaus
, despite the apparent centrality of musical thought
through concepts such as the r
efrain and reference to the musico
-
theoretical writings of other

17

composers such as Pierre Boulez and Olivier Messiaen, I will argue that his articulation of the
concept of silence is nevertheless central to the ontology developed therein. For Deleuze &
Gua
ttari, Cage “first and most perfectly” deploys the fixed plane of sound that will stand in for
what Deleuze & Guattari call smooth space, a space wherein sound is expressed in terms of its
processuality, through its singular movement rather than its subord
ination to transcendent
organisation through form and structure. It is from this Cageian conception of a space of sonic
heterogeneity, I will argue, that Deleuze & Guattari can construct the theoretical apparatus of
paired concepts upon which
A Thousand Pl
ateaus

sits


smooth
-
striated, deterritorialization
-
reterritorialization, and so on.

Following this positioning of Cage's silence as central to Deleuze & Guattari's thought, I
will look at an opposing philosophical interpretation of Cage
-

namely, the phe
nomenological
reading put forward by, for example, Daniel Charles, wherein the impetus of a Cageian philosophy
concerns a subject approaching the hidden world of sound in terms of a Heideggerian
unconcealment. In comparing and contrasting these approaches
with consideration of the kinds of
criticisms directed towards Cage when considered phenomenologically, such as those made by the
sonic theorist Douglas Kahn, I will look to reach two main conclusions


the first being an analysis
of how these critical app
roaches to Cage are derived from a partial


that is to say, excessively
phenomenologically
-
oriented


reading of Cage, and the second being a framing of the shape
Deleuze's break with phenomenology takes, and its import with regards to responding to the
l
imitations of phenomenological thought.



Re
-
theorising the I
ndividual in a
Spinozist way
:

Towards a Novel Materialist Ontology of
A
ffectivity

Ljuba Castelli

(
PhD,
School of Politics and International Relation

Q
ueen Mary, University of
London
)


This paper

examines the paradigm of the individual proposed by Spinoza, and considers
the extent to which his theses address contemporary concerns and open novel trajectories in
philosophy and politics. It explores Spinoza’s intricate vision of the human being centr
ed on a
conative
desire of striving and persevering into life, which is constantly enriched by an endless
production of affects, ideas and bodily movements. This study of Spinoza’s thought of the
individual is situated within the general tendency inaugurated by contemporar
y continental
thought, which has posed the urgency of re
-
constructing our knowledge of human subjectivity.
Contemporary continental philosophy has claimed that the reality of human being follows a non
-
linear path, which unfolds a variety of heterogeneous e
lements such as desires, affects and forces
(Deleuze, Simondon, Negri, Agamben, among others). Building upon the continental approach,
here, the central questions are: What theory of the individual might we draw from continental
portrait of humankind as a
mixture of various forces? And also, assuming the continental account
of the individual, what can we really know of an individual? What is at stake here is the
establishment of really new categories of thought, which allow us to emphasise internal dynamics
,
and to understand what confluence of forces lie underneath and between the individual. These
categories of thought should offer the opportunity of analysing the anatomy of the individual by
looking at its development and at the experience of its becoming
. A consideration of these
questions involves a more extensive account of the meaning of life, the re
-
definition of the notion
of otherness; and also the understanding of the multiple ways in which the external world impacts
upon the individual and vice ve
rsa. An enquiry into these themes is imperative for developing a
novel paradigm of the individual of the present, around which contemporary theories of
community, mass movements and society might be predicated. Spinoza addresses these issues.


18

The discussi
on draws attention to Spinoza’s theory of the affects,
conatus
and desire and
the ways in which these operate within the constitution of the individual. The arguments, I
advance through this paper, are that Spinoza’s model of the individual unveils a compl
ex process
of collective and psychic individuation. Affectivity grounds psychic life and is also the cornerstone
of relationality. Affects, relating individuals to one another, impress changes upon them, which in
turn give rise to a really new individual.
It is in this context, I claim, that the novelty of Spinoza’s
philosophy lies. He forwards the idea of an ontology of and for affectivity. The affective process
does not describe the interior life of an individual being, and nor are affects subordinate ele
ments
of a more general cognitive system internal to the structure of the mind. Rather, affective
movements are intensities, which lie on the interstices between individuals. These function as a
collective ground, in which individuals participate and furth
er produce shared conceptions of time,
otherness and actions. As a consequence, in Spinoza’s process of psychic individuation the
individual is not the principle of individuation, but rather a constitutive element of a more general
process of individuation
. The peculiarity of a human being is characterised by a relational power
(
conatus
), and his or her life is driven by a form of tendency towards the others (desire). This
tendency determines human
desire
for constructing psychic, social and political commu
nities. The
importance of returning to Spinoza’s ontology, I argue, is the re
-
formulation of a grammar for the
individual alternative to theories of lack and conflict; the affirmation of the autonomy of the
affects and also a re
-
consideration of the interc
onnection between different forms of life. Our
awareness of these might open unexplored avenues for materialist conceptions of community,
ethics and politics.



Sensation as Participation in Visual A
rt

Clive Cazeaux

(
Professor of Aesthetics, Cardiff
School of Art and Design

Cardiff Metropolitan
University
)



Can an understanding be formed of how sensory experience might be arranged, presented
or manipulated in visual art in order to promote a relational concept of the senses, in opposition
to the cust
omary, (and arguably) capitalist notion of sensation as a private possession, as a
sensory impression that is mine? I ask the question in the light of recent visual art theory and
practice which pursue relational, ecological ambitions. As theories and artw
orks, they claim to
challenge the subject

object or artist

audience division by arguing that works of visual art have
the capacity either to affect or to cultivate social, environmental or exchange
-
based states of
being. Key thinkers in this area are Berle
ant, Bourriaud, Kester and Rancière. As they see it,
ecological ambition and artistic form should correspond. But an ontological position is overlooked.
Following Marx, our being is already relational in virtue of the fact that sensation is something in
wh
ich we participate. In reasoning that ambition and form must correspond, Berleant, Bourriaud
and Kester fail to recognize sensation as a site where the ecological cause can be fought. And
Rancière
’s distribution of the sensible does not address the particu
larity of sensory experience. I
set out the difference between ontological approaches within recent relational or ecological
aesthetics and my focus on sensibility, and identify some of the problems involved in referring to
the senses. I spend the greater
part of the paper articulating concepts that I think are central to
the making and viewing of art where the ambition is to cultivate relational sensibility. These are
concepts of style, autofiguration, and the mobility of sensory meaning, extrapolated from

Merleau
-
Ponty’s discussion of Cézanne. Underlying all three is an argument for positioning the
senses ontologically as movements along lines of conceptual
-
sensory connection and implication,
based on the transfer of meanings created artistically through s
tyle and autofiguration.




19

Dialectic in Process/Progress: Plato, Kant and Hegel

Joyce Chen
(Ph.D candidate
/ Part
-
time Lecturer, National Taiwan University, Dept. of
Foreign Language and Literature)



The revival of ancient Platonic
dialectic, as Gadamer asserts, can be traced back to
Kantian transcendental dialectic for the analysis of pure reason and the critique of metaphysics. As
the founder of dialectic philosophy, Plato regards dialectic as “the highest sort of philosophical
rea
soning about the Forms or Ideas” (Guyer 126) for the constitution of the conceptual,
metaphysical dimension of the world. Thus, Platonic dialectic explicates, or is synonymous with,
the highest faulty of reason. Yet, while German idealism attempts to disso
lve the philosophical
predicament between rationalist dogmatism and empiricist skepticism, Kant as the initiator of
idealist movement indicates how the self
-
contradictory certainty and doubt in Cartesian reason
discloses its inner limit, and Platonic Form
buttressed by this limited reason is merely “a dream of
perfection that can have its place only in the idle thinker’s brain” (Critique of Pure Reason 397). As
Kantian transcendental dialectic is concerned with “certain kinds of malfunction of reason,”
Hege
lian dialectic, having affinity with Platonic dialectic as “the doctrine of the unity of the
opposites” (Kaplan 132), aims to dissolve Kantian dichotomy between the noumena and the
phenomena for the teleology of absolute, infinite knowing. While Gadamer ar
gues that Hegel is
the first to actually “grasp the depth of Plato’s dialectic” (7), Hegelian dialectic rejects Kantian
transcendental dialectic and posits itself as “an immanent one of internal necessity” (7). As the
principles of “self
-
movement of concep
ts” (5), Hegelian dialectic anticipates an alternative idea
“not a mental representation of an object [as Platonic Idea], but is actually present in things as the
ground of their existence” (Bunnin 320). Driven by the principle of negation of negation, Heg
elian
dialectic rejects Kantian transcendental dialectic as well as Fichetean a priori triad of thesis
-
antithesis
-
synthesis but explicates an ongoing and immanent evolution of being
-
nonbeing
-
becoming triad for the identity formation from the maximum differ
ence as contradiction to the
minimal difference as indifference. As a fundamental principle that regulates the identity
formation of individual being, the Hegelian dialectic between the universal in the particular and
the particular in the universal leads
to the paradoxical parody of radical (in)difference between the
squared circle and the round square; in Hegelian teleological dialectic, the noumenal essence of
being parallels the phenomenal existence of thing. This paper, interrogating how the Hegelian
d
ialectic inherits from as well as breaks with Platonic and Kantian dialectic for the infinite knowing
in epistemology and true identity of being in ontology, outlines the evolution and stylish gesture of
dialectical thinking from the ancient to the modern.



A Philosophical Concept of Miltancy

Matthew

Cole

(R
ecent graduate of Kingston University's Philosophy MA program
)


This paper explores a philosophical concept of militancy. Its primary reference points are
Alain Badiou’s
Being and Event
, Ernesto Laclau’s essay “An Ethics of Militant Engagement,” and
Marx’s ‘Fragment on Machines.’ It attempts to address the following questions: How does
militancy form? What is a militant in the contemporary world? What is the temporality of
militancy? Wha
t is the role of ideology [both for the militant and
the liberal state apparatus]?

Militancy forms the primary principle of any revolutionary intervention. As a politics, it
necessarily stands outside the State’s legal code of engagement, and by doing so,
grounds itself
outside the State, while nonetheless remaining within the situation as a whole. By existing outside
the State, setting it at a distance, militancy attempts to absolutely other the State, opening an
immeasurable gap between the militant and t
he State. This gap, opened by the antagonism
necessary for intervention,

lacks a measure. However, in response, the State attempts to assert its

20

power and by doing so, it displays a certain measure of that power (this manifests itself through
various form
s of policing, repression, violence, imprisonment, internment, etc.

all different
intensities of


an essential war
-
situation). The real problematic of militancy develops out of the
State’s attempts to perpetually recuperate this immeasurability, to map th
is gap that militancy
requires to sustain itself, this space that the militant needs to defend against the State’s war
-
machine. The militant that allows the State to measure, fails, because this is the mode by which it
can be subsumed or recuperated. Milit
ancy thus forms when the quantitative forms of resistance
are sublimated into the qualitative perma
-
war with the State is asserted.



Post
-
Human Critical Theory

Bernard Cosgrave
(
affiliated with the School of Philosophy at University College Dublin
)


Habermas constantly claimed that he does not have a normative moral or political theory,
but a Critical Theory of Society. The basis for this distinction is his claim that he is merely making
explicit the implicit normative pressuppositions of all language

users. Habermas envisaged the task
of reconstructing these normative expectations a partially empirical exercise. However no
empirical confirmation was forthcoming, as the empirical aspects of his theory were never
developed. I argue that this failure cau
ses a Habermas' distinction between his Critical Theory
Theory and normative moral and political theories to break down.

This is crucially important as the norms that Habermas endorses are of explicitly Kantian
origin. They emphasize reason and impartiali
ty and need for a search for and a consensus around a
single right answer. This conception of morality has been criticized as an ethnocentric and biased
towards masculine notion of reasoning. Habermas' defence against this claim is that these are
universal
ly presupposed norms based as he has shown with the aid of empirical studies. This
defence is no longer available to him and thus I will argue that Habermas' theory is deeply marred
by ethnocentric and masculine biases about what I means to be human.

One a
pproach this problem by those, including Seyla Benhabib, who recognise the force of the
objection facing Habermas, but who do not want to abandon his framework is to attempt to
broaden his notion moral and political discourse without fundamentally altering

it.

I will argue that a more radical approach is necessary. The colonization of the human calls
for a posthumanism and investigate whether it has the potential to provide an alternative
paradigm for Critical Theory. By posthumanism I do not mean transhuma
nism the ambition to
alter the human through the development of human
-
machine hybrid. I am interested in the idea
that we have always been post
-
human. The possibilities of new biotechnology only serve to show
that the idea of the human is not a static one.


Influenced by Rosi Braidotti, I will focus on Deleuze's notion of the subject as a dynamic
process of becoming. Deleuze argues that in Western philosophy, the masculine as term of
reference of the dominant view of subjectivity coincides with the exercise

of basic symbolic
functions, such as reason, self
-
regulation, self
-
representation transcendence and its corollary; the
power to name and appoint positions of 'otherness' as a set of constitutive outsiders who design
by negation the parameters of subjectiv
ity. Deleuze argues that the masculine coincides with the
fixity of the centre, which in western philosophy is represented through the notion of Being. As
such, the masculine is opposed to the process of becoming, understood as the engendering of
creative
differences. Being allows for no mutation, no creative becoming, no process: it merely
tends towards self
-
preservation.

Deleuzue advocates processes of becoming, becoming minority, becoming woman, and
becoming animal. These are creative process that aim to

engender alternative forms of life, ethics
and politics other than the dominant eurocentric masculine one. By investigating this notion of
becoming I will attempt to show that Benhabib's adaptation of Habermas' programme is not

21

sufficient to overcome its
shortcomings. I will also question whether Braidotti's use of Deleuze
allows us to salvage, what Habermas sees as essential for Critical Theory, a normative basis for
social criticism.



Yachts and Chains: Alienation in an Age of Technology

Steven DeLay

(
PhD Candidate, Philosophy Department

Rice University
)


On Marx’s view, the state of the present age is a tale of class struggle. It is a story of the
haves and the have
-
nots. There are, on the one hand, the capitalists who control the means of
production. And, on the other hand, there is the proletariat whom t
he capitalists exploit. The
relation between capitalist and worker, thus, is one of struggle and exploitation. And all this, so
the story goes, has given rise to alienation. And yet, an acknowledgment of alienation invites a
further question. While the wor
kers of capitalist society are surely beset by alienation, what about
the capitalists themselves? Are they exempt from such existential malaise? I think a telling
anecdote suggests otherwise.

Consider a story about Paul Allen and Steve Ellison. Allen, the

cofounder of Microsoft, and
Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corp, found themselves embroiled in a competition that epitomizes the
age’s capitalist ethos. What was all the fuss about? As
Yachting Magazine’s
Barry Pickthall reports,
Ellison and Allen were in competi
tion to see who could own the longer yacht. As the article
observes, “When Allen ordered his latest superyacht, the 416
-
foot
Octopus
from the Lürsson yard
in Germany, Ellison was soon to follow with an order for the monster 452
-
foot
Rising Sun
, which
became the second
-
largest private yacht when he had the hull extended from 387 feet during
construction.” Do Allen and Ellison typify something telling about the contemporary age? I would
say so. They are, as any Marxist is sure to exclaim, living
archetypes of the exploitative capitalist.
Yet, are they not also brothers in alienation? For despite the apparent grandeur of their lifestyles,
Allen’s and Ellison’s yacht imbroglio suggests that both are as alienated as the rest of us

if not
more so.

Wi
th the wager in mind that everyone, not just workers, is alienated, I wish to critically
evaluate Marx’s notion of alienation. In §2, I explain Marx’s claim that alienation is ultimately due
to the material conditions of capitalist society. In reply, I art
iculate an alternative understanding of
alienation. On this alternate view which I call the “onto
-
existential” interpretation of alienation,
alienation is not to be understood as something that emerges on the basis of economic labor
conditions alone. It is
, rather, a condition that reveals something essential about the nature of
being a human subject.

Having framed alienation in this existential register, I turn in §3 to Marx’s claim that
homo
faber
is the essence of human subjectivity. I argue that, once
we recognize that alienation is due to
something about the very structure of human existence, and not merely a contingent historical
fact about economic conditions, we have equal reason to reconsider Marx’s conception of what it
means to be a human subject
. Specifically, we come to see that Marx

though rightfully critical of
capitalist labor conditions, principles, and values

overlooks the fact that such labor conditions
are not self
-
grounded. Economic conditions, that is to say, are not the “base” that det
ermines the
“superstructure” of society. Instead, it is the background understanding of what it means for
something to be

what Heidegger calls an “epoch” of being

that determines these economic
conditions themselves. In §4, then, I conclude with some remar
ks about how we might best deal
with alienation. My suggestion, informed by my “existential” reading of alienation and Heidegger’s
critique of technology, is that alienation is not something to be overcome by social revolution, but
rather is a task that fa
lls squarely upon the shoulders of each individual to confront alone. The only
“antidote” to such alienation, thus, is that we “let
-
things
-
be” rather than attempt to master,
dominate, and control them.


22



Nancy and the Impasse of Community

Professor Ignaas

Devisch

(Professor
of Philosophy Ghent University
and
Artevelde University
)


Which problems are we dealing with when we talk about community? The most basic and
tautological answer is: the problem that we no longer know what we are talking about when we
s
peak about community. The triviality of this answer speaks volumes. The fact that we no longer
know whether and how we can still speak about community, this is the fundamental problem of
community today. All the foundations out of which we have thought com
munity until now have
gone bankrupt, they are past their expiration
-
date. But since this is a fundamental problem, one
must investigate it in an equally fundamental manner.

To my mind, Jean
-
Luc Nancy’s ontological inquiry therefore is and continues to be
most
promising when articulating the regularly occurring impasse of community in the most radical
manner. It is not that ontology can solve the all
-
encompassing problem of community. As I said,
the problem can no longer be grasped in all
-
encompassing terms
, and this is a good thing, for the
problem concerns precisely a societal model in which community no longer poses any problem.
This is just as true for the ‘solution’ that, out of fear of falling into totalitarianism or social
immanentism, tries to flee f
rom all attempts at a solution to the problem.

My unpacking of social immanentism will be led in the first instance by Nancy, but in order
to address a number of questions concerning social identity or the return to an original community
we will also need
to take a careful look at Derridean deconstruction. Only through this detour can
we properly analyze the call for a return to an original community and gain insight into the
philosophical stakes of Nancy’s call for a social ontology.



Matter of Life: Eco
logy in Spinoza, Deleuze and Meillassoux

Rick Dolphijn

(
Assistant Professor, Department of Media and Cultural Studies

Utrecht University
)


For over the past decade, radical thinkers, most of them combining several disciplines in
their analysis, and then I think of people such as Brian Massumi, Erin Manning, Bryan Rotman, Rosi
Braidotti, Jane Bennett, Tim Morton, Slavoj Zizek, Manuel DeLanda a
nd Quentin Meillassoux,
increasingly show us that the type of thinking that has been dominating the ecological debates for
so long now, are ill
-
conceptualized in a fundamental way. Often influenced by the work of Gilles
Deleuze, it is now all across academ
ia (from architecture (think Lars Spuybroek) to musicology
(think Steve Goodman)), that scholars and scientists are mapping that the current state of the
earth, of life,
demands

us

to change our thinking about nature, about matter, about technology,
and ab
out our role in it, radically.

Crucial here is to tackle this
anthropocentrism

which lies deeply embedded not only in the
dominant ideas about ecology, but in our thinking as a whole. Especially the writings of Immanuel
Kant, as they had a major impact up
on (German) Idealism, phenomenology
and

critical thinking,
have established this central role of man in thought. Foucault already noted this in the early
1960's, yet "the end of man", as he indeed defined man a 19th century invention which we have
to get r
id of as soon as possible, still stirs the debate, today more than anywhere, in terms of
ecology. Quentin Meillassoux most recently caused an uproar in academia, claiming that Kant’s
thoughts, and especially his Subject (the I
-
think), functioning as the ne
cessary point of departure
for
anything

to come into existence, turned out to be the very “catastrophe” for thinking. This