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46. The Sciences in Their Order of Generality

Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF
Medium 9780253007636

6 An Ethics Close to Life

Donatella Di Cesare Indiana University Press ePub




6 An Ethics Close to Life

Nevertheless, the thought here cannot be that one learns how to live in the right way, and is finally capable of it, in the manner in which one learns how to sing, speak or write. (IG 121/GW7 196)

The Aristotelian concept of practice has yet another specific emphasis inasmuch as it is applied to the status of a free citizen in the polis. This is where human practice exists in the eminent sense of the word. (RAS 91/VZW 81)

. . . if the essence of a utopia could be defined other than in the form of a distant longing. (GW7 277)


1. Is a Philosophical Ethics Possible?

To understand means to apply; understanding is always put into practice and thus becomes a form of action in itself, in the world, and with others. It should come as no surprise that hermeneutics, as it recuperates the theoretical as well as practical value it has had since antiquity, develops in proximity to practical philosophy. Gadamer emphasizes this point in his 1972 essay, “Hermeneutics as Practical Philosophy” (RAS 88–112/VZW 78–109). Here the ethical dimension of hermeneutics becomes clearer: it does not lie in understanding as such, and even less in the alleged task or duty of understanding, but rather in the openness of hermeneutic consciousness, which is pushed to overcome its own limits in the “beyond” offered by the other, and to raise itself to ethical vigilance.

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6 The Figure of Socrates and the Climacean Capacity of Paradoxical Reason

McCombs, Richard ePub


I have said that ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most high. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. (Psalms 82:6)


That . . . ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world. (2 Peter 1:4)


Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (2 Philippians 2:12–13)


A human being is a synthesis of the finite and the infinite, and of the temporal and the eternal. (CUP, 56, 92)


What a piece of work is man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties . . . in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god . . . and yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust? (Shakespeare, Hamlet)

Philosophical Fragments officially confines human beings within seemingly rigid limits,1 but it also suggests that the man Socrates transcends these limits. For example, Fragments claims that all non-Christians “move away” from the truth of Christianity, but it also intimates that Socrates longs for and prepares himself for the mystery of Christ. Bearing in mind that a climacus is a ladder,2 we might say that Fragments dramatically depicts Socrates as a climacean figure, or as a climber over boundaries and a transgressor of limits, and that the function of this depiction is to provoke readers to become aware of their own climacean capacity and to inspire them to use it. This present chapter is an explication of Kierkegaard’s artful use of the climacean figure of Socrates in Philosophical Fragments.

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10 Levinas’s Notorious Interview

Michael L. Morgan Indiana University Press ePub

There may be no more controversial comments associated with Emmanuel Levinas than his remarks during a radio interview, broadcast on Radio Communauté on September 28, 1982, in the wake of the massacres in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon near Beirut. The interview was conducted by Shlomo Malka, and the interviewees were Levinas and Alain Finkielkraut. A transcript was published in Les Nouveaux Cahiers, but its notoriety, certainly for English-speaking audiences, was accelerated by the publication of an English translation, included by Seán Hand in his The Levinas Reader, published by Basil Blackwell in 1989.1 Introducing the transcript, Hand explains the circumstances that led the Israeli Defense Forces to occupy West Beirut in mid-September of 1982 and the events that followed:

While the move into West Beirut was supposedly made in order to protect the Muslims from the revenge of the Phalangists [after the September 14 bombing in party headquarters in East Beirut that killed twenty six, including Lebanon’s recently elected president, Bashir Gemayel, a Maronite,], the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) actually introduced Phalangists into the Palestinian camps with the mission of clearing out suspected fedayeem, or Arab infiltrators, who carried out hit-and-run raids inside Israel. The Christian soldiers massacred several hundred people in Sabra and Chatila camps over a period of nearly two days with no intervention on the part of the IDF. At first [prime minister Menachem] Begin refused to set up a judicial inquiry, commenting in the New York Times on 26 September that “Goyim kill goyim, and they immediately come to hang the Jews.”2

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40. Abbot against Royce

Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF


Abbot against Royce

12 November 1891

The Nation

To the Editor of the Nation


Dr. Francis Ellingwood Abbot makes substantially the following charges against Prof. Josiah Royce:

(1) That Prof. Royce libelled Dr. Abbot, and that maliciously.

(2) That Prof. Royce used unfair means to stifle Dr. Abbot’s reply.

I propose to consider impartially what the verdict of students of philosophy ought to be regarding these public accusations against one of the most eminent of their number.

The charge of libel has two specifications, viz:

(1) That Prof. Royce warned the general public against Dr. Abbot as a blatant and ignorant pretender in philosophy.

(2) That Prof. Royce accused Dr. Abbot of plagiarizing Hegel at second hand.

From the point of view of propriety of conduct in a student of philosophy, the only adequate excuse for the first of these acts would be that the fact proclaimed was so unmistakable that there could be no two opinions about it on the part of men qualified by mature study to pass judgment on the merits of philosophical writers. In case the act were not so justified, the offence would be enormously aggravated if it were dictated by malice. The first question, then, is: Did Prof. Royce, as a matter of fact, so warn the public against Dr. Abbot? He certainly did, unequivocally and with full consciousness of what he was about; that is the unmistakable import of his whole article in the International Journal of Ethics for October, 1890. The next question is whether it is so plainly true that Dr. Abbot is a blatant and ignorant pretender in philosophy that it is impossible competent men should think otherwise? So far is that from being the case that philosophers of the highest standing, such men as Kirchheiss in Germany, Renouvier in France, and Seth in

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35. On the Number of Dichotomous Divisions: A Problemin Permutations

Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF


On the Number of Dichotomous

Divisions: A Problem in Permutations

Spring 1891

Houghton Library

In the calculus of logic, a proposition is separated by its copula, R, into two parts, as A R B. But these parts may again be separated in like manner, as (A R B ) R C and A R (B R C ), and so on indefinitely. It becomes pertinent to inquire how many such propositional forms with a given number of copulas there are. The same problem presents itself in general algebra, where R is replaced by any non-associative sign of operation; and, indeed, the question not unfrequently arises; but I do not know that the solution has been given.

We may consider a row of letters, A, B, C, etc., which we may call the ABC, separated into two parts by a punctuation mark, and each part

(not consisting of a single letter) into two parts by a subordinate punctuation mark, and so on until all the letters are separated. I shall call the resulting form an ABC-separation. The following are examples



Let n be the number of punctuations; then, the number of letters will be n ϩ 1. Let F n be the number of ABC-separations with n punctuations, or say of n-point separations. Then, if i be the number of letters to the left of the highest punctuation, so that n ϩ 1 Ϫ i is the number to the right, the number of ABC-separations of the row to the left is

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Medium 9780253016126

5. Memory, the Powers of the False, and Becoming

Marcia Landy Indiana University Press ePub

History progresses not by negation and the negation of negation, but by deciding problems and affirming differences. It is no less bloody and brutal as a result. Only the shadows of history live by negation: the good enter into it with all the power of a posited differential or a difference affirmed; they repel shadows into the shadows, and deny only as the consequence of a primary positivity and affirmation.

—Deleuze, Difference and Repetition (1994, 268)

COUNTER-HISTORY OVERTURNS classical conceptions of thought and practice by substituting for them a dynamic conception of connections between the body and social existence. In Deleuze’s singly authored texts, he elaborated on a philosophy of difference that he finds affirmed through the writings of Spinoza that have implications for thinking counter-historically through the powers of the false. According to Deleuze, “Life is poisoned by the categories of Good and Evil, of blame and merit, of sin and redemption. . . . Before Nietzsche, he [Spinoza] denounces all the falsifications of life, all the values in the name of which we disparage life” (Deleuze 1988a, 26). Deleuze’s engagement with these philosophers reveals how consistently he evolved concepts of affect, movement and time, virtual and actual space, and of relations between the true and the false by creating an ethic for thinking productively about becoming in the world through the body. Spinoza’s writings on affect and power offer a “philosophy of ‘life’” through which Deleuze explores the active and reactive powers of the body: its “capacity to affect is manifested as a power of acting insofar as it is assumed to be filled by passions” (ibid., 27, italics in original). According to him, when “we encounter a body that does not enter into composition with own . . . our power of acting is diminished or blocked, and that the corresponding passions are those of sadness” (ibid.). Deleuze further asserts that “only joy is worthwhile, joy remains, bringing us near to action and to the bliss of action” (ibid., 28). Joy is “inseparable from the creation of new modes of social existence” (Goodchild 1996, 41). Deleuze distinguishes between active and reactive forces. Becoming-active “presupposes the affinity of action and affirmation,” whereas “reactive-force is negating and nihilistic” (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987 68). New modes of thinking emerge that “provoke undecidable alternatives and inexplicable differences between the true and the false as adequate to time” (Deleuze 1989a, 132).

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6 Dwelling in the Texture of the Visible: Merleau-Ponty’s “Eye and Mind” (1961)

Leonard Lawlor Indiana University Press ePub

The speech which speaks in us (die Sprache spricht), what does it say about language? That it is without foundation, Abgrund.

Coming from Merleau-Ponty’s 1959–60 course at the Collège de France called “Husserl at the Limits of Phenomenology,” this quotation shows the important role Heidegger plays in Merleau-Ponty’s final thinking. Heidegger’s importance does not, however, diminish the role that Husserl’s thought plays in Merleau-Ponty’s final thinking: “Husserl never stopped speaking of Bewußtsein [consciousness], never stopped believing in the possibility of an intentional analytic, but converges with Heidegger through the idea of Verflechtung [interweaving], of the Ineinander [the “in-one-another”].”1 Freud too remains important: “Positing the unconscious not as a primary consciousness that has been masked, not as a forgotten adequation (postulate of the priority of conventional thought, of the priority of the thinking subject), but as indirect consciousness or consciousness without exactitude or thinking for itself, near to itself, according to systems of weakly articulated signs, of ‘near’ equivalences. Consciousness can be ‘unconscious,’ if it is not intellectual adequation, but a signifying or speaking subject” (NC 59–61: 151). And Heidegger, for Merleau-Ponty, does not diminish Bergson: “The truth of the matter is that the experience of a coincidence can be, as Bergson often says, only a ‘partial coincidence.’ But what is a coincidence that is only partial? It is a coincidence always past or always future, an experience that remembers an impossible past, anticipates an impossible future, that emerges from Being or that will incorporate itself into Being” (VIF: 163–64/VIE: 122–23). Indeed, Merleau-Ponty is the inheritor of all the figures we have been following. But more than that, Merleau-Ponty’s final thinking draws together all the conceptual components we have been assembling for the research agenda called continental philosophy.

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Medium 9780856831843

In Praise of the One – Marsilio Ficino and Advaita

Michael Shepherd Shepheard-Walwyn ePub

God is unchanging unity; a single stillness *

A Little About Advaita

Advaita is a simple and most profound philosophy. It is known as the philosophy of unity, for it affirms a single reality. Although this reality is beyond words, being itself the source of all words, the human desire to express the inexpressible furnishes a plethora of descriptions. Some of these, acknowledging the impossibility of the task they are attempting, are couched in apparently negative terms. Thus the one reality is presented as unknowable, unthinkable, and immeasurable. Other accounts are buoyantly positive and describe reality as truth, consciousness, bliss, and love.

A Little about Ficino

Marsilio Ficino is a simple and most profound philosopher. Indeed, we may apply to him the words with which he addressed Pietro Leone: vir omnium integerrime, imo et omnium simplicissimea – ‘a man more wholly himself than all others and, in fact, simpler than all others.’ His words transmit truth, consciousness, bliss, and love; and under his guidance people are led from the darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge.

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13 Constructing Moral Personhood: The Moral Test in Tuareg Sociability as a Commentary on Honor and Dishonor

William C Olsen Indiana University Press ePub


Evil often induces human suffering; it may, for example, result in illness. In many African societies, it is often synonymous with witchcraft, possession, and other malevolent practices elaborated in ritual (Comaroff and Comaroff 1993; Ferme 2001; Rasmussen 1998, 2001; West 2005, 2007), and it is often combated through formal religious and political means. I contend that, in addition to these manifestations, evil may also be addressed more informally, in moral testing during deceptively trivial ordinary everyday sociability, not solely in public formal ritual or large-scale political contexts. Preoccupations in such tests include combating literal physical harm, tangible material theft, and/or psychosocial suffering.

I focus here on local cosmologies and concepts of evil as expressed in incidents and cases of testing of persons to construct or deconstruct, reflect upon, and critique moral personhood. The goal is to reveal subjective cultural experiences of evil and danger through exploration of their representations in small incidents and cases involving tests of character and judgments and commentaries on honor and dishonor, with examples from other social interactions and verbal art. I show how, for many Tamajaq-speaking, Muslim, socially stratified, and seminomadic Tuareg in Saharan regions of Mali and Niger, moral testing offers opportunities to weigh “lesser” and “greater” evils and to judge moral character in shifting terrains of uncertainty.1 Here I draw on data I collected in rural and urban communities of Mali and Niger, with special emphasis on Tamajaq-speakers in a multiethnic town in northern Mali, where many self-identify as Tuareg in cultural and linguistic affiliation and maintain ties with rural nomadic communities. Key in defining and resisting evil are widely held values of respect, honor, and dignity, expressed in not solely offering, but also accepting, generosity and hospitality. Ideally, all parties to interaction—offenders and perpetrators, as well as “victimized” or vulnerable persons in cases of mischief—should approach each other on moral common ground. Honor (achak) is important here, but not in the sense of “not giving in.” Evil, also “bad” and “dangerous” (glossed as wa labasen, a verbal construction used as an adjective) subsumes superhuman, as well as human and social, powers and manipulations that subvert, even invert these key values. Sin (abakat) is a more religious-derived concept, used more narrowly to describe the breaking of specific ritual taboos and often Quranic injunctions, for example, sexual restrictions (Rasmussen 2000, 2006). Sometimes, seemingly ordinary everyday incidents—both in life and in verbal art performance illustrate local assessments of moral personhood. Why are these incidents and practices so important to many Tuareg, what wider processes do they reveal in moral cosmologies of evil, and how are they so analytically valuable to anthropologists?

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9 Nishida, Buddhism, and Religion

John W. M. Krummel Indiana University Press ePub

NISHIDA THROUGHOUT HIS philosophical career, as I have already mentioned, was concerned with what he called the “religious” (shūkyōteki ) or “religiosity” (shūkyōsei ). At the beginning of his philosophical career he wrote in his preface to Zen no kenkyū (; An Inquiry into the Good) that religion is “the end [shūketsu ] of philosophy” (Z1 6). For Nishida, religion is the dimension referring to the deep contradiction one feels in the depths of one’s existence. It has to do with the fact of one’s implacement within and on an endless openness and bottomless abyss while encountering one’s own annihilation, death. According to one commentator, the statement that “religion is the end of philosophy” means that “philosophy ends in religion, or returns to religion.”1 Nishida did not, however, fully develop this issue thematically until his final works in the 1940s. In general, before the 1940s, we find Nishida somewhat reserved in referring to religious texts, especially those of the Eastern traditions, in contrast to the Western philosophical sources he frequently cited. Nevertheless, both Kyoto School followers and Western disciples of Nishida have repeatedly pointed to a “Buddhist metaphysic,” reformulated in the language of Western philosophy, hidden within Nishida’s formulations. Although it may be too simplistic to read Nishida’s entire project as nothing but a modernized version of Mahāyāna metaphysics, I think that any serious student of Eastern thought would recognize Mahāyānist components in Nishida’s dialectical thinking. They are there even before the final essays of the 1940s, in which Nishida acknowledges more openly some sort of connection. We can find references throughout his career to classical Buddhist texts, such as the Diamond Sūtra and the Prajñāpāramitā sūtras in general, the Rinzairoku, and the Mumonkan, and to Buddhist thinkers like Shinran, Nansen, Rinzai, Daitō Kokushi, Dōgen, and others.

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15. Kierkegaard’s Understanding of the Afterlife

Stokes, Patrick ePub


Kierkegaard believed that he would experience a postmortem existence. Direct evidence for his belief may be found in his personal, pseudonymous, and signed writings. At the age of thirty-two, Kierkegaard wrote detailed instructions for the repair of his family’s burial site. Among his plans one finds lines from a hymn Brorson penned for his own tombstone. The content of the hymn suggests, among other things, that the afterlife puts an end to struggle in this life. The lines read:

In yet a little while

I shall have won;

Then the whole fight

Will at once be done.

Then I may rest

In bowers of roses

And unceasingly, unceasingly

Speak with my Jesus.1

How Kierkegaard came to his conception of the afterlife, and what he means by the terms he uses to connote it—such as eternity, the eternal, eternal happiness, eternal salvation, judgment, immortality, and resurrection—is a long and complex story.2 A complete account would involve an analysis of the influence of his Lutheran and Moravian upbringing, his philosophical and theological studies, the relationship between his signed and pseudonymous texts on the issue of the afterlife, and the impact on his thinking of the decade-long debates over the meaning of the afterlife in Germany and Denmark. All of these features have considerable bearing on the development of Kierkegaard’s conception of the afterlife.3 That said, one can usefully focus on Kierkegaard’s discussions of Socrates’s conception of the afterlife; these provide a window into Kierkegaard’s general view. Socrates’s account of immortality shapes one of the most important and enduring philosophical themes in Kierkegaard’s assessment of eternal life. From Socrates, he develops the notion that subjective interest in the afterlife affects one’s character in this life. Yet in spite of Socrates’s deep influence on his philosophical development, Kierkegaard ultimately departs from his conception of the afterlife in order to hold up what he takes to be the Christian understanding. The Socratic account of immortality is insufficient for Christian faith in the resurrection and eternal salvation, and therefore, from Kierkegaard’s perspective, untrue.4 Focusing on a comparison of Kierkegaard’s account of the afterlife with his understanding of Socrates’s approach has the merit of sharply defining the main themes elemental to his overall conception, as well as highlighting what Kierkegaard sees as the difference between what may be called a philosophical approach to eternal life and his own, Christian approach.

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Translator’S Introduction

Ficino Ficino Shepheard Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd ePub

PLATO HAS EXERTED a major influence on Western civilisation for nearly two and a half millennia. He and his master Socrates were chiefly concerned with what constitutes the real happiness for human beings and with the communication of this to others. For them, the Good did not consist in wealth, power and the gratification of the senses, but in the knowledge of the very principle of goodness of which all those things that seem good are merely transitory reflections. In Platos view, the path to the Good lies in the contemplation of the Good and the practice of the virtues: wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance.

Marsilio Ficino, a Florentine priest of the fifteenth century, was the last of a long line of philosophers to re-introduce Platos teaching into society as a living commitment rather than an abstract theory. In addition to writing books to show that the works of Plato were in perfect harmony with the Christian religion, Ficino translated all the works of Plato from Greek into Latin. He also wrote illuminating commentaries on Platos dialogues.

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2 Eros and X-rays: Bodies, Class, and“Environmental Justice”

Stacy Alaimo Indiana University Press ePub

Evidently your body knows your class position no matter how well you have been taught to deny it.

—Richard Lewontin and Richard Levins, Biology under the Influence

What does it mean for the body to “know” something as seemingly abstract as one’s place within a class system? “Knowing” may not be the best term, as it poses “the body” as a facsimile of a rational human subject. Such an epistemology demands complication, especially when we consider that the most legitimized forms of knowing the human body require the instruments and institutions of science and medicine, neither of which is immune to ideology. Nonetheless, Lewontin and Levins’s contention provokes us to question what the body of the worker can reveal and who is socially positioned to articulate those revelations. They alert us to the “codetermination” of biological and social causes, asserting that “[w]hereas human sociality is itself a consequence of our received biology, human biology is a socialized biology” (36):

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~ The Search for Truth

J Krishnamurti Krishnamurti Foundation America ePub

He had come a very long way, many thousands of miles by boat and plane. He spoke only his own language, and with the great est of difficulties was adjusting himself to this new and disturbing environment. He was entirely unaccustomed to this kind of food and to this climate; having been born and bred in a very high altitude, the damp heat was telling on him. He was a well-read man, a scientist of sorts, and had done some writing. He seemed to be well acquainted with both Eastern and Western philosophies, and had been a Roman Catholic. He said he had been dissatisfied with all this for a long time, but had carried on because of his family. His marriage was what could be considered a happy one, and he loved his two children. They were in college now in that faraway country, and had a bright future. But this dissatisfaction with regard to his life and action had been steadily increasing through the years, and a few months ago it had reached a crisis. He had left his family, making all the necessary arrangements for his wife and children, and now here he was. He had just enough money to carry on, and had come to find God. He said that he was in no way unbalanced, and was clear in his purpose.

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