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About David Harris. David Harris. Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. This profile may contain books from multiple authors of this name. See this page for more information. Books by David Harris.
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Trivia About From Class Strugg If that is the case, then Critchley is saying no more than Glaucon and Socrates in the Republic, when they agree that the ideal city exists only in ideas and can be found nowhere on earth. And maybe this impasse is not such a bad thing. Perhaps it is the real ethics of philosophy?
Is there anything more dangerous than a philosophy which believes it can make our political decisions for us? Here, he is less concerned with what Hegel was writing against and more with what he was standing for. Freedom and truth are the key issues of his interpretation. Houlgate builds his argument progressively and with admirable clarity, making frequent and insightful use of modem commentaries. He takes as his starting point the claim that there is no such thing as direct and unmediated experience. This allows him to appeal to a wider philosophical consensus before introducing the specifically Hegelian version of the claim, namely that the categories which mediate experience are themselves subject to historical change.
Different societies at different times construe their objects, their aims and finally themselves differently. This, again, is a fairly uncontroversial point often used to introduce a relativist or worldview type of perspective. For Hegel, though, this variety and difference reveals a truth which holds for every society, and consists in the desire and capacity for self-determination. From this, he concludes that the essence of human activity, as displayed in institutions, art, and religious practices, is selfdetermination.
In other words, there is truth in history not despite historical change but because of it.
Similarly freedom is not incompatible with the need-oriented character of most human activity. Rather, it is achieved through the immediate intentions which spur people to action. Does that mean that we can go on attending to our selfish needs because freedom will materialise anyway? Houlgate, following Hegel, stresses that the free essence of human activity is only realised in the process of our becoming conscious of it. This enables Hegel to judge progress in history according to how closely the institutions of a given society reflect its consciousness of its freedom. The problem now is to discover what is involved in realisation, because otherwise it can either justify quietistic interpretations or become a cypher empty of any normative content.
Part of the clue lies in the Logic. Hegel criticises logical categories, the fixed determinations of the understanding, for not taking account of the developmental character of their objects. They are equally applicable to all sorts of objects and so their truth and objectivity depends on such extralogical referents.
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The same problematic applies to the concept of freedom. If freedom is understood merely as absence of constraint, then we cannot justify in terms of freedom the choice of any particular course of action over others. A contentless freedom, for Hegel, is no freedom at all. It has to be bound to a commitment to pursue positive action rather than the option to abstain from it. In the last chapter of the book, Houlgate examines the relation between philosophy and religion.
At this point, and despite the care Houlgate has taken to steer clear of any ontological assumptions, some readers might feel that they have been drawn into accepting more than they bargained for. The idea of self-determination is more appealing than the, apparently inevitable, conclusion that the real is rational. However, this is not a case of relying Reason as much as freedom has to be realised, to be striven for. If, as I believe, Hegel was fully conscious of the fact that particular aspects of his system and even his Logic would and should be open to revision, then the task of interpretation becomes more difficult.
If we discard some things in order to respond adequately to the concern of our historical circumstances, then the grounds for affirming the centrality of others are underdetermined. There is undisputably a profound and complex relation between the two, yet the necessity of committing oneself to this particular content is less obvious.
On the other hand, a Hegelianism stripped down to the bare bones of dialectical method, runs the risk of being a new formalism not unlike the one Hegel criticised. He then distinguishes four different objections to writing such a biography. Third, Foucault released no personal details in his lifetime: Eribon points out that this is untrue. Last, might Foucault not have 1, faces?
References in: The Gramscian Moment
Eribon answers that his biography will present the face he sees, which will not prevent others from emerging. Foucault also recognised his own status as an author and feared that a Foucault-author-function would bury the texts he produced. Foucault hoped his books would be read for themselves, despite his status as an author. For example, Foucault was a member of the French Communist Party for at least three and possibly five years, instead of the six months or so he sometimes claimed.
Half-time arrives as Foucault is appointed to the College de France and participates in his first demonstrations and direct confrontations with the police in the early s. Eribon claims Radical Philosophy 64, Summer Unfortunately, Eribon provides little except fragmented pieces of information because he offers no substitute for his previous chronology.
Twentyfour interviews with Foucault on various topics, of varying lengths and depths, are arranged chronologically from to his death in , thus forming a sort of disunified intellectual biography. The interviews start by addressing The Order of Things and then The Archaeology of Knowledge when there is no hint of politics. Then Foucault discovers power and the real subject of his early work is revealed to him.
And in the final three interviews from there is a reorientation of his project, which becomes the exploration of the three domains of knowledge, power and subjectivity in order to examine how people tell the truth ofthemselves to themselves. Some of the interviews have been published in English elsewhere and not all of these previous publications are listed in the sources. It should also be noted that anybody who has already read some interviews with Foucault will know the sort of information this book contains. But this is a wide-ranging collection which includes lengthy asides on film, homosexuality, afchitecture and other subjects.
Remarks on Marx is an entirely different matter. It is a series of interviews with Foucault conducted in by Duccio Trombadori, who was at that time the political and parliamentary correspondent for the daily paper of the Italian Communist Party, Unita.
It might be objected that the timing of the interviews means that they represent thoughts Foucault later rejected. However, it is when Foucault connected power to knowledge that he became relevant to left politics, and Trombadori pushes Foucault hard on political points, exploring his relations to Marx in considerable detail.
Author: Jean-Jacques Lecercle
In both cases Foucault argues for a limited view which pays attention, on the one hand, to the real functionings of power as they can be determined by empirical investigations and, on the other, to local actions addressed to specific problems. Foucault in this way connects his activism in prison groups to his analysis of disciplinary power, and counterposes both to the Marxism he encountered in the early s.
In addition to these concerns there are explorations of structuralism, the Frankfurt School and the transformative power of his books. Foucault Live brings together a wide range of interviews, but also adds little to what is already known about Foucault.
But Remarks on M arx is a sustained exploration by Foucault of the politics of his work. They cannot be expected to keep to the standards of decency and consideration we hope to meet with in day to day life. If you believe that any good at all can come out of the political process, then you are going to have a moral interest in the means used to bring it about. Politicians are bound to have dirty hands, but the rest of us may have no intellectually honest way of keeping ours clean; no escape from the weight of ends and means.
Ifbeing effective in politics must prevent politicians from being good human beings, then the rest of us, seemingly, are damned with them. The schism embodies an attitude that equates morality with moral innocence, and regards a good life as a blameless one. According to Hampshire this was the attitude of those who opposed British rearmament in the s. Its consequences would be to allow politicians to disregard all moral considerations as unrealistic.
The notion that political realism is incompatible with living a good and decent life, according to Hampshire, has its philosophical source in the view that there is a good life for human beings as such.
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