Filozofski fragmenti

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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by Guest on Sat May 30, 2015 2:08 am

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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by bruno sulak on Sat May 30, 2015 11:13 am

badju, verso blog

http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/2014-alain-badiou-true-and-false-contradictions-of-the-crisis


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The law provides us structure to guide us through paralyzing and trying times. But it requires us a vision to its procedures and higher purposes. Before we assume our respective roles in this enduring drama just let me say that when these frail shadows we inhabit now have quit the stage we'll meet and raise a glass again together in Valhalla.
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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by bruno sulak on Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:21 pm

ovo!

https://kok.memoryoftheworld.org/#librarian=Kenneth+Jungius


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The law provides us structure to guide us through paralyzing and trying times. But it requires us a vision to its procedures and higher purposes. Before we assume our respective roles in this enduring drama just let me say that when these frail shadows we inhabit now have quit the stage we'll meet and raise a glass again together in Valhalla.
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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by otto katz on Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:44 pm

Bravo, imamo biblioteku! Internet forumi su naši univerziteti.


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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by Indy on Fri Jun 05, 2015 12:30 am

Uh, ala je lijeva biblioteka, the head spins.
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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by bruno sulak on Fri Jun 05, 2015 12:34 am

pa bice toga jos. to rade momci iz mame i to je projekat koji tece poput revolucije.


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The law provides us structure to guide us through paralyzing and trying times. But it requires us a vision to its procedures and higher purposes. Before we assume our respective roles in this enduring drama just let me say that when these frail shadows we inhabit now have quit the stage we'll meet and raise a glass again together in Valhalla.
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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by Indy on Fri Jun 05, 2015 12:51 am

Revolucija koja teče


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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by Bluberi on Fri Jun 05, 2015 2:17 am

+1
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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by паће on Fri Jun 05, 2015 10:15 am

Не каже се плусјеан него се окачи фотка са флашом, да се прецизира која је то течност.


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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by William Murderface on Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:13 pm


How Friedrich Hayek became fascinated with the romance of Harriet Taylor and J S Mill

A great philosophical love affair - and the economist fascinated by it.

by John Gray Published 28 May, 2015 - 12:47   

Reckless passion: J S Mill’s devotion to Harriet Taylor was beyond question... but it troubled Hayek. Illustration: Ralph Steadman
 
Hayek on Mill: the Mill-Taylor Friendship and Related Writings
Edited by Sandra J Peart
Routledge, 424pp, £95
“For the student of relationships,” writes Sandra Peart in her introduction to this superbly edited volume, “the Mill-Taylor story is one of great drama and much mystery.” Much the same might be said of Friedrich Hayek’s interest in John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor. For Hayek, the long involvement of a thinker described by Gladstone as “the saint of rationalism” with a married woman whom he credited as the co-author of some of his best-known works was a relationship he could not fathom. How could one of the great minds of the Victorian age risk his standing in society in such a reckless manner? Hayek devoted years of his life to resolving the mystery, starting with an attempt to collect the letters between the two.
When I knew and talked with him in the 1980s, Hayek told me that retrieving the letters had been an extremely difficult business. The correspondence had been dispersed when Mill’s home in Avignon was sold in 1905; Mill had bought the house after Harriet died while visiting the city with him in 1858. With immense effort, Hayek had overcome the many obstacles that salvaging the letters presented. But he had gone further, he told me, in his effort to understand Mill: he had retraced some of Mill’s European travels, trying to stay in the hotels and rooms that Mill had occupied. He seemed disappointed with the results of his investigations, remarking sourly that many of the letters Mill had written from these locations were often concerned chiefly with the indifferent state of his health. I couldn’t help wondering what it was that Hayek had expected or wanted to find.
It was well known that the right-wing Austrian economist, who had shared the Nobel Prize with the left-leaning Gunnar Myrdal in 1974, disapproved of Mill. For a time it was believed that Thatcher used to carry a copy of Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty about with her in her legendary handbag, and even though the rumour was false (the book in question is a bulky tome) he was one of the New Right thinkers who helped make the Thatcher era possible. If she read the book she cannot have digested Hayek’s postscript, entitled “Why I Am Not a Conservative”. He believed he was reviving classical liberalism – the ideology of free markets and limited government that had supposedly been preached by Adam Smith.
Since the mid-19th century, classical liberalism had been in decline, and Hayek had no doubt that J S Mill (1806-73) was largely responsible for this sorry state of affairs. By introducing a distinction between production and distribution that Smith did not recognise, Mill had became a “constructivist rationalist” – a thinker who supposed human reason could design and then impose on society a new and improved economic system. At the same time Hayek accused Mill of having propagated a dangerous type of “false individualism”. By defending the freedom to engage in unorthodox “experiments of living”, Mill had undermined Smith’s “true individualism”, which stressed the stabilising virtues of tradition and social convention.
This was a simplistic analysis: Adam Smith was not anything like the doctrinal market liberal Hayek supposed, nor Mill a budding collectivist. As Peart rightly puts it, Mill was “the quintessential liberal of the 19th century”. While parts of his liberalism – such as his defence of experimental lifestyles – were original, all the main themes of 19th-century liberal thought are developed in his writings. Like many liberals at the time, Mill had mixed feelings about the industrial capitalism that was emerging, which he worried could promote a narrowly competitive form of life. These fears echoed anxieties in the work of Smith. A pristine, pro-capitalist, classical liberalism of the sort Hayek imagined he was reviving is actually rather untypical of 19th-century liberal thinking. If it can be found anywhere, it is among late-Victorian social Darwinists such as Herbert Spencer (1820-1903).
Hayek’s conviction that Mill had misled liberal thought goes some way to accounting for his interest in Mill’s involvement with Harriet. The bulk of this book consists of selections from the letters, with Hayek allowing the couple to speak in their own words and rarely offering an interpretation of his own. From related writings of Hayek’s that Peart has collected for the first time and included in this edition, it is clear that he blamed Harriet for Mill’s straying from the path of true liberalism; but by itself this can hardly account for his intense interest in the pair. What was it about their relationship that he found so disturbing?
John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor first met in 1830 when she invited him to dinner at the home she shared with her husband in the suburbs of north London. According to the Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle, Mrs Taylor was a woman of “vivid” and “iridescent” beauty; her husband, a wealthy pharmacist whom she had married when she was only 18, was “an innocent dull good man”. From the evidence that is available it is unclear when Mill and Harriet became lovers; but if they became friends soon after they met, their relationship quickly moved on.
A note from one of Harriet’s female friends, dated June 1831, contained the ­question: “Did you or Mill do it?” Whatever the answer, by 1832 a new pattern had been established in Mill’s and Harriet’s lives. Several nights a week they dined at the Taylor home, always in the company of others, while John Taylor went to his club. Later Taylor bought Harriet a country house, where he would visit her some weekends, with Mill coming to stay for most of the others. By the mid-1830s Mill and Harriet were travelling together on the Continent, sometimes accompanied by her children. They continued in this way until Taylor’s death in July 1849 enabled them to marry, which they did in April 1851.
Whether Mill’s relationship with Harriet was consummated is a question that still seems to bother some people. We cannot know, but it is hard to believe their life together was sexless. Peart tells us that Hayek altered the original title of his book soon after it was first published in 1951, changing their “correspondence” to their “friendship”. Yet if anything is clear in the Mill-Taylor story, it is that the two weren’t just friends. Why should these two strong-willed individuals allow their private life to be ruled by Victorian conventions that both of them despised? The strength of their passion for one another is beyond doubt. When they were able to marry and live openly together Mill withdrew from society, discarding long-standing friends and cutting himself off from his family. When travelling without her, he always headed to the local post office to pick up Harriet’s letters: “for words of love in absence”, he wrote to her, “are as they always were, what keeps the blood going in the veins”. Following her death, after less than eight years of what seems to have been a profoundly happy marriage for both of them, Mill spent half of each of the remaining 15 years of his life in the house he bought in Avignon, which he had chosen because it was close to the graveyard where she was buried.
The extent of Harriet’s intellectual influence on Mill has been as much a subject of dispute as their sex lives. In the Autobiography he compared her with Shelley, describing her mind as a “perfect instrument, piercing to the very heart and marrow of the matter; always seizing the essential idea or principle”. He went on to claim that a number of his writings – including the Principles of Political Economy (1848) and his treatise On Liberty (1859), probably the most famous defence of the value of human individuality ever written, which appeared a year after Harriet died – were, in effect, co-authored by her. The consensus view has been that an infatuated Mill exaggerated Harriet’s contribution to his work. Hayek’s view was different: Mill’s thinking was indeed shaped by Harriet, but in ways that caused lasting damage to liberalism.
Neither view acknowledges the extent of Harriet’s role in energising Mill’s intellectual life. If she did not lead him to change his views in any fundamental way, it was because on many questions they were close to being of one mind. Mill was concerned about what he condemned as the subjection of women long before he met Harriet: aged 17, after coming on a new-born infant that had been killed and its body left wrapped in dirty blankets in St James’s Park, he spent a night in jail under a charge of obscenity for distributing pamphlets to working-class women describing techniques of contraception. Harriet had similar concerns before she met Mill: an early piece on “the source of conformity” that Hayek reprints shows her mind moving in parallel with Mill’s.
Though Harriet may have shifted the balance of Mill’s views at some points, there is nothing to suggest that he changed his mind on central questions of philosophy and politics in any fundamental way because of her influence. What she clearly did – though this is rarely noted – was greatly improve his prose style. On Liberty is written with an aphoristic force and vitality lacking from the writings that Mill composed after her death, where he reverts to his usual meandering argumentation and circumlocutions. When Mill declared in his dedication to the essay that the book “belonged as much to her as to me”, he may not have been as far from the truth as nearly all commentators since have assumed.
In “J S Mill, Mrs Taylor and Socialism” – one of the writings included in this surely definitive edition – Hayek suggests that we can “solve the riddle which Mill’s relation to his wife presents” if we accept that “behind the hard shell of complete self-control and strictly rational behaviour there was a core of a very soft and almost feminine sensitivity”. It is a curious comment in a number of ways. Even in Victorian times, self-control and sensitivity were not understood as attributes necessarily opposed to each other. Nor were they always identified as masculine or feminine in nature – certainly not by Mill, who wrote extensively against this sort of stereotyping. Hayek’s description of Mill as having a “hard shell” of “strictly rational behaviour” is especially odd.
Much of Mill’s life was shaped by rebellion against the utilitarian rationalism of his father, James, which led him to start teaching his son Greek at the age of three. This rigid pedagogic regime played a big role in Mill’s “mental crisis”, a nervous breakdown that the young man suffered in the winter of 1826-27 when he lost the simple beliefs his father had instilled in him. For the rest of his life Mill believed his early education had been based on a narrow philosophy that left out the impulses that drive human action: as he put it in a public debate in 1828, “The passions are the spring of human life.” In an essay on Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), the founder of British utilitarianism and James Mill’s mentor, Mill wrote in 1838 that Bentham’s knowledge of the mind was “wholly empirical, and the ­empiricism of one who has had little experience”. Bentham constructed a system of ideas that he claimed applied to everyone, but because it excluded “the experiences denied to himself” the system only revealed “the incompleteness of his own mind as a representative of universal human nature”.
Reading Mill’s description of Bentham, it is impossible to resist thinking that it could apply equally well to Hayek. Like Bentham, Hayek tried to build a universal theory on the basis of partial insight and speculative theory. Hayek attacked Mill as a “constructivist rationalist” yet Hayek was far more of a rationalist than Mill, who wrote in his Autobiography that when asked what philosophy he adopted after he abandoned his father’s he answered: “No system – only a conviction that the true system was something much more complex and many-sided than I had previously had any idea of.” In contrast, Hayek tried to confine human life within a few large ideas, such as the dogma that societies are networks of market exchange and the theory (reminiscent of Herbert Spencer) that societies develop in an evolutionary process. Creating a closed system from these fallacies, Hayek – who as a critic of socialism is unrivalled – led liberal thought into a dead end.
When I talked with Hayek, more than 30 years after his laborious researches, he seemed perplexed by the intensity with which he had struggled to unlock the relationship between Mill and Harriet. In truth, his work on the two 19th-century figures was the product of an obsession. Intriguingly, Hayek seemed at times to be conscious that this was so. It seemed to me then, as it does now, that Hayek’s own preoccupation with the subject posed as much of a riddle for him as their very relationship. Perhaps this wasn’t surprising. If any lesson can be elicited from the Mill-Taylor story, it is that the passions that move human beings cannot be understood from within the ideas that Hayek constructed.
Mill’s “false individualism” was truer to life than Hayek’s grandiose abstractions. Hayek condemned Mill’s defence of experi­ments of living as dangerous nonsense; but Mill tried such an experiment, and it worked. If Hayek couldn’t let go of the story of Harriet Taylor and John Stuart Mill, it may be because it pointed to experiences that were denied to him and exposed the incompleteness of his mind.
John Gray is the New Statesman’s lead book reviewer


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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by bruno sulak on Wed Jun 10, 2015 6:37 pm

badju wrote:And that’s the origin of "terror" in politics?

The identification of all contradictions with the antagonistic contradiction, the class contradiction, the class enemy, is always a catastrophe. The terrorist tragedy of the twentieth century[1] was to consider that there was only one contradiction, the class contradiction. On the contrary, we ought to constantly remind ourselves that the discussion has to continue for all the time that it requires, so that we can understand that any political contradiction is always internal to a collective and has to be resolved among friends. From this point of view, impatience in politics is very damaging.




http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/2032-alain-badiou-happiness-is-a-risk-that-we-must-be-ready-to-take


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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by Indy on Sat Jun 27, 2015 2:54 am

http://www.ted.com/talks/peter_singer_the_why_and_how_of_effective_altruism?language=en

If you're lucky enough to live without want, it's a natural impulse to be altruistic to others. But, asks philosopher Peter Singer, what's the most effective way to give? He talks through some surprising thought experiments to help you balance emotion and practicality — and make the biggest impact with whatever you can share. NOTE: Starting at 0:30, this talk contains 30 seconds of graphic footage.


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Eto šta škola učini od čoveka! A mogao je da bude majstor, kad toliko voli.
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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by bruno sulak on Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:17 am

fraj knjige

http://thecharnelhouse.org/2015/08/04/open-source-marxism-free-pdfs-from-historical-materialism-verso-and-jacobin/


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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by паће on Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:43 am

Утефтерено, благодарим. Још само да нађем времена да кренем и то да читам.


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то ја бришем, некад милице некад не
I want to be Bujumbura for a while. Then I'll can say Bujumbura is a place I've been.
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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by Guest on Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:46 am

bukmarkovo
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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by bruno sulak on Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:53 am

taj blog je takodje zabavan.


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The law provides us structure to guide us through paralyzing and trying times. But it requires us a vision to its procedures and higher purposes. Before we assume our respective roles in this enduring drama just let me say that when these frail shadows we inhabit now have quit the stage we'll meet and raise a glass again together in Valhalla.
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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by паће on Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:55 am

Било би забавно пропратити зараду на издањима класика марксизма од првог дана до данас, ко је ту ушићарио...


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то ја бришем, некад милице некад не
I want to be Bujumbura for a while. Then I'll can say Bujumbura is a place I've been.
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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by bruno sulak on Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:02 am

uh, to je tek potpuni galimatijas,


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The law provides us structure to guide us through paralyzing and trying times. But it requires us a vision to its procedures and higher purposes. Before we assume our respective roles in this enduring drama just let me say that when these frail shadows we inhabit now have quit the stage we'll meet and raise a glass again together in Valhalla.
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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by bruno sulak on Thu Oct 01, 2015 11:00 am

serz deni o igri smrti

A true fake Bruce 
“What I can’t understand,” said the film, “is that you actually chose me. My reputation is rubbish and, between you and me, I’m not worth much at all.” 
“You’re the only Bruce Lee film I haven’t seen. In a way, I’ve always missed you (*).” 
“Nobody ever misses me, believe me. I barely exist. I’m indefensible. Let me be. Or rather, watch me and you’ll understand. 
This is how I entered, walking backward, into The Game of Death (1973). I was immediately in my depth. A nervous young man named Billy Lo, a star of martial arts, fights alone and with bare hands against the brutes of the Syndicate, a powerful international organisation based in Hong Kong and racketing show business and gambling. Strangely, we see less often the good Lo than the bad guys of the Syndicate who, as often in these films, are the only ones endlessly divulging their cruel plans to the camera. The good guy is content to merely hit them courageously once in a while. His fiancée and a journalist - both white - are the only ones he speaks to, in the French dubbed version, with few essential and plain words. Fights happen at night, in back alleys, against petty and masked hitmen riding mopeds. There are very few close ups and, to be honest, a certain unease.  
“Can’t you spot something?” said the film in a sad and sour tone.  
“What I can’t understand,” I thought outloud, “is how a star so concerned with his own image as Bruce Lee chose to act so introvertly, almost in a Bressonian style.” 
“You said it,” sneed the film.  
The rest of the film confirmed my suspicions. In the middle of Game of Death, Billy Lo gets shot in the cheek and is left for dead by the Syndicate. A grandiose burial takes place and the face of the star believed to be dead can be seen in the white coffin. In fact, after a trip to the physio, Billy Lo re-appears, groomed and unrecognisable, and patiently eliminates one by one the Syndicate members. Compared to the others, the last fights are especially spectacular and the final face off between Billy-Bruce and the 2m20 black giant Karem Abdul-Jabeer, a basketball player wearing white shorts and sunglasses, very much looks like a classic.  
“You’re still not getting it?” said impatiently the film which I sensed was ready to reveal its secret. “You do remember which year Bruce Lee died.” 
“July 1973, in Betty Ting Pei’s bed, in circumstances never fully explained. Why do you ask?” 
“Well,” said the film who couldn’t contain itself any longer, “he was already dead when the producers decided to ask the mercenary Robert Clouse to direct Game of Death nonetheless!  What you just saw is a fake or - if you prefer a Baudrillardian word - a simulacrum. Any kid from Barbès or Kowloon knows this but you don’t. You disappoint me.” 
“But if it wasn’t Bruce Lee that I saw with my own eyes, who else was gesticulating instead of him?” 
“Lee Shao Lung, or Ho Chung Tao, or Bruce Li, who cares? A clone among many others.”

“Still,” I insisted, upset, “I had the feeling that it sometimes was the real Bruce Lee. I wouldn’t bet on it now but I thought I recognised his intense gaze and his wild caterwaul.” 
“So you’re not totally hopeless,” answered the film, “and you deserve to know all the truth. Raymond Chow (the producer) used twelve minutes of rushes shot before the film, even before Enter the Dragon, Lee’s penultimate film. Twelve minutes of fighting to be honest.” 
“Those at the end?” 
“Precisely.” 
“Those with the yellow tracksuit?” 
“Yep.” 
“I see.” 
“You’re seeing absolutely nothing since I kept the best part hidden from you.” (Here the film let go a sardonic laughter). “You remember the shot of Billy Lo’s fake burial with the crowd in tears in the streets of Hong Kong and the face of the dead in the white coffin? It’s from Bruce Lee’s true burial!” 
“You’re saying that they took an image of the truly dead star to play the fictitious role of the falsely dead star? It’s incredible. It’s cynical. It’s great.” 
“You now understand what a myth is about?” 
“Sorry, I didn’t know.
“Go, let me be.”

(*) To be frank, while one cannot avoid Bruce Lee, one can find more charm in Wang Yu or Alexander Fu Sheng.
First published in Libération, 24 November 1988. Reprinted in Devant la recrudescence des vols de sacs à main, Aléas éditeur, 1991.


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The law provides us structure to guide us through paralyzing and trying times. But it requires us a vision to its procedures and higher purposes. Before we assume our respective roles in this enduring drama just let me say that when these frail shadows we inhabit now have quit the stage we'll meet and raise a glass again together in Valhalla.
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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by bruno sulak on Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:14 pm



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The law provides us structure to guide us through paralyzing and trying times. But it requires us a vision to its procedures and higher purposes. Before we assume our respective roles in this enduring drama just let me say that when these frail shadows we inhabit now have quit the stage we'll meet and raise a glass again together in Valhalla.
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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by Ointagru Unartan on Thu Oct 15, 2015 1:19 am



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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by bruno sulak on Thu Oct 15, 2015 1:46 am

to cu da stavljam ferveksu svaki put kada postavi pitanje tipa 'zasto je bitno sto govori sa liberalnih pozicija'


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The law provides us structure to guide us through paralyzing and trying times. But it requires us a vision to its procedures and higher purposes. Before we assume our respective roles in this enduring drama just let me say that when these frail shadows we inhabit now have quit the stage we'll meet and raise a glass again together in Valhalla.
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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by William Murderface on Sat Oct 24, 2015 9:06 pm

Umro Šeldon Uolin



The Theorist Who Reached Across Time


When the great radical thinker Sheldon Wolin died this week, he left behind a singular approach to political theory.


by Corey Robin

Sheldon Wolin during an interview with Chris Hedges last year. Real News Network



Sheldon Wolin, the political theorist, has died.
In the last five years or so, we’ve seen the exit of an entire generation of scholars: David Montgomery, Carl Schorske, Peter Gay, Marshall Berman. This was the generation that taught me, sometimes literally.
But Wolin’s death hits me hardest. I took two courses with him as an undergraduate: Modern Political Theory (Machiavelli to Smith) and Radical Political Thought (Paine to Foucault). The first in my freshman year, the second in my sophomore year. I would have taken more, but Wolin retired the following year. Those courses set me on my way. I would never have become a political theorist were it not for him.
There will be many texts and appreciations in the days and months to come. Wolin taught generations of students, many of whom are now leaders of the field, and their students are now teaching other students. At the City University of New York, we’re always swimming in his seas: Robyn Marasco, at Hunter College, was the student of Wendy Brown, who was the student of Wolin. John Wallach, also at Hunter, and Uday Mehta, at the Graduate Center, were both students of Wolin. There’s probably no more powerful a demonstration of Wolin’s vision of political theory as a tradition of continuity and innovation, as a transmission across time, than these students of students of students.

Spoiler:

While many of these texts and appreciations will focus, and rightly so, on the political side of Wolin — as mentor and participant and commentator on the student movements of the 1960s, particularly at Berkeley; as leader of the divestment movement at Princeton in the 1970s and 1980s; as searching public critic of technocratic liberalism, market conservatism, and American imperialism, in the pages of the New York Review of Books and his wondrous though short-lived journal democracy; as a theorist of radical or “fugitive” democracy — I want to focus here on the way he did political theory. Less the substance (though I’ll come to that at the end) than the style.
The first thing to note about Wolin’s approach is how literary it was. It’s hard to see this in some of his texts, but it was on full display in his lectures. I don’t know if Wolin was at all trained in New Criticism — I seem to recall him citing I. A. Richards’ Practical Criticism somewhere — but he read like a New Critic. The opening paragraph or page of every text was the site of an extended exploration and explication, as if the key to all of the Second Discourse was to be found in that arresting image of the statue of Glaucus which Rousseau mentions at the outset.
Chekhov has a line somewhere about how if you put a gun on the wall in the first act, you damn well better make sure it goes off in the second. Wolin paid attention to those guns, especially when they didn’t go off. He was endlessly curious about a theorist’s metaphors, asides, slips, and allusions, and mined them to great effect. Long before we were reading de Man and Derrida, he was reading like them. But without all the fuss. He just did it.
One moment I remember in particular. In his lecture on The Prince, Wolin stopped and stayed with the dedicatory letter to Lorenzo de’ Medici that precedes the text. These two paragraphs in particular:
I hope it will not be thought presumptuous for someone of humble and lowly status to dare to discuss the behavior of rulers and to make recommendations regarding policy. Just as those who paint landscapes set up their easels down in the valley in order to portray the nature of the mountains and the peaks, and climb up into the mountains in order to draw the valleys, similarly in order to properly understand the behavior of the lower classes one needs to be a ruler, and in order to properly understand the behavior of rulers one needs to be a member of the lower classes.
I therefore beg your Magnificence to accept this little gift in the spirit in which it is sent. . . . And if your Magnificence, high up at the summit as you are, should occasionally glance down into these deep valleys, you will see I have to put up with the unrelenting malevolence of undeserved ill fortune.
Most readers, if they pay attention at all, focus on that last sentence, where Machiavelli lands, making the passage little more than an extended case of special pleading: cast out of office (Machiavelli had been an adviser to the Florentine republic) after the Medicis came to power in 1512, arrested and tortured, and then exiled to his country estate, Machiavelli wanted nothing so much as to be of use to the men who had ruined him.
Wolin read things differently. First, he noticed the subtle dig at Lorenzo and rulers more generally: standing on the summit, they could only see one side of the art of rule. To truly understand the art of rule, however, one had to see it from both perspectives: that of the ruler and that of the ruled. And who could see both perspectives? The theorist, like the landscape artist who painted from the vantage of the valley and the peaks.
Seemingly a humble plea from a humble servant, the dedicatory letter is in fact a brazen elevation of the letter writer, the theorist, over the ruler, the prince. By attending to the metaphor, Wolin found a deeper statement about the relationship between the political theorist and the political actor.
But then Wolin stepped back even further, asking us to think about that notion of perspective embedded in Machiavelli’s metaphor. Most theorists ask us to look upon the political world sub specie aeternitatis. To properly see things as they are, they ascend or exit to the view from nowhere. Plato leaves the cave, Rousseau (an imperfect example here, I know) is locked outside the gates of Geneva, Rawls removes himself to the original position, to a place where there are no positions.
Machiavelli, said Wolin, takes a different tack: the political art is to see things from multiple positions and places, to adopt the vantage of one, then the other, to see (and draw) the whole as a composite of perspectives. Perspectivalism is the fancy word for this, and it’s usually traced to Nietzsche (who, perhaps not coincidentally, in his notebooks described Machiavelli’s teaching as “perfection in politics”). But Wolin identified it with Machiavelli — and as a result, incidentally, came up with a far more interesting reading of the incommensurability of views in Machiavelli than that which we find in Isaiah Berlin’s famous essay on Machiavelli.
I remember Wolin doing something similar when we read The Wealth of Nations. He asked what it meant for a political text to open with men making pins in a factory, what it means to make these the leading figures in a political drama. He even might have compared it to the opening of The Prince, asking us to focus on the literary characters that people the one text versus the other. I can’t remember what conclusions he drew from that question, but it was a kind of reading that I was not used to. And that many theorists and philosophers, focused as they are on the formal logic and propositions of an argument, don’t really do.
The second thing to note about Wolin as a reader is his historicism. Historicism today, at least in political theory, is primarily identified with Quentin Skinner and his contextualist method. Political theorists, it’s said, are not in a dialogue across the ages. They are instead local, situated political actors, engaging in a series of moves and counter-moves that are structured by the rules of the game they happen to be playing. That game is the political discourse of the day. Its players are the lesser and greater polemicists and pamphleteers of an argument.
To understand what Machiavelli, Hobbes, or Locke is doing when he writes a text, you have to read the hundreds if not thousands of local interlocutors he is responding to. The Second Treatise is a response to Hobbes, who was dead by the time Locke started to write it. Political theory, like politics itself, is a situated enterprise. To understand it historically, we have to disaggregate it into a series of local, often disconnected enterprises. That’s what it means to recover the pastness of the past.
(Though Skinner in his more recent work has suggested that Hobbes may be directly responding to Machiavelli. That very notion — that a theorist could be reaching across a century, not to mention a continent, in writing a text — is a great no-no among Skinner’s followers, which is why some of them seem so scandalized by it, as I discovered at a seminar last year. Hell hath no fury like an acolyte scorned.)
Wolin was called by a similar historical impulse as Skinner. He too sought to recover the discrete languages of the past, the situatedness of theory and action. But Wolin’s historicism was different. Without resorting to those thousands of interlocutors, he managed to contrive a much more radical and bracing sense of the past than most contextualists (it should be said that Skinner himself actually manages to do this with great aplomb), in part because he remains loyal to a notion of movement across time, of a dialogue across the ages.
There are so many instances of this sensibility at work in Politics and Vision, Wolin’s greatest book, but one in particular stands out for me. It comes early on, in the third chapter, where he’s discussing the move of political theory from ancient Greece to ancient Rome.
Already, you’re invited into a historicist frame. Wolin was a big one for the specificity of theory’s location in time and space. What effect did it have that political theory arises in the context of the polis, the city-state; moves to an empire radiating out of Rome; resides (and lives a covert life) for hundreds of years in the Catholic Church; and suddenly revives in the form of the modern nation-state? At each step, Wolin was attentive to how the location in time and space alters the vocabulary, the questions, the categories of theoretical inquiry.
Wolin opens his discussion of the move from the Greek city-state to the Roman empire with a quote from Tacitus, where Tiberius contrasts the austere virtue of the early days of Rome with the decadence of the imperium, and ascribes the shift to the fact that originally “we are all members of one city. Not even afterwards had we the same temptations, while our dominion was confined to Italy.”
For Wolin, the passage is filled with intimation: the suspicion that our understanding of politics is inescapably tied to the experience of the ancient city-state, with its “civic intimacy” and “nervous intensity” and “compelling urgency,” such that any alteration of that “spatial dimension” becomes a sign of political dilution and loss.
The essential questions raised by these political thinkers were: how far could the boundaries of political space be extended, how much dilution by numbers could the notion of citizen-participant withstand, how minor need be the “public” aspect of decisions before the political association ceased to be political?
Setting aside what might be seen as an implicit normative claim underlying these questions — this relentlessly local and immediatist understanding of the “political” would dog Wolin’s work on radical democracy for years, though I don’t think we need to accept that understanding in order to see the power of the historicism at play here — what he was pointing to was how significant an effect it was to be confronted, physically, concretely, by such a vast tract of land as that which was contained by Rome, and to attempt to conduct politics on that new terrain.
For Wolin, the vastness of the imperium helped make sense of the extended and elaborated codexes of law, administration, and jurisprudence that entered the theoretical canon with Rome, but even more interesting, the newfound attention to symbols and personae.
In large entities like . . . the Roman Empire, the methods of generating loyalties and a sense of personal identification were necessarily different from those associated with the Greek idea of citizenship. Where loyalty had earlier come from a sense of common involvement, it was now to be centered in a common reverence for power personified. The person of the ruler served as the terminus of loyalties, the common center linking the scattered parts of the empire. This was accomplished by transforming monarchy into a cult of and surrounding it with an elaborate system of signs, symbols, and worship. These developments suggest an existing need to bring authority and subject closer by suffusing the relationship with a religious warmth. In this connection, the use of symbolism was particularly important, because it showed how valuable symbols can be in bridging vast distances. They serve to evoke the presence of authority despite the physical reality being far removed. . . .
. . .The “visual politics” of an earlier age, when men could see and feel the forms of public action and make meaningful comparisons with their own experience, was giving way to “abstract politics,” politics from a distance. . .
This shift from the visually immediate to the distant and the abstract — one can see it in Machiavelli’s claim that in politics, no one knows who you are but how you appear; in Hobbes’s notion of the Leviathan — would be a recurring theme in Wolin’s analysis, even a lament.
(As Bonnie Honig pointed out to me in an email, Wolin was the master of the in-between: he was at his best when he understood how political beings are located in these in-between modes. He was especially attuned to this in-between-ness when the in-between was temporal. When it became spatial, he tended to be more of a catastrophist, seeing the move from one space to another, or one mode of space to another, as absolute, the portent or picture of a complete loss.)
But if we can step outside the lamentation, we can see in it a stunning reminder of the situatedness and historical specificity of theory. Not in the formal polemical arguments of the Romans or the Greeks (though there’s plenty of that in Wolin, too). But in these deeper idioms and unspoken grammars, in the almost unnoticed backgrounds of space and time (his discussion of the effect of introducing the category of an afterlife, of eternal time, on Christian thought is equally resonant), in the guns that don’t go off in the second act.
And, again, the only reason Wolin can notice them is that he’s willing to do what the contextualists say you can’t do: reach across time, force thinkers who never knew each other (maybe never even heard of each other) into a conversation. That is the way we can get at the specificity of their language, through comparison and confrontation. That is the way we can understand the ruptures of historical experience. With the exception of Nietzsche and Hegel, maybe Lukács (those passages on the effect of the changing mode of warfare in The Historical Novel are pretty incredible), I can’t think of a single theorist who understood this, who did this, so well.
The last thing to note about Wolin’s approach is how interested he was in translation. Not the translation from French to German or ancient Greek to English, but the translation of one language of politics into another. While Wolin is often, and justly, associated with the claim that we have lost the language of politics — again, in the style of a lament — what was always more interesting about his approach was how attuned he was to ways in which a political vocabulary or idiom gets translated in a new setting.
We’ve already seen a little of this in his account of the transposition of political concepts from the city-state of Greece to the imperium of Rome, but the most exciting moment, for me, occurs when Wolin turns to the rise of Christianity and its impact on political thought. Where most commentators, says Wolin, treat the political dimensions and elements of Christianity solely in those moments when the religion is forced to confront the polity, Wolin takes a different tack:
The significance of Christian thought for the Western political tradition lies not so much in what it had to say about the political order, but primarily in what it had to say about the religious order. The attempt of Christians to understand their own group life provided a new and sorely needed source of ideas for Western political thought.
What follows is an attempt to reconstruct the politicalness of the early and later Christians’ ideas of membership in the Church, of schism and heresy, of priesthood and papacy, and so on. It’s as if the entirety of the ancient political canon had been sublimated into a religious idiom and context; the task of reading was to recover the modes of that sublimation and to see what remained from the ancients and what was lost.
I can’t say how generative these notions of transposition and sublimation have been for me. In my first book, on fear, I looked at how later, more psychological approaches to fear were sublimations of earlier, more political understandings of fear. More recently, I’ve been fascinated by the idea that economics is a sublimation of an earlier political vocabulary of action, glory, and greatness, how even someone as mathematically inclined as Ricardo may, in his idea of the margin, be transposing and transforming Machiavelli’s ideas of the founding and time.
Where most theorists identify the political moments of these writings in the passages where an economist considers the state, I take my cues from Wolin and look for them in those moments where an economist deals with questions of exchange, risk, interest, profit, and so forth.
Sublimation is also the word Wolin uses when he reaches the nineteenth century and looks at the rise of organization as the central element of contemporary political life. In the last chapter of the book (in the first edition), Wolin takes us from Saint-Simon to Lenin to Elton Mayo and Peter Drucker, and sees in each of these writers and moments of theorizing an attempt to escape from politics.
Again in a declensionist mode, Wolin sets his sites on the ascendancy of economistic modes of thinking. His clear target is the modern corporation and the managerialist discourse of human relations. These are political languages, practices, and institutions; they are the result of centuries of displacement from ancient Greece to the modern nation-state. Yet they evade their politicalness or fail to understand it.
What’s interesting to me about this last chapter is how much it may have missed in its conflation of the economic with the organization and the corporation. Of course, it makes sense that it did. Wolin wrote Politics and Vision in 1960, on the heels of a decade that had seen the publication of such titles as The Hidden PersuadersThe Organization ManWhite Collar, and the like. It was the age of the corporation and middle management; naturally, that was Wolin’s endpoint, which shouldn’t in any way diminish just how surprising and innovative it was for him to write a history of the Western political canon that ends with Peter Drucker!
But what it missed, I think, was the very insight that powered his earlier chapters on the Christians: not that the political vocabulary was lost or eclipsed, but that it got transposed into a new key. For that, to my mind, is how we should be reading thinkers like Schumpeter, Hayek, Coase, Mises, Friedman, even Jevons and Ricardo. Little in the way Wolin dealt with economistic modes of thinking could prepare us for the ferocity of the political assault that economics was about to visit upon us.  But that ill-preparedness was baked into the lament for the lost language of politics.
Politics, even the Grosse Politik of Nietzsche’s imaginings — which lurks, in a quieter, more quotidian vein, in the background of Wolin’s writing — never really goes away. It just assumes, as Wolin was the first to teach us, a new key. Always in-between.


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"Oni kroz mene gledaju u vas! Oni kroz njega gledaju u vas! Oni kroz vas gledaju u mene... i u sve nas."

Dragoslav Bokan, Novi putevi oftalmologije
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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by паће on Sat Oct 24, 2015 9:21 pm

Нешто чудно пишу Вулин.


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то ја бришем, некад милице некад не
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Re: Filozofski fragmenti

Post by Guest on Sun Oct 25, 2015 12:02 am

Re: Filozofski fragmenti

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