All posts filed under: ethics

Ipseity and Illeity, or Thinking Ethics without the Other of the Other

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ethics / learning / levinas / other

In conversation three of Ethics and Infinity, Levinas recounts the philosophical and existential implications of the il y a, the ‘there is’ or what he calls the “phenomenon of impersonal being” (48). The “there is” is many things at the same time: it is a belief, a feeling, an experience and even an affect (the source of the Judaic affect proper to one of philosophy’s “turns” in the 20th century) on one side and an […]

Notes on Totality and Infinity

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being / blanchot / ethics / event / exteriority / future / gleam / Hegel / history / infinity / judgment / levinas / peace / Politics / totality / vision

Does objectivity, whose harshness and universal power is revealed in war, provide the unique and primordial form in which Being, when it is distinguished from image, dream and subjective abstraction, imposes itself on consciousness? Is the apprehension of an object equivalent to the very moment in which the bonds with truth are woven? Levinas I will not say that the disaster is absolute; on the contrary, it disorients the absolute. It comes and goes, errant […]

Production, Division, Excess: Spinoza, Nietzsche and the Event

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counter-deity / Deleuze / ethics / event / infinity / light / materialism / music / Nietzsche / Plato / poetry / science / socrates / Spinoza / stoicism / theology / virus / void

The essential is never perceived in sheer multiplicity or in first impressions. Henri de Lubac In Nature there is nothing contingent; all things have been caused by the necessity of the divine nature to exist and produce an effect in a certain way. Spinoza, Ethics The wise person is free in two ways which conform to the two poles of ethics: free in the first instance because one’s soul can attain to the interiority of […]

Thinking Cybernetics

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algorithm / apparatus of capture / authority / biopolitics / call for papers / code / control / cybernetics / desiring machines / einstein / ethics / humanity / language / media / metaphysics / technology

(Matt Dixon) Thinking Cybernetics: Mapping the Intersections between Metaphysics, Technology, Biopolitics (abstract for panel) The purpose of this panel is to gather together ideas, perspectives, and questions from a diverse variety of thinkers and disciplines relating to the theory and practice of cybernetics. Our goal is to raise a series of critical questions concerning the intersection between biopolitics, metaphysics, and technology. While each paper is devoted to a specific author or authors and is generally […]

Happiness or Justice? Ethics and the Politics of Friendship

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Aristotle / difference / ethics / ethnology / friendship / happiness / humanity / justice / light / Plato / Politics / science / society / spiritual evolution

No one would choose a friendless existence on condition of having all the other things in the world. Aristotle In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. The young they keep out of mischief; to the old they are a comfort and aid in their weakness, and those in the prime of life they incite to noble deeds. A true friend is one soul in two bodies… ibid There is […]

The Distance of the Gods : A Note on Aristotle and Friendship

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Aristotle / distance / equality / ethics / friendship / Greek philosophy

In one of the more singular passages of the Nicomachean Ethics (Book VIII, Chapter 7), Aristotle makes several claims about the nature of friendship.  One of these claims is that friendship arises out of (or, we shall say, strives for) equality. Similarly, friendship has a reciprocal nature insofar as the more useful or better of the friends (a father in relation to his son) deserves more love and thus owes less, so to speak. It […]

Outline of Aristotle’s Ethics

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Aristotle / character / classical philosophy / ethics / eudamonia / happiness / justice / law / Plato / Politics / virtue

“We make war that we may live in peace.” Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics — 1177b (Book X, Chapter 7) Let’s try to understand this work first through the method by which its project is assembled, the way the text functions. In general Ta Ethika has three phases or stages of development: (a) a general, in-depth study of the “good” and the “good life”; (b) an analysis of moral virtue or excellence; and (c) an investigation into […]

Temporality and Power: The Politics of Absence

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alterity / concept / critique / ethics / infinity / language / metaphysics / morality / ontology / Politics / power / production / theory / time

In the relation of the human being to language, a process is reflected that extends to the relation of the human being to beings in general: The scientific knowledge has become the standard knowledge! The other: thinking, spirit of language, history, culture is still there, yet dragged along into a certain indeterminateness. It is decisive that the consciousness was lost as to where this other belongs and of what kind must the reflection be in […]

Cyborg Nietzsche: Conscience, Affect, Transvaluation

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algebra / complexity / decay / diagnosis / ethics / insanity / language / literature / machine / mathematics / Nietzsche / Politics / prejudice / psychoanalysis / schizophrenia / Science / Mathematics / Technology / society / structure / transformation / truth / unconscious

Part One: Criticism and Untruth-Machines A. Neurosis and Transcendence: the Algebra of Bad Conscience We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it in full.  Marcel Proust For Nietzsche, uncovering the peculiar logic of the unconscious, revealing the function of this or that unobserved striving, would only form part of the analysts’ role. A rich, analytic transformation of the real space of mental (political) activity is the full meaning of diagnostic criticism. Any real […]

Nietzsche and the Unconscious: Ethics, Desire, Politics

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daybreak / desire / difference / ethics / freud / joy / Nietzsche / Politics / style / text / unconscious / Zen

Cy Twombly, Untitled [1970. Oil-based house paint and crayon on canvas. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo: © 2004 Matthew Septimus] Granted that nothing is ‘given’ as real except our world of desires and passions, that we can rise or sink to no other ‘reality’ than the reality of our drives – for thinking is only the relationship of these drives to one another: is it not permitted to make the experiment and […]

Power and Cruelty, Difference and Sexuality: Towards a New Sexual Politics

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body / caress / cruelty / difference / ethics / geometry / God / image / joy / materialism / Politics / power / sex / the void

Reproductive knowledge is power itself. Self-organizing, libidinal desire is the only kind worth (re)producing. Sexual desire annuls systems of control, unties authority, opens the future itself to re-ordering. It unleashes a molecular intensity which vibrates across orders of scale, provokes spontaneous self-organization. Reproduction is entire, mystically whole in its transversal rejuvenation. Paternity is miraculous, the creation of the world. How to teach one’s children is also how to make children. We must close down mythologies, […]

Nietzsche and Basho: Freedom, Morality and Awareness

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Basho / chaos / enlightenment / equilibrium / ethics / freedom / language / method / Nietzsche / unity / Zen

How very noble! One who finds awakening in the lightning-flash (Basho) It struck me lately that Nietzsche’s style is not entirely dissimilar to the strategy employed by the Zen koan. I’m thinking in particular of the haikus of Basho: short, aphoristic bursts of supersaturated feelings, pressurized information, aimed to awaken and reorient consciousness towards new directions. The author of the haiku plays a subtle game of exchanging masks. Each voice, whether of the dawn, the […]

Nature, Politics, Revolution

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being / ethics / immanence / love / ontology / revolution / Whitehead

Roger Brown, ‘Talk Show Addicts (1993) Events are named after the prominent objects situated in them, and thus both in language and in thought the event sinks behind the object, and becomes the mere play of its relations. The theory of space is then converted into a theory of the relations of objects instead of a theory of events… If you admit the relativity of space, you must also admit that points are complex entities, […]

Time Warp

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consciousness / ethics / metapsychology / other / phenomenology / society

A little time warp this time. This extract is from the first ‘series’ of scattered early writings, almost two years ago now. I hate looking at old stuff but in practice it can end up teaching you a lot. So here it is: A personal relationship with the universe is accomplished in the separation which constitutes daily existence. The portion of the universe which is given meaning by my observation and interaction is absolutely separated […]

Anaximander and the Infinite

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anaximander / ethics / infinity / time

‘The principle and beginning … of beings is the limitless … where beings have their beginning, therein also have their end according to necessity; for they pay penalty and retribution to each other for their injustice in accordance with the arrangement of time. [The limitless is] immortal […] and imperishable.’ ἀρχὴ … τῶν ὄντων τὸ ἄπειρον … ἐξ ὧν δὲ ἡ γένεσίς ἐστι τοῖς οὖσι͵ καὶ τὴν φθορὰν εἰς ταῦτα γίνεσθαι κατὰ τὸ χρεών· διδόναι […]