Dignity: A History

Dignity is one of the building blocks of our human abstract vocabulary. Like love, friendship, hope and faith, it is a cluster concept (philosophically) and a very thick concept (anthropologically) whose nebulous core is ubiquitous in all known human cultures. At a certain moment in the history of ideas, dignity became attached to “humanity”, and acquired a foundational moral value. It happened in the Jewish Bible and in Stoic philosophy. Christianity taught that original sin blemished human dignity and that only Christian grace offers some restoration. For many centuries, this move rendered dignity or Imago Dei irrelevant as a moral property of all humans. People were expected to behave with dignity and to accept the grace of the Church and her teachings; but they did not hear about any treatment owed them solely because all human beings had dignity.


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Deleuze and Ancient Greek Physics: The Image of Nature

The scholarship that examines Deleuze’s use of and relation to Hellenic philosophy is rich and growing. Recent works include Sean Bowden’s The Priority of Events and Ryan Johnson’s The Deleuze-Lucretius Encounter. Michael James Bennett’s book is a new and important contribution to this conversation. Not only does it give new insight into Deleuze’s sources and arguments, but, in the spirit of Deleuze’s history of philosophy, Bennett also allows us to see what the Stoics and Epicureans (and Deleuze with them) are creating in their thought.

Chief among these creations, according to Bennett, is a new “image of nature.” “Image of nature” is deployed here with technical specificity, meant to invoke Deleuze’s use of the phrase “image of thought” in Difference and Repetition. Although, Deleuze is largely critical of the image of thought, Bennett qualifies it with the term “dogmatic.” This allows him to argue for a non-dogmatic image of thought and its concomitant (and presumably non-dogmatic) image of nature. What precisely, though, would distinguish between a dogmatic and non-dogmatic “image,” whether of thought or nature? For Deleuze, as Bennett shows, the difference can be articulated grammatically (hypotaxis vs. parataxis), logically (attribution vs. conjunction), or metaphysically (ontology vs. pragmatics).


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Thinking about the Emotions: A Philosophical History

The editors write that “the volume proposes to investigate the philosophical history of the emotions by bringing together leading historians of philosophy and covering a wide spectrum of schools of thought and epochs, from ancient philosophy up to twentieth-century accounts”. The work contains one paper on Aristotle, one on Aquinas and Ockham, three on seventeenth-century philosophers (Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Malebranche), four on eighteenth-century philosophers (Shaftesbury and Hutcheson, Kant, Hume, Schiller) and five on post-Kantian philosophy (Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, the Brentano school, Heidegger, Sartre, and analytic philosophy). It is hence mostly a study of the emotions in modern and contemporary Western philosophy.


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Why kids need to learn philosophy

The idea that schoolchildren should become philosophers will be scoffed at by school boards, teachers, parents, and philosophers alike. The latter will question whether kids can even do philosophy, while the former likely have only a passing familiarity with it, if any — possibly leading them to conclude that it’s beyond useless.

Yet nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, nothing could be more important to the future well-being of both our kids and society as a whole than that they learn how to be philosophers.


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Philosophy: Eternal topics, evolving questions

Philosophers are famous for disagreeing on the issues that interest them. Is morality objective? Is the mind identical to the body? Are our actions free or determined? Some professional philosophers will say no to these questions—but an almost equal number will say yes.

Moreover, empirical data bears this out. In a widely publicized PhilPapers survey, conducted by David Bourget and David Chalmers, little or no consensus was found among contemporary philosophers on key philosophical theses. In the face of all this, does philosophy make progress?

Surely the question answers itself. If philosophers can’t agree on their answers, the inevitable conclusion is: they make no progress. Or, at least, they make no progress, except on the meta-question of whether there is progress. On this there can be no disagreement.


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UNESCO Philosophy Manual: A South-South Perspective

The modest title should not, however, conceal the true significance of this work, misleading the reader into thinking, perhaps, that it is just another philosophical manual, despite the fact that it is from the “South” and dedicated to somewhat “exotic” philosophy. If we begin this brief introduction warning against the risk of drawing this potentially hasty conclusion, it is because this manual – on account of both its systematic and methodological structure and its contents – is a work that challenges us with a call to become committed to working towards an innovative turning point, not only in the perception of the theoretical purpose and social role of philosophy, but also as regards the task of philosophy teaching in contemporary societies.


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Deleuze contra Hegel: The Rupture of the Dialectics towards Non-Conceptual Difference

This paper is a brief philosophical analysis of the relationship between G.W.F. Hegel and Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy. In the first part, I will present Hegel’s dialectical philosophy as the opus’ point of departure including a truncated elucidation of the totalitarian aspect of his thinking. Since the Hegelian system is very comprehensive, it has also influenced other parts of Europe, especially France. Upon its arrival in the French soil, the system’s structurality was re-attuned in accordance with the materialities engendered by the political events besetting the French society during the 1960s. In order to explicate this hermeneutical fusion of horizons, I will utilize Deleuze’s philosophy of difference in order to undermine the Hegelian system. However, as  Deleuze’s intellectual career progresses, his radicalism has mitigated. From an inclusive diagnosis of the said system, it has merely ruptured the metaphysical walls of the dialectic to become sensible to the pluralistic voices of difference. Amidst this so-called Deleuzian turn, I will delineate in the last part some additional albeit sophisticated convergence between their philosophies.


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Deleuze and Guattari’s Philosophy and/as Relational Ontology

Starting from the famous statement by Deleuze and Guattari in What Is Philosophy? that ‘[i]mmanence can be said to be the burning issue of all philosophy’, this article explores their claim of an ontology of immanence and/as relational ontology in quantum terms. The theme of this special issue allows for a rereading of the terminology of different/citation, which Deleuze developed in ‘The Method of Dramatization’ and Difference and Repetition, and I here relate it to the question of consistency of the plane of immanence, such as it is emphasised in the later work of Deleuze and Guattari. The article exemplifies the significance that the early issue of ‘dramatization’ as different/citing passage has on an adequate understanding of both ‘immanence’ and ‘becoming’, and it shows their in/seperability for a relational ontology as onto-ethology. By making the Deleuze-Guattarian immanence resonate with Barad’s (quantum) agential realism, the article zooms in on the specific quality of the ‘passage’ in order to do justice to the claim of a ‘mature’ philosophy that thinks immanence as immanent only to itself.


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Political Philosophy and Epistemology: The Case of Public Reason

Public Reason theorists in political philosophy – roughly, Rawlsians – often make what sure sound like epistemological statements. They talk about justifying principles to others, about the uncertainty with which we should hold our evaluative commitments, about reasonable persons and comprehensive doctrines, about a morally politically motivated higher epistemic standard, about intellectual modesty, and of course, about the burdens of judgment. But they rarely explain, let alone defend, these seemingly epistemological commitments, nor do they engage contemporary epistemological literature. In this paper, I expose these commitments to epistemological scrutiny, arguing that at the end of the day they cannot be vindicated. I focus on what, on such theories, a reasonable person who is nevertheless committed to a comprehensive doctrine believes, and on what epistemic standard may be politically relevant in this context.


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Gender and Philosophical Intuition

In recent years, there has been much concern expressed about the under-representation of women in academic philosophy. Our goal in this paper is to call attention to a cluster of phenomena that may be contributing to this gender gap. The findings we review indicate that when women and men with little or no philosophical training are presented with standard philosophical thought experiments, in many cases their intuitions about these cases are significantly different. In section 1 we review some of the data on the under-representation of women in academic philosophy. In section 2 we explain how we use the term ‘intuition’. and offer a brief account of how intuitions are invoked in philosophical argument and philosophical theory building. In the third section we set out the evidence for gender differences in philosophical intuition and mention some evidence about gender differences in decisions and behaviors that are (or should be) of considerable interest to philosophers. In the fourth section, our focus changes from facts to hypotheses. In that section we explain how differences in philosophical intuition might be an important part of the explanation for the gender gap in philosophy. The fifth section is a brief conclusion.


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