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Религиовед Дмитрий Узланер — о том, почему

религии становятся всё более опасными
Как получилось, что люди становятся религиознее, верующие — обидчивее,
и когда — чёрт возьми! — появится первая православная женщина-
священник

В конце января в Великобритании впервые в истории рукоположили женщину-епископа, и это
вызвало бурную дискуссию среди верующих. Без Русской православной церкви уже не
обходится, кажется, ни один выпуск новостей: представители РПЦ критикуют закон о
домашнем насилии, предлагают запретить бесплатные аборты, запрещают рекламную
инсталляцию «Око Саурона». Религия не сдаёт позиции: число верующих растёт,
религиозность то и дело принимает экстремистские формы — от срывающих концерты
православных активистов до исламских фанатиков, которые объявляют себя верховными
правителями всех истинных мусульман и мстят за оскорбительные карикатуры.

The Village узнал у главного редактора журнала «Государство, религия, церковь» доцента
Российской академии народного хозяйства и государственной службы (РАНХиГС) Дмитрия
Узланера о том, почему верующих всё больше, в чём опасность присоединения Крыма для РПЦ
и как так получилось, что в христианстве больше женщин, а в исламе — мужчин.

О том, почему стало так много верующих
— Даже если не брать ислам, мы же постоянно вынуждены читать и
обсуждать религиозные новости: церковь то, церковь сё. Как получилось,
что мир стал так повёрнут на религии? Казалось бы, XXI век, мы уже
расшифровываем ДНК и при этом до сих пор спорим о Коране или
Библии.
— Если верить социологам, то с 1970-х годов количество людей, ассоциирующих себя со
словом «верующий», выросло. А количество тех, кто ассоциирует себя с атеизмом и неверием,
уменьшилось. Из десяти живущих сегодня на Земле восемь-девять относят себя к той или иной
религии. Это просто статистика. Религиозные сообщества и люди, которые эти сообщества
представляют (назовём их капитанами религиозной индустрии или религиозными
предпринимателями), опираются на этот человеческий ресурс и превращаются в очень
успешные группы влияния с богатым арсеналом средств воздействия: от увещевательных до,
скажем так, неправовых. Что и показали последние события во Франции.

— То есть главы религиозных сообществ — это не обязательно муллы,
пасторы или священники?
— Один из ключевых вопросов здесь — кто является легитимным представителем религиозных
сообществ? Кто имеет право говорить от лица верующих? Грубо говоря, кто имеет право выйти
под камеру и сказать: «Мы, мусульмане, возмущены», — или: «Мы, православные,
возмущены»? Это чуть ли не главный вопрос.

— Как вы на него отвечаете?
— Право говорить от лица гигантской группы — это мощнейший ресурс и колоссальная
власть. За неё идёт борьба. Когда во Франции расстреляли редакцию журнала Charlie Hebdo,
европейцы, да и мы вслед за ними, начали с какого-то перепуга говорить о границах свободы
слова, о недопустимости изображать пророка Мухаммеда и покушаться на святыни. Но при чём
здесь вообще свобода слова и самовыражения, которой мы якобы злоупотребляем? Посмотрите
список убитых во время нападения на Charlie Hebdo: кто-то может сказать, какие именно
карикатуры нарисовали данные конкретные убитые люди? Какие карикатуры нарисовал
полицейский, которого расстреляли буквально в упор? Какие карикатуры нарисовали
посетители магазина кошерной еды, который был захвачен? И, кстати, какие карикатуры
рисовали московские водители, убитые бандой GTA (судя по всему, тренировавшейся перед
поездкой в ИГИЛ)? Это всё звенья одной грёбаной цепи.
Заговорив о свободе слова, мы опознали в этом террористическом акте недовольство
мусульман и фактически признали право террористов-радикалов стать их голосом. Когда мы в
ответ на террористический акт начинаем думать, как мы виноваты, мы фактически
легитимируем радикалов — людей, которые используют шантаж, убийство, насилие для того,
чтобы выигрывать в борьбе за власть. Теперь варвары из подземелий Ирака будут диктовать
всему миру, что думают мусульмане и что надо сделать, чтобы не испытать их праведный
гнев. А голос интеллигентных образованных верующих затихнет. Вы говорите, что мы
научились расшифровывать ДНК, но это происходит в относительно небольшой части земного
шара. А мир в целом уже давно стал тем, что Маршалл Маклюэн называл глобальной деревней:
продвинутые учёные благодаря интернету оказываются нос к носу с жителями кишлаков и
аулов. Немецкий школьник рисует на парте глупую карикатуру, а на следующий день в Египте
сжигают немецкое посольство. То, что происходит во Франции, мгновенно отзывается по всему
миру. Когда не было такой степени глобальности, можно было жить внутри Европы, ходить

друг к другу в гости, пить чай с вареньем и думать, что мир движется к прогрессу и
просвещению. Но сейчас мы смотрим на мир в целом и видим, что это не так.

— Но как так получилось, что в 70-х люди становились более
религиозными? Чего им не хватало?
— Отчасти это связано с разочарованием в светских идеологиях и мировоззрениях (будь то
сциентизм, позитивизм, социализм). Почему-то людей больше не очень вдохновляет, например,
исторический и диалектический материализм. Да и за коммунизм тоже не так много желающих
бороться. Альтернативой становится, например, политический ислам или политическое
православие. Фактически политический ислам выражает те же чаяния, которые раньше
выражал социализм. Это главное антисистемное движение начала XXI века. По Ближнему
Востоку можно видеть, как социалистические партии уходят, а на смену им приходят партии,
которые уже основаны на исламе. Социалист Асад, отчаянно отбивающийся от исламистов, —
хороший символ происходящих процессов.

— В будущем, получается, мир будет ещё более религиозным?
— Трудно прогнозировать. Если предположить, что ничего не изменится и мир будет
развиваться так же, как сегодня, то мир в 2050 году будет более религиозным. Религиозные
люди рожают больше детей. Другое дело, что дети вырастают и часто отказываются от тех
религий, в которых их воспитывали, поэтому будущее открыто.

Теперь варвары из подземелий Ирака будут диктовать
всему миру, что думают мусульмане и что надо сделать,
чтобы не испытать их праведный гнев

О непривлекательности атеизма
— Почему атеизм непопулярен?
— Судя по известным мне исследованиям, религиозность — более естественное состояние для
человека, чем атеизм. Чтобы быть религиозным (хотя бы даже в смысле суеверности), не надо
прилагать никаких особых усилий, а вот для того, чтобы стать атеистом и вжиться в научное
мировоззрение, надо проделать над собой достаточно серьёзную работу. Поэтому атеисты
будут в меньшинстве, но и верующих, которые осмысленно подходят к христианству, буддизму
или исламу, также будет не много. А большинство будет склоняться к специфической
естественной религиозности в духе суеверий и этноконфессиональных обычаев.

— Не связана ли эта заинтересованность в религии с тем, что вторая
половина XX века — это время урбанизации, и у нового городского
жителя просто размывается идентичность? То есть на вопрос социолога «К
какой вере вы себя относите?» человек ответит: «Я — православный», —

хотя на второй вопрос, «Верите ли вы в бога?», может ответить: «Нет», —
как в опросе «Левада-центра», когда 40 % «православных» признались, что
не верят в бога.
— Согласен, люди нуждаются в идентичности. Но тут возникает проблема. Никто не знает, что
означает слово «верующий» или слово «православный»: ни учёные, ни сами люди, ни церкви.
Это такие понятия, которые вроде бы что-то значат, но до конца понять, что именно,
невозможно. Мы можем сказать, что какое-то количество людей идентифицируют или же не
идентифицируют себя с данным набором звуков или букв. Но попробуйте сами себе задать
вопрос «Верю ли я в бога?». Вы сразу же утонете в сотне вопросов: что такое бог? Откуда я
знаю о его существовании? Действительно ли я верю? Действительно ли я верю так, как
должен верить православный? Поиск ответов на эти вопросы может занять целую жизнь, а мы
имеем дело с блиц-интервью с людьми, спешащими по своим делам.

— Но вы как религиовед знаете, кто такие верующие?
— Я могу вам дать миллион определений. Но когда определений миллион, значит, их нет
вообще. Короче говоря, я не знаю, кто такие верующие. Просто этот набор звуков сегодня в
моде. А дальше уже появляются те самые религиозные предприниматели, которые пытаются
это слово повернуть так, как им выгодно. Одним сегодня выгодно, чтобы православных
верующих в России было 80 %. Завтра им будет выгодно, чтобы верующих было 2 %. Тогда
верующих будут понимать другим способом. Мы как учёные можем лишь наблюдать за ходом
этой борьбы и делать для себя какие-то пометки. Людям свойственно бездумно бросаться
словами, например словом «верующий». А потом это слово хватает их и начинает вовлекать в
водоворот, которым эти люди уже не управляют. Назвался верующим — что ж, будь готов, что
тебе сейчас объяснят, что делать. Например, будь готов оскорбляться.

Об обидчивости верующих
— Ну да, оскорбление чувств верующих.
— Религиозные чувства — это абсолютный новодел, который преподносится как аутентичный
и чуть ли не традиционный способ переживания своей веры. Кощунство, богохульство — знаю.
А вот оскорблённых религиозных чувств — не знаю. Это какое-то новшество XX века с его
эмоциональной духовностью. Вместо умных религий (да просто посмотрите на историю
христианской мысли) мы имеем дело с религиозными истеричками, не способными совладать
со своими эмоциями. Этими эмоциями к тому же легко манипулировать. Датский
карикатурный скандал вырос именно из такой манипуляции: когда в 2005 году в датской газете
Jyllands Posten только появились карикатуры, ничего особенного не случилось.

Карикатурная интифада началась только тогда, когда группа исламских религиозных
предпринимателей начала активничать: появился составленный ими документ о положении
ислама в Европе, где к реальным карикатурам были добавлены ещё несколько выдуманных
(например, пророк с пятачком свиньи). Вообще, религия — это очень опасная штука, и
относиться к ней надо серьёзно. Грань между курсами по изучению Корана и участием в
революционном джихаде, между набожностью и помешательством чрезвычайно тонкая.
Можно баловаться всякими историософскими концепциями про Третий Рим, Святую Русь и
Русский мир, а потом начинается война с соседом.

В основе религиозности лежит опыт переживания
запредельного, но заправляют религиями по
преимуществу сами люди

— Если мы уже заговорили о России, хотелось бы уточнить: та
увлечённость нашего государства православием, их сближение — это
началось в 2000-е?
— Почему только в 2000-е? Нет у Русской православной церкви за плечами модели
взаимоотношений с государством иной, чем та, которую она с вариациями всё время пытается
воспроизвести. Комфортнее всего под крылом государства, даже если это государство бьёт и
истязает. Так было всегда. Откуда возьмётся альтернатива? Да и с какой стати государству
отпускать от себя такой ресурс? По идее, здесь должна включаться теология, которая может
продумать христианское понимание природы государства, в том числе государства
авторитарного и тоталитарного, и предложить альтернативные модели позиционирования
церкви. Например, предполагающие некоторую автономию, на случай если государство слетает
с катушек. А если теологии, да и вообще традиции рефлексии нет, то откуда взяться
альтернативам? Теологию включили в перечень научных дисциплин (25 января 2015 года
Высшая аттестационная комиссия (ВАК) утвердила теологию в качестве научной
дисциплины, без присуждения кандидатских и докторских степеней. — Прим. ред.), а самой
теологии как не было, так и нет, а она нужна.

— Но вот в Польше во время коммунистического режима католической
церкви удалось стать оплотом диссидентов. Если ты религиозный, значит,
по умолчанию диссидент. Значит, существуют какие-то альтернативы.
— В СССР интеллигенция тоже находила в религии источник сопротивления
коммунистической идеологии. Если говорить о взаимоотношениях церкви с государством в
советское время, то, знаете, когда ты сидишь в яме с агрессивным медведем, который на твоих
глазах уже разорвал кучу народу, срабатывает инстинкт самосохранения. Тех, кто

но эти теологи будут из той же Русской православной церкви. С другой стороны. Особенно в России. нужен интеллект. как и все остальные. один из самых интересных ныне живущих американских богословов Стэнли Хауэрвас критиковал идею христианской молитвы в стенах государственных школ. — Да. нужна теология. почему бы этого не сделать? Чтобы эти ограничители появились. Вы думаете. и не против церкви. Про украинскую паству РПЦ . Если есть возможность захватить в сферу своего влияния как можно больше ресурсов. уже сидит и думает: «Доколе?» — А почему она должна ограничиваться частной жизнью? В каком законе это написано? Верующие такие же граждане. Например. Но есть и другая проблема: близость к государству — в том числе и советскому — иногда очень даже выгодна. но есть серьёзные. почему бы и не поговорить от лица всей нации? Вообще. и «Левиафана» обсуждает. и «Око Саурона» вешать не даёт? Человек. остались лишь изначально согласные сотрудничать. — Почему? — Например. но заправляют религиями всё же по преимуществу сами люди. нужна рефлексия. в конце концов. в том числе богословские. в том числе и не самые приятные. по которым от государства и от государственных школ лучше держаться подальше. может. чтобы христианская молитва оставалась просто молитвой. А людьми зачастую движут обычные человеческие мотивы: расширение сферы влияния. — Хорошо. В основе религиозности лежит опыт переживания запредельного.сопротивлялся. я поняла: так исторически сложилось. жажда власти. который. Отчасти в этом корень многих сегодняшних бед. разумная позиция. Внутри сегодняшнего православия много умных и интеллигентных людей. и в праве. Внятная. что именно они будут объяснять. Их присутствие в публичном пространстве — это норма демократического государства. мнения по разным вопросам. Но почему она не может оставаться в сфере частной жизни? Почему церковь уже и в образовании. Украинская греко-католическая церковь была в 1946 году благополучно упразднена совместными усилиями церкви и государства. денег. Но если внутри нет никаких ограничителей. что у нас церковь в подчинённом положении по отношению к власти. которые прекрасно понимают всю опасность близости к государству. уничтожили или как-то иначе вывели из игры. они будут объяснять. а не превращалась в средство сплочения и укрепления «христианской нации». причины. для борьбы с конкурентами. где остановиться. надо знать. Причём по совершенно теологическим соображениям: он хотел. У них могут быть самые разные. не надо смотреть на религии как на что-то мистическое и загадочное. почему не надо вводить основы православия в школах? — Я не знаю.

она должна привычно поддержать государство. что Церковь у нас соборная кафолическая вселенская (как сказано в «Символе веры»)? По идее. А ведь есть же ещё и Белоруссия. задавлено. которая находится в Украине Про РПЦ и права человека — Вы общаетесь с представителями РПЦ. Сама РПЦ оказывается в сложной ситуации: с одной стороны. например. Обособление этой группы набирает ход. например. которые позволили себе публично не соглашаться с позицией официальных лиц и — более того — активно от этой позиции дистанцироваться. почему к государству надо относиться осторожно. которые принадлежат к Украинской православной церкви Московского патриархата? Они ведь смотрят и не понимают. Вообще. с другой — поддержать государство значит в некотором смысле предать часть своей паствы. которые сегодня. что умное и интеллигентное православие куда-то пропало. кто. Как у них всё внутри устроено? Они зеркалят систему власти — там та же бюрократия и строгая подчинённость? . кто проживает на территории Российской Федерации. И встаёт вопрос: куда девать этих людей внутри РПЦ? Куда девать тех. Поддержать государство — значит в некотором смысле предать часть своей паствы. Это люди. так сказать. которая находится в Украине. она должна объединять всех правоверных. как им быть: с одной стороны. К вопросу о том. они вроде бы лояльны Москве. суд над Pussy Riot стал знаковым событием: он ознаменовался появлением группы активных православных мирян. Что делать с теми верующими. не готов в полной мере разделить ответственность за абортирование из западной цивилизации? Если мы изолируемся от мира. — Знаете. Просто очевидный пример того. возражают против войны в Украине. в котором живут. с тем фактом. с другой — лояльны тому государству. а не только тех. кто не вписывается в новый посткрымский консенсус? Что делать с теми. то как быть. как интересы государства и церкви расходятся. умное и интеллигентное задавлено не только в православии.— Сегодня у стороннего наблюдателя создаётся впечатление.

Перед лицом реальной возможности выпасть из цивилизации разговоры о самобытности и уникальности оказываются пустышкой. от чьего лица говорить. Но права человека — это не просто абстрактная философская концепция. кто себя с религией не ассоциирует. что США сейчас — самая религиозная страна. внутри церкви как бюрократической структуры нет. Как так получилось. Их долго в России критиковали. что Россия превратилась в православную Русь? — Если нет никаких ограничителей. Есть такая не лишенная смысла научная теория. Эти люди искали прежде всего религиозную свободу. что изначально идея была хорошая — придумать национальную идею? Поручили это сделать РПЦ. не помогли вам наши суды — всегда есть шанс попасть в Европейский суд по правам человека в Страсбурге. Степень этой религиозной свободы для нас совершенно немыслима: человек может поставить табуретку на улице в Нью-Йорке и начать проповедывать. даже более характерны. а не от лица очень небольшого числа воцерковленных христиан. Ударили вас в милиции палкой по голове. отринет права человека — и какие механизмы обеспечения того самого достоинства останутся? Унизили человека в каком-нибудь дальнем отделении полиции — и куда он тогда пойдёт со своим достоинством? Про бездуховную Америку и Европу — Правильно ли я понимаю. То есть как бы в пику Европе с её правами меньшинств. несмотря на развитие науки и техники? Как так получилось? — Религия важна для США с самого момента основания: люди. подкреплённая конкретными инстанциями.— Тут вопрос ещё в том. что стали говорить от имени всех россиян. который эти права человека вполне так фундированно критикует и противопоставляет им учение о достоинстве. — в том числе и на территории РФ. которое придумывает рекламу. не находившие себе места в далеко не самой толерантной на тот момент Европе. И основывали государство на идее религиозной свободы. чем для российского государства. разные акции и прочие уловки для привлечения прихожан. Вот есть пресловутые права человека. которая есть в обществе. и они так ей увлеклись. свободе и правах человека». Допустимы любые формы выражения религиозности — от своеобразного религиозного стендапа до махания «волшебным пиджаком». садились на корабли и плыли в Новый Свет. — Правильно ли я понимаю. в том числе и с православных позиций. Это другая планета. то почему бы и не поговорить? Выгоднее же говорить от лица миллионов. согласно которой чем больше . Это концепция. что говорить. Никакой даже видимости той демократии. Почти военная дисциплина. Есть какой-то совершенно немыслимый религиозный маркетинг: община хочет больше прихожан и обращается в PR-агентство. в том числе тех. под которой ничего нет. но и в том. обеспечивающими соблюдение данных прав. Иерархичность и вертикаль власти для РПЦ. И дело не только в том. наверное. Даже документ есть — «Основы учения Русской православной церкви о достоинстве. кто кого зеркалит. Выйдет Россия из этого суда.

который не . один из величайших теологов XX века. что ислам — не религия. но от этого она не теряет своей обособленности. а по сути — уничтожение человека. почему ислам — не религия — А что сейчас происходит с исламом? — Начнём с того. Знаете. стулья расставлены — а чего-то главного нет. что европейское христианство погубит их либерализм. учредил новый образ жизни. Так вот у него была интересная идея о безрелигиозном христианстве. пусть и в нерелигиозном смысле. — Что происходит с религией в Европе? В Англии рукоположили женщину-епископа. свечки поставлены. то едва ли мы выгодно смотримся на фоне Европы. если второе. был такой Дитрих Бонхёффер. Религия может взаимодействовать с внерелигиозными сферами. фильм «Левиафан» именно об этом: всё канонично и величественно. Под религией мы привыкли понимать самостоятельную. а у ислама есть с этим проблемы. Другое дело. то тогда Европа действительно ушла от христианства. которое само возникает не раньше позднего Средневековья. что в ходе истории — а ведь исламу больше тысячи лет — возникли разные механизмы приспособления к условиям реального мира. — Мне не кажется. искусства. Ислам — не религия в западноевропейском понимании. Если секуляризация прекратится или повернётся вспять. зафиксированной в Коране. а какие-то клубы по интересам. одобряют гей-браки.религиозное разнообразие. оказывать на них влияние. братском отношении ко всем людям. в жертвенности. у них там уже не христианство. По большому счету. тем большее количество людей найдёт для себя веру по вкусу. Христианство знает принцип «богу богово. В Америке это разнообразие приближается к максимуму. смирении. обособленную сферу человеческой жизнедеятельности. то Европа по-прежнему является христианской. а кесарю кесарево». Я сейчас парадоксальную мысль озвучу: религия возникает в результате секуляризации. что может появиться после исчезновения религии и десекуляризации. Про то. экономики. Политический ислам — это как раз намёк на то. А есть обратное явление — религиозное нехристианство. права. И вообще. Его фашисты замучили за непатриотичность. В чём суть христианства? В особой религиозной атрибутике и догматике. что христианство сводится к вопросу о женском священстве и правовом статусе однополых сожителей. где вся тотальность человеческого существования должна была соотноситься с божественной волей. отдельную от политики. Но даже если меряться семейными ценностями. Основатель же ислама по сути создал новое государство. то и религия исчезнет. в поклонах и постах? Или. Вроде бы всё на месте: купола позолочены. В России любят рассуждать. может быть. уважении к человеческой свободе? Если христианство — это первое.

который сейчас воюет в «Исламском государстве». а настоящий мусульманин — это тот. который французский ученый Оливье Руа называет религией без культуры. что ты не совсем настоящий мусульманин. от которого их детям не захочется убежать на край света? А вообще. Традиционный ислам. Так в Германии. когда в мусульманских семьях убивали женщин. формировавшийся столетиями. — Ну да. убивают перед камерой журналистов. пока ехали домой в метро. открывают для себя религии как бы с нуля.всегда может быть приведён в соответствие с требованиями шариата. Не так уж и сложно донести эту мысль до романтичного молодого человека. Это тоже надо понимать. бывают в истории тектонические сдвиги: не было на Аравийском полуострове ничего особенного до VII . имел инструменты нивелирования радикалистских импульсов. что написано в Коране? Получается. забивают женщин камнями. то есть современные технологизированные варвары. Джихад становится своеобразнымсоциальным лифтом: совершил теракт. что тамошние мусульмане хорошо воюют. спонсоры просят прислать им очередной бизнес-план. Буквально знают только то. Особенно если в религиозности начинают главенствовать эмоции и чувства. прервали преемственность. порочивших честь семьи. который они читали с телефона.убийство — и ты уже знаменитость Возник феномен. Но могут ли они создать такой мирный уклад. Но модернизация и вестернизация подорвали традиционный уклад. жаждущего приключений. — Мусульманам тоже в Европе непросто: во Франции были скандалы. преиодически вспыхивающих в любой религии. во Франции. оторванные от традиционного уклада своих предков. что было в этот день опубликовано на каком-то интернет-сайте. — Как быть настоящим мусульманином и одновременно признавать светское законодательство. в Великобритании и вербуют молодых людей и посылают в Сирию. Есть какие-то способы их утихомирить? — Мы уже поняли. убийство — и ты уже знаменитость для достаточно большого и влиятельного сообщества: родители хотят выдать за тебя своих дочерей. — Не только в Европе. позволявшую передавать религиозный уклад и содержащиеся в нём предохранители от радикализма из поколения в поколения. но и в России то же самое происходит. которое зачастую противоречит тому. когда речь заходит о кощунственных карикатурах и благородной ярости мстителей. Эти варвары затем легко вовлекаются в экстремистские группы. — Чем кончится «Исламское государство?» Пока что они показывают свою силу и запугивают людей: сбрасывают геев со зданий. Вообще. джихад становится своеобразным социальным лифтом: совершил теракт.

семью. Нельзя сказать. начинает привлекать всё больше внимания. в исламе больше мужчин. почему сложно быть воцерковленным мачо — Что сейчас происходит с наукой о религии? — Она становится более востребованной. — Традиция и преемственность. Про то. пусть и не афишируя особо факт этих изменений. и никто не умер. — Почему православная церковь так боится каких бы то ни было изменений? В конце января Англиканская церковь рукоположила первую женщину-епископа. почему. Любопытно же понять. есть ли в голове участок. В истории происходят периодические вспышки активности. Мужчине-мачо трудно реализовать себя в христианстве. Эволюционная биология пытается объяснить феномен религии. например. что мир уже никогда не будет прежним. сопровождающей человека на протяжении всей его истории. соединившую Восток с Западом. Так отцы делали. их изучающая. то и наука. когда не было мужчин. Известно же. геев. никто уже и не объяснит почему. Появляется потребность объяснить феномен религии. Полагаю. Можно для успокоения предпринимать какие-то действия. Если нерв истории снова бьётся где-то близко к религиям. Религия. мозговеды задаются вопросом. Или Александр Македонский: кто его дернул идти походом на Восток? А ведь пошёл и создал империю. — Почему? — Хотя бы потому. то надо готовиться к столкновению. что женщина- священнослужитель — это что-то космически чуждое православию. которая упирает на детей. деды. церковь всё равно меняется. что во многом предопределило ход истории — как минимум религиозной. а христианство в некотором смысле феминизировалось. и верующим. что в исламе ты можешь одновременно быть и мачо. Модные научные направления начинают включать её в круг своих интересов. а в христианстве — женщин. читали по покойникам. дом.века — и вдруг бах! И через 150 лет уже империя на полмира. больше импонирует женщинам. Так что никто не знает. но если мы имеем дело с исторической неизбежностью. деревенские женщины брали на себя функции священников: крестили детей. ответственный за молитву. медитацию и вообще чувство присутствия божественного. что будет лет через пятьдесят. Например. — А гендерные исследования есть? — Безусловно. . что в советское время. К тому. Впрочем. Так повелось. наверное.

the philosophy of knowledge. And so on. not focused on just the means through which we make sense of our world through reality. Then came modernity as the age of the centrality of epistemology. has had as its central idea the philosophy of language: questions about meaning. In short. We didn’t study it when we were students. it wasn’t the main focus. If you take away Mary from ‘Mary knows that p’ all that’s left is ‘that p’. The philosophical discourse has always included an interest in what we would today call information. That continued all the way through the Middle Ages. it’s just that it wasn’t called that. Not what reality is. and that it’s triggered a new understanding of philosophy’s past. That’s a very nice way of putting it. but it was a new perspective on classic issues that could engage with the problems of our time. our cultural interest. from Wittgenstein onwards. not what we know about the nature of reality and what it is. ." and all of a sudden I realised that if you take the knowing subject away from epistemology all you’re left with is information. this time inspired by digital technology. I was looking for a way of discussing some of the contemporary issues of information technology from a philosophical perspective that would be well informed by past relevant theorizing. Similarly ‘Paris is the capital of France’ or ‘a piece of toast’ or ‘water is H2O' are just information. when you discuss what it takes to make the right decision. well-informed agent. which is this: ancient philosophy was more concerned with the nature of things and therefore hugely concentrated on ontology and metaphysics. warrant. and support. The philosophy of information is a new area of research. wasn’t on this particular concept. it’s just that it wasn’t described in those terms. I came across a paper by Karl Popper entitled "Epistemology without the knowing subject. the philosophy of information has been there since day one. I inherited from my postdoctoral mentor Michael Dummett a very nice. To this oversimplified caricature we could add another stage: the information turning point. In the same sense that we’ve been doing philosophy about language forever – it’s not like there’s no philosophy of language in Plato. it takes a well-grounded rational. Can you begin by saying something about the philosophy of information? When I studied philosophy there weren’t any courses on the philosophy of information so I’m not exactly sure what it is. philosophy about our knowledge of reality. partly because we didn’t realise that the glasses were on our noses. and in Thomas Aquinas.Luciano Floridi on the Philosophy of Information The Oxford Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information says methods for discussing the ethics of information technology have been latent in philosophy from its origins. it’s just that it wasn’t called ‘philosophy of language’. almost like the linguistic turn in the 20th century. perhaps oversimplified picture of the history of philosophy. Then contemporary philosophy. philosophy about reality. What I found wasn’t entirely unprecedented. for instance. semantics. and then philosophy of the language of our knowledge of reality. but rather the technological and informational framework within which we make sense of our knowledge of reality. and ‘that p’ is just that piece of information. in Aristotle. and the focus of our society. In Epistemology the foundation of knowledge requires some initial of information that you need to justify. There’s a lot of philosophy from the ancient Greeks to the present day that discusses what we now think of as the philosophy of information. and meaning wasn’t the central issue – likewise. But in ethics. 
 So it sounds as if you are saying that there’s been an ‘informational turn’ in philosophy. namely the philosophy of information. When I was a graduate student.

It’s interesting how you personally have been drawn in from your work on the philosophy of information to moral and political debates about privacy in the age of the Internet as an advisor to Google on the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’. It seems to have exploded beyond all proportion. freedom of expression. it has to be eschatological in that sense. had never encountered each other head to head. For Aristotle it was subsidiary to a metaphysics of anthropology. from our perspective. has always been seen as subsidiary to whatever the mainstream orthodox way of doing philosophy was. I think we see a similar phenomenon today. It’s just that the previous chapters have not been erased. are the end of the intellectual journey. When people say ‘What’s the big deal. Then through to modernity where you have to have a complete account of reality and then do the ethics – Kant is a classic example of this. So the fourth chapter in this particular history is the philosophy of information understood as something more central. 
 Of course your caricature of the history of philosophy misses the crucial part which is that. which. the question of how we should live has been central. Likewise in philosophy. It’s not just a matter of whether or not some links should or shouldn’t be removed from a search engine. or semantic. it’s a clash between two fundamental ethical principles. indeed. human being. thanks to lack of technology and a different culture. Then in the medieval period religious metaphysics determined the ethics. so far. People may want to know why this issue is so important. You do a philosophy of information and try to extract from that lessons that can inform your ethical discourse. some ground breaking. well-functioning. in order to build the right kind of ethical understanding of your time. and recommendations on the ethics of the ‘right to be forgotten’ issue. The best analogy here is a spark somewhere where dynamite has been stored. Every philosophy has to look at the nature of ultimate things. or the moral discourse. and I would say we now do things better. Perhaps a better way of putting this is that you need to do some preparatory work. or logical. feedback. we do things differently. This little spark has made these two giants fight each other. I fear that ethics. And mind that the same people who complain about philosophy tend to forget that we shall be studying good contemporary philosophy in a thousand years when good contemporary science will have been superseded. suggestions. Of course there has been progress. And so on. Depending on the stage we are in our development. We just accumulate new chapters. I would like to invite them to eat a steak made from a woolly mammoth and then tell me there has been no progress in cuisine. On top of that there is the political side. sometimes that ground-breaking work has to be metaphysical. You’re completely right. it’s only a spark?’ they focus on the spark. First of all. the political discourse. which wasn’t even in the index of practical ethics textbooks in the 1980s. sometimes it has to be epistemological. so ethics and. You get a virtue ethics perspective following from what it is to be a complete. but we had treated as a fundamental principle of a liberal democratic society for a very long time.People who don’t know much about the history of philosophy complain that we never solve problems. In my case this has led to my role on Google’s Advisory Council. taking more space than it really should. at least from Socrates onwards. and miss the dynamite. Not at all. the question of what a human being is. There is a reason for this. is in the cultural DNA of America . As the only philosopher there I wear the ethics hat and I’m supposed to be the one who provides input. Part of this connection between the philosophy and the ethics of information has very strong practical everyday consequences. and for our time. it’s just that it isn’t the same kind of progress that you find in science. and I would say today it has to be in terms of information. One is privacy. So many issues could explode as a result of this. One of these principles – privacy – is robustly defended in Europe and by the European Union in the European Court of Justice. But I would disagree with the idea that ethics comes second in importance. The other principle is free speech. The other.

So you also have an American versus EU fight. The people chained in front of the wall are effectively watching television. your country yours. the ivory tower. for example. So should a decision taken by a European court of justice be applied all over the world? Should an organisation like Google be forced to remove links in all its search engines including Google. Borders determined the limit of the law. why it is a classic. What is the responsibility of those who have. literally step out of the cave? Are they supposed to go back and violently force the people inside to get away. because politics and Europe defend one side. as it were. . Some of these people can actually unchain themselves and acquire a better sense of what reality is. We’d have to go back and talk to them. Or do we have to exercise toleration? If so. The point I try to glean from that particular feature in the great architecture of the Republic is the following: some people have their attention captured constantly by social media – it could be by cats on Facebook. Presumably this was because he wanted to reach a wide audience and had something important to say? From Plato. to Descartes. all of a sudden there are no borders. Buy Your second choice is another classic. This is why this particular spark has ignited a huge. We might find a point of agreement. You can read it that way without doing any violence to the text. On top of that you have politics versus the corporate world. Buy The philosophy of information underlies all these issues. It’s like old wine. what the world really is about. we’d put some kind of back doors into social media because we want control. From the 17th century onwards law has been grounded by territoriality: my country my law. but it’s not. this seems to be a small issue. It’s only through understanding what information is and what it means that we can start to grapple with the problem of privacy or any other issue that arises out of new technology. A classic can be read and re-read. That shows two things. Plato is a great philosopher of information without the word being there. you can reinterpret the whole thing today in terms of the channel of communication and information theory: who gets access to which information. it just gets richer in consequences. First. digital technology today. You’ve chosen as your first book Plato’sRepublic – a great work of philosophy. and so forth. such as the role of mass media in a digital world. in which case it covers both.and the corporate world. implementing legislation. Should Europe legislate for the whole world? It is easy to list other issues. to Russell — the last philosopher I know of who was good at this — philosophy has always had this valuable attitude of speaking to both sides of human interest: to the intellectual. America and the corporate world the other. it gets better with time. it would be a matter of education. in French rather than in Latin which was the common language of intellectuals of his day in 17th century France. Just to add a further issue: we also have problems about the nature of the law because all this happens in a space which isn’t physical. and are able to step back. but what’s the connection with information? As I said near the beginning of this interview. and re-interepreted.com or not? Again. We would have to ban social media. unchained themselves from the constant flow. René Descartes’s Meditations. I strongly believe we have been doing the philosophy of information without knowing it. as the text says? Updated that would mean. Descartes chose to write that book in the vernacular. because really the whole discussion of the cave is just a specific chapter in the philosophy of information. by addressing these questions. the academic. They are chained to that particular social media – television yesterday. Once you move into cyberspace or the infosphere. or glued to some social media. In essence here Plato. When it comes to the classic image of the myth of the cave. is giving us a lesson in the philosophy of information. we could forbid people from having mobile phones. the constant grab of attention of everyday media. international debate. You can also see what I mean when I say we’ve been doing the philosophy of information since day one. It never gets old.

it’s mind-boggling. Much better to read it that way than suggesting that we are living in The Matrix. it is not making philosophy cheap. while the current one is burning. his Critique of Pure Reason. What is happening is that some problems can. ordinary aspects of the world. when you put the product on the market. it is pure speculation when there is no way of being wrong. It’s intellectual fun. Even German people prefer to read him in English translations because the translations clarify what he might be saying. We all know that he couldn’t write. Kant helps us focus on real philosophical problems. it is not philosophy for dummies. Philosophy has a major role to play today. Scepticism in Descartes is a matter of increasing the pressure and showing how much his ideas can actually withstand.but also to the practical. through Hume. Once you start to understand the rhythm of that way of thinking. it’s very enjoyable. It’s not talking to its time and to relevant problems that are of genuine concern. it is robust. What about Immanuel Kant? Your third choice. the anything goes approach. and facts. Meditations is not only a classic — it’s easy to find almost anything you want in it — but I also see it as one of the books that you could recruit into a history of the philosophy of information. it is not by someone who has time and money to waste wondering whether he exists. Descartes wants to doublecheck that the science we’re building is going to be so robust that even when you run the most insane test it will still work. all the way down to Russell. different ways of speaking. and some popular philosophy — that’s just pure discourse. then we know that we are stepping into pure metaphysics. Today Descartes speaks more directly to us if you understand him as the equivalent of an engineer testing a product. It’s silly to conclude from this that the task of philosophy is to refute the sceptic! That’s not the point. It is about resilience. What I have learnt from Kant is an important lesson: when you discuss any philosophical problem there is one fundamental clarification that has to precede any discussion. today. From Descartes. Or there is speculation in the manner of a Sudoku game or a chess problem. no matter how much he tried. but it's no longer philosophy. I find reading Kant a bit like understanding cricket as a foreigner: hard to get at first. ‘Does that question make sense to us given the conditions of possibility of the debate?’ When we overstep the limits of what we can process. There’s a lot of philosophy of that sort — especially the philosophy of technology. This is. It is not popularising philosophy. Descartes is acting like an engineer testing ideas. but ultimately pointless. and therefore we don’t call them philosophy any more. so that. There are many ways of reading the Meditations. in principle. Scepticism in the Meditations is to be understood technologically. the information that it is sensible to ask about. The debate about scepticism is often misunderstood. Anyone who tries to refute scepticism is wasting their time and no decent philosopher has taken that sort of speculation very seriously. And that’s why Descartes wrote theMeditations in a language that was available to a well-educated person who didn’t have that much Latin. You can feel the power of that way of conceptualising problems. but once you get it. . Kant is a good antidote both to pointless speculation. It’s quite extraordinary. Nobody would dream of driving that car in those conditions. There are different vocabularies. unlike Descartes’s Meditations. So Descartes is testing the means of acquiring knowledge to destruction. has never reached a wide popular audience. it is philosophy made interesting to interested people. It is not an intellectual game. For us. You test a car in extreme conditions. and the purely logical one in which you make some hypothetical assumptions and see what you can deduce. even to Kant (not the most accessible philosopher. we have this double channel of communication. Meanwhile. experiments. That’s interesting. be solved by maths. I like that image. there are more and more philosophical problems arising from new technology and new ways of living. Philosophy deals with the problems that lie between the world of facts and the world of logical possibilities. I have no time for speculating about some possible metaphysical world. but at least he made an attempt). It works in the same way that you benchmark a particular product by testing it in extreme conditions.

we are certainly in the realm of information because we’re dealing with Alan Turing. if you look at the Loebner prize. once again. If you look at a house.My simple view of Kant in the First Critique is that he explains how what we are constrains what we could possibly know. there must be logical limits to the kind of information that you could actually acquire. To put it differently. That’s fundamental. and if I’d had six book choices I’d have included him. What Kant tells us is that we process input (the message) from the world (the source of the message) – what we’d now call data. economic. Unfortunately they missed Turing’s answer to that question. a lawyer’s perspective – these are all different levels of abstraction. So what Turing tells us is that you need to be clear about the level of abstraction at which your discussion is taking place. Unfortunately ‘level of abstraction’ has a technical sense in computer science which is often misunderstood in philosophy because there are no levels – levels of abstraction don’t come in a hierarchy. that if a person and a computer produce the same sort of effect then that’s sufficient for treating them in a similar way. they have a medal that has 'Can a Machine Think?’ on it. What he did say is that because this question doesn’t provide the conditions of possibility for an answer – because we don’t know what ‘think’ is. Information is constrained by the data: if you jump out of the third floor window. Nevertheless. The Turing test has in it a Kantian lesson. you can look at it from the perspective of the owners. He’s another of my heroes. and we don’t even know what a ‘machine’ is – we can’t answer it. who made a major contribution to the evolution of the computer. the council. This is a selection of papers that you’ve chosen. you’re right. The music is sent by the radio. or the way science tells me the world is — should not be taken seriously.” He didn’t ask that question in the paper. another figure in the history of the philosophy of information. but one of constraining affordances: given those ingredients/data there are only a few ways of cooking/knowing that make sense and transform them into the right dish/information. The analogy here is. Kant has a lesson that we still have to learn which is that any form of naïve realism — based on the way the world seems to me. But we can run a test and if you can’t see a difference between the answers of a human and a machine. So presumably. You don’t build the world from your imagination. which is our information. I find it very naïve when people talk about knowledge as if it were “of” reality: reality is the source of the signals. Sadly. In the Turing test. Turing sounds quite close to pragmatism in that he’s suggesting. You’ve made an unexpected choice for your fifth choice: Lyotard’s book The Postmodern Condition. you’ll break your neck. which is that it is “too meaningless to deserve discussion. if you’re a Kantian. then the machine has passed the test. but it is not about and does not “represent” the radio. The relation between the dish and the ingredients is not one of representation. It's a bit like saying you hear music on the radio. Buy With your fourth choice. the level of abstraction is provided by the questioning game and the comparison of the two players at the level of their abilities to understand questions and answer them meaningfully. but our knowledge is of the signals. with the Turing test. Sometimes you really have to stop looking for the essence of the ingredients but look at the effects that the ingredients have. The data are the ingredients of our dish. . Is there something you want to single out there as quintessential Turing? The quintessential Turing for philosophy is certainly the Turing test as described in The Imitation Game. with cooking. There’s something of Charles Sanders Peirce in this. Versions of structural realism in philosophy of science support this view. We process them to obtain a specific outcome. the world isn’t just as it seems to us.

It was not about the production of experiences or services. to power about the questions that shape the answers that give the information about things. As for what little religious belief remains among their colleagues. perhaps the most fundamental. The reason Lyotard’s book is on my list is that I read it when I was too young. But why? JOHN G. show that religious belief among them is practically nonexistent. That’s what Marx thought. Is there an example of that. from power over things. There has been a dramatic change in the last few centuries in the proportion of believers among the highly educated in the Western world. What explains this? . composed of the most prestigious scientists in the world. afterlife and the like were unconvincing. If you take the view that semantic information is broadly speaking delivered as a question plus an answer.I wanted to include a more contemporary book. Once control of information is recognised as a source of power. then those who control the questions shape the answers. about 7 percent. Selecting only one. This change occurred primarily because of the rise of modern science and a consensus among philosophers that arguments for the existence of gods. religious beliefs have a universal appeal. while today it is rare among the intelligentsia. to power over information. But such facts might cause believers discomfort. In the European Middle Ages belief in a God was ubiquitous. I re-read it when I was more mature and now realise that there were fundamental lessons and extraordinary insights there that I had missed completely when I was an undergraduate. The politics of information is a notion that we need to explore much more deeply than we have done so far. MESSERLY Should you believe in a God? Not according to most academic philosophers. Now nothing definitely follows about the truth of a belief from what the majority of philosophers or scientists think. Among scientists the situation is much the same. and I misunderstood it badly and didn’t think much of it. What we’re seeing today is the very beginning of another switch. the politics which manipulate and affect technologies and so impact how we live. lesson that I learnt from Lyotard relates to the socio- political aspects of technology. Then society switched to a focus on power being expressed through the control of information. A comprehensive survey revealed that only about 14 percent of English speaking professional philosophers are theists. most professional philosophers regard it as a strange aberration among otherwise intelligent people. There’s an emphasis in Lyotard’s book on the connection between politics and technology. Governments and empires all want to control information. souls. Surveys of the members of the National Academy of Sciences. Religion’s smart-people problem: The shaky intellectual foundations of absolute faith Religious belief the world over has a strenuous relationship with intellectualism. despite the view of professional philosophers and world-class scientists. That’s the new power we need to understand and manage properly today. that it was about the means of production of goods. then any powerful entity wants to control this information. of a specific technology affected in this way? We used to think that power was about either the creation or the control of things. Still.

the best predictor of people’s religious beliefs in individuals is the religiosity of their parents. Religion may be a coping mechanism for the stress caused by the lack of a good social safety net—hence the vast disparity between religious belief in Western Europe and the United States. For example. that birthplace strongly influences religious belief. why do many prefer superstition and pseudo science? The simplest answer is that people believe what they want to. This suggests that people’s religious beliefs are. and science increasingly confirms this view. their truth is assured by the evidence as well as by resulting technologies—global positioning and flu vaccines work. not what the evidence supports: In . telekinesis and mind reading—and reject claims supported by an overwhelming body of evidence—biological evolution for example. a United Nations list of the 20 best countries to live in shows the least religious nations generally at the top. while the majority of countries with strong religious belief ranked low. More than three times as many Americans believe in the virgin birth of Jesus than in biological evolution. ADVERTISEMENT In addition to the biological basis for religious belief. Only in the United States. infant mortality. teenage births. Thus the idea of hidden Gods explaining natural events was born. what they find comforting. the evidence should give pause to religion’s defenders. Yet it also forms causal narratives for natural occurrences and postulates the existence of other minds. The near universal appeal of religious belief suggests a biological component to religious beliefs and practices. sexually transmitted diseases. intelligence is an adaptation that aids survival. There are also social factors effecting religious belief. although few theologians take the former seriously. the proportion of people incarcerated. One says that religion evolved by natural selection— religion is an adaptation that provides an evolutionary advantage. virtually all the countries with comparatively little religious belief ranked high on the list of best countries. There are good reasons to doubt that religious belief makes people’s lives go better. With the wonders of science every day attesting to its truth. there are environmental explanations. There is a scientific consensus that our brains have been subject to natural selection. So what survival and reproductive roles might religious beliefs and practices have played in our evolutionary history? What mechanisms caused the mind to evolve toward religious beliefs and practices? Today there are two basic explanations offered. Despite all this most people still accept some religious claims. Besides cultural influences there is the family. For example religion may have evolved to enhance social cohesion and cooperation—it may have helped groups survive. Moreover. in large part. which was ranked as the 13th best country to live in. alien abductions. is religious belief strong relative to other countries. For example. abortions. While no causal relationship has been established. But this fact doesn’t give us much reason to accept religious claims. accidents of birth. There is also a strong correlation between religious belief and various measures of social dysfunction including homicides. while no serious biologist rejects the latter! Consider too that scientists don’t take surveys of the public to determine whether relativity or evolutionary theory are true. fortunetelling. While correlation does not equal causation. People believe many weird things that are completely irrational— astrology.Genes and environment explain human beliefs and behaviors—people do things because they are genomes in environments. corruption. income inequality and more. It is self- evident from the fact that religions are predominant in certain geographical areas but not others. The other explanation claims that religious beliefs and practices arose as byproducts of other adaptive traits. and good reasons to believe that they make their lives go worse. a significant body of scientific evidence suggests that popular religion results from social dysfunction.

Although there are many educated religious believers. But we shouldn’t be deceived. Third. they often have something in mind unlike what the general populace believes. This best summarizes why people tend to believe. (I knew a professional philosopher who doubted both evolution and climate science but believed he could prove that the Christian God must take a Trinitarian form! Surely something emotional had short-circuited his rational faculties. they want to believe. smart persons are good at defending ideas that they originally believed for non-smart reasons.” Consider the so-called religiosity of many contemporary politicians. They may feel it heartless to tell parents of a dying child that their little one doesn’t go to a better place. Individuals may also profess belief because it is socially unacceptable not to. instead they may think that others are better off or more easily controlled if those others believe. advancing education is detrimental to religious belief. including some philosophers and scientists. contains the world. And we should remember that the burden of proof is not on the disbeliever to demonstrate there are no gods. as Gibbon noted long ago: “The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true. This suggest another part of the explanation for religious belief—scientific illiteracy. to reject the hard-earned knowledge of the science. say for emotional reasons. when sophisticated thinkers claim to be religious. The masses would be astonished to discover how far such beliefs deviate from their theism. They fear that in their absence others will lose a basis for hope. They want to believe something. Why. they don’t want to be out of the mainstream or fear they will not be reelected or loved if they profess otherwise. the proclamations of educated believers are not always to be taken at face value. religious belief declines with educational attainment. people don’t want to know. Or consider this anecdotal evidence. Dennett and Dawkins are not outliers. it is almost unheard of to find disbelievers in youth who came to belief as their education progressed. They may be pantheists. Studies also show that religious belief declines among those with higher IQs. we can conclude that (supernatural) religious beliefs are probably false. and by the magistrate as equally useful. like Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor. They may identify god as an anti-entropic force pervading the universe leading it to higher levels of organization. Still they do it.general. afterlives or supernatural phenomena generally. morality or meaning. No rational person would say there is more evidence for creation science than biological evolution. by the philosophers as equally false. They may want to give bread to the masses. Yet these sophisticated varieties of religious belief bear little resemblance to popular religion. Or perhaps they may just want to be socially accepted. then.) Second. How else to explain the hubris of the philosopher or theologian who knows little of biology or physics yet denies the findings of those sciences? It is arrogant of those with no scientific credentials and no experience in the field or laboratory. If we combine reasonable explanations of the origin of religious beliefs and the small amount of belief among the intelligentsia with the problematic nature of beliefs in gods. Hawking. By contrast. but on believers to demonstrate that there are. panentheists. Believers are not justified in affirming their belief on the . and they then become adept at defending those beliefs. Many don’t believe religious claims but think them useful. and neither is Bill Gates or Warren Buffett. This asymmetry is significant. So-called believers may not believe the truth of their claims. Our sophisticated believers may be manipulating. They may be process theologians who argue that god is not omnipotent. Among the intelligentsia it is common and widespread to find individuals who lost childhood religious beliefs as their education in philosophy and the sciences advanced. but the former satisfies some psychological need for many that the latter does not. do some highly educated people believe religious claims? First. or death-of-god theologians. particularly with scientific education. whose actions belie the claim that they really believe the precepts of the religions to which they supposedly ascribe. and changes. These educated believers may believe that ordinary folks can’t handle the truth. using religion as a mechanism of social control. souls.

basis of another’s inability to conclusively refute them. They need to make the world better. If religious beliefs are just vulgar superstitions. then we are basing our lives on delusions.” William James claimed that reason can’t resolve all issues and so we are sometimes justified believing ideas that work for us. First. We shouldn’t conclude that their beliefs are true because they are fervently held. Another problem is that fideism—basing one’s beliefs exclusively on faith—makes belief arbitrary. however unsupported by evidence it might be. Such proposals are probably the best the religious can muster. If I must accept your beliefs without evidence. combined with the various explanations of belief. Besides. If someone makes a claim without concern for reasons and evidence. then I have no reason to believe in gods. conjugation: The artist in America isbeing starved. $26 L et’s forget about starving artist for a moment and get right to a more accurate. its lust and its love. Religion may help us in the way that whisky helps a drunk. systemically and without . faith without reason doesn’t satisfy most of us. as are any answers attached to such nonsense. It is easy to believe something without good reasons if you are determined to do so—like the queen in “Alice and Wonderland” who “sometimes … believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. The counter to Clifford’s evidentialism has been captured by thinkers like Blaise Pascal. then religious answers to life’s questions are worthless. if you conclude that religious beliefs are untrue. Pascal’s famous dictum expresses: “The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of. not an epistemic one. Fideism allows no reason to favor your preferred beliefs or superstitions over others.” But there are problems with this approach. we should conclude that they simply don’t care about what’s true. Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class by Scott Timberg Yale University Press. and your false beliefs may harm them. you are referring to a political or legal right. Unamuno searched for answers to existential questions. hence our willingness to seek reasons to believe. William James. leaving no way to distinguish one religious belief from another. You may have a legal right to say whatever you want. counseling us to abandon rationalism and embrace faith. then you must accept mine. and Miguel de Unamuno. any more than a believer in invisible elephants can command my assent on the basis of my not being able to “disprove” the existence of the aforementioned elephants. but you have epistemic justification only if there are good reasons and evidence to support your claim. If those reasons are not convincing. You might comfort yourself by believing that little green dogs in the sky care for you but this is just nonsense. if you defend such beliefs by claiming that you have a right to your opinion. If the believer can’t provide evidence for a god’s existence. but if reason can’t resolve our questions then agnosticism. they need to face life with all its bleakness and beauty. everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.K. no matter what absurdity I believe in. “It is wrong always. is required. its war and its peace. you might turn to faith. No one else will.” Why? Because your beliefs affect other people. But is belief without reason and evidence worthy of rational beings? Doesn’t it perpetuate the cycle of superstition and ignorance that has historically enslaved us? I agree with W. not faith. and ominous. And who would want to do that? Why is all this important? Because human beings need their childhood to end. In response to the difficulties with providing reasons to believe in things unseen. 320 pp. Clifford. but we don’t want to go through life drunk..

000. When it came to artists. the richest empire on earth—the American creative class has been forced to brook a historic economic burden while also being sunk into sunless irrelevancy. In this land of untold bounty—what is usually called. only 15 percent of students majored in the humanities. Comrade Stalin knew all about a bounty of a different sort—he stuck it on the heads of those whose pens and brushes might transgress against his galactic hubris. somehow. Adele’s debut album sold more than 70 percent of all classical albums combined. we in America kill our poets in quite another way: We ignore them to death. Flo Rida. Everyone. “meaningful” no doubt replaced by “moneyful. Adele. Since the turn of the century. the number of Americans reading fiction withered by nearly 30 percent.” Over the past two decades. In a 1966 UCLA study. in a kind of blustering spasm. 260. almost half of which were performed by only six artists (Katy Perry. There are only two remaining full-time dance critics in the entire United States of America. Between 1982 and 2002. Remember Osip Mandelstam’s quip about how Mother Russia reveres her poets enough to murder them? Well.shame.000 jobs were nixed between 2007 and 2009. Toss a stone into any crowd and you’ll hit someone who’s writing a novel. we’re awash in dilettantes decanting their wares on the midden of American culture. art is stripped of any economic traction and serious artists can’t . is an artist. it seems. pittance-paid laborers with no medical insurance and barely a prayer to bolster them. and yet. that percentage was amputated by half. Renovate that bromide making ends meet and you might be nearer the mark: Members of the creative class are meeting their ends.”) The vestal and very simple concept of supply and demand will not be debauched out of its simplicity: When everyone’s an artist and no one spends money on art. In the publishing and journalism trades. 1 songs. there were 66 No. a sortie of distressing numbers about the arbiters. A not untypical yearly salary in 2008 for a professional dancer was $15. with our consummate lack of reverence. more than 50 percent of faculty is adjuncts. by 2013. (Yeats once opened his address to the Rhymers’ Club with: “The only thing certain about us is that we are too many. and Lady Gaga). in 2011. around 80 percent of cultural critics writing for newspapers have lost their jobs. Rihanna. at Stanford University in 2013. In American universities. Here’s a paragraph grim enough to wreck your week. The Black Eyed Peas. What does it mean when the middle-class makers of art are relegated to a socioeconomic purgatory? The dearth of public funding for the arts mirrors the dearth of public ardor for the arts. the number of English majors graduating from Yale University has plummeted by 60 percent. and more than 60 percent of all jazz albums. and creators of culture: Between 2008 and September 2012. facilitators. 86 percent of students across the country declared that they intended to have a “meaningful philosophy of life”.

Timberg among them. In 2008. You begin Timberg’s book suspecting that things are bad—you finish it convinced that they’ve never been worse. “a risk-taking real-estate mogul” purchased the limping Los Angeles–area newspaper for which Timberg reported.” He didn’t harbor gluttonous ambitions of fame. Culture Crash unloads information so soul-stomping that you read on hardly able to suppress barks of disbelief. ladies and gentlemen. the son of a writer and a schoolteacher—Timberg considered himself “in the third generation of people who had worked in culture without either striking it rich or going broke. Then hundreds were laid off.” It’s pretty to think so.” until his tiny home was foreclosed upon by a bank whose girth is global—a bank that was lavishly rescued from oblivion by tax money. right?” Following the foreclosure.earn a living. living in “an age of creative destruction. but preferred this comparatively modest idea of success. this mogul pile- drove the paper into the foreboding nullity of Chapter 11.” . Couple that with a population that overwhelmingly doesn’t mind if art and artists go extinct and you have. One of the personal stories he relays is his own. In an important analysis of this mess. There’s a gut-jabbing scene in which he has to tell his five-year-old son that they are losing the only house he’s ever known. Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class. you shouldn’t doubt that whole throngs of onetime stable middle-class artists have been pummeled into a class where they feel the fangs of hunger.” This is our shining world now. but what artist anymore really believes those American mathematics. the locksmith who showed up to bar Timberg and his young family from their home drove a car “fancier and substantially newer” than Timberg’s own “seventeen-year-old Honda.” says Timberg. how we prioritize: Locksmiths earn stabler livelihoods than the makers and chroniclers of our culture. education plus hard work equals success? “We are the bastard offspring of Reagan and Warhol. one which he was certain would allow him to remain in the middle-class from which he’d sprung: “I could get really good at something if I worked as hard as I could and surrounded myself with what someone once called—in a phrase that now sounds antique—the best that had been thought and said. what can be fairly called a crisis. writing “for less and less money. Scott Timberg delivers a potpourri of bleak statistics and appalling personal stories of talented and once-thriving artists reduced to penury or making-do. the plot points of which have become agonizingly familiar. and one that wouldn’t stoop to negotiate with a plebeian journalist in order to stay the foreclosure on his home. For several queasy years he hobbled by. (All but two of the above statistics are culled from Timberg’s research. and soon after. and the child asks. As a middle-class kid—the grandson of a vaudeville pianist and a Ziegfeld dancer.) Although Timberg reports no incidents of literal starvation. “But then we’ll come back.

A poet and critic of unstinting earnestness. being Arnold. by the spirit-sapping forces of the Industrial Revolution.nourish—“a sturdy yet sensitive organism that shall be able to deal with the eternal recurrences of life and death. its litany of panic about culture and creativity.” Powys wrote. Arnold never blushed when asserting his cultural idealism. latte foam on the upper lip.” A generation after Arnold.” that it “has but one great passion. the special someone at the helm of that “antique” phrase is Matthew Arnold1.” in Kenneth Burke’s unimprovable definition of literature.” certain that “culture looks beyond machinery. “is to nourish within us”—that word again. and be nourished. In Timberg’s above quote. an updated version of Arnold’s spiced polemic. but also equipment for dying. remains wholly sincere: Culture seeks to command ideas “freely—to be nourished and not bound by them. reap. Arnold wrote that culture is “a pursuit of our total perfection by means of getting to know. English philosopher and novelist John Cowper Powys2 penned The Meaning of Culture (1929). toagriculture—till.” That marriage.” In The Culture We Deserve (1989). for a dignified acquiescence to the fate of all flesh.” In other words. the passion for sweetness and light. and some of that paranoia and panic is cyclical. . art is stripped of any economic traction. “The aim of culture. When everyone’s an artist and no one spends money on art.” That “total perfection” is a characteristically Arnoldian construction and one that couldn’t be penned today without the self-defeating smirk of irony. Reconcile yourself to your own death and nothing in life can reduce you. Arnold also couldn’t have failed to have in mind Candide’s final words in Voltaire’s novella: “We must cultivate our garden. on all the matters which most concern us.” reaches our ears as slightly silly. plant. art and culture are “equipment for living. In the preface to the 1875 edition of Culture and Anarchy. the best which has been thought and said in the world. culture is still connected to cultivation. Every era has its own catalog of paranoia. but Arnold. one tinged with an urgency he knew was needed in a society polluted by modernity. to tillage. He denigrates “our worship of machinery” and “our bondage to machinery” and the “faith in machinery. “sweetness and light. one that emphasized the redoubtable benefits and felicities of art among a bloated consumer and populist vulgarity. Jacques Barzun points out that for Arnold.G olden-age nostalgia is usually a ruse we perpetuate upon ourselves.

sensitive culture is the inability to obtain leisure. again and again. Arnold and Powys had their worrisome inventions that changed the lineaments of civilization. The Internet gets a bit of a lashing in this book. There’s the long-standing and nationwide dedication to anti- intellectualism—you can’t read Richard Hofstadter’s3 Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (1963) without pretty quickly coming to the conclusion that an exuberant distrust of the critical mind has been in our DNA since the Puritans. banked-up.For Powys. quack and quake.” a mind adequately armored against “the frothy nothings of the hour. a position he knows is demonstrably false. socially networked into an unsocial stupor. how insidiously plugged-in we all are. the television—have tended to be chaperoned by yelps from the cultured. but it’s not a bloody one. “no escape from the dictatorship of the uncultured. no independent ledge” from which to assess the madness. the bellows of those anticipating an end of books and the introspection they foster. “the greatest of all obstacles to any deep. he doesn’t mean that all print is sacrosanct while online essays and reportage are organically besmirched.” Revolutionary advances in information delivery—the phonograph. the radio. T he problems Culture Crash unveils wouldn’t exist in their specific form without the always hungry Hydra of the Internet: “For generations with no memory of a world before the Internet. There’s the winner-take-all . Timberg is aware of how quickly his study could have turned into an anti-Internet diatribe. a mental truancy that teeters at the lip of catatonia.” Those frothy nothings are no longer of the hour—they are of the second. He has no wish to banish our gadgets of distraction or zap us back to a time before our colonization of cyberspace. for a moment. there is no outside. There are the Hobbesian market forces. And so he’s careful to say. and photojournalists to maintain a middle-class life. except all day long ours ding and ring. how instantaneously he’d be branded a hysterical technophobe. There are a number of culprits here. the present searing truth of that claim. the inability to be alone. When Timberg advocates for the virtues of print. that although the strafing autocracy of the Internet has led to the necrosis of print and a desperate restructuring of the music and publishing industries. he laments the dissolution of the print-publication apparatus that allowed writers. editors. “There is no escape from machinery and modern inventions. and now we have ours. Powys recognized the necessity of attaining “a mind sensitive to rare and gentle things. to be sure. it is not the only bandit guilty of filching livelihoods from middle-class artists.” and consider. Rather. the photograph. the consumer-propelled capitalism so sweet for behemoth corporations who are its lungs and spleen but not so sweet for those artists who need to maintain their integrity outside the corporate sway.” Powys wrote.

there’s nothing stopping you from subscribing to a newspaper or magazine. the users. romantic boobs.social credo that kills regard for any place other than first—we imbibe the No. 1 book. There aren’t many books of social criticism that grow more relevant with the decades. Timberg sees the Internet as a confederation of all the most diabolical cultural trends of the last 50 years—a confederation that plunders both the wallets of middle-class artists and the minds of everyone else. The ennobling energies of an orchestra will never ring on Wall Street. 1 movie. or sexed-up wastrels we might be better off without. but it’s about time we. mostly before the quick-fire hues of their television sets. “every day a publisher lays off staff … or a documentarian finds her film uploaded to YouTube without her permission. pesteringly prevalent since the 1960s. the No. business. that shoves students away from the tonic pleasures of literature just as those students are being seduced by the more practical interests of science. (Timberg calls it “blockbuster culture. But there remains this egregiously democratizing effect of the Internet: We believe that most online content is ours for the taking. The model of the online marketplace might be the chief obstacle preventing most middle-class writers and musicians from earning a living with their work. and then we’re too blitzed and deadened for anything better.”) There’s the academic obscurantism in English departments. and technology. But would all those who are now microwaving their minds online be under a tree cradling a copy of The Iliad if TMZ didn’t exist? Please do doubt that. but it didn’t build them.” If you care about the increasingly dejected plight of the creative class. for easy distraction and rapid gratification. come around to the moral side of the argument: We should purchase what we read and hear on our computers. the No. “The human cost of ‘free’ becomes clear. You are now subjected to an in-your-pocket. 1 album. is one of them. for vitriol and vacuity. .” writes Timberg. Those microwaving their minds online would be microwaving their minds elsewhere. but Neil Postman’s4 Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985). round-the-clock mental sacking. nor should they. The Internet didn’t create the human propensities for thievery and indolence. or from paying for your music and movies online. It certainly capitalizes upon those propensities. but 14 consecutive hours of outrageously inane TV is not a rarity among those with dishes on their roofs. There’s the widespread caricature of artists as eccentric idlers or unstrung cranks. about the hourly blitzkrieg of electronic media. just as there’s nothing stopping you from snapping shut your laptop and reaching for a hardback of Homer.

American individualism has come to resemble a kind of hermitism. Los Angeles in the 1960s. and hasn’t been for a long time. each artist before his own effulgent machine. essayistic .Y ou’ve heard of all those shuttered bookstores. “For culture to work. are able to remain in the middle class. who. nor should they. But when you’re an artist in academia. “Pack up your fiddles and go home boys and girls. depleted mentation with which we permit the market to dictate the worth of things. posted comments such as. Of all the realities chronicled in Culture Crash. and jettisoned any commitment to a joint culture. says Timberg. It isn’t popular with the residents or they would have packed crowds and not have to worry about $$$. or by the cloistered academic department. you’re only a part-time artist. if they’re the lucky ones. a humming population in urban universities. “to disregard actual human beings. The cyberspatial nooks we all live in have begun. Maybe find real jobs. Timberg quotes the cretinous views of citizens in Kentucky. we need a common language.” Timberg urges us out of this bamboozled. after the Louisville Orchestra was pestled into bankruptcy.” and human interaction. is crucial for the creation of serious art.” Timberg writes.” Let me tell you. “and it’s impossible to have one when we are becoming more culturally and economically divided every day. The ennobling energies of an orchestra will never ring on Wall Street. and Austin in the 1970s.” A t the hub of this mess is how we as a nation perceive our artists and stewards of culture. The roiling and reciprocal group. Timberg is particularly astute on the thriving art scenes experienced in Boston in the 1950s. at best. in part because it’s simpler to stay home in front of screens that hawk a deceptive sense of community. We’ve fled our public places of reciprocity and dialogue. so central to the early achievements of Lowell and Plath and Sexton.” and this faux commonsensical gem: “Get rid of the Orchestra. as a Bostonian—a life of genteel poverty is no longer possible. which is how many artists in America. the mix of factors needed to converge in order for artists to flourish—including institutional support. low rents. the already underappreciated librarians now thought members of the Pleistocene. “a life of genteel poverty was still possible. When Robert Lowell5 was reconfiguring American poetry in 1950s Boston. the thinly attended performances of new musicians and artists. has been replaced by synthetic socializing online. without taut lifelines to his fellow strivers and makers. an inviolable sense of a shared culture—and then on what happens when these cities are infiltrated by Hunnish bankers. its dynamism of merriment and conflict. what would the worst manifestation of the worst realities look like? No new art but corporate-driven celebrity kitsch.

Anorexic though they may seem and irrelevant as they may be when it comes to individual artists surviving year-to-year. Buy physical books from independent and used bookstores. that serious art and artists are an essential component to human nourishment. what would the best manifestation look like? If worse comes to worst is only slightly more exasperating than if better comes to best and the best is far from good enough. poke your elected representatives on the shoulder and say you won’t be voting for them again unless they have a cure for this pox upon the middle-class artist. The $1 trillion in government funding includes nearly $300 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Americans for the Arts emailed its supporters with some buoyant news for a torpedoed ship. and Rhode Islanders voted for $35 million to be distributed to various arts organizations across the state. Donate to arts advocacy organizations.advertisements tapped out by algorithms. in the midst of its trademark convulsions and incompetence. If you believe that the life of your mind is inseparable from the health of your life. His final lines are a lovely picture of the world he’d like to live in. Because the artist’s woe has its origin in Washington and on Wall Street. in the very strands of our socioeconomic structure. Timberg has no choice but to end Culture Crash with a modest toll of uplift. and in the unkillable throbbing of the electronic marketplace. In the meantime. He can’t be faulted for offering no specific blueprint for betterment: The journalist’s objective is to report from the ditch. just as some have no choice but to find a bit of meaning in life after they learn that the cosmos is an achingly pointless accident. and $445 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. an indication that perhaps all is not lost. look downright miraculous. and by dint of some abracadabra. Redden in shame should you partake of pirated music. a society of philistines that “tranquilizes itself in the trivial. reversing that woe will take a revolution. those facts and numbers. Last December.” an alloy of the Continuing Appropriations Resolution and an omnibus bill. you might have spotted some morsels among the famine: Citizens of Utah. voted for six ballot initiatives that would augment arts programs. the great red bastion of the West. then you have an obligation. managed to pass a spending bill they dubbed “Cromnibus. $30 million for the Office of Museum Services.” in Kierkegaard’s phrase. the annihilation of independent ideas and the thriving of ideological groupthink. the House of Representatives. And what is the most we can hope for. $25 million for Arts in Education. If you squinted during the midterm elections last year. The night before. nevertheless. to yourself and your children and us . an aesthetical tundra everywhere. Keep your mouse off Kim Kardashian’s ass. to slap us awake to the carnage stacking up around us. Artists of independence and seriousness must not be debased into having to choose between nothing and nothing much.

(Below I shall try to be a little more concrete about what it means for an argument to rely on a metaphysics. and the minute you’re finished. we must understand him without relying on his metaphysics. Goodfield is properly critical of the descriptivist position. like myself. I remain convinced that if we are plausibly to bring Hegel to bear on contemporary political issues. saying "there seems no 'logical necessity' behind Hegel's gender ascriptions [that men are powerful and active. Even Goodfield at one point -.. ISBN 9780415698474. do not deny that Hegel intended to rely on a metaphysics to ground many of his claims about the state and our freedom in it. insisting that even when we bracket the logic there is value in studying not only what Goodfield might regard as Hegel's side remarks. One can think that we should study Hegel'sPhilosophy of Right while bracketing its metaphysical moorings.00 (hbk). ERIC LEE GOODFIELD egel and the Metaphysical Frontiers of Political Theory Eric Lee Goodfield.though in a footnote -. to read Timberg’s book. Hegel and the Metaphysical Frontiers of Political Theory. Goodfield devotes many pages to arguing against the 'descriptivist' view that Hegel's political theory is divorced from his metaphysics. After reading all that Goodfield has to say against that position. we oughtto understand his political philosophy in a way that does not rely on commitment to his metaphysics. 2014. women are passive and subjective]" (214 n. His book goes beyond existing defenses of that position by providing a more extensive treatment of Hegel's logic and by attempting to link the position that we should abjure appeals to metaphysics to what he calls the 'liberal-positivist school' of political science. argue that regardless of Hegel's intentions. Goodfield defends the former position. but Hegel's claims about core practices such as punishment. I have some issues with Goodfield's argument. however. I want to emphasize that he deserves to be commended for laying out the controversy so starkly and pointing to a deeper issue about the role of metaphysics in political theory that is of concern to a wider audience than students of Hegel. which denies that Hegel intended to link political theory to metaphysics (75). such as Allen Wood. and those who insist that we can fruitfully study Hegel's political philosophy and apply it to contemporary issues of public affairs by dislodging his political theory from that metaphysics. property. Goodfield has a problem with this position and rejects the prescriptivist view. $145. He is right to insist that Hegel's metaphysics plays a crucial role in his justifications of key political institutions. But for me the far more interesting and significant question that Goodfield takes up has to do with what he calls the 'prescriptivist' view. Reviewed byMark Tunick. But Goodfield's targets go further.) So not surprisingly. but to adequately address the issues Goodfield raises would require a far more rigorous inquiry into what this means. But some of his targets. without holding that Hegel himself would have been willing to do this. Florida Atlantic University Eric Lee Goodfield takes a position in what has become a lively debate between those who insist we cannot truly appreciate Hegel's political philosophy unless we see how it is inextricably connected to Hegel's metaphysics as articulated in Hegel's Logic. and hereditary monarchy. practices for which Hegel undeniably intends to provide a metaphysical justification. Routledge. this is the position I . monogamous marriage.50).dismisses the linkage between some of Hegel's politically relevant judgments and Hegel's logic. One can be a prescriptivist without being a descriptivist. As Goodfield recognizes at one point. all. contracts and promises. They argue there is still value in studying Hegel's political theory without linking it to Hegel's logic. to do something about the scourge it sets before you. 251pp. Prescriptivists.

pp. Goodfield never defines 'metaphysics'. But in any case. More generally.have taken in arguing that in order to bring Hegel's Philosophy of Right to bear on our own practices and politics we need to modify or rehabilitate him (89. and he seems unwilling to provide such a defense (7). knowing quite well what a large undertaking such study involves. even Wood recognizes how for Hegel an individual is free only by being part of an organized whole that Hegel refers to as our system of ethical life (Sittlichkeit). he wants to make a broader claim that metaphysical concerns and frameworks are "redeemable and useful" (7). which is the basis for his justification of a state that respects individual rights. He emphasizes that the chapters in which he addresses Hegel's metaphysical theme and its role in Hegel's political thought "is not taken up in defense of Hegel's teleological metaphysics of the spirit" (2). is the position of appropriating ideas and arguments that we find in Hegel'sPhilosophy of Right while rejecting their metaphysical moorings illegitimate or troubling? Goodfield insists that we do a disservice to Hegel by detaching his political theory from his metaphysics.) Goodfield asserts that we "inevitably get Hegel's political conclusions wrong in missing out on his program of logico-political synergy" (206). but who nevertheless offer a Lockean theory that does not command an . Wood neglects how wrongs can involve more than just the violation of abstract rights and gives an overly 'atomistic' reading of Hegel. But what is useful about a framework one is unwilling to accept? Goodfield's main target seems to be interpreters of Hegel's political theory who take Hegel as too liberal and not communitarian enough. Given the effort he put into writing this and other works about Hegel. Goodfield associates Hegel interpreters who want to put aside the metaphysics with realists like G. Positivists like Easton dismiss the notion of free will. There are interpreters of Locke who draw on Locke's vision of man in a state of nature. 208). He repeatedly implies that liberals and positivists are in union in making an assault against metaphysics (5. Moore and positive political scientists such as David Easton. and Wood's accounts of several other aspects of Hegel's political thought are quite persuasive. Goodfield is critical of these liberal positivists for failing to recognize "Hegel's organicist thought" (210). E. 48-9. The question then remains. Though this will mean departing from Hegel's own intentions. Hegel's political theory offers such an account. Rather. I am not sure any significant Hegel interpreters do this. 229). prescriptivists ought to acknowledge that they are modifying Hegel. 75. though he also takes aim at those who take Hegel as too conservative. Wood. and Tunick. it may be necessary if we seek to cull justificatory arguments that do not rest on a metaphysics we cannot accept. I think he is right in saying that one of his main targets. and I devote many pages to noting how Hegel distinguishes the actual and existence (see Tunick. though at one point he associates it with an account of the "meaning of human life" (63). He says his account is "far from providing a defense of Hegel's metaphysical system" (5). Yet Goodfield himself is unwilling to commit to Hegel's metaphysics. "conflation") even though the entire thrust of my work has been to argue that Hegel is an immanent critic. But this is not at all inevitable. (I was surprised to see that Goodfield apparently associates me with the conservative interpreters who take Hegel's famous dictum that the 'rational is actual' to mean that all that exists is rational and there is no need for criticism (89. we will naturally be led to the question of what justifies favoring the state over an individual when rights conflict. 55. 12-23). I presume he thinks that Hegel is worth studying carefully. and apparently Goodfield believes that those who dismiss the metaphysics of Hegel do the same (p. 152-67). Is it a metaphysical argument of the sort Hegel intends to give? Or is it a vision of the state as an organic whole? We can discern the latter in Hegel's texts and find value in that vision without assenting to a logic that even Goodfield is unwilling to endorse. 55). recognizing that Locke himself supported this vision with an appeal to God that might be unacceptable to many people today. "insofar as we intend to represent Hegel" (222). misses out on key features of Hegel's theory of punishment. and so here may be an instance where someone who rejects the metaphysics gets Hegel wrong (p.

so I would not imagine he would accept such a justification either. Goodfield. is unwilling to endorse Hegel's logic. To answer him. . they simply recognize that politics is a distinct activity that should accommodate people adhering to different comprehensive doctrines to the end of living together in peace.a position which itself entails a strong metaphysical claim and closure" (232). The idea is that in a liberal society we cannot impose our own comprehensive doctrine on those who do not share it -. which he does not explicitly distinguish from a normative theory.we cannot rightly justify a practice that will potentially make coercive demands on our fellow citizens by appealing to a particular religious or metaphysical doctrine that they may not share. that a "foundationless" political theory denies commitment to any metaphysics but really remains metaphysical (227-28). The test of success for an empirical political theory is whether it explains. Of course normative theory about how we ought to live cannot ignore empirical accounts of how we and the world in fact operate. 218-251). and institutions. whom he equates with liberal pluralists. fabric" (183). and believe that this requires that we agree to certain rules of engagement.and draw on this vision in trying to persuade us that we should accept the political institutions that Hegel defends. and even the patient reader may get frustrated with sentences such as "the . . tied to a compelling vision of the past linked to the present and future. weaves . . Hegel is largely to blame for using obscure jargon. But normative and empirical political theorists tend to focus on different sorts of questions. S. Mill (Berlin. and if we endorse liberal pluralism it will not do for me to try to justify a practice to you by appealing to foundations that are not persuasive to you.acceptance of its theological mooring. But a pluralist can. although in his lectures he showed he could express himself in language that was accessible and even moving (Tunick. The test of a normative political theory is whether it persuades. . without assenting to Hegel's logic. I take the paradigmatic expression of liberal pluralism to be John Rawls's development of the idea of an 'overlapping consensus' (Rawls). argue that Hegel's organicist thought is attractive. in reference to 'empirical political theory'. or is in some sense true. I think we must be nonfoundationalists at least when doing political theory as a normative enterprise that attempts to justify laws. witnesses Hegel's logical program" (186). property. Goodfield argues at one point. practices. Another reason for hesitating to rely on Hegel's logic in making sense of his justifications of political institutions is the difficulty of understanding his metaphysics. In effect he accuses the liberal positivists who reject metaphysics of unconsciously having a metaphysics that holds that there are no truths. as I noted above. . predicts. with earlier roots in Isaiah Berlin's essay on J. monogamous marriage. Similarly. He explains: a view that proscribes metaphysics from debate is "tantamount to cancellations of truth as a possibility -. unity . and wonders how liberal positivists. one can draw on Hegel's vision of an organic state in which individuals find their meaning and even draw on it in making political arguments concerning institutions like punishment.a 'metaphysical' conception in the sense that it is an account of the meaning of life -. However the pluralist cannot ground this vision in a religious or metaphysical conception that commands our assent. we cannot expect or insist that our fellow citizens accept institutions such as hereditary monarchy. For example. or marriage without having to appeal to the logical mooring Hegel gives to this vision. Goodfield's explication of Hegel's metaphysics can at times be difficult to make sense of. . of each individual having value by contributing to a system of ethical life in which each is recognized and has a home -. . "web . . or punishment on the ground that these institutions are justified by Hegelian metaphysics. for that would be to impose a comprehensive doctrine on them that they might not accept. I think we can say that liberal pluralists like Rawls need not deny truth as a possibility. 4-11). would ever want to consult Hegel. who would so adamantly criticize the view that there are no truths. private property. .

Isaiah (2002): Liberty: Incorporating Four Essays on Liberty. concepts"(179). Goodfield characterizes the non-metaphysical Hegel as "bland" (201). There is a difference between normative political theory and disciplines such as quantum physics. . juxtapose . neuroscience. Tunick. It matters not one whit whether most people understand how to keep a bridge from crumbling during an earthquake. John (1987): 'The Idea of an Overlapping Consensus'. religion. and even microeconomics or social psychology. and that shuts off debate. . One reason that commentators such as Wood and Z.but it matters a great deal whether many people could understand what we say when we are engaged in politics and public affairs. Goodfield says that an advantage of his view is that it will promote "vibrancy of debate" (230). and so studies of Hegel's Philosophy of Right can be more than an intellectual exercise. If Hegel's political philosophy cannot do this. . Goodfield follows Thom Brooks in responding that we should not care about the "size of our audience" (89). Mark (1992): Hegel's Political Philosophy. This is a concern I have that I believe is shared by several other interpreters such as Wood. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 7(1): 1-25. Rawls. ideas . . theorization . one notices the function of art as the consequence of cultural patterns and trends in politics. By SHELLEY WALIA JACQUES RANCIERE’S book Figures of History presents a combination of insightful historising and adept critical attention to art and the demand for equality. with questions" (235). but I am not so sure. . "you just don't understand". . mechanical engineering. so long as a small subset of people do -. . I think there is a non- metaphysical way of understanding his theory of the modern state that is not bland and that helps us think through the problems we face as individuals and societies who struggle with the problem of existence. why take the time to study it? REFERENCES Berlin. in reflection of . economics and other important areas of human activity. . . History and art SHELLEY WALIA SHARE · COMMENT · PRINT · T+ Jacques Ranciere aims to show that as one moves through the pages of history. or how drugs interact with the brain. Pelczynski say they need not focus on Hegel's metaphysics in understanding the political philosophy is that they recognize that for all but a small number of devotees. it is that we should adapt Hegel so he can have relevance and value as a political theorist."issues . A. . is contained in the concept" (180) . . It is not that we should distort Hegel to be popular -- descriptivists but not prescriptivists risk doing that. . Goodfield himself agrees that Hegel intended to "return to the public 'cave'" (109). Oxford University Press."immediacy . . But we need to question that response when we are talking about the value of a work of political theory. and we are all potentially political actors insofar as we are asked to obey laws and we have opinions on matters of public affair. and Michael Hardimon. Princeton University Press. Pelczynski. or "Hegel elaborated . the Logic is obscure. . Those who would take Hegel's logic as a justification for adopting practices and institutions will at some point be forced to say to their opponents. His critical . Political theory will be irrelevant unless it can be spoken in a language that can be understood by political actors.

as an “absolute way of seeing things”. Ranciere takes up the problem of value. it is imperative to have a historical consciousness that makes one aware of the past so that an approach to the present and the future is accordingly defined. However.appreciation of films and paintings allows the reader to understand the interface between history and art and between politics and the artistic creations of civilisation.” It is clear that while the subject of a work is indifferent to the form used. represents in its own way the culture of the artist’s time.” This leads to the corollary that “history is a story” as much as is a painting that depicts actions and events aesthetically organised. His meticulous knowledge of paintings and films offers pointers to his intellectual involvement with social and political history. to show that as one moves through the pages of history. in the case of abstract symbolism. between what is represented and the forms that the representation takes. Idea and the medium always coalesce to produce the work: “…the material used is never indifferent. Not necessarily what was. leaving a stamp of his personality on art and the age. At the moment. The laws of representation compulsorily dictate the interdependence of the form and the content. the power and worth of the work depend on the style. enabling the historian to develop a procedure of general critical analysis by which one can arrive at the growth and judgment of the correspondence between a range of disciplines to widen insights and aesthetic experience through vigorous participation in the enriching patterns of society. The traditional. in the works of Claude Lanzmann. This is visible in the plasticity of the art from Wassily Kandinsky to Barnett Newman. Kandinsky and Newman. analytical and conceptual structures of historical knowledge are being battered. The first chapter says: “The equality of all before the light and the inequality of the little people as the great pass by are both written on the same photographic plate. Ranciere’s purpose in this book is. Legends offer such a brand of history as much as chronicles do. and what witnesses testify to. the familiar colour of comedy or the genre painting for the little people”. the traditional ways of representation stand replaced by an “order of mimesis that plays a role in the community equivalent to the banished vanities of representation”. and imitated. film and painting. stone or paintings: “…a specific style and form are suited to the given subject—the noble style of tragedy. the forms have an inherent connection with the material they are constructed in. therefore. be it words. For instance. because of its greatness. Only when one gets to this intimacy with art can one become a part of the artist’s experience. Ranciere’s approach to art always heads towards the unfolding of events that span a period. which succinctly describes Ranciere’s theory of aesthetics. Understandably. Questions of history and politics remain foremost in his reflection on the representative power of works of art. It is the “presentation of the necessary and the exemplary… the representation of a privileged instant”. History.” Such is the antagonism or artistic tension built into art and photography. but what deserves to be focussed on. the epic or history painting for kings. according to Ranciere. of the life-giving beliefs and ideas made visible and audible through diverse mediums such as film or painting. according to him. is “an anthology of what is worthy of being memorialised. the discipline of history is surrounded by confusion. . and Homer more than Thucydides. Each painting. It is not possible to reconstruct the past in all its actuality as all reconstructions are provisional and interpretative. The texture of the language or the pictorial pigment belongs to a history of matter in which all matter is a potentiality of form. “a meaningful fable endowed with appropriate means of expression”. therefore. giving a new robustness to civilisation and the zeitgeist of our age. What is significant here is the question of representation. Francisco Goya. Eduard Manet. economics and other important areas of human activity. religion. mediated upon. in the words of Gustave Flaubert. one clearly notices the function of art as the consequence of cultural patterns and trends in politics.

The Greeks themselves fell victim to the Romans. Ranciere sees a connection between pictorial genres and the powers of figuration in the very arrangements of fables and of the power of necessary. wonderfully. benefaction and individuality. an invisible that is simply what ensures that the visible exists”. The metrical motives in Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony” suggest the knocking of fate at one’s door. on the other hand. The very erasure that the concentration camps stood for compels the artist to show “what can’t be seen. and games of seduction play out on riverbanks. It is a fact that all free men in Athens could play a musical instrument and. what lies beneath the visible. the dying horse. In view of this close connection between art and life. who “devotes himself to reconstructing Dachau’s corpse-filled fields as ‘slabs of white snow’ or ‘silver reflections over the mountains’”. art is important as it shows and hides. another form of history painting asserts itself. Adorno’s comment that there can be no poetry after Auschwitz.” Crossing point Hence. as the raw material in which light plays on the water. Ranciere’s interdisciplinary approach operates at a level that takes into consideration technical knowledge and experience and as the social forces reflected in art. as the living principle of the equality of every subject under the sun. The Greeks produced an evocative and eternal art because of a pulsating imagination. thereby either imprisoning history or setting forth new dynamism in the interpretation of meaning. common destiny. Instrumental music. a representation of our collective destinies which “at the juncture of the genre painting and the mythological landscape. making every image a representation of what is permissible and what is not as in the case of what is seen or hidden. The broken sword. Renaissance of the liberal arts programme comes invariably through attention to the study of the arts for the enhancement of cultural understanding of the heritage of the past and one’s awareness of the exigencies of the present. For such developments. Eugene Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People” is a self-assured diagonal movement united with the atmosphere of solemn colours against the hazy background. the artist has a certain well-defined function in mind which is always determined by his age. time was ready for Zeno’s stoicism and its converse Epicureanism. In it. For Ranciere. restless strokes and deeply contrasting colours in Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” point towards the indispensable vigour of the artist himself. When the splendour had departed from Athens.In any event. Considering the question of history and representation. he evokes Theodor W. sing in the chorus of the drama. in the sunshine of Renoir’s or Monet’sGrenouillere (Frogpond) or the shadows of Seurat’s Grande Jatte. in canoes or on sunny terraces. Indeed. The imaginative glory that lived with Plato and Aristotle faded into a period of sensuousness and over-romanticising. history puts itself on show. when called upon. which intensifies the feelings of self-determination and struggle. the crossing point between history and art is as old as civilisation. Perceptions and sensations are captured. which points to the unrepresentable horror of the camps. and the dead child in Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” all hint at a feeling of alarm in a war-torn world. the image in the very act of showing or hiding reflects the historical and the official record. of realism and of humanism that looked at creativity as integral to life. Is this not coterminous with the anti-representative nature of modern art? Ranciere cites the example of the Slovenian painter Zoran Music. The idea of valour and fearlessness in Beethoven’s “Eroica” is obvious in the animated power of the onrushing sweep of the composition. has no recourse to perceptible symbols but through its rhythmic form underscores the emotive state vital to its times. matter-of-fact. it is evident that art engages with . Daring. The question that seems to be troubling Ranciere is: Can art really represent history or does it turn history into a devastating power? Here.

But for Hadid. the fact that he did not simply critique Moore’s evaluation of Hadid but went out of his way to state his own opinion about her gave her lawyers the basis for a case: there was malice. construction hadn’t even started.” the standard by which opinion journalism is held. Baker Hostetler. bringing more attention to the issue. This was not the apology Hadid’s writ demanded from the critic and the Review. in a letter to the editors of NYRB in September. Hadid of course has encountered criticism. The accusation and consequent controversy went viral.000 workers on the construction site of her Al-Wakrah soccer stadium in Qatar. THE ARROGANCE OF CRITICISM FEBRUARY 2. On Tuesday morning. which built on the error for thousands of words and still stands accessible on the internet. He now sends this update. wrote about what he called La Comédie Architecturale.” Hadid would also receive a settlement. His 150-word retraction. if ever. responded publicly.the artist’s religious affiliations. really. not her floor plans. he left intact most of his long. all those fundamental forces that have a direct bearing on the production of history and meaning. she quietly pursued the suit. even as sages of the profession opined the suit was a strategic error on her part. the NYRB acknowledged. LAST JUNE. highly personal attack. and his political leanings. She charged defamation: the article attacked her character. the charges that she was indifferent to workers’ deaths went beyond architectural criticism. to which she has rarely. In her long. was both terse and tepid.” the New York architecture critic Martin Filler wrote a scathing appraisal of the London architect Zaha Hadid — more about her character. Defamation is extremely difficult to argue in court because plaintiffs must prove malice. and never in court. In fact. our architecture critic. in his New York Review of Books article “The Insolence of Architecture. Joseph Giovannini. not one person had died on the site. sometimes severe. She sued Filler and NYRB for defamation. Was she a petulant diva? Filler’s charges triggered vitriolic condemnations of the architect by laptop critics who gleefully piled on the issue in the vast echo chamber of the internet — Filler’s error metastasized. “Zaha Hadid Architects remains deeply committed to promoting safe and fair working conditions. high-profile career. 2015 LARB BLOG LEAVE A COMMENT By Joseph Giovannini In October 2014. ending in “I regret the error. they could contend. months of active negotiations finally concluded with a statement signed by the two principal parties. and . whose prominent political family in Iraq had strong socialist leanings. and beyond “fair comment. Through her New York lawyers.” and although he corrected the mistake in his text. than her work — making a serious factual error when he accused her of indifference to the deaths of nearly 1. because Filler’s article far exceeded the scope of what Moore wrote about Hadid in the book being reviewed. By signing. Was the critic simply expressing an opinion or actually trying to damage her reputation and destroy her character? Filler’s piece was a review of a book by British critic Rowan Moore. his economic status and that of his audience.

Critics in all fields may no longer get a pass. alienating critics was never smart. That the actual sum and the name of the charity are undisclosed also implies she is not taking a boastful. he might also have understood not only her architecture but also her character more accurately. While none defended the article itself. But Hadid was not afraid of conflict. While some critics wrote that she was losing the PR war with the suit. NYRB has been equally quiet. Hadid has made clear that she was not seeking personal remuneration. the fragments scattered in a force field that replaced the old narrative of gravity. the disturbing episode is now closed: she has been made whole. and not turning her victory into a PR event. For Hadid. most managed to find fault with Hadid’s reaction: they were criticizing a victim who refused to be victimized. The critics were arguing form over content. An architect’s concerns and temperament are inevitably inscribed throughout a building. Nor was she wrong to engage the issue and defend her reputation. The clearly ad feminam article not only still stands. They were vacating a moral position. Had Filler done a closer reading of her buildings rather than launch into a take on her character. have enjoyed near immunity from prosecution in both the court of public opinion and in courts of law. a bit like tea leaves. As a matter of practice. But the remaining question is whether architecture criticism as a field has been made whole.she would donate the “undisclosed sum of money to a charitable organization that protects and champions labor rights. minus the corrections. image over substance. Filler’s article on the insolence of architects has now morphed into a cautionary tale about the arrogance of critics. Hadid has made a career out of shaping public spaces outside and inside her . Her office has issued no comment. and he put his reputation at risk by writing a piece that skimmed over the architecture itself in favor of taking the on-ramp to her character. Filler was picking a fight with the wrong architect. she was instead seeking redress for the offense.” With her donation. that she would not back off from a lawsuit. until this suit. architects are loath to criticize critics. she has made no public comment. and more than almost any other major architect now practicing. Had Filler thoroughly examined and explained the plans of Hadid’s buildings. the architect who always designed by principle was suing as a matter of principle. like a conductor cutting through layers of received musical interpretations to get back to the original scores. he might have understood that Hadid early on investigated confrontation as a generator of design: she famously made beautiful architecture out of the fallout when one form hit another form. but the entire episode has become a case study about the moral responsibility of critics to their subjects as much as an article about the moral responsibility of architects to construction workers. The plans tell you. who. heroic victory lap. Besides. because the critics would probably still be writing when the next building came up for review. partly because of good manners from the old days when architects wore bow ties and avoided unseemly conflict.

and so one might imagine that the topic of race is of universal interest. a professor of philosophy at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center. Philosophy’s Lost Body and Soul By GEORGE YANCY and LINDA MARTÍN ALCOFF FEBRUARY 4. Filler would have done his often-astute criticism a service by looking more at the buildings than the personality. watching the civil rights movement as it was portrayed in the media and perceived by the various parts of my family. The relationship between my identity and my philosophical interest in race is simply a continuation through the tools of philosophy the pursuit that I began as a kid. It was clear to me from a young age that “we” were the ones with no value for life. . white and nonwhite. and the Self. according the public raw respect through the sheer beauty of the work — all implemented by the plan and section — cares deeply about the public good. Hospitable and giving. and the war in Indochina. ceaselessly patrolled and violently defended. This week’s conversation is with Linda Martín Alcoff. the spaces are characterized by an enormous generosity of spirit. 2015 3:30 am 177 Comments This is the sixth in a series of interviews with philosophers on race that I am conducting for The Stone. for 2012-13. at least the life of those who were not white.” — George Yancy George Yancy: What is the relationship between your identity as a Latina philosopher and the philosophical interrogation of race in your work? Linda Martín Alcoff: Every single person has a racial identity. Gender. lost this battle. My sister and I came to the southern United States from Panama as young children. Criticism. often from an early age. 2015 3:30 AM February 4. Yet for those of us who are not white — or less fully white. She was the president of the American Philosophical Association. at least in Western societies. and had to negotiate our complex identities (mixed-race Latina and white) within a social world where racial borders were being challenged and renegotiated and. I experienced school desegregation.structures. shall I say — the reality of race is shoved in our faces in particularly unsettling ways. not the way the Romans did with their parades of columns. the end of Jim Crow. growing up in Florida in the 1960s. she has been a specialist in creating a dignified and even inspiring realm for the public. but with ramps and levels that sweep into and through her buildings. She is the author of “Visible Identities: Race. That concern would apply to the workers who build the buildings: they are the public for whom the daughter of a socialist builds. Eastern Division. at enormous cost. not architecture. as a result. From her earliest projects in the 1980s. This can spark reflection as well as nascent social critique. giving the public access and a sense of possession through promenades. Anyone who invents public space in the way that she does. a war that also made apparent the racial categories used to differentiate peoples.

on the other hand. The body. This is just a way of saying that the body had to be ignored except in so far as we could imagine our bodies to be essentially the same. from their consciously particularist space. but did not attempt serious philosophical engagement with race until I had published enough that had nothing to do with race or gender or Latin American philosophy to establish a foothold in the profession. methodologically. For many years my personal and my philosophical life were lived as parallel tracks with little overt interaction. But the issue of metaphysics raised questions about how we name what is. as if the best answers would work for everyone. Of course.: You mentioned how questions of embodiment were not treated in any substantive way in your early philosophical training. And the solution is to enact a doublespeak in which one justifies not speaking to the mass of humanity at the same time that one imagines oneself to be speaking for the human core which exists in all of us. And to achieve that trick of imagination — to imagine all of our wild diversity in embodiment to be irrelevant — required a bad faith that can be seen throughout the canon: racist asides and ridiculous theories about women alongside generic pronouncements about justice and beauty and the route to truth. and yet the debates over mereological essentialism and other concepts illustrated the possibility of multiple right answers and of a social and practical context silently guiding the debate. which may seem odd given this background. on the one hand. never ethics. to understand our world better.: In my view this is primarily a methodological problem. to know better. continental. and this has traditionally meant the concrete materiality of human existence as we actually experience it in embodied human form.To imagine all of our wild diversity in embodiment to be irrelevant required a bad faith that can be seen throughout the canon: racist asides and ridiculous theories about women alongside generic pronouncements about justice and beauty and the route to truth. I call it bad faith because. Hence. Hence. generally speaking. speak to all.A. were you drawn to philosophical questions of racial identity? In philosophy I was drawn to topics of knowledge (epistemology) and metaphysics. given these early experiences. Why is it that the profession of philosophy. And the ultimate aim.Y. and I immediately began a project on the metaphysics of mixed-race identities. but they are usually pursued with a decontextualized approach. some aspects of one’s context need to be set aside.Y. to speak for all. of course. the problem for philosophy is how to speak for all when one does not. G.M. I went to demonstrations. G. is simultaneously acknowledged and disavowed. Philosophers of nearly all persuasions — analytic. and then came home to finish my Heidegger homework. these sub-fields opened the way for me to consider the contestations over reality as well as over authority. I glanced across the fence now and then. To get at that meta-level of generality. in fact. they presumed. and difference was routinely set aside. Tenure set me free. and the issue of epistemology raised questions about how we know what we think we know. cut out of the picture. lopped off. . is still resistant to questions of embodiment and by extension questions of race? L. nearly all the great philosophers divided human beings into moral and intellectual hierarchies even while. pragmatist — aim for general and generalizable theories that can explain human experience of all sorts. and difference. the received canon in philosophy was both useful and infuriatingly silent on the topics I was most interested in: bodies showed up little. Quine was in vogue and his ideas about contingent rather than necessary ways to name what is was a short step from the political analysis of dominant ways of naming that I was interested in. is not description but prescription: how can we come to understand ourselves better.: So. and to treat each other better? Worthy goals.

E. So it should be no surprise that the work (teaching and scholarship) produced by a white-majority philosophy profession manifests. Latin American philosophers have had to justify their prerogative. Philosophy in Latin America is very diverse. Since the social identities — racial and ethnic — of their contexts were made grounds for dismissing claims to self-determination or original thought. on the grounds. that one’s identity and experience play a formative role in what one can understand on some matters. but the patterns I am describing are. G. DuBois from even his early writings in the 19thcentury are such powerful figures: They each explore their own specificity and its impact on how they view the world and others. access to space and to deference.: The philosophies developed in the colonized world during the emergence of European modernity have not had the luxury of such universalist pretensions or obliviousness.Y.M. They assume the ability to access all knowledge. religion and sexuality. gender.M. G. and Enrique Dussel. and as a result. or as an imagined grouping. L.A. as numerous works by sociologists such as Joe Feagin document. Speak to how this presumption to speak for others. each of these thinkers engaged with the question of Latin American cultural. This is especially so given the fact that philosophy curricular requirements almost never include course topics that might enhance students’ knowledge or capacity to reflect about these realities. to place under erasure our diversity of embodiment. Entitlement is always complicated and modified by class. I understand your point about methodology and bad faith. Latin American philosophers have had to justify their prerogative. to contribute to normative debates over the good. for example. José Vasconcelos. an assumed entitlement to rights and resources. the right and the true. which continues to be dominated by white males. They assume the right to have attention and they assume this is nonreciprocal: others should be reading their work even while they neglect to read the work of nonwhites. and their ability. But white people as a whole. Leopoldo Zea. It is inevitable that these social realities will find some manifestation in white-majority (or even exclusively white) philosophy classrooms. But this has had the beneficial result of making visible the context in which philosophy occurs. are the presumed paradigms of rights-bearing American citizens.: In what way has Latin American philosophy challenged such bad faith and the proclivity to be so methodologically narrow? L. and of disabling the usual pretensions of making transcendent abstractions removed from all concrete realities. especially within the context of our field. There is a sense of entitlement to rights and resources. racial and ethnic . in general. the right and the true. have had to develop philosophical arguments within a contextual consciousness ever mindful of colonialism’s effects in the realm of thought. poor whites. is something that is linked specifically to whiteness. access to space.: Entitlement is a core feature of white subjectivity. They model a discourse that can become part of a general dialogue in which others can have a voice as well. familiar to marginalized philosophers.: Yes. from Simón Bolívar to José Martí. and resent (and resist) theories that might restrict that access. And this seeps into one’s consciousness. to contribute to normative debates over the good. José Carlos Mariátegui. or being granted presumptive credibility until proven otherwise. for example.B.This is why philosophers such as Bartolomé de Las Casas in the 16thcentury and W. learn early on to defer to others. comfort and attention. Thinkers from Europe and the United States persist even today in dismissing Latin American philosophy. Che Guevara. even to how they formulate moral questions. They assume the right to dominate the space — literal and figurative — of philosophical thought and discussion.Y. I suggest.A. and their ability. and deference. comfort and attention. but one can discern a running thread of decolonial self-consciousness and aspiration. I am speaking in gross generalities that will be unfair to numerous individuals. All of the great thinkers.

it seems that there is a positive relationship between “racialized” identities and the production of knowledge. Yet. especially in the African-American philosophical tradition. Why can the mainstream media acknowledge the positive epistemic contributions of white particularities but no others? I believe the answer is that it would simply be too dangerous to the social status quo. I think that this question also speaks to the “reality” of race as lived. My sense is that there still exists within America the assumption (inside and outside the academy) that Latino/a voices and black voices are biased/inferior voices.: One can make an analogy between how Latin American thinkers have had to theoretically reflect about the intellectual and political effects of their geographical location and ethno-racial identities. and one often has willing and able interlocutors in one’s immediate home and community environments who are comfortable with such topics and have reflected on and debated them. almost never for others to do the same. During the Sotomayor kerfuffle.Y. the set of debates and discussions about such topics is much richer. women. It’s a rich tradition. I would suggest. Of course it is the case that our differences of background and experience can affect what we are likely to know already without having to do a Google search. Knowledge is not an automatic product of the experiences engendered by different identities. RELATED More From The Stone Read previous contributions to this series. older and more developed. and the members of Congress and lawyers grilling Sotomayor knew this literature.: Your very last point raises issues of standpoint epistemology — the idea that one’s social identity is sometimes relevant to what one notices and how one makes judgments. Knowledge requires self-knowledge. and even Supreme Court nominees who talked about their own modest class backgrounds as relevant to their appointment to the court. outside of white-dominant spaces.A. But the view she expressed is quite a common-sense view most everyone actually accepts. I’m thinking here in terms of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s comment that her experience being a wise Latina woman would help her to reach better legal conclusions than a white male.identities and histories. But there is more motivation to pursue certain kinds of knowledge. What is your view on this? L. although it is a taboo that primarily plays out only for nonwhites. and these differences also influence what we may be motivated to find out. and the way everyone who is not white in North America has had to engage similar questions just as a necessity of survival in a white supremacist society. There is a wealth of empirical work on jury selection that bears this out.M. But there is a taboo on speaking about the epistemic salience of identity in our public domains of discourse. This is itself an interesting issue to explore. but her view is a common-sense one most everyone accepts. Admitting the relevance of . Jon Stewart helpfully played back clips of all the congressmen who played up their veteran status in their political campaigns. G. to generate a heightened trust in their judgment. Philosophy’s lack of diversity in North America has compromised its capacities for both self-knowledge and knowledge. and white men in particular. to use their particularity to augment their epistemic authority in this way. Sotomayor received so much vitriol for her claims about the link between identity and judgment that she was forced to renege on them in order to be appointed to the Supreme Court. Sonia Sotomayor’s claims about the link between identity and judgment brought vitriol. It is only accepted for whites. both within and outside of the academy. than anywhere else. And it is also true that simply the experience of being nonwhite provides a kind of raw data for analysis. So as a result. and other groups generally considered lower on our unspoken epistemic hierarchies.

hopefully. If we were to acknowledge the relevance of identity to knowledge. more generally. for them. I am not optimistic about convincing the mainstream. And then we could pursue a thorough attempt at solutions. For one thing. several organizations such as the Society for the Study of Africana Philosophy. Philosophers working in many domains — concerning epistemology. . the philosophy of science and others — could contribute to these efforts. What else is new? But what I would also say to young philosophers is that this is actually a great time to join the discipline. an informed choice. And if racism and sexism help maintain the disempowered and underpaid conditions of those workers. new and more realistic norms of epistemic justification and argumentation that can provide some redress for our non-ideal context of work.” L. 3) doing as much as we can to widen and strengthen the stream of young people of color who make a choice.Y. 2) developing our understanding of the sociology of the profession. the solution would not be simplistic diversity quotas. capitalism wins both ways. I don’t believe that if we just do serious and good philosophical work that its merit will shine through. We have the beginnings of a critical mass. Too many philosophers still operate with depoliticized notions of “real” philosophy and consider both feminist and critical race work suspect because they are politically motivated rather than concerned only with truth. academic and scientific fields of inquiry and general public discourse across all of our diverse forms of media. G. one would have to believe that philosophy is a true intellectual meritocracy. I am skeptical of this. And secondly.diversity to knowledge would require too much social change at every level and in nearly every social institution. A better solution lies in working multiple strategies: 1) carving out. the extent. conferences — in which all who are interested in the sub-field of critical race philosophy can develop our work within a constructively critical community. it is true. capital will promote inclusion. as well as general neglect of the emerging scholarship. Some significant progress has been made. for example. that philosophers are immune from racism and sexism and implicit bias. We need to develop this understanding in a philosophical way. but a real engagement with the question of how our unspoken epistemic hierarchies have distorted our educational institutions. so the first thing to do is to acknowledge this. research projects. with multiple conferences now each year.A. causes and effects of its demographic challenges and hostile climate. the need of corporations to diversify their management pool has more to do with the need to manage effectively a diversity of low-paid workers than anything else. what advice do you have for our profession in terms of challenging those “unspoken epistemic hierarchies. and regularly nurturing. Some believe that capitalism will solve this problem with its natural tendency to maximize profit over all other considerations. those spaces — journals. what do you say to those philosophers of color who might feel the pain of rejection. To believe that. that might include.M. to try their hand at philosophy. especially because. and that longstanding framing assumptions about the depolitical nature of philosophy will not skew judgment. but philosophy must first direct such efforts internally. such that if racism and sexism thwart product development. and there are a few high profile individuals. the social ontology of identity. The result is a lot of micro-aggressions. capitalism profits too much from racism and sexism to let go. a beachhead. in other words.: Lastly. moral psychology. professional societies.: Our profession continues to be an inhospitable climate for philosophers of color working on race. The burden is on the marginalized and our allies to do this work. but one can no more imagine that these individual successes show that the climate is now open and fair than we can imagine that Oprah’s and Beyoncé’s successes prove that all is fine for black working women. their racialized identities are so important to their philosophical practice/projects? And.

But there is paradox here in that not only are scandals real but what they reveal about the previously lost is also real. Yes. Scandals reveal a small bit of the lost real. The margins are flourishing and growing.the Caribbean Philosophical Association and the California Roundtable on Race. How do we get hold of the lost real? One way is through the scandals with which we are surrounded. Also. I asked them: What is the real? Here I quote my French colleague Jacques Lacan who says: “the real is the impasse of formalization. all! Protesting physicists.” This is really obscure! But if we were to clarify it people might easily see . of course. I also say that all knowledge has been progressively reduced to the economic. 2015 • ( 103 ) by Robert Nola The French Philosophe Alain Badiou gave a lecture at Auckland University in December 2014 entitled “À la recherche du réel perdu: In search of the lost real. Though I must admit when I tripped over a gutter this morning. Unless. There is a new journal. I am not in Paradise! My French logic is quite precise here. it is not likely I will touch the real here. the gutter seemed real enough and not just a bit of the economic. The real and the possibility of the impossible In my talk today I took my audience back to the beginning of philosophy in our search for the lost real. chemists and biologists do not get my point. Which I am of course. In this sense. The World’s Greatest Living Philosopher ON FEBRUARY 3. Critical Philosophy of Race. In Paradise in search of the lost real! Mon Dieu! Here I am in New Zealand. Here as elsewhere the “real” is thoroughly confounded with the economic. Day 2. Is this a real paradox? But if I am in Paradise there cannot be scandals! If so. And there is a growing community of frankly rather brilliant people busily working to advance our collective understanding of race. as well as some receptivity in existing journals. With the scandal we touch the real. even their knowledge of the stars. We are lucky to present here extracts from the diary which he kept while in New Zealand and which make comments on his talk. racism and colonialism. it is a positive moment. It is the real of the real. It is Paradise as we say in France! And it must be since here they think that I am the world’s greatest living philosopher. As we will see the large audience at my talk to nod in agreement. Day 1. chemicals and bugs they investigate are nothing more than reductions to the economic. c’est vrai! Will my world-wide search for the “lost real” end with its discovery here in Paradise? The economic always hides the real making it lost. there are many students in undergraduate classrooms receptive to these questions.” The full talk is on YouTube [1]. So I will have to check what my travel brochures say about scandals in the paradise of New Zealand.

Yet there are many critics who say that my account of arithmetic is riddled with fallacies and that I do not know what I am talking about. subtraction. when we affirm the possibility of something that is impossible. no one cares. Lacan’s insight also applies to the cinema. there is always an impasse to something else on which it relies but which cannot be expressed in the formalization.through it and raise objections. In contrast the audience of sociologists in Paradise were much more polite and accepting and agreed with my French logic. So the sequence of numbers must have no end. or Marxism. In arithmetic there are formal rules for addition. or framework concerning any matter or system of human thought. We are in the real of something. But there remains something that is really real — an inexistent infinity that cannot be captured by the formalization. My work always depends on a principle of French Philosophy of maximizing obscurity: never say clearly what you can say much more obscurely. or anything. Given this principle we put Lacan’s insight in another way. But arithmetic does not accept infinite numbers. The lost real can never be found? Yesterday’s talk is now on YouTube. Is there a problem here? I have said that when we are in some formalization with its possibilities then there is something impossible in the formalization. n’est-ce pas? French logic is always right. capitalism. multiplication. A vindication of Lacan! Do you grasp this? Our French logic is impeccable. which makes possible the possibilities of the formalization. And so on. So the formalization is useless concerning the lost real. For any formalization. So do not clarify it! Instead let me illustrate with an equally obscure example from arithmetic. Now maximize obscurity and say: the possible is made so by the real of the impossible. then this second formalization will in turn suppose a further second real that underpins its possibilities. Without the idea of an infinite sequence we cannot have the freedom of calculation. It looks as if the real . Voilà! The impossible makes the possible! This is the delicious dialectic of the possible and the impossible. or play any human game. we touch the real. the real. Lacan’s insight can be generalized. or else it remains in Paradise lost. This is my last Day in Paradise. and the like. we must suppose the possibility of the impossible. Being obscure can make you famous and give you lots of interpreters. If one is clear. But in general when we are in any formalization. What is made possible in the formalization depends on what is impossible in the formalization. calculation always leads to finite numbers. Also there is no final number because we must be free to calculate whatever numbers we like. politics. This shows that the infinite is the point of the impasse of our calculation which must remain finite. It is the beauty of French philosophy that it makes the totally obscure dialectic as clear as crystal. Merde! Day 3. So the real of numbers within the formalization of arithmetic must always be finite. of which arithmetic is just one example. it requires something that it cannot formalize. yet the “lost real” has yet to be made fully real. But what about this first real? Can we not talk of it and have a formalization of it? If we suppose a second formalization to be able to talk about the first real. Yesterday’s example from arithmetic is trivial compared to other ways in which the possible is made possible by the impossible. or set of rules. if you disagree with it you do not understand it.

My little scandal in Paradise! But they do think that I am the world’s greatest living philosopher! That is not a lost real but a real real! _____ Robert Nola is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Auckland. we will never find it. epistemology. and What “The Good Life” Really Means by Maria Popova “There are forces making for happiness. Published in 1925. One of Russell’s most central points deals with our civilizational allergy to uncertainty. It is like climbing a high mountain and finding nothing at the top except a restaurant where they sell ginger beer. 1970) is one of humanity’s most grounding yet elevating thinkers. Nearly a century before astrophysicist Marcelo Gleiser’s magnificent manifesto for mystery in the age of knowledge — and many decades before “wireless” came to mean what it means today. but to act wisely we must be aware of both. He feels extremely lucky to have been present at Alain Badiou’s lecture. Otherwise the university would not have paid my trip here — the economic of the real trip. His interests span philosophy of science.” Bertrand Russell (May 18. making the metaphor all the more prescient and apt — Russell writes: It is difficult to imagine anything less interesting or more different from the passionate delights of incomplete discovery. We do not know which will prevail. which we try to alleviate in ways that don’t serve the human spirit. Why Religion Exists. but to act wisely we must be aware of both. Is this not impeccable French logic? So the search for the real is hopeless. and forces making for misery. We do not know which will prevail. Bertrand Russell on Immortality. and science and religion. But nowhere does his genius shine more brilliantly than in What I Believe (public library). metaphysics (including naturalism). surrounded by fog but equipped with wireless. and forces making for misery. There is something almost prophetic in the way he bridges timelessness and timeliness in contemplating ideas urgently relevant to modern life a century earlier — from how boredom makes happiness possibleto why science is the key to democracy. the book is a kind of catalog of hopes — a counterpoint to Russell’s Icarus.” Russell writes in the preface: In human affairs. atheism. . a catalog of fears released the previous year — exploring our place in the universe and our “possibilities in the way of achieving the good life. we can see that there are forces making for happiness. Not even here in Paradise! But I did not tell my audience this. selected areas in social and historical studies of science. his writing at once lucid and luminous.is like a sequence of Russian dolls inside one another and we have no guarantee that we will stop at the final real doll — the dolls go on and on. 1872–February 2.

Electrons and protons. do our thought-fictions stand in starker contrast with physical reality than in religious mythology — and particularly in our longing for immortality which.) Noting that we simply desire to believe in immortality. but there is another antithesis which is more important — that.Long before modern neuroscience even existed. a deficiency of iodine will turn a clever man into an idiot. but are not ultimate realities. demobilized at death. just as it is pleasant to think ourselves virtuous and our enemies wicked. Russell points out. Long before the term “reductionism” would come to dismiss material answers to spiritual questions. Therefore it is rational to suppose that mental life ceases when bodily life ceases. Nowhere. Fear of human beings. namely. has little bearing on what we actually believe. and therefore not available for collective action. and that it derives both from the spermatozoon and from the ovum. All the evidence goes to show that what we regard as our mental life is bound up with brain structure and organized bodily energy. Russell writes: Fear is the basis of religious dogma. A drop of water is not immortal. and the conditions which determine their existence are discoverable. Russell contends. as Alan Watts has eloquently argued. so that it cannot be indivisible. each is really a history. Whoever considers conception. Russell offers an elegant disclaimer: This is not materialism: it is merely the recognition that everything interesting is a matter of organization. Russell writes: Believers in immortality will object to physiological arguments [against personal immortality] on the ground that soul and body are totally disparate. like the soul. as of so much else in human life. because they are pleasant. is rooted in our fear of death — a fear that. is rather misplaced if we are to truly accept our participation in the cosmos. Mental phenomena seem to be bound up with material structure. The argument is only one of probability. The antithesis of mind and matter is … more or less illusory. all major religions address with some version of a promise for eternal life. (In the decades since. and that the organized energy of a living body becomes. I believe this to be a metaphysical superstition. Our obsession with immortality. The energy used in thinking seems to have a chemical origin. but it is fear of nature that gives rise to religion. which “stands on a somewhat different footing” and in which “evidence either way is possible”: Persons are part of the everyday world with which science is concerned. as it were. a drop of water were to maintain that it had a quality of aqueousness which would survive its dissolution we should be inclined to be skeptical. for instance. let alone knew what it now knows about why we have the thoughts we do — the subject of an excellent recent episode of the NPR’s Invisibilia — Russell points to the physical origins of what we often perceive as metaphysical reality: What we call our “thoughts” seem to depend upon the organization of tracks in the brain in the same sort of way in which journeys depend upon roads and railways. But for my part I cannot see any ground for either. It is evident that it grows like the body. and infancy cannot seriously believe that the soul in any indivisible something. perfect and complete throughout this process. noting that the existence or nonexistence of a god cannot be proven for it lies “outside the region of even probable knowledge. and that the soul is something quite other than its empirical manifestations through our bodily organs. dominates much of our social life. not of primal substance. In like manner we know that the brain is not immortal. In the case of the soul. between things that can be affected by our . pioneering psychologist and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman has demonstrated that the confidence we have in our beliefs is no measure of their accuracy. but it is as strong as those upon which most scientific conclusions are based. this is obvious from the facts of growth. therefore. gestation. If. But evidence. Russell writes: God and immortality … find no support in science… No doubt people will continue to entertain these beliefs.” he considers the special case of personal immortality. a series of events. not a single persistent entity. Mind and matter alike are for certain purposes convenient terms. are logical fictions. it can be resolved into oxygen and hydrogen. individually or collectively. And yet. With his characteristic combination of cool lucidity and warm compassion for the human experience. despite a universe whose very nature contradicts the possibility. Russell argues.

” — Russell writes: Optimism and pessimism. In this it has done mankind a great disservice: all fear is bad. as cosmic philosophies. and in the world of value Nature is only a part. and the great spaces have a splendor of their own. however. What I Believe is a remarkably prescient and rewarding read in its entirety — Russell goes on to explore the nature of the good life. to some extent. then it will be. In the world of values. Russell’s definition of that “good life” remains the simplest and most heartening one I’ve ever encountered: The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. although we can often delay it. He captures this necessary discomfort beautifully: Even if the open windows of science at first make us shiver after the cosy indoor warmth of traditional humanizing myths. mould to suit our desires. And even on the surface of the earth our powers are very limited. He admonishes against confusing “the philosophy of nature. show the same naïve humanism. and made people think them not disgraceful.” in which such neutrality is necessary. It does. what salvation means in a secular sense for the individual and for society. All such philosophies spring from self-importance. the relationship between science and happiness. so far as we know it from the philosophy of nature. Religion is an attempt to overcome this antithesis. But Russell’s most enduring point has to do with our beliefs about the nature of the universe in relation to us. and to make men feel that physical forces are really their allies. In a sentiment of chilling prescience in the context of recent religiously-motivated atrocities. in the end the fresh air brings vigor. then it will be. We are ourselves the ultimate and irrefutable arbiters of value. neither good nor bad. a better life can be imagined. offers the antidote to such terror — even if its findings are at first frightening as they challenge our existing beliefs. with “the philosophy of value. Nature in itself is neutral. more and more things are brought under human control. The line between the two is neither sharp nor immutable — as science advances. we cannot prevent death. is neither good nor bad. though. the great world.” which beckons us to create meaning by conferring human values upon the world: Nature is only a part of what we can imagine. Russell suggests. not for Nature — not even for Nature personified as God. we acquire a share in omnipotence… Belief in God … serves to humanize the world of nature.desires and things that cannot be so affected. has dignified certain kinds of fear. Russell adds: Religion. Among these are all the large facts of our world. and God can be moved by prayer. everything. If you think of the universe as one of scarcity. since it has its source in terror. Science. and are best corrected by a little astronomy. however good a life may be. Above all. real or imagined. More than eight decades before legendary graphic designer Milton Glaser’s exquisite proclamation — “If you perceive the universe as being a universe of abundance. can be appraised by us. the sort of facts that are dealt with by astronomy. People who believe that when they die they will inherit eternal bliss may be expected to view death without horror. If the world is controlled by God. and there is no outside standard to show that our valuation is wrong. and is not concerned to make us happy or unhappy. Neither love without knowledge. soothe men’s fears somewhat even when it cannot allay them wholly. deserving of neither admiration nor censure. Knowledge and love are both indefinitely extensible. fortunately for medical men. the way Galileo did. Thus in this world we are greater than Nature. Complement it with Russell on human nature. It is only facts on or near the surface of the earth that we can. this does not invariably happen. therefore. It is we who create value and our desires which confer value… It is for us to determine the good life. In like manner immortality removes the terror from death. and more. nor knowledge without love can produce a good life. the necessary capacity for “fruitful . Nevertheless there remain things definitely on the other side.

the two are mutually exclusive. If anyone is interested in an introduction to speculative realism. and the theological turn of Jean-Luc Marion. If one defines phenomenology as anti-realist and speculative realism as realist then. Perhaps even more importantly. Reviewed byTimothy A. There are two parts to this book: a broad-brush attack on phenomenology and. who is their intended audience? Presumably not someone who has read Harman's The Quadruple Object.5). What is the purpose of these summaries. since it would surely be redundant to try to convince a Daniel Dennett that phenomenology as a methodology is bust. Michel Henry and Levinas claims to have some access to the absolute other as other. no less. and neither of them uses particularly small print. from chapter three onwards. Edinburgh University Press. no continental philosophical realism can be phenomenological. Meillassoux's After Finitude.” and his ten commandments of teaching and learning. if not stillborn. and After Finitude at 160. and this book comes perilously close to defining phenomenology in such a way as to exclude the realistic elements in it. once everything suspect is removed from them. ISBN 9780748684830. 2014. The same is true of Merleau-Ponty.95 (pbk). so all I am going to say is that the summaries of the thinkers I know well are accurate. Timothy Morton. The Quadruple Object weighs in at 157 pages. is never satisfying. But the very fact that it would be odd to re-summarize this part of the book raises a question. are they not just a continuation of phenomenology? Tom Sparrow's book takes a stand on these questions. of course. monotony.3). many of these author's works are admirably concise and accessible. as Sparrow repeatedly stresses. to paraphrase Socrates. But they must be intended for a moderate proponent of phenomenology. thus leaving the possibility that later phenomenology is more contiguous with speculative realism than Sparrow's analysis would suggest.D.4) and Levi Bryant. by its own hand. Stony Brook University Is phenomenology dead? Has it been killed off by Speculative Realism and Object Oriented Ontology (OOO)? Do those movements at least have phenomenology in their sights or are they merely a throwback to a pre-critical age? Or.. $34. then revisit Alan Lightman on why we long for immortality. not only by suggesting that phenomenology is dead. Graham Harman (ch. however. And the second part doesn't analyze the speculative realism movement as a whole or address the individual thinkers critically. but also by arguing that the method essential to phenomenological means that. almost by definition. It might be worthwhile introducing the second generation of OOO . Of course. and Grant's Philosophies of Nature After Schelling. TOM SPARROW he End of Phenomenology: Metaphysics and the New Realism Tom Sparrow. 197pp. I think that Sparrow's criticism of phenomenology only really sticks to Husserl. The End of Phenomenology: Metaphysics and the New Realism. both parts have shortcomings. because phenomenologists frequently repeat that they are not idealist. so. But given that. The question is. Hyde. Jane Bennett and Iain Hamilton Grant (ch. While I am sympathetic to this project. as Graham Harman frequently stresses. whether they are actually able to escape idealism. I assume the others are too. Ian Bogost. It would be a little otiose to summarize a summary of Quentin Meillassoux (ch. those are surely the places to go. But there certainly are realistic tendencies in Heidegger. Philosophy that relies too heavily on the way it defines its terms. a broad-brush overview of various philosophical approaches loosely lumped under the heading of speculative realism. the question isn't whether phenomenologists claim to be realist. the thinkers are handled so briefly and uncritically that it is hard to imagine that even a moderately sympathetic reader is going to be swayed.

so does the movement as a whole. A work such as this surely needs a critical engagement with the thinkers to really command an audience. the "method for philosophy as strict science" has never existed (185). but it is still far from clear that any of them are viable alternatives to phenomenology. A work such as this needs an engagement with speculative realism as a movement bound together by something more than all having been at the same conference in 2007. I am excited about many of these approaches to philosophy in the twenty-first century. . But there are other issues that need to be raised. Bogost. Do all post-Kantian realisms have to be speculative and in what way. is that Husserlian phenomenology. and Bennet since they are probably less well known and could benefit by being introduced to a larger public. by page 146 he has obviously given up addressing what speculation is. "of what does speculation consist?" (61). "I hope to provide here an account of the coherence that underlies [Speculative Realism's] diversity" (xii). admitting that he won't address the relationship between realism and speculation. a rigorous science. too." which involves describing things as they are immanently given to us. even if we take it as given that phenomenology ultimately fails. especially since their individual systems are contrary to one another. The only candidate for a non-Husserlian phenomenological method or style is something like a shared respect for concreteness. if not outright contradictory. This is especially problematic because so much of speculative realism is a work in progress. any phenomenology must follow Husserl's "Principle of Principles. "The specific difference between a realist and a speculative realist must be identified. Sparrow's analysis of phenomenology? He asks whether phenomenology is or can be realist. although much too briefly. . As he puts it. Divine Inexistence. let alone realist. is an unpublished manuscript. A description is only phenomenological if it takes place "from within some form of methodological reduction that shifts the focus of the description to the transcendental . that phenomena such as surprise are insufficient to allow us to make claims about the existence of something beyond a world correlated with subjectivity. level" (14). It sets up a problem but gives us no solution. as Sparrow admits. He then notes repeatedly that just saying that you are not an idealist doesn't make it so. basically. namely. To decide what phenomenologists are allowed to claim. and. Sparrow argues that a rhetoric of concreteness is not sufficient to make such "phenomenology" philosophical. He tantalizingly asks. "diverse approaches. After Finitude is mainly negative. or access to the rich elsewhere through various forms of resistance we find in the phenomenal sphere. would be anti-realist." In fact.such as Bryant. it seems to me. Sparrow is also surely right that the standard phenomenologist's reply that phenomenology is beyond the idealism/realism dispute or that phenomenology is a realism if you only understand what "to be real" means are both profoundly unsatisfying responses. And it is not as if Sparrow doesn't understand this. we need to understand how phenomenological description works. but his answer is. if it had been what Husserl wanted it to be. Thus. What of the other part. And Sparrow's Ray Brassier fails to explain how third-person scientific description will actually get at the "non-manifest dimension of phenomenality" (156). Meillassoux's philosophy is a promissory note. But the treatment of them is so cursory that it cannot serve such a purpose. But this hardly implies that post-Husserlian . bits of which make up part of Harman's Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making. Meillassoux's supposed Magnus Opus. A secondary work on them surely needs to tackle that question head on. otherwise speculative realism will meet a fate similar to that of phenomenology" (190). nowhere does such an account surface. while saying that he has "not attempted to defend them" (190). but since Husserl never gave us a definitive explication of the method and everyone else has pretty much given up on it. Morton. Not only do the speculative realists individually need to be handled more critically. and are all of them speculative in the requisite sense? While Sparrow tells us in the preface. As is his need for vicarious causation between the inner life of his objects and their sensuous life. Harman's use of metaphor and allusion to talk about the inner life of objects that we can never stand in any relation to is troubling. What Sparrow proves. which are cut off from one another by definition.

I will return to this temporal aspect of ontology in a moment. but all the way back to Fichte. The correct conclusion.assuming for the moment that it is such -. if I may say it. by that definition. On the other hand. On the one hand. Sparrow has two criticisms of Heidegger. in fact most. The criticism of Heidegger's early approach as a criticism of Heidegger in general is even more unreasonable since. following Lee Braver. saturation (Marion (17)). Heidegger (43)). at the very least. and given the radical break between the Husserlian project and most of post-Husserlian phenomenology. of course. and it makes some sense as Harman proves. of course. Sparrow spends most of his time designating these attempts as non-phenomenological. as Sparrow notes.phenomenology is anti-realist. as the "Letter on Humanism" shows and Sparrow notes (40). should. and Heidegger. or surprise (Levinas (57)). a trick we have been trying not just since Dilthey and Scheler (43).although the "formal indication" in his early lectures indicates how he hoped to. I have long thought that Husserl can be usefully thought of as the last enlightenment thinker in the tradition of Kant. he has to radicalize his approach -. But that would take the wind out of the sails of the new kids on the block. Sparrow's suggestion (39). having defined phenomenology as the anti-realist transcendental phenomenology of Husserl -. Traditional realism is a metaphysics of presence. speculate about being itself during this early period -. not phenomenology. arguably. The first is based on the centrality of dasein to the question of the meaning of being in Being and Time. But it does not follow from Heidegger's lifelong criticism of metaphysics that philosophy becomes human-centric. wildly misguided. for Heidegger. is a speculative realist.which. Only after that project was Heidegger suppose to get to the meaning of being überhaupt. Sparrow's analysis of Heidegger displays the problem of defining phenomenology so narrowly. it doesn't even imply that Husserl was anti-realist. As it is. In fact. Sparrow wants to include all of Heidegger under the umbrella of phenomenology so as to oppose him to speculative realism. Heidegger comes to realize that his approach in Being and Time is still too tainted with transcendental residue from Husserl to allow him to get to where he wanted to go Therefore. rather. What follows from it is that we need to think of being in terms of temporality (in terms of Temporalität not merely the Zeitlichkeit of dasein) or as event. be that Heidegger. What matters is whether such attempts to escape the transcendental idealism of Husserl succeed. So while one can admit that one can find in later Heidegger many resources for realism (39). But whether they are phenomenological in Sparrow's sense or not is immaterial. as counter-enlightenment thinkers going back to the likes of Hamann and Jacobi. If Sparrow had used this schema. he would have realized that he needed to spend much more time proving that the brush he tars Husserl with works against everyone else. it can't be produced as evidence that phenomenology has a streak of realism. A metaphysics of presence is a metaphysics for which the real is either utterly presently present or eternally present in such a way that time drops out of the picture. It implies that he was a failed anti-realist. of Heidegger is. in some form of resistance (Merleau-Ponty (15). The second is based on Heidegger's criticism of metaphysics. To criticize Being and Time as too stuck in a transcendental paradigm is really to forget that the bit of Being and Time that we have is only preparatory. which is effectively an umbrella term for post-phenomenological realisms. That sort of realism is. as is any epistemological realism that stems from it. under Sparrow's definition would not be phenomenological either. Yet his entire thesis depends on . it is because it makes no sense to suggest that nine-tenths of Heidegger is not phenomenological. If it doesn't make sense to call Heidegger a speculative realist. perhaps what Sparrow shows is that we shouldn't call post-Husserlian phenomenology "phenomenology" at all. One of two loci of realism in phenomenology is to be found. Merleau-Ponty and the so-called theological phenomenologists. The being it gets at is the meaning of being on the basis of the being of dasein. of course. that Heidegger's criticism of metaphysics as ontotheology is radically anti-realist misses the mark even more. but Sparrow spends only half a dozen short paragraphs engaging this question directly (57-59).much.

in fact must always. but they still leave. Rather than making this argument central to the book. But there is a third option." There is a temporal dimension to being and the thinking of being. let alone realist. For Kant. We only call them phenomenology because they work on the corpse of Husserl's phenomenology. Or as Heidegger puts it in "My Way to Phenomenology. preperceptual and above all transcendent things. as Sparrow also notes. All later phenomenologies are phenomenologies only in opposition to Husserl. It can. phenomenology as a method "is impossible because it must infinitely return to and reflect on its beginning.the other candidate -. Later phenomenologists mine the implications of the impossibility of a complete reduction. Sparrow soon returns to pointing out that such claims are not phenomenological in the Husserlian sense of the term. prepersonal. a farewell to the Husserlian ambition of rigor" (53). how is it still phenomenology? Later phenomenologies are such because they. But. His mistake is telling. a time in which givenness arises. Levinas a non-Husserlian phenomenological realist. rather. as he cheekily points out. Dominique Janicaud is right. or whether we do in fact have to go. the 'barbarous' source that Schelling spoke of -. we have to be able to think about the reality of a time prior to any possible givenness.cannot remain outside phenomenology and should have its place within it" (154). Being and the philosophy that tries to think it could be essentially and ineluctably futural. That is the problem with methodological purity. but also later phenomenology rejected a complete reduction as impossible. e.whether such resistances indicate ruptures and hence the Other.natural being. later phenomenology only gives up on a rigorous predefined method. and that a rhetoric of concreteness -. what it cannot have is a past. But for later phenomenology. For Meillassoux. As Sparrow himself remarks. be re-attempting to begin. phenomenology's "essential character does not consist in being actual as a philosophical school. that phenomenology could never have begun. of course. Higher than actuality stands possibility. or whether they merely appear within a horizon of our expectations. If we attribute sufficient importance to the role that methodology plays in philosophy. could well be true. as well as Husserl.. which means it can never begin" (48). argue that you still have to go through Husserl or some form of correlationism. The correct inference is. and many of his followers famously gave up on it" (189). In fact. Otherwise. Husserl famously never got "to the specification of a determinate phenomenological method. like so many of the speculative realists.fails to make a description philosophical.g. As Sparrow tellingly puts it. writing that Levinas "is the abandonment of the phenomenological method. (75) Quite. the meaning of the term reality must involve things that can be given to some subjectivity in the present or some future present. this is precisely what the failure of Husserl requires. This leaves us with Sparrow's claim that a methodological reduction is what links phenomenology together as a philosophical approach. which." quoting himself from Being and Time. say. Phenomenology can always have a future. working off Merleau-Ponty. We have to endlessly return to the question of what phenomenology is (44) and continually bring the reduction itself into a reduction. and Sparrow is right to quote him. not only did we never get a finalized version of the methodology of philosophy as rigorous science. we might as well consider Melville as a phenomenologist of whaling (5). which interestingly enough comes out in this very dispute. Everything hangs on whether "What resists phenomenology within us -. The comprehension of phenomenology consists in grasping it as possibility. then I think that we must always remain on guard when a phenomenologist begins to talk about the prereflective. in which case we are firmly in the land of idealism. . But if phenomenology gives up on the reduction. Later phenomenology doesn't give up on the reduction. with the neo-Schellingen approach of Grant or some other neo- Hegelian approach to nature (189).

a reduction of that very reduction and a discourse that must attune itself to the matter to be thought rather than dictate to the matter to be thought how it must be thought. Concrete life must be lived through by the phenomenologist and each and every one of us in turn. yet to be decided. but is this attachment philosophically justified?" (70). it can only remain in an idealist orbit. The difference between this approach to philosophy and Melville is that these descriptions are within a reduction. however. Similarly. of course. I think we can say that later phenomenology has a method without a methodology. that is. Methodological justification is what is forsworn by later phenomenology. prepersonal. Whether it is ultimately successful. As Heidegger puts it in "The End of Philosophy. no. Ironically. what his work makes clear by implication is that for this very reason we need to think of later phenomenology as not only rejecting the Husserlian project. or whether some version of the many speculative realisms will be more philosophically fecund. but rejecting any sense that philosophy should rely on a fixed justified pre-given method. preperceptual ground of all things. it can be read as an assemblage of rhetorical devices. carnal phenomenology poetically creates an atmosphere to evoke our embodied immersion in the elemental (78-79). . and the question at hand is." Sparrow is right that if phenomenology sticks to the Husserlian project." "For it is not yet decided in what way that which needs no proof in order to become accessible to thinking is to be experienced. is. albeit an incomplete reduction. not merely talked or theorized about. to give us an appreciation of the prereflective. if such poetry can be read philosophically. Like all poetry. but that is not how to read poetry poetically. The answer is.So what of the rhetoric of concreteness? Sparrow notes that "the attachment to realism is palpable in phenomenology's rhetoric [of concreteness]. For that is the only way it can hope to escape idealism.