Browse results

Sigrid Weigel

Sigrid Weigel verfolgt die Kontaminierung des Generationengedächtnisses »nach 1945« durch eine monetäre Symbolik und deckt auf, wie vormoderne Konzepte der Entschädigung bis heute nachwirken.
Im Lichte der gegenwärtigen Debatte über die Verschuldung und die moralische Schuld gegenüber künftigen Generationen werden verschiedene Stationen der Konversion von Schuld und Schulden untersucht. Die Symbolik von Schuld und Zins, die im Gedächtnis »nach 1945« am Werk ist, wird als Wiederkehr dessen gedeutet, was im Projekt der »Wiedergutmachung« verdrängt und aus ihm herausgefallen ist: die an-ökonomischen Anteile dieser Art Entschädigung. Symptome dafür sind das Begehren nach einer Reinheit des Geldes und die Wiederkehr der Shylock-Figur auf die Bühne. Diese gegenwärtigen Schauplätze werden in kultur- und literaturgeschichtlichen Ausblicken vertieft: auf die plurale Semantik der Konversion, die kultische Herkunft des Geldes, vor-monetäre Formen der Entschädigung und Shakespeares geniale Inszenierung der unheilvollen Verquickung von genealogischer und monetärer Logik im Kaufmann von Venedig.

Josh Brandt

At the outset of the Republic, Polemarchus advances the bold thesis that “justice is the art which gives benefit to friends and injury to enemies”. He quickly rejects the hypothesis, and what follows is a long tradition of neglecting the ethics of enmity. The parallel issue of how friendship (and other positive relationships) affects the moral sphere has, by contrast, been greatly illuminated by discussions both ancient and contemporary. This article connects this existing work to the less explored topic of the normative significance of our negative relationships. I explain how negative partiality should be conceptualized through reference to the positive analogue, and argue that at least some forms of negative partiality are justified. I further explore the connection between positive and negative relationships by showing how both are justified by ongoing histories of encounter (though of different kinds). However, I also argue that these relationships are in some important ways asymmetrical (i.e. friendship is not the mirror image of enmity).

Der politische Leib

Drei Essays

Felix Heidenreich

Die Frage nach der Identität und Souveränität politischer Gemeinwesen wird erneut auf drängende Weise gestellt – und oft mit populistischen oder identitären Vorstellungen beantwortet.
Aus dem, was »wir sind«, soll angeblich ableitbar sein, was zu tun sei. Die eigentlich politische Frage – wie wollen wir leben? – wird so systematisch verdeckt. Was aber, wenn man umgekehrt davon ausgeht, dass wir erst durch unsere Entscheidungen bestimmen, was wir sind? In diesem Sinne können auch Demokraten emphatisch »Wir« sagen, auch wenn die Grenzen dieses »Wir« immer verhandelbar bleiben. Das Subjekt der Politik ist dann aber nicht als ein souverän über sich gebietender politischer Körper, sondern eher als ein von Ambivalenzen und Widerständen durchzogener politischer Leib zu denken. Die Aufgabe einer »Xenopolitik« (Waldenfels), eines Umgangs mit dem Fremden und den Fremden, stellt sich dann unter anderen Vorzeichen, nicht als bloßer Umgang mit einem Außen, sondern mit einer Erfahrung, die uns immer schon begleitet. In drei Essays spürt der Autor den Denkbildern vom politischen Leib, der Frage nach der demokratischen Identität und dem Thema der Xenopolitik nach.

Jan Willem Wieland and Rutger van Oeveren

Why act when the effects of one’s act are negligible? For example, why boycott sweatshop or animal products if doing so makes no difference for the better? According to recent proposals, one may still have a reason to boycott in order to avoid complicity or participation in harm. Julia Nefsky has argued that accounts of this kind suffer from the so-called “superfluity problem,” basically the question of why agents can be said to participate in harm if they make no difference to it. This paper develops and responds to Nefsky’s challenge.

Andreas T. Schmidt

Several Dutch politicians have recently argued that medical voluntary euthanasia laws should be extended to include healthy elderly citizens who suffer from non-medical ‘existential suffering’ (‘life fatigue’ or ‘completed life’). In response, some seek to show that cases of medical euthanasia are morally permissible in ways that completed life euthanasia cases are not. I provide a different, societal perspective. I argue against assessing the permissibility of individual euthanasia cases in separation of their societal context and history. An appropriate justification of euthanasia needs to be embedded in a wider solidaristic response to the causes of suffering. By classifying some suffering as ‘medical’ and some as ‘non-medical’, most societies currently respond to medical conditions in importantly different ways than they do to non-medical suffering. In medical cases, countries like the Netherlands have a health care, health research and public health system to systematically assign responsibilities to address causes of medical suffering. We lack such a system for non-medical suffering among elderly citizens, which makes completed life euthanasia importantly different from euthanasia in medical cases. Because of this moral ‘responsibility gap’, focusing on the permissibility of completed life euthanasia in separation of wider societal duties to attend to possible causes is societally inappropriate. To spell out this objection in more philosophical terms, I introduce the concept of acts that are morally permissible but contextually problematic.

Colm Shanahan

Abstract

I will argue that, due to the level of attention given to comparing and contrasting Socratic Intellectualism with the Republic, the question of the possibility of akrasia in Plato’s thought has not yet been adequately formulated. I will instead be focusing on Plato’s Symposium, situating Alcibiades at its epicentre and suggesting that his case should be read as highlighting some of Plato’s concerns with Socratic Intellectualism. These concerns arise from the following position of Socratic Intellectualism: knowing the greater good will necessarily entail doing good, and will thereby remove the motivational content of prior knowledge of what is good. Through Alcibiades, Plato explores the possibility of a negative reaction to knowledge of the greater good. Importantly, rather than simply arising as a result of being overcome by the passions, Alcibiades’ negative reaction assumes that rational freedom is required to reject the greater good (virtue) in favour of the lesser.

Neil Davidson

Abstract

This article is a response to some of the criticisms made of How Revolutionary were the Bourgeois Revolutions? by Gerstenberger, Post and Riley. In particular, it focuses on two issues of definition – that of capitalism and the capitalist nation-state – which arise from the book’s ‘consequentialist’ claim that bourgeois revolutions are defined by a particular outcome: the establishment of nation-states dedicated to the accumulation of capital.

Luis Tapia Mealla

Abstract

René Zavaleta set out to deepen the explanation of the history of Bolivia by developing a set of ideas about long-term structures of pre-Hispanic and colonial origin and their forms of overlap. This paper analyses the conceptual structure of Zavaleta’s proposal and the place of history within it.

Brian Kelly

Abstract

For more than a generation, historical interpretations of emancipation in the United States have acknowledged that the slaves played a central role in driving that process forward. This is a critically important advance, and one worth defending. But it is also a perspective whose influence seems increasingly precarious. This article explores the complex relationship between the slaves’ ‘revolution from below’ and the bourgeois revolution directed from above, in part through an appraisal of W.E.B. Du Bois’s argument about the ‘slaves’ general strike’ and the wider revolutionary upheaval encompassing civil war and reconstruction. Grounded in a close familiarity with sources and interpretive trends, the article offers a detailed reading of shifting perspectives in current historiography, a comprehensive review of left engagement with Du Bois’s work, and an extended ‘critical and sympathetic’ appraisal of his major work from within the framework of the Marxist tradition.