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Edited by Willem van Reijen and Willem G. Weststeijn

Subjectivity is one of the central issues of twentieth-century philosophy, literature and art. Modernism, which “discovered” the subconscious, put an end to the belief in the Cartesian Subject as the autonomous centre of knowledge and self-consciousness. Instead, the subject became something uncontrollable, unreliable, incomplete and fragmentary. The attempts to recapture the unity of the subject led to the existential quest and the flight into ideology (nazism, communism).
Postmodernism, the cultural movement of the second half of the twentieth century, did not consider the subject any longer as an important category. Attention was focused on the “I” and the “Other”, on dialogism and polyphonism (Bakhtin). Ideology lost its appeal and so did the “great” stories (Lyotard).
In this issue of Avant-Garde Critical Studies the problem of subjectivity in twentieth-century culture is discussed from various angles by specialists in the field of philosophy, literature, film, music and dance.

Life, Death, and Subjectivity

Moral Sources in Bioethics

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Stan van Hooft

This book presents an exploration of concepts central to health care practice. In exploring such concepts as Subjectivity, Life, Personhood, and Death in deep philosophical terms, the book aims to draw out the ethical demands that arise when we encounter these phenomena, and also the moral resources of health care workers for meeting those demands. The series Values in Bioethics makes available original philosophical books in all areas of bioethics, including medical and nursing ethics, health care ethics, research ethics, environmental ethics, and global bioethics.

Sense and Subjectivity

A Study of Wittgenstein and Merleau-Ponty

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Dwyer

The aim of this study is to show how the philosophies of Merleau-Ponty and the later Wittgenstein serve to establish, in very similar ways, (1) that subjects (persons) and what is subject-dependent, or in short, 'subjectivity', must be categorically distinguished from objects and what is subject-independent, or in short 'objectivity' and (2) that the 'sense' of the world as perceived, including linguistic sense, is a matter of the appearance of things and is therefore perception-dependent, and as such is in the category of subjectivity, not objectivity.
The first claim is established not only by a study of the content of the arguments of the two philosophers, but also by a study of the form of their arguments: the kind of fallacy detection they deploy against their opponents exploits a logic dictated by the subject matter.
In the course of examining a wide range of issues in meta- physics, epistemology, and the philosophies of mind, language, and mathematics, the 'Gestalt Philosophy' of Wittgenstein and Merleau-Ponty can be seen to constitute a new sort of 'anti-realism'.

Investigating Subjectivity

Classical and New Perspectives

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Edited by Gert-Jan van der Heiden, Karel Novotny, Inga Römer and Laszlo Tengelyi

The notion of subjectivity is one of the most fundamental notions for modern philosophy that only gains in importance in present-day discussions. This volume gathers essays from both young and senior researchers that examine which role subjectivity plays in both classical and contemporary phenomenology. The essays discuss the importance of a phenomenological account of subjectivity for the nature and the status of phenomenology but they also discuss how the phenomenological account of the subject offers new perspectives on themes from practical philosophy and from the philosophy of mind. Thus, this volume does not only show how multifaceted the question of subjectivity is but also how important this theme continues to be for present-day philosophy.

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Edited by Nicole Baumgarten, Inke Du Bois and Juliane House

Subjectivity in Language and in Discourse deals with the linguistic encoding and discursive construction of subjectivity across languages and registers. The aim of this book is to complement the highly specialized, parallel and often separate research strands on the phenomenon of subjectivity with a volume that gives a forum to diverse theoretical vantage points and methodological approaches, presenting research results in one place which otherwise would most likely be found in substantially different publications and would have to be collected from many different sources. Taken together, the chapters in this volume reflect the rich diversity in contemporary research on the phenomenon of subjectivity. They cover numerous languages, colloquial, academic and professional registers, spoken and written discourse, diverse communities of practice, speaker and interaction types, native and non-native language use, and Lingua Franca communication. The studies investigate both already well explored languages and registers (e.g. American English, academic writing, conversation) and with respect to subjectivity, less studied languages (Greek, Italian, Persian, French, Russian, Swedish, Danish, German, Australian English) as well as many different communicative settings and contexts, ranging from conference talk, promotional business writing, academic advising, disease counselling to internet posting, translation, and university classroom and research interview talk. Some contributions focus on individual linguistic devices, such as pronouns, intensifiers, comment clauses, modal verbs, adjectives and adverbs, and their capacity of introducing the speaker's subjective perspective in discourse and interactional sequence; others examine the role of larger functional categories, such as hedging and metadiscourse, or interactional sequencing.

Post-deconstructive Subjectivity and History

Phenomenology, Critical Theory, and Postcolonial Thought

Aniruddha Chowdhury

In Post-Deconstructive Subjectivity and History, Aniruddha Chowdhury argues that deconstruction is not only not a dissolution of subject, as it is often opined, but an affirmation of the singular (ethical) subject and singular history, singularity conceived as alterity, difference and non-identity. Part of the emphasis of the singular history is to conceive the historical relation as figural and as one of repletion with difference.

One of the distinctive aspects of the book is that it not only focuses on the tradition of phenomenology, but also extends deconstruction to critical theory, and postcolonial theory.

Through his intimate reading of the canonical texts of the Continental philosophical tradition (phenomenology and critical theory), and postcolonial thought Chowdhury illuminates pertinent issues in Continental thought, and postcolonial theory.

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Jason Read

The Politics of Transindividuality re-examines social relations and subjectivity through the concept of transindividuality. Transindividuality is understood as the mutual constitution of individuality and collectivity, and as such it intersects with politics and economics, philosophical speculation and political practice. While the term transindividuality is drawn from the work of Gilbert Simondon, this book views it broadly, examining such canonical figures as Spinoza, Hegel, and Marx, as well as contemporary debates involving Etienne Balibar, Bernard Stiegler, and Paolo Virno. Through these intersecting aspects and interpretations of transindividuality the book proposes to examine anew the intersection of politics and economics through their mutual constitution of affects, imagination, and subjectivity.

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Guido Starosta

In Marx´s Capital , Method and Revolutionary Subjectivity, Guido Starosta develops a materialist inquiry into the social and historical determinations of revolutionary subjectivity. Through a methodologically-minded critical reconstruction of the Marxian critique of political economy, from the early writings up to the Grundrisse and Capital, this study shows that the outcome of the historical movement of the objectified form of social mediation, which has turned into the very alienated subject of social life (i.e., capital), is to develop, as its own immanent determination, the constitution of the (self-abolishing) working class as a revolutionary subject. A crucial element in this intellectual endeavour is the focus on the intrinsic connection between the specifically dialectical form of social science and its radical transformative content.

How to express yourself with a causal connective

Subjectivity and causal connectives in Dutch, German and French

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Mirna Pit

The Dutch, German and French languages display a variety of regularly used connectives all of which introduce causes, arguments or reasons, such as Dutch omdat, want and aangezien, German weil, denn and da, and French parce que, car and puisque. Why should languages have different connectives to express the notion of backward causality? The central argument developed in this book is that different connectives express different degrees of subjectivity. In a series of corpus analyses it is shown that the degree of subjectivity of the main participant involved in the causal relation strongly predicts the occurrence of one or another connective. Hence, language users have at their disposal connectives of varying degrees of subjectivity. In an analysis of judiciary sentences, it is revealed that speakers are actually sensitive of this semantic distinction, and sometimes even exploit it for their communicative purposes: in order to conceal their subjective involvement, judges prefer objective over subjective connectives. This volume makes a contribution to the study of language in use, by applying empirical methods to authentic language data. It will be of interest to anyone concerned with discourse coherence, perspective and subjectivity, corpus linguistics and cross-linguistic analyses.

Series:

Eric Wolf Fried

This book reminds us that “in inwardness I am in myself. ” It defines our experience in terms of subjectivity, private self-awareness, and complex relationships between interiority and outwardness. The book shows that our inwardness need not confine us to narcissistic self-absorption, but may expand our capacity for richer, more sympathetic relations with others.