Giljotin

Marie_Antoinette_le_16_octobre_1793

I knew another of my periodic retreats from the public expression of political opinions had arrived when, contacted by a certain French media outlet for my views on the recent electoral victories of the Front National, I muttered something about how I've been busy writing about animals recently, and then quoted Kropotkin to the effect that the animals, unlike us, seem to get by just fine without holding elections at all.

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Contingent and Necessary

kili

by Justin E. H. Smith There is a familiar distinction in philosophy between contingent and necessary truths. Truths of the latter sort are those the negation of which implies a contradiction, or those that are true simply in virtue of the meaning of the words involved. For example, “A...

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A Tear

elephants

From Evolution of household articles, animals etc. according to Darwin’s doctrine, Fr. Schmidt. Via Wellcome Library From The Threepenny Review: I remain stuck with the fact that Darwin cannot explain the origin of The Origin of Species. The story of evolution would be very different if the narrator weren’t...

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“But-but-but, but-but-but…”

butt

by Justin E. H. Smith Surely no one makes the case for orthophemism as a virtue of public speech more clearly than Cicero: “When you speak of the anus,” he writes, “you call it by a name that is not its own; why not rather call...

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To the extent that music involves repetition, it is all rooted in poetry…

Beatles-Sgt.-Peppers-Lonely-Hearts-Club-Band

by Justin E. H. Smith If cultural studies were not so wrapped up in the vapid and fleeting, to the point where they forget all about Baudelaire’s injunction to find ‘the eternal in the ephemeral’, they might just be able to discern some important truths about the sacred character...

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Liberating Angels by Justin E. H. Smith

William_Blake_-_Christ_in_the_Sepulchre,_Guarded_by_Angels

The Good and Evil Angels, William Blake, c.1805 by Justin E. H. Smith God, on a certain widespread understanding, is an imaginary friend for the childish and simpleminded. Those so accused will often defend themselves: but I don’t mean a white-bearded old-man God. I just mean, you know, something. A...

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The Russell Doctrine

The Fight For The Standard, Richard Ansdell, 1847 by Bertrand Russell I. The principle that it is always wrong to employ force against another human being has been held in its extreme form by Quakersand by Tolstoï, but has been rejected by the great majority of mankind as inconsistent...

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Radical Love

sickert

No one can love anymore because of an overabundance of reaction formation. No one wants to owe anything to their desire(s); to other people’s desires. Hence why Žižek (who I normally can’t stand) warned, “Don’t be afraid to really want what you desire” at an Occupy Wall Street rally...

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From the Fog

A Philosopher, Jacopo Tintoretto, 1570 From 3:AM: ‘Point to the fog. Now point away from it. Now brush your teeth. (Philosophy as a type of activity) ‘Seduction is the premature ejaculation of the future. It works best after brushing your teeth.’ ‘Always attach yourself...

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‘The deep-freeze was full for years to come’

Herb and Harry were the names of our two steers, the one a Hereford, the other a Holstein. They did not do much but stand, bovine and stoic, from one day to the next. They sculpted strange rolling shapes into the salt lick with their fat blue tongues, and...

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Is philosophy more like ballet or more like dance?

On a certain plausible --but ultimately unsatisfactory-- definition, ‘philosophy’ is simply a proper noun. It describes a particular tradition, just like the terms ‘ballet’ and ‘butoh’. It would be odd to claim that there is an indigenous tradition of Polynesian ballet, not because anyone believes that Polynesians are inherently...

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What Is Forgetting?

The Virtue Wagon, Paul Klee, 1922 by Lauren Berlant Not unintentional forgetting, but of a thing that insists on being in the flow of things. It could be the forgetting of a dream you can’t stop because you’re in it, or of a sense that the world is converging...

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If They Say Why by Agustin Fuentes and Aku Visala

This debate is a good example of why ‘human nature’ is still a relevant concept. What does biology actually say about the origins of human morality and its flexibility? Is it true that we are slaves to our biological imperatives or can we use our flexible minds to significantly...

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Tamar Aylat-Yaguri on Kierkegaard and Judaism

Soren_Kierkegaard_i_Corsaren

When Johannes Climacus defines Christianity in the Postscript, he writes:

Christianity is spirit; spirit is inwardness; inwardness is subjectivity; subjectivity is essentially passion, and at its maximum an infinite, personally interested passion for one’s eternal happiness.

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Badiou’s Break?

Philosophy Consoling Boethius and Fortune Turning the Wheel, attributed to Henri de Vulcop, c.1470 From Notre Dame Philosophical Review: What are we to make of the recent ascendance of Alain Badiou to the position of general representative of French philosophy in the Anglophone humanities? There are multiple possible explanations,...

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j/j hastain: rebellion

fusion

When Yaweh advanced into Ezekiel in the form of penetration, the four wings of the chariot became instantly erect and bloodshot and then fell directly into limpness.

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Masha Tupitsyn
sickert

No one can love anymore because of an overabundance of reaction formation. No one wants to owe anything to their desire(s); to other people’s...

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Hearn1

How could a man born on a Greek island in 1850 be a household name in Japan today? The answer lies in the story...

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kentridge1

Jean Améry titled his renowned book on voluntary death, Hand an Sich Legen – To lay Hands on Oneself. Beyond the argument of Amery...

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letters

Several months ago, I wrote a long letter by hand to a young woman I barely knew. That sounds pretty dubious, if not to...

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Kemmler

In a move that might strike readers as odd, Derrida spends most of these lectures not on the case made by death penalty proponents,...

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proust

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best...

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carpo

It all started with cellphones, a long time ago. No student, and few teachers, would make voice calls from class, but in the early...

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Daniel Bosch
dace-holland

Three of America's most famous poets announced today the immediate availability of new, moderately priced "diffusion lines" based on their celebrated high-end works to...

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Soren_Kierkegaard_i_Corsaren

When Johannes Climacus defines Christianity in the Postscript, he writes:

Christianity is spirit; spirit is inwardness; inwardness is subjectivity; subjectivity is essentially passion, and at...

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gosse1

On May 31, two weeks after his death, and the day before Orlando was sent to the printer, Woolf noted his death as follows:...

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A while back I found an online edition of Anouck Durant and Gilles De Rapper's monograph Ylli: Les couleurs de la dictature.

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noise

OK, I've been outed as a noise nut and it's true. I am crazed by noise. I have to put my fingers in my...

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I, myself, was barely six months old when Twin/Tone put out The Mats’ Let It Be. The day, they say, was Orwellian: Tuesday, October...

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fusion

When Yaweh advanced into Ezekiel in the form of penetration, the four wings of the chariot became instantly erect and bloodshot and then fell...

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