Berfrois

Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up

Tacitus reports, that amongst certain barbarian kings their manner was, when they would make a firm obligation, to join their right hands close to one another, and intertwist their thumbs.

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Strange Monsters

Strange Monsters

Nearly a decade ago, I sat in a class entitled, quite simply, “Corporations,” taught by Vijay Prashad at Trinity College. Over the course of the semester, I was amazed at the extent of Prashad’s knowledge, and the complexity and erudition of his style. He has since authored a number...

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The Now

The Now

Nostalgia No. 3, Ma Leonn, 2006 From BBC: Throughout the 20th Century, the preservation of individuals’ memories became cheaper and so more ubiquitous, but it wasn’t until the last decade that the seamless interconnection of mobile recording devices with the world wide web allowed for the retention of the...

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The Peccaries and the Maize Beer

The Peccaries and the Maize Beer

I am growing increasingly convinced that people who believe we have an absolute moral duty to see to the well-being of all other human beings, to install water-purifying equipment in villages on the other side of the world, etc., and who, at the same time, happily contribute to the...

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Jeremy Fernando: Bull

Jeremy Fernando: Bull

One of the first things to happen after the Occupy Wall Street protestors were evicted from Zuccotti Park was the caging of Arthur Di Modica’s sculpture, the charging bull that has become synonymous with Wall Street. According to the New York Post: “Law-enforcement sources say the cops are keeping...

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Do It For the Askesis

Do It For the Askesis

Babies, David Černý, 2005 by Justin E. H. Smith Before I proceed to estrange my reproductively proficient allies, let me begin by saying that I love kids; those who know me know that when I am around them, they delight in my comical ways, and after I’m gone they...

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Hoaxes of Dreams

Hoaxes of Dreams

From Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes. Illustration by Gustave Doré, 1863. by William Egginton Popularly known as the father of modern philosophy, René Descartes won that title ostensibly by rejecting traditional modes of intellectual inquiry largely associated with commentary on prior texts, and replacing them with the first...

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Stretch Out Your Neck

Stretch Out Your Neck

The Robbers and the Donkey, Paul Cezanne, 1870 by Justin E. H. Smith Whether species all emerged from the same origin, each representing slight variations on the same underlying type, or whether, to return to Buffon’s view, they are timeless variations on the same underlying type, related not by...

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The Origin of Just War Theory

The Origin of Just War Theory

The Underworld, Walter Bayes, 1918 From The New York Times: The origin of just war theory is usually traced to the writings of Augustine, though many of the theory’s elements became well established only much later, during its “classical” period between the early 16th  and mid-17th centuries. The principles...

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A Collision with the Scylla of Russell and the Charybdis of Wikipedia

A Collision with the Scylla of Russell and the Charybdis of Wikipedia

Odysseus in front of Scylla and Charybdis, Johann Heinrich Füssli, 1794-1796 by Justin E. H. Smith I may have mentioned already that I am in the beginning stages of a massively ambitious, multi-year project: I have been asked to write a very long, but not nearly long enough, book...

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Quoth the Raven

Quoth the Raven

Charles Dickens, in a note now lying before me, alluding to an examination I once made of the mechanism of "Barnaby Rudge," says- "By the way, are you aware that Godwin wrote his 'Caleb Williams' backwards? He first involved his hero in a web of difficulties, forming the second...

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Emily S. Lee on Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Emily S. Lee on Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Maurice Merleau-Ponty by Emily S. Lee Maurice Merleau-Ponty did not write much on race; he only mentioned it once, as far as I know, in his article, “The Child’s Relation with Others”. In these post-colonial times, it is recognized that one of the tools of colonialism is its epistemic...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Obedient Heidegger

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Obedient Heidegger

Martin Heidegger by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei The following text  was delivered at the opening of Cross-Examinations #2: How Much Fascism?, curated by WHW in collaboration with Mihnea Mircan, Extra City, Antwerp BE, October 5, 2012. I would like to begin with a definition from Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe’s book...

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Truth’s Minimalism

Truth’s Minimalism

It is not uncommon that a discussion about some controversy turns to the truth or falsity of some claim, and thereupon one of the parties to the discussion questions the very nature of truth itself.

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Yahia Lababidi: Every Tweet

Yahia Lababidi: Every Tweet

Stone Garden, Kazuyuki Ohtsu by Yahia Lababidi Poetic Ideal: a language scrubbed clean by silences. If we listen, the air is heavy with poems, ripe for plucking. Branches are roots, too, in the sky. Perhaps it is not poetry that purifies the language of the tribe, but Silence. The...

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Narratomania

Narratomania

My livelihood depends on fiction. To this end I have published a book arguing for the importance of literature in life. I have posted personal blogs that combine internal reflection with cultural commentary. In short, I see the absolute importance of narrative in life and work. Yet, I also...

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Weird Philosophy

Weird Philosophy

I want to propose, as a trajectory into the philosophically weird, an absurd theoretical claim and pursue it, or perhaps more accurately, construct it as I point to it, collecting the ground work behind me like the Perpetual Train from China Mieville's Iron Council which puts down track as...

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When defining mathematical Platonism, only Independence is controversial…

When defining mathematical Platonism, only Independence is controversial…

Sketch by Leonardo Da Vinci by Massimo Pigliucci Recently I have been intrigued by James Ladyman and Don Ross’s ideas about naturalistic metaphysics and in the course of my discussion of their book, Every Thing Must Go, I pointed out that those ideas (as the authors themselves recognize) are...

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An Animated Bang!

An Animated Bang!

Genesis. Gummi Big Bang, Chandra Bocci, 2006 by Bill Benzon As I understand it the modern conception asserts that the cosmos is fundamentally inanimate. Dead. And then, somehow, life evolved. Miraculously. Except that we moderns don’t believe in miracles. So life isn’t a miracle. It’s merely a puzzle. One...

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Some Jung Guy

Some Jung Guy

by Kris Pint 1. Returning to Jung In Deleuze and Parnet’s Dialogues there is this marvellous quote from D.H. Lawrence about the purpose of literature: “To leave, to leave, to escape… to cross the horizon, enter into another life…” It is a phrase that succinctly summarizes Deleuze’s own philosophical...

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Intentional Spontaneity

Intentional Spontaneity

Photograph by Steve Johnson From Notre Dame Philosophical Review: Like many other Kantian-inspired accounts, the one Arnold offers as an alternative to cognitivism is initially quite compelling, but when carefully and closely examined, bafflingly obscure. One rather basic question unanswered in Arnold’s presentation is: could there be a being...

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Mario Carpo: Voice, Words, Memory

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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Remembrance of Translations Past

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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Colin Dickey: Time’s Resistless Stream

By now, we are all of us more or less apocalyptic. Our calendar is itself based on the apocalyptic return of Jesus Christ, counting...

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Mark Mordue: Curate. Content. Click.

Not that ‘the critic’ has ever been a greatly appreciated or understood figure. Some fat toad with a feather in his hat who thinks...

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Russell Bennetts
Street Fighter: Berfrois Interviews Tariq Ali

The extreme centre is a form of government that arose out of neoliberal economics and exists today in virtually the whole of Europe, North...

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John Crutchfield: Go West

Perhaps this is what finally draws me back to the Western. It is a fundamentally serious genre. It deals with serious questions, and it...

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Joel Gn on Henri Lefebvre

How may we speak of that which goes off the record in an age of digital colonisation?

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Volker M. Welter on Michael Graves

The designer Michael Graves, who passed away at the age of 80 on March 12th, was widely considered to be one of the founding...

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Sebastian Normandin on Steven Pinker

“The great thinkers of the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment were scientists.” So begins Steven Pinker’s recent controversial essay on scientism and its...

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Oliver Farry on Michel Houellebecq

The peculiar circumstances surrounding the publication of Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel constitute a case study in how even the biggest literary news stories are,...

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McKenzie Wark
Information in Chains

“Information wants to be free, but is everywhere in chains.” The development of the forces of production took a qualitatively different turn when information...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie: Organic Fortune

isis - ebola - obama hit by halal truck (where is duchamp?)

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Bharat Azad
Bharat Azad Meets Adair Turner

In a quiet office tucked away in Mayfair – over a long table so white I am hesitant to even place my fingers on...

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Andre Gerard: Light Here, Shadow There

The deeper one looks in To the Lighthouse the more one sees. The more one listens the more one hears. Homer, Shakespeare, Conrad and...

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