Berfrois

David Beer: Broadcastwerk

David Beer: Broadcastwerk

Writing at sometime around 1930 or 1931, Walter Benjamin suggested that the voice on the radio is a like a visitor in the home, as such it is “assessed just as quickly and sharply” as any other houseguest.

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What Used to be Called Indology

What Used to be Called Indology

Any specialist on anything will have had that peculiar experience of coming across some casual comment from a total non-specialist about the very thing to which one has devoted one's life, a comment made as if there were no such thing as specialist knowledge, as if what we know...

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A Portrait of the Philosopher as a Middle-Aged Man

A Portrait of the Philosopher as a Middle-Aged Man

Before beginning in earnest, a preliminary point about birthdays: I am convinced that one of the crucial moments in the emergence of the modern world was the transition from the celebration of saint days to the fêting of our own anniversaries. We scoff at cultures that believe in reincarnation,...

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Chasse-Croisé

Chasse-Croisé

La rue Félix Faure, Nancy. Photograph by Dalbera by Jean-Michel Rabaté My title assumes that the reader knows what “the Nancy School” is. In fact, there is more than one. I will mention at least three. There is the school, celebrated at the Museum of the Nancy School, that...

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In something else in something else…

In something else in something else…

Tristan Garcia by Graham Harman The French philosopher and novelist Tristan Garcia was born in Toulouse in 1981. This makes him rather young to have written such an imaginative work of systematic philosophy as Forme et objet,1 the latest entry in the MétaphysiqueS series at Presses universitaires de France....

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Foucault too could be a vampire…

Foucault too could be a vampire…

The way that the undead challenges the living’s boundaries provides the focus for several essays. Richard Greene uses a thought experiment to argue that undeath is considered worse than death because of its presumed relationship with evil. However, the state of being undead is not necessarily bad for the...

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Theory is the Vision

Theory is the Vision

Theory graffiti tags by Kenneth Reinhard [In this talk, I am drawing largely on the work of Alain Badiou, Slavoj Žižek, Ernesto Laclau. In particular, I am guided by Badiou’s essays “Philosophy and Desire,” “Eight Theses on the Universal,” and his books Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism and...

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The internet has killed porn; the internet is for porn…

The internet has killed porn; the internet is for porn…

A photographer at the 2007 Las Vegas Adult Entertainment Expo. From Talking Philosophy: …an excellent case can be made that stealing digital content is morally wrong. As such, the arguments I have made elsewhere would seem to apply to stealing porn as well. However, there is an interesting potential...

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Another World: Contemporary Cemeteries and Heterotopia

Another World: Contemporary Cemeteries and Heterotopia

Contemporary cemeteries have adopted various ‘useful’ applications, but they also remain highly complex and ambiguous spatio-temporal enclosures. Worpole, in his study of cemetery landscapes, wonders whether we have the ‘vocabulary for describing what these unsettling landscapes mean culturally’. Are they religious or secular, places of despair or places of...

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All the Time

All the Time

The Simpsons, 20th Century Fox From Philosophy Now: To know that it is 4:30 is to be at 4:30, and also to be looking on 4:30 as if from a temporal outside. So in subjecting time to timing, we seem to have succeeded in stepping to one side of...

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Foucault and the Cemetery

Foucault and the Cemetery

Engraving of Cimetiére des Saints-Innocents in Paris, c.1550 by Peter Johnson In Foucault’s lecture to architects, the cemetery is the most prevalent and thoroughly discussed example of heterotopia and yet it has been virtually ignored in most interpretations of the concept. He mentions the cemetery explicitly in relation to...

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Real Folksy Like

Real Folksy Like

by Justin E. H. Smith There is a well-known division between two camps of academic philosophy, often called ‘analytic’ and ‘continental’, with each side more or less convinced that what the other side is doing is not really philosophy at all. This is a provincial and mandarin dispute, and...

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Obviously, the existence of Adam and Eve is entirely negated by modern paleoanthropology…

Obviously, the existence of Adam and Eve is entirely negated by modern paleoanthropology…

The Monkey Painter, Alexandre Gabriel Ducamps, 1833 by Michael Ruse I understand that a contributor to the New Republic has deemed Alex Rosenberg’s The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions, the worst book of 2011. This reaction is understandable. There is an irritating jauntiness about the work,...

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Utopianism is what the landlords have time for…

Utopianism is what the landlords have time for…

The Land of Cockaigne, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1567 From New Left Review: The diagnosis first: To put it briefly . . . What will never again be built any more, cannot be built any more, is—a society, in the old sense of that word; to build such, everything...

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“Reading”

“Reading”

The Reading Girl, Theodore Roussel, 1886 by Bill Benzon This post includes major sections from two posts I wrote in 2005 when I first began writing for The Valve: Learning to Read & the Need for Theory and Beyond Reading. The first generated extensive discussion that’s worth reading if...

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Dan Arnold: Apt to Believe

Dan Arnold: Apt to Believe

In the fraught and often vacuous discourse on religion vis-à-vis science, cognitive-scientific research has recently come to have especially high profile significance. In academic religious studies, such research has perhaps most often been enlisted to support reductionist accounts of human religiousness, with books like Pascal Boyer’s Religion Explained typically...

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Le Moulin Joly

Le Moulin Joly

Photograph by Lordspudz by Benjamin Franklin To Madame Brillon, of Passy You may remember, my dear friend, that when we lately spend that happy day in the delightful garden and sweet society of the Moulin Joly, I stopped a little in one of our walks, and stayed some time...

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Beer and Skittles

Beer and Skittles

The Office: An American Workplace, NBC by Peter Fleming Power At Play: The Relationships Between Play, Work and Governance, by Niels Åkerstrom Andersen, London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 192. Neo-liberalism seems to persist through a double life. For sure, it believes in itself like all forms of fundamentalist thought, but...

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Jeremy Fernando: Dear Father Lives

Jeremy Fernando: Dear Father Lives

For, we’ve always known that Kim Jong Il is a media event. Not just in death, but right from the very start. Unless you were in his inner circle, no one even knew him other than through the media. He might well have never even been born—or been born...

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Dead White Male Philosophers Society

Dead White Male Philosophers Society

There has been some interesting discussion at the NewAPPS blog, about the idea of 'academic passing', initiated by a thoughtful guest post from Kristie Dotson. It has been unclear to me throughout this discussion, since Dotson's initial post, whether what is being proposed is an expansion of approaches in...

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Logan K. Young on The Replacements

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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Tyranny Is a Growth Industry by Vladimir Savich and Zachary Bos

Tyranny is a growth industry. Each day brings exciting new developments. These events imprint themselves upon the world in the form of newspapers, magazines,...

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Tjoa Shze Hui: 1920s

Of the many witticisms that make up The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, one voiced by Picasso really gets under the skin. He says...

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Elias Tezapsidis on Lorentzen, Batuman, Lerner, Smallwood and Stein

Contemporary narrators feel entitled to their own realities now more than ever. The internet has created this fascinating binary, one in which individuals can...

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Henry Giardina on Bob Hope

All mythical creatures need an origin story. The Bob Hope character springs into being, Athena-like, from out of the head of Preston Sturges in...

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Mattilda B. Sycamore: Yearning From Spurning

One problem with gentrification is that it always gets worse. But then I go into a Hooters, and it’s a vintage clothing store. A...

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Alexander McGregor
Alexander McGregor: Trauma

Following World War II, the German philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote, “Nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben, ist barbarisch”: to write poetry after Auschwitz is...

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John Crutchfield: Chords

But music, even bad music, is a symptom of hope, is it not? Naturally one would prefer the music to be good, but any...

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Menachem Feuer on Robin Williams

Regardless of whether you are from Europe, the United States, Asia, or Africa, we can all agree that there is something special about the...

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Reality Principles: Berfrois Interviews Frank Smecker

I don't know if I ever wanted to become a theorist. I struggle with this position. For me, it's a hystericized — and therefore...

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Albert Rolls: Which (Side) Are You On, Man?

James Parker begins his review of Inherent Vice with the quip, “If Thomas Pynchon were a stand-up comedian, and Inherent Vice his newest routine,...

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Keith Doubt
Keith Doubt on Serbia

The intellectual integrity of cultural anthropology is based largely on its commitment to cultural relativism as a principled notion. Cultural relativism is the principle...

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A Gosse in Woolf’s Clothing by Andre Gerard

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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Andrew Gallix: Let’s Go!

Retro-futurism, as we now call it, came out of the closet in the late '70s due to the widespread feeling that there was indeed...

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