Berfrois

We might reflect on the ambiguity manifested in bisexuality…

We might reflect on the ambiguity manifested in bisexuality…

The prevailing attitude in political and journalistic circles is to cling onto this widely-held belief, rooted in the philosophical and social systems of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, that individualism remains triumphant. Yet the plural person and emotional tribes – this is the reality we see all around us every day, and one which is difficult to deny, or to refute.

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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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‘Perhaps there is an ethical school by which standards God comes across as the good guy’

‘Perhaps there is an ethical school by which standards God comes across as the good guy’

The other night I was with friends, enjoying a relaxing evening of Chinese takeout and a wine that was far too expensive to go with it, while we started watching favorite YouTube videos. One of them is Ricky Gervais’ take on Noah’s Ark

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Metaphysics, History

Metaphysics, History

Marilynne Robinson From Bookforum: In her novels and in her nonfiction essays, Marilynne Robinson‘s questions are always roughly the same: Who are we, and where did we come from? The first is a matter of metaphysics, the second of history. At least since the publication of her first collection...

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120% Work

120% Work

Theories of workplace control typically have little to say about freedom. The workplace is often understood as a totalizing environment, saturated with obvious and subtle forms of coercion, so the struggle for freedom is best confined to realm of leisure, or more typically, left off the agenda entirely.

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“Noʔ’alf!”

“Noʔ’alf!”

Jaques Derrida From Notre Dame Philosophical Review: Geoffrey Bennington’s Not Half No End, a volume of essays all written, with the exception of one, after Jacques Derrida‘s death in October 2004, is “profoundly marked” by this death and attempts “to go on thinking in its wake” (xi). Despite the difficulty,...

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Cain Todd demands your attention

Cain Todd demands your attention

Shirin, Abbas Kiarostami, 2008 by Cain Todd Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays, by C. Mole, D. Smithies, W. Wu (eds.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010 Are you paying attention to this? William James, the oft-called father of modern psychology, famously said that everyone knows what attention is, so if...

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We Who Draw

We Who Draw

by Susan James In which it is claimed that the practice of drawing can lead two thinkers centuries apart into a new symbiosis opening the way to political transformation. But what kind of transformation? Bento’s Sketchbook, by John Berger, Verso, 2011. 167pp. From A to X. A Story in...

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Theodicy from a Kierkegaardian Perspective by Tamar Aylat-Yaguri

Theodicy from a Kierkegaardian Perspective by Tamar Aylat-Yaguri

Satan Inflicting Boils on Job, William Blake by Tamar Aylat-Yaguri A philosophical theodicy aims at establishing the responsibility for evil in the world: if evil is inevitable for human beings, then God, the absolute and only creator of the world, is held responsible for it, and theodicy is doomed...

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Philip Kitcher gets ethical

Philip Kitcher gets ethical

Moses Receiving the Tablets of the Law, Domenico Beccafumi, 1537 by Philip Kitcher Many people believe, like Dostoyevsky’s Ivan Karamazov, that if ethical precepts were not grounded in God’s commands, then anything would be permitted. From Plato onwards however, the philosophical tradition has frequently questioned the idea of a...

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Thingking about Stuff

Thingking about Stuff

by Justin E. H. Smith I will certainly not be the first to find it interesting that some languages do not allow for a distinction between things and stuff. In Latin for example there is only res, a word that abounds with ambiguities, though some more easily soluble than...

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Always a Woman!

Always a Woman!

From the mid-twentieth century on Murdoch argued that modern philosophy, both in its analytic and French existentialist guises, is overly concerned with action and choice, operating with a naïve conception of the will and the idea of a liberal freely choosing agent.

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Might Marcuse remain a relevant source for social action and philosophical uplift?

Might Marcuse remain a relevant source for social action and philosophical uplift?

From The Chronicle Review: Bless the American university, that exemplar of pluralism. Was it a playful University of Pennsylvania scheduler who managed to assign to the same all-purpose Houston Hall over a few days in October both the annual good-vibes Penn Family Weekend and “Critical Refusals: The International Herbert...

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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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I Know I Have to Go by Rick Whitaker

W.G. Sebald’s father joined the Reichswehr in 1929 and remained in the Wehrmacht under the Nazis. He was captured by the French and remained...

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B. Alexandra Szerlip: Vertigo

Vertigo has been scrutinized under the rubric of scopophilia, fetishism, voyeurism, the sadistic male gaze, objectification of the female body, “a dream substrate of...

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Bobbi Lurie With Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp sat silent. He seemed far away, lost in reverie. Then, he spoke of the death of art, which he described as...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie and Marcel Duchamp on Lena Dunham’s Girls

But I was perplexed. Marcel Duchamp didn’t order a thing to eat at the café. I assumed it was because he was dead, requiring nothing...

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Europe’s Fascists in Suits by John Gaffney

Earthquake metaphors have had strong currency, both political and journalistic, in the aftermath of May’s European Parliament (EP) elections. The most spectacular tremors were...

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Lauren Berlant’s Love Theory

Both Derrida and Ronell suggest that saying yes is “telephonic,” both in the sense that it resounds over a distance and therefore always is...

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B. Alexandra Szerlip: Dream Train

Unless they lived in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona or California – all former Mexican territories – most U.S. residents in the 1930s were unaware...

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70-Minute Mark by Nicholas Rombes et al.

The different tools used to capture the frame and the wild variety in terms of image quality, which is the way films are remembered...

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You may say Rauan Klassnik’s a dreamer…

“We’ve got a problem,” says Andrew Shuta of Spork as he and Drew Burk guide me into a fancy conference room. Ron’s sitting across from...

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David Palumbo-Liu on Chinua Achebe

Many years ago, in an interview he did with Bill Moyers, Chinua Achebe was asked, “What would you want the West to do?” Achebe...

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