Philosophy Today

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The notions of difference and diversity have been recognised as important, but the underlying philosophical characteristics of these notions do not always receive sufficient scrutiny. An attempt to broaden the discussion is made here from the perspective of a critical theory of complexity informed by deconstruction. In structuralist and post-structuralist theories of language, difference is the source of meaning. Similarly, in complex systems, difference is responsible for the structural characteristics of such systems. It is argued that the play of difference can nevertheless not generate meaning if differences reverberate infinitely. Meaning only comes to be under bounded conditions, even though these constraints and the resultant meaning are in constant transformation. There has to be a certain “economy of difference”. Furthermore, we cannot use the notion of difference without reference to the notion of identity. Yet, identity does not determine difference, it is produced by it. Complex systems and their components are constituted through the constrained play of difference, which makes difference a resource to be cherished, not a problem to be solved. Some of the implications of acknowledging the importance of difference for our understanding of organisations are discussed.
There is a tendency for philosophers of certain persuasions to think of reading as at best a kind of neutral activity. Here, Walker argues that there is indeed no innocent reading, and by this she means that how one reads, approaches and responds to a text, is more than casually significant. She expounds her argument on the philosophical thought of Theodore Adorno, Emmanuel Levinas, and Luce Irigaray.
Recent philosophers, political scientists and cultural theorists have suggested that the concept of cosmopolitanism is useful to theorize an ideal relationship between different nations, and to confront the problems faced by asylum-seekers and refugees. Here, La Caze discusses Immanuel Kant's view of cosmopolitanism which occurs in the context of his teleological philosophy of history and his views on politics.
Both in the U.S. and in France, inheritance is probably the main factor of wealth concentration among the richest part of the population, and of its intergenerational reproduction. In so far as wealth is an opportunity, a reform of inheritance tax could be a mean to ensure a fairer distribution of opportunities in the society. Many reforms of inheritance systems have been conceived at least since Bentham. The identification and the analysis of ethical properties of reforms as the ones designed by Mill, Rignano, Solvay, Huet and Haslett show that the latter is certainly the one which most satisfies the requirements of an ethics of inheritance.
Witnessing, often conceived in the context of testimony, obviously involves epistemological concerns, such as how we come to know through the experiences and reports of others. I shall argue that witnessing as a mode of intersubjectivity does offer understandings that involve questions about how people come to be. More specifically, I want to consider the positive potential of “witnessing” to disrupt intersubjective completeness or closure. This article draws in particular on existential-phenomenological notions of “witnessing.” Understandings of relations – between self and other; self and not-self; subject and object – form the foundations of many theoretical realms. Importantly, these myriad hypothetical formations not only carry relevant and intersecting assumptions into academic disciplines and methodologies, but also into life practices and policies often seen as disparate and discrete. In other words, theoretical renderings of intersubjective relations articulate arenas of apparent human reflection, choice, and action, wherein the chosen or ”discovered” foundations or base assumptions imply and evoke possibilities for comprehending relationships, interactions, and varieties of outcomes in the world. Examples reveal emergent concerns about restricted identities and closure and, therefore, suggest an opening for witnessing.
This paper was published as Philosophy Today, 2010, 54 (1), pp. 66-77. It is available from;col1 Metadata only entry Gift, leadership, economy: what, if anything, is the nature of the relationship between the three? And how might this relationship be thought? Within this paper, we describe leadership as a phenomenon that requires social scientists and philosophers alike to think the philosophical-phenomenological discussion of the gift alongside the sociological-economic analysis thereof. The paper, to be clear, is not as much an attempt to comment upon the interrelationship between a philosophy and a socio-economy of the gift as such, so much as it is an attempt to illustrate how a particular phenomenon, in this case leadership, demands the inauguration of a deliberate and ongoing dialogue between social science and philosophy, on the topic of the gift.
Thesis (Ph. D.), Dept. of Philosophy -- University of Essex, 2001.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Duquesne University. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 219-225). Photocopy.
This paper was published as Philosophy Today, 2010, 54 (1), pp. 30-39. It is available from;col1 Metadata only entry
What does the word “value” mean? On the one hand, absolute value is an excellence that is beyond measure. On the other hand, value can also be interpreted as price, as what can be measured and exchanged. In both cases, value lies in relation and is of the same order as sense. But what is the relation between these two senses of value? And why is it so difficult to hold the two apart?
Presentation de « Soi-meme comme un autre » (1990) de P.Ricoeur. L'A. analyse l'elaboration du concept de l'identite personnelle inextricablement lie au concept de l'autre et le rapport entre le moi et l'autre. Cet ouvrage contient aussi l'ethique philosophique de Ricoeur en tant que preparation d'une metaphysique des moeurs
This essay examines Slavoj Žižek's radical pedagogy by drawing on his concepts of parallax and his gloss on objet petit a.
The presence of COVID-19 has elicited a range of philosophical responses. The aim of this paper is to engage with the position advanced by Giorgio Agamben. Part of the critique of Agamben involves critique of populism. In response to populism the paper advances a different philosophical position this time ground in the concept of solidarity. The work of Hannah Arendt provides the basis for this response.
This article focuses on Alain Badiou’s surprisingly moderate response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is shown that his dismissal of the virus as a familiar problem best dealt with by bureaucratic managers stems from an overly idealist approach to one of his key philosophical topics: the event.
Viruses and pandemics are part of an overarching ecological theme that encompasses not only climate and plants, but all forms and conditions of life. This requires a far-reaching change in perspective. Not only does biodiversity, following Alexander von Humboldt, form a common “cosmos” across the globe, but we humans are also part of it. This natural sphere corresponds to Arendt’s concept of the “world” on the social and political sphere. Cosmos and world take the place of the old irreconcilable separation of nature/barbarism and culture/civilization. Consequently, the threat to cosmos and world does not come from nature but from man-made devastation. Biodiversity and human plurality can only thrive with the principles of environmental/political sustainability.
This essay diagnoses systemic interconnections between COVID-19 pandemics, anti-Black racism, and the intensification of digital capitalism. By drawing on Charles Mills’ rectificatory justice and Hannah Arendt’s reflections on understanding and action, it argues that the role of philosophy lies in safeguarding racial justice and understanding against the hegemony algorithmic governmentality.
This lecture from 1946 presents Eugen Fink’s interpretation of Nietzsche’s metaphysics. Fink’s aim here is twofold: to work against the trend of psychologistic interpretations of Nietzsche’s work and to perform the philosophical interpretation of Nietzsche he finds lacking in his predecessors. Fink contends that play is the central intuition of Nietzsche’s philosophy, specifically in his rejection of Western metaphysics’ insistence on being and presence. Drawing instead from Heraclitus, Nietzsche argues for an ontology of becoming characterized by the Dionysian as the temporalization of time and the Apollonian as temporalized in time. The play of becoming is thus the cosmic coming to be and passing away of appearance. Playing, as the creative projection of such a play-world of appearing and concealing, is central to understanding the Nietzschean theme of the will to power as the revaluation of values.
This is a translation of Hans-Georg Gadamer’s recently discovered 1952 Berlin speech. The speech includes several themes that reappear in Truth and Method, as well as in Gadamer’s later writings such as Reason in the Age of Science. For example, Gadamer criticizes positivism, modern philosophy’s orientation toward positivism, and Enlightenment narratives of progress, while presenting his view of philosophy’s tasks in an age of crisis. In addition, he discusses structural power, instrumental reason, the objectification of nature and human beings, the reduction of both to mere means, and the colonization of scientific-technological ways of knowing and being—all of which continue to impact our social and political lives together and threaten the very existence of every living being. This speech is essential reading for Gadamer scholars interested in the social, political, and ethical dimensions of his thought and for those interested in bringing Gadamer into conversation with critical theory.
This short piece is a partial translation of the introduction to Gilbert Simondon’s most succinct philosophical reflections on the notions of form, information, and potentials. The material was presented on February 27, 1960, at the Session of the Société française de philosophie. After the abstract and Simondon’s definitions of form, information, and transductive operation, there is a discussion between Simondon and other attendees who were present at his talk, including Paul Ricoeur and Jean Hyppolite, both of whom had been part of Simondon’s viva panel in 1958. The piece represents an interesting moment in the history of philosophy where cybernetics and information theory were problematized by thinkers like Simondon, who thought that the concept of information needed to be expanded and refined to adequately account for processes of individuation, or "ontogenesis."
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