Joshua Hall

Joshua Hall
William Paterson University · Department of Philosophy

Doctor of Philosophy

About

74
Publications
10,875
Reads
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73
Citations
Introduction
My research focuses various historical and geographical lenses on the intersection of aesthetics, psychology and social justice. I have published over fifty peer-reviewed articles (including in The Pluralist and Oxford University's Essays in Criticism), ten anthology chapters, and edited with Sarah Tyson, Philosophy Imprisoned: The Love of Wisdom in the Age of Mass Incarceration. My related work in the arts includes numerous poems in literary journals and twenty years' experience as a dancer.
Skills and Expertise
Education
August 2007 - December 2012
Vanderbilt University
Field of study
  • Philosophy
August 2003 - May 2005
Pennsylvania State University
Field of study
  • Philosophy

Publications

Publications (74)
Article
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Deleuze claims in the Preface to Difference and Repetition that “[a] book of philosophy ought to be in part . . . a kind of science fiction.” And in regard to Deleuze’s relationship to film, Jean-Luc Nancy observes that “Deleuze’s interest in the cinema is not just appended to his work: it is at the centre, in the projective principle of his though...
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Part of a larger project of constructing a new, historically informed philosophy of dance, built on four phenomenological constructs that I call “Moves,” this essay concerns the third Move, “grace.” The etymology of the word “grace” reveals the entwined meanings of pleasing quality and authoritative power, which may be combined as “beautiful force....
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The emerging field of the philosophy of dance, as suggested by Aili Bresnahan, increasingly recognizes the problem that (especially pre‐modern) dance has historically focused on bodily perfection, which privileges abled bodies as those that can best make and perform dance as art. One might expect that the philosophy of dance, given the critical and...
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This paper argues that twentieth-century philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis’ innovative concept of imagination is closely related to his treatments of dance. More specifically, it revolves around his concept of “figure,” which thereby suggests a productive partnership with my own philosophy of dance, which I call “Figuration.” The first and second s...
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Twentieth-century Greco-French philosopher, economist, psychoanalyst and activist Cornelius Castoriadis offers a creative new conception of imagination that is uniquely promising for social justice. Though it has been argued that this conception has one fatal flaw, the latter has recently been resolved through a creative dialogue with dance. The pr...
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In this article, I offer a new philosophical interpretation of Virgil’s Aeneid, dually centered on the queens of Olympus and Carthage. More specifically, I show how the philosopher-poet Virgil deploys Dido’s Junonian furor as the Aristotelian matter of the unjust Roman imperium, the feminist counterforce to the patriarchal force disguised as peacef...
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In this article, I explore two neglected works by the twentieth-century Jewish German Marxist philosopher Ernst Bloch, Avicenna and the Aristotelian Left and Natural Law and Human Dignity. Drawing on previous analyses of leftist Aristotelians and natural law, I blend Bloch’s two texts’ concepts of pregnant matter and maternal law into “pregnant mat...
Research Proposal
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Reweaves insights from varied global-historical traditions, especially Africana Vodou, Indigenous American shamanism, Daoism, and Shivaism/Dionysian ritualism, to repair psyches and reconstruct communities, via improvised artful performances that take us outside ourselves.
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Despite the ubiquity of bees in Dickinson’s work, most interpreters denigrate her nature poems. But following several recent scholars, I identify Nietzschean/Dionysian overtones in the bee poems and suggest the figure of bees/hive/queen illuminates as feminist key to her corpus. First, (a) the bee’s sting represents martyred death; (b) its gold, im...
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In the present article, I offer a new reading of Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism, specifically her argument that ideologies such as racism engender totalitarianism when the lonely and disenfranchised laborers of modern society develop a pathological fixation on formal logic, which I term "logomania." That is, such logical deductions,...
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In this article, I explore Seth Farber's critique, in The Spiritual Gift of Madness, that the leaders of the Mad Pride movement are failing to realize his vision of the mad as spiritual vanguard of sociopolitical transformation. First, I show how, contra Farber's polemic, several postmodern theorists are well suited for this leadership (especially...
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Having elsewhere connected Walter Otto’s interpretation of Dionysus as a politically progressive deity to Huey P. Newton’s vision for the Black Panthers, I here expand this inquiry to a line of Otto-inspired scholarship. First, Alain Daniélou identifies Dionysus and Shiva as the dancing god of a democratic/decolonizing cult oppressed by tyrannical...
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Contemporary philosopher Jacques Rancière has been criticized for a concept of "politics" that is insensitive to the diminished agency of the corporeally oppressed. In a recent article, Dana Mills locates a solution to this alleged problem in Rancière most recent book translated into English, Aisthesis, in its chapter on Mallarmé's writings on mode...
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This article is part of a larger project that explores how to channel people's passion for popular arts into legal social justice, by reconceiving law as a kind of poetry and justice as dance, and exploring different possible relationships between said legal poetry and dancing justice. I begin by rehearsing my previous new conception of social just...
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Perhaps owing to frictions between his Christological worldview and the dominant secularism of contemporary French thought as taken up in the U.S., and persistent worries about a seeming solipsism in his phenomenology, Michel Henry's innovative contributions to aesthetics have received unfortunately little attention in English. The present investig...
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Consonant with the ongoing “aesthetic turn” in legal scholarship, this article pursues a new conception of law as poetry. Gestures in this law-as-poetry direction appear in all three main schools in the philosophy of law’s history, as follows. First, natural law sees law as divinely-inspired prophetic poetry. Second, positive law sees the law as a...
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According to the “Embodied Cognition” entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the three landmark texts in the 4E cognitive science tradition are Lakoff and Johnson’s Metaphors We Live By, Varela, Thompson, and Rosch’s The Embodied Mind, and Andy Clark’s Being There. In my first section, I offer a phenomenological interpretation of these t...
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In this article, I critique two conceptions from the history of academic philosophy regarding academic philosophers as shamans, deriving more community-responsible criteria for any future versions. The first conception, drawing on Mircea Eliade’s Shamanism (1951), is a transcultural figure abstracted from concrete Siberian practitioners. The second...
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This article derives from a project attempting to show that Western formal logic, from Aristotle onward, has both been partially constituted by, and partially constitutive of, what has become known as racism. In the present article, I will first discuss, in light of Frege’s honorary role as founder of the philosophy of mathematics, Reuben Hersh’s W...
Chapter
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This chapter outlines a new theoretical method, which I call "dancing-with," emerging from the process of writing my dissertation and the book manuscript that followed it. Defined formally, a given theorist X can be said to "dance-with" with a second theorist Y insofar as X "choreographs" an interpretation of Y which is both true to Y and Y's histo...
Article
In this article, I argue that Dante's philosophical goal is what I term "self-angelizing," an ennobling philosophical education granting one the knowledge and power of an angel, which the medieval scholastics conceived as celestial intelligences. Dante's own path to self-angelizing begins in his early New Life, which approaches a living Beatrice as...
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Compulsive smartphone users’ psyches, today, are increasingly directed away from their bodies and onto their devices. This phenomenon has now entered our global vocabulary as “smartphone zombies,” or what I will call “iZombies.” Given the importance of mind to virtually all conceptions of human identity, these compulsive users could thus be product...
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This essay is part of a larger project in which I construct a new, historically-informed, social justice-centered philosophy of dance, centered on four central phenomenological constructs, or “Moves.” This essay in particular is about the fourth Move, “resilience.” More specifically, I explore how Judith Butler engages with the etymological aspects...
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The Afro-Latin dance known as ‘salsa’ is a fusion of multiple dances from West Africa, Muslim Spain, enslaved communities in the Caribbean, and the United States. In part due to its global origins, salsa was pivotal in the development of the Figuration philosophy of dance, and for ‘dancing with,’ the theoretical method for social justice derived th...
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In this response, I suggest that Black southern women in the U.S. have always been central to the “reconstruction” that Taylor identifies as a central theme of Black aesthetics. Building on his allusions to Alice Walker and Jean Toomer, I explore Walker’s tearful response (in In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose (1983) to Toomer’s Cane...
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In this article, I channel the autobiography of Black Panther cofounder Huey P. Newton, entitled Revolutionary Suicide, against the misogyny of the alt-right movement today. Both Newton and the alt-right have been powerfully influenced by Nietzsche, but one way of grasping the central difference between them is by comparing their conceptions of Dio...
Article
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In this article, I argue that Dante's philosophical goal is what I term "self-angelizing," an ennobling philosophical education granting one the knowledge and power of an angel, which the medieval scholastics conceived as celestial intelligences. Dante's own path to self-angelizing begins in his early New Life, which approaches a living Beatrice as...
Article
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This article is part of a larger project in which I construct a historically informed philosophy of dance, called “figuration,” based on new interpretations of canonical philosophers. Figuration consists of two major parts—namely, (a) four basic concepts, or “moves”—positure, gesture, grace, and resilience—and (b) seven types, or families, of dance...
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My first section considers Walter J. Ong's influential analyses of the logical method of Peter Ramus, on whose system Milton based his Art of Logic. The upshot of Ong's work is that philosophical logic has become a kind monarch over all other discourses, the allegedly timeless and universal method of mapping and diagramming all concepts. To show ho...
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Historically, the concept of androgyny has been as problematic as it has been appealing to (especially white) Western progressives. The appeal clearly includes, inter alia, the opportunity to abandon or ameliorate certain identities (including essentialized femininity and toxic masculinity). As for the problematic dimension, the central problem see...
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The present article utilizes the Nietzschean "poetics" distilled from Nietzsche's Gay Science as an interpretive strategy for considering Deleuze's essay "Literature and Life" in Essays Critical and Clinical. The first section considers Deleuze's overarching project in that essay, and then repositions his thought from literature in general to "poet...
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Dance is intimately connected to both Kierkegaard’s personal life and his life in writing, as exemplified in his famous nightly attendance at the dance-filled theater, and his invitation to the readers of “A First and Last Explanation” to (in his words) “dance with” his pseudonyms. The present article’s acceptance of that dance invitation proceeds...
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Richard Wright gave a series of lectures in Europe from 1950 to 1956, collected in the following year in the volume, White Man, Listen! One dominant theme in all four essays is that expanding the moral imagination is centrally important in repairing our racism-benighted globe. What makes Wright’s version of this claim unique is his forthright admis...
Chapter
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In this chapter, I approach the subject of peace by way of Andrew Fiala’s pioneering, synthetic work on “practical pacifism.” One of Fiala’s articles on the subject of peace is entitled “Radical Forgiveness and Human Justice”—and if one were to replace “Radical Forgiveness” with “Peace,” this would be a fair title for my chapter. In fact, Fiala him...
Article
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For this special issue, dedicated to the historical break in what one might call ‘the politics of feeling’ between ancient ‘passions’ (in the ‘soul’) and modern ‘emotions’ (in the ‘mind’), I will suggest that the pivotal difference might be located instead between ancient and modern conceptions of the passions. Through new interpretations of two ex...
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The central role of gestural language in Buddhism is widely acknowledged, as in the story of the Buddha pointing at the moon, the point being the student’s seeing beyond the finger (as object) to its gesture (as act). Gesture’s role in dance is similarly central, as noted by scholars in the emerging interdisciplinary field of dance studies. Unsurpr...
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In the first section of this essay, I offer a brief overview of Hegel’s dozen or so mentions of dance in his Lectures on Aesthetics, focusing on the tension between Hegel’s denigration of dance as an “imperfect art” and his characterization of dance as a potential threat to the other arts. In the second section, I turn to an insightful essay from H...
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In a monograph published last year, literary theorist Mark Noble notes that, in the way Deleuze understands the relationship between materialism and subjectivity, Deleuze “also sounds curiously like Santayana.” For example, the work of both philosophers “locates human value in a source at once immanent and alien.” Noble also wonders “whether the le...
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This article investigates a philosopher and a poet who initially appear to occupy opposing ends of the traditional spectrum from prosaic conceptuality to poetic immanence. The philosopher is twentieth century United States philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine, one of the central figures in the most prosaic tradition of the history of Western philoso...
Chapter
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In this chapter, I will offer a strategic new interpretation of Hannah Arendt's conception of forgiveness. In brief, I propose understanding Arendt as suggesting—not that evil is objectively banal, or a mere failure of imagination—but instead that it is maximally forgiveness-facilitating to understand the seemingly unforgivable as merely a failure...
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In Philip J. Ivanhoe’s introduction to his Readings from the Lu-Wang School of Neo-Confucianism, he argues convincingly that the Ming-era Neo-Confucian philosopher Wang Yang-ming (1472–1529) was much more influenced by Buddhism (especially Zen’s Platform Sutra) than has generally been recognized. In light of this influence, and the centrality of qu...
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Marcus Aurelius's Meditations constitutes an important source and subject for Michel Foucault's 1981 lectures at the Collège de France, translated into English as Hermeneutics of the Subject. One recurring theme in these lectures is the deployment by Hellenistic/Roman philosophers such as Aurelius of the practice and figure of dance. Inspired by th...
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Purpose: The aim of the research was to determine the benefits of applying the new Figuration philosophy of dance, based in part on Plato, to civic education. Design/methodology: A close phenomenological reading of Plato’s The Laws, with a strategic focus on its account of the concept of posture. Findings: Plato considers posture to be central to d...
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This essay derives its focus on poetry from the subtitle of Die Fröhliche Wissenshaft: “la gaya scienza.” Nietzsche appropriated this phrase from the phrase “gai saber” used by the Provençal knight-poets (or troubadours) of the eleventh through thirteenth centuries — the first lyric poets of the European languages — to designate their Ars Poetica o...
Chapter
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[First paragraph]: On Wednesday, June 8, 2011, UK’s The Guardian reported that numerous US universities including Harvard and Vanderbilt were invested in companies that were buying large tracts of African farmland and kicking off the indigenous farmers in order for their employees (mostly non-Africans) to grow cash crops to sell to Europe. Harms as...
Chapter
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In this chapter, I will explore the intersection of philosophy and childhood through the intriguing case study of J. S. Mill, who was almost completely denied a childhood—in the nineteenth-century sense of a qualitatively distinct period inclusive of greater play, imaginative freedom, flexibility, and education. For his part, Mill’s lack of such a...
Chapter
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The demon is, in the thinker,s words, "supremely powerful and clever", and it is only the combination of these two traits with the demon's incessant deception that empowers Descartes to stage the radical doubt that will terminate in his attempted proofs of God and the material world. The reason the demon is necessary is that the thinker cannot prov...
Article
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Gilles Deleuze’s explicit and self conscious entanglements with the arts are well known, especially his particular obsession with cinema. And as multiple theorists of the emerging interdisciplinary field of comics studies have observed, there is a close connection between comics and the cinema. 1 More specifically, it is often argued that the comic...
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Though currently marginalised in Western philosophy, tenth-century Arabic philosopher Abu Nasr Alfarabi is one of the most important thinkers of the medieval era. In fact, he was known as the ‘second teacher’ (after Aristotle) to philosophers such as Avicenna and Averroes. As this epithet suggests, Alfarabi and his successors engaged in a critical...
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Though Arthur Danto has long been engaged with issues of embodiment in art and beyond, neither he nor most of his interlocutors have devoted significant attention to the art form in which art and embodiment most vividly intersect, namely dance. This article, first, considers Danto’s brief references to dance in his early magnum opus, The Transfigur...
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I begin with a consideration of The Fantasy Role-Playing Game: A New Performing Art, by theorist Daniel McKay, which explores how these games evolved from games used to train Prussian military officers in war tactics, to recreational games without winners and losers in which players controlled imaginary groups of soldiers, to, most importantly, the...
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In this article, I explore the relationship between dance and the work of Nelson Goodman, which is found primarily in his early book, Languages of Art. Drawing upon the book’s first main thread, I examine Goodman’s example of a dance gesture as a symbol that exemplifies itself. I argue that self-exemplifying dance gestures are unique (among other s...
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In this paper, I will explore how the work of Wallace Stevens constitutes a phenomenology that resonates strongly with that of William James. I will, first, explore two explicit references to James in the essays of Stevens that constitute a misrepresentation of a rather duplicitous quote from James’ personal letters. Second, I will consider Stevens...
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In lieu of an abstract, here is the opening paragraph of the essay:One of Luce Irigaray’s many important contributions to philosophy consists in invoking dance more frequently than any other canonical Western philosopher. Unfortunately, however, her treatment of dance has rarely been treated substantively in the secondary literature, especially in...
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While acknowledging a certain affinity between his own thought and the Vedanta concept of a world-soul or universal spirit, Josiah Royce nevertheless locates this concept primarily in what he terms the Second Conception of Being—Mysticism. In his early magnum opus, The World and the Individual (1990. New York, NY: Macmillan), Royce utilizes aspects...
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My intention in this paper is to respond to Jean-Luc Nancy’s claim that poetry, along with philosophy, is essentially incapable of what Nancy describes as “thinking love.” To do so, I will first try to come to an understanding of Nancy’s thinking regarding love and then of poetry as presented in his essay “Shattered Love.” Having thus prepared the...
Chapter
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[First paragraph]: This chapter takes its practical orientation from my experiences as a member of a philosophy reading group on death row at Riverbend Maximum Security Penitentiary in Nashville, Tennessee. Its theoretical orientation comes from W. E. B. Du Bois’ lecture-turned-essay, “Criteria of Negro Art,” which argues that the realm of aestheti...
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In this essay, I will explore the relationship between Schopenhauer and dance. The most important aspects of this relationship unfold in The World as Will and Representation (hereafter WWR), but there are a few brief mentions of dance outside of Schopenhauer’s magnum opus, most of which are similarly pejorative. For example, in “On Women” he contra...
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Inspired by Charles Taylor’s locating of Herder and Rousseau’s “expressivism” in Marx’s understanding of the human as artist, I begin this essay by examining expressivism in Taylor, followed by its counterpart in M. H. Abrams’s work, namely the wind as metaphor in British Romantic poetry. I then further explore this expressivism/wind connection in...
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This essay offers a strategic reinterpretation of Kant's philosophy of mathemat- ics in Critique of Pure Reason via a broad, empirically based reconception of Kant's conception of drawing. It begins with a general overview of Kant's philosophy of mathematics, observing how he differentiates mathematics in the Critique from both the dynamical and th...
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This essay—part of a larger project of constructing a new, historically informed philosophy of dance, built on four phenomenological constructs that I call “Moves”—concerns the second Move, “gesture,” the etymology of which reveals its close connection to the Greek word “metaphor.” More specifically, I examine the treatments of gesture by the philo...
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I've put together new steps in the breakaway by slipping and almost falling. I was always looking for anyone dancing in the street or just walking and doing anything that suggests a step. If I could see it, I could do it. The present essay has developed from an affirmation of two widely acknowledged tropes in Ellison's thought and an extension of b...
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As one commentator notes, Spinoza’s conception of “the third kind of knowledge”—intuition, has been “regarded as exceptionally obscure. Some writers regard it as a kind of mystic vision; others regard it as simply unintelligible." For Spinoza, the first kind of knowledge, which he calls “imagination,” is a kind of sense-experience of particulars; t...
Chapter
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[First paragraph]: Believe it or not, it’s no exaggeration to say that Ender’s Game has been the most transformative book of my life. In fact, when I first read it, at the age of fifteen, it almost single-handedly initiated a crisis of faith in me that ended up lasting for eight long years. The reason that it was able to do so is that it is positiv...
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It should come as little surprise to anyone familiar with his concept of ‘negative capability’ and even a cursory understanding of Daoism that John Keats’ thought resonates strongly with that tradition. Given the pervasive, reductive understanding of Keats as a mere Romantic, however, this source of insight has been used to little advantage. His po...
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This article explores Fanon’s thought on dance, beginning with his explicit treatment of it in Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth. It then broadens to consider his theorization of Black embodiment in racist and colonized societies, considering how these analyses can be reformulated as a phenomenology of dance. This will suggest p...
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In this paper I will investigate Kristeva’s conception of dance in regard to the trope of the borderline. I will begin with her explicit treatments of dance, the earliest of which occurs in Revolution in Poetic Language, in terms of (a) her analogy between poetry and dance as practices erupting on the border of chora and society, (b) her presentati...

Projects

Project (1)