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After Wittgenstein, the most immediately visible – though by no means the only – philosopher addressed in Wallace’s work is the neopragmatist Richard Rorty, whose book Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature provided the title for one of Wallace’s later stories, a narrative concerned with the nature and revelation of truth. Indeed, the pragmatic concept that truth is a matter of vocabulary became one of the central pillars of Wallace’s own philosophy, as critics, including Hayes-Brady and Tracey, have shown. This chapter offers some context for reading the pragmatic strain that animates especially Wallace’s later works, including treatment of the liberal ironist and the question of the constituted other. Opening with an introduction to the history of the American pragmatic tradition, we move on to consider its direct and implicit presences in Wallace’s work, concluding with the proposal of a pragmatic model for reading Wallace’s writing in both thematic and structural frames.
While Wittgenstein has become recognized as the most overt philosophical influence in Wallace’s writing, he was by no means the only one. Wallace was heavily indebted to numerous philosophical schools, and was particularly influenced by the linguistic turn, and the post-philosophical ideas of Rorty and Cavell. Wallace attended classes with Stanley Cavell at Harvard University, and his influence on Wallace has been traced in recent scholarship by Adam Kelly and others. This chapter offers guidance on reading Wallace through the lens of what Cavell referred to as “moral perfectionism” – the drive toward constant moral improvement, an endless iterative repetition of self-discovery, “a process of moving to, and from, nexts” – which Wallace explored and embodied in different ways throughout the work. The recurrent theme of heroic attention as a virtuous struggle arguably owes a debt to Cavell’s concept of acknowledging the other as a moral good, and the anti-teleological drive of Wallace’s oeuvre fits neatly with Cavell’s imaginary of unending toil toward the good. Using the Pop Quiz structure of “Octet” as a point of departure and focusing more broadly on the dialogic imperative of Brief Interviews with Hideous Men as a whole, this chapter argues that Wallace’s work, with its sense of repeating shapes, themes and patterns, and especially the persistent figurations of failure and regrouping, is best read as a series of iterations of perfectionism, a career-long fantasy of searching for the good in the knowledge that it will not be attained.
A central feature of being a celebrity is experiencing a divide between one's public image and private life. By appealing to the phenomenology of Sartre and Merleau-Ponty, we analyze this experience as paradoxically involving both a disconnection and alienation from one's public persona and a sense of close connection with it. This ‘uncanny’ experience presents a psychological conflict for celebrities: they may have a public persona they feel alienated from and that is at the same time closely connected to them and shapes many of their personal interactions. We offer three ways in which a celebrity might approach this conflict: (i) eradicating the divide between their public and private selves, (ii) splitting or separating their private and public selves, or (iii) embracing the arising tension. We argue that it is only this third approach that successfully mitigates the negative effects of the alienation felt by many celebrities.
Chapter 4 examines the importance of labor in Marx's diagnoses of social pathologies. Marx conceives of labor as social, productive activity that has the potential to make material reproduction a spiritual phenomenon subject to normative standards beyond those internal to biological life. Meeting those standards requires a re-appropriation of our activity that turns alienated social powers into free activity, where re-appropriation takes place along three dimensions: knowing (or understanding) it as it really is; collectively controlling or organizing it; and affirming it without illusion as appropriate to human beings' spiritual nature. In other words, unalienated social powers must be transparent, self-determined, and productive of the good of those whose powers they are. Moreover, making social powers productive of the good, and hence genuinely affirmable, requires re-organizing, and not merely re-interpreting, our activity so as to make it social in a sense that in capitalism it is not.
Chapter 4 analyzes the psychological and physical effects of slavery. Here, it is argued that we continue to place trauma within existing psychological frameworks but fail to understand the effect of ownership and objectification, which presents unique challenges to survivors of slavery and has ramifications for the support structures that are put in place. The chapter argues that the need to bear witness, on both the part of the listener and the narrator, is crucial to meaningful growth in the light of current ill-suited support and allows an acknowledgment of the truth of survivors’ lives. This chapter in particular draws on autobiographies and my own interviews with survivors, mapping their journeys and experiences to the psychological literature on trauma, and exploring the need to bear witness as a powerful means of growth
Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) was proposed by Richard A. Gardner in 1985. It is assumed to occur in some distressing marriage break-ups, when a parent “brainwashes” his children so they reject the other parent in an unjustified way. But, is it the result of a conscious act as Gardner suggests? Or could it also appear as part of a shared psychosis?
To assess the possibility of the appearance of PAS as a consequence of paranoid contagion or shared psychosis.
We present the case of a 45-year-old patient and her 9-year-old daughter, who is allegedly assaulted by her father during visits, according to both. Mother and daughter continually request attention in the emergency department for this reason, with no obvious injuries. A bibliographic review is carried out on the PAS and shared psychosis. We compare the existing data with our case.
A paranoid cognitive style is observed in the 45-year-old patient, and it is observed that her daughter stops rejecting the father when she spends time separated from her. The contagion of delirium is the nuclear mechanism of shared psychosis. It is known that children with PAS may have distorted memories and incorporate beliefs of others through suggestion. There is also an inverse relationship between the number of visits by the alienated parent and the undervaluation of the child. We have not found any studies linking shared psychosis with PAS.
The existing bibliography on PAS is scarce. The possibility of an existing paranoid contagion mechanism has not been addressed yet.
Chapter 10 allows for reflection on the present condition of humanity from an evolutionary perspective. This unique, long-term viewpoint clearly shows how the invention and evolution of technology and its related, falsely created land-linked cultural affinities have finally led the human species to an angst-ridden condition of alienation from Nature.
The constituent elements of the book: Hermetic spirituality, the historical imagination, alterations of consciousness, the relation between language and experiential knowledge, and radical agnosticism in the study of religion. Narrative historiography and historical-comparative methods.
Historical writing described a form of imaginal enchantment, as illustrated by Hans Jonas’ concept of “gnosticism,” André-Jean Festugière’s “religion of the world,” and Frances A. Yates’ “Hermetic Tradition.” The importance of overcoming philhellenist ideologies, and the centrality of nonduality and embodiment to Hermetic spirituality.
Organizations largely depend on their employees’ creativity to attain a competitive advantage. Drawing on Ability-Motivation-Opportunity (AMO) theory, this study examines whether employees’ voice behavior (promotive and prohibitive) can be harnessed to improve their creative performance. By exploring the mediating role of psychosocial prosperity and moderating effects of employees’ perception of their influence at work and their feelings of alienation, this study offers a unique model that enhances the literature on voice and creativity. Data collected from 285 Information Technology professionals in India reveals that both forms of voice lead to creative performance, and psychosocial prosperity mediates this positive relationship. This finding offers different insight for scholars as much of the voice literature expects prohibitive voice to yield negative results for the employee because of its associated risks. Also, employees’ perceived influence at work strengthens the positive effect of promotive voice on psychosocial prosperity, while alienation weakens the relationship between psychosocial prosperity and creativity performance. The study concludes by discussing the implications, limitations, and directions for future researchers.
Francisco de Vitoria (1483–1546) was among the preeminent theologians of his day and his two texts, De Indis and De Iure Belli, mark the start of a vitally important transition in the Christian just war tradition as it exited a medieval social imaginary and entered a modern one. Not only are there glimpses of early modernist just war thought and a revolutionary reframing of natural law thinking in these texts, but they find their starting point in one of the most acute questions in all of just war thinking: how to understand and engage an “other,” most notably indigenous persons in the Americas and West Indies. Vitoria’s surprisingly progressive answers to this question moved the tradition forward, powering its increasing political scope and moral significance. They also shaped failures – most notably in funding modern notions of race and the rise of chattel slavery while also shaping early modern conceptions of property and ownership – and caused suffering for which the tradition is at least partly accountable and lacunae that it must now overcome as it moves into the environmental age.
The Philosophy of History’s search for a renewed sense wholeness originated in the paradoxes of Rousseau. He detested modern liberalism for producing the materialistic “bourgeois.” He wanted to restore the ancient concern with civic virtue and happiness to counteract this spiritual debasement. But because Rousseau accepted the modern account of nature as matter in motion, yielding appetitive individualism and identifying reason with utility, he could only promote the nobler dimension of human life as the freedom of will to oppose oneself to nature and reason altogether. This created a contradiction between nature and freedom, and undermined political authority by suggesting that no form of government could return us to our original natural happiness in a lost Golden Age, corrupted as we are by the progress of civilization. The Jacobins took this as a call to collectivist revolution and the return to “the Year One.” Alternatively, Rousseau extolled the Romantic notion of the solitary artist who seeks his happiness outside of civil society. These explosive tensions between natural happiness and political authority were grappled with by Rousseau’s successors, who sought ways of healing the division in man between his natural self and his free self.
Since the rise of the ruling Justice and Development Party in the early 2000s, Turkey has invested in several mega transport and infrastructure projects for the purposes of economic transformation, growth, and development. This article explores the impact of a recently completed mega-project—the Osman Gazi Bridge—on material change and popular imagination about the future. It claims that, while the Bridge created a colossal material change that can be observed by everyone, it also animated an imagined post-industrial transition and inclusive development in the industrial town of Dilovası. Although the dream of a better future serves as a medium for the industrial town’s underprivileged inhabitants to connect and socialize, along with the current marginalizing conditions, it also has the potential to fuel future resistance, if imagination is unable to be transformed into reality.
Chapter 8 foregrounds the ethics and politics of the second person in ‘postcolonial’ writing, addressing the use of ‘you’ in yet two other genres, that of the essay in Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place (1988) and that of the short story with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’ published in an eponymous collection in 2009. Kincaid and Adichie use two different techniques to have the reader reflect on her own beliefs and prejudices through a rhetoric of contrast. Kincaid targets specific readers (‘you the tourist’) as representative of the white western tourists who fly every day to her native island Antigua to get away from their daily burden. She thus reduces the reference of ‘you’ to a specific membership category she stigmatises in her very powerful interpellation of the self-centred tourists, denouncing the tourist industry her native island Antigua is subjected to. Whilst Kincaid uses direct forceful address, Adichie chooses a You type that brings the reader to align with the character’s perspective in a more indirect yet as forceful way that the pragma-linguistic analysis of the short story will precisely display.
In Territorial Sovereignty: A Philosophical Exploration, Anna Stilz argues that legitimate political authority requires the actual—rather than hypothetical—consent of the governed. I argue, however, that her analysis of that consent is inconsistent, in the weight it ascribes to the felt desire to refrain from doing politics with some particular group of people. In the context of secession and self-determination, the lack of actual consent to shared political institutions is weighty enough to render such institutions presumptively illegitimate. In the context of migration, however, a lack of actual consent to the presence of newcomers is ascribed nearly no weight, and instead is taken as evidence of irrationality or immoral preferences. I argue that this apparent contradiction must be clarified before Stilz's overall account of self-governance can be accepted.
In this chapter, we review classic works on political variables. This includes the notion of paranoid political style, as well as alienation, inequality, and the function of scapegoats in the political process. We also discuss our survey data and findings.
Chapter 10 is dedicated to Friedrich Engels, who studied in Berlin at the beginning of the 1840s. The chapter explores Engels’ short monograph entitled Ludwig Feuerbach and the Outcome of Classical German Philosophy. In this work he gives a critical evaluation of German philosophy and speaks with nostalgia of the important role of Hegel and Feuerbach for the development of his thought and that of his collaborator Karl Marx. Engels claims that the radical nature of Hegel’s philosophy lies in its dialectical methodology. While it might at first glance look like Hegel is attempting to glorify the actual, in fact his theory shows that everything that arises in history appears at a specific place and under specific circumstances, and in time everything grows old and decays, at which point it is replaced by something new that is better suited to the new situation. This is a recipe for criticism and revolution. It is argued that Marx and Engels also further develop Hegel’s idea of self-conscious and alienation into a theory of class consciousness.
This chapter is dedicated to Hegel’s student Ludwig Feuerbach. It begins by giving an overview of Feuerbach’s life and writings. The main focus of the chapter is Feuerbach’s most famous work, The Essence of Christianity. Feuerbach tries to argue that it is a mistake to think of God as an objective, transcendent entity that is fundamentally different from human beings, as is traditionally done in theology. Instead, God is simply the essence of what is human projected onto an external entity. For this reason he refers to his undertaking not as theology or philosophy of religion but as anthropology; that is, a study of the human. It is shown that Feuerbach takes up the key Hegelian concepts of recognition and alienation. We take God to be something different and other, but in fact he is a reflection of our self-consciousness. Humans are alienated from their own positive qualities, which they have denied to themselves in order to project them onto God. Humans are thus not separated from something else or other but rather from themselves or their own nature. Feuerbach’s plea is that we restore our energy and efforts to ourselves by, for the first time, dedicating them to ourselves.
Chapter 2 introduces Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion and offers an analysis of his account of the story of the Fall from Genesis. Here Hegel develops his discussion of alienation, since the Fall is a story about how humans are alienated from themselves. It shows that alienation is a fundamental fact of human existence and not just something contingent. The chapter also introduces Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of History and presents his analysis of the alienation that was characteristic of the Roman Empire. Hegel points out that the schools of Roman philosophy—Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Skepticism—can all be seen as reactions to this. An account is given of Hegel’s analysis of Christianity, which he sees as overcoming this alienation. At the end of his lectures, Hegel claims that his own time in the 1820s has certain elements in common with the Roman Empire, when the world of culture had lost its meaning and people fell into a state of alienation and despair. Later thinkers were generally dissatisfied with Hegel’s view that it was sufficient simply to understand the nature of the contemporary crisis. They demanded a more active approach to the world.
Chapter 7 explores the thought of the Danish philosopher and writer Søren Kierkegaard. It gives a close reading of the chapter “The Unhappiest One” from the first part of Either/Or. Kierkegaard brings up Hegel’s idea of the unhappy consciousness for comparison, thus signaling the importance of the concept of religious alienation. A discussion is also given of Kierkegaard’s critical assessment of his own age in his work A Literary Review of Two Ages, which was published on the eve of the Revolutions of 1848. Finally there is an analysis of Kierkegaard’s account of the nature of the alienated human being in The Sickness unto Death. An overview is given of his system of the forms of despair of which humans are victims. The chapter concludes with a comparison of the concept of alienation in Kierkegaard and Hegel.