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Chapter 3 represents a brief foray into the broad topic of nihilism in English Romanticism. It begins with a close reading of Lord Byron’s poem Manfred, which tells the story of a man who is tormented by knowledge and in a sense dies as a result of it. Manfred is a kind of Faustian figure zealous for learning. He pursues his occult studies alone in a tower in the Alps. Over time he attains powers of magic that allow him to evoke supernatural spirits. Manfred is haunted by a memory in the past that leaves him no rest. This is read as an autobiographical reference to Byron’s incestuous relations with his half-sister, Augusta Leigh, which resulted in such a scandal that he felt obliged to leave England forever. Manfred seeks in vain for help from the different spirits of nature, who are unable to oblige him in his request to make him forget his past completely. Manfred heroically rejects that even the most powerful spirit can stand in the way of his freedom, and he insists on dying on his own terms. The chapter concludes with a brief analysis of Shelley’s famous poem “Ozymandias,” which is read as a call for self-reflection on the fleetingness of our existence and all human accomplishment.
Paul's reference to his adaptability to different groups in 1 Cor 9.19–23 is central to recent discussions about Paul's Jewishness. This paper argues that the crucial context for Paul's metaphor of self-enslavement (1 Cor 9.19) is not to be found in anthropological passages such as Rom 6 or Gal 5, but rather in the conditions of a slave's life in antiquity. This leads to an interpretation that combines essential concerns of a Paul within Judaism perspective with those of more traditional exegesis.
Does Anne Conway (1631–79) hold that the created world consists of a single underlying substance? Some have argued that she does; others have argued that she is a priority monist and so holds that there are many created substances, but the whole created world is ontologically prior to each particular creature. Against both of these proposals, this article makes the case for a substance pluralist interpretation of Conway: individual creatures are distinct substances, and the whole created world is not ontologically prior to the individual creatures that compose it. The basic argument for such a view draws on Conway's claims about the freedom and moral responsibility of individual creatures. The pluralist reading is straightforwardly compatible with these claims, while the monistic readings are not.
This chapter discusses the right to freedom to expression and to freedom of information as it is protected by the European Convention on Human Rights, other Council of Europe instruments, in EU law and in international instruments. Attention is also paid to topics such as hate speech, defamation, press freedom and access to government information. In the final section, a short comparison between the different instruments is made
Jacobi argues that although Spinoza produced the most consistent rational system, its complete rational explanation leads to fatalism, mechanism, and atheism. The concern in this chapter is with how Jacobi stimulates Kant on issues of faith in relation to autonomy and practical reason (ethics), and how Kant’s “moral faith” seeks to avoid the pitfalls of mechanism while integrally linking faith with reason.
Several central themes of Schelling’s celebrated 1809 Freedom Essay were constructed in direct response to Jacobi. This chapter touches on two themes in which Schelling opposes Jacobi, and in doing so pushes Schelling’s thinking on human freedom into entirely fresh terrain: the first theme is Jacobi’s concept of reason, and the second is Jacobi’s understanding of pantheism as logically entailing determinism.
Behavioural public policy has thus far been dominated by approaches that are based on the premise that it is entirely legitimate for policymakers to design policies that nudge or influence people to avoid desires that may not be in their own self- interest. This book argues, instead, for a liberal political economy that radically departs from these paternalistic frameworks. Oliver argues for a framework whereby those who impose no substantive harms on others ought to be free of manipulative or coercive interference. On this view, BPP does not seek to “correct” an individual's conception of the desired life. This book is the third in a trilogy of books by Adam Oliver on the origins and conceptual foundations of BPP.
This analysis of Jacobi’s pivotal Spinoza Letters illustrates that the driving force behind his innovative altercation with Spinoza lies not in religious motives, but rather in motives derived from the philosophy of action. By putting into effect the contradiction between system and freedom in the practical sphere, Jacobi opened up new perspectives in modernity’s own self-understanding.
Friedrich Jacobi held a position of unparalleled importance in the golden age of late eighteenth and early nineteenth century intellectual history. Nonetheless, the range and style of his thought and its expression has always posed interpretative challenges that continue to hinder his reception. This volume introduces and evaluates Jacobi's pivotal place in the history of ideas. It explores his role in catalyzing the close of the Enlightenment through his critique of reason, how he shaped the reception of Kant's critical philosophy and the subsequent development of German idealism, his effect on the development of Romanticism and religion through his emphasis on feeling, and his influence in shaping the emergence of existentialism. This volume serves as an authoritative resource for one of the most important yet underappreciated figures in modern European intellectual history. It also recasts our understanding of Fichte, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and others in light of his influence and impact.
Chapter 6 outlines how the existence of the Love Jones Cohort offers a fresh lens with which to explore the lifestyle characteristics of the Black middle class. Earlier research on the Black middle class – who have often been equated with married-couple families – asserts that they face the ongoing problem of having to stabilize their class position. This can take on one or more forms, including developing and exemplifying behavior patterns and lifestyles appropriate to the middle class. Chapter 6 unpacks the lifestyle strategies and attributes of the Love Jones Cohort and examines how the decision to not marry and instead continue to live alone may impact such attempts to stabilize their class position. Chapter 6 emphasizes that own space and life, freedom, and self-reliance emerge as central aspects of the Cohort lifestyle, as well as situational loneliness. The Cohort places a great emphasis on the human interaction and companionship provided by family, friends, and social networks and discusses how the pressures emanating from family and friends help shape their lifestyles and navigate the ebbs and flows that arise.
This chapter summarises the core ideas in Neema Parvini’s book Shakespeare’s Moral Compass (2018). It draws on the work of Jonathan Haidt and the idea that humans are ‘pre-wired’ to have certain moral tastes which conform to six foundations: care / harm, fairness / cheating, loyalty / betrayal, authority / subversion, sanctity / degradation, liberty / oppression. It argues that Shakespeare had an intuitive and dynamic understanding of these moral foundations as manifested in his plays. His ethics are always situated and experiential and seldom doctrinaire. Nonetheless, there are definite moral instructions that come through strongly and distinctly in the works that still have much to teach us in the 2020s and beyond.
Presumably not long after his arrival in Rome, Raphael drew a figure of Lucretia (Figure 7.1).1 The drawing is a telling example of the transformation of her reception. After 1500, the Roman heroine of freedom and chastity became a pin-up model.2 Raphael skillfully anticipates the requirements of the genre. Her torn attire follows the curves of her body, and a dysfunctional fold underscores her genitalia. Her hair is tied but slightly disheveled. The theatrical gesture of the left arm conveniently reveals her bare breast. The dagger in her right-hand changes into an overt phallic reference from a mortal instrument. Lucretia has just been raped and her suicide is imminent, yet the painter opts for a voyeuristic presentation of her body. The narrative context and physical signs of violence are retained inasmuch as they support this sanitized scenario.
This chapter explores a specialized use of the word "free" in Shakespeare's works. It does not deny that Shakespeare often uses term in political and legal senses. What it shows is that Shakespeare also often uses the term to denote a quality of mind or soul, and that this quality can be thought of as a virtue when it is acted upon. The quality is shown to be related to generosity -- or partly constituted by it -- but also to include an element of other-directedness and the possession of what might be called an unarmed ego. The chapter argues that while the term occurs in this sense throughout the Shakespearean corpus, the term is most clearly defined and focused on in one of the great comedies, Twelfth Night. The play is shown to be built around the concept. The chapter then turns to how the term -- that is, the quality -- functions in tragedy. It is shown, in Hamlet, and especially in Othello, to function explicitly as a liability to the protagonist. But this is not seen as undermining its status as a virtue, merely as defining one of the differences between a comic and a tragic world.
Heir to a shared Indo-European eudaimonist thoughtworld, Shakespeare’s Hamlet dramatizes the interplay of Buddhist, Skeptic, and Stoic philosophies at the affective-cognitive interface indispensable for virtue in action. Hamlet’s search for appropriate response — in the role of “scourge and minister” thrust upon him to redress regicide — requires equanimity, and equanimity, as the play suggests, ultimately requires other-focused compassion to counteract affective-cognitive affliction: the emptying of self-engrossed mental proliferation prepares the mind for virtuous action. Our ability in Greco-Buddhist wisdom traditions to stand firm by judgment and detachment from destructive emotions and mental disturbances is encapsulated in Hamlet’s famous line in banter with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: “There’s nothing either good / or bad but thinking makes it so” (2.2.244-45). This key idea from Buddhist, Skeptic, and Stoic philosophies compresses therapy for emotional control through skepticism, or suspension of judgment. This equanimity in Buddhist-Stoic spiritual practices, moreover, interacts closely with two primary virtues: compassion and wisdom. Throughout most of the play, Hamlet’s quandary is exacerbated by his overactive ruminations until finally in Act 5, his feelings of compassion toward another, Laertes, relieves and releases Hamlet from his psychohumoral affliction and lends him the emotional equanimity and mental clarity to take virtuous action.
Aided by Kant’s account, in “The Analytic of the Sublime,” of how “respect” is accessed, these pages show that effectively endless series of specific representations in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as King Lear open a moment of suspension, or space of “negativity,” within which that which Theseus terms “noble respect,” or France calls “inflamed respect,” can emerge. This route to respect may at first seem purely negative, yet its resulting humiliations of self-conceit release the good will of respect that is latent in the human. In these plays the attainment to respect is achieved in a reciprocal “amendment” or “art of known and feeling sorrows” that transpires most fully between spectator and play. Puck — standing amended beyond his play — envisions that which will “ere long . . . restore” these “amends.” He speaks as a minor prophet of a theatrical redemption that is outside time and in liminal space, even sweeping aside the play that was.
Kant’s Rechtslehre is concerned with the freedom that is to coexist with the freedom of choice of others in accordance with a universal law. I argue that this freedom is not to be directly equated with freedom of choice: it is instead the independence that is a condition of genuine free choice because it ensures that one is not constrained to act in accordance with the choices of others. Kant’s distinction between active and passive citizenship, however, is incompatible with this notion of independence because property rights of a certain type make it possible for some citizens to dominate other citizens, who cannot, therefore, be classed as genuinely independent. Thus the concept of property is central to the question of how right can secure the freedom of citizens. I show that Kant understands this concept in terms of a relation between persons with respect to things, rather than in terms of only a relation between a person and a thing. I argue that although Kant appears to argue in favour of private property, he does not sufficiently justify this form of property by demonstrating that other forms of property would be less compatible with the freedom that right is to secure and guarantee.
This chapter explores the spectacles of gladiators, bare-knuckle boxing, and the early theater. Wild, violent bodies were banned in Rome and America: the gladiator excluded from civic participation and protections; boxing matches banned through much of the nineteenth century. Both bodies were marked by wounds, but even more by a brashness and ruggedness that was contrary to standards of elite decorum. These bodies were the object of elite condemnation as uncivilized, uneducated, and unrefined. And these bodies were the object of the gaze, put on display to perform to the expectations of the audience. The problem is that boundaries of exclusion prove to be permeable. And these boundaries prove to be permeable because the lawless, uncivilized bodies replay the role of violence in constituting a founding identity. The conquest of wild, lawless nature in the name of civilization required a type of body, one that could act with similar violent wildness. To the chagrin of certain elites, the taboo body comes to be valorized, grafted and grafting itself onto the rugged origins embedded in the founding ideal.
I begin with an account of the fundamental aims of Hegel’s ‘science of right’ so as to show how his account of property faces two key challenges: justifying the concept of property and any specific form of it, on the one hand, and integrating property into the system of right, which includes subordinating it to any higher moments of right, on the other. I then turn to Hegel’s argument for private property. I distinguish between two interpretations of his argument: the ‘embodiment’ interpretation and the ‘recognition’ interpretation. I identify serious problems with the first interpretation and then argue for a version of the second one that entails the type of triadic model of the concept of property developed by Fichte and already implicit in Kant’s Rechtslehre. I show that this triadic model, and thus Hegel’s full argument for private property, becomes explicit only at the stage of contract. Next, I discuss how Hegel seeks to integrate private property into ethical life, and I argue that the idea of ethical life is, in fact, more compatible with some form of common or collective property because this form of property is more expressive of this idea.
Marx adopts a triadic model of the concept of property and emphasizes how this concept assumes different historical forms, including private property. I seek to explain why Marx must be thought to commit himself to the complete abolition of private property by beginning with how he speaks of property, equality and freedom as forming a constellation of concepts within capitalist society. This approach enables me to show how, for Marx, private property functions within a social world structured by contractual relations established between allegedly free and equal rights-bearing persons, whose self-conception and relations to one another are determined by an abstract exchange value that finds legal and political expression in a purely formal notion of equality. I argue that there are two key elements in Marx’s critique of private property. The first concerns how individuals are unable to relate to themselves and to others as genuine individuals in an economic and social system governed by exchange value. The second concerns how a system of exchange governed by this form of value dominates individuals and is thus incompatible with ‘free’ individuality.
This chapter begins with Fichte’s early theory of property as presented in his defence of the French Revolution from 1793. My intention is to show how tensions within this theory of property can be explained in terms of an unsuccessful attempt to establish a necessary connection between the right to property and labour. In the later Foundations of Natural Right, Fichte’s attempt to explain the connection between the right to property and labour leads him to reject his earlier dyadic (person–thing) model of the concept of property. A triadic (person–thing–person) model is instead shown to follow from Fichte’s understanding of the concept of right and the role of recognition in his theory of right. The connection between the right to property and labour is explained in terms of how each person’s property rights must enable him or her to live from his or her labour. This will be shown to demand forms of property other than private property in relation to certain activities and the resources required by them. Fichte nevertheless speaks of ‘absolute property’ and thereby suggests the possibility of some role for private property within the rational state.