Tagged: Continental Philosophy

Truth, Power, Self: Interview with Michel Foucault.

What I have studied are the three traditional problems:

What are the relations we have to truth through scientific knowledge, to those “truth games” which are so important in civilization and in which we are both subject and objects?
What are the relationships we have to others through those strange strategies and power relationships? And
what are the relationships between truth, power, and self?

Michel Foucault: Key Concepts

 This page offers brief definitions of some of the key concepts in Foucault’s work. It is adapted from Michel-Foucault.com, maintained by Claire O’Farrell. apparatus (dispositif) Foucault generally uses this term to indicate the various institutional, physical and administrative mechanisms and knowledge structures, which enhance and maintain the exercise of power within the social body. The original French term dispositif is rendered variously as ‘dispositif’, ‘apparatus’ and ‘deployment’ in English translations of Foucault’s work archaeology ‘Archaeology’ is the term Foucault used during the 1960s to describe his approach to writing history. Archaeology is about examining the discursive traces and orders left by the...

Heidegger made simple.

The photo above was taken during Heidegger’s Paris visit in 1955. The photo shows him with Lacan and their wives in Lacan’s house in Guitrancourt, near Paris. During the visit in Paris, Heidegger delivered the lecture ‘What is Philosophy?’ at Cerisy-la-sale. Left to right: Heidegger, Axelos, Lacan, Jean Beaufret (recipient of the Letter on Humanism), Elfriede Heidegger, Sylvia Bataille (by this time married to Lacan). You can find more on Heideggers biography here.  The Basic Question: What is Being? Heidegger’s main work, Being and Time (1927), begins with a traditional ontological question, which he calls the Seinsfrage, or the “question of Being.” He uses...

Heidegger: Brief über den Humanismus. 1947

[5] Wir bedenken das Wesen des Handelns noch lange nicht entschieden genug. Man kennt das Handeln nur als das Bewirken einer Wirkung. Deren Wirklichkeit wird geschätzt nach ihrem Nutzen. Aber das Wesen des Handelns ist das Vollbringen. Vollbringen heißt: etwas in die Fülle seines Wesens entfalten, in diese hervorgeleiten, producere. Vollbringbar ist deshalb eigentlich nur das, was schon ist. Was jedoch vor allem «ist», ist das Sein. Das Denken vollbringt den Bezug des Seins zum Wesen des Menschen. Es macht und bewirkt diesen Bezug nicht. Das Denken bringt ihn nur als das, was ihm selbst vom Sein übergeben ist, dem...

Martin Heidegger (1889–1976)

Martin Heidegger was an important German philosopher in the 20th century, who is famous for his theories on existentialism and phenomenology. He was associated with existentialism, despite his efforts to distance himself from it. He had a strong influence on the French existentialist Jean Paul Sartre, for instance. He developed a phenomenological critique of Kant and wrote widely on Nietzsche and Hölderlin. His thinking influenced many other fields, such as theology, art, architecture, artificial intelligence, cultural anthropology, design, literary theory, social theory, political theory, psychiatry, and psychotherapy. His main work, a 20th century classic in philosophy, is ‘Sein und Zeit...

Nietzsche: A look back.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) is one of the most important philosophers of the last 200 years. He foresaw the downfall of Europe, even though he died in 1900, and he influenced many thinkers in the 20th century. Heidegger, for instance, published four volumes on Nietzsche. He is commonly seen as an existentialist philosopher, but he can be viewed easily as a precursor to postmodernity as well. What are Nietzsche’s central ideas, and how relevant is he today? The  Death  of God Friedrich Nietzsche wages war against a form of nihilism that, in his view, has grown inside a dead religion. Western philosophy,...

Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995)

Emmanuel Levinas is one of the most interesting European thinkers in the 20th Century. He is Jewish and grew up in Russia, studies philosophy with Husserl and Heidegger in Freiburg, fights with the French Army against the Germans, looses his family to the Holocaust, and is captured by the Nazis, but survives. After the war, he eventually becomes a professor at the Université de Paris Nanterre. He writes many books in his later life, and teaches at the Sorbonne as well. He integrates phenomenology, ethics, metaphyscis, and theology in a unique way, but it takes energy to understand him. He is also trying to re-think...

Maurice Merleau-Ponty: The Structure of Behavior. 1942

Source: The Structure of Behavior, published by Beacon Press, 1967. I am quoting some passages from the introduction and the conclusion. Introduction: The problem of the relations of consciousness and nature Our goal is to understand the relations of consciousness and nature: organic, psychological or even social. By nature we understand here a multiplicity of events external to each other and bound together by relations of causality. With respect to physical nature, critical thought brings a well-known solution to this problem: reflection reveals that physical analysis is ‘not a decomposition into real elements and that causality in its actual meaning...

What is Continental Philosophy?

Continental philosophy is the name for a 200-year period in the history of philosophy that begins with the publication of Kant’s critical philosophy in the 1780s. The term refers to everything that happened during 19th and 20th century philosophy in mainland Europe, and it is commonly distinguished from the analytic movement in the English-speaking world. Continental philosophy therefore includes a whole array of movements and schools: German idealism, phenomenology, existentialism from Kierkegaard and Nietzsche to today, hermeneutics, structuralism, post-structuralism, French feminism, and the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, which blends Marxism with psychoanalytic theory. Summary in four points Is there a common...