Nothing but Sophistry and Illusion

Un diner des philosophes by Jean Huber

We often designate the 18th century as the Age of Enlightenment or the Age of Reason due to the pervasive confidence in rationality and the burgeoning optimism that distinguished the era. According to many virtuosos of rationalism, the possibility of mitigating all of our problems – social, psychological, and material – seemed not just feasible but inevitable.

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Are all opinions of art equal?

Relaxing, from @Thanatologist on Instagram

When it comes to art and opinion, we are always reminded of the latin maxim: De gustibus non est disputandum (There’s no disputing taste). However, in the anime Hyouka (13th episode) the issue of art and subjectivity is raised by two high school girls, between Mayaka Ibara and her senpai, the president of the manga club. Continue reading Are all opinions of art equal?

A return to subjectivity

What is subjectivity other than a pattern of life? A pattern that answers the question posed by a dialectic of subjectivity. Among the candidates of this pattern: Locke’s selfhood, Husserl’s transcendental ego, personal identity. In this blog I will show how a different logic reveals this pattern of life: Gilles Deleuze’s “impersonal individuation,” (Difference and Repetition, p. 277) one that is distinct from personal individuation, a singularity instead of something particular.

If life is indefinite, then no pattern can ever completely graph life tout court; it is always just “a” life. The characterization of life as “impersonal, yet singular” distinguishes it from the self and obliges a more unbridled version of empiricism, that of transcendental empiricism. Continue reading A return to subjectivity