Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Ugly Face of Sunshine

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has issued a smog alert for Seattle where I happen to be visiting. Should I logically conclude that the sunshine has an ugly side? Or would that be the meanest form of obscurantism? Anyway, here I am cooped up in a hotel room with Kristeva and Winnicott and no inclination to really write. So here is a list of some books I've picked up in Seattle (with one exception either used or deeply discounted):

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posted by Fido the Yak at 1:25 PM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Kristeva good in bed?


August 07, 2008 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Lloyd Mintern said...

Are these special books only available in Seattle, also known fondly as "foggy town"?

August 07, 2008 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's the amazing thing--they're only available in "foggy town." One or two is available in funky town, but abridged. And you pay triple price for it, too. Simone de Beauvoir,José Ortega y Gasset,Luce Irigaray-- these people demanded their books only be available in "foggy town." I hear, even in the case of the abridged editions, heavy law suits pending-- If you want this stuff-- go to "foggy town" or else.

August 07, 2008 11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in a preview of 'sharing the world'.

And who is Dan Zahavi and also Radhakrishnam?

I need to know, ok

have you seen Penn's ' into the wild'? - just read the bk.

August 08, 2008 12:00 AM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Salutations, all.

I don't read in bed, and I only know Kristeva as a reader. That said, Yusef, Kristeva is good on a desk. A little melancholy lately, but worth a go.

Paul, Zahavi's name came on my radar because Evan Thompson (Mind in Life) used one of his books extensively as an authority on Husserlian phenomenology. That book I believe was published in the series Cultural Memory in the Present which I regard highly because they published Dylan's book and also Barbaras' brilliant little volume. I latched onto Subjectivity because of the topic (a favorite lately), the apparent lucidity of exposition, and because he devoted a section to the issue of autism as it relates to what some cognitive scientists call Theory of Mind (ToM), which has been of special interest to me as you may have gleaned from my rants about the discourse on ToM. This was the book I paid full price for.

I knew nothing of Radhakrishnan before stumbling upon his book. The book impressed me as a work of erudition and thoughtful prose. It is labeled "cultural studies/postcolonial studies"; it feels a little poststructuralist but I wouldn't burden it with isms. I expect I will appreciate his reading of Merleau-Ponty. The chapters are titled:

1. Revisionism and the Subject of History.

2. Edward Said and the Politics of Secular Humanism.

3. Worlding, by Any Other Name.

From the Introduction:

"This book is symptomatic of this tension between the need to address a general readership on such broad issues as history, the world, and the predicament of the human subject caught between the past and the present, between knowing and being, between phenomenology and discursive systems, between nature and anthropocentrism, between a potential universality and a world structured in dominance; and the desire to complicate these themes by subjecting them to the discourse of specialization. Ringing in my ears now is the impassioned advice that Edward Said gave me years ago, 'Radha, always find a way to write to a large audience without in any way sacrificing profundity of thought and conceptualization.' Even as I agree with Said, a part of me is willing to entertain the possibility that there is an important connection between the complexity of expression and the profundity of thought."

I'm excited about Sharing the World. It is Irigaray's translation, though she acknowledges some collaborators. It strikes me as generally readable. The sections are as follows:

Introduction: The Transcendence of the Other

The Path Towards the Other

At the Crossroads—the Encounter

The World of the Beyond

Distance in Nearness


I don't think I'll be violating any of her moral rights if I quote a few paragraphs from the introduction.

"When the world corresponds to the transcendence projected by a single subject as the horizon of the totality of all that exists, this world converts time into space. Although such a transcendence represents a temporal project on the part of the subject, the fact that this subject ensures, from a unique standpoint, the gathering or the closure of the whole of finite things results in the world closing up, even in advance, in a circle. The intuition of the infinite can remain, but the dynamic, indeed the dialectical, relations between time and space somehow or other freeze. Passing from one horizon to another, from one epoch of history to another, will thus not happen without some harm: for example, without war according to Hegel, without destruction or deconstruction according to Heidegger.

"In contrast, if the transcendental also has its origin in a respect for the irreducible difference of the other really considered as other, in the fact that their otherness is thus never knowable nor appropriable by myself— although it appears limited to my perception and even my intuitions— then transcendence no longer amounts to merely making objective a projection of my own subjectivity. So long as the other subject remains alive and free with respect to another world, especially to my world, time and space are kept in a dialectical process between us in an always indefinite and open way."

Here is the blurb on the inside jacket:

"In this important new book, Luce Irigaray, one of the most influential contemporary thinkers, turns again to the question of our relation to otherness.

"We are accustomed to considering the other as an individual among others without paying sufficient attention to the particular world or specific culture to which this other belongs. 'Otherness' is thus subjected to our own values and the other—be it our companion, our child or even a foreigner—is regarded as the same as us. The difference between us is only evaluated in a quantitative, and not a qualitative, way and this does not foster coexistence, peace and love.

"In this age of multiculturalism, and after Nietzsche's criticism of our traditional values and Heidegger's deconstruction of our interpretation of truth, Irigaray, as a woman, questions the validity of the 'sameness' that lies at the root of Western culture. Advancing the work undertaken in The Way of Love, she proposes new ways to meet and coexist with the other as other, from the most intimate level to the most global and universal level."

I might want to read Sharing the World alongside a rereading of Nancy's Being Singular Plural, though I have some of this thoughts on globalization and finitude sitting around which I've been meaning to dig into as well.

August 08, 2008 8:40 AM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

No, I haven't seen Into the Wild. We just saw Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World, which provoked a lot of good conversation between us. I love Herzog's movies, though some moments are quite painful.

August 08, 2008 8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...without destruction or deconstruction according to Heidegger."

I am terribly sad to see her couple the words destruction and deconstruction as if they were synonyms. I think one of the problems with the reception of deconstruction in America has been that people are hearing "destruction" not deconstruction, and they aren't the same...not even particularly related. Why Irigaray would fall into that unless she doesn't understand the difference herself?


August 08, 2008 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the book info. I will certainly take a look at Irigaray (never sure where place the accent on that name)?

Pasting a long link to a knol (or unit of knowledge) on cadacualtez.
If you go to the audio link you can hear my homemade recording using the freeware audacity and a cheap mike!

"By its denoting one's determination to sustain constitutive causal exchanges with a fixed parcel of nature, rather than one's existentiality having, instead, eclosed to any other constitutive brain or circumstance, cadacualtez is a concept somehow akin to philosopher Martin Heidegger's (1889-1976) notion of Jemeinigkeit (see below, Translations), yet differing from this. The concept of cadacualtez assumes that in nature a diversity of psyches is localized, e.g. in the organisms of the human beings, dogs, or apes – but not in mountains or pines, not either as a general subjectivity or "world soul" (a thesis that is called panpsychism, the view that all matter has consciousness).


As a technical philosophical term, utilized in studies of personal identity and brain-psyche (or brain-mind) relationships, and a natural-science term (utilized specially in electroneurobiology) cadacualtez is employed without modification in English, Basque, Catalan, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Guarani, Japanese, Latin, Polish, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.

In German, philosopher Martin Heidegger used Jemeinigkeit for a different but cognate concept (which Indian philosopher J.L. Mehta ( ("The Phil. of MH", Banaras Hindu Univ. Press, 1967)) rendered in English as my-own-owness, and José Gaos (translation of "Sein u. Zeit" into Spanish, FCE, México, 1951) as "lo en cada caso 'mío' ".

Jemeinigkeit refers to a phenomenal worldview while cadacualtez rather refers to a transphenomenal or ontic denotatum).
It may be noted that Gaos translation of Jemeinigkeit into Spanish as well as its Arabic form employed, e.g., by A. Courban [3], i.e. the technicism ananafsi ("ana-nafs-i": from ana = me, nafs = soul or intimacy's beingness + i = possesive case suffix), denote that because of which one is oneself, whereas cadacualtez trather enphasizes that because of which one is not another.

August 08, 2008 4:50 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Paul, I felt like I was sitting in a cafe with you!

August 09, 2008 8:25 AM  
Anonymous Lloyd Mintern said...

Otherness, schmotherness. Sunshine has no ugly face, but is plain as day.

August 10, 2008 11:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just came across this scathing review:


August 12, 2008 4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

excuse the trickle but this might interest:

advertising a Luce conf. in NYC in sept....
I won't be able to make it.

I remember some lacanian in sydney once saying that 'women' were 'wrapped in their own contiguity' - they could enjoy themselves (their own being) more than men.....

August 12, 2008 4:39 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

If Sharing the World leaves me with just a few ideas then I will have been happy to have read it. Whether I would recommend it is another matter, since I don't like to be hasty in making recommendations, but of course that's all a bit premature.

August 13, 2008 11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I look forward to seeing what you think of Sharing the World - I am resisting a bad joke about sharing it

August 13, 2008 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Ugly Face of Sunshine"

What a sad tombstone for a blog I have enjoyed visiting.


September 30, 2008 7:58 AM  

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