June 18, 2009

Myself a land of trouble and inordinate sweat

(title unknown) from enowning by enowning
Simon Critchley on the breathtakingly obvious.

Note the radical nature of this initial move: philosophy is not some otherworldly speculation as to whether the external world exists or whether the other human-looking creatures around me are really human and not robots or some such. Rather, philosophy begins with the description – what Heidegger calls "phenomenology" – of human beings in their average everyday existence. It seeks to derive certain common structures from that everydayness.

But we should note the difficult of the task that Heidegger has set himself. That which is closest and most obvious to us is fiendishly difficult to describe. Nothing is closer to me than myself in my average, indifferent everyday existence, but how to describe this? Heidegger was fond of quoting St Augustine's Confessions, when the latter writes,

"Assuredly I labour here and I labour within myself; I have become to myself a land of trouble and inordinate sweat."

Heidegger indeed means trouble and one often sweats through these pages. But the moments of revelation are breathtaking in their obviousness. Simon Critchley, Monday 15 June 2009 08.00 BST Article history Series: How to believe Being and Time, part 2: On 'mineness' - For Heidegger, what defines the human being is the capacity to be puzzled by the deepest of questions: why is there something rather than nothing?

Heterologies of the Spiritual and the Everyday: The Quest of Michel de Certeau

Catholicism, history writing, cultural psychology or postcolonial hybridity - the passionate language of Michel de Certeau has opened up heterologies of contemporary interpretation and resistance to the regimes of institutional orthodoxy everywhere. In this introduction to his life and works in The New York Review of Books, Natalie Davis writes of the ways in which de Certeau worked to restore subjective agency and wholeness to the individual life within the pervasive circuits of postmodern technocratic power. Debashish Email to a friendArticle SearchRelated More Recent Articles Search Science, Culture and Integral Yoga

Law Ought Not be Centrally Planned (by Don Boudreaux)
from Cafe Hayek by Don Boudreaux

In a free society, law isn't simply, or even chiefly, a set of explicit commands handed down from a sovereign (be it a monarch or a democratically elected legislature). A great deal of law - indeed, most law - emerges undesigned from the daily practices of ordinary people interacting with, and sometimes bumping into, each other. People on their own often find ways to minimize these conflicts, and these ways become embedded in people's expectations. These expectations, in turn, become unwritten law - law that good judges find and enforce impartially.

Being by Numbers from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects
For those not familiar with Badiou, this interview presents an excellent summary of his thought.

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