Adorno and Levinas: From Freedom to Peace

In this essay I attempt to sketch out the possibility of a response to the problem of the relation between ethics and politics in Emmanuel Levinas’s philosophy. Levinas’s ethics as first philosophy is revolutionary, and promising, but it leads to a gap between ethics and politics. This is a genuine problem, since depending on how one problematizes this gap and responds to it, one may end up with different, even opposing, views of Levinas’s thought, ranging from the right side of the political spectrum to its very left. In order to respond to this problem, I examine the possibility of a constructive dialogue between Levinas’s ethics and Adorno’s negative dialectics. In particular, I approach the relation between ethics and politics in Levinas from the standpoint of the question of history.

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Hegel’s Revolutionary Password

As an occasional feature on TELOSscope, we highlight a past Telos article whose critical insights continue to illuminate our thinking and challenge our assumptions. Today, Robert Wyllie looks at Alain Manville’s “Hegel and Metaphysics,” from Telos 42 (Winter 1979).

In “Hegel and Metaphysics,” Alain Manville joins the echelon of French theorists who attempt to focalize Hegelianism around one core concept. In the vanguard, Jean Wahl turned unhappy consciousness into an organizing principle for reading Hegel. More famously, Alexandre Kojève pared Hegelianism down to the core master-slave dialectic. Manville focuses upon the annihilation of metaphysics in Hegel’s speculative recognition that being equals nothingness. Speculative thought transcends the understanding (Vernunft), which sees only an ontological contradiction. Hegel dismisses Vernunft and metaphysics, Manville argues, to grasp concrete reality in a postmetaphysical sense.

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Call for Papers: Karel Kosík and Dialectics of the Concrete

Karel Kosík and Dialectics of the Concrete Prague, June 4–6, 2014

A conference organised by the Department for the Study of Modern Czech Philosophy, Institute of Philosophy, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

In 1963 Karel Kosík published his path-breaking book Dialectics of the Concrete. It made an impact on both Marxist and non-Marxist thinkers, in Czechoslovakia and throughout the world. In this work Kosík set for himself an ambitious task—to re-think the basic concepts of the Marxist philosophical tradition and to employ them in the analysis of social reality. In the course of his analysis he touched on a wide array of issues that are still relevant today, including the problem of mystification or the “pseudo-concrete,” the social role of art, the conception of reality as a concrete totality, the conception of the human being as an onto-formative being, the systematic connection between labour and temporality, the relationship between praxis and labour, and the explanatory power of the dialectical method.

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