Arvi Särkelä

ETH Zürich

Life behind a Glass: Alienation and Disclosure in Wittgenstein and Pessoa

4 June 2023, 17h00 (Lisbon Summer Time — GMT+1)

Sala Mattos Romão (Room C201.J – Department of Philosophy)

School of Arts and Humanities – University of Lisbon

 

Abstract

Wittgenstein once quipped that philosophy should be written like poetry. Does he himself follow this imperative? Given that he describes his aim in philosophy as “show[ing] the fly a way out of the fly-bottle” (PI, §309), that is, as a method of “showing” rather than “saying” (TLP, 4.1212), one may hypothesize that he perhaps did. When Wittgenstein in the Philosophical Investigations recounts the experience of captivity in the fly-bottle, he sometimes dissociates by writing about “the author of the Tractatus-Logico Philosophicus.” Now, the author of TLP is obviously the same empirical and juridical person as the author of PI, Ludwig Wittgenstein, born on 26 April 1889, in Vienna, Austro-Hungarian Empire. But if we, at least for the sake of experiment, take this person’s quip about writing philosophy like poetry seriously, then the author writing the PI and “the author of the Tractatus-Logico Philosophicus” can be read as different characters. The Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, who was born only one year before Wittgenstein, explored intensely this poetic method of self-othering. During his brief life, he produced more than seventy such poetic characters. To emphasize the authorial status of these characters, their independent intellectual life and unique perspective, he did not call them pseudonyms but heteronyms. One of the most famous of these heteronyms is Álvaro de Campos. He was born one year after Wittgenstein. Like Wittgenstein, he studied engineering in Great Britain and wanted to become a philosopher. Unlike Wittgenstein he failed, and instead, mirroring Wittgenstein’s quip, tried to write poetry like philosophy.

In the poem “Tabacaria” (The Tobacconist’s Shop, 1928), Pessoa stages Campos behind a window looking across a Lisbon street at the Tobacconist’s on the opposite side. Like “the author of the Tractatus-Logico Philosophicus,” Campos experiences an existential captivity behind a glass: a state of seeing everything with “absolute clarity” yet unable to get at life, to touch, smell, manipulate the things. Towards the end of the poem, he says to himself, in a language reminiscent of the turn Wittgenstein would take one year after Tabacaria, that “metaphysics is a consequence of feeling sick.” This talk will be devoted to a comparative reading of the poetic method of heteronym and the poetic topos of a life behind a glass in Pessoa’s Tabacaria and Wittgenstein’s PI. The hypothesis is that Wittgenstein and Pessoa use similar yet different poetic methods that, however, appear as philosophically significant. And they do this in an attempt to alienate themselves in order to alienate the reader from an alienating form of life.

 

 

Dirk Quadflieg

Leipzig University

Social Totality and Immanent Critique

28 May 2023, 17h00 (Lisbon Summer Time — GMT+1)

Sala Mattos Romão (Room C201.J – Department of Philosophy)

School of Arts and Humanities – University of Lisbon

 

Abstract

For various reasons, the concept of social totality appears to be outdated today. On the one hand, many social theories have convincingly demonstrated that modern Western societies have differentiated themselves into numerous more or less autonomous subsystems that cannot be subsumed under a single law of reproduction such as that of the economy. On the other hand, the concept of totality nowadays is so strongly associated with totalitarianism that it seems to be normatively overdetermined as a sociological description. Speaking of a social totality is therefore often equated with the assertion that the society under consideration is governed in a totalitarian manner. Despite these plausible objections, I would like to argue that a critical social theory should not only insist on a certain concept of social totality, but must inevitably do so. The main reason for this lies in the widely shared assumption that, especially under postcolonial conditions, we cannot analyze the societies we are living in other than immanently, because any universal norm that could serve as a transcending standard can rightly be questioned as historically and geographically particular. Starting from more general reflections on what immanent critique means, the paper goes back to Hegel to show how the concept of immanence is connected with that of reality as totality. Against this background, I would like to argue that Marx’s Grundrisse could provide us with a version of social totality that does not amount to economic reductionism, but rather allows to understand social totality as a historically highly ambivalent achievement of bourgeois society making both possible: a revolution of society as a whole and a total delusion, as Adorno claimed.

 

 

Alexander Neumann

University of Paris 8

Pegasus at the Beach. The Association of Empirical Research and Critical Concepts

21 May 2024, 17h00 (Lisbon Summer Time — GMT+1)

Sala Mattos Romão (Room C201.J – Department of Philosophy)

School of Arts and Humanities – University of Lisbon

 

Abstract

I intend to discuss the situation of the Frankfurt Critical Theory today, one century after the foundation of the famous Institute, in 1923. In particular, I would like to examine the dialectical relationship between experiences and concepts (such as empirical research and conceptual findings) which defines the very meaning of Critical Theory. Various concepts have emerged from this process, such as : unreglemetierte Erfahrung, Kulturindustrie, Gegenöffentlichkeit (unregulated experiences, Culture Industry, the oppositional public sphere). This kind of approach – connecting experiences and concepts under the leitmotiv Arbeit am Begriff – might be resumed througout the title: “Pegasus at the beach. The association of empirical research and critical concepts”.

 

 

Roberto Navarrete Alonso

Complutense University of Madrid

Hacia la crítica mesiánica de la teología política. Desencantamiento del mundo y soberanía en Walter Benjamin

7 May 2024, 17h00 (Lisbon Summer Time — GMT+1)

Sala Mattos Romão (Room C201.J – Department of Philosophy)

School of Arts and Humanities – University of Lisbon

 

Abstract

Al menos desde los albores de la República de Weimar y hasta el trágico final de sus días, Benjamin manifestó una especial sensibilidad por las relaciones entre “lo profano” y “lo mesiánico”. El peculiar modo en que comprendió este vínculo le llevó a formular una crítica mesiánica de la teología política que, por motivos obvios, se suele comprender en contraposición al concepto schmittiano de soberanía. La aproximación al pensamiento teológico-político de Benjamin que proponemos, sin embargo, partirá de la crítica del joven Marx al fundamento religioso del Estado hegeliano a fin de contextualizar la crítica benjaminiana de la violencia, interpretada (junto a Kapitalismus als Religion) como una respuesta a la tesis de Weber sobre el desencantamiento del mundo. Una lectura atenta del párrafo final de Zur Kritik der Gewalt, junto con algunas claves del Theologisch-politisches Fragment, permitirá establecer una vinculación entre ambos escritos y las tesis Über den Begriff der Geschichte que, a su vez, enriquece la habitual consideración de la relación Benjamin-Schmitt como una armonía de opuestos. Finalmente, se mostrará que en el ensayo sobre la violencia se encuentra una incipiente comprensión de la relación entre cultura y barbarie que Horkheimer y Adorno interpretaron como dialéctica de la Ilustración.

 

 

 

Mesa Redonda

50 anos do 25 de Abril (II)

“Liberdade a sério: O que resta de Abril”

Com intervenções de Mariana Teixeira, Dirk-Michael Hennrich e Ricardo Mendoza-Canales

 

30 April 2024, 17h00 (Lisbon Summer Time — GMT+1)

Sala Mattos Romão (Room C201.J – Department of Philosophy)

School of Arts and Humanities – University of Lisbon

 

Resumo

Há 50 anos, neste país, o povo exigia liberdade e iniciou uma revolução. Aqueles que fizeram a revolução também indicaram o que deve ser feito para uma vida nova e livre: descolonização, democratização e desenvolvimento. Estas foram ideias poderosas que se concretizaram: Portugal está agora descolonizado, democratizado e desenvolvido. É um país livre e mais justo do que era há 50 anos. Pode-se dizer que as ideias impulsionaram a ação e mudaram a realidade. Mas qual foi o papel da filosofia em relação à luta pela liberdade? Será que de alguma forma inspirou e moldou o curso da ação, realizando-se assim, ou veio depois do evento para melhor conceptualizá-lo? Nesta segunda mesa redonda, continuaremos a explorar estes e outros aspetos inter-relacionados da revolução, da liberdade, da emancipação e da filosofia.

 

Mesa Redonda

50 anos do 25 de Abril

“O Papel da Filosofia (em Portugal) na Luta Pela Liberdade”

Com intervenções de Diogo Sardinha, Filipe Ferreira e Tamara Caraus

 

23 April 2024, 17h00 (Lisbon Summer Time — GMT+1)

Sala Mattos Romão (Room C201.J – Department of Philosophy)

School of Arts and Humanities – University of Lisbon

 

Resumo

Há 50 anos, neste país, o povo exigia liberdade e iniciou uma revolução. Aqueles que fizeram a revolução também indicaram o que deve ser feito para uma vida nova e livre: descolonização, democratização e desenvolvimento. Estas foram ideias poderosas que se concretizaram: Portugal está agora descolonizado, democratizado e desenvolvido. É um país livre e mais justo do que era há 50 anos. Pode-se dizer que as ideias impulsionaram a ação e mudaram a realidade. Mas qual foi o papel da filosofia em relação à luta pela liberdade? Será que de alguma forma inspirou e moldou o curso da ação, realizando-se assim, ou veio depois do evento para melhor conceptualizá-lo? A mesa redonda irá explorar estes e outros aspetos inter-relacionados da revolução, liberdade e filosofia.

 

 

 

Grupo de Leitura Filosofia Animal – 7º Ciclo

As Origens Animais da Cultura de Dominique Lestel

Início: 26 de abril 2024 | Término:  28 de junho 2024 – via Zoom

Horário: 14h00 – 16h00 (Lisboa – GMT+1)* | 10h00 – 12h00 (Brasília)

Contato: animalphilosophy.diversitas@gmail.com

Inscrições:

 

A atividade é aberta e requer inscrição. Tem uma periodicidade semanal, às sextas-feiras, através da plataforma Zoom. Serão emitidos certificados de participação com uma frequência mínima de 70%. Para encerrar o ciclo, será realizado um colóquio.

 

DESCRIÇÃO

O 7º ciclo do Grupo de Leitura Filosofia Animal (Diversitas-FFLCH/USP e Grupo Praxis-CFUL) proporciona espaço para o estudo do livro “As Origens Animais da Cultura”, do etólogo e filósofo francês Dominique Lestel.

O entrelaçamento da filosofia com a etologia remonta a tempos ancestrais, bem antes da fundação e elaboração original das disciplinas acima mencionadas, e figura assim na origem da autodescoberta humana. A condição fundamental da constituição do sujeito humano se dá no confronto e na reflexão diretas e necessárias com o completamente outro e mesmo antes do humano aparecer ao humano como um sujeito estranho, é o animal que desperta a dúvida e provoca a autodeterminação humana de forma radical. A separação dogmática entre natureza e cultura é uma das técnicas mais eficazes para estabelecer e implementar a demarcação da animalidade. Ao fazê-lo, o ser humano constitui-se como um ser excepcional, marcando e defendendo sua posição de excelência através de determinadas características, como a alma, a razão, a linguagem ou a invenção e utilização de instrumentos. O estudo As Origens Animais da Cultura, de Dominique Lestel, desafia essas posições enraizadas por meio de uma apresentação meticulosa das descobertas etológicas da segunda parte do século XX e estende o conceitos de sujeito e de cultura às comunidades animais e ao animal não-humano na sua singularidade. Entender as ciências do animal como ciências sociais e ampliar a etologia para o campo da etnologia é uma das mais significativas tentativas de Dominique Lestel. Em suas palavras, ele pretende desenvolver “uma história natural e cultural da subjetividade no quadro de uma antropologia fundamental da relação entre o homem e o animal”, retomando os seus estudos “sobre o homem enquanto ser humano que se socializa com os animais em comunidades híbridas de sentido, interesse e afeto partilhados”. Assim, neste sétimo ciclo, lançamos o convite para fazermos leituras críticas de itens e capítulos escolhidos dessa obra, de modo a analisar o alcance geral das propostas de Lestel.

 

Bibliografia

Lestel, Dominique. As Origens Animais da Cultura. Trad. Maria João batalha Reis. Lisboa: Instituto Piaget, 2002.

(Observação: Os capítulos/trechos serão enviados por e-mail.)

 

Sobre o Grupo de Leitura Filosofia Animal

O Grupo de Leitura Filosofia Animal é um trabalho de parceria entre o Grupo de Pesquisa sobre Ética e Direitos dos Animais do Diversitas-FFLCH/USP e o Grupo Praxis do Centro de Filosofia da Universidade de Lisboa. Tem como objetivo reunir pessoas dispostas a, coletivamente, ler e discutir textos clássicos e contemporâneos que se dediquem à análise das complexas relações entre humanos e outros animais, abarcando também o tema da animalidade nos âmbitos da ontologia, da política, da cultura, da ética e da atual crise ecológica, transitando por diferentes campos do conhecimento.

Realizamos um ciclo de leitura por semestre. Os encontros são semanais e, a depender do ciclo, sempre no período da manhã no horário do Brasil e no início da tarde no horário de Portugal. O primeiro ciclo foi dedicado a leitura do livro O animal que logo sou (a seguir), de Jacques Derrida. O segundo, foi dedicado ao tema “Devires-animais?” . O terceiro, a leituras de Donna Haraway; o quarto, a textos de Judith Butler e Emanuel Levinas sobre os conceitos de precariedade e alteridade, respectivamente; e o quinto, ao livro O que os animais nos ensinam sobre política, de Brian Massumi.

A cada finalização de ciclo são realizados eventos na forma de colóquios ou palestras com convidadas(os) externas(os), com o objetivo de melhor aprofundar os estudos e ampliar as discussões para além do trabalho realizado pelo grupo.

 

ORGANIZAÇÃO

Grupo Praxis do Centro de Filosofia da Universidade de Lisboa

Grupo de Pesquisa sobre Ética e Direitos dos Animais do Diversitas – FFLCH/USP (Núcleo de Estudos das Diversidades, Intolerâncias e Conflitos – Universidade de São Paulo)

 

COORDENAÇÃO

Dirk Michael Hennrich – Praxis-CFUL (Lisboa) / Diversitas (FFLCH/USP)
Luanda Francine Garcia da Costa – Praxis-CFUL (Lisboa) / Diversitas (FFLCH/USP)

Christine Habbard

University of Lille

The Power of Representation, or The Representation of Power

16 April 2024, 17h00 (Lisbon Summer Time — GMT+1)

Sala Mattos Romão (Room C201.J – Department of Philosophy)

School of Arts and Humanities – University of Lisbon

 

Abstract

The term “Representation” is ambiguous: it refers both to an image (the iconic meaning) and to the act of speaking or acting on behalf of someone (the political or legal meaning). These two meanings are usually not envisaged together, especially in political philosophy. My lecture will on the contrary focus on how, in early Modernity, the two meanings were intertwined, and the birth of the Nation-State (the epitome of political representation), was made possible by its graphic construction on the map. The visual representation of the State on the map enabled its conceptualisation as a unified, sovereign power over a bounded territory, which in turn allowed it to act in the stead of, or on behalf of its people. The State had to be seen, visualised and represented (in maps, but also through paintings, sculptures…) in order to be a legitimate representative of its emerging nation. In other words, representation is what gave power to this representative power. This will in turn allow me to look at how cartography (and State cartography in particular) enabled the enduring switch from one meaning of representation (the likeness of an image) to the other (semiotic – the sign, the proxy).

 

 

Sami Khatib

Oriental Institute Beirut

It speaks: Marx and commodity language

2 April 2024, 17h00 (Lisbon Summer Time — GMT+1)

Sala Mattos Romão (Room C201.J – Department of Philosophy)

School of Arts and Humanities – University of Lisbon

 

Abstract

In Capital, vol. 1, Marx wrote: “If commodities could, speak, they would say this: our use-value may interest men, but it does not belong to us as objects. What does belong to us as objects, however, is our value. Our own intercourse as commodities proves it.” If Marx’s compelling prosopopoeia is not merely a rhetorical figure, external to what is signified by it, we are to ask what is the nature of this language in contradistinction to ‘natural’ languages like German, French, or English, or certain jargons employed by economics. Commodity language expresses the differential relation of value, a “purely social” relation. It functions as a quasi-transcendental structure that conditions economic-linguistic speech acts before and ahead of culturally situated semantic content and ‘communicated’ use-values. If every commodity actually speaks [spricht] and mis-speaks/promises [verspricht] another commodity, what is the secret of this language, which lends them their ‘universal’, that is, seemingly trans-national, trans-cultural and trans-historical communicability and commensurability? Relying on K. Karatani, W. Hamacher, F. de Saussure and W. Benjamin, my talk explores the aesthetic and political consequences of commodity language and its repressed negativity (non-identity, inversion, mismatch, asymmetry, closure, un-disclosedness et al.).

 

 

Marie Goupy

Catholic University of Paris

The government of permanent emergency and its specters

19 March 2024, 17h00 (Lisbon Time — GMT+0)

Sala Mattos Romão (Room C201.J – Department of Philosophy)

School of Arts and Humanities – University of Lisbon

 

Abstract

The reflection I’d like to propose is based on works on emergency powers and emergency law, which have become increasingly more common in liberal states, giving rise to the polemic term “permanent state of exception”. This notion, first introduced by the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, has given rise to a great deal of debates. Jurists have almost observed that, while the term is supposed to describe a situation of suspension of law, or a legal vacuum, the exact opposite is true: in liberal states, the management of emergency situations has given rise to a kind of normative proliferation, an acceleration in the production of legal norms, which tends to embrace the emergency. An emergency that itself tends to have no end in sight. In this presentation, I would like to use those works on the law of emergency as the basis for a reflection on a dominant conception of time, which is perfectly legible in some important theories of exception. To do this, I will draw specifically on the work of two American jurists, almost unknown in France, but famous in the United States, E. Posner and A. Vermeule. I will show that their conception of emergency law, which is very developed, if not dominant in administrations in liberal states, can be described as a technicist and continuous management of emergency – and in this sense, it reflects a presentist conception of time (in François Hartog’s sense). But on the other hand, the authors fail to rid themselves of the very concept of “crisis”, as a dangerous and radical break with the existing order, and above all as a specter – the specter of a shift towards an illiberal regime, or perhaps even more radically, the specter of general crisis.