Tamara Caraus

Praxis-CFUL / University of Lisbon

Marx’s Radical Cosmopolitics

27 October 2020, 18h00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+0)

Due to the current health restrictions, this session will take place entirely via Zoom Follow this link

Meeting ID: 884 7169 1230

Password: 746274

 

Abstract

“The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world market given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country” says the Communist Manifesto, the same text which states that “The working men have no country” and ends with the famous call “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of all countries, unite!”. The ‘bourgeois cosmopolitanism’ was the object of critique in different texts authored by Marx (and Engels). Thus, Marx underlined that “political economy displays a cosmopolitan, universal energy which overthrows every restriction and bond, but comes out in its complete cynicism” (Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844) and that “free competition and world trade gave birth to hypocritical cosmopolitanism and the notion of man”(German Ideology). However, Marx’s critique of ‘bourgeois cosmopolitanism’ was not formulated from a local or national perspective, but from the perspective of a  radical cosmopolitics whose main elements, as this presentation argues, could be detected in (i) the immanent critique of “bourgeois cosmopolitanism” or of globalised capitalism, (ii) in the ‘ruthless criticism of everything existing’ or in the emancipatory and transformational role of Marx’s radical  critique, (iii) in the proletariat as a cosmopolitical agency from below, (iv) in the missing theory of state in Marx’s oeuvre, (v) in the stake on the transformation of consciousness and self-emancipation, and (vi) in Marx’s unavoidable  humanism. In this radical cosmopolitics, cosmopolitan and communist horizons tend to become one, and the radical cosmo-communist politics appears as the real stake of struggle against global injustice, both in Marx’s time and now.

 

 

Reading Group within the Praxis-CFUL activities

Working language: English

Convener: Tamara Caraus (tcaraus@letras.ulisboa.pt)

 

Argument: Currently, visibility and the fact of being visible acquire an unprecedented importance: ‘views’ on social media are becoming a source of self-esteem and self-respect for the users, the increasing number of ‘views’ acquires economic value, and the notions such as ‘economy of attention’ are being advanced to capture the new reality of economics. Apart from social media, the proliferation of reality shows display a need to be seen of ‘ordinary’ persons, as though striving to have the ‘15 minutes of fame’ (anticipated by Andy Warhol). Concomitantly, the main political stake of political actions now is to make the injustice visible. In the logic of protest movements and ‘occupations’, if we are to register and respond rightly to conditions of suffering and injustice, these conditions must be visible. The different needs of being visible generate some puzzling questions concerning ethics and politics of visibility: Is the fact of being visible a kind of ontological guarantee of person’s being?  If we inhabit a world in which visibility is shaped by structures of domination, and in which individuals’ capacities for ethical perception and judgment are often substantially compromised by the existent power, do those who are less visible have less ‘being’? Is the contemporary situation a tragicomic reversal of the Benthamic-Orwellian notion of the panopticon society in which we are (potentially) observed all the time and have no place to hide from the omnipresent gaze of the Power, since today anxiety arises from the prospect of not being seen?  Can the maxim ‘I think, therefore I am’ be replaced by “I am looked at, therefore I am?’, etc. In order to answer these questions, the proposed Reading Group aims to go back to the authors who (attempted to) identify Being with appearing (Heidegger and Arendt), examined the ‘dialectics’ of visible and invisible (Merleau-Ponty), described the need for the Other’s gaze serving as the guarantee of the subject’s being (Lacan), defined politics as re-distribution of the sensible and the visible (Ranciere) and offered a critique of the ‘pornographic age’ (Badiou).

 

 

Meetings& Readings:

Session I – 27 February 2020: Martin Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics, Yale University Press (translation by Gregory Fried and Richard Polt), Chapter 4, pp. 98 – 210.

Session II –  15 October 2020: Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind, Harcourt, New York and London, 1978 (volume 1 and 2 combined), Vol. 1 Chapter I “Appearances” and Chapter II “Mental Activities in a World of Appearances”, pp. 19-129.

Session III – 29 October 2020:  Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the Invisible (Edited by Claude Lefort, translated By Alphonso L. Ngis) Northwestern University Press, 1968; Michel Henry, Seeing The Invisible.(Translated by Scott Davidson), Continuum 2009, p. 5-12.

Session IV – 12 November 2020: Jacques Lacan, “Of The Gaze As Objet Petit a” In The Seminars of Jacques Lacan, Book XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis (edited by Jacques-Alain Miller, translated by Alan Sheridan) Norton, 1981, pp. 67 – 123.

Session V – 26 November 2020: Jacques Ranciere, Disagreement (translation by Julie Rose), University of Minnesota Press, 1999.

Session VI – 10 December 2020: Alain Badiou, The Pornographic Age (translated by A. J. Bartlett, J. Clemens) Bloomsbury Academic, 2020.

Session VII:  14 January 2021: Round-Up meeting: Is an Ethics and Politics of Visibility Possible?  Visibility versus Recognition?

 

Some other readings of these and other authors may be added, according to the development of the theme from the suggested titles.

 

Steven Gouveia

University of Minho

Altruísmo eficaz: Uma análise crítica

20 October 2020, 18h00

Update: The session will take place entirely via Zoom. Here the link

ID Meeting: 820 4735 9419

Password: 424573

 

Abstract

Imagine a seguinte situação: está a passear tranquilamente por Lisboa e decide apanhar o metro. Aguardando que o mesmo chegue, repara que uma senhora idosa que por ali passava tinha acabado de cair na linha do metro. Pior que isso, o metro vai chegar em um minuto. Salvar a senhora é possível, mas terá de sair do seu conforto para a salvar de ser atropelada. Dado que é não é uma pessoa moralmente repreensível, percebe que o correcto a fazer é socorrer a senhora e decide, assim, levantar-se para a auxiliar a subir para a plataforma do metro e garantir a sua segurança. E se soubesse que pode salvar muito mais pessoas do que apenas nesta situação particular, sem perder nada de moralmente significativo, mas somente alterando algumas atitudes da sua vida? Nesta palestra, iremos discutir um conjunto de ideias com a denominação de “Altruísmo Eficaz”, uma abordagem baseada no pensamento de Peter Singer, um dos intelectuais mais influentes da actualidade. Analisaremos os principiais pressupostos, as suas variadas aplicações (e.g. pobreza, ética animal, caridade) assim como as suas principias críticas e objeções, concluindo que estas parecem mais promissoras se aplicadas a uma versão “forte” do Altruísmo Eficaz, acabando por defender que uma defesa “fraca” do mesmo poderá ser pragmaticamente mais viável.

 

Special Series: Global Pandemic: Reflections on Side Effects #4

Reading Group Session

Leitura e discussão do texto de Martina Löw: “Summary View of the Constitution of Space”, em: The Sociology of Space. Materiality, Social Structures, and Action. London & New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2016, pp. 188-193.

26 May 2020, 18:00 h

Via Zoom

Special Series: Global Pandemic: Reflections on Side Effects #1

Wécio Pinheiro Araújo

Universidade Federal da Paraíba

A crítica do valor no livro terceiro d’O Capital: Marx e a atualidade do conceito de capital fictício

5 May 2020, 18:00 h

Via Zoom

 

Abstract/Resumo

Esta apresentação consiste em uma leitura imanente de parte do livro terceiro d’O Capital, no
que diz respeito especificamente ao conceito de capital fictício (fiktives Kapital) e como este se
constitui a partir do sistema financeiro de crédito e daquilo que Marx denominou de negócios
fictícios (Scheingeschäften). Apresenta o conceito de virtualidade real para tentar contribuir na
compreensão do processo global de produção capitalista, e seu movimento fetichista estabelecido
como uma contradição entre conteúdo e forma na constituição das relações sociais sob a forma do
valor (Wertform) autonomizada. Relaciona a leitura imanente do livro terceiro com outros textos
marxianos e, de maneira sincrônica, problematiza como ficam as formulações de Marx no que tange
à contemporaneidade da era digital, com o propósito de demonstrar a atualidade da crítica marxiana
diante do tempo presente.

 

Wécio Pinheiro Araújo

Universidade Federal da Paraíba

A crítica do valor no livro terceiro d’O Capital: Marx e a atualidade do conceito de capital fictício

10 March 2020, 18:00 h

Room B6 – Library Building

Faculty of Arts and Humanities – University of Lisbon

 

Abstract/Resumo

Esta apresentação consiste em uma leitura imanente de parte do livro terceiro d’O Capital, no
que diz respeito especificamente ao conceito de capital fictício (fiktives Kapital) e como este se
constitui a partir do sistema financeiro de crédito e daquilo que Marx denominou de negócios
fictícios (Scheingeschäften). Apresenta o conceito de virtualidade real para tentar contribuir na
compreensão do processo global de produção capitalista, e seu movimento fetichista estabelecido
como uma contradição entre conteúdo e forma na constituição das relações sociais sob a forma do
valor (Wertform) autonomizada. Relaciona a leitura imanente do livro terceiro com outros textos
marxianos e, de maneira sincrônica, problematiza como ficam as formulações de Marx no que tange
à contemporaneidade da era digital, com o propósito de demonstrar a atualidade da crítica marxiana
diante do tempo presente.

 

 

Dirk Michael Hennrich

Centre of Philosophy – University of Lisbon

About Creation and Destruction of Atmospheres in Modernity

18 February 2020, 18:00 h

Room B6 – Library Building

Faculty of Arts and Humanities – University of Lisbon

 

Abstract

This lecture deals with the question and the meaning of dispositions and atmospheres in modern times. The main concern is the interpretation of modernity as an age, which is largely determined by the constant creation and destruction of atmospheres. It is only in modern times that disposition [Stimmung] and atmosphere become the central theme of the developing modern individual. In the course of modern philosophy, from Descartes to Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Kierkegaard, Simmel, Benjamin, Heidegger to the present day, there has been a decline, beginning with the cataloging of affects and dispositions, to a rationalistic exclusion and differentiation, to an narrowing down to individual moods up to a thinning and annihilation of the dispositions and the atmospheric. The inner structure of modernity, the incessant production of the new, must be assumed to be the main cause of the destruction of dispositions and atmospheres. This destruction of the atmosphere affects not only culture and society, but also modern civilization itself, the nature and the atmosphere of the earth as a whole. The destruction and emptying of the atmospheric in modern culture is therefore the cause of the destruction of the natural atmosphere. Only healing the pathological dynamic of modernity would enable the healing of the earth’s atmosphere. At least three central questions arise for the discussion of the present assumption: Can the pathological dynamics of modernity be determined on the basis of the historical-philosophical reconstruction of affects, dispositions and atmospheres? Is there an obvious Katabasis in the economy of dispositions and atmospheres in modernity? Is there a direct connection between the annihilation of the atmospheric in modern culture with the destruction of natural dispositions and the earth’s atmosphere?

 

 

 

Tamara Caraus

Centre of Philosophy – University of Lisbon

“Love Your Neighbour!” – A Cosmopolitan Demand?

11 February 2020, 18:00 h

Room B6 – Library Building

Faculty of Arts and Humanities – University of Lisbon

 

Abstract

A common critique of cosmopolitanism is that human motivational drives such as empathy or a sense of fairness cannot be extended to anonymous strangers or to large and distant groups, thus the cosmopolitan motivation can never arise or cannot arise without moral costs, while some accounts of cosmopolitanism speak of a necessity of ‘metamorphosis’, ‘self-transformation’, ‘conversion’, ‘restructuring of the world view’, etc., as a precondition of becoming cosmopolitan. The hypothesis of this presentation is that the difficulties of being cosmopolitan mirror the difficulties of the command ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’, and the aim of the presentation is to dismantle the difficulties and demandingness of the command to love your neighbour in order to understand the core of cosmopolitan demandingness. The difficulties of loving the neighbour will be examined by analysing Freud’s account on the un-lovable neighbour in Civilisation and Its Discontents, and Lacan’s stance, from his Ethics of Psychoanalysis, toward Freud’s reluctance to go beyond the alleged impossibility of loving the neighbour. While Freud’s aversion to the neighbour comes from his belonging to the Aristotelian horizon of ethics, happiness and conception of the good, for Lacan the command to love the neighbour is an excess to this horizon, and the concept of the neighbour is linked to a singular structure extimacy which points to a coincidence of something most intimate, intrinsic to us, with something most external and utterly foreign. Thus, the love of the neighbour is always an excess, stretching beyond reciprocity and acknowledging the uncanny strangeness of extimacy. From this perspective, the cosmopolitan metamorphosis/conversion/self-transformation presupposes the love of the neighbour as an experience of the excess and as an event of acknowledging extimacy. Thus, as an excessive event, cosmopolitanism is not a platitudinous love of humanity, it remains a difficult stance. The love of the neighbour can be regarded as the ‘truth’ of cosmopolitanism, however this very demandingness makes room for a radical cosmopolitics.