Here is a video taped talk on Nobel Laureate Knut Hamsun’s On Overgrown Path and his relation to psychoanalysis. After the war Hamsun was accused of treason and subjected to involuntary psychiatric examination. The humiliation he experienced has led some scholars to argue that Hamsun was mistreated at the hands of his fellow Norwegians. This talk puts forward the perspective that not only was it reasonable to investigate Hamsun’s sanity; his ongoing relation to the burgeoning science of psychoanalysis enabled him to write several works of art that have since become regarded as literary classics. This is a taped version of a talk given at the Centre for Scandinavian Studies’ Conference in Lund, Sweden, on 17 May, 2019. The video is approx. 25 minutes.
rock philosophy: meditations on art and desire is now in paperback with 30% discount. Order before June 8, 2019, with coupon code VEPNFTCEA30 from https://vernonpress.com/book/770
See also this link:.https://www.tankebanen.no/wordpress/2018/08/07/233/
Another graduate from the Lit Hum programme at Oxford, J.L. Mackie turned celebrity philosopher on his claim that there can be no objective foundation to moral values:
Meticulous, courteous, industrious, with a degree of devotion to duty striking in one who held that moral values lack any objective foundation, [J.L. Mackie] was universally admired as an outstandingly capable and committed philosopher’s philosopher. An undoubtedly apocryphal anecdote captures his character: while Alasdair Maclntyre, P. F. Strawson, and Mackie were Fellows together at University College, the authorities circulated a memorandum asking all dons to keep a record for a week of the proportions of their working hours spent on research, teaching, and administration. Maclntyre sent back a blistering missive instructing them not to waste his time. Strawson looked at the form, wrote ‘One third, one third, one third’, and went back to what he was doing. J. L. Mackie went out and bought a stop watch.
From Graham Oppy and N. N. Trakakis (eds), A Companion to Philosophy in Australia & New Zealand.
Inscriptions is out with Vol 2 No 1 (2019) on “The global unconscious: art, technology, science.” Featuring articles in the traditions of Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung, this issue interrogates approaches to the term unconscious in contexts such as petroleum-driven culture, the 9/11 memorial in New York, the relation between art and society on the work of Bjarne Melgaard, and our current era of a global internet and social media culture. We also feature art by Stefan Chazbijewicz, a filmmaker, poet and visual artist based in Poland, who seeks to establish a mystic space of what he refers to as “salvaged reality” in his work.
It’s here. Hardbound. Conceived from Belgrade to Gdynia, published in Delaware, printed in Milton Keynes. And now here. Delivered by courier. Artists strive for freedom; philosophy subordinates art to reason and tradition. Between them stands the Rock: our rock, the planet itself. Get a 24% discount on rock philosophy by using code CFC159723D56 on checkout at https://vernonpress.com/book/494
Inscriptions, a journal of contemporary thinking on art, philosophy, and psycho-analysis, invites contributions to our upcoming issue on the global unconscious. We are looking for well-crafted and skilfully written scholarly essays and art projects (images, videos, presentations) that engage our mandate and the theme of this issue.
Sigmund Freud’s unconscious is still a debated concept. From flat-out rejections to head-on acceptance and use in scholarly and therapeutic practice the unconscious has become the very lynchpin of the validity of psycho-analysis. It has been subject to debate from its inception with Freud’s lecture to the Psychiatric and Neurologic Association in Vienna in 1896 when Freud’s elder collegues referred to his findings as constituting a “scientific fairy tale.” In his lecture Freud put forward his infamous “seduction theory,” according to which female patients suffered from actual or psychic recollections of their fathers seducing them. It was the repression of these alleged experiences that laid the foundation of the unconscious, and when the scientific community rejected the theory of seduction how would it be possible for Freud to defend his idea of the unconscious?
And yet, that is precisely what he did. Already the next year Freud admitted that he no longer trusted the veracity of his patients’ claims and their ability to distinguish reality from fantasy. However, the answer to his conondrum was not far away. At a meeting with Ernest Jones at the Bellevue Restaurant in Vienna in 1895, one year prior to the Vienna conference, Freud had declared that he had found out how to unlock the secrets of dreams. The solution to Freud’s situation was to acknowledge that his patients’ experiences of seduction were expressions of the unconscious. While accepting their stories as sincere, this enabled Freud to continue his analysis, albeit on a different level. It was no longer a matter of protecting these young women from physically abusive fathers, but of trying to decipher their dream-works.
The unconscious has played a key part in the unfolding drama of psycho-analysis. The split between Freud and his pupil Carl Gustav Jung was to some extent grounded in a difference with regard to how they approached the unconscious. While Freud claimed for psycho-analysis the ability to uncover feelings, memories and desires that exist beyond our conscious awareness, Jung wanted to expand the notion to include archetypical, or inherited, elements. With the migration of psycho-analysis first to America and then to claim for itself a global reach the ruptures in the unconscious were no longer containable at a personal and local level: we are now under the spell of a global unconscious. The most powerful refutation of the unconscious arrived with the scientific demand for verification: since theories of the unconscious are as of yet not empirically falsifiable they cannot be considered properties of science, and therefore not admissible to scientific enquiry, it is claimed. What is at stake, finally, is the scientific status of psycho-analysis itself.
For the upcoming issue of Inscriptions we seek papers that contextualise the unconscious in the domains of art, technology and science. Key questions that are relevant include:
- How are artworks and their meaning shaped by our unconscious?
- How are unconscious elements given expression in art and technology?
- In what ways does it make sense to speak of a global unconscious in art, technology and science?
- Deadline for proposals: 15 September 2018
- Deadline for full manuscripts: 15 October 2018
Academic essays should be 3,000 to 4,500 words. We also seek scholarship in the form of interviews, reviews, short interventions, disputations and rebuffals, and in these cases we are open to shorter texts. Inscriptions adheres to the Chicago Manual of Style (footnotes and bibliography). For other instructions, please see our website. We encourage potential authors to submit proposals for review prior to their writing/submitting entire full-length manuscripts. Include title, proposal (150 words), short biography, and institutional affiliation in your preliminary submission. All academic submissions will undergo double-blind peer review.
We also accept proposal for art projects (images, videos, presentation, etc.) to be curated by our external Guest Editor (TBA).
Submit proposals and art projects through our online platform at https://inscriptions.tankebanen.no/ by 15 September 2018.
Very happy to announce that my latest book – rock philosophy: meditations on art and desire – is out on Vernon Press. It was written largely in Belgrade and Gdynia two years ago, and after some very favourable reviews it has now finally been made available to the general public. The theme of the book is art’s relation to philosophy and reason; it is an attempt to connect reason with desire and the arts to show how creativity can bring us closer to the truth.
The artistic quest for freedom stands in stark contrast to philosophy’s call to subordinate art to reason and tradition. The struggle between them has culminated in artistic attempts to subsume philosophical matters within the domain of art. One central question is what the consequences will be of a final dissolution of the boundary between the two domains: will all that remains of the artwork be an abstract howl of the rock – our rock, the planet – itself?
The book comes complete with a Manifesto to Rock Philosophy. That manifesto and the book’s Introduction can be downloaded for free from the publisher’s website. Philosophy books generally stand at some distance to the mainstream, and prices tend to reflect that fact. However, by ordering directly from the publisher you receive a 24% discount (that’s almost a quarter of the retail price) if you use the code CFC159723D56 on checkout. Find it on https://vernonpress.com/book/494. It is also available from Amazon.
If you like the book and would like to review it there is a page for it on Goodreads where any and all comments are received with thanks.
Our new world order is one in which “information threatens to overwhelm wisdom”: Henry Kissinger has certainly made his mark on our contemporary world, having advised Nixon and masterminded the end of the Cold War. Now Kissinger’s concern is Artificial Intelligence. In an article in The Atlantic Kissinger makes some remarks about a potential divergence between hyperactivity in the social media and art:
Inundated via social media with the opinions of multitudes, users are diverted from introspection; in truth many technophiles use the internet to avoid the solitude they dread. All of these pressures weaken the fortitude required to develop and sustain convictions that can be implemented only by traveling a lonely road, which is the essence of creativity.
In the end, as a man of Kissinger’s wit and intelligence would, he cannot accept a simple adoption of the term Artificial Intelligence. It could be a misnomer, he says, because while
these machines can solve complex, seemingly abstract problems that had previously yielded only to human cognition[,] what they do uniquely is not thinking as heretofore conceived and experienced. Rather, it is unprecedented memorization and computation. Because of its inherent superiority in these fields, AI is likely to win any game assigned to it. But for our purposes as humans, the games are not only about winning; they are about thinking. By treating a mathematical process as if it were a thought process, and either trying to mimic that process ourselves or merely accepting the results, we are in danger of losing the capacity that has been the essence of human cognition.
A statesman, a scientist, a thinker: Henry Kissinger.
Our first edition of Inscriptions is out. The issue is chiefly concerned with the technophilosophy of Wolfgang Schirmacher. Here is an excerpt from the editorial:
In the philosophy of Wolfgang Schirmacher the term medium should be taken quite literally. His is first and foremost a philosophy of the modern mass media and it should be approached as an attempt to understand how a host of novel communicative technologies work in our lives. His notion of Homo generator conceptualises our engagement with a wealth of contemporary channels of communication. To Schirmacher Homo generator is a figure who allows the media to generate entire life worlds, and in this precise sense it is a logic that conforms to Žižek’s idea of interpassivity: our relatively passive complicity in mass mediation allows the mediated world to actively conjure truth, being and an ethical stance in our place. In a word our world and our ethical being is outsourced: we find anchorage in mediated images and it is no longer required of us that we shoulder our being-in-the-world ourselves, as this is a work taken over and actively regenerated by our mediatised figure.
If there is any remnant of Plato in phenomenology after Heidegger it is as a form of consolation. While Plato absorbed the defeat of his city with a call to elevate the philosophers to governors of the state on the grounds that it was the current rulers’ inability to see the truth that had led to Athen’s loss, Schirmacher extends Heidegger’s logic of care to philosophy itself. It is no longer required that the philosopher shoulder the burden of political governance, since the figure of the governor in either case is mediatised and thus returns to us as an image in the media. The philosopher can relax and meditate: we can remain calm and take up a truly Epicurean attitude. Life is there to be lived and finding a way to live a life that is pleasing is part of our constitution in the world.
Inscriptions needs subscribers to our print edition. Please ask your university library to order a subscription from our website, or consider subscribing yourself. Happy reading!
Professor Wolfgang Schirmacher (New School for Social Research, European Graduate School) will be coming to the 2018 Ereignis Seminar in scenic Lofoten, Norway, in October to speak on the event. Will you come?