do, no one else is so
capable of it or so ready for it. He could .
It’s a free country. But it will take a change of
consciousness. So phenomenology becomes politics. 15
When reading Cavell – on
anything and also on film – I come away with the strong sense
Sustainability, subject and necessity in Yann Martel’s Life of
and the speculative real. I then turn to considering Life of Pi’s emphasis
on a human-centred stance, alongside its apparent recalibrating of the
subject horizon as a sustainable world is engendered.
Sustainability and the human project
A number of sustainability’s tensions and paradoxes and their nuances
have been teased out across the essays in this collection. This final essay
considers sustainability from the perspective of opacity itself. That is, it
addresses the issue that sustainability is premised upon projected notions
that are variously indistinct or
The beginning of aesthetic theory and the end of art
individuality. In the view which argues for
the limits of the reﬂection model it is precisely the ontological gap between
myself and the other inherent in the fact of immediate self-consciousness which
gives rise to the need for new forms of articulation and expression. While these
forms are intersubjectively constituted – Beethoven uses many of the musical
conventions of his time – they can yet be employed in unique, individual ways.
Let us see, then, how Hegel arrives at his position. The Phenomenology of
Spirit (PG) (1807) is an account of the stages of this process of
This book engages in a critical encounter with the work of Stanley Cavell on cinema, focusing skeptical attention on the claims made for the contribution of cinema to the ethical character of democratic life. In much of Cavell's writing on film he seeks to show us that the protagonists of the films he terms "remarriage comedies" live a form of perfectionism that he upholds as desirable for contemporary democratic society: moral perfectionism. Films are often viewed on television, and television shows can have "filmlike" qualities. The book addresses the nature of viewing cinematic film as a mode of experience, arguing against Cavell that it is akin to dreaming rather than lived consciousness and, crucially, cannot be shared. It mirrors the celebrated dialogue between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Jean D'Alembert on theatre. The book articulates the implications of philosophical pessimism for addressing contemporary culture in its relationship to political life. It clarifies how The Americans resembles the remarriage films and can illuminate the issues they raise. The tragedy of remarriage, would be a better instructor of a democratic community, if such a community were prepared to listen. The book suggests that dreaming, both with and without films, is not merely a pleasurable distraction but a valuable pastime for democratic citizens. Finally, it concludes with a robust response from Dienstag to his critics.
reconstruction. To put it rather tersely, MerleauPonty’s phenomenology does not believe there is anything beyond
Plato’s cave and its shadowplay. He does occasionally entertain
concepts such as a ‘primordial silence’, but only so as to set up a
notional final backdrop against which the apparent silence of ‘pure
thought’ may be revealed as a thoroughly linguistic hubbub (‘bruissant de paroles’) of ready-made phrases that form the ‘fond obscur’
Read with a certain bias of attention, then, phenomenology’s
account of our relation to this factitious nothing, which
recognition by calling attention to
the nature of self-consciousness. His great innovation is to show that
consciousness is always consciousness of something other than itself –
both inanimate objects and animate others. Hegel's phenomenology of
consciousness was popularized when it deeply informed the thinking of
leading French scholars such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty,
Jacques Lacan, Emmanuel
Phenomenology of Spirit ( 1977 ) prepares the student to grapple with
his system of Logic ( 1975 ) by positing
that the dialectic between consciousness and self-consciousness is a
necessary existential as well as philosophical pursuit. Does it
prepare the student to recognize the Abyssinian general?
Over a number of different sections of The
Phenomenology , Hegel replays the
Ahmed, S. (2014c). ‘Practical phenomenology’, Feministkilljoys.com (4 June),
https://feministkilljoys.com/2014/06/04/practical-phenomenology/ (accessed 3
Ahmed, S. (2014d). ‘Hard’, Feministkilljoys.com (10 June), https://feministkilljoys.
com/2014/06/10/hard/ (accessed 3 September 2018).
Ahmed, S. (2014e). ‘Fragility’, Feministkilljoys.com (14 June), https://feministkilljoys.
com/2014/06/14/fragility/ (accessed 3 September 2018).
Ahmed, S. (2017). Living a Feminist Life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Braidotti, R. (2006
descriptive imperatives and a retrieval of conceptuality could be sharpened. Heidegger is suspicious of a conceptuality which sets itself up in opposition to an already given order,
and rather supposes that what there is must be conjured into revealing itself to an
attentive composing thinking.41 The virtue of Husserl’s phenomenology as far as
Heidegger is concerned is that it oﬀers this possibility of revealing what is not already
given, instead extracting what there is from its concealment in everyday taken-forgranted relations. Heidegger and Adorno thus share a suspicion
perceptible objects. Edmund Husserl, for instance, in his landmark
study of phenomenology, argued that objects are things that can be handled,
displayed and most importantly seen.27 Yet sensation as a historical phenomenon included a more complex approach to materiality than Husserl allows.
For example, a fifteenth-century English censer highlighted in the Victoria and
Albert Museum’s ‘Making Sense of an Object’ series is, literally, defined by
its olfactory use.28 Though it is implied by its name, its scent, frankincense,
rarely accompanies its display; even if it did