Mortal Thought: Hölderlin and Philosophy

Mortal Thought: Hölderlin and Philosophy

Bloomsbury Publishing (July 28, 2016)

mortal thought pic


A Moment of Conversation in Shanghai

The Wreckage of Stars: Nietzsche and the Ecstasy of Poetry – The Unstitute

The Unstitute is proud to present the essay ‘The Wreckage of Stars: Nietzsche and the Ecstasy of Poetry’ by Dr James Luchte – available in English for the first time. It has been included in the permanent archive ‘[dis]Corporate Bodies’.

The essay artfully argues against the scholastic traditions of Western academia, the creation of the modern ‘theoretical man’ and the philosophical ‘spectator’, and explores the challenging alternatives presented in Nietzsche’s ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’.

Read the full essay here: [dis]Corporate Bodies 2  – The Wreckage of Stars
Go to: The Wreckage of Stars: Nietzsche and the Ecstasy of Poetry on this site.

Lacan and Psychoanalysis: A Conversation between Andrew Stein and James Luchte

James Luchte

James Luchte

Andrew Stein

Andrew Stein

The following piece is a conversation between psychoanalyst Andrew Stein and philosopher James Luchte on Lacan and psychoanalysis that took place on 22 May 2014.

The conversation was prompted by an invitation by James Luchte to Andrew Stein to comment on his article, ‘Fatal Repetition: Badiou and the Age of the Poets, with an Appendix: A Psychoanalysis of Alain Badiou.

To read the conversation, please visit Lacan and Psychoanalysis: A Conversation between Andrew Stein and James Luchte

Appendix: A Psychoanalysis of Alain Badiou

This piece is an ‘Appendix: A Psychoanalysis of Alain Badiou’ to my essay Fatal Repetition: Badiou and the Age of the Poets, but though it still remains linked to the essay, I believe that it deserves attention on its own as an exploration into the phenomenon of Alain Badiou and as an invitation to a discussion about Alain Badiou, his relation to Lacan, Surrealism, and Poststructuralism.

Appendix: A Psychoanalysis of Alain Badiou


This current deconstruction of Badiou should be taken, along with the myriad other implications of its criticisms of Badiou, in a political sense as a critique of the credibility of his approach to Marx with respect to the derivative and rather conservative advocacy in his philosophy.  In the press, from which he originally emerged as a host of a television programme, he takes often radical and I would argue worthwhile stands.  But, then, there is his philosophy and the particular psychoanalytic obsession that underlies his thought.  This would seem fair game as he has overtly confessed his discipleship to Lacan.  But, what is this psycho-analytic image that underlies his thought, in the sense in which Wittgenstein felt lay below Heidegger?  

To read the rest of the Appendix, please visit  Appendix: ‘A Psychoanalysis of Alain Badiou’

İştirakî 2. Sayı Çıktı! – Ölümcül Tekrar: Badiou ve ‘Şairler Çağı’ (Fatal Repetition: Badiou and the ‘Age of the Poets’)

İştirakî 2. Sayı Çıktı!

‘Ölümcül Tekrar: Badiou ve ‘Şairler Çağı’ (Fatal Repetition: Badiou and the ‘Age of the Poets’) – Istiraki
Translated into Turkish by Mustafa Kerem Yüksel, Istiraki

kapak toplu

A Note on Kant and Bataille

Kant and Bataille emerge as thinkers on either side of the industrial-technological revolution.  Philosophers of the period in between,Bataille - Acephalae such as Hegel, Kierkegaard, Marx and Nietzsche, have argued that the meaning of both reason and the ‘sacred’ have undergone a radical transformation with this historical and existential revolution.  For Kant, reason remains specifically aloof from temporality and history – indeed, as he alludes in the Critique of Judgement, reason emerges with the self-suppression of imagination, of temporal and spatial perspective, in the sublime.  In parallel, his notion of the sacred or true morality, especially that portrayed in the Critique of Practical Reason, admitted no admixture with the imagination and motivations of experience – with temporality.

To read the rest, please visit A Note on Kant and Bataille.

The Body of Sublime Knowledge: The Aesthetic Phenomenology of Arthur Schopenhauer

The Body of Sublime Knowledge:
Arthur Schopenhauer
The Aesthetic Phenomenology of Arthur Schopenhauer

Schopenhauer has been portrayed, since the emergence of the analytic philosophies of Russell and Moore[1], with respect to two primary philosophical results. On the one hand, he is described as a ‘metaphysician’ of the Will. On the other hand, he is depicted as an ‘ethicist’ of the tragic self-denial of the Will. Indeed, there is much evidence for such interpretations in his magnum opus. Yet, the collateral effect of our captivation to this picture of mere philosophical results has been to render Schopenhauer’s philosophy into a closed circle or a philosophical dead-end.

Indeed, even the rare admissions of his influence upon major philosophers such as Nietzsche and Wittgenstein[2] have been accompanied by a decided suppression of any consideration of the philosophical context of Schopenhauer’s original questioning and of the specific meaning of ‘metaphysics’ amid his post-Kantian horizons. Until the last decade or so, the usual attitude to the philosophy of Schopenhauer has been dominated by the prejudicial legacy of the logical positivists – and other anti-metaphysicians – with their respective dismissals of ‘metaphysical’ philosophies. For these iconoclasts, the philosophy of Schopenhauer is a contradictory, idiosyncratic – but above all metaphysical – teaching which sought, due to its own weakness or obscurity (or, Orientalism), to escape from the facticity of existence.[3] Of course, Nietzsche could be blamed for some aspects of this picture of Schopenhauer.

To read the rest of the essay, please visit The Body of Sublime Knowledge.

Imagination in Kant’s First Critique

philosophy-kant-05The IMAGINATION then, I consider either as primary, or secondary. The primary IMAGINATION I hold to be the living Power and prime Agent of all human Perception, and as a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM. The secondary Imagination I consider as an echo of the former, co-existing with the conscious will, yet still as identical with the primary in the kind of its agency, and differing only in degree, and in the mode of operation. It dissolves, diffuses, dissipates, in order to recreate; or where this process is rendered impossible, yet still at all events it struggles to idealise and unify. It is essentially vital, even as all objects (as objects) are essentially fixed and dead.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria

Kant describes two stems of knowledge in the Introduction to the Critique of Pure Reason, a distinction between sensibility and understanding which becomes ever more elaborate as we examine the relationship between the two stems.  We will find that the explication of this relationship necessitates an examination of the primary role of the imagination in the grounding of synthetic a priori judgments.  In other words, through a consideration of the relationship betwixt the faculties of sensibility and understanding, and of the transcendental distance which separates them, we will begin to comprehend the necessity of a third primary faculty of knowledge, but one, paradoxically for Kant, which will not ultimately be considered either as a root, or a stem of knowledge.

To read the rest of the essay, please visit Imagination in Kant’s First Critique.

A Camera is a Paintbrush: Kant contra Scruton

A Camera is a Paintbrush

It is not amiss, however, to remind the reader of this: that in all free arts something of a compulsory character is still required, or, as it is called, a mechanism, without which the spirit, which in art must be free, and which alone gives life to the work, would be bodyless and evanescent (e.g. in the poetic art there must be correctness and wealth of language, likewise prosody and metre).

Kant, Critique of Judgement, ‘Art in General’, pp. 133-134

As with his British forebears of the 18th century, Addison, Hutcheson and Burke, that which makes art aesthetic for Kant is the pleasure that is incited in the experience of art, or, as transcendentally indicated, of the harmony of the faculties conjured by the purposiveness of the object disclosed in aesthetic reflection.  The pleasure is essential in that it alone distinguishes art as aesthetic from art (making) that is merely technical (production).  However, the invocation of pleasure, for Kant, demands a clarification in the form of a distinction between fine art and agreeable art (entertainment).  The latter is an art of enjoyment oriented to sensual pleasure (and is thus not purely aesthetic), while the former is an art of reflection and is ocamerapaintbrushriented to the act of reflective judgment. 

Nevertheless, in both cases that which distinguishes art as aesthetic from art as mere mechanism is the pleasure that is invoked in the mere judging of the aesthetic object.  As Kant writes: ‘For, whether we are dealing with beauty of nature or beauty of art, we may make the universal statement: that is beautiful which pleases in the mere judging of it (not in sensation or by means of a concept).’ Fine art, in this way, manifests the pure aesthetic character as it is a free making of a free spirit, as Kant has alluded in the epigram.  Fine art, for Kant, is that which brings forth, seamlessly, an object of free making that provokes a universal esteem, the expression of which is disclosed in the articulation of a universal communicability, as the discourse of a sensus communis.

To read more of this essay, please visit A Camera is a Paintbrush

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