By Anthony Stavrianakis, Monday, September 12, 2016 - 06:45

Kant’s anthropology’s was pragmatic. It was however also, resolutely modern. The question for us might then be: what is the ratio or proportionality between a modern pragmatic anthropology, and one oriented to the contemporary?

Such a question thus retains the “pragmatic point of view” that Kant argued for: such an orientation asks what the human being as a free acting being can and...

By lyle, Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 01:19



I write this in response to the stimulating discussion in the current issue of HAU on the anthropology of the contemporary, and in particular in response to Rabinow and Stavrianakis' discussion of the insistent problem of the "heterogeneity" of anthropology's object. Drawing on Kant, they emphasize that "a single answer [to the problem of human being] betrays...

By Anthony Stavrianakis, Friday, April 1, 2016 - 06:05

“Consolation : comfort received by a person after a loss or disappointment.”

In Hans Blumenberg’s philosophical anthropological assessment, consolation is a determining historical and anthropological practice. It makes the contingency of human existence bearable, demanded with respect to the intensifying contingency of life under conditions of modernity. Consolation is soothing, in...

By Paul Rabinow, Saturday, March 7, 2015 - 14:45

Series: Double-bind⇒reproach ⇒ self-justification
We have explored double binds from time to time. We have noted that they are almost always saturated with unequal power relations. We remarked that the best way to deal with them is to focus on the power relations; either by reversing or minimizing their asymmetries or at least by producing a narrative about them for others to see....

By lyle, Sunday, February 15, 2015 - 00:57

 The Vienna-based International Peace Foundation recently brought to Singapore "Bridges: Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace," its strange model of spreading the ideals of "peace" through lectures by Nobel Prize winners in various scientific fields. When I walked into the lecture hall on the central NTU campus I saw a half-filled auditorium bathed in the...

By Paul Rabinow, Sunday, February 8, 2015 - 12:05

A much praised graduate student in anthropology, attended the first labinar session.
People from five different disciplines introduced themselves and what they were working on.
A brief introduction to our mode of work ensued. The first week is a short one.
The much praised one did not return: he was quoted as saying that he did not understand and it was all new to him.

By Royal, Friday, February 6, 2015 - 09:48

אֶֽחֱזוּ־לָ֙נוּ֙ שֽׁוּעָלִ֔ים שֽׁוּעָלִ֥ים קְטַנִּ֖ים מְחַבְּלִ֣ים כְּרָמִ֑ים וּכְרָמֵ֖ינוּ סְמָדַֽר׃

By Royal, Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 15:44

You shall leave everything you love most dearly: 

that is the arrow that the bow of exile 

By Paul Rabinow, Wednesday, February 4, 2015 - 07:11

Admissions to graduate school used to be done in a Saturday meeting by the whole faculty.
In recent years this democratic and collegial procedure has been stripped down and finally eliminated.
Some claimed that the passionate pleas and special pleading were "violent."
The new system replaces the public special pleading with behind the scenes special pleading.

By Paul Rabinow, Sunday, February 1, 2015 - 11:53

When one is being excluded (marginalized, ostracized, neglected, etc.) there is a temptation to respond in a mode of:
Heroic irony. One must bear up under the slights and one must find a mode of distancing.
Much better: recalcitrance. Refuse the reproaches. Above all refuse irony.

By Paul Rabinow, Sunday, February 1, 2015 - 08:25

Thirty years ago, Leo Lowenthal, last member of the original Frankfurt School, remarked to me concerning some colleagues
that they were: militantly petit-bourgeois. They sought to be respectable. They were submissive in practice although they wrote
about critical thinkers. They dressed like provincial professors and their houses were furnished in the same manner. They were

By Paul Rabinow, Sunday, February 1, 2015 - 08:14

Teaching Foucault's "Savoir et Pouvoir" strangely translated as "truth and power," I realized that Berkeley students
would have no idea of what the hegemony of the French Communist Party and Marxism could mean. So it occurred to
me that our current political correctness was an equivalent. There is a great deal of evidence to support this intuition.
Perhaps it is worth...

By Paul Rabinow, Sunday, February 1, 2015 - 08:10

Two poles of exclusion: ostracism and pariah-ness.
There has been a multi year effort in our department to ostracism the most senior and productive faculty.
As this is illegal and as the most senior faculty are also by far the most productive faculty, these efforts have stalled.
This has not stopped the gossip and rumor mill: a colleague at UCSF was quoted as saying the...

By Anthony Stavrianakis, Thursday, January 22, 2015 - 06:29

We recall what Foucault drew out from Baudelaire's reflection on and characterization of Constantin Guys as the painter of modern life, his close attention to the depravity of the human animal combined with the maxim, "you have no right to despise the present."

At the funeral of Stephane Charbonnier, one of the murdered satirists of Charlie Hebdo, his colleague, fellow satirist Luz,...

By Royal, Thursday, January 15, 2015 - 15:46

In his Christmas greetings, Pope Francis named fifteen diseases which weaken the body of the Curia. While reading the papal address I was immediately reminded of our ongoing conversations and inquiry into the minor vices.

". . . since the Curia is a dynamic body, it cannot live without nourishment and care. . . like any human body, it is also exposed to diseases, malfunctioning,...

By lyle, Monday, January 5, 2015 - 00:21

In Michel Foucault's lectures on the Hermeneutics of the Subject, he warns that the modern configuration of truth and the subject can no longer lead to "the point of enlightenment and fulfillment" in which the subject is "transfigur[ed] by the 'rebound effect' of the truth he knows." Instead, "access to the truth, whose sole condition is henceforth knowledge, will find reward and fulfillment...

By lyle, Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 21:57

It is striking how often Americans talk about suffering from procrastination.  When things aren't finished in due order, procrastination is the most frequently used of the "minor" rationales or justifications (illness, the dog ate it, etc. being more major, at least when sincere).  I certainly have done so on many occasions.  Literally meaning to "put off to tomorrow", the...

By lyle, Sunday, November 30, 2014 - 08:07

A Proposal to the Academy: Replace impact factor, h-index, and citation rank with the T-index. T as in Truth. Your scholarship is assessed in terms of how true it is.

By Gaymon Bennett, Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 09:39

NSF workshop on the future of ethics, science studies, and synthetic biology.

Our initial critical stance in human practices was articulated as the problem of flourishing and the life of science, understood as an outside to prosperity and amelioration. Seven years on, the first speaker at the workshop voiced frustration at not being allowed to ask the question if synthetic biology is...

By lyle, Thursday, November 6, 2014 - 21:34

As our diagnoses of minor vices accumulate, are we thinking about how they are related to each other? Maybe a diagram would help . . . .