Tag Archives | Deleuze

Against Imagination


Does imagination create or distort our experience of the world? Oxford scholar Reidar Due turns to Spinoza, Deleuze and Kant, in order to establish imagination's relation to philosophy, the arts and science and ask: Does imagination liberate us or alienate us from reality, others and ourselves?

Reidar Due via Four by Three Magazine:

One often thinks that imagination is a good thing, that is, one thinks it is better to have imagination than not. Someone who is said to have no imagination is meant to be dull, erotically numb, politically astute etc. In this sense, to us moderns’, imagination is a placeholder for other positive values. It stands for freedom and receptivity, transcendence and innovation, excitement and inspiration. It is noteworthy that neither Ancient Greek philosophers nor Latin Medieval philosophers spent much time discussing imagination. The value of imagination is tied to the notion that truth and poetic creativity are dependent on novelty. It is against this background that Spinoza formulates a powerful critique of imagination along several axes. On the one hand, the imaginative psychological attitudes of hope and fear are ethically destructive, because they orient themselves towards that, which does not exist. On the other hand, ideas that we have about other people are often caused, not by an appreciation of them in their own right, but by an articulation of the effect that they have upon us. Hence we like and dislike people, because we imagine them, on the basis of our own vulnerable self-esteem, to be such and such, whereas they may be, in fact, very different. Finally, an intellectual grasp of reality, an adequate intellectual appropriation of nature, takes the form of conceptual or intuitive thinking, neither of which involves imagination. From Spinoza we thus get the view that imagination serves to imprison the subject within its own private thought and to bar the way towards an adequate appreciation of reality. The same perceptive is presented by the twentieth century philosopher Gilles Deleuze.

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Matthew Calarco: Animal Rights Beyond Anthropocentrism

calarcoTraditional contemporary animal rights issues are mostly founded on an assumption that we have solid definitions of what constitutes a “human” and what constitutes an “animal”. What if our definitions of these terms are called into question? What does the animal rights issue look like if we construct our ideas about humanity and animality in different ways? Are our lines dividing humanity and animality solidly drawn, or can they bleed and bend, perhaps be drawn in completely different ways?

Philosophy professor and author of Zoographies Matthew Calarco approaches animal rights from a standpoint of continental philosophy: if our definitions of what a “human” is and what an “animal” is are not firmly set, then our consideration of animal rights, if not all of ethics, can enter entirely different areas the current dialog excludes.

via On Human-Nonhuman Relations:

1) Why do you think is important to employ continental philosophy for the animal question?

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