Suggested Readings

June 10 – Mill – On Liberty

The classic 19th century defence of free speech.

June 24 – Berlin – Two Concepts of Liberty

Isaiah Berlin’s distinction between negative and positive freedoms: freedom from and freedom to.

July 8 – Strawson – Freedom and Resentment

An incredibly influential theory about compatibilism and moral responsibility.

August 12 – Arendt – What is Freedom?

Hannah Arendt argues that freedom is primarily about action in the public square.

August 26 – Rothbard – For a New Liberty

The right-libertarian manifesto.

Sept 2 – Friedman – Freedom and Capitalism

Milton Friedman argues that free markets and free political systems go hand in hand.

Sept 16 – Graeber – Possibilities (Maybe)

An anarchist anthropologist discusses capitalism, slavery, and democracy.

Sept 30 – Pippin – Hegel’s Practical Philosophy

Robert Pippin argues that Hegel’s idea of freedom is a historical compatibilism.

Oct 14 – Pippin – Hegel’s Practical Philosophy

Oct 28 – Pippin – Hegel’s Practical Philosophy

Nov 11 – Parijs – Real Freedom for All

A left-libertarian account of material freedom.  This was influential for one of our previous readings, Inventing the Future.

Nov 25 – Parijs – Real Freedom for All

Dec 9 – Parijs – Real Freedom for All


Ideas for Upcoming Readings

An updated, tentative schedule:

  • 1. Jan 30: Hannah Arendt, The Portable Arendt
    • Part 4: Work, Labor, Action
  • 2. Feb 13: Hannah Arendt, The Portable Arendt
    • Part 4: The Public and the Private Realm
  • 3. Feb 27: Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism
    • Chapter 9: “The Decline of the Nation State and the End of the Rights of Man”
  • 5. March 26: Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1
    • Part 1: We Other Victorians
    • Part 2: The Repressive Hypothesis
  • 6. April 9: Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1
    • Part 5: Right of Death and Power Over Life
  • 7. April 23: Michel Foucault, Society Must Be Defended
    • Chapter 11: March 17, 1976
    • Course Summary
  • 8. Date TBA: Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer
    • Introduction
    • Part 1: “The Logic of Sovereignty”
      • § I The Paradox of Sovereignty
      • §2 ‘Nomos Basileus’
    • Politics, Metaphysics, and Death: Essays on Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer
      • Andrew Norris – “Introduction: Giorgio Agamben and the Politics of the Living Dead”
  • 9. Date TBA: Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer
    • Part 1: The Logic of Sovereignty
      • § 3 Potentiality and Law
      • §4 Form of Law
      • Threshold
  • 10. Date TBA: Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer
    • Part 2: “Homo Sacer”
      • § I Homo Sacer
      • § 2 The Ambivalence of the Sacred
      • § 3 Sacred Life
      • §4 ‘Vitae Necisque Potestas’
  • 11: Date TBA: Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer
    • Part 2: “Homo Sacer”
      • § 5 Sovereign Body and Sacred Body
      • § 6 The Ban and the Wolf
      • Threshold
  • 12: Date TBA: Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer
    • Part 3: “The Camp as a Biopolitical Paradigm of the Modern”
      • § I The Politicization of Life
      • § 2 Biopolitics and the Rights of Man
      • § 3 Life That Does Not Deserve to Live
      • §4 ‘Politics, or Giving Form to the Life of a People’
  • 13: Date TBA: Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer
    • Part 3: “The Camp as a Biopolitical Paradigm of the Modern”
      • § 5 VP
      • §6 Politicizing Death
      • §7 The Camp as the ‘Nomos’of the Modern
      • Threshold

An Economic Problem of Terror (abstract)

On Saturday, November 18th, I will present a paper called “”The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself: An Economic Problem of Terror.” Here is the abstract for the paper. We will meet at 4:00pm at Cafe Boiling Pot. The paper will take about 20-25 minutes to read through, but of course interruptions are welcome.

A long tradition within philosophy distinguishes fear from anxiety on the basis of their objects: fear is an emotion in response to an object; anxiety is an emotion with no (or perhaps all) objects. Given this separation, how are we to understand a fear of “fear itself”? Drawing on the analysis of fear in Being and Time, this paper argues that Heidegger’s remarks on terror [Entsetzen] are in fact indistinguishable from his analysis of Angst except that Angst seems to know it has no object, whereas terror clings to the illusion of being proportionate to some threatening object. This philosophical analysis, moreover, besets not only the philosophical discourse of terror but also the political discourse of terrorism. So-called “terrorism fear” suffers the economic problem of having a disproportionately high degree of (subjective) excitement in relation to its lack of object, an imbalance that leads terrorism fear to craft its own object rather than merely detecting it.

Helpful Pre-reading

The play Antigone is pretty important to the next reading, so you might want to have some familiarity with it.  The text is easily found online.  Even Wiki’s plot summary is probably enough.

December 14th Meeting

We will meet at 4:00pm on December 14th at The Boiling Pot in Sinchon (Click here for directions).

We are still reading Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, and last time we stopped at paragraph 190. We discussed taking a break from reading the book in order to consider the impact of Hegel’s writing on self-consciousness on later thinkers. To that end, here are some suggestions about how we might proceed. The idea is that various participants will each choose one thinker and provide some overview about that thinker’s engagement with Hegel regarding self-consciousness, recognition, life, desire, the master-slave dialectic–basically anything that appears in “B. Self-Consciousness” of the Phenomenology. In order to ensure some consistency between discussions and overall unity, how about we try to follow a few guidelines.

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