David LaRocca‘s recent essay “The Education of Grown-ups: An Aesthetics of Reading Cavell” has been published by The Journal of Aesthetic Education. The article is already available in the JAE print edition (Vol. 47, No. 2, Summer 2013, 109-131). Once live at JSTOR, the essay will be available online here as well.
The International Journal of Philosophical Studies has recently published a new article by Chantal Bax that will no doubt be of interest to our readers. The article is titled “Reading On Certainty through the Lens of Cavell: Scepticism, Dogmatism and the ‘Groundlessness of our Believing’” and can be accessed here.
The Karl Jaspers Society of North America invites proposals for papers that compare Jaspers and Heidegger with respect to their analyses of Vincent van Gogh. Special priority will be given to proposals pertaining to the “world” of the artist or his work. For instance, papers may address any of the following questions, or questions within the same topical range: How do Jaspers and Heidegger take van Gogh to illustrate what it means to belong to a world? What is the significance of Jaspers focusing more on the artist’s world and Heidegger focusing more on the world of the artwork itself? What might the world of van Gogh’s work tell us about transcendence? How do Jaspers and Heidegger take van Gogh to illustrate the transformative power of art for the world that encompasses us? How might the different perspectives of these philosophers, or the life and work of van Gogh himself, inform the future of art interpretation, especially with respect to world? We also welcome treatments of other philosophers who have written about van Gogh: Bataille, Derrida, etc.
Selected papers will be presented at one of two APA panel meetings: the Central Division meeting (February 26-March 1, 2014) or the Pacific Division meeting (San Diego: April 14-19, 2014). Papers will also be considered for publication in Existenz.
Send a one-page proposal (200 words) to the program chair listed below by May 31, 2013. Earlier submissions are appreciated.
Program chair: David Nichols, email@example.com
You’ll have noticed that I’m fiddling with the site design some. Feedback most welcome! You can comment or contact me here. CL
I’m thrilled to announce two new additions to the blog’s Editorial Board!
Dalmar Hussein is a PhD student in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, and Patricia Marechal is a PhD student in the Philosophy Department at Harvard. Both have an abiding interest in and commitment to the future of Ordinary Language Philosophy. You can read more about Dalmar and Patricia on our About page.
I very much look forward to their contributions to OLP & Literary Studies Online!
I mean to see Terrence Malick’s most recent film, To the Wonder, this week. In preparation I’ve returned to Jon Baskin‘s 2010 essay (pre Tree of Life) on what he refers to as Malick’s “Perspective.” The essay originally appeared in The Point, a Chicago-based print journal he founded with fellow-Social-Thought-students Jonny Thakkar and Etay Zwick. It remains the most convincing ‘read’ of Malick I’ve encountered (say the most compelling witness), and more than that, a rich meditation on what it is to proceed, not by argument so much as by vision. Below you’ll find the opening paragraphs and a link to the full article. CL
Q’orianka Kilcher, as Pocahontas in Terrence Malick’s The New World (2005)
One man looks at a dying bird and thinks there’s nothing but unanswered pain, that death’s got the final word … Another man sees that same bird, feels the glory.
— Welsh, The Thin Red Line
Is it the essence of the artistic way of looking at things, that it looks at the world with a happy eye?
— Wittgenstein, Notebooks
The director of four films beginning with Badlands in 1973, Terrence Malick studied philosophy with Stanley Cavell at Harvard before abandoning a doctorate on Heidegger, Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein. A promising journalist and academic—as well as an outstanding high school football player—in 1969 Malick published what is still the authoritative translation of Heidegger’s The Essence of Reasons. That same year he ended his academic career and enrolled alongside David Lynch and Paul Schrader in the American Film Institute’s new conservatory, developed to encourage “film as art” in America. Although his background has long encouraged commentators to investigate his influences and sources, Malick’s films also merit consideration as artistic achievements that confront their audiences with a distinctive experience. Like any great filmmaker, Malick demands that we see in a new way. Unlike most filmmakers, his films are also about the problem of seeing—that is, of perspective.
Each of Malick’s films presents a conversation or debate between what he suggests is the dominant Western worldview and a competing perspective. Malick follows Heidegger in identifying the Western worldview with the Enlightenment drive to systematize and conquer nature. According to this point of view, man demonstrates his significance through technical and scientific mastery—and on an individual level, he falls into insignificance when he fails to win the acclaim of other men. The competing perspective in Malick’s films is the artistic or filmic perspective, of which the paragon example is Malick’s camera itself. Malick’s goal as a filmmaker is to educate the human eye to see like his camera does. If our habits of vision are characterized by ambition, skepticism and greed, Malick inspires us with the virtues of patience, appreciation and awe. He offers not new facts or arguments but persuasive images of the world as if filtered through such virtues. Alongside these images he presents a character in each film who expresses, with increasing confidence and dignity, the point of view epitomized by the camera. These characters conceive of a power or location they can only gesture toward with words: “Sometimes I wished I could fall asleep and be taken off to some magical land, but this never happened,” says Holly in Badlands. “I’ve seen another world—sometimes I think it was just my imagination,” says Witt in The Thin Red Line.
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