Critical Inquiry Critical Inquiry

Summer 2002

Volume 28 Issue 4
    • 803François JullienTranslated by Janet Lloyd
    • Philosophy undoubtedly was fixated on truth. In the first place it was formally tied to it and explicitly attached the highest value to it. But also, once its insistence was recognized, it stayed with truth and never freed itself from it. From then on it never ceased to set its sights on truth, never shifted. It was in the “plain of truth,” where principles and forms lurk, unchanging, that philosophy continued to “graze.”1 There, it proceeded tirelessly to build upon foundations of theory towering constructions from which the truth could be “contemplated”; and there it delved, following the subterranean paths of reflection in search of hidden deposits. Higher and higher it soared to discover the truth, and deeper and deeper it dug for it, never abandoning that objective, never clearing a different path for thought to follow.

      François Jullien is the director of the Institut Marcel Granet at Université Paris–VII–Denis Diderot. He is the author of, among other works, The Propensity of Things: Toward a History of Efficacy in China (1995) and Detour and Access: Strategies of Meaning in China and Greece (2000). His latest book is entitled Du ‘Temps’: Éléments d’une philosophie du vivre (2001).

    • 825Geoffrey Winthrop‐Young
    • This may be an odd—and oddly offensive—tidbit of collective pop psychology, but it is not without insight. Indeed, what was the goal of German terrorism? To expose the fascist core underneath the democratic veneer and thus incite an overthrow of the U.S.‐sponsored capitalist system. In other words, starting with the Baader‐Meinhof group’s “war of the six against sixty million,” German terrorism was committed to continuing the war against a fascist Germany that, contrary to common assumptions, had not ended in 1945. Not coincidentally, the very name adopted by the terrorists, Rote Armee Fraktion (Red Army Faction) or RAF, recalls both the Russian Red Army and the British Royal Air Force, two military units instrumentally involved in the (incomplete) destruction of the Third Reich. However, judging by the well‐known self‐descriptions popular among the participants—from Stadtguerrilla (urban guerilla) to Befreiungskämpfer (liberation struggle)—the military scenario that provided Western middle‐class metropolitan unrest with most of its martial props and tropes was not the Second World War but the postwar wave of anti‐imperialist liberation struggles.

      Geoffrey Winthrop‐Young is associate professor of German in the department of central, eastern, and northern European studies at the University of British Columbia.

    • 855O. K. Werckmeister
    • The history of European art since the French Revolution has been conditioned by an increasing disparity between the relentless modernization of the capitalist economy and an art at odds with the social consequences of modernization that was called modern nonetheless. Before, the querelle des anciens et modernes had been fought out, and eventually resolved, in an artistic culture ideologically diverse yet institutionally cohesive. Now it was to perpetuate itself by aligning artistic breakthroughs with a principled dissent from social norms of aesthetic expression. The result was a two‐track history of art in which traditional and modern art kept coexisting in mutually adversarial postures. The political culture of democracy has blunted their confrontation by accommodating modern art as an art of free expression. Still, politically disenfranchised middle‐class and upper‐middle‐class segments of the public have persisted in making modern art into an aesthetic venue of opposition to the social order. Because capitalist modernization left enduring social conflicts in its wake, adversaries, advocates, or both took modern art for a vicarious expression of political dissent, whether modern artists intended it or not.

      Otto Karl Werckmeister, Mary Jane Crowe Distinguished Professor emeritus of art history at Northwestern University, has recently returned to his native city of Berlin. This critical essay is related to his book‐in‐progress, The Political Confrontation of the Arts from the Great Depression to the Second World War, 1929–1939.

    • 868J. M. Mancini
    • By discovering Viking America, Anderson was able, at the most vulnerable moment in the trajectory of acculturation, to fashion an immigrant history of his own and to script his group’s entry onto the American stage.Anderson himself was the beneficiary of an earlier Norwegian immigrant strategy that began to come to fruition in his own generation: the choice to move west rather than to settle in the urban industrial centers of the east. This decision placed Norwegian immigrants at the physical and political margins of the nation. Within this frontier context, which had the added benefit of seeming less threatening to the native born than the wards that bore America’s urban immigrant politicians, Norwegian Americans enjoyed their first major political successes. Indeed, their ascent within the American power structure in the second generation was predicated not on their assimilation (as frontier theorists might have expected), as much as on their ability to consolidate the political margin.

      J. M. Mancini is college lecturer in the department of history at University College Cork—National University of Ireland, Cork. She has just completed a book manuscript entitled The Structure of an Artistic Revolution: The Critical Origins of American Modernism. She is currently working on a book to be entitled The Global Anthology: Hearing Country, Folk, and World Music Metadiscursively. “Discovering Viking America” is the first in a series of essays that will consider the historiography of migration from an international perspective.

    • 908Ian Hunter
    • In order to break out of this weary standoff it is necessary to radically reorient our approach to Kant’s moral philosophy. We must learn to see its formal purity, not in terms of the pursuit of rational grounds, but as an aspiration arising from the incitement to and cultivation of a certain kind of moral purity. This viewpoint cannot be reached by asking the familiar questions: What is Kant’s pure moral law and how is it known and validated? Does Kant rely solely on the rational purity of the moral law in making judgments, or does he also allow the feelings and inclinations to play a part? Can morality be founded in formal insight into rational grounds or does it require the cultivation of moral character and the acknowledgment of moral community? Instead, if we are to acquire the level of detachment needed to understand the manner in which Kant’s philosophy takes hold of us, we must learn to ask a different kind of question: What is it that first leads us to turn to ourselves in expectation of finding within the commanding presence of a pure moral law? How do we first come to think of ourselves as beings divided between the freedom of a pure intellect and the desires of a sensuous nature? What must we do to ourselves—performing what inner exercises using what intellectual instruments—to acquire the deportment of someone who hears and obeys the commands of a higher rational self?

      Ian Hunter is Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow in the Centre for History of European Discourses, University of Queensland. He is the author of several works on early modern political and moral thought, including most recently Rival Enlightenments: Civil and Metaphysical Philosophy in Early Modern Germany (2001). With David Saunders he is coeditor of Natural Law and Civil Sovereignty and of a new edition of Andrew Tooke’s first English translation of Samuel Pufendorf’s De officio, the Whole Duty of Man, both of which are to be published in 2002.

    • 930Fernando Vidal
    • The constructionist Foucauldian orientation poses a challenge opposite to that of the philosophical. Philosophers’ narratives focus on the concept of self or on discourses from which the concept can supposedly be inferred. Historians, in contrast, tend to overlook the concept, as if its history qua concept played no role in instituting the regimes of the self. Although I do not assume an underlying perennial self, what I have done here is obviously closer to the history of ideas than to genealogy. Nevertheless, I want to suggest that concepts have their own efficacy and should be incorporated into genealogy as active agents. In the same way that, say, child‐rearing techniques are not about the self nor applied to it as a preexisting object, debates about the resurrection of the body were not about identity, nor were the issues discussed in connection with them contemplated as puzzle cases in the philosophy of mind. Rather, they were among the materials with which notions of identity were elaborated and through which, historically, such notions came into existence. This became apparent in the wake of Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding, when the resurrection of the body was explicitly linked to personal identity. The “modern” regimes of self, and the corresponding ways of experiencing oneself, were thus connected to the development of new concepts of the self. The redefinition of the resurrected identity belonged in the construction of new models of being based less on the hierarchical subordination of the body to the soul than on a generative subordination of selfhood to the brain and to an objectified self‐consciousness.

      Fernando Vidal is professor at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin and the author of Piaget before Piaget (1994).