Infancy and History: The Destruction of Experience
How and why did experience and knowledge become separated? Is it possible to talk of an infancy of experience, a “dumb” experience? For Walter Benjamin, the “poverty of experience” was a characteristic of modernity, originating in the catastrophe of the First World War. For Giorgio Agamben, the Italian editor of Benjamin’s complete works, the destruction of experience no longer needs catastrophes: daily life in any modern city will suffice.
Agamben’s profound and radical exploration of language, infancy, and everyday life traces concepts of experience through Kant, Hegel, Husserl and Benveniste. In doing so he elaborates a theory of infancy that throws new light on a number of major themes in contemporary thought: the anthropological opposition between nature and culture; the linguistic opposition between speech and language; the birth of the subject and the appearance of the unconscious. Agamben goes on to consider time and history; the Marxist notion of base and superstructure (via a careful reading of the famous Adorno–Benjamin correspondence on Baudelaire’s Paris); and the difference between rituals and games. Beautifully written, erudite and provocative, these essays will be of great interest to students of philosophy, linguistics, anthropology and politics.
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TIME AND HISTORY
THE PRINCE AND THE FROG
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Adorno Aggada aion Antiquity become Benjamin Benveniste chronological churinga concept of history consciousness crib critique culture dead defined Descartes diachrony and synchrony dialectical differential margin discourse ence endosomatic esosomatic essence eternity event existence experimentum linguae fact fairy tale G.W.F. Hegel gesture Giorgio Agamben Halacha Hegel Hegelian historicism human language human voice individual instant interpretation knowledge Levi-Strauss linguistic living Marxist matter and truth meaning mediation medieval metaphysics miniaturization modern mysticism myth mythic nature negation Neoplatonic never object opposition origin origin of language passage past Phenomenology of Spirit philology philosophy poetry possible praxis precisely present psychic psychology pure language question rational psychology reality relationship rites ritual and play sacred semiotic semiotic and semantic sense societies speak speech sphere structure and superstructure subject matter temporal thing thought tion total social process transcendental subject transformation transl truth content unstable signifiers voice vulgar Walter Benjamin words
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Ancient & Modern: Time, Culture and Indigenous Philosophy
Limited preview - 2004