- Connecting with our children for a more compassionate world.
- A Framework for Extraordinary Relationships Without Guilt, Shame or Fear
- The Talking Cure of Avoidant Personality Disorder: Remission through Earned-Secure Attachment
- Alexis Bell CFE, PI
Experiments were conducted on two groups of children: the first group was of kindergarten age; the second group was comprised of children between 8 and 10 years old. Both groups were presented with objects. Experimental Methods and Conceptual Confusion 31 The first object was a biological kind; it had the outward appearance of a dog and behaved like a dog.
The second object was a human artefact; it looked like a key and was shown to function as a key WERA: p. Both groups of children were then told that in the case of the biological kind scientists had discovered that the organism had the internal organs and blood of a cat. In addition the organism had been born of a cat and had itself given birth to a cat. Both groups were also told that scientists had found that the artefact had been found to be made out of melted-down pennies and that after its use it could be melted down and made back into pennies.
In both cases, in each group, the children were asked what the object organism and artefact respectively really was. In the group of kindergarten children they said the organism was really a dog and that the human artefact was really a key. Furthermore this development, between the kinder- garten children and the 8- to year-olds, Griffiths argues, demonstrates the development of a psychological phenotype.
In this case we should scrutinise the way in which the experiment was structured, asking whether alternative reasons for the answers given were thoroughly explored, prior to being ruled out. One might also examine issues such as whether greater awareness of the role played by scientific knowledge in societies, the status of scientists, peer pressure, and the way in which children are taught, etc.
For now I will assume all is present and correct with the structure of the experiments. First, there is no evidence for the development and existence of a phenotype. Griffiths merely infers from the results advanced by Keil, that a phenotype develops. It is an old but pertinent question of how one justifies moving from an is to an ought. It can seem like Griffiths merely takes-it-as-read that establishment of what is the case leads to a conclusion as to what ought to be the case. Which way now? Notes towards a conclusion In this final section I shall move towards conclusion by paying attention to Griffiths own use of language.
I shall first Section 4. Building on what I had to say there I offer some comments on his rhetoric: i. I do this by paying particular attention to his invocation of the development of a psychological phenotype. In Section 4. On trying to develop a psychological phenotype The language Griffiths employs is intrinsic to his metaphysics. In order that these theoretically postulated foundations might strike us as firm enough to serve the purpose for which they are designed, we need to characterise them in a language which will persuade us of their stability and human- independent nature.
The foundations must be the non-metaphysical results of scientific practice. This is the point of the talk of psychological phenotypes devel- oping; of modules; of programs and computational states; of underlying causal homeostatic mechanisms; and of the non-arbitrary projectability of concepts. The terms on this list are all, ultimately, rhetorical in nature and purpose. People—enculturated human animals—do such things, and they do so while interacting with other people in a meaningful world. If anyone has doubts about my claims regarding the rhet- orical nature of the employment of this term, try the following thought experiment: imaginatively become the author of What Emotions Really Are; now, answer the following two questions: 1.
Is it possible to learn something without the development of a psychological phenotype? Is it possible for a psychological phenotype to develop without any- thing taking place which we would ordinarily consider indicative of learning? And how does it achieve it? If your imagination is serving you well, you should be well into the part by now. So let us try another brief thought experiment. Well, let us again ask some questions. What is it for me to try to learn something? Have I tried to develop a psychological phenotype; or has the psychological phenotype tried to develop?
How are we to understand such development in terms of our trying—and maybe failing, maybe finding it difficult, maybe easy—to learn something? What if I try to learn something and fail; only half-learn it, so to speak? Does this mean I have a half-developed or an under- developed psychological phenotype?
And how might this differ from the relative difference between the respective psychological phenotypes of two practitioners, one of whom is fully competent in the practice and one who is outstanding in the practice? For, consider the following illus- trative thought: who of the following has the fully developed language phenotype—a competent adult user of the language, a Grammarian, or John Keats?
If you answer Keats, then do the other two have underdeveloped phenotypes; and do we accord Keats the person credit for his poetic skills? This brings us full circle. Griffiths will always respond, in the final instance, by arguing that if we do not employ a theory of natural kinds then all we will do is merely recapitulate the current stereotype of the term in question. If the foregoing reflections Sections 2 and 3 are seen to stand, then this is an empty charge. Whales, fear and the emotions All conceptual analysis will reveal is the current stereotype of fear.
Connecting with our children for a more compassionate world.
It is exactly akin [sic] to insisting that whales are fish because people called them so. We might first note that the juxtaposition trades on confusion.
This juxtaposition only has currency if one turns a blind eye to a number of significant factors. Must it be a description? But if it is a description, one might ask of what? While he is not committed to the descriptions being of sensations and discerned through introspection, he is committed to the basic structure; i. We do not need to reject this view wholesale to acknowledge that in invoking emotion utterances as descriptions, Griffiths merely assumes this struc- ture without argument.
We are up against one of the great sources of philo- sophical bewilderment: a substantive makes us look for a thing that corresponds to it. Wittgenstein p. I suggested that these cannot do the work demanded of them. As a prophylactic to such a thought one might offer Griffiths the following suggestion: con- cepts do not correspond to things or categories of things; people express concepts, by putting words to use, and sometimes they do so in order to refer to things or categories of things.
Griffiths states that issues such as this are merely matters of emphasis. In contrast I would like to suggest they are crucial. While he does acknow- ledge that concepts play all sorts of roles, and that some of those roles are non-epistemic WERA: Section 7. As we saw, Putnam claimed p. That this is the case was brilliantly argued by John McDowell in a famous series of papers47 , but it took me quite a few years to arrive at more or less the same point of view on my own.
Griffiths might disagree. Even if the concept is expressed such that it plays a descriptive role, is it possible that it does so in abstraction from its evaluative aspects? It is internal to the meaning— it is an aspect of what it is to have grasped the concept—of fear that it merits a certain response, in certain conditions and given certain cultural facts regarding the afraid person. It is difficult one is tempted to say impossible to grasp the concept of fear in abstraction from such evalu- ative aspects. There is simply no reason to think of emotion terms on the model of species terms; while, as we have seen, there are a number of— reasonably straightforward and significant—reasons for holding them to be dis-analogous.
There is no need to stop here. We do not need to charge Griffiths with the fallacy of division in order to identify a problem with his account. She notes that what is of interest is not that these two concepts—human being and member of the species Homo sapiens—have the same referent extension only different senses, but rather what life with this concept rather than that is like.
She writes: [G]rasping a concept even one like that of a human being, which is a descriptive concept if any are is not a matter of just knowing how to group things under that concept; it is being able to parti- cipate in life-with-the-concept. Life with the concept human being is very different to life with the concept member of the species Homo sapiens. Diamond p. Where does this leave us with regards to our knowing what fear really is? I do find objectionable the all-too-quick extrapolation of unwarranted conclusions about programs, modules, and phenotypes, rather than the careful and detailed study and descrip- tion of reactions to the photographs.
This is, I submit, the most significant criticism. Like the microstructure of Twin Earth water, it seems What Emotions Really Are has no bearing on our practices and our lives. Shame as Fundamental Ontology After spending any degree of time immersed in recent work in the analytic philosophy of emotion, turning to a reading of discussions of people who have expressed shame in response to events can engender a degree of relief.
For all his determination to, as it were, get to the bot- tom of things, I leave my reading of Paul Griffiths and many of those he recommends with little further appreciation of the place of the emotions in human lives. It will doubtless strike some as strange to talk of feeling relief in this context. Of course it would be misleading to claim that the authors discussed in the previous chapter do not think of themselves, as in some way, contributing to the understanding of people and their emotional expres- sions: they clearly do think this.
Somewhere along the line, people are relegated to the back seat in the enquiries as the construction of theories is thrust into the driving seat. I have suggested that in the case of Paul Griffiths the problem can be traced to his underlying assumptions about language and the world.
Hatzfeld relays testimonies of survivors of the Rwandan genocide, some of whom express shame at having survived while others died. Agamben has recently achieved a degree of prominence within English-speaking academia, following the publication of a number of books; these books differ from those discussed in the previous chapter quite radically, and they do so in two ways. Second, and more importantly regarding my comments above, when Agamben discusses shame he does so with reference to survivors of Aus- chwitz. This begins by intro- ducing Aristotle on potentiality and proceeds through to a discussion of how the structure of potentiality is mirrored in the structure of language and being.
However, the section concludes by identifying a problem with both accounts. The publication in English of two of these books, Homo Sacer hereafter HS and RA, marked a shift in focus prima facie unnoticeable in his hitherto available work. With these texts Agamben explicitly embarks on a project in political and moral theory, and his account of shame is at the heart of that theory. In RA Agamben seeks to complement his work in HS with a phenomenology of the same biopolitical paradigm.
The former term refers to the bare life common to all living things and the latter to the proper life of individuals or groups given their essential function or nature. A being that realises, or is in pursuit of the realisation of its essential nature, is a being that exists in a mode of life proper for that being: bios. For Aristotle, the proper mode of living for a human being is a life lived in pursuit of the human telos, termed eudaimonia. To live life in accordance with the virtues, to be virtuous, is to live a eudaimon life.
Incorporating the virtues into my character, through a process of learning and training, within a community—polis—and living a life employing those virtues—having a virtuous character and living a vir- tuous life—in pursuit of the human telos, is to live a eudaimon life. Here a further term is introduced; for Aristotle, in order that I am able to live a virtuous life, I must be able to reason correctly in practical matters.
In this sense the virtues are occasion-sensitive, and phronesis is the capacity to appreciate this sensitivity. Agamben HS: pp. Now, that man is more of a political animal than bees or any other gregarious animals is evident. Nature, as we often say, makes nothing in vain, and man is the only animal who has the gift of speech. And whereas mere voice is but an indication of mere pleasure and pain, and is therefore found in other animals for their nature attains to the perception of pleasure and pain and the intimation of them to one another, and no further , the power of speech is intended to set forth the expedient and inexpedient, and therefore likewise the just and the unjust.
And it is characteristic of man that he alone has any sense of good and evil, of just and unjust, and the like, and the association of living beings who have this sense makes a family and a state. Aristotle Politics: a pp. For Aristotle, this would be a human who was without phronesis, or who was in persistent state of akrasia—weakness of the will—and thus unable to incorporate the virtues into their character.
Such a being would live a life no different to that lived by a non-rational animal. Which Ration- ality? For millennia, man remained what he was for Aristotle: a living animal with the additional capacity for a political existence; modern man is an animal whose politics places his existence as a living being in question. Foucault p. The similarity between Agamben and MacIntyre is then striking, but it stops here.
The relationship between Agamben and Foucault is closer and explicit, though it differs in important respects. Agamben seeks to interrogate the link between bare life and politics. Agamben seeks to interrogate the intersection between the traditional juridico-institutional and Foucauldian biopolitical models of power. Agamben then asserts, pace Foucault, that rather than biopolitics—the tie between power and bare life—being a peculiarly modern phenomenon, it has been cent- ral to Western politics from inception and is merely made manifest in modernity.
For, throughout the history of Western political thought bare life has not only been the subject of sovereign exception, through inclus- ive exclusion from the polis, but shares with the sovereign this inclusive exclusion. Agamben follows Carl Schmitt in claiming that sovereignty also shares this paradoxical structure, in that the sovereign is both inside and outside the law.
However, pace Foucault, Agamben understands the biopolitical paradigm as not merely confined to modernity. The zone of indistinction is the sovereign ban, also termed the state of exception, where bare life is found in the form of homo sacer. The Sovereign sphere is the sphere in which it is permitted to kill without committing homicide and without celebrating sacrifice, and sacred life— that is, life that may be killed but not sacrificed—is the life that has been captured in this sphere.get link
A Framework for Extraordinary Relationships Without Guilt, Shame or Fear
HS: p. Metaphysical foundations of the historico-political thesis 2. Aristotle De Anima: b 2—16, cited in Agamben p. He does so, according to Agamben, because the structure of the sovereign ban corresponds to the Aris- totelian structure of potentiality. Sovereignty has the structure whereby it applies to the exception—the camp—in not applying. Agamben formulates the relationship between potentiality and sovereignty as follows: Potentiality in its double relationship as potentiality to and potentiality not to is that through which Being founds itself sover- eignly, which is to say, without anything preceding or determining it superium non recognoscens other than its own ability not to be.
And an act is sovereign when it realizes itself by simply taking away its own potentiality not to be, letting itself be, giving itself to itself. Language, potentiality, and being As Josh Cohen p. Poten- tiality, as outlined above, is potential to be impotential; that is to say, actuality is potentiality holding itself in suspension, or put yet another way, actuality is the suspension of the ability not to be. If the potentiality of language is the potentiality to signify, then it is also the potentiality to stay silent, not signify, and in actually referring to something in the event of language we are suspending the potential not to refer.
The study of language is therefore the study of potentiality, and thus of Being. I shall leave this discussion here and return to it later in more detail. These enquiries feed into the conclusions Agamben draws in RA, and his account of shame with which I am particularly interested.
I turn to this next. The state of exception, Auschwitz, and shame 3. Witness: testis and superstes I must repeat—we, the survivors, are not the true witnesses. This is an uncomfortable notion, of which I have become conscious little by little, reading the memoirs of others and mine at a distance of years. We survivors are not only an exiguous but also anomalous minority: we are those who by their prevarications or abilities or good luck did not touch bottom. They are the rule, we are the exception. Levi pp. Levi does not think that one should not pass judgement, only that he is without authority to do so owing to his lack of impartiality.
While Levi is committed to fulfilling the demand that he make an ethical judgement, he sees himself as unable to make a legal judgement. Thus Agamben takes Levi to have made a discovery in his writing on Auschwitz. With a gesture that is symmetrically opposed to Nietzsche, Levi places ethics before the area in which we are accustomed to consider it. RA: p. Prior to our being in a position to be responsible and to ascribe responsibility to others, to be guilty and ascribe guilt, prior, that is to say, to the juridical is the ethical. It is this very zone of indistinction, prior to law, that testimony interrogates.
Auschwitz is the most brutal and pure manifestation of biopower. The inmates of Auschwitz are subject to the sovereign ban, being placed outside the law and transformed into bare life. These are those inmates who were barely alive; they moved very slowly, did not speak, were incontinent, fluid sacs often hung from their eyelids, and they showed no emotion, nor recognisably- human expression. They were the walking dead. So when we differentiate the testis from the superstes, the juridical from the ethical, the phenomenon of camp testimony still contains the lacuna identified by Levi.
The author of testimony is not the true witness in either sense of the word. The so-called Mussulmann, as the camp language termed the prisoner who was giving up and was given up by his comrades, no longer had room in his consciousness for the contrasts good or bad, noble or base, intellectual or unintellectual. He was a staggering corpse, a bundle of physical functions in its last convulsions. As hard as it may be for us to do so we must exclude him from our considerations. It is here that Agamben draws parallels with his vision of lan- guage.
Where in post-structuralist linguistics the trace is inscribed by past uses events of language, in the case of testimony it is inscribed by the true witness, the one who cannot bear witness owing to their demise, or their muteness. Agamben has sought to furnish us with a way of understanding the philosophical significance of the lacuna in camp testimony. This he does by first identifying the camp as being the embodiment of a zone of indistinction, subject to the sovereign ban, where law is suspended and bare life produced.
Ethical reflection upon Auschwitz must employ non-juridical terms if it is to capture the ethical reality of Auschwitz. Levi faces the lacuna and acknowledges the implications, and his reflections become increasingly occupied with those implications. An instance of the first is to be found at the beginning of The Truce and is seen by Levi in the faces of the liberating Russian soldiers. Prior to the departure of the SS, Levi had become ill and was confined to the camp infirmary; thus, he was one of those left behind in the camp.
As the liberating Russian soldiers approach the camp on horseback, Levi and a fellow inmate are carrying a corpse from the infirmary to an overflowing common grave, piled high with snow-covered corpses. Levi writes, They were four young soldiers on horseback who advanced along the road that marked the limits of the camp, cautiously holding their sten-guns.
When they reached the barbed wire, they stopped to look, exchanging a few timid words, and throwing strangely embarrassed glances at the sprawling bodies, at the battered huts and at us few still alive. The chapter tells the story of the hanging of an Auschwitz inmate who had connections with a group of prisoners who had blown up one of the crematoria at Birkenau and who was said to be in the process of plotting something similar at Auschwitz.
Levi writes, At the foot of the gallows, the SS watch us pass with indifferent eyes: their work is finished, and well finished. The Russians can come now: there are no longer any strong men among us, the last one is now hanging above our heads, and as for the others a few halters had been enough. The Russians can come now: they will only find us, the slaves, the worn-out, worthy of the unarmed death which awaits us.
That man must have been tough, he must have been made of another metal than us if this condition of ours, which has broken us, could not bend him. Because we also are broken, conquered: even if we know how to adapt ourselves, even if we have finally learnt how to find our food and to resist the fatigue and cold, even if we return home. We lifted the menaschka on to the bunk and divided it, we satisfied the daily ragings of hunger, and now we are oppressed by shame.
When Levi returns to discuss shame in The Drowned and the Saved , written more than 30 years later, he does so in a context in which shame has become an emotion closely associated with Holocaust surviv- ors. In the later reflections, shame, it seems, is experienced by the survivor as a feeling of guilt, only lacking the outward criteria that we might usually associate with guilt. Since then, at an uncertain hour, that punishment comes back.
Once again he sees the faces of the other inmates, blueish in the light of dawn, grey with cement dust, shrouded in mist, painted with death in their restless sleep. No one died in my stead. No one. Go back to your mist. Levi p. I am unsure as to whether Levi is indeed backsliding here. This leads Agamben to move on to examine other accounts. Antelme was a member of the French resistance arrested in the summer of ; he was taken first to Buchenwald, then moved to Gandersheim as part of a forced labour kommando.
Finally, Antelme was one of a number of prisoners marched to Dachau by SS officers, who were by this time fleeing the advancing allied forces. Antelme, we are told, clearly bears witness to the fact that shame is not a feeling of guilt or shame for having survived another but, rather, has a different, darker and more difficult cause. The weakened prisoners inevitably slow down the SS, the result being more arbit- rary killings than was usual.
The passage that Agamben quotes is the following: The SS continues.
I know him. I look at him. His face has turned pink. I look at him closely. I still have that pink before my eyes. He seems embarrassed. We pass in front of him. Antelme p. The SS who was looking for a man, any man, to kill, had found him. And having found him, he looked no further. And the Italian, having understood it was really him, accepted this chance selection. One question I would like to pose is, whether Agamben, in his determi- nation to sustain the distinction between the ethical and juridical, and thus to differentiate between shame and guilt, has conflated shame and embarrassment?
It would, I think, be a mistake to linger too much on this seeming infelicity here, though I will return to it towards the end of the chapter. In The Trial, when K. Shame survives us. When Josef K. He does not do so. It is in these moments when shame becomes present; when all other courses of action have been closed off, or, more precisely, accepted as closed off by the subject, then subjectivication and desubjectivication meet.
Shame, the concept, survives K. This is so, because if it were able to exist in abstraction, it would at one and the same time be both an actual and a non-actual object. Time then is synthetic a priori, a subjective condition of possibility. Space is the formal a priori condition of outward appearances only ibid. Time, in contrast, is the formal a priori condition of inner intuition, and thus of all representations, whether of outer or inner things. Once Kant has established the foregoing through his transcendental deduction, it remains to explicitly introduce the notion of auto-affection: If, then, as regards [determinations of outer sense], we admit that we know objects only in so far as we are externally affected, we must also recognise, as regards inner sense, that by means of it we intuit ourselves only as we are inwardly affected by ourselves; in other words, that, so far as inner intuition is concerned, we know our own subject only as appearance, not as it is in itself.
Auto-affection is a condition of our knowledge of our own subjectivity, our knowledge of ourselves: where knowledge of ourselves is to be distinguished from consciousness of ourselves. Just as for knowledge of an object distinct from me I require, besides the thought of an object in general in the category , an intuition by which I determine that general concept, so for knowledge of myself I require, besides the consciousness, that is besides the thought of myself, an intuition of the manifold in me.
Heidegger claims that in editions subsequent to the first edition of CPR Kant played down the centrality of time as the basis of metaphysics. In those subsequent editions, Kant gives more weight to rational-cognitive sub- jectivity. Heidegger writes, Time is not an active affection that strikes an already existing subject. As pure auto-affection, it forms the very essence of what can be defined as seeing oneself in general. Insofar as it is pure auto-affection, time forms the essential structure of subjectivity. Only on the basis of this selfhood can finite Being be what it must be: delivered over to receiving.
Heidegger pp. Hence, a little further on Heidegger writes, The idea of pure self-affection, which as we have seen determines the inner most essence of transcendence, was thus not introduced by Kant for the first time in the second edition. In that edition it was simply formulated more explicitly and indeed, it appears char- acteristically [at the beginning] in the Transcendental Aesthetic. The form of sense is pure taking-in-stride. In pure taking-in-stride, the inner affection must come forth from out of the pure self; i.
Pure self-affection provides the transcendental, primal structure of the finite self as such. Thus it is absolutely not the case that a mind exists among others which, for it, are also something related to it, and that it practices self positing. In discussing the passage from Heidegger, just quoted, Agamben writes, Here [in the modified quotation of Heidegger above PH ] what is revealed is the analogy with shame, defined as being consigned to a passivity that cannot be assumed. Shame, indeed, then appears as the most proper emotive tonality23 of subjectivity.
For there is cer- tainly nothing shameful in a human being who suffers on account of sexual violence; but if he takes pleasure in his suffering violence, if he is moved by his passivity—if, that is, auto-affection is produced— only then can one speak of shame. This is why subjectivity constitutively has the form of subjectification and desubjectification; this is why it is, at bottom, shame.
Flush is the remainder that, in every subjectification, betrays a desubjectification and that, in every desubjectification, bears witness to a subject. RA: pp. Hence, the true witness to the human is that which has been made inhuman RA: p. Between humanism and anti-humanism Agamben claims that reflections on the moral significance of Auschwitz have often been conducted from two opposed vantage points: humanists who wish to emphasise that all human beings members of the human species or human race 25 are human, and anti-humanists who claim that being human is something over and above mere membership of the spe- cies.
Survivors feel shame not for having survived while others died we might call this quasi-guilt , not because they feel tainted by the crimes of others we might call this asso- ciative shame , but because they have become conscious of their own subjectivity. The structure of camp testimony, having at its centre a lacuna, is one manifestation of the zone of indistinction that is the Nazi death camp.
The camp is a zone of indistinction so complete that it leaves those who survive it with a sense of shame borne of their consciousness of their subjectivity, consciousness of the inhumanity that is an essential part of their humanity. In the non-place of the Voice stands not writing, but the witness.
To be a human being What does this all mean? For Agamben, the human is never fully destroyed. These currents are coextensive, but not coincident; their non-coincidence, the subtle ridge that divides them, is the place of testimony. The distorting power of theory and the ethics of exegesis 4. I find it at turns intriguing and obscure. It is intriguing in that it situates an analysis of shame in a wider historico-political framework; something which is undoubtedly required if we are to understand shame, particularly shame as experienced by survivors of extreme trauma.
This serves as a much- needed prophylactic to the sort of abstracting tendencies of scientism that we encountered in Chapter 1. So much, so much for the better. Unfortunately, the insights gained tend to drift towards theoretical excess. Two of these are particularly prominent. It is instructive to examine these two cases in more detail. Agamben conflates these. I would want to add that I would not wish to make too much of the different context, only it should be taken into account; this Agamben fails to do.
Levi is grappling because of his honesty, and because of the seem- ing confusion bestowed by one word being used to denote seemingly distinct phenomena. Levi wishes to show us the anguish to which the survivor is subject, constantly playing over and over the possibility that they have some degree of responsibility for the crimes perpetrated against them and against those who did not survive. True, it turns out that any accusation of guilt would be crass, but in a sense part of what consti- tutes the crime is that survivors are left feeling shame.
I have yet to find someone who would deny that to feel shame is akin to feeling guilt, only without being actually guilty of something. It is not too difficult to understand this, even if one has never experienced shame if that is possible : i. Levi, cited in RA: pp. To me, however, Levi is clearly saying here that he feels remorse at being part of a world in which these crimes took place. Lead- ing one to ask what has he to feel remorse about.
Levi, I venture, like most, would see such a clear division as a fantasy. Indeed, this is a form of criticism for which I have much sympathy. For Agamben this is to imply the modern conflation of the jur- idical and the ethical, and thus fail to think outside the conceptual constraints of biopolitics. Agamben is thus committed to the concept of guilt as never having played any role outside a juridical realm, and to the concomitant thought that to employ the concept in ethical and political thought is to be committed to modern biopolitics. Etymology might well show us that the concept of guilt originates in jurisprudence, maybe even Roman jurisprudence, in the case of the Latin culpa; but the etymology of a term is not the meaning of a term.
Etymological and genealogical investigation do not show us what words mean, rather they are useful for disrupting other settled ensconced views of meaning such as those that appeal to the intentions of the author, or the properties of concepts for example. Not only does Levi advocate the ordinary virtues33 cf. Robert S. Gordon but he also manifests them in his own practice as a writer. His unrelenting quest for testimonial honesty is often unsettling for the reader, at least it is for this reader, and one might only surmise how it must have affected the writer.
But, however difficult, Levi refused to rest with comforting explanations and continued the public process of reflection. Here Agamben omitted a sentence from the quoted paragraph, a sentence in which Antelme explicitly predicated of the student from Bologna embarrassment and not shame. His face turned pink. He stands there at the side of the road. He does not know what to do with his hands.
I do not of course say this by way of claiming one cannot be ashamed and blush, or by way of advancing any positive account of what shame is. Nor do I want to claim that one cannot be embarrassed without blushing; obviously one can be so. I do not advance any claim as to blushing being either a neces- sary or a sufficient condition for embarrassment. Of course, as with shame and guilt one might find it difficult to discern a distinction in some cases but Agamben presents us with no hint that there might be something that needs to be addressed here.
It is, as will become clear, of more than a little interest that Agamben seems to find clear conceptual distinctions even in areas where, if there were such clear distinctions at all, they would be difficult to sustain and be context-dependent. Embarrassment-shame-guilt is just one of those areas. Levi recognises this and faces it both as a writer and as a survivor. Agamben overlooks it owing to his own theoretical predilections.
From the outset Agamben is seek- ing to outline and advance his post-Heideggerian theory of shame, as the hidden structure of all subjectivity and consciousness. Unfortunately, this has not meant a tempering of theoret- ical excess in the light of a reading of testimony. Derrida plus a little? The view is a moderately modified version of that propounded by Jacques Derrida, though cru- cially, I will show, with more emphasis given to the notion of trace, and thus to the import of etymological investigation.
For Derrida, the event of language structurally presupposes the iterabil- ity of signs; that is to say, a sign can be used over and over again. Writing, for it to be such, must structurally allow for the absence of the author and of the intended recipient of the text. Writing must be able, in order to function—i. Once the mark is able to function, once it is possible for it to function, once it is possible for it to function in case of an absence, etc.
Derrida p. I presume Searle assumed that Derrida was making an empirical statement about writing which could be refuted by the pro- duction of a counterexample, showing that things do not have to be thus and so. Simon Glendinning sums this up as follows: Any written message is such, is what it is, only to the extent that a reader could read what a determinable sender could write in the rad- ical absence of that sender: writing can and must be able to do without the presence of the determinable sender.
Glendinning p. Much hinges upon which way he might go here. Derrida provides us with an answer, which Glendinning cites, The structure of iteration. The iter- ability of an element divides its own identity a priori, even without taking into account that this identity can only determine or delimit itself through differential relations to other elements and hence that it bears the mark of this difference.
Numbers are not accumu- lating here. The limit is only that it is not once. Glendinning pp. The study of language is therefore the study of potentiality and thus of Being. Being is found in the potentiality of language because while an event of communication is capable of recurring without our presence, what an event presupposes is iterability i. Iterability, and thus the potential to communicate, is thus a necessary condition for an event of communication. That is to say, our behavioural interactions with others presuppose a structural logic, such that my reactions to your actions in the present, in being seen as reactions having meaning for you as such , must be iterable and thus are consti- tuted by a logic which means they must be able to be seen as reactions in my absence.
The Talking Cure of Avoidant Personality Disorder: Remission through Earned-Secure Attachment
It is important to recall where we began in Section 5. Challenging Agamben: the purpose of deconstruction In the opening paragraph of Section 5. Conducting a genealogical or an etymological investigation into a concept can serve to make the trace manifest. Thus such theories are reductionist and in being so are misleading through their suppression of the trace. A genealogical or an etymological investigation moves in the other direction, as it were, not even attempting to reconstruct presence in any form: context, inten- tions, etc.
Where genealogy and etymology differ is in the weighting they give to the form of historical investigation of a concept. Genealogy lays emphasis on examination of the stream of events of communication, highlighting the tributaries that flow into the stream and their effects on its course the meaning of the concept. Etymology favours searching for the source of the stream—the origins of the concept, the originary event of communication involving that mark—taking that to have significance for the course of that stream further downstream—for the meaning of current events of communication.
This he began in his early engagement with Husserl. The next step is to deconstruct the philosophy of presence by giving voice to the trace. How we make our voices resonate, and in what context, is important. This serves to give voice to that marginalised by conven- tional approaches; it serves to bring to our attention both the contingent nature of current meanings and the contingency of the changes which have led us to our current meanings, as rendered by the various philo- sophies of presence, i.
It serves, therefore, to give voice to that suppressed by the philosophy of presence. Agamben, however, favours etymology. Ety- mological investigation can serve to bring awareness to the contingent nature of the current meanings of terms. However, HS and RA are littered with references to the origins of concepts and Agamben does not exam- ine such origins merely to bring about awareness of the contingency of the current meanings of terms, nor simply to disrupt those mean- ings as rendered by the various philosophies of presence.
The point of making the trace manifest is, as I have noted, to disrupt the philosophy of presence. This is then to exchange one philosophy of presence for another. Take this as one side of a coin. We therefore give voice to the trace, to the other, through a genealogical investigation of the concept.
Take this as the other side of the coin. For Derrida, the point, on his own account of deconstruction, should be to keep the coin spinning. To let one side show and not the other is to give into the philosophy of presence. In other words, presence might be intentions of the author, it might be the context of production see quotes from Derrida cited above and, and this is sometimes missed— indeed, is so by Agamben—it might be the etymologically arrived at determination of the concept.
Exchanging intentions of the author for a meaning deemed through an etymological investigation is to exchange one philosophy of presence for another. Derrida claims to offer no theory of mean- ing, only a theory of deconstruction, which disrupts all attempts at a fully determinate theory of meaning. It also leads him to draw unwarranted structural parallels with his view of language, structural parallels which lead him to his misrepresentations of Levi and Antelme. They might also object to my depiction of what Derrida is doing. However, there is one more point, a point which if it does not serve to show a gulf between Agamben and Derrida, then it draws both of their accounts into question—I take it to achieve the latter.
The point pertains to the role accorded to the concept of iterability. It can be reproduced as a different blush on different occasions yet we recognise it as a blush on each of those occasions. These words are iterable marks. The point is this, if iterability can capture meaning, if we let the coin stop spinning and drop on one side, if we let our gaze fix on iterability in our quest to deconstruct the philosophy of presence, then we lose the ability to distinguish between the nature of the blush and the nature of the request for help. Why should we want to distinguish between the two? To blush is to be passively subject to a physiological reac- tion, albeit one borne of our seeing something, a situation, as having a certain—say, embarrassment-conveying—meaning for us.
This would be a significant loss. The concept of intention plays a role, it has a place in our lives, and in the example I have given, it allows us to distinguish a physiological reaction from a verbal request—an intentional act. Both are iterable marks, both can mean something, in that they have a place in the lives of people, and in that their meaningful content might elicit responses from others.
Deconstruction does not demand it of him. However, his emphasis on the structure logic of writing does seem to become, at least on occasion, an essentialist thesis. How might this be? Wittgenstein remarked in the Blue Book pp.
Alexis Bell CFE, PI
The two problems are intrinsically related. In the context of the opening of the film, this movement of the wheat has meaning; as a piece of film, or even purely as moving grass, one might also char- acterise it as an iterable mark. Does it, therefore, follow that this is what we should take meaning to be? To further illustrate, consider the following: it is a condition of my being the person here now, in the British Library reading room, enga- ging in certain acts, that certain facts hold true of some actions taking place at some time in the past such as my parents meeting, etc.
It might tell you something, but you are not driven by logic to conclude that it can tell you anything about what I am doing here and now. Analogously, if we agree with Derrida that it must be a condition of meaning that marks are iterable, what does this tell us about the meaning of any particular mark employed on any particular occasion in any particular context? It is apparent then that there is a leap taking place, from acknowledge- ment of the logic of iterability to the claim that the trace of previous events of communication can convey meaning.
It is important to be clear here. One might be tempted to mount a defence of Derrida here. One might argue that Derrida would not have been averse to what I say about intention having a role in the conveying of meaning of some events of communication. This might be so. However, it is not borne out by paying attention to his writings.
I submit that Derrida and his followers overplay the meaning-disrupting effects of trace.
They ultimately suggest an account which is sceptical about our chances of ever meaning, in a determinate sense, anything; because meaning is always disrupted by the trace of previous iterations of the same marks. It is a word that might not have something common, something essential, to all uses; at least nothing that is both essential and significant. Sure we can grant that iterability might well be part of the structural logic of the mark and thus be com- mon to all meaning-conveying marks, but it does not follow from this that it is something that, of necessity, has significance for the meaningful content of those marks.
To put it in more conventional terms, we can grant that iterability is a necessary condition for a mark being a meaning- conveying mark, but holding that to be the case does not entail that it is a sufficient condition for that same mark conveying meaning. The recoil from intention is also, I suggest, based on a particular assumption about what intention must be: e.
In any case, we can stay agnostic on the nature of intention when differentiating between the intentional employment of marks and a non- intentional, though meaningful, instance of a mark. In this case we can merely identify the former, for procedural purposes, in a far more mundane way. Here we might merely note that the relevant distinction for distinguishing an intentional employment of a mark from a non- intentional one is that we learn to wield the former; that is to say, we learn to master the intentional expression of concepts as part of our lives with words, and with others; learning such ways of employing concepts involves not merely learning criteria for their expression, but also learn- ing to see the significance they have for us and others.
In contrast we do not need to learn how to blush, in order to blush; to blush is to physiologically react to a way of seeing a meaningful state of affairs—as opposed to intentionally act.
Indeed, it is central to the meaning a blush has for us that it is not something which is employed with intent to communicate something by the person who is blushing. Derrida and even more so Agamben forego this distinction and their investigations thus become one-sided. It is this one-sided nature which leads Agamben, at great cost, to try to force Levi and Antelme into moulds in which they just will not fit.
Towards conclusion What can be learned from the engagement with Agamben is that in thinking about emotions, we think about people in the world, mean- ingfully engaged with the world and with others. Unfortunately, while Agamben makes this initial step beyond say Griffiths, he swiftly takes a step backwards, for he allows himself to become constrained by a view of how things must be, and this is forced onto him by his theory of meaning. What I shall take into the next chapter is the sense in which philosophical enquiries into emotion should be conducted by engaging with the expressions of those experiencing emotion.
I wish to finish with a note that will make the title clear I hope. That is, we might well be willing to grant that it is a good thing for philosophers to engage in so that they might seek to reset the balance after the domination of the philosophy of presence—to begin the coin spinning after a history of showing just one side, as it were. A genealogical investigation, in mak- ing manifest the trace, might serve an important purpose in this respect.
But when one engages in etymology and brings this to bear on testi- mony one misses the point on two counts. First, as I have argued, one exchanges one philosophy of presence for another. Second, one brings philosophical reflection upon the logical structure of our lives with our words to bear in an area in which it has no business. In doing such the philosopher renders the meaning of the words of testimony, where one should rather be identifying the meaning of those words. Whereof one cannot speak, as a philosopher, one must be silent. The number of terms is apt to confuse; so to begin I shall try to settle on one and then sort through the main differences.
As we saw, Paul Griffiths refers to this—somewhat disparate—group as propositional attitude theorists. This is misleading. Roberts hold that to have an emotion is to have a specific type of propositional attitude. In this respect Griffiths runs the risk of elect- ing as his nemesis no more than a straw man. Similarly judgementalism1 is too narrow; if we broaden it to quasi-judgementalism,2 we will have included many of those philosophers who have studied the emotions over the past 30 years.
Roberts , who take them to be construals. Despite some problems, the term that seems best suited, therefore, is cognitivism. William James and Carl Lange independently advanced the theory that the emotions were responses to patterned changes in the body sensa- tions.
This is only part of the story. What is the nature of these thoughts? Are they beliefs? Are they evaluative beliefs? Are they judgements? Are they combinations of distinct beliefs and desires? Are they perceptions? Of abuse, of difference, or very ordinary examples of brutality in how society treated many people…women, LGBTI people, people with disabilities, people living in poverty. B: Writing an album that has nothing to do with comedy or laughter.
C: Writing a novel. C: Best family holiday we have had was a house swap in Carmaux in the South of France several years ago. C: History. I dropped it for my Leaving Cert and I regret that. B: I remember being [in school at] seven years of age and it was before we had our first confession. And I had to look at my dirty soul in a jam jar. Still to this day I struggle with issues of guilt and shame I know I picked up from that early age. C: Trimming a very large cactus with a meat cleaver and accidentally slicing open my palm.
Name two things you and the other person appear to have in common? C: We both have a way with words and a ready supply of shopping bags in the boot of our cars. C: I cry a little all the time, usually because of very positive things like a beautiful example of human resilience or decency.
What is the one policy you would like to see Government enact tomorrow? B: Free and proper access to mental health services to everyone who needs them. A legal framework for access to abortion that respects, protects and fulfils the human rights of women and girls, and constitutional protection of economic, social and cultural rights such as housing, health, education etc. B: When they speak over others, I always see it as the person being nervous. C: People being very angry, in an incoherent kind of way.
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