Author: Malley, Mary

Tom Meagher: “Existential Psychoanalysis and Sociogeny”

Check out alumnus Tom Meagher’s recent article in Sarte Studies International, “Existential Psychoanalysis and Sociogeny.”

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This article explores Sartre’s existential psychoanalysis as a phenomenological method for apprehending the fundamental project of the existent through an examination of the anonymous features of human desire. In grasping the anonymity underlying the “I want,” existential psychoanalysis seeks the meaning of freedom from a standpoint of alterity. I then analyze Fanon’s Black Skin White Masks as a work of existential psychoanalysis which hinges on his use of “sociogeny” to diagnose the alienation of Black existents. Finally, I conclude by examining the implications of a Fanonian existential psychoanalysis for anti-racism through a discussion of Michael Monahan’s critical reflections on the notion of being nonracist.

Steve Núñez: “I’m New Here: Black and Indigenous Media Ecologies”

Graduate student Steve Núñez‘s photo essay “Free the Land: Landscape Photography as a Decolonial Practice” has been featured in the Visual Culture Journal Refract, University of California, Santa Cruz.

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Exploring themes of race and shared ecologies across the Americas, the born-digital photography exhibition I’m New Here: Black and Indigenous Media Ecologies presents a hemispheric vision of African diasporic and Native life in the United States, Caribbean, and Latin America. The exhibition features experimental virtual reality (VR) and filmic components. In this curatorial essay, themes of the entangled dispossession of Native sovereignty and African enslavement are explored in the works of seven photographers from Trinidad to Wisconsin to Peru to Dominica. Artists Abigail Hadeed, Nadia Huggins, Kai Minosh Pyle, Allison Arteaga, steve núñez, Melia Delsol, and Dóra Papp provide a visual critique of the long history of racial capitalism, climate crisis, and Black and Indigenous presence. Together the photographic essays form a constellation, a vision of what environmental and racial justice can look like for the hemisphere after the catastrophe of European conquest. Speculatively picturing Black and Indigenous coalitions in the past, present, and future, the artists use the technology of the camera to frame nature, exploring visual aesthetic forms that seek not to replicate the capture of the colonial archive.

Jane Gordon: “Post Rosa: Letters Against Barbarism”

Check out affiliate professor Jane Gordon's contribution to Post Rosa: Letters Against Barbarism edited by Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn.

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Post Rosa: Letters Against Barbarism is a collection of letter exchanges in conversation with Rosa Luxemburg, in the year of her 150th anniversary. Twenty “Luxemburgians” from across the globe engage in vivid correspondence, with reference to and reflections about Luxemburg and the times we live in, as understood through their own bodies and geopolitical locations, and informed by an epistemology of both head and heart.

Conceived in the midst of a barbarous(ly handled) pandemic, this life-affirming book aims to be a source of affective-intellectual inspiration and encouragement to commit our words and lives to the struggle against barbarism and for socialism.

Cover of the book "Post Rosa"

Margaret Gilbert: 2022 Dewey Lecture

Emerita Professor Margaret Gilbert will deliver the 2022 Dewey Lecture at the American Philosophical Association's Pacific Division Meeting.

The John Dewey Lectures, in memory of John Dewey, were established in 2006 by the John Dewey Foundation and the APA. They are three annual lectures, one at each divisional meeting of the APA (Eastern, Central, and Pacific), given by a prominent and senior (typically retired) philosopher associated with that Division, who is invited to reflect broadly and in an autobiographical spirit on philosophy in America as seen from the perspective of a personal intellectual journey.

 

Lewis Gordon: Most Anticipated Book of 2022

Congratulations to Professor and Department Head Lewis Gordon, whose upcoming book Fear of Black Consciousness (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux) has been named to Lit Hub's Most Anticipated Books of 2022.

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Professor Lewis R. Gordon, the Philosophy Department Head at the University of Connecticut, offers an expansive nonfiction work that critically examines the historical roots of “racialized Blackness” and how this school of thought is shaped by the institution of whiteness. Gordon includes personal experiences, striking a fine balance between the searing imprint of memory and the accumulation of learned knowledge. Gordon points out how anti-Blackness is not only a global commodity but a weaponized form of oppression that even members of the Black community can perpetuate through colorism. His take on the Marvel blockbuster Black Panther raises questions about the world’s view of Africa and the legacy of colonial violence. This book is certainly not a light, breezy read, but Gordon’s surprising observations crack open the mind to connect various creative disciplines.  –Vanessa Willoughby, Associate Editor

Dorit Bar-On: “How to do things with nonwords” (Biology & Philosophy)

Check out Dorit Bar-On's recent article in Biology & Philosophy, "How to do things with nonwords: pragmatics, biosemantics, and origins of language in animal communication." This article features Ruth Millikan’s biosemantic framework, and benefited from several ECOM-based collaborations.

***Abstract***

Recent discussions of animal communication and the evolution of language have advocated adopting a ‘pragmatics-first’ approach, according to which “a more productive framework” for primate communication research should be “pragmatics, the field of linguistics that examines the role of context in shaping the meaning of linguistic utterances” (Wheeler and Fischer, Evol Anthropol 21:195–205, 2012: 203). After distinguishing two different conceptions of pragmatics that advocates of the pragmatics-first approach have implicitly relied on (one Carnapian, the other Gricean), I argue that neither conception adequately serves the purposes of pragmatics-first approaches to the origins of human linguistic communication. My main aim in this paper is to motivate–and begin to articulate–an intermediary conception whose scope is narrower than Carnapian pragmatics but broader than Gricean pragmatics. To do so, I first spell out what I take to be the key insight offered by proponents of the Gricean approach concerning the emergence of linguistic communication, namely, its being communication ‘from a psychological point of view’ (Tomasello, Origins of human communication, MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 2008). I then develop this insight using key elements from the anti-Gricean ‘biosemantic’ account of linguistic communication due to Ruth Millikan (Millikan, Language, thought, and other biological categories: New foundations for realism, MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 1984, Millikan, Tomberlin (ed), Philosophical Perspectives 9, Ridgeview Publishing, Atascedero CA, 1995, Millikan R (2006) Varieties of Meaning. Mass.: The MIT Press (paperback edition), Cambridge, Millikan, Beyond concepts: unicepts, language, and natural information, Oxford University Press, Oxford UK, 2017, and elsewhere). I argue that the intermediary pragmatics-first approach that I propose, which draws on both Gricean and Millikanian resources, would be better equipped to serve the purposes of those who search for potential precursors of human linguistic communication in animal communication.

Tracy Llanera: “The Misogyny Paradox and the Alt-Right” Accepted by Hypatia

Assistant Professor Tracy Llanera's article, "The Misogyny Paradox and the Alt-right," has been accepted for publication in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy.

***ABSTRACT***

This essay offers a philosophical analysis of the misogyny experienced by women in the alternative right (alt-right) movement. I argue that this misogyny takes on a paradoxical form: the better alt-right women propagandists promote hate, the greater hostility they experience from their fellow racists and critics; the more submissive women alt-right members become, the harsher the impact of misogyny on them. I develop this argument in four parts. Part I introduces the alt-right movement and the presumed role of white women in racist hate groups. Using Louise Richardson-Self's work on social imaginaries, I explain how dominant images in racist propaganda could be used as resources for exploring the self-conception of racist white women. Part II offers a description of three dominant images in the racist social imaginary: the goddess/victim, wife and mother, and the female activist. These images accord white women a revered status in virtue of their gendered subordination to white men and the white cause. I present the white power barbie and the tradwife as the contemporary iterations of these social images in the alt-right movement. Part III explores the misogyny paradox as experienced by alt-right women. Beginning with a description of gender relations in the racist patriarchy, I show how alt-right women could be seen as both misogynists and victims of misogyny; in other words, as perpetrators and recipients of misogynist harms. It then moves to a twofold discussion of misogyny through the lens of contemporary feminist philosophy. The first section engages Kate Manne’s writings on the dynamics of misogyny to explain hostility against women propagandists, while the second section discusses Manon Garcia’s Beauvoirian argument of the concept of submission to explain the misogyny hurled against conformist women. Part IV briefly reflects on the absurdity of the alt-right’s dependence on women’s economic labor, a feature that may make the movement vulnerable to political intervention.

Kensuke Ito: “Truth and Falsity in Communication: Assertion, Denial, and Interpretation”

Check out alum Kensuke Ito's forthcoming article in Erkenntnis, "Truth and Falsity in Communication: Assertion, Denial, and Interpretation." The abstract may be found here.

***ABSTRACT***

Our linguistic communication is, in part, the exchange of truths. It is an empirical fact that in daily conversation we aim at truths, not falsehoods. This fact may lead us to assume that ordinary, assertion-based communication is the only possible communicative system for truth-apt information exchange, or at least has priority over any alternatives. This assumption is underwritten in three traditional doctrines: that assertion is a basic notion, in terms of which we define denial; that to predicate truth of a sentence is to assert the content it expresses; and that one should, in the context of radical interpretation, try to maximize the truth of what foreigners believe or utter. However, I challenge this assumption via a thought experiment: imagine a language game in which everyone aims to exchange only falsehoods. I argue that information exchange is possible in this game, and so truth-guided communication and falsity-guided communication are conceptually on a par. As a consequence, we should reject the three doctrines, based as they are on the conceptual priority of assertion-based communication.