Deborah Yedlin (2008-12-30) of the Calgary Herald’s Business section succinctly summarized the economic nightmare of 2008 in which the investment banking industry collapsed, Chicago school economics theories were debunked and their heroes dethroned, trusted risk management managers were vilified, and the axis of financial power shifted from the West to the East.

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Citations

“The consequences of the lack of regulation in the shadowy subprime housing market, and the ability of banks to get loans off their balance sheets and have investment banks repackage them as rated securities, allowed for the spreading risk. It was a practice that was supposed to ensure if something went bad, the damage would be contained because the exposure would be spread out. It was an axiom that was lent an even greater reliability because U. S. Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greens-pan was a believer in it. As many are now painfully aware, the dominos began to fall when two hedge funds at Bear Stearns collapsed in late 2007. This started the clock ticking on the 84-year-old investment bank, which proceeded to lose the confidence of investors and counterparties and was sold post-haste to JP Morgan Chase in March for $10 a share with the “help” of the U. S. Federal Reserve and its investment banking veteran, Hank Paulson (Yedlin 2008-12-30).”

“Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, in opining on the multi-billion fraud perpetrated by Bernard Madoff, suggested one of the reasons he was not discovered was because of society’s worship of the wealthy. Too many, he said, have drawn the conclusion that people who have made huge sums of money must be very smart and to question these individuals would be to insult them (Yedlin 2008-12-30).”

Webliography and Bibliography

Yedlin, Deborah. 2008-12-30. “Storybook year ends in economic nightmare.” Calgary Herald.

Fraser Los (2007) reviewed recent publications by two “religious insiders with long political memories.” He describes Bill Moyer and Garry Wills as sober thinkers with mature experience. Yet they are both stating the urgency to revisit the issue of separating church and state. Debates between secular humanism and religions have been going on for decades but they have taken a strange and serious turn according to Moyer and Wills.

Wills (2006) is concerned with the most conservative fringes of evangelical Christians and Catholics who have aligned themselves politically under the Bush administration to promote extreme views on “education, the environment, the family, gun control and regulation of any kind (Los 2007).” Moyer (2004, 2006) primarily focuses his concern on the concept of the Rapture, a bizarre belief of fundamentalist evangelicals, who believe in literal, temporal and physical salvation and damnation. In their most extreme form this allows them to justify unsustainable ecological behaviour because divine intervention will protect them regardless of their environmental actions.

“As difficult as it is, however, for journalists to fashion a readable narrative for complex issues without depressing our readers and viewers, there is an even harder challenge – to pierce the ideology that governs official policy today. One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the oval office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington. Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts (Moyers 2004).

Monbiot, author and columnist for the London Guardian, published Manifesto for a New World Order (2004) which unsettled the concept of the new world order as proposed by the first President Bush in which he envisioned the future of the United States after the collapse of the socialist camp. Monbiot (2003, 2004) described how in order to understand the US attitude towards the Middle East you have to understand politics in Texas. Monbiot’s work has been compared to that of Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E.Stiglitz, who published Globalisation and its Discontents (2002). Whereas Stiglitz is described as a disillusioned academic, Monbiot is described as a cool-headed revolutionary who calls for action (Morag 2003).

Where does this leave moderate civil religions according to Moyers, Monbiot and Wills?

Webliography

Fraser, Morag. 2003. “Review of The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order. July 12.

Los, Fraser. 2007. “God and Government.” Alternative Journal. 33:1:36-7.

Monbiot, George. 2003. Manifesto for a New World Order. Flamingo.

Monbiot, George. 2004. “Apocalypse Please. ” The Guardian. April 20.

Monbiot, George. 2004b Interview with Monbiot about Manifesto for a New World Order.” Democracy Now.

Monbiot, George. 2004. “Religion of the Rich.” The Guardian. November 9.

Monbiot, George. 2005. “My heroes are driven by God, but I’m glad my society isn’t.” The Guardian. October 11.

Moyers, Bill. 2004. “On Receiving Harvard Med’s Global Environment Citizen Award.”t r u t h o u t | Perspective. December 1.

Moyers, Bill. 2006. Welcome to Doomsday. New York: New York Review Books.

Stiglitz, Joseph E. 2002. Globalisation and its Discontents. Penguin.

Wills, Garry. 2006. Bush’s Fringe Government. New York: New York Review Books.

Poincare, Perelman, Hamilton, Yau

“It’s just the way it is,” isn’t anymore. As I read the Nasar and Grubermanifold New Yorker article (2006) I was deeply moved by the life story of Gregory Perelman who can live on a $100 a month and who managed to wipe out an entire branch of pure mathematics in a few years by working alone, even isolated in the slow world. He is described as an idealist, an ascetic, a Russian Jew who lives with his mother in a gray neighbourhood of gray apartment buildings. But in this article he shines brilliantly. He may be part of the answer to my own puzzle, the ethical dilemma of being an academic in the 21st century.

Henri Poincaré created a True Knowledge Gap in mathematics, giving rise to an entire branch in his discipline when he slipped in an offhand question that became the legendary problem of the 20th century (Nasar and Grubermanifold 2006).

By the nineteen-sixties, topology had become one of the most productive areas of mathematics, and young topologists were launching regular attacks on the Poincaré. To the astonishment of most mathematicians, it turned out that manifolds of the fourth, fifth, and higher dimensions were more tractable than those of the third dimension. By 1982, Poincaré’s conjecture had been proved in all dimensions except the third. In 2000, the Clay Mathematics Institute, a private foundation that promotes mathematical research, named the Poincaré one of the seven most important outstanding problems in mathematics and offered a million dollars to anyone who could prove it.

In 1992 when Gregory Perelman (b. 1968) posted his solution to the problem on the Internet on a site used by mathematicians working with advanced concepts, he supplied enough information for the handful of minds capable of understanding to know that he had cracked it.

It took me a few days to feel I had understood enough of their article to appreciate it. I used my new Firefox add-on Gnosis.[1]

Why then did this story continue to unfold on some very messy battle Fields? Politics, power and control. To understand more fully, I worked out some of the ideas at Tim’s and in an easy chair playing with pictures. I also had to map out a brief timeline and the biographies of the main characters: Perelman, Hamilton, Yau, Tian, Zhu, Cao, Ball and Thurston. I played with the concepts of Knowledge Collisions in the Battle Fields of Mathematics but this was not about knowledge collisions on a level playing field.

Poincaré’s bagel, coffee mug handle, soccer ball and noose knot were great for starters. The table itself was easily transformed into a topology of Battle Fields. Cigars and necks protruded on the topological landscape like stalagmites. I laid a silk cloth over it all so it could drape over the edge of the table. I left a space on the table edge for a dented fender. The True Gap gaped like a crevice in an otherwise relatively level playing field. The coffee mug with its insignia of Stephen Hawkings casts a long shadow and the handle represented the branch of mathematics called topology. Since we are looking at a cross section of topological field the branch that has disappeared over the edge represents a small sorrow [2]

I didn’t know where to put Gregory Perelman my new hero, so I put a spoon in the coffee mug which he of course had stirred up. Then I balanced a swing at the top of it giving him a higher vantage point from which he can quietly survey the field. He swings slowly back and forth without those below noticing. All they can see is the spoon and the bottom of his swing. I turned him into a pearl and remembered a quote, “Not every sea has pearls . . .”

My early experiences in academia were entirely positive. It was only when I was in my fifth year of graduate studies, my second in my PhD that I began to realize the hidden power and politics behind the scenes in the ivory towers as one professor after another sought to gain control over academic and/or grant capital at any cost. I caught myself transforming campus towers into Freudian phallic symbols as I watched with dismay my PhD slipping away from me. I was disgusted mainly with my own naïvity, my lack of campus street-smarts but by then it was too late. It seems my university students in their twenties had figured it out long before I did. No wonder we all make fun of Ph.D.s!

So here I am typing away in my living room office with my old PC perched on this great glass-topped Business Depot computer desk, reflecting Mount Tzuhalem with the fire crackling off to my left and our family sound asleep. I’m emptying my PC into a dozen or more free Web 2.0 sites.

I’m not a Perelman but he is my hero. If you can only learn to live on $100 a month, keep access to the Internet, connect one’s PC’s memory to the free Web 2.0 you can sit back in the slow world and quietly watch a lifetime of experience upload to this strange virtual space we call the Internet.

Perelman’s copyright took the risk of losing his intellectual capital. For some Yau and his students really did deserve the Fields Award he received from Ball.

But for me I would rather face the perils of a Perelman Risk, tie my intellectual capital to my Creative Commons stake and at least let people share some of the amazing experiences I was privileged to have before the Fawlty Towers crumbled around me.

Footnotes


[1] See the article on ClearForest. I had to select a chunk of the article at a time for Gnosis to do its magic but undeniable it makes digesting lengthy, complex articles less cumbersome. At the most elemental level it is similar to the Google generated highlighted key words in .pdf files found in response to a user’s Google search inquiry. Gnosis uses a number of colour codes to highlight a number of themes which I am just trying to work out now.

[2] Its a bit like the death of a meteorite in a fiery explosion would be to the person who had named and followed the passage of the meteorite for decades.
[I have even heard on academic hearsay which is as reliable as Frank I suppose, so I should not repeat this but . . . this is not a journal it is a blog . . . an archaeologist explained to his First Nations guide (who later whispered this to me) that he would not reveal their findings in the field since it would be so hotly contested by his colleagues in his branch it would consume his entire career to defend it. Academic hearsay. Fireworks, not a meteor. Take away 5 credibility, legitimacy points from this author immediately!]

For more reading on science on Web 2.0 see yanfeng.org

Selected webliography

Swaminathan, Nikhil. 2006. peer_review_is_sooooo_old_school
Scientific American Blog. December 22, 2006.

Nasar, Sylvia , Grubermanifold, David. 2006.”Manifest Destiny.” The New Yorker: Fact. Annals of Mathematics. A legendary problem and the battle over who solved it. Issue of 2006-08-28; Posted 2006-08-21; accessed December 22, 2006.

Richard Nixon noted, “[In 1994] China’s economic power makes US lectures about human rights imprudent. Within a decade it will make them irrelevant. Within two decades it will make them laughable (Huntington 1997:195).” Rural norther women (2006) in southern SEZ, earn pennies. Profits shared by retailers, Tianjin, Klein, Nautica, Chaps, Feniger

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Challenges of Human Rights within a Geopolitics of Exclusion

Originally presented as part of: Flynn, Burhoe, M. 2004. “Human Rights Comprehensive,” Carleton University, Ottawa, ON.

 

The 1993 Vienna Human Rights Conference revealed the ideological schism between the Western bloc of liberal democracies embodied in European and North American countries and diverse ideologies of fifty non-Western countries[1] which the West lumped together as Asian-Islamic. In spite of this, cultural relativism was rejected in favour of the universality of human rights. At this same conference Islamic and Chinese delegates emphatically stated that the universality of human rights was not questioned. But as China’s economic clout increases so does the demand for a shift in the dominant western-centred human rights lexicon to include Asian values (Falk 2000:8). See also Ignatieff.

The rapid dramatic economic, industrial and technological growth of China’s Special Economic Zones has situated China as a formidable trade partner in the global economy attracting foreign investors particularly the US and Japan. This has a profound effect on Human Rights debates which became visibly apparently in 1994 with Clinton was forced to retract threats to impose sanctions on China for its human rights abuses. It is the hope of the Western world that China’s need for trade partners will lead to greater transparency but in the unpredictable shifts of power dynamics, economic forces alone will not compel China to adopt western values. As China’s international market strength gathers momentum human rights concerns conveyed by even the more vocal dissenters, Tibet and Taiwan are set aside.

At a recent conference on Governance Self-Government and Legal Pluralism (2003) Premier Okalik[2] defined traditional knowledge as a collective means of re-interpreting a rapidly changing world. Falk suggested an “alternative to the false universalism of globalization in the form of an intercivilizational world order that combines the ecological and biological conditions of unity with the civilizational[3] realities of difference and self-definition (Falk 2000b:161). This radical shift recognizes the emergence of civilizational identities which challenges the dominant statist identities (2000b:147). Another term that is used to describe this geopolitics of inclusion is multi-civilizational dialogical relationship. An international globalization research centre, Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research (TODA) is developing a multi-civilizational conceptual framework focusing on the unity and variety of conditions and institutions for global democracy in an age of globalization and regionalization (TODA 2000).

The end of the cold war, ideological passivity of China, spread of market liberalism set the stage for a new period in human rights. The new western political ideology claimed that only democratic forms of governance are legitimate and promote human rights (Falk 2000a:47).

 


[1](including Communist Cuba, Buddhist Myanmar, Confucian Singapore, Vietnam, North Korea, China, Muslim Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Libya)

[2] At a recent conference on Governance Self-Government and Legal Pluralism Premier Okalik acknowledged the challenges of transforming a society afflicted with inherited social wrongs. Governance for the new territory is based on traditional Inuit values respected for the full weight of the history it reflects, as a proactive means engaging the transition. Inuit culture remained intact until relatively recently unlike other indigenous peoples in North America. Okalik described one of the pivotal values of Inuit governance resides in unique form of communication based on listening to others while never losing one’s own horizon in a process that is as complex in execution as it is simple in expressing. In this way Nunavut governance evolved using the best of the Westminster style of government but with unique Inuit traits that reflect Inuit culture and knowledge Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit. The application of IQ is contemporary and continues to evolve although it is steeped in tradition (Okalik 2003).

[3] Falk traced the roots of the civilizational explorations to Braudel (Braudel 1949[1969]) and Toynbee (1961). Elitist and ethnocentric art historian Erwin Panofsky (1939) measured all art history in relation to highpoints of Western civilization, particularly Gothic France and Renaissance Italy (1984; Holly 1997). In education both Hutchins (1936) and Allan Bloom (1987) in his Great Books series assumed the primacy of western civilization over all others. Lord Kenneth Clark’s (1970) televised popular mini-series Civilisation (Alter 1999) spanned eleven countries and sixteen centuries claiming achievements in the name of western civilization through art, architecture, philosophy and history.

 

The end of the cold war, ideological passivity of China, spread of market liberalism set the stage for a new period in human rights. The new western political ideology claims that only democratic forms of governance are legitimate and promote human rights (Falk 2000:47). In 1989 China cracked down on pro-democracy activists in Beijing‘s Tiananmen Square. This was denounced by Clinton when he was campaigning for the US Presidency. However ever since China initiated its more market-friendly policies in its Special Economic Zones, its GNP has risen dramatically. Currently its economy is second only to the United States. Unlike many other late comers to development, China strategically developed its own technical expertise with rapidity thereby limiting China’s dependency on the United States. This has profound effect on Human Rights debates which became official in 1994 with Clinton was forced to retract threats to impose sanctions on China for its human rights abuses. China is attracting foreign investors particularly the US and Japan. It is the hope of the Western world that China’s need for trade partners will lead to greater transparency such as is beginning in the Special Economic Zone. (See the timeline of events that led to the shift.)

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2004. “Challenges of Human Rights within a Geopolitics of Exclusion,” “Overview of the Context, Content, Conceptual Framework and Outcomes of Designing and Teaching a Human Rights Course in Iqaluit, Nunavut,” Comprehensive Exam II, submitted to PhD committee members Professors Rob Shields, Phillip Thurtle, Donna Patrick. May 21, 2004 in partial requirement for a PhD in Sociology/Anthropology at Carleton University, Ottawa, ON.  Creative Commons license applies.

 

Selected Bibliography

Axworthy, Lloyd. 1995. “Statement.” in World Summit for Social Development. Copenhagen, Denmark.

Braudel, Fernand. 1949[1969]. La Méditerranée et le monde méditerranéen à l’époque de Philippe II, vol. 1. Paris, FR: Flammarion. http://www.armand-colin.com/cgi-bin/bookf.pl?is=2200372248

Brittan, Sir Samuel. 1996. “Review of Charles K. Rowley’s “The Political Economy of the Minimal State”.” The Times Literary Supplement. http://www.thelockeinstitute.org/books/politicaleconomy_review1.html

Falk, Richard A. 2000. Human Rights Horizons: The Pursuit of Justice in a Globalizing World. New York: Routledge.

Gadamer, Hans-Georg. 1960 [1975]. Truth and Method. New York: Crossroad Publishing Company.

Habermas, Jurgen. 1981. “The Theory of Communicative Action.” vol. 2.

Hutchins, Robert. 1936. The Higher Education in America. Chicago.

Leary, Virginia A. 1998. “Globalization and Human Rights.” Pp. 265-276 in Human Rights: New Dimensions and Challenges: Manual on Human Rights, edited by Janusz Symonides. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Dartmouth Publishing Company Ltd. / UNESCO Publishing. hum/sym/hum

Lyons, Oron R. 1992. “The American Indian in the Past.” in Exiled in the Land of the Free: Democracy, Indian Nations and the U.S.Constitution, edited by Oron R. Lyons and John C. Mohawk. Santa Fe, New Mexico: Clearlight Press.

Okalik, Paul. 2003. “The Naujaat Challenge: Working Together.” in To the Conference on Governance Self-Government and Legal Pluralism. Hull, Quebec. http://www.gov.nu.ca/Nunavut/English/premier/press/cgsglp.shtml

Powless, Irving Jr. 2000. “Treaty Making.” Pp. 115-126 in Treaty of Canandaigua 1794: 200 Years of Treaty Relations between Iroquois Confederacy and the United States, edited by G. Peter Jemison and Anna M. Schein. Santa Fe: Clearlight Press.

Rikard, Jolene. 2002. “After Essay – Indigenous is the Local.” Pp. 115-126 in On Aboriginal Representation in the Gallery, edited by Lynda Jessup and Shannon Bagg. Gatineau, PQ: Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Ryan, Alan. 1997. “Pragmatism, Social Identity, Patriotism, and Self-Criticism.” The National Humanities Center. http://www.nhc.rtp.nc.us:8080/publications/hongkong/ryan.htm

Symonides, Janusz. 1998. Human Rights: New Dimensions and Challenges: Manual on Human Rights. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Dartmouth Publishing Company Ltd. / UNESCO Publishing. hum/sym/hum

Taylor, Charles. 1989. Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity: Cambridge University Press. http://www.philosophers.co.uk/cafe/phil_may2003.htm

TODA. 2000. Annual Report 2000. University of Hawaii: Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, Globalization Research Center. http://www.toda.org/annual_reports/2000.html

Habermas’ (2004) in “Time of Transition” declared that Judaeo-Christian-centred liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, civilisation are exclusively essential to civil society. What about Islamic, Buddhist or indigenous philosophies? Quebec, Canada’ most multiethnic high school political philosophy class answer back.

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Abstract: Habemas’ Judaeo-Christian-centred communicative theories meet saavy, enlightened, extremely multiethnic Quebec students: Habermas’ (2004) declaration that Judaeo-Christian-centred liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, civilisation make intercultural understanding, it is what makes it possible What happens to 18th century Enlightenment concepts of civil society in a postnational public sphere, where Habermas’ concepts and theories, developed in the 1960s and popularized in the 1980s meet a saavy, enlightened, extremely multiethnic highschool political philosophy class in a fractured nation-state (Quebec) within a fractured nation-state (Canada) in a knowledge-risk society?

This is a stub of a discussion which I will develop over the next few months instigated by this article in Le Devoir. Google now offers a service whereby anything on the web can be instantly translated. So this is Google’s English translation of Dubreuil’s original  article in the French-language newspaper Le Devoir. Nothing compares to reading an author in their own languages of preference. While this Google service is probably not a perfect solution for discussions on political philosophy where one word can be the topic of an entire body of work, it is at least a way into this fascinating and timely debate. Maureen Flynn-Burhoe, November 19, 2006. To be continued . . .

Dubreuil, Benoît. 2006. “Le Devoir de Philo – Habermas et la classe de Mme. Lise,” Le Devoir, Quebec, Canada. November 19, 2006. http://www.ledevoir.com/2006/11/18/123119.html . Accessed 2006/11/19.

Habermas, Jürgen. (2004) Time of Transition.

 

 

I am convinced that Derrida’s more inclusive theories on political philosophy as revealed in his writings particularly in the 1990s onwards, are more useful in a philosophy from a cosmopolitical point of view. It is evident that any dialogues on human rights, democracy, hospitality, friendship, civil society need to be inclusive. Habermas’ contributions as public intellectual, political philosopher who brought difficult topics to the public through mass media will continue to be topical, relevant and useful. But truly useful additions to the urgent conversations about social inclusion, social justice, economic efficiency, globalization need to be undertaken with a level of hospitality and friendship that Jacques Derrida (who acknowledged his own status as marano, a French-Jewish-Algerian)  exemplified in his discussions with Arabo-Islamic scholars. There is indeed an urgency for inclusive conversations hospitable to Bhuddism, Arabo-Islamic, Baha’i, First Nations, Inuit, indigenous points of view. 

A partial chronology of a debate on political philosophy 

The following is a draft of a Chronology I am developing as background for Habermas-Derrida debates in political philosophy.  

18th century coffee houses: “Jürgen Habermas wrote extensively on the concept of the public sphere, using accounts of dialogue that took place in coffee houses in 18th century England. It was this public sphere of rational debate on matters of political importance, made possible by the development of the bourgeois culture centered around coffeehouses, intellectual and literary salons, and the print media that helped to make parliamentary democracy possible and which promoted Enlightenment ideals of equality, human rights and justice. The public sphere was guided by a norm of rational argumentation and critical discussion in which the strength of one’s argument was more important than one’s identity.” Wiki

Habermas built the framework out of the speech-act philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, J. L. Austin, and John Searle, the sociological theory of the interactional constitution of mind and self of George Herbert Mead, the theories of moral development of Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg, and the discourse ethics of his Heidelberg colleague Karl-Otto Apel. Jürgen Habermas considers his own major achievement the development of the concept and theory of communicative reason or communicative rationality, which distinguishes itself from the rationalist tradition by locating rationality in structures of interpersonal linguistic communication rather than in the structure of either the cosmos or the knowing subject. This social theory advances the goals of human emancipation, while maintaining an inclusive universalist moral framework. This framework rests on the argument called universal pragmatics – that all speech acts have an inherent telos (the Greek word for “purpose” or “goal”) — the goal of mutual understanding, and that human beings possess the communicative competence to bring about such understanding.

Xxxx Kant the Enlightenment and of democratic socialism Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) carried forward the traditions of Kant through his emphasis on the potential for transforming the world and arriving at a more humane, just, and egalitarian society through the realization of the human potential for reason, in part through discourse ethics. While Habermas concedes that the Enlightenment is an “unfinished project,” he argues it should be corrected and complemented, not discarded.

19xx Ludwig Wittgenstein developed his speech-act philosophy which partially informed the development of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) concepts and theories of communicative reason or communicative rationality.

19xx J. L. Austin developed his speech-act philosophy which partially informed the development of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) concepts and theories of communicative reason or communicative rationality.

19xx John Searle developed his speech-act philosophy which partially informed the development of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) concepts and theories of communicative reason or communicative rationality.

19xx George Herbert Mead developed his theory of sociological theory of the interactional constitution of mind and self which partially informed the development of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) concepts and theories of communicative reason or communicative rationality

19xx Jean Piaget developed his theories of moral development which partially informed the development of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) concepts and theories of communicative reason or communicative rationality

19xx Lawrence Kohlberg developed his theories of moral development which partially informed the development of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) concepts and theories of communicative reason or communicative rationality.

1929 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) was born June 18, 1929 in Düsseldorf. wiki

1956 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) burst onto the German intellectual scene in the 1950s with an influential critique of the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. He had been studying philosophy and sociology under the critical theorists Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno at the Institute for Social Research at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main since 1956, but because of a rift over his dissertation between the two – Horkheimer had made unacceptable demands for revision – as well as his own belief that the Frankfurt School had become paralyzed with political skepticism and disdain for modern culture – he took his Habilitation in political science at the University of Marburg under the Marxist Wolfgang Abendroth. Wiki

1961 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) became a privatdozent in Marburg, and very unusual in the German academic scene at that time, he was called to an “extraordinary professorship” (professor without chair) of philosophy at the University of Heidelberg (at the instigation of Hans-Georg Gadamer and Karl Löwith) in 1962.

1964, Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) returned to Frankfurt to take over Horkheimer’s chair in philosophy and sociology, strongly supported by Adorno. wiki

1971-1983 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) was Director of the Max Planck Institute in Starnberg (near Munich). wiki

1981 ??? Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) published his magnum opus, The Theory of Communicative Action. Habermas then returned to his chair at Frankfurt and the directorship of the Institute for Social Research. In his magnum opus Theory of Communicative Action (1984) he criticized the one-sided process of modernization led by forces of economic and administrative rationalization. Habermas traced the growing intervention of formal systems in our everyday lives as parallel to development of the welfare state, corporate capitalism and the culture of mass consumption. These reinforcing trends rationalize widening areas of public life, submitting them to a generalizing logic of efficiency and control. As routinized political parties and interest groups substitute for participatory democracy, society is increasingly administered at a level remote from input of citizens. As a result, boundaries between public and private, the individual and society, the system and the lifeworld are deteriorating. Democratic public life only thrives where institutions enable citizens to debate matters of public importance. He describes an ideal type of “ideal speech situation[1], where actors are equally endowed with the capacities of discourse, recognize each other’s basic social equality and speech is undistorted by ideology or misrecognition. wiki

1980s??? Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) distanced himself from the Frankfurt School. Habermas argued that the Frankfurt School theorists, and others he lumped together as much of postmodernistists, who critiqued Kant, the Enlightenment, the concept of progress and of democratic socialism, were misdirected, excessively pessimism, radical and prone to exaggerations.

1980s Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) became a renowned public intellectual as well as a scholar.

1980s Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) used the popular press to attack historians (i.e., Ernst Nolte, Michael Stürmer and Andreas Hillgruber) who, arguably, had tried to demarcate Nazi rule and the Holocaust from the mainstream of German history, explain away Nazism as a reaction to Bolshevism, and partially rehabilitate the reputation of the Wehrmacht (German Army) during World War II. The so-called Historikerstreit (“Historians’ Quarrel”) was not at all one-sided, because Habermas was himself attacked by scholars like Joachim Fest and Klaus Hildebrand.

1980s Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) and Jacques Derrida engaged in somewhat acrimonious disputes beginning in the 1980s and culminated in a refusal of extended debate and talking past one another. Following Habermas’ publication of “Beyond a Temporalized Philosophy of Origins: Derrida” (in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity), Derrida, citing Habermas as an example, remarked that, “those who have accused me of reducing philosophy to literature or logic to rhetoric … have visibly and carefully avoided reading me”

1986 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, which is the highest honour awarded in German research.

1988 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) was elected as a member of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

1993 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) retired from Frankfurt and continued to publish extensively. He is also a Permanent Visiting Professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

1997 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) photo on the cover of William Outhwaite’s (1997) Habermas, – en kritisk introduktion. Bogen gennemgår alle væsentlige titler i forfatterskabet, fra de tidlige bøger om videnskab, politik og offentlig meningsdannelse i det kapitalistiske samfund til de seneste arbejder om retssystemets rolle i den demokratiske stat. photos

2001 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) visited the People’s Republic of China in April 2001 and received a big welcome. He gave numerous speeches under titles such as “Nation-States under the Pressure of Globalisation.”

2004 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-), wrote in regards to his views on secularism and religion in the European public sphere, in his essay (2004) Time of Transition, “Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilisation.” He also maintains that “recognising our Judaeo-Christian roots more clearly not only does not impair intercultural understanding, it is what makes it possible.” [2] Jürgen Habermas had his photo taken with with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

2005 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) traveled to San Diego and on March 5, 2005, as part of the University of San Diego‘s Kyoto Symposium, gave a speech entitled The Public Role of Religion in Secular Context, regarding the evolution of separation of Church and State from neutrality to intense secularism. He received the 2005 Holberg International Memorial Prize (about € 520 000).

XXXX Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) More recently, Habermas has been outspoken in his opposition to the American invasion of Iraq.

2006 wiki photo taken

2006 “The reflexion of Habermas joined the remarks of Jacques Godbout, who worried recently (Topicality, September 1, 2006) about the multiplication of the parabolic aerials allowing the immigrants to remain connected permanently on the television of their country of origin and never to be integrated into Québécois public space. Some, like the playwright Olivier Khemed (the Duty, September 12, 2006), saw in this comment a form of arabophobie. However, the question deserves to be put! Can there really be a public space when the citizens adopt profiles radically different in their consumption from cultural goods? The diagnosis drawn up by Godbout is undoubtedly partial, but he recalls us that we do not know anything in Quebec mode consumption cultural goods by the immigrant populations. Are their principal channels of integration to the Québécois democracy TQS, VAT and Radio-Canada or rather CTV, CNN and Al-Jazira? We do not know anything of it since there is not any serious study on this question. (Dubreuil 2006)” (Dubreuil, Benoît (2006), “Le Devoir de Philo – Habermas et la classe de Madame Lise,” Le Devoir, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. November 19, 2006. http://www.ledevoir.com/2006/11/18/123119.html , Édition du samedi 18 et du dimanche 19 novembre 2006

xxxx Noted academic John Thompson, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Cambridge, has pointed out that Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) notion of the public sphere is antiquated due to the proliferation of mass-media communications. wiki

Xxxx Noted academic Michael Schudson from the University of California, San Diego critiques the work of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) arguing more generally that a public sphere as a place of purely rational independent debate never existed. wiki

Xxxx “Quite distinct from this, Geoffrey Bennington, a close associate of Derrida’s, has in a further conciliatory gesture offered an account of deconstruction intended to provide some mutual intelligibility. Derrida was already extremely ill by the time the two had begun their new exchange, and the two were not able to develop this such that they could substantially revisit previous disagreements or find more profound terms of discussion before Derrida’s death. Nevertheless, this late collaboration has encouraged some scholars to revisit the positions, recent and past, of both thinkers, vis-a-vis the other.” wiki

Xxxx “What would say Jürgen Habermas of the Class of Mrs Lise? In her superb documentary, the director Sylvie Groulx follows during one year a class of first year to the school Barthelemy-Vimont, in the district Park-Extension, in Montreal. This school, attended with 95% by children of immigrant origin, is most multiethnic in Quebec. The documentary one testifies to the difficulties to which facefaces Quebec as regards integration of the immigrants and famous with wonder what it is advisable to call our “school apartheid”. By looking at the Class of Mrs Lise, it is difficult not to wonder which Quebec are integrated these children. Do we divide with them a common world? Do we take part in the same public space?” (Dubreuil 2006)” (Dubreuil, Benoît (2006), “Le Devoir de Philo – Habermas et la classe de Madame Lise,” Le Devoir, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. November 19, 2006.http://www.ledevoir.com/2006/11/18/123119.html, Édition du samedi 18 et du dimanche 19 novembre 2006

 

Aquarium Gaze

November 4, 2006

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This layered Adobe Photoshop image was inspired by a paragraph in Michael Ignatieff’s book entitled Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry. This was the book preferred by the adult students in the Human Rights course I taught at Nunavut Arctic College, Iqaluit, NU in 2002-3. Aquarium Gaze

“Here was a scientist, trained in the traditions of European rational inquiry, turning a meeting between two human beings into an encounter between different species. Progress may be a contested concept, but we make progress to the degree that we act upon the moral intuition that Dr. Pannwitz was wrong: our species is one, and each of the individuals who compose it is entitled to equal moral consideration. Human rights is the language that systematically embodies this intuition, and to the degree that this intuition gains influence over the conduct of individuals and states, we can say that are making moral progress.[…] Human rights was a response to Dr. Pannwitz, to the discovery of the abomination that could occur when the Westphalian state was accorded unlimited sovereignity, when citizens of that state lacked normative grounds to disobey legal but immoral orders. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights represented a return by the European tradition to its natural law heritage, a return intended to restore agency, to give individuals the civic courage to stand up when the state ordered them to do wrong.”(Ignatieff 2001)

My emerging folksonomy:

This linear page entitled Memory Work will be a site of collecting and sharing focused research on the urgently needed on the concept of memory work. This concept was developed by Ricoeur, Derrida, Cixous, Nora. It is urgently need in a postnational, post-WW II, post-apartheid, post-RCAP world where citizens move closer to reconciliation, towards forgiveness or apologies, while revisiting distorted histories with an attitude of mutual respect for Self and the Other-I.

.

Freudian Slip The catalyst for this layered image was Freud’s influential paper (1901 [1914]) entitled Forgetting of Proper Names in Psychopathology of Everyday Life. I remembered the image a couple of days ago when I submitted my first article Memory work for Wikipedia as a fully register contributor. The words memory and history are not interchangeable. Memory work has an ethical as well as an historical dimension. This image raises some ethical questions about how our stored memories can become entangled.

In it Freud examined the psychological process of forgetting the name of the artist who painted the Orvieto ceiling when his conscious thinking process was abruptly interrupted by memories of the recent suicide of one of his patients who had an incurable sexual disorder. He forget Signorelli’s proper name during this conversation with a stranger while traveling in Herzegovina. They had been discussing the Turks in Bosnia and Herzegovina when Freud’s thoughts turned to contemporary [racist] beliefs surrounding the sexual moeurs of Turks who allegedly valued sexual pleasure over life itself. From there Freud thought of Death and Sexuality. As one theme interrupted and replaced the other, he associated the series Signorelli. Botticelli, Boltraffio, Trafoi and could not recollect the proper name.

This is significant to me as it reveals unchallenged western prejudices about the East at the turn of the century.

Layers include a .jpg of Renaissance artist Luca Signorelli’s (1445 – 1523) masterpiece, the massive frescoes of the Last Judgment (1499-1503) in Orvieto Cathedral. The copyright on his work has expired since he passed away more than 70 years ago.

There is a topographical map of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a small iinsert of Freud’s museum which is itself th subject of controversy as rrevealed in Derrida’s book Archives Fever (1996). The uppermost layer is the diagram from the Freud’s article explaining how he made a Freudian slip.

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Uploaded by ocean.flynn on 2 Nov ’06, 4.23pm MST.
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