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Philip Nanton

that I had adopted with the material reality that I experienced on the ground. My point here is that this experience armed me with a degree of scepticism about received wisdom and conventional discourse, including, for example, postcolonial theory. The experience also encouraged me in another sense – that is, to become my own organic case study. The personalised strategy adopted in this work, for

in Frontiers of the Caribbean
Philip Nanton

authority and unmediated access to experience and events. When the ‘I’ is a Prime Minister, that authority is at one level assumed to be incontestable; at another, however, all politics involve the shaping of the truth to suit a particular agenda, and most readers therefore will approach such a narrative with a degree of scepticism. Ruler in Hiroona plays with this ambiguity in such a way as to

in Frontiers of the Caribbean
Andrew Bowie

knowing everything, then, can just as easily lead to nihilism as can the scepticism which anyway inevitably results from metaphysical realism – if reality is wholly independent of what we think about it, nothing could ever confirm, in thought, that what we think is true of that reality. Both the idea of omniscience and radical scepticism involve the metaphysical realist assumption as a limiting ‘absolute’, but both, as Schlegel realises, fail to deal with the sort of relations to the world which give it meaning.2 The history of these ideas is an area of considerable

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
Mads Qvortrup

disposition of age, no authority could enable an individual to execute’ (187). This scepticism in the powers of human reason might seem misplaced in the age of rationalism. This anti-constructivist conception of society as something that has evolved through what Hayek was later to call ‘spontaneous action’, was rejected by – and largely written in opposition to – a different conception of society, which we might call (for want of a better expression), constructivist. René Descartes, in Discourse on Method, was a proponent of the constructivist view. He argued that ‘there is

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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Art and interpretation
Andrew Bowie

characterised by irresolvable differences which it is repressive to try to overcome. Scepticism may be irrefutable by argument, but the approach to scepticism shared by Schleiermacher and some contemporary pragmatists regards this as immaterial, because we cannot avoid the activities of taking as true and justifying to others, being communicating agents, rather than isolated Cartesian spectators. Schleiermacher claims that in real situations, where there never is absolute certainty, and where we must constantly make practical decisions, ‘a real willing is always the ground of

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
Fichte, Hölderlin and Novalis
Andrew Bowie

object, but is also able to explore itself in new ways by abstracting from the object of its choice and reflecting upon itself via the object. The stress is now on the creative relationship to the object, not upon a cognitive relationship. This point is crucial. What is at issue in Hölderlin’s vision is not an answer to epistemological scepticism about the external world, generated by a version of Cartesian doubt. Instead he is seeking a way in which self-conscious awareness does not just lead both to self-alienation and alienation from the rest of the world. On this

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
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The beginning of aesthetic theory and the end of art
Andrew Bowie

pushes one in the direction of a decision on Habermas’s contentions about what Hegel meant. Hegel responds to scepticism by arguing that the complete, ‘nihilistic’ destruction of all particular theories does not lead to a negative conclusion, but instead to the highest, most universal philosophical insight. This is because all theories have to begin by opposing some existing position, which they therefore need to negate for their own positive conclusions to emerge – no Galileo without Ptolemy. We can never begin with a foundational theory, because this leads to a

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
Open Access (free)
Andrew Bowie

diversity against ethnocentrism tends to suggest? One way of indicating why such a perspective may not be as questionable as is often claimed is apparent in the following argument, from Aesthetic Theory, against the ‘private’ relativisation of aesthetic judgement: Shoulder-shrugging aesthetic relativism is for its part a piece of reified consciousness; [it is] less melancholic scepticism against one’s own insufficiency than resentment against the claim to truth of art which alone would legitimate that greatness of artworks without whose fetish [i.e. the fetish of greatness

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
Rousseau as a constitutionalist
Mads Qvortrup

wrote, ‘is never corrupted, it is often misled, and only then does it want what is bad’ (III: 371). Empirical evidence does not support this scepticism, however; Charles de Gaulle lost the plebiscite on local government in 1969 and even General Pinochet was forced to step down when 56 per cent of the voters rejected a proposal which would have extended his powers. Whether referendums result in ‘plebiscitary dictatorship’ is ultimately an empirical question, but evidence does not readily support this thesis. This conclusion does not imply that Rousseau’s model was

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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The life and times of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Mads Qvortrup

’s physics as a manifestation of the glory of God. ‘The whole philosophy of Newton leads necessarily to the knowledge of a Supreme Being, who created everything, arranged everything of his own free will’. Voltaire quoted in N. Hampson, The Enlightenment (London: Penguin, 1990), p. 79. Yet – as is well-known – he did not believe that God was all-powerful or good. Scepticism regarding the latter was the theme of Candide. 11 An example of his poetry is Le Verger des Charmettes: ‘Tantot avec Leibniz, Malabrance et Newton/Je monte ma raison sur un sublime ton/j’examine les lois

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau