Academic Work

 

1. Drafts and other unpublished work.

Translational Action at the End of a World.

What may we hope for if our worlds come to an end? Some philosophers (e.g. Heidegger, Rorty) have argued: a great poet, broadly understood as creator of concepts and worlds. This paper proposes an alternative which I call translational action. I begin by outlining the particular kind of world-crisis that motivates my work and offer a contrast between two kinds of responses to this type of crisis, which I associate with poetic creation and translation respectively. First, I work out differences and similarities between these two in their ordinary, literary-aesthetic sense (I). Building on George Steiner’s phenomenology of translation, I then propose an ‘operationalization’ of the concept of translation for social theory (II). Thirdly, I read three ethnographic case studies through the lenses of these concepts—poetic creation and translational action—to show their disclosive powers (III). Two examples are taken from the Amazonas region (Kalapalo and Jivaroans) and one from the Northern American Great Plaines (Crow).

 

The Poetic Paradigm of Human Agency

This paper contends that a certain Romantic conception of poetic creation has stood model for several philosophers’ attempts to think agency across an increasing range of human activities since the late 18th century. Let us group these philosophers under the heading of the poetic paradigm. My goal is to show both the heterogeneity and the unity of this paradigm. To the first end, I discuss four rather different instances: Kant, Heidegger, Richard Rorty, and Rahel Jaeggi. Historically, the enemy of the poetic paradigm have been mechanistic and reductionist eliminations of human agency and this contrast helps to bring out the unity of the paradigm, too. Otherwise, my approach here is to show the presence of a basic conceptual structure first in the abstract (I) and then fleshed out in the authors in question (II-V).

 

Poètes et traducteurs à la fin d’un monde

This essay inquires into different responses to the end of a world. Against the wide-spread idea that what is needed at the end of a world is a great poet, broadly conceived as a creator of world, it looks to the translator as an alternative and develops a concept of translational action as a response to the end of a world.

French MA thesis, submitted at ENS, Paris in spring 2018.
Supervisors: Marc Crépon, Marc de Launay.

 

2. Published Work

2.1 On Liberal Education

What is Liberal Education and what could it be? European students on their liberal arts education.

Book. Self-published. Co-edited with Daniel Kontowski and Jakob Tonda Dirksen. 2017.

This volume is a collection of European students’ voices on their liberal education. It is not a comparative, scholarly study of student experience in liberal education programmes, although it might serve as a first step towards such an inquiry. Rather, it invites its readers to explore the nature, promises, and pitfalls of liberal education in Europe, and to initiate into the diversity of institutional and curricular arrangements, as they are perceived by those who took part in them. Researchers and journalists that are already covering liberal education will hopefully find in students’ insider perspectives valuable and original contributions to their field of interest. Their accounts might also offer inspiration and caveats to those administrators, faculty, and sponsors currently running liberal education initiatives or considering doing so in the future. Last but not least, prospective liberal arts students will get a better idea of what to expect, current ones will find that others perhaps share their joys and struggles, and former ones can remember a formative phase in their lives.

 

Liberal Education under Financial Pressure: The Case of Private German Universities.

Article published with Daniel Kontowski in The University as a Critical institution? Ed. R. Deem & H. Eggins. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2017.

A comparative, historical study of three German liberal education initatives, the financial and institutional crises they faced, and how they survived them.

 

 

Thinkeries, Ancient and Modern: Democracy’s Challenge to Liberal Education

Article published with Ewa Atanassow in Back to the Core: Rethinking Liberal Arts & Sciences Education in Europe. Ed. Emma Cohen de Lara and Hanke Drop.

We revisit Aristophanes’ charge against Socratic education in the Clouds and, placing that charge in its democratic context, propose that the play is equally critical of Socratic education as it is of democracy’s narrowly utilitarian approach to learning embodied in the comic protagonist Strepsiades. The clash between the two, we claim, is the play’s main target. In the second part, we suggest that Aristophanes’ challenge is still with us and merits to be taken seriously by defenders of liberal education today. Discussing one institutional response to that challenge, we argue that if it is to be useful for modern democracy liberal education needs to address the heterogeneity of values, and that a core-text based curriculum is uniquely fit to do so.

 

2.2 Two Early Papers in Philosophy, Analytic and Continental.

Nietzsche on Character and Translation

Article. British Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy, 2016.

A brief and imaginative outline for a new interpretive strategy towards the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. First, I offer a close reading of Nietzsche’s thoughts on ‘character’, arguing against ‘rational reconstructivists’ and ‘eclectic pragmatists’ that the literary character can serve as a model for synthesizing a whole out of Nietzsche’s thought, albeit a dynamic and open-ended one (1). Secondly, following Duncan Large’s speculation, and taking my cues from Nietzsche’s own writing, etymology, and the phenomenology of translation, I argue that translation is the key method by with such a synthesis could proceed (2). Lastly, I offer an axiological consideration, why such an interpretative strategy expresses precisely those values that are appropriate when dealing philosophically with Nietzsche, and conclude with a discussion of one value in question, the value of fidelity (3).

 

Why Queerness Is Not Enough: Against Moral Eliminativism

Article. Romanian Journal of Analytic Philosophy, 2014.

 

This paper argues that the known arguments against moral error theory face a rarely considered trade-off: either they are very strong but demanding in their assumptions, or they are less demanding but weak. In response, I develope a new argument against moral error theory that exploits an internal inconsistency in the error theorists’ mainline of argumentation, namely the Argument from Queerness. Fictionalist error theorists might have a way of avoiding the challenge posed but eliminativist error theorists, I argue, do not.

 

3. Academic Book Reviews.

Steven A. Miller, Community and Loyalty in American Philosophy: Royce, Sellars, and Rorty in Pragmata – Revue d’études pragmatistes, 2019.

Alasdair MacIntyre, Ethics in the Conflicts of Modernity. With Gregory Lenne in Raisons Politiques, 2018.

Antonio Costa Pinto (ed.), Corporatism and Fascism. For Politics, Religion, and Ideology. 2017.

Richard J. Bernstein, Ironic Life. For Kronos Quarterly, 2016.

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