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Intersecting Philosophical Planes

Philosophical Essays

Bert Olivier

The philosophical essays collected here are predicated on the conviction that we live in a time when all-encompassing philosophical systems can no longer be seriously entertained as a true reflection of extant reality. Instead, an indefinite number of perspectives on – or discursive appropriations of – what is thought of as ‘reality’ are possible. Sometimes they diverge and sometimes they intersect in surprising ways, as these essays show. While the belief in an all-inclusive philosophical system is rejected, the author shows that every perspective displays a coherence and illuminating power of its own.
The collection is divided into two parts. The first considers philosophy, the individual and society, covering themes including the deleterious effects of capitalism on natural ecosystems, the modern conception of ‘immortality’ in Nietzsche’s thought, Lacan’s provocative interpretation of capitalist discourse, the current status of the humanities in universities, individual autonomy, the meaning of ‘identification’, global ‘terrorism’, and Plato’s philosophical self-subversion. The second part gathers together perspectives on the arts and society, with the author arguing that reflections on cinema, architecture and music never isolate these arts from social concerns, but demonstrate their interconnectedness.

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Acknowledgements xi Preface xiii Part 1 Philosophy, the individual, and society 1 Chapter 1 Nature, capitalism, and the future of humankind 3 Chapter 2 Nietzsche, immortality, singularity, and eternal recurrence 25 Chapter 3 Lacan on the discourse of capitalism: Critical prospects 47 Chapter 4 The ‘quasi-universality’ of the humanities 69 Chapter 5 The humanities, technology, and universities 81 Chapter 6 That strange thing called ‘identifying’ 101 viii Chapter 7 Foucault and individual autonomy 125 Chapter 8 ‘Terror(ism)’ in the context of cosmopolitanism 155 Chapter 9 The subversion of Plato’s quasi-phenomenology and mytho-poetics in the Symposium 183 Part 2 The arts and society 203 Chapter 10 Women’s ‘nature’ and architectural design 205 Chapter 11 Music and architecture: Time and/or space? 219 Chapter 12 Images and mediation 235 Chapter 13 Communication and real confusion: Babel 255 Chapter 14 Extra-ordinary cinema 277 Chapter 15 Cinema and communication: ‘Cinelogic’ and ‘cineaesthesis’ 299 ix Chapter 16 Avatar: Ecopolitics, technology, science, art, and myth 319 Chapter 17 ‘Sustainable’ architecture and the ‘law’ of the fourfold 345 Index 361

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