From Envy to Radicalization Models of radicalization have typically placed grievances at the heart of radicalization. In contrast, we argue that viewing the radicalizing agent as decidedly proactive, and less reactive, better accounts for the available data. At the core of our radicalization model is the functional structure of envy. The operative properties of the emotion align with essential and conspicuous features of the radicalization process: a motivation to monitor social differentials, an identification of sources of postulated welfare costs, an impulse to eliminate or depower purported competitors, an attempt to diffuse responsibility for one’s aggressive actions, and the rejoicing at the envied agent’s misfortune. Two of those operative properties are particularly important for our understanding of radicalization. Envy motivates the neutralization of competitors when responsibility for welfare costs is not objectively attributable to others’ wrongdoing toward the party who feels injured. The “process of typification” serves as a means to diffuse responsibility. It extends the reach of individual concerns by downplaying the particulars of the personal situation motivating the envious agent while evoking universally shared interaction templates (e.g., humiliation, injustice) to appeal to a broader audience.
Doing (the) Nothing: Eric Santner and Giorgio Agamben on Suspending the Apparatus of Glory Prior to modernity, the production of glory was fixated on the King’s symbolic body, his second or glorious body. This second body divides and redoubles his real, physical body, endowing the King with the radiant aura of sovereignty, legitimacy, and power. Without the robes and pageantry, the splendor of ornament and gilded palaces, the hubbub of official and luxurious duties surrounding the throne, the King would be a lump of clay like any other. But with the concentration of glory in his person, he is transferred onto a new plane of significance, inserted into the symbolic network that makes and maintains him as King, as the epicenter of the Kingdom’s meanings. It is this immaterial body in excess of his material body, that gives the King an air of divine magnetism and untouchability. Most importantly, this spectral body legitimizes him as an authority that can, in turn, legitimate the legal, economic, and communal relations among the people—for in him the people recognizes its own production and glorifies itself. The King’s glorious body is thus the epitome of the people’s labor and the reason for it.
The name for this glory-producing procedure is liturgy, which literally means “work of the people” (litos ergos). In religion, its manifestations are obvious: the formulaic and spontaneous prayers, the incense and prostrations, the procession of sacred objects and books, the ministers in holy robes, the flowers, the music, chants and songs, the shared meals, the lectio divina, the benedictions, and so on. And it is easy to compare the bowing of worshippers at the altar with the King’s servants bustling about his throne. The monks rise at 4 a.m. to chant Psalms and spend all their waking hours praising God; the King’s officers proclaim his infallibility and strain to draw closer to his influence. Both are obsessed with the glory that sweeps them up, that absorbs them in the movements and meanings of a higher power. Cognitive allegiance is not enough, for in the liturgy is a matter of producing the glory of what one glorifies—of actively endowing it with its aura of importance, power, and right, through acts that are equally physical and symbolic-spectral.
Bullshit activities Frankfurt gave an account of “bullshit” as a statement made without regard to truth or falsity. Austin argued that a large amount of language consists of speech acts aimed at goals other than truth or falsity. We don’t want our account of bullshit to include all performatives. I develop a modification of Frankfurt’s account that makes interesting and useful categorizations of various speech acts as bullshit or not and show that this account generalizes to many other kinds of act as well. I show that this illuminates some of Graeber’s classification of “bullshit jobs,” though it doesn’t fully agree with it.
Heidegger in Ruins: Between Philosophy and Ideology Heidegger in Ruins is the culmination of a series of books, written over the course of three decades, that Richard Wolin has devoted to Martin Heidegger and his most prominent Jewish students. In the wake of the posthumous publication of the eight volumes of the Black Notebooks in Heidegger’s Complete Works, Wolin, like other interpreters before him, makes an important attempt to take stock of Heidegger’s work.
The book begins with “A Note on Sources,” where Wolin stresses the significance he ascribes to Heidegger’s correspondence. It should be noted, however, that he relies solely on the published correspondence and has not examined the now available handwritten sources. A substantial introduction entitled “Heidegger in Black” not only discusses the Black Notebooks, but also the 1934 seminar on Hegel and the State and the Winter Course of 1933–1934, where Heidegger calls for the “total extermination” of the enemy grafted onto the innermost root of the people (5). Wolin cites a key passage in the Black Notebooks where Heidegger proclaims the “end of philosophy” and its giving way to the “metapolitics of the historical people” (7). He also notes the assessment of the German Heidegger scholar Günther Figal that the anti-Semitism of the Black Notebooks “is incompatible with the vocation of philosophy.” Figal, true to his principles, resigned in January 2015 as president of the Heidegger Gesellschaft.
Information Lisa Herzog Philosophy of Information deals with the philosophical analysis of the notion of information both from a historical and a systematic perspective. With the emergence of the empiricist theory of knowledge in early modern philosophy, the development of various mathematical theories of information in the twentieth century and the rise of information technology, the concept of “information” has conquered a central place in the sciences and in society. This interest also led to the emergence of a separate branch of philosophy that analyzes information in all its guises (Adriaans & van Benthem 2008a,b; Lenski 2010; Floridi 2002, 2011, 2019). Information has become a central category in both the sciences and the humanities and the reflection on information influences a broad range of philosophical disciplines varying from logic (Dretske 1981; van Benthem & van Rooij 2003; van Benthem 2006, see the entry on logic and information), epistemology (Simondon 1989) to ethics (Floridi 1999) and esthetics (Schmidhuber 1997a; Adriaans 2008) to ontology (Zuse 1969; Wheeler 1990; Schmidhuber 1997b; Wolfram 2002; Hutter 2010).
Philosophy of information is a sub-discipline of philosophy, intricately related to the philosophy of logic and mathematics. Philosophy of semantic information (Floridi 2011, D’Alfonso 2012, Adams & de Moraes, 2016) again is a sub-discipline of philosophy of information (see the informational map in the entry on semantic conceptions of information). From this perspective philosophy of information is interested in the investigation of the subject at the most general level: data, well-formed data, environmental data etc. Philosophy of semantic information adds the dimensions of meaning and truthfulness, Long (2014), Lundgren (2019). It is possible to interpret quantitative theories of information in the framework of a philosophy of semantic information (see section 6.5 for an in-depth discussion).
Unfinished Business: Unfinished works bring their makers’ unfulfilled plans to the fore. The Castle is not obviously so near its finished state as The Trial, although (just as in The Trial) internally determined all through, in spite of its lack of external completeness, by the complex feeling which the author was resolved to traverse. This is one of the mysteries of Kafka’s art, that for the chosen reader of those great unfinished novels the conclusion loses in importance from the point at which the main assumptions are more or less completely given. Nevertheless, at the stage at which it was left, The Trial could more easily dispense with concluding chapters than the present book can. When a drawing is approaching its completion it no longer needs guiding lines. Then one uses guiding lines at one’s discretion, and other data to hand, notes, etc., so as to carry the drawing to its conjectured end.
Warfare in Epic Poetry On Monday morning, January 22nd, 2018, a young man named Alejandro Romero was in a KC-130 aircraft 7,500 feet over the desert in Arizona. The 22-year-old Alejandro was a corporal in the Marine Corps who served as a scout with 3rd Reconnaissance Bn. Married just a few weeks before, Alejandro was now with his unit in Arizona conducting parachute-training. He made a clean exit from the aircraft for a double-bag, static-line jump. A few seconds later he realized that his main chute had failed to open all the way. Witnesses say that he could be seen pulling out his knife and attempting to cut away the primary parachute in order to clear the way to deploy his backup. Plummeting through the air he deployed his secondary chute—but it snared in the trailing remains of his first chute and became ineffective. He started spinning rapidly in near free fall… and he died when he hit the ground.
What must the rest of that fall have been like… We might imagine reaching for the knife, sawing at the cords with a surging feeling of desperation. Can we imagine the moments after his secondary chute deployed—when it snared in the first chute and he realized there was no other backup? What were his thoughts? Was there anything recognizable as a thought? Perhaps if you have been under fire with a certain confidence in your imminent death, or if you’ve been in a crashing helicopter watching the ground or ocean rush at you, you might know an approximation of what he thought or felt. It is, however, in my mind a standing question as to whether any two people encounter the certainty of death with the same thoughts and feelings. Then again, if you’re reading this, you survived, with the result that there is a gulf between us and that young man Alejandro Romero. The final moment of descent… when the impacting rounds shifted or the helicopter stabilized and you pulled up—at that moment Alejandro kept going… he continued beyond our grasp with appalling finality. May he rest in peace and eternal light shine upon him
Talking Tudors 228 – The Tudor Home & Daily Life in Tudor England with Bethan Watts Natalie Grueninger speaks with Bethan Watts about the Tudor home and daily life in Tudor England.