English Philosophy in the Fifties

English Philosophy in the Fifties Jonathan Ree If you asked me when was the best time for philosophy in England in the twentieth century-for professional, academic philosophy, that is – I would answer: the fifties, without a doubt. And: the fifties, alas. * Under the leadership of Gilbert Ryle and f.L. Austin, the career philosophers ofthat period had their fair share of bigotry and evasiveness of course; but they also faced up honestly a…

Proletarian Philosophy

Proletarian Philosophy: A Version of Pastoral? Jonathan Ree I write in and about an embarrassment: how should I, a philosophy teacher, respond to people who are also committed to philosophy, but cut off from official philosophical institutions? It was partly to focus my attention on this problem that I revisited a much-respected acquaintance a few days ago. He is Jock Shanley, a former upholsterer and trade union leader, now eighty-three year…

Philosophy in China

Philosophy in China What Can We Learn From It ? Jonathan Ree China and Chinoiserie I went on a three-week general tour of China in November 1975. I know very well that this does not make me an expert on China; nevertheless many of the rumours about China that circulate in the West derive from sources no more authoritative than myself, so I think I have the right to comment on some of these. The rumours I mean are utopias about the virtues of…

Internationality

Internationality Jonathan Ree With the unification of Gennany and the fragmentation of the Soviet Union and its satellites, nationhood has suddenly become a topical issue. * And, by good fortune, scholars are well prepared to debate it: in the past decade several historians and social scientists have revived and perhaps transfonned the whole question of nations and nationalism. The corpus, as they say, which defines the new approach includes fo…

Preface to Rancière’s ‘Proletarian Nights’

Preface to ‘Proletarian Nights’ The article printed below is a translation of the Introduction (pp.7-l2) of Jacques Ranci~re’s La Nuit des Proletaires, which was published last year [1]. The book deals with some well known events of the l830s and l840s – the utopias of Fourier, Saint-Simon, Cabet and Enfantin; the ‘Free Women’; the socialist communes in the French provinces; the journeys to Egypt, and the do…

Rorty’s nation

Rorty’s nation Jonathan rée I know he has no need of my help, but I sometimes feel rather protective towards Richard Rorty. Especially when I see him being set upon by members of the realist old Left: the salt-of-the-earth socialist internationalists who enjoy looking back to the great days of organized labour, wringing their hands over yet another opportunist who has proved unequal to the struggle and sold out to the blandishments of bourgeois…

Marxist Modes

MARXIST MODIS lonathan Rea 1 Here is a tempting book* – a kind of teach-yourself the new semiotics, a simple primer about Barthes, Lacan and post-Althusserian Marxis m. I came across it by accident, when I saw it peeping out of a friend’s luggage. ‘It’s very good, ‘ I was told: ‘inspiring and clear ‘. I dipped into the book cautiously – attempting, as Virginia Woolf once advised, ‘to get th…

Timely Meditations

Timely Meditations Jonathan Ree Review Essay on Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony and Solidarity, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1989, 201pp. £25 hb, £7.95 pb, 0521353815 hb, o 521 36781 6 pb. It is now some years since Richard Rorty broke with American analytic philosophy, for reasons he spelt out in Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1980) and Consequences of Pragmatism (1982). He had come to the conclusion that it was committed to…

Poor Bertie

Poor Bertie Jonathan Rée In the dark midwinter of 1916, Londoners had an unusual opportunity to see radical philosophical principles applied to the urgent issues of the day. The peace campaigner and feminist C.K. Ogden had hired the Caxton Hall for a series of eight weekly lectures on politics, to be given by Bertrand Russell. It was a risky venture, both financially and intellectually. Russell was a small-voiced weedy-looking man; although he w…

Hearing the silence

…t which was often presented as an exclusive alternative, was to teach the deaf to lip-read and to speak. Much of Réeʼs book is concerned with the historical development of both systems * Jonathan Rée, I See a Voice: A Philosophical History of Language, Deafness and the Senses, HarperCollins, London, 1999. xvi + 399 pp., £19.99 hb., 0 00 255793 2.and with the competition between them that, to some degree, persists to this day. But it concludes wit…

Metaphor and Metaphysics

Mataphor and Metaphysics: The End of Philosophy and Derrida Jonathan Ree * Jacques Derrida, Margins of Philosophy, Harvester, xxiv + 330pp., £25.00, 1983 Christopher Norris, The Deconstructive Turn: Essays in the Rhetoric of Philosophy, Methuen, 201pp, £4.95, 1983 ENDS AND MEANS I~ ‘The Ends of Man’ hs~ed between 1~67 and one of the ten essays, first pub1972, which make up Margins of PhIlosophy – Dernda refers to an almost-fo…

On National Identity

On National Identity A Response to Jonathan Ree Ross Poole Jonathan Ree’s ‘Internationality’l makes a number of significant contributions to the sparse philosophical literature on nationalism. The concept which gives the paper its title promises, I think, to be particularly useful. Just as we are now accustomed to think of individual subjects as constituted in and through relations of intersubjectivity, so Ree suggests we shou…

Lacan: A Reply to Rée

can also draw on a vertical account of the development of structures of interaction. Despite this enrichment, however, critical theory – in so far as it is a theory of contemporary society – retains its essentially historical and practical nature (12). The question whether McCarthy is correct in believing that Habermas’ later writings do represent an adequate integration of that which is historical and that which is general…

New Right Utopias

New Right Utopias Ruth Levitas ‘” I (i) ‘Thatcherism’ (in ‘The New Right’ Many commentators have noted that there are two different strands to New Right thinking, economic liberalism and political authoritarianism. This is clearest in the collection The Politics of Thatcherism , where most of the contributors make similar assumptions: that Thatcherism exists (a point disputed by reviewers); that it is not pri…

Philosophy for children

…1, Autumn 1985, pp. 49–50. Nadine Cartner, ‘Teaching “A” Level Philosophy’, RP 42, Winter/Spring 1986, pp. 54–5. Jonathan Rée, ‘Proletarian Philosophy: A Version of Pasto‑ral?’, RP 44, Autumn 1986, pp. 3–7. Geoffrey Thomas, ‘Strange Days for Philosophers’, RP 44, Autumn 1986, pp. 28–9.‘Caring for Philosophy?’ (News), RP 44, Autumn 1986, p. 47.‘P.L.A.T.O’ (News), RP 44, Autumn 1986, p. 48. Andrew Collier, ‘Appeasing the U.G.C.: The Threat to Phil‑…

Wishful theory and sexual politics

…eds, Activating Theory: Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Politics, Lawrence & Wishart, London, 1993, p. 113. 11. ^ Jonathan Dollimore, ʻBisexuality, Heterosexuality and Wishful Theoryʼ, Textual Practice, vol. 10, no. 3, 1996, pp. 523–39. 12. ^ Judith Butler, ʻImitation and Gender Insubordinationʼ in Diana Fuss, ed., Inside/Out: Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories, Routledge, London, 1991, p. 21. 13. ^ Jonathan Dollimore, Sexual Dissidence, Clarendon Pre…

22 News

NEWS a: COMMENT RADICAL PUBLICATIONS GROUP CONFERENCE On Saturday 17 February there was a conference on ‘Publishing and Politics’ at the ICA in London. It was organised by the Radical Publications Group, a federation of left/alternative magazines including Radical Philosophy. The idea was to consider the whole field of publishing – books as well as magazines – from a left point of view, and in particular to formulate at…

Hans-Georg Gadamer

INTERVIEW: Hans-Georg Gadamer ‘Without poets there is no philosophy’ RP: Poetry has always been very important to you, and you once wrote that philosophy needs to be written rather like poetry. Do you find it easy to write? Is it a pleasure for you? Gadamer: No. It is violence. It is a torture. Dialogue is fine, even in an interview! But writing for me is always an enormous self-torture. As you know my main work was published when…

Massacre of the Innocents: Derrida and the Cambridge Dons;Waiter Benjamin Centenary; Women and the History of Philosophy; Singer Silenced; Philosophy for Children

NEWS Massacre of the Innocents: Derrida and the Cambridge Dons On 21 March, at a lofty conclave of dons at Cambridge University, something happened. The matter for discussion was a list of academic aristos to be invited to receive an honorary doctoral degree from the Duke of Edinburgh. (Honorary degrees are solemn rewards for those who have advanced the goals of a university; the world record is held by Herbert Hoover, who collected ninety.) T…

Return of the Translator

COMMENTARY Return of the Translator Jonathan Ree ‘The Death of the Author’ is one of the great catchphrases of recent philosophy. It started as the title of an essay by Roland Barthes in 1968, and cleverly captures the idea that the act of reading ought to attend to textual structures rather than authorial personalities – that there are higher forms of criticism than literary biography. This anti-authorial line was not particu…