The article deals with the transformations in the comprehension of the university tradition in Soviet and Post-Soviet era.
To stop understanding “Power” through the “State”: Gouvernementalité, Governmentality Studies, and the fate of Michel Foucault’s analytics of power in Russian translations
Gouvernementalité is a neologism introduced by Michel Foucault in 1978. Today, with its English version “governmentality”, it has become one of the key concepts of social sciences.
This term is used to represent a new recherche perspective developed by Foucault, to understand and analyze the phenomenon of "power" or, more specifically, various types of power relations typical for different cultures and political communities. In the past several decades, this perspective has provided methodological basis for an emerging interdisciplinary research field referred to, in English-language social sciences, as Governmentality Studies. Among several aspects of this approach is a novel outlook on the genealogy and specific features of modern societies and modern state, which no longer conceptualizes "power" through the "state", in contrast to traditional paradigms of political philosophy. At the same time, contemporary social science in Russia has been largely deprived of an opportunity to use the conceptual instruments and research methods offered by Foucault; and, among the key barriers to this is the problem of translation.
This paper aim to: 1. Summarize Foucault’s critical analytical approach to power, referred to by the concept of governmentality; 2. Compare Foucauldian analytics of power to traditional paradigms in political philosophy; 3. Highlight how the concept of governmentality is used over the years in Foucault’s works dealing with power relations and the topic of ethical subject; 4. Describe the peculiarity of the early period of Governmentality Studies in English-speaking social sciences; 5. Demonstrate that current Russian translations of Foucault’s primary texts incorporating the term gouvernementalité are not merely imprecise, but display what the French call “contresens” -- interpretations that directly contradict the essence of the original. As a corpus, the available translations do not convey meaning, but rather close off the Foucauldian conceptual and exploratory landscape for the Russian-speaking world.
This article gives a survey of the contemporary debates on the problem of free will and discusses some of the metaphysical assumptions underlying these debates. The first part of the paper provides a critical overview of the most influential positions on the problem of freedom and determinism: compatibilism, libertarianism and hard incompatibilism. It discusses the limitations of G.E. Moore’s hypothetical analysis of the ability to do otherwise and the problems of the psychological accounts of free action in contemporary compatibilism. It briefly examines contemporary libertarian theories of free will by criticizing the agent-causal theories of freedom, and by showing the innovative character of R. Kane’s theory of Ultimate Responsibility. Hard incompatibilism is criticized because of its methodological deficiencies in exploring the prospects of living without freedom of will.
The second part of the paper is devoted to the analysis of the metaphysical assumptions behind these debates. First, it criticizes the foundations of the thesis that causal determinism actually obtains in our world. It argues that causal determinism is not a plausible thesis both in its “objective” and in its “subjective” versions. Second, it discusses some of the motivating ideas for the development of libertarian accounts of free will. Nonstandard libertarian approaches to free will are proposed in order to uncover these motivating ideas. This helps to explain the structural similarities between libertarianism and compatibilism and to show “the dogma of control” ruling in the contemporary debates about freedom.
This paper focuses on debates in contemporary philosophy and on the productiveness of these debates. The article brings forth two main theses: firstly, debates in philosophy quickly lead to the elimination of poorly substantiated positions and unfounded research programs; secondly, the coexistence of fundamentally incompatible philosophical programs stimulates their development—that is, incompatibility brings about productive professional competition in philosophy. To substantiate these claims the author analyzes two notorious debates of the late 19th and early 20th century: Hermann Ebbinghaus’s critique of Wilhelm Dilthey’s descriptive psychology, and Moritz Schlick’s one-way discussion of the phenomenological project and Edmund Husserl’s works.
Where conspiracy theory comes from? It is a matter of concern for those who believe in them and those who are highly skeptical. Whether academic studies can explain the origin of this phenomenon? Which questions do the researchers of this phenomenon raise in contemporary situation and how they attempt to solve them?
In his article Alexander Pavlov investigates a phenomenon of the porno-industry called ‘porno chic’, emphasizing American cinema of the 1970s. His hypothesis is that porno chic is an attempt to present pornography as high art, and analyzes crucial fi lms of this movement, pointing out changes that occurred to the notion in time, and, by pointing out its weaknesses he shows why this genre didn’t take a signifi cant place among other phenomena of high and mass culture.
The article summarizes material from the thematic issue of Logos on the study of war. The author notes that, contrary to Hannah Arendt’s prediction, it is wars rather than revolutions that accompany human social activity in the twenty-first century. And because war is such a ubiquitous phenomenon, philosophers have tried to gain an understanding of it. Despite the great variety of arguments about war, we can distinguish three theoretical discourses each focused on its own separate topic. The first discourse is an attempt to rehabilitate the military thought of Carl von Clausewitz, the first theorist of “modern” war; the second is the just war theory, which concentrates on issues of applied ethics (whether it is legitimate to start war, how to conduct warfare, what to do after the conflict, etc.); the third is the discussion on “new wars.” The author maintains that the second discourse is too instrumental and that the just war theoretical apparatus often lags behind the empirical realities. The first approach can at best be an abstract and theoretical one, but it is not by any means useful as an applied theory. Hence, the most important of these discourses for practical philosophy is the third one, that is, the debate about “new wars.” That is why developing and elucidating the theory and ¾ most important of all—the practice of new wars demands attention. The conclusion is that the social theory of (post)modernity would enrich the new wars discourse, and further areas for study are therefore mapped out.
The article examines a problem besetting social theory and theory of culture: the problem of using postmodernism as a language for describing the 21st century. The author resorts to the umbrella term “post-postmodernism” to indicate the more complex theories that focus mainly on the analysis of the latest forms of capitalism rather than the concepts that offer themselves as direct alternatives to postmodernism even though they ignore the link between postmodernism and capitalism. The author takes up the idea, first argued for by the American Marxist philosopher Fredric Jameson, that postmodernism is the cultural logic of late capitalism and then uses Jameson’s approach in an attempt to retrace the continuity of new concepts of capitalism. The discussion begins with the theory of capitalist realism developed by leftist British thinker Mark Fisher. Fisher recognizes Jameson’s merits but takes exception to the term “postmodernism,” although the entire philosophical apparatus that Fisher uses is borrowed from Jameson’s work. The article then bridges the gap between capitalist realism and the latest left-wing theories such as accelerationism and post-capitalism. After tracing the close connection between the work of Mark Fisher and Nick Land, who worked together in the 1990’s at the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (CCRU) and the ideas of Nick Srnicek, the author asks why Srnicek and his colleagues are put off by Fredric Jameson’s postmodern theory. The answer is that postmodernism does not permit contemporary leftists to speculate about the future. However, as the author points out, Jameson’s ideas about postmodernism at the “genetic level” are implicit in Srnicek’s concept of post-capitalism, which makes Srnicek’s theory “post-postmodernist,” although as a negative variation (in contrast to Mark Fisher’s positive one).
The Cambridge School of political thought embraces several historians (John Pocock, Quentin Skinner, John Dunn) who began working at Cambridge in the 1960s and offered a unique approach to the study of social-political ideas. These authors insisted that political thinking is historical in its nature, and for that reason it should be studied in historical and ideological contexts. They also insisted that political ideas should not be considered as concepts that are separated from life or as a “tradition” which has persisted from Plato to the present. In recent years there have been attempts to adapt the method of the Cambridge School to a Russian context. The author insists that there are specific reasons why this is nearly impossible to achieve. This becomes obvious when the activity of the Cambridge School is situated in different contexts — in the context of the social and philosophical thinking in Britain of the 1960s, in the context of American political theory from the last quarter of the 20th century, and in the context of republican social philosophy of the early 20th рcentury. One then finds first that the methodology of the Cambridge School went through considerable transformations as early as the mid-1970s; and second that the interests of scholars shifted either to political theory or to history for which their approach is not applicable for certain reasons. The author concludes that a continuation of the project of the Cambridge School is possible at best only in the field of contemporary social and political philosophy and not in the study of European political thought of the 15th through 17th centuries or American political thought of the 18th century.