Browsing by Author "Miller, Jerry"
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- ItemAccessing Women through Masculine Discourse: Luce Irigaray’s Embodied Syntax(2012) Lieberman, Alyson; Miller, Jerry; Wright, Kathleen, 1944-Men and women’s relationship to their bodies is mediated by the linguistic structures surrounding them. The human body plays an important role in understand the border between language and the body. Contemporary Feminists, Luce Irigaray and Judith Butler, understand this relationship as intrinsically linked. This thesis articulates a possible development of the body that sees the female body as becoming a linguistically necessary reference for the male dominated discourse. By existing in a society that values the phallus as the master signifier women become displaced from their own bodies. This displacement is represented in how women relate to language. Without a connection to their own bodies women lose their position as a subject. Additionally, the rejection of her own body leaves the woman in a state of sexual and psychological repression. According to Irigaray their lost female identity can only be reclaimed through a new understanding of language. This new language would incorporate the materiality of the body in an attempt to reclaim a space for the female subject in discourse. These claims are based on a reinterpretation by Luce Irigaray, of Sigmund Freud’s theoretical and psychoanalytic work on sexual development.
- ItemAccounting for Identity with Alcoff and Butler(2017) Felder, Francesca; Miller, JerryWhat is the problem with identity? A genre of academic articles has emerged out of concern over the use of identity in various political and social contexts. These articles worry that social identities such as race, gender, and ethnicity limit the freedom of the individual if we assume them to be real or a priori distinctions. They implicitly retain a modern view of the subject that counterposes pre-social individual agency against the imposition of social identity. This modern view of the subject generates the very problem with identity they try to solve. In contrast, the works of Judith Butler (Gender Trouble, 1990) and Linda Alcoff (Visible Identities, 2006) aim to overcome the modern view of the subject by articulating a self that is socially constituted by its identities. Despite the vast differences in their accounts, each continues to employ a split between a pre-social self and the social in which agency can always overcome one’s social identity. I argue that an account of identity must not aim to solve the modern problem with identity, but instead show that such a problem only arises when agency and identity are understood to be mutually exclusive. Identities function as the apparent authorizing origins of the social norms that produce them. But because identities inevitably fail to ever fully justify those norms, they are not inherently reifying.
- ItemAt the Foot of Babel: Derrida, St. Paul, and a Question of Translation(2020) King, David; Miller, JerryFor as long as language has been of interest to philosophers, so has translation. Over the course of the 20th century, sustained focus on matters of language inevitably brought translation to the fore. As a normative conception of translation emerged, so too did its critics, chief among them Jacques Derrida. This essay proposes to re-examine Derrida's critique of the normative conception of language through an analysis of his essay, "Des Tours de Babel." Two prominent themes emerge in this essay: the proper name and the law. I argue that Derrida ultimately cannot escape a law-based conception of language, and therefore fails to see the extent of the damage done by law, given its dominating tendencies. I will then argue, using resources found in St. Paul's writings, that a full critique of the law as the basis for translation enables us to see a fundamentally new picture of language, one in which the non-violent apprehension of linguistic difference becomes a real possibility, instead of the shadow of a promise.
- ItemBeyond Environmental Morality: Towards a Viable Environmental Ethic(s)(2009) Richards, Tim; Miller, Jerry; Gangadean, Ashok K., 1941-Environmental ethics assumes that humans are, at the core, environmentally "bad" because we are currently destroying nature. This operative assumption of environmental ethics as a field is what I want to term contemporary environmental morality, wherein humans and their industry, technology, and economy are considered to be "evil" in contrast to ecosystems, wilderness, or nature, which are valued as "good." More pointedly, environmental ethics as it stands presupposes that there is an entity called "nature" that we humans are differentiated from and have an obligation towards as outside actors. This is what I want to call environmental dualism, which holds humans as separate from, rather than a part of, nature; and, in keeping with contemporary environmental morality, as a force that is destroying this entity called "nature." Both the environmental dualism and the contemporary environmental morality that characterize environmental ethical thought are inaccurate for two reasons. Firstly, humans are a part of nature—we are organic beings and all of our actions occur within a larger ecological framework. Secondly, though humans could accurately be described as environmentally "bad" historically, our species can become a force for environmental "good," both industrially with respect to manufacturing processes and developmentally with respect to land use. If we reframe the basic story such that we humans, as an integral part of nature, can contribute positively as vital, productive parts of the whole, new ideas and possibilities emerge. Humans do not have to be detrimental to the environment; we are not fundamentally flawed in this respect despite what environmental moralists might say. By going beyond the environmental morality and dualism exemplified by modern environmental ethics as a field, we as ethical thinkers and activists can begin to be effective in our efforts to advocate for a more ecologically adapted society with environmentally conscious lifestyles.
- ItemBooks and Bodies and How They Are Different: René Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy and Roland Barthes’ Roland Barthes(2010) Trakumaite, Goda; Muse, John, 1955-; Miller, Jerry
- ItemCapabilities, Labor Participation, and Women's Freedom : A Discourse on the Relation between Paid Employment and Female Agency(2005) Le, B. Khanh; Gangadean, Ashok K., 1941-; Miller, Jerry
- ItemCrip Sex: On the Intersectionality of Gender, Sexuality, and Disability(2010) Rodriguez, Jennifer; Macbeth, Danielle; Miller, Jerry
- ItemDe Quo Jure? : Heidegger, Arendt, and Modern Questions of Law(2005) Davis, Allison C.; Wright, Kathleen, 1944-; Miller, Jerry
- ItemDeconstructing the Moment of Representation with Spivak and Derrida(2018) Ahmed, Courtney; Miller, JerryThis essay aims to employ a deconstructive understanding of identity and representation in order to identify what an ethical approach to representation should look like, especially with regard to the empowerment of minority and marginalized groups. I turn to Gayatri Spivak and Jacques Derrida who provide the framework for my scope of inquiry. In “Can the Subaltern Speak?” Spivak problematizes the aim of postcolonialism to constitute a postcolonial identity by giving voice to indigenous cultural narratives that counteract dominating Western imperialist ideologies. The problem with this aim lies in its tenuous commitment to a stable, persistent ‘truth’ of identity that can be understood apart from context, which, according to Spivak, results in the failure to recognize how the “epistemic violence” of imperialism has obstructed the subaltern subject’s ability to both speak and be heard. To justify Spivak’s concerns, I will look to her foundation in Derridean deconstructive analysis, which is built upon the premise that all meaning resides in the unstable relations between signifiers, rather than a fixed referent. With her Derridean background, Spivak advocates for strategic essentialism as a way for marginalized groups to achieve discursive power. Due to well-known dangers of essentialism that are highlighted by a deconstructive lens, however, I argue for a representational approach that goes beyond essentialism and seeks to produce an illimitable subjectivity by allowing room for change and possibility. With this goal in mind, I then offer potential strategies for the empowerment of minority and marginalized groups.
- ItemDesired Outcomes: Possibilities for Community in Hegel's Master/Slave Dialectic(2008) Jackson, Lorin K.; Miller, Jerry; Wright, Kathleen, 1944-
- ItemDoes Normative Anti-Realism Entail Nihilism?(2018) Papenhausen, Vaughn; Miller, JerryDerek Parfit argues that normative anti-realism, the thesis that all normative truths are dependent on our normative attitudes, is a form of Nihilism, the thesis that nothing matters. I shall argue that Parfit is right: normative anti-realism is a form of Nihilism, in the sense that it entails Nihilism. I shall then argue, more tentatively, that this fact is grounds for us to reject anti-realism.
- ItemEmpiricism, Determinism, and Naturalism(2012) Sergay, Nathaniel; Wright, Kathleen, 1944-; Miller, JerryBrian Leiter’s naturalistic interpretation of Nietzsche’s ethics reduces the cause and explanation of all facts about an individual to biological and psychological properties. He makes two central claims. First, that empiricism is the distinctive scientific way of looking at the world, providing access to objective, valueless truth. Second, that Nietzsche seeks to identify the causal determinants of human values, actions, thoughts, feeling, etc. in a fixed psycho‐physical human nature. I argue that Nietzsche’s endorsement of empiricism does not entail his endorsement of Leiter’s strong naturalism. Leiter misconstrues Nietzsche’s arguments concerning truth, failing to realize that his own thesis of truth is susceptible to Nietzsche’s attack on metaphysics. In fact, Nietzsche subscribes to a “postmodern” falsification thesis, rejecting the scientific and/or empirical claim to access “valueless,” objective reality. Nietzsche believes all of our “truths,” “knowledge,” judgments, and experiences are infused with subjective values. Instead of seeking “objectivity” through disinterested empiricism, we must seek objectivity by engaging with our values and affective interests. I go on to show that Leiter also misconstrues Nietzsche’s arguments concerning causality. As a result, Leiter’s thesis that Nietzsche seeks to identify deterministic causes of human facts is untenable. Finally, I show that, due to his naturalistic interpretation, Leiter misconstrues Nietzsche’s dismissal of the Kantian problem of freedom (of the causa sui) as an endorsement of determinism.
- ItemFocusing on “What is Happening Right Now”: Understanding Michel Foucault’s Writings On the Iranian Revolution Through Hannah Arendt’s Theory of Action(2013) Soroush, Nazanin; Miller, Jerry; Wright, Kathleen, 1944-Michel Foucault visited Iran in 1978 in the midst of the popular uprisings that ultimately toppled the Shah’s monarchic regime and led to the foundation of the Islamic Republic. His writings and interviews on the Iranian Revolution indicate his astonishment with the movement. He was particularly awed by the surprising unity of the movement and the role that Shia Islam played in bringing hundreds of thousands of people together. His writings, however, received a lot of immediate criticism, especially after Khomeini founded a fundamentalist Islamic government in the aftermath of the revolution. Foucault was asked to admit to his “mistake”. But he refused to reevaluate his observations on the Iranian revolutionary movement in hindsight. In his writings, he explicitly stated that he aimed at grasping what was “happening right now,” indifferent to the past or the future of the movement. The purpose of this thesis project is to analyze Foucault’s understanding of the Iranian movement through a close reading and analysis of his writings on the movement. In doing so, this thesis draws on Hannah Arendt’s theory of action to argue that Foucault witnessed the actualization of human freedom in Iran. Furthermore, this thesis hopes to, in Foucault’s defense, show the value in attempting to grasp a new phenomenon as it occurs, placing emphasis on the process, as opposed to the aftermath, of a movement.
- ItemFrom Prediction to Explanation: A Defense of Popper's Situational Analysis and a Critique of Rational Choice Theory as a Subset of Economic Theory(2014) Soroush, Navid; Macbeth, Danielle; Miller, JerryThis thesis argues that Karl Popper's situational analysis is a more suitable model for studying social phenomena than utility maximization theory because of the difference in the two models' rationality principle. Utility maximization theory as a subset of rational choice theory claims that agents attempt to maximize some end that they esteem valuable. Although the structure of the rational choice theory allows for the possibility of predictions in addition to a clear distinction between normative and rational behavior, it lacks real explanatory power because of its goal-directed requirement that it imposes upon social phenomena. Arguing that social phenomenon is ontologically such that it ought to be addressed from subject to subject perspective, I show how rational choice theory fails in addressing social phenomena adequately by imposing its own end-directed rationality principle. I show how Popper's rationality principle, in being left ambiguous, allows its rationality principle to emerge through its situations of interest without any pre-specified ends. I argue that social phenomena can never be predictive, and our inquiries should suffice in the pursuit of understanding alone. Additionally, this thesis argues that normativity constitutes the building blocks of rationality following Gadamer's positive sense of prejudice in entering processes of understanding. Furthermore, Popper's rationality principle functions as a prejudice that allows for understanding social situations.
- ItemFrom words to meaning reflection on the white horse problem(2020) Zhu, Xianghan; Macbeth, Danielle; Miller, JerryWhite horse problem is a famous proposition in pre-Qin dynasty elaborated by Gongsun Long in 白马论, White Horse Dialogue. The reason that this problem is interesting to scholars is because that it might testify the existence of logic in ancient China, since it has widely been assumed that Chinese does not have logic at all. The mainstream now agrees that the problem is a logical deduction, not a paradox, and scholars have proposed their own methods to account for the legitimacy of it. Although they approach the problem from different aspects, that the dialogue is written in Chinese is a crucial yet often overlooked fact, especially in western academia. Therefore, the white horse problem might need to be regarded as an issue of philosophy of language at first, and of logic secondarily. Scholars speaking alphabet-based languages might unavoidably think that Chinese functions in a similar way in terms of expressing meaning, which fails to capture the particular phenomenology of Chinese. The outcome of such misleading thought would lead to a complete misunderstanding of the white horse problem.
- ItemGeneration(s) of Self: Understanding the Nietzschean Alternative to Self as Causal Substratum(2020) Floyd, Isabel; Miller, JerryNietzsche writes "The doer is merely a fiction added to the deed—the deed is everything" (GM I:13). And yet, though Nietzsche's rejection of the theoretical import of ‘doers' in favor of an account of ‘deeds' is clearly a central part of his philosophical approach, it is a move that is not sufficiently understood in the secondary literature. Many Nietzsche theorists struggle to accept the radical character of this assertion and instead attempt to integrate it into an account of human agency in which being is still more theoretically fundamental than doing. In this thesis, I will examine existing interpretations and attempt to offer a reading of Nietzsche's views on the self that more fully captures the radical nature of his disavowal of doers. The Nietzschean self is active—it is deeds, it does not cause deeds, and such a self destabilizes the notion of causal responsibility that we typically use to understand the connection between subjects and deeds. I propose that the dissolution of causal responsibility makes way for an alternative picture of responsibility as radical, active self-claiming. The Nietzschean self that is claimed in this picture is not a substance but rather an inheritance of enacted relationships in which doing is theoretically central and explanatory of anything that we might call ‘being'. Nietzsche's account compels us to practice self-creation by embracing an understanding of the self as a transformative process of becoming in which change—rather than stability—is theoretically foundational.
- ItemGuilty Pleasures: Guilt and Interpellation in Althusser and Nietzsche(2010) Bernhart, Jessica; Miller, Jerry; Koltonski, Daniel
- ItemHabermasian and Derridian Texts Make Semantic Contact: Exploring the ‘Strategic’ Nature of Linguistic Structures and Identities(2013) Weathers, Sally; Wright, Kathleen, 1944-; Miller, JerryThis study utilizes Derridian deconstruction to subvert the hierarchy order that Habermas posits between communicative and strategic utterances, thus positing strategic utterances as reflective the fundamental structures of language. In so doing, Habermas’s and Derrida’s respective texts are posited as expatriates within the foreign body of this document, thereby demonstrating the intercultural challenges of linguistic communication and structure of linguistic meanings (identities) explored through this text.
- ItemHer Face Is Either: Reimagining Bodily Speech in Orlan's Performance of Derridean Agrammaticality(2008) Pellecchia, Anna Lisa; Miller, Jerry; Bianchi, Emma