Tome 85, issue 2, April-June 2022
Forms of life, forms of politics
Estelle Ferrarese, Forms of life, forms of politics
Alexandra Richter, Making the invisible visible: Goethe, Benjamin, and the critique of forms of life
Like Wittgenstein, Walter Benjamin is inspired by Goethean morphology as a scientific approach to forms of life. For his book Paris, Capital of the 19th century, Benjamin claims to have transposed the Goethean concept of primitive phenomena “from the realm of nature to the realm of history.” However, this transfer is accompanied by a critique of the ontologization of the concept of “nature.” Likewise, Benjamin’s philosophical work on cities was criticized (by Adorno and also by Derrida) for ontologizing the concept of “history” by describing phenomena without theorization, excluding all judgment. The discussion already shows some of the fundamental arguments of the ongoing debate on a possible critique of forms of life.
Jean-Baptiste Vuillerod, Hegel’s theory of Bildung and forms of life
This article aims to understand Hegel’s theory of Bildung by referring to the contemporary paradigm of “forms of life.” Hegel conceives of Bildung as an activity of forming life, an activity that turns the first nature into the second nature. In this respect, Hegel’s philosophy enters into a dialogue with contemporary social philosophy from a naturalistic point of view: it makes it possible to focus on the socialization of the natural body in relations of domination or recognition.
Raffaele Carbone, Forms of life and historical dynamics in Max Horkheimer
This article explores the meanings of the term “forms of life” in Horkheimer’s essays and the theoretical role it plays in his project of a critical theory of society developed over the 1930s. Horkheimer considers forms of life as conducts and habits that are constituted within the framework of specific relations of production. But he also uses the term “form of life” to refer to culture and its proper domains, which, interwoven with each other, constitute forces capable of preserving or breaking up a given social form. Moreover, by “form of life” he means the result of the interrelations between the material processes of a society and the development of cultural phenomena that influence institutions and men.
Estelle Ferrarese, Deforming life: Adornian thoughts on social transformation and forms of life
Multiple contemporary theories see politics as a matter of creating a new form of life; they assume that it is by living (differently) that we transform the world. Two logics can be distinguished: a politics of discipline, and a politics of exuberance or formlessness. This article breaks away from them to extract from Adorno’s thought the elements of a politics of the deformed. He assigns to form (and not to life) the role of maintaining an indetermination, considering a form that does not forget that it is form, that it results from a movement that could have been different.
Sandra Laugier, Form of life as logical form
Contemporary discussions of the fruitful concept of form of life have made it possible to highlight the extent to which the concept of form itself is essential in the work of Wittgenstein, structuring the continuity between the early and later Wittgenstein. In moving from “logical form” to the concept of form of life, Wittgenstein intends to give up the unity of “form” in order to turn to a “family” of related structures. But logic does not disappear—on the contrary. The point on which his research is based is still form, understood now as a plurality of ways for language to describe reality. It is therefore essential to understand the concept of form (of life), Lebensform, not only as an alternative to the concept of rule but as an expression of a new understanding of form.
Alain Patrick Olivier, Family and forms of life. A discussion based on Hegel
Several authors use the concept of “form of life,” Lebensform, in the field of political and social philosophy with reference to the philosophy of Hegel. But such a concept is hardly to be found in his system. In this article, we investigate the origin and meaning of this expression. We start with the theory of Jaeggi, make a diversion via Spranger, and ultimately go back to Hegel. We then discuss the question of the family as a special case of a form of life by comparing Jaeggi’s conception with Hegel’s texts.
* * *
Carlo Altini, Leo Strauss and political Zionism in Weimar Germany. Jewish questions and German problems
Leo Strauss completed his intellectual training in Weimar Germany, where Zionism was a consolidated reality and where the phenomenon of “return” (teshuvah) to Judaism distinguished a large part of the Judeo-German youth, which was dissatisfied with the Jewish status in modernity. This essay aims to identify the philosophical and political path of the young Strauss, which, starting from the crisis of modernity characteristic of Weimar culture, stands out from that of all other Jewish authors (Cohen, Rosenzweig, Buber, Scholem, etc.) and movements (Wissenschaft des Judentums, political Zionism, cultural Zionism, religious Zionism, etc.) of the early twentieth century in Germany.
Victor Béguin, Hegel’s logic of ground
This paper studies the Hegelian concept of Grund as presented in Hegel’s texts on logic. The aim of the study is twofold: to propose a characterization of the Hegelian concept of Grund, and to study, on a specific case, the way in which Hegel’s logic acts as a critique of both metaphysics and its Kantian critique. In order to do so, we rely not only on Hegel’s published texts (the Science of Logic and the Encyclopedia) but also on the recently published and still little exploited students’ notebooks of the Lectures on Logic.
Yoann Malinge, Participating in a group according to Sartre. Acting with or like others
This article examines the participation of an individual in a collective in Sartre’s work. Although they act in the same way, agents are not always aware that they are participating in a collective, or else this is not their intention. The question then arises as to the conditions under which agents’ actions can become common. To deal with these issues, the article studies the series before explaining how it can become a real group. In this way, it is possible to show the originality of Sartrean thought, as a form of individualism, which places action at the principle of the constitution of the group.