An Utterly Dark Spot: Gaze and Body in Early Modern Philosophy (The Body, In Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism)

An Utterly Dark Spot: Gaze and Body in Early Modern Philosophy (The Body, In Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism)

Language: English

Pages: 152

ISBN: 047211140X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Slovenian philosopher Miran Bozovic's An Utterly Dark Spot examines the elusive status of the body in early modern European philosophy by examining its various encounters with the gaze. Its range is impressive, moving from the Greek philosophers and theorists of the body (Aristotle, Plato, Hippocratic medical writers) to early modern thinkers (Spinoza, Leibniz, Malebranche, Descartes, Bentham) to modern figures including Jon Elster, Lacan, Althusser, Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen J. Gould, and others. Bozovic provides startling glimpses into various foreign mentalities haunted by problems of divinity, immortality, creation, nature, and desire, provoking insights that invert familiar assumptions about the relationship between mind and body.
The perspective is Lacanian, but Bozovic explores the idiosyncrasies of his material (e.g., the bodies of the Scythians, the transvestites transformed and disguised for the gaze of God; or Adam's body, which remained unseen as long as it was the only one in existence) with an attention to detail that is exceptional among Lacanian theorists. The approach makes for engaging reading, as Bozovic stages imagined encounters between leading thinkers, allowing them to converse about subjects that each explored, but in a different time and place. While its focus is on a particular problem in the history of philosophy, An Utterly Dark Spot will appeal to those interested in cultural studies, semiotics, theology, the history of religion, and political philosophy as well.
Miran Bozovic is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He is the author of Der grosse Andere: Gotteskonzepte in der Philosophie der Neuzeit (Vienna: Verlag Turia & Kant, 1993) and editor of The Panopticon Writings by Jeremy Bentham (London: Verso, 1995).












was over and asked Stalin for some poison so that he could kill himself. Stalin brought the matter to the Politburo, which voted against Lenin's wish. l Does this not bear witness to the unique revolutionary stance of the thorough self-instrumentalization on behalf of History? The moment one is of no use to the revolutionary struggle, one can only freely accept death; "calmly enjoying old age" is simply out of the question. (Insofar as Lenin could justify to himself his existence only through his

say, I will return the other's love, I will turn into the lover. Now, let us examine how I return the other's love if I find myself at the place of the beloved object in the way described in proposition 15. Suppose the other first sees me in the company of X, who usually affects him with joy, and whom the other accordingly loves; suppose that at this time the other is still totally indifferent toward me, that is, I do not arouse either joy or sadness in him. For the other to love me it suffices

whenever he silenced his senses and their testimony contrary to the light of reason, we in turn have this opportunity when God, through certain sensations he produces in us, neutralizes the sensations that are contrary to the light of reason, that is, the sensations that, as a result of Adam's not silencing his senses at the time of the sin, and of his not following the light of reason, we cannot help but sense. Having lost the power over our bodies, that is, the power to detach the principal

own sanity. PHILOSOPHICAL DELIRIUM Let us now consider the madmen who think that they are other than they really are. In Malebranche we encounter these madmen as those who believe they have become cocks or hens; those who believe they have horns on their heads or that they are made of butter or glass; those who believe they have become kings or emperors,I8 et cetera-in short, the same anecdotal figures of madmen as we find in Descartes's First Meditation. Wherein lies their madness according to

that through a microscope we are able to observe in more detail than we would with the naked eye, but also that through a microscope we see things that we previously did not even know existed. Thus, in 1624, upon observing a fly under Galileo's microscope, Johann Faber praised Galileo as "a kind of creator, having exhibited something no one before had known to have been created.,,3 It is clearly only after looking through a microscope that "each portion of matter" can be thought of as "a garden

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