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NONTHEMATIC / Vol. 65, No. 4 (Winter 1998)

January 1, 1999

Arien Mack, Editor

 

Table of Contents

 

Gesine Schwan
The "Healing" Value of Truth-telling: Chances and Social Conditions in a Secularized World

This article deals with a special case of lying or, on the contrary, of truth-telling. Some experiences by the Germans concerning denying or silencing their guilt after the breakdown of National Socialism, was presented. It was said that what people understand by guilt and how they deal with it reveals their understanding of themselves and of the fundamental concept of their relationship toward themselves, toward other people, and in religious framework, toward God. The German experiences of the fundamentally destructive potential of guilt-silencing confirm traditional human insights as they find their expressions in various myths and religions.

 

Michael Lapsley
Confronting the Past and Creating the Future: The Redemptive Value of Truth-Telling

This article explores the redemptive value of truth-telling in South Africa. South African President Nelson Mandela was inaugurated on May 10, 1994. The same year, the government of national unity came to power. Over a year, the Truth Commission Act was passed by parliament. Among the task of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is to provide for the investigation and establishment of a complete picture of the nature, causes and extent of gross violations of human rights, committed from 1960 until May 10, 1994.

 

Alan Morris
Continuity or Rupture: The City, Post-Apartheid

This article outlines and explains the character and structure of the apartheid and post-apartheid city and illustrates the enormity of the urban challenge in South Africa. It was learned that until 1991, various pieces of racist legislation, most notably the Group Areas Act of 1950, ensured that land use in cities was determined or a racial basis. This discrimination was possible because, under the Population Registration Act of 1950, every South African was given a racial appellation, according to four main racial categories: African, Asian, colored and white.

 

Nicholas Humphrey
What Shall We Tell the Children?

This article explores the right of the children to be protected from false ideas. It was argued that children have a human right not to have their minds crippled by exposure to other people's bad ideas. Parents, correspondingly, have no god-given license to enculturate their children in whatever ways they personally choose, no right to limit the horizons of their children's knowledge, to bring them up in an atmosphere of dogma and superstition, or to insist they follow the straight and narrow paths of their own faith. Children have the right to have their minds addled by nonsense. The society should feel obliged to pass on to children the best scientific and philosophical understanding of the natural world.

 

James Schmidt
Language, Mythology, and Enlightenment: Historical Notes on Horkheimer and Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment

This article focuses on the reconstruction of the process by which Dialectic of Enlightenment by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno was written. Adorno provided an explanation of sorts for the work's mode of dissemination in one of the aphorisms he presented to his coauthor Horkheimer. A consideration was made on the differences between the 1944 and the 1947 versions. A discussion on the development of Horkheimer and Adorno's views on the relation of mythology and enlightenment was given. The first of the book's three chapters examined the relationship between enlightenment, mythology, and the scientific domination of nature.

 

Edna Ullmann-Margalit
Writings, Ruins, and Their Reading: The Dead Sea Discoveries as a Case Study in Theory Formation and Scientific Interpretation

This article takes up a case study from the field of research, known as Qumran studies, that has arisen as a result of the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls. It brings together the study of ancient texts on one hand, and archaeological research on the other. Qumran-Essene hypothesis asserts that the scrolls found in the caves belonged to the sect of the Essenes whose center was at the nearby site of Qumran. An interplay between the textual and archaeological interpretation of the scrolls forms a hermeneutic circle where texts are used to interpret and in turn are interpreted by materials found.

 

James Miller
The Prophet and the Dandy: Philosophy as a Way of Life in Nietzsche and Foucault

This article aims to show how the philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche and Michael Foucault arrived at a controversial conception of philosophy and describe how each one struggled to acknowledge in different circumstances, the Delphic obligation to live the life of the philosopher. The essay Schopenhauer as Educator, published in 1874, marks the culmination of Nietzche's life. Like Nietzsche, Foucault is concerned to interrogate the figure of the philosopher. In his final lectures in the College de France, he examined the life of Socrates and Diogenes. He deplored what he called our own modern negligence of the problem the philosophical life.

 

Yirmiyahu Yovel
Tolerance as Grace and as Rightful Recognition

This article discusses the concept of tolerance as grace and as a rightful recognition. It was said that tolerance in the past had a patronizing character, it was seen as an act of grace. There was no reciprocity involved, no equality-in-principle between two parties by virtue of which tolerance was required or practiced, but there was an arbitrary unilateral act. In the patronizing form of tolerance, the privilege can just as arbitrarily be revoked as it has been granted. Tolerance-as-grace bears the marks of the medieval privilegium, which was granted to the members of some particular group, not by virtue or a universal norm that identified them as deserving it, but rather by an arbitrary singling out.

 

Aristide R. Zolberg with Agnès Callamard
The Ecole Libre at The New School, 1941-1946

This article recounts the history of the École Libre school in France from 1941-1946. It was said that organizationally, the École Libre was somewhat of a hybrid. In keeping with the Parisian École des Hautes Études model, the programs were drawn up with a certain flexibility, by the professors themselves, rather than in accordance with ministerial prescriptions, as in the extremely centralized university system. The faculty of letters was headed by the Sorbonne's Gustave Cohen, with the Belgian Henri Grégoire as vice dean and the faculty of law and political science was headed by Belgian Paul Van Zeeland, with Boris Mirkine-Guetzévitch, representing France, as vice dean.

 

Gary Mongiovi
Adolph Lowe’s Political Economics

The article features the economist Adolphe Lowe. Lowe, who died in 1995 at the age of 103, was a member of the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York. Over a career that spanned almost eight decades, he pushed against the envelope of theoretical economics, and strove to make it a more useful discipline for the improvement of society. He emigrated with his family to England, where he served as a lecturer at the University of Manchester. Though not a founding member of the University in Exile, it was said that Lowe was well suited by temperament and scientific outlook to fit in.

 

 

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