•  57
    Reading McDowell: On Mind and World (edited book)
    Routledge. 2002.
    John McDowell's Mind and World is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important contributions to philosophy in recent years. In this volume leading philosophers examine the nature and extent of McDowell's achievement in Mind and World and related writings. The chapters, most of which were specially commissioned for this volume, are divided into five parts. The essays in part one consider Mind and World 's location in the modern philosophical tradition, particularly its relation to Kant's c…Read more
  •  36
    Critique hope, power: Challenges of contemporary critical theory
    with Robert Sinnerbrink and Jean-Philippe Deranty
    Critical Horizons 6 (1): 1-21. 2005.
    In the first part of the paper I consider the relative neglect of hope in the tradition of critical theory. I attribute this neglect to a low estimation of the cognitive, aesthetic, and moral value of hope, and to the strong—but, argue, contingent—association that holds between hope and religion. I then distinguish three strategies for thinking about the justification of social hope; one which appeals to a notion of unfulfilled or frustrated natural human capacities, another which invokes a prov…Read more
  •  275
    Worldly indeterminacy: A rough guide
    with Gideon Rosen
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (1). 2004.
    This paper defends the idea that there might be vagueness or indeterminacy in the world itself--as opposed to merely in our representations of the world--against the charges of incoherence and unintelligibility. First we consider the idea that the world might contain vague properties and relations ; we show that this idea is already implied by certain well-understood views concerning the semantics of vague predicates (most notably the fuzzy view). Next we consider the idea that the world might c…Read more
  •  339
    Orthodoxy has it that mereological composition can never be a vague matter, for if it were, then existence would sometimes be a vague matter too, and that's impossible. I accept that vague composition implies vague existence, but deny that either is impossible. In this paper I develop degree-theoretic versions of quantified modal logic and of mereology, and combine them in a framework that allows us to make clear sense of vague composition and vague existence, and the relationships between them
  •  3
    The idea of evil
    Critical Horizons 9 (1): 99-101. 2008.
  •  51
    The hermeneutics of work: On Richard Sennett
    Critical Horizons 8 (2): 186-204. 2007.
    The paper attempts to situate Sennett philosophically by placing him in the tradition of ontological hermeneutics. This way of reading Sennett is justified not only by the core principles that govern Sennett's social anthropology, but is also useful for tracing the trajectory of Sennett's philosophically informed diagnoses of the times. These diagnoses focus on the role of work in shaping subjectivity. After reconstructing the basic conceptual shape of Sennett's diagnoses of the work-related mal…Read more
  •  70
    New Philosophies of Labour: Work and the Social Bond (edited book)
    with Jean-Philippe Dr Deranty
    Brill. 2011.
    This volume addresses the long-standing neglect of the category of labour in critical social theory and it presents a powerful case for a new paradigm based on the anthropological significance of work and its role in shaping social bonds.
  •  55
    Hope and critical theory
    Critical Horizons 6 (1): 45-61. 2005.
    In the first part of the paper I consider the relative neglect of hope in the tradition of critical theory. I attribute this neglect to a low estimation of the cognitive, aesthetic, and moral value of hope, and to the strong—but, I argue, contingent—association that holds between hope and religion. I then distinguish three strategies for thinking about the justification of social hope; one which appeals to a notion of unfulfilled or frustrated natural human capacities, another which invokes a pr…Read more
  •  82
    Analysing hope
    Critical Horizons 9 (1): 5-23. 2008.
    The paper contrasts two approaches to the analysis of hope: one that takes its departure from a view broadly shared by Hobbes, Locke and Hume, another that fits better with Aquinas's definition of hope. The former relies heavily on a sharp distinction between the cognitive and conative aspects of hope. It is argued that while this approach provides a valuable source of insights, its focus is too narrow and it rests on a problematic rationalistic psychology. The argument is supported by a discuss…Read more
  • Critique Today (edited book)
    with Robert Sinnerbrink, Jean-Philippe Dr Deranty, and Peter Schmiedgen
    Brill. 2006.
    This volume examines critical social philosophy today, furthering the dialogue between German critical theory and French post-structuralism, exploring the relationship between philosophy and social theory, and developing new approaches to theories of recognition, social hope, and modern power
  •  19
    Pragmatist Transcendence in Rorty’s Metaphilosophy
    Analyse & Kritik 41 (1): 97-116. 2019.
    This article argues that a pragmatist ambition to transcendence undergirds Richard Rorty’s metaphilosophy. That transcendence might play a positive role in Rorty’s work might seem implausible given his well-known rejection of the idea that human practices are accountable to some external, Archimedean standpoint, and his endorsement of the historicist view that standards of rationality are products of time and chance. It is true that Rorty’s contributions to epistemology, philosophy of mind and m…Read more
  •  11
    Basic income, social freedom and the fabric of justice
    Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 1-21. 2019.
  •  22
    Reading McDowell (edited book)
    Routledge. 2002.
    In this volume leading philosophers examine the nature and extent of McDowell's achievement inMind and Worldand related writings.
  •  24
    I argue that Japanese noise could only become meaningful and articulate at a time when thought and language have become somehow inarticulate. I very briefly recount T.W. Adorno's controversial claims that we live in a wholly abstract and instrumental world, where each object we encounter holds meaning only as 1) a representative of the class to which it belongs and 2) a tool for our use. As is now the convention in Adorno scholarship and cultural studies generally, I name ordering principles of …Read more
  •  91
    The categorical apology
    Journal of Social Philosophy 36 (4). 2005.
    Much of our private and public ethical discourse occurs in the giving, receiving, or demanding of an apology, yet we suffer deep confusion regarding what an apology actually is. Most of us have never made explicit precisely what we expect from a full apology and therefore apologizing has become a vague and clumsy ritual. Full apologies can be morally and emotionally powerful, but, as with most valuable things, frauds masquerade as the genuine article. These semblances of apologies often deceive …Read more
  •  24
    Making Adorno’s Ethics and Politics Explicit
    Social Theory and Practice 29 (3): 487-498. 2003.
    Review essay of Making Adorno's Ethics and Politics Explicit, Social Theory and Practice 29/3 (2003): 487-498.
  •  7
    Adorno: Disenchantment and ethics: Adorno: A critical reader (review)
    Social Theory and Practice 29 (3): 487. 2003.
  • Habermas: A Critical Introduction (review)
    Radical Philosophy 76. 1996.
  • ‘What it Makes Sense to Say’: Wittgenstein, rule‐following and the nature of education
    Educational Philosophy and Theory 37 (3): 425-430. 2005.
    In his writings Jim Marshall has helpfully emphasized such Wittgensteinian themes as the multiplicity of language games, the deconstruction of ‘certainty,’ and the contexts of power that underlie discursive systems. Here we focus on another important legacy of Wittgenstein's thinking: his insistence that human activity is rule‐governed. This idea foregrounds looking carefully at the world of education and learning, as against the empirical search for new psychological or other facts. It reminds …Read more
  •  216
    Adorno vs. Levinas: Evaluating points of contention (review)
    Continental Philosophy Review 40 (3): 275-306. 2007.
    Although Adorno and Levinas share many arguments, I attempt to sharpen and evaluate their disagreements. Both held extreme and seemingly opposite views of art, with Adorno arguing that art presents modernity’s highest order of truth and Levinas denouncing it as shameful idolatry. Considering this striking difference brings to light fundamental substantive and methodological incompatibilities between them. Levinas’ assertion of the transcendence of the face should be understood as the most tellin…Read more
  • The Return of Work in Critical Theory: Self, Society, Politics
    with Christophe Dejours, Jean-Philippe Deranty, and Emmanuel Renault
    Columbia University Press. 2018.
    From John Maynard Keynes’s prediction of a fifteen-hour workweek to present-day speculation about automation, we have not stopped forecasting the end of work. Critical theory and political philosophy have turned their attention away from the workplace to focus on other realms of domination and emancipation. But far from coming to an end, work continues to occupy a central place in our lives. This is not only because of the amount of time people spend on the job. Many of our deepest hopes and fea…Read more