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From Hopelessness to Hope: Spaces for Ethics

20 November 2018 (Tue) 17:00-
University of Tokyo Komapa Campus, Bldg.101, 2F Seminar Room

“From Hopelessness to Hope: Spaces for Ethics”
20 November 2018 (Tue.) 17:00~
University of Tokyo Komapa Campus, Bldg.101, 2F Seminar Room
(language: English)

Downlord Lecture Materials

Robert Harvey
Professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His teaching explores the interpenetrations of literary and philosophical discourse. Harvey has written extensively on Jean-François Lyotard, Jean-Paul Sartre, Marguerite Duras, Marcel Duchamp and Michel Deguy; he has translated Lyotard, Deguy, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault and Paul Ricœur. His most recent books are Sharing Common Ground: A Space for Ethics (Bloomsbury, 2017), Witnessness: Beckett, Levi, Dante and the Foundations of Ethics (Continuum, 2010), which appeared in French as Témoignabilité (MetisPresses, 2015), Les Écrits de Marguerite Duras (Éditions de l’Imec, 2009), and De l’exception à la règle (Éditions Lignes, 2006) on USA PATRIOT Act. He is a major co-editor of the Œuvres complètes of Marguerite Duras in the Pléiade edition with Gallimard. From 2001 until 2007, Harvey was a Program Director at the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris.

The ideal ethics unmediated by institutions is yet to be realized. Such an ethics would be a set of rules for peaceful, caring, and egalitarian interaction derived from everyday experience itself. Space, along with the beings and objects “out there,” is our first and most fundamental collaborator in the constitution of thinking. From the intimate spaces of our infancy, we are exposed to other spaces. Some of these other spaces are also spaces otherwise (or “heterotopias”) in the sense that Michel Foucault tried to explain in a 1967 lecture. Alien yet uncannily familiar, spaces otherwise harbor the capacity to move us to work at transforming hopelessness into hope, at transforming antipathy or apathy into ethical behavior. Along the way, we will have the opportunity to explore such questions as: “What is the seat of hopelessness?”; “What is a space otherwise?”; and, in general, “Why is ethics both the most elusive concern of philosophy and the most necessary?” This seminar will be less interested in the question of the being or existence of spaces otherwise than in that of their purpose. In order to show or suggest paths for initiating the work toward the hopeful purpose of an ethics (Dare one say, “a natural ethics”?), I shall lead us through texts by Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, and Primo Levi, as well as a clip from a 1928 silent film by Georges Lacombe.

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Organised by: UTCP, HMC (The University of Tokyo, Humanities Center)

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