Episteme Vol. VI
"The Reconstruction of Human Finitude: A 'Retrieval' of Kierkegaard's Proto-Hermeneutics" by Ernesto V. Carcia
According to Kierkegaard, each person faces the knotty subject, the necessity of the subjective relationship of the existing individual to her eternal happiness: the God-relationship. In this article, the author focuses on what he finds to be Kierkegaard’s essentially negative reply to the question: “Can the truth be learned?” A study of the dialectical thinking of Johannes Climacus reveals that any positive knowledge, no matter its degree of theory or skepticism, is disingenuous—a position antithetical to philosophers like Hegel and Descartes. Kierkegaard’s thought, which anticipates deconstruction and hermeneutics, shows us that certainty is deceptive and impossible. Rather, we must recognize our constant existential striving.
"A Modern Composition of Hegel in Blue, Yellow, and Black: A Study of Hegel's Aesthetics" by Thomas J. Sullivan
The paper investigates Hegel’s claim: “art is dead”. What does this phrase mean? What must we know about Hegel’s systematic thought before we can understand this question? Has Hegel claimed rightly? The author answers all of these questions in this study of Hegel, the qualities of Greek and Medieval art, and the meaning and purpose of modern art. The purpose of art, as with religion and philosophy, is to reveal the Absolute, the content of which is freedom. Hegel believes that because the modern human now asks the philosophical “Why?” art no longer can serve the highest function in culture. But isn’t modern contemporary art essentially all about freedom? If it is, Hegel’s verdict does not hold up. The author analyzes work from Duchamp and painters Kandinsky, Pereira, Koppe, Guston, and Mondrian. Such artists do not have merely negative freedom: they will their free will, too. Thus, Hegel’s “art is dead” amounts to a mere prediction, sublated by the philosophy of the post-modern age, capable of judging the modern world and the purpose modern art played in it.
"Nietzsche's Final Thoughts on Art and Existence: A Reply to Julian Young" by David Evenhuis
Everyone knows that Nietzsche’s thoughts on art do not remain static throughout the course of his writings. The author of this paper responds to Julian Young’s assessment of the ultimate progression of those thoughts. Is it true, as Young suggests, that Nietzsche, in 1888, returns to the pessimism that characterizes his first two works, his period of Wagner and Schopenhauer? No. Although Young picks up on the Apollonian strand of 1888 Nietzsche, the author argues that Young misses or ignores the positive, powerful Dionysian element that keeps Nietzsche’s final thoughts on art from sinking into nihilism. The artistic mood of these works is life-affirming and full of will-to-power, not disguised pessimism as Young believes. In works like Twilight of the Idols, art is not just a beautiful illusion; it is a necessary element of human existence. Existence is not endured via art: absurdity is affirmed by the aesthetic phenomenon.
"Subjectivity vs. Use: A Heideggerian Critique of Sartrean Values" by Laura M. Bruce
Dostoevsky laments: is everything truly permitted? This article illustrates how Heidegger avoids the phenomenological and ethical deficiencies found in Sartre’s philosophy. The author argues that a rejection of ethical absolutes does not inevitably lead to Sartrean relativism, because Heidegger’s account of Being critiques Sartre and considers shared practices of ordinary experience, which is necessary for values and ethics. Sartre’s phenomenology is characterized by Husserl’s influence and the subject/object distinction that finds values to arise necessarily from Nothingness. The author exposes why Sartre believes what he does and why Heidegger provides a substantially different ontology. Contrary to Sartre’s problematic phenomenology, Heidegger emphasizes how humans use things in the environment of the world. Humans are always already in a public, situated context. Ethical values are not grounded in objectivity, sure; but they come from the context, not by the subject’s invention. In the ordinary experience of Dasein, Dostoevsky’s worry is not made real: not everything is permitted.
"Movements in Time" by Gabriel Rockhill