Associate Professor of Political Science and Affiliated Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Santa Barbara
Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:September‒December 2014
Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:»Ordinary Language and Second Nature: Returning to Ourselves in Hegel and Cavell«
In this project I explore the contributions Stanley Cavell and Hegel make to our understanding of the practical philosophy of self-realization.
Cavell and Hegel share the »realist« ambition of orienting practical philosophy to the actual practice of modern life. Just as Hegel defends a conception of ethical life that sublates the Kantian Ought, so Cavell accepts the Wittgensteinian understanding of philosophy as therapeutic, perspicuous description that returns our self-expression and hence us from metaphysical self-denial to the everyday. For each, practical philosophy is a matter of self-recognition, of ‒ in the terms of Pindar’s Second Pythian Ode ‒ learning and becoming what one is. It is true that the logic of Absolute Spirit underwrites Hegel’s claims regarding the rectitude of second nature: the science of right does not include the deduction of the concept of right, but rather presupposes it.
But right as ethical life is not the practical application of logical rules or principles, but rather a systematic form of life that is in a deep sense self-justifying. The actual self-consciousness achieved in ethical life is at once subject and object to itself, and its ethical force is that of its being. Duty arises from self-awareness or self-feeling, and not an obligation owed to something beyond the ethical subject. Likewise, in Cavell, the focus of Emersonian Perfectionism is not the achievement of extraordinary virtue or magnanimity, but that of what he terms the eventual everyday. Ordinary life as we always already live it is oblivious to itself, and can become or achieve itself only in our conversion to it, a conversion that, because it is made within the ordinary, is a twisting within it. The deep commonality here between Hegel and Cavell cannot, however, obscure the fundamental differences between systematic idealism and a Romantic conception of ordinary language philosophy. This project explores the extent to which the differences and commonalities between the two thinkers can be drawn upon so as to develop a more satisfying account of practice as the return to self than is found in either of them. This project should shed light not only on the relation between Idealism and contemporary Romanticism, but also on the possibility of recuperating Hegelian insights within the context of a Wittgensteinian sensitivity to the limits and dangers of philosophical speech.
Funding of the stay:Excellence Cluster »The formation of normative orders«
Andrew Norris is, on the invitation of the Cluster of Excellence »The Formation of Normative Orders« and Professor Christoph Menke, Professor of Philosophy at Goethe University, a Fellow at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften.
Scholarly profile of Andrew Norris
Main areas of research:Political Philosophy
- Becoming Who We Are: Politics and Practical Philosophy in the Work of
Stanley Cavell, Oxford: Oxford University Press (forthcoming 2017).
- »Michael Oakeshott and the Postulates of Individuality?«, in: Political Theory, 2016. (DOI: 10.1177/0090591716656460)
- (Ed. with Jeremy Elkins), Truth and Democracy, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press 2012.
- (Ed.), The Claim to Community: Essays on Stanley Cavell and Political Philosophy , Stanford: Stanford University Press 2006.
- (Ed.), Politics, Metaphysics, and Death: Essays on Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer, Durham: Duke University Press 2005.
- »›How Can It Not Know What It Is?‹ Self and Other in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, in: Film-Philosophy, vol. 17, no. 1 (2013).
- »On Public Action: Rhetoric, Opinion, and Glory in Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition«, in: Critical Horizons, vol. 14, no. 2 (2013).
- »The Disappearance of the French Revolution in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit«, in: The Owl of Minerva: Journal of the Hegel Society of America , vol. 44, nos. 1-2 (2012-13).
- »Wollen und Entscheiden: Hegel über Ironie, das Böse und die souveräne Ausnahme«; in: Willkür: Freiheit und Gesetz II, ed. by Juliane Rebentisch and Dirk Setton, Berlin: August Verlag 2011.
- »›La chaîne des raisons a une fin‹. Wittgenstein et Oakeshott sur le rationalisme et la pratique«, in: Cités: Philosophie, Politique, Histoire, vol. 38 (2009).
- »Das Politische als das Metaphysische und das Alltägliche«, in: Wittgenstein: Philosophie als ›Arbeit an Einem selbst‹, ed. by Gunter Gebauer, Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink Verlag 2009.
- »Sovereignty, Exception, and Norm«, in: Journal of Law and Society, vol. 34, no. 1 (März 2007).