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Course 906:Writing Heuristics

The aim of this course is to reflect on the genesis of concepts. We will seek to understand this genesis as a problem for thought, since concepts quickly loose their exotic nature once they are assimilated into accepted notions of knowledge. More strictly, the problem lies in the temporal immediacy of emergent concepts, which is to say the difficulty of apprehending and describing them in their moment. What is the language one would use to tackle this problem? We will attend to some important philosophical trajectories at the moment when they are poised on the brink of an epistemological breakthrough, at a point that is fecund and generative of future developments in both philosophy proper and in the social sciences. This is where you can juxtapose this material to your own work not only to reflect on the process by which you have arrived at your current understanding of your project, but also to see how you can push all that is incipient in your thought toward that threshold where it will generate new concepts and ideas. We will begin in the first class with a discussion of your projects: please summarize your basic ideas in three to four sentences, focusing on the key question that motivates you. Over the next few sessions we will try to see how this question can serve to irradiate the specific set of texts you have chosen. This way we can map the disciplinary or methodological contexts against which you will come to define your work.


Week One

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book Six, Chapter Six. Link found here

Week Two

Walter Benjamin, ‘Epistemo-Critical Preface’ to The Origin of German Tragic Drama.Link found here

Week Three

Hegel, The Difference between Fichte and Schelling’s System of Philosophy  (Selection) Link found here

Week Four

James T. Siegel, Naming the Witch (Selection) Link found here

Week Five

Nietzsche, Writings from the Late Notebooks (Section on the ‘Will to Power’) Link

Week Six

Heidegger, ‘The Question Concerning Technology’ Link found here




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