Frank Ruda

15 June 2020

The Worst of Times, or How Not To Reify Freedom?

These days people in and of the West protest for their freedom(s). They protest against restrictions, limitations, reductions of what they take to be fundamentally theirs. Many commentators have noted the surprise that these protesters do not simply come from the far left, but also from the far right or from somewhere in between and they all align – in indifference towards their respective political identifications – under the heading and label of freedom. That this type of libertarianism is not a novel phenomenon but something that is problematically haunting the concept of freedom since its early unfolding in modernity has been noted by a long series of philosophers. The seminar will discuss some of these analyses, examine their cogency and will thereby enables us to not only check their contemporary valences but also if they might allow for another perspective on the present.

Required Reading:

Frank Ruda, Abolishing Freedom: A Plea for a Contemporary Use of Fatalism, p. 1-14, p. 101-130

Jean-Pierre Dupuy, The Mark of the Sacred, ch.1,  p. 15-40

Frank Ruda is senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of Dundee. He is also Professor at the European Graduate School (Saas Fee, Malta) and visiting professor at the Institute of Philosophy at the Scientific Research Center in Ljubljana (Slovenia) and at the Capital Normal University in Beijing. His most recent publications include: Reading Marx (with Agon Hamza and Slavoj Zizek), Polity 2018; The Dash – The Other Side of Absolute Knowing (with Rebecca Comay), MIT Press 2018 and Indifferenz und Wiederholung, Konstanz UP 2018. He is currently working inter alia on a book on courage (and its link to fatalism) and with Agon Hamza and Slavoj Zizek on Reading Hegel.