Current Issue Article Abstracts

Volume 81, Number 2, April 2020 


The Emergence of Texture
Sean Silver

Crucial to accounts of complexity is the history of the concept of emergence. Pride of place is generally given to G. E. Lewes, who in 1879 offered a theory of “emergents,” of the unpredictable and incommensurate effects which follow from the crossing of causes. This essay recovers an earlier tradition; it focuses on experiments in seventeenth-century materials science, which explain emergent properties through an appeal to microstructural “texture.” A full appreciation of the modern turn to complexity, of our own ecological embeddeness and the interrelationship of things, requires therefore a return to the warp and weft of seventeenth-century artisanal practice.

Hugo Grotius and Marriage’s Global Past: Conjugal Thinking in Early Modern Political Thought
Sharon Achinstein

While Grotius does not offer a new theory of marriage, nonetheless marriage seems to crop up in the most unlikely of places in The Rights of War and Peace. Marriage, as it arises out of natural law, becomes a model for thinking about topics vital to the early modern international: conduct in war, trade, sovereignty, and subordination of peoples; theorizing hierarchy and obligation of unequals; forging distinctions between the legal and the permissible; and exploring obligations of consent and promise. The topic of marriage is thus shown to be a valid resource in the global history of political thought.

Northern Declarations of Freedom of the Press: The Relative Importance of Philosophical Ideas and of Local Politics
Jonas Nordin, John Christian Laursen

In recent works on the Enlightenment and the origin of modern Western thought, there is often a dichotomy between Moderate versus Radical Enlightenment. This essay evaluates the early experiences of freedom of print in Sweden and Denmark against the backdrop of such assertions. Sweden and Denmark were widely diverging polities but they obtained officially recognized freedom of the press at almost the same time. The conclusion is that by the second half of the eighteenth century, the Enlightenment, whether “Radical” or “Moderate,” had created a universal paradigm shift.

The Cloche and Its Critics: Muting the Church’s Voice in Pre-Revolutionary France
Fayçal Falaky

During the French Revolution, several decrees were issued ordering the bells of suppressed churches to be melted and converted to money and cannons. Through examples drawn from literary and historical sources, this essay explains this fateful condemnation by showing how bells were part and parcel of pre-revolutionary anti-clerical writing. This essay also argues that the conflicting attitudes toward church bells do not just encapsulate a time period in French history in which the experience of religion underwent a significant change; they also represent differing attitudes toward the experience of time.

J. S. Mill on Liberty, Socratic Dialectic, and the Logic behind Political Discourse
Kazutaka Inamura

This article examines J. S. Mill’s philosophical logic as the basis for his political philosophy. In particular, it explores how he understands the logical mechanism of political discourse in his work A System of Logic and how this understanding supports his defense of freedom of thought and discussion in his On Liberty (chapter 2). While it is well known in the scholarly literature that Mill draws on Socratic dialectic to develop his view of political discourse, this article investigates in detail the logic behind the Socratic dialectic, thereby identifying the historical significance of Mill’s defense of liberty of discussion.

Communism as Religious Phenomenon: Phenomenology and Catholic Socialism In Yugoslav Slovenia, 1927–42
James Robertson

Between the years 1927 and 1942 the Slovene Catholic socialist, Edvard Kocbek, developed a political philosophy that drew on biocentric and phenomenological concepts to promote a project of social revolution and spiritual renewal. This philosophy underpinned his eventual involvement in the anti-fascist partisan struggle of WWII. Through an excavation of Kocbek’s interwar thought, this article highlights the breadth of phenomenology’s political applications and the plurality of political visions within interwar Catholic thought.

Frantz Fanon, Institutional Psychotherapy, and the Decolonization of Psychiatry
Camille Robcis

This article examines the role of psychiatry in the life and work of Frantz Fanon. It focuses on Fanon’s relationship to institutional psychotherapy, which he discovered at the hospital of Saint-Alban through the figure of François Tosquelles. Institutional psychotherapy confirmed, on a clinical level, what Fanon had already intuited in his early work. If alienation was always political and psychic at the same time, then decolonization needed to involve the disalienation of the mind. This is precisely what Fanon tried to do in his psychiatric work in North Africa and in his last political texts.

Books Received