LGS Blog

Peter Hallward, ‘Vitalism or Voluntarism?’, Thursday 30th May 6-8pm at Central Saint Martins

Posted: Monday 20 May 2013
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The last in the LGS/CRMEP series ‘Ten Public Lectures on Philosophy, Politics and the Arts’:

Vitalism or Voluntarism?

Peter Hallward

Over much of the modern period, social criticism has been associated with forms of emancipatory political theory, and has helped clarify what is at stake in various struggles to escape from forms of ‘enslavement to necessity’. In moments when this association has been challenged or disrupted (for instance, in Europe, at the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century), emancipatory thinkers have sometimes sought more immediately ‘affirmative’ foundations, in appeals to religion, nature, authenticity or action. This talk will consider how far recent and contemporary critical theory might be understood as structured by a comparable disruption, and how far the central issue at stake might be interpreted in terms adapted from an old argument about how best to read thinkers like Bergson and Gramsci – as vitalist, or voluntarist?

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