Friday, February 28, 2014 - 16:00
Concordia University, MB 3,270
“Perfectionism’s Ironic Transport (Reading Now Voyager After Cavell)”
MB 3,270 (1450 Guy St.)
Rereading Cavell’s later works on moral perfectionism, I examine a number of themes that I consider central to what I call a philosophy of the humanities, in which art and film play important roles. Some of these include: the primacy of ethics as the evaluation of a mode of existence that requires contesting and evaluating a community or a form of life; the demand for an education, apart or alone, in situations that require tests of your own moral standing no less than those who would befriend you; and film’s expression of the power of metamorphosis and the capacity for change, which often takes the form of a certain reflexivity and the projection of a divided self. Perfectionism’s principal question is: How is change possible, or better, how is human change possible? Here the question of becoming on film, how the concept of becoming is projected in film--its automatisms, its elements or forms, its genres--must now be connected, philosophically, to the perfectionist problem of self-reliance defined as self-disobedience and aversion to conformity, or of overcoming one’s fixed or stagnated self as a recovery of human existence.