Alfino - Fall 2016 - Work on Self and IF

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Conference: [1]

NYRB review of Garton Ash's new book on Free Speech. [2] Chronical Editorial from Columbia U president Lee Bollinger, "The No-Censorship Approach to Life" [3]

Initial Notes and Ideas for work on "self and intellectual freedom"

  • starting intuition (from Summer paper on Offensive Speech) that a deeper explanation for changes in attutudes toward intellectual freedom would need to take into account changes in the way we think about the self.

General Notes

  • enlightenment self -- characterized by rights, autonomy, freedom of expression, but also toleration. Not defined by gender, race, orientation.
  • track critiques -- disembodied, disconnected from tradition, identity, religion moves to the private sphere, (find article to do this)
  • need to understand how Enlightenment distinguished the private self from the public self.
  • what's new? postmodern self, digital self, and therapeutic self (research both)
  • Sources:
  • Taylor -- sources of the self
  • Kant's odd distinction between public and private roles
  • Declaration of Universal Rights of Man
  • Hypotheses:
  • Could it be that we are witnessing the "re-embodiment" of the self following the Enlightenment abstraction of the political subject?
  • Could it be that we are changing the way we divide public and private spaces (partly because of the new possibilities of a digitally mediated self)?
  • Maybe the ideals of liberty of thought that Mill articulated were never realistic. I mean he was a pretty strange guy.

Critical issues

  • Assuming there is a problem in our historical relationship to freedom of conscience. Is there? Evidence from recent years: right not to be offended, right to be forgotten, challenges to academic freedom -- deplatforming, trigger warnings, reporting of faculty for perceived aggression.
  • Sources of Enlightenment self (ripped from some Harvard professors' lecture series):
  • Lockean theory of self -- first modern theory of personal identity
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Mill's self in On Liberty
  • Hume scepticism of self
  • The London Journal -- Boswell's diary 1762
  • Rousseau's "Confessions of a Solitary Walker"
  • Romanticism and the interiority of the self
  • Franklin
  • Adam Smith -- self as economic/moral agent
  • Dangerous Liasons -- self as duplicitous
  • Sources of Modern Self
  • Cartesian Self
  • Heliocentrism
  • Christianity (context)
  • Searches:
  • Philosophers Index: self and enlightenment, enlightenmnet and lib of thought or IF, digital self

Digital Self

  • uploading of self -- transhumanism
  • social media -- updatin gstatus, managing a public/private self.
  • old model: public vs. private
  • new model: pulbic, public-private, private