Other Podcasts on Buber

Here's my report on what I listened to in preparation for our episode.

Joshua Haberman-Rabbi Joshua Haberman held a retreat in 2008, seemingly for a bunch of other Rabbis, but I'm not clear on this, and so gave four interactive lectures on Buber that provided a lot of the background I was drawing on. (Itunes link; scroll down to the oldest four episodes listed, currenctly items 89-92). In part 1, Haberman lectures on I and Thou, emphasizing the point that you shouldn't bother to get caught up trying to dissect his thorny language everywhere, but just keep plowing through, and you'll find some phrase here and there that will really speak to you. His students here are very interested in how Buber relates to the Jewish establishment (he's not crazy about it).

Parts 2 and 3 focus a bit more on his later life and other work; the stuff about Hadisism in part III is pretty interesting, and I wasn't able to at all do justice to it on the episode. Part 4 is mostly interaction with his students. Throughout the series, the students aren't on mic, so it's very difficult to get much out of those portions focusing on discussion, but Haberman himself is useful, if not actually concerned with those textual issues that might be more interesting to philosophers. He speaks very slowly, so fire up your portable devices to listen at 1.5X or 2X speed!

Paul Mendes-Flohr-The Philosopher's Zone (iTunes link) released a 5-part series on Jewish philosophy last September that concluded with an episode on Buber where Alan Saunders interviewed Buber scholar Paul Mendes-Flohr. This provides a good overview of his life and thought in only a bit over 20 minutes.

-Finally, I listened to a lecture from the University of Chicago also by Paul Mendes-Flohr (iTunes U link), also by Paul Mendes-Flohr, specifically on the personal relationship between Buber and Heidegger. As old men, they met up and had some conversations and tried to coordinate a conference that they would both be at, which didn't end up happening, but nonetheless it appears that Buber's lecture at a successive conference was a response to the Heidegger one at the previous conference (which Buber didn't make). Mendes-Flohr hypothesizes that Heidegger wanted more out of the relationship and invited Buber to come visit him at his country house, perhaps as a way of getting (public? private?) forgiveness for the whole Nazi thing in his past, but Buber didn't go for it, despite the fact that they apparently got along well in the time they did chat. Buber did not want to actually engage Heidegger in he kind of dialogue that would have had to confront that whole issue; he didn't want to have a real I-Thou experience with Heidegger.

-Mark Linsenmayer


      • dmf says

        Heidegger was more invested in what he called moods than emotions (the relationship between phenomenology and psychology is a prickly one after Husserl) and I think that Buber is struggling with this himself in the sense that he wants to emphasize human-being but not fall into what Heidegger called “mere” anthropology (or what Stanley Fish has named homo rhetoricus). Lots at stake along these lines as many of us would like to leave talk of ontology to history and take up what Paul Rabinow calls a Anthropology of the Contemporary (like myself PR applauds Dewey’s anthropology but rejects his overly optimistic view of human reasoning so that we end up closer to Foucault than Rawls).

        • Profile photo of Tammy says

          Who are you? This is very interesting and hitting on themes in my thesis as I finish my degree in Religious Studies. I really appreciate all I’m learning from PEL citizens, which is more vigorous, at times, than some of the courses I’m taking.

          All this said, the university library doesn’t have this particular essay but (there’s always a but [I stole that from a professor]) created an account and can access through Academia.edu. I’m on trimester break and have the time to read, Enactivism: Why Be Radical?

          Strange, I went to a series of lectures last summer and “Radical” was the theme. Stranger yet a friend’s husband is a retired professor from Melbourne University and giving a talk on (quoting):

          “My central research and writing interest is centered around the nexus of evolutionary biology, epistemology, and the theory of emergent organization, and especially the coevolution and revolutions in human and organizational cognition and the cognitive tools people and organizations use. There are a number of philosophical considerations that come out of this – defining life and self-awareness from practical and ethical points of view, human origins and what it is to be human, the evolution of culture and religion, how technology changes what it means to be human, organizations as living and evolving entities in their own rights, emergence of the global brain, relationships between individual humans and living organizations, becoming post-human, singularity or a point of inflection?”

          Regarding your take on Buber and Fish, liked your thoughts, thank you. My impression is similar with the exception of reversing “human-being” to “being-human,” because I think it’s the thrust of what Buber is getting at which involves a level of vulnerability in the I-Thou relation, yet remaining his own person/his individualism.

          I don’t know if this is helping my focus or not, but it sure is good stuff.

          • dmf says

            well focus is good but often for naught without having deep and fertile grounds to plant in, I’m deeply sympathetic with the desire for a care ethics of vulnerability/availability but all too aware of what Derrida called our narcissism without end (our critterly manipulative natures) one of the best thinkers along these lines is the theologian John Caputo, who is an heir of the radical theologians like Altizer and Winquist, and might bring these matters more in line with your studies as he wrote some powerful things on a hermeneutics (after Foucault) of not-knowing who we are:

          • Profile photo of Tammy says

            Thanks for the link, book-marked John Caputo because his works most definitely will follow-up on. Also, YouTube has an interview with Caputo and Thomas de Zengotita, which were very interesting.

          • dmf says

            lots of good thinkers interviewed by those folks including most recently Steven Shaviro ( http://www.shaviro.com ) who is part of the Whitehead revival, many of Caputo’s seminar lectures are available as audio-recordings, should be a link on his website.

    • dmf says

      often which is interesting as I don’t see how his thinking (his liberal politics aside) fits into the work of those fellows.

    • Profile photo of Tammy says

      Okay, I can see that and think this is getting into models of contextual Christology in liberation theology and heuristics in philosophy. I would say the common thread (philosophy and theology) is an embracing of Panentheism worldview. Am I jumping the gun to assert Buber embraced “All-in-God,” rather than “God-is-One”—I think it was Seth who wanted to avoid interpreting the idea that Buber embraced “God-is-One” in the Jewish tradition and philosophical framework? http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/panentheism

      This is where I’m thinking deconstruction philosophy is similar to construction theology (resist and reframe) in getting to the underlining meaning in context. That said, I can see why the HC crew (process theology and Whitehead) embraces JC’s theology because they are using deconstruction and construction heuristics models.

      (On a side: Not to muddy the water; Sarah Copland does some excellent work drawing on Nietzsche’s relational thinking and Wittgenstein’s two different usages of the word “see” in PI. One is copy and sameness [identity] and the other is noticing similarities and differences [aspect-relational]. “Reading in the Blend: Collaborative Conceptual Blending in the Silent Traveller Narratives.” Narrative 16, 2 (2008): 140-162. http://www.english.utoronto.ca/grad/prizewinners/Sarah_Copland.htm)

      • Profile photo of Tammy says

        Clarify my intent of not muddy the water, reading Hutto’s Enactivism: Why be Radical?– strong similarities throughout his essay and most especially on pg 14 and 17.

      • dmf says

        well I think that the question remains as to whether panentheism/panexperientialism is philosophy or theology as opposed to a common ground,
        and deconstruction (via Derrida/Caputo) is explicitly not about ” in getting to the underlining meaning in context”, which is why I recommended Caputo’s hermeneutics of not-knowing and am puzzled by the embrace of JC by the Homebrewed crowd tho maybe they mis-read him as you do.
        Hutto’s project is one of context and evolution but is also a humanist project and about the workings of the possible (Heidegger’s “mere” anthropology) the kind of socialization/engineering that Heideggerians/Derrideans are deeply suspicious of,
        and I think have to be worrying to a post-Holocaust thinker like Buber but that’s just speculation on my part.

        • Profile photo of Tammy says

          I think about it more in terms of science and religion in dialogue and complementing each other, different from common ground. You are a hard taskmaster, dmf, readily admitting have yet to read your JC recommendation -More Radical Hermeneutics: On Not Knowing Who We Are. Seriously, thinking process theology, as deconstruction philosophy is open to ambiguity. Similar to the Eastern philosophical thought of paradox.

          According to SEP, “ Terms influenced by Whiteheadian process philosophy: Dipolar… Hartshorne identified these aspects as abstract and concrete” are words Taoism uses describing the Tao. Anyway, drawing on Volker Kuster’s work re: Martin Buber, not having read JC and could be projecting and mis-reading. http://www.ev.theologie.uni-mainz.de/eng/3335.php

          • dmf says

            don’t mean to hard tho this philosophy business is very hard work and not really amenable to being worked out in comment threads so I just try and be the finger pointing to the moon.
            thanks for the Buber link and yes all kinds of interesting conversation to be had across the globe.
            Process theology is indeed an attempt to make religion reason-able, but Derrida’s project was very different, his protégé Malabou is trying to bridge the gap but it is sort of the deep end of the pool:

          • Profile photo of Tammy says

            Well, I’m not doing well on my Deleuzean study and think I may be over my head. At 7. minutes into the talk he mentions, “lack” – I’m just saying, this is so Augustinian to me who said, “Evil is not something but a lack of.” I mean I’m just saying it’s so difficult to be objective, as in not reading (in this case listening) into a completely different philosopher’s work. I don’t know if I said that right and hope it makes sense.

            Anyway, thanks for the link because you are the first person who is familiar with Stiegler’s work that I’ve come across, and I do think it’s important.

          • dmf says

            heh, everybody is in over their heads with Deleuze, people literally spend careers arguing over what he meant and I wouldn’t suggest reading him without a deep grounding in continental philosophy.
            Yes indeed it is impossible to not read something new in terms of what we already know/believe and yet we seem on occasion to undergo a kind of conversion/gestalt switch in our under-standings, and this is one of the real puzzles/mysteries that folks like Buber, Heidegger, and Wittgenstein were wrestling with, how does that happen and what does this mean to understanding, or even truth seeking, love of wisdom? good philosophical grist for the mill…

          • Profile photo of Tammy says

            Not to offend, you’re one heck of a Dom. Yes, gestalt is an appropriate word and why I’m drawn to Thomas Kuhn and really like Wittgenstein. I’m gonna spend some time on this (the links).

  1. Profile photo of Wayne Schroeder says

    For Derrida, differance (a word invented by Derrida) refers to the material differentiation that can never be containded by ideas, which are intrinsically transcendental. It means in general non-identity within the same–a central concept in Derrida’s process of deconstruction.

    In the Dissecting Differance Not for School group we are working through “Writing and Difference” (this is available to read on the document section on line” and the second chapter, Cogito and the History of Madness, where he deconstructs Foucault’s “Madness and Civilization,” (a classical battle by the heavyweights and well worth the struggle) by playing with the differences of words like cogito and madness and turns them on their head compared to how Foucault used the terms in order to establish his position. So differance is all over Derrida, who stayed mainly in the area of language, deconstructing others to develop his philosophy.

    Deluze, on the other hand took on metaphysics directly, developing the plane of immanence on which is played out the forces of the Virtual and the Actual (see Difference and Repetition). He works with the opposition of difference with identity as a basic building/unbuilding block of reality, and for him it is difference all the way down into the Virtual.

    Here is a couple of quotes from Wikipedia “Caputo is a specialist in contemporary continental philosophy, with a particular expertise in phenomenology, hermeneutics, and deconstruction. Over the years, he has developed a deconstructive hermeneutics that he calls radical hermeneutics, which is highly influenced by the thought of the French philosopher, Jacques Derrida. ”

    Also: “Some of the ideas Caputo investigates in his work include the religion without religion of Jacques Derrida; the “theological turn” taken in recent French phenomenology by Jean-Luc Marion and others; the critique of ontotheology” and his unique focus on weak theology (see Weakness of God).

    There–that should slightly bring us back around to the original topic.

      • Profile photo of Wayne Schroeder says

        I’m starting a Not for School Group on Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition including lectures by John Caputo and would appreciate if you could join us.

        see if you might like this group also.

        • dmf says

          that’s very kind but I’m afraid that I’m already in a few reading groups right now that take up my study time, out on the web there are some free versions of Claire Colebrook’s intro to Deleuze a book that I would highly recommend, Deleuze expects a deep and wide familiarity with previous continental philosophy of his readers and than invents all kinds of torturous devices so good secondary lit is really a must, enjoy.

        • Profile photo of Tammy says

          This is ironical, watching the video on Derrida’s deconstruction (radical religion-source- radical techoscience) and Daniel Cole’s Media Ecology group.

          I’m going to join the group and thank you. The only thing is it’s looking like a heavy workload in the next few months and will have to go with it.

      • Profile photo of Wayne Schroeder says

        A quote (Protevi) regarding Derrida, quite metaphysical:
        “One of his [Derrida’s] most famous deconstructions is that of space and time: différance (differing: spatial distinction and deferring: temporal distinction) is the becoming-space of time (time cannot be pure interiority, as Augustine, Kant and Husserl all wanted in different ways) and becoming-time of space (spatial distinctions are produced by temporal synthesis). A synonym for différance is then “spacing” as differing / deferring, which “produces” identities on the level of objects, even space and time as forms of intuition.”

        • dmf says

          yes John does some very interesting projects but tends to flatten the post-modern authors into these kinds of quasi-scientific gestures in aid to his own work which is along such lines. What is a ‘strong’ mis-reading and what is a ‘weak’ mis-reading problem depends on what outcomes one values I suppose…

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