Conversations 5


Conversations: The Journal of Cavellian Studies 5 is out. This issue concentrates on the connections between Stanley Cavell, aesthetics and politics. The contents may be downloaded here:

“The Aesthetics of Politics and the Politics of Aesthetics In and After Cavell: Editorial Comment”, Sérgio Dias Branco and Amir Khan

“Stanley Cavell and the Questioning of the Foregone: Openness to Conversion as a Political Act”, Jeff Frank (St. Lawrence University)

“Something Must Be Shown: Consent, Conversation, and the End of Reasons”, Derek Gottlieb (University of Northern Colorado)

“Seeing Selves and Imagining Others: Aesthetic Interpretation and the Claim to Community in Cavell”, Jon Najarian (Boston University)

“Friend as Enemy: Notes on Cavell and Socialism (Via Makavejev)”, Rastislav Dinić (University of Niš)

“The Malick Viewed: Is there any Cinematic Heir to Cavell’s Philosophical Thinking Today?”, Babak Geranfar

“Reading Silence [excerpt from ‘Skepticism and Redemption: The Political Enactments of Stanley Cavell’]”, Larry Jackson (The New School)

“End Times According to Stanley Cavell [a review essay of Larry Jackson’s ‘Skepticism and Redemption: The Political Enactments of Stanley Cavell’]”, Amir Khan (LNU-MSU College of International Business)

“Sore Feet in the City of Light”, “Cartesian Auto Body”, “Hamlet 3”, Lawrence Rhu (University of South Carolina)

“‘This Most Human Predicament’: Cavell on Language, Intention, and Desire in Shakespeare”, Richard Eldridge (Swarthmore College)


Conversations: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4

O Curso do Silêncio


Contemporary Art in Russia


Objectos, Hábitos e Incorporações /
Do Corpo à Pele


Taking the Fear out of Failure


Fashion Communication in the Digital World


Post Performance Future


Cavell and Marx, Endings, Beginnings


We cannot say that Stanley Cavell is a Marxist in the way that we could perhaps say that he is an Emersonian. This does not mean that Cavell is not interested in Marx and his philosophy. But what is his interest?

Marx situates what Cavell calls the modern, the intersection of modern philosophy and modern art which has to do with a new kind of difficulty. The philosopher associates this with a moment of radical breaking with tradition that is epitomised by Marx.[1] Cavell’s claim is supported by a quote from Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right that argues that “the criticism of religion has been essentially completed” and that “the task of history, once the other-world of truth has vanished, to establish the truth of this world.”[2] Cavell characterises this moment as one

in which history and its conventions can no longer be taken for granted; in which music and painting and poetry (like nations) have to define themselves against their pasts; the beginning of a moment in which each of the arts becomes its own subject, as if its immediate artistic task is to establish its own existence.[3]

In The World Viewed, he frames again Marx’s contribution within the “radical criticism of one’s culture” listing many thinkers and artists who thought in terms of breaks with the past and present. He pairs Marx with Hegel in their thinking that philosophy “had come to an end, or ought to.”[4]


[1] Stanley Cavell, “Foreword”, in Must We Mean What We Say? (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1976), p. xxxvi.
[2] Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, trans. Annette Jolin and Joseph O’Malley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), pars. 1 and 7,
[3] Cavell, “Foreword”, p. xxxvi.
[4] Cavell, The World Viewed: Reflections on the Ontology of Film, enlarged edn. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979), p. 3.

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