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This study engages into a wider reflection about Paul Ricoeur. Undoubtedly, he is a remarkable personality of thought and spiritual life, being known as the “philosopher of obedience”. On the one hand, the novelty of his thinking lies in the narrative identity, in the dissociation between the same and the ipseity, diachronic and synchronic, between the socius and the neighbor. On the other hand, he reveals us a „modus vivendi”, between the rational-philosophical rigor and the Protestant religious beliefs, with regard to the depths of the confrontation between desire and choice, between understanding and explaining, between universal and singular. Nevertheless, his panoramic view of life departs from the complexity of life, from existentialism, as a radical opposition between the being itself and the being for itself or the self. As a conclusion, throughtout Paul Ricoeur’s domains-philosophy and religion-physical and psychological integrity implies by analogy a moral integrity.
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In Donna Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto” (1983), the author presents a discussion of the concept and praxis of the cyborg in emancipatory terms. Haraway presents the cyborg as a transgressive and latently mercurial figure that decouples and contravenes numerous exploitative ideological frameworks of repressive biopower that repress human being and reproduce the conditions of said repression. Using Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell II: Innocence (2004) as a dialogic case study, this essay explores the manner in which the cyborg, particularly its figuration as female-gendered anthropic machine or gynoid in 20th- and 21st-century science fiction, simultaneously confirms and contradicts Haraway’s assessment of the concept of the cyborg. As to its methodology, this essay opens with a contextualizing excursus on the cyber-being in contemporary Western society and sociopolitics, with a view to offering a framework analysis of the figuration of the gynoid in Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell II: Innocence as a recent example of contemporary science fiction’s representation of the issues and debates inherent to the concept of the gynoid. Lastly, this essay performs a detailed close reading of Oshii’s text in relation to its exploration of themes of the conceptual emancipatory potential of the cyber-being and the paradoxically exploitative patriarchal power relations that re-inscribe said potential within what this essay refers to as ‘the gynoid double-bind.’
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The article deals with the personal library of Václav Černý. Attention is first drawn to the portrait of Václav Černý as a reader, and the creation and augmentation of his collection (purchases, donations from friends and authors-colleagues, review copies). The paper presents Černý’s family background, studies at secondary grammar schools in Náchod and Dijon, his work abroad as well as at university, and his friendship with numerous colleagues-authors. The next part of the article outlines Černý’s personal library, the general characteristics of the collection, Černý’s methods of book acquisition, his work with books and evaluation of literature. The part of the library containing literature on existentialism is described in more detail. It deals with the predecessors of existentialism as well as Czech and foreign representatives of this philosophical movement. Not even libraries that Černý visited during his life are omitted.
In order to demonstrate an aspect in which the novel is relatable to the canon of absurdism and enrich the view of dimensions in which it functions, the purpose of the following article is a reading of Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman in relation to the Absurd as an ontological category of existentialism and absurdism. Firstly, some assumptions already made on account of the novel are introduced. Secondly, the relevant and chosen characteristics of the Absurd are summarized in relation to Kierkegaard’s and Camus’s conceptions of the Absurd. Then, the novel is interpreted in relation to the insufficiency of human knowledge and rational thought in terms of achieving comprehension transcending existence. Lastly, the novel is interpreted in relation to the narrator’s fear of death, with death as an element transcending existence and adding to its irrationality. Overall, the way in which the novel depicts a specific contraction resulting in the Absurd is illustrated.
Following the recent death of Andrzej Wajda, a reconsideration of his work is timely, and all the more so because he provides a reference point for many East Central European cinéastes. Thus this article uses his work as a main switching point between meditations on the issues his films raise. It theorises the status accorded History in them, and in Marxism in general, in relation to Walter Benjamin’s work on allegory and ruin, as well as to questions of characterisation. Also considered is the degree and nature of existentialism’s influence on this cinema, with blockages of choice foregrounded as necessarily entailing a thematics of doubling, contradiction and masking, and a reworking of the meaning of accusations of ‘treachery’ that have been a leitmotif of oppressed cultures, particularly when – as in cinema – access to the means of production depends on real or apparent collaboration with state authorities. The particular meaning of certain delays in production will also be considered, as will certain figures from the Polish culture (this writer’s primary specialisation) with an obvious ‘Baltic connection’, i.e. a Lithuanian origin, such as Tadeusz Konwicki and Czesław Miłosz. The thematics of doubling will finally be related to notions of ruination and of a filmic language adequate to it, which it will be argued may be seen prototypically in ‘the Zone’, Chris Marker’s name for a particular method of image-presentation, named in homage to that great Soviet film shot in Estonia, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker (Сталкер, Russia, 1979). To revert to the title of Wajda’s final film Afterimage (Powidoki, Poland, 2016), and invoke Miłosz also, the Zone may be called the native realm, not only melancholic but also surprisingly utopian, of the after-image that is the ruin.