Essay on structuralism

Two of Kershaw’s functionalist predecessors were the German historians Martin Broszat and Hans Mommsen, both of whom began writing in the 1960s. Both Broszat and Mommsen suggest that  the discipline and unity of the Nazi regime were dishonest facades. Internally, Nazi Germany was a confused storm of competing individuals and groups: government departments, the SS, the military and the NSDAP leadership. It was this competition and tension that shaped most Nazi government decisions. With regard to Hitler, Mommsen described him by coining the phrase “weak dictator”. He argued that Hitler was a figurehead who approved or endorsed ideas that came from below, yet lacked the power to impose his own ideas on both party and state. Both historians also endorsed the concept of “cumulative radicalisation”: as competition between Nazi groups intensified, their policies and actions became more radical as they sought to outdo each other. This radicalisation eventually led to war and racial genocide.

Intentionality - "is at the heart of knowing. We live in meaning, and we live 'towards,' oriented to experience. Consequently there is an intentional structure in textuality and expression, in self-knowledge and in knowledge of others. This intentionality is also a distance: consciousness is not identical with its objects, but is intended consciousness" (quoted from Dr. John Lye's website - see suggested resources below).

Foucault gives us an indication of what he means by virtue in the introduction to The Use of Pleasure: The History of Sexuality, Volume Two. [6] At this juncture he makes clear that he seeks to move beyond a notion of ethical philosophy that issues a set of prescriptions. Just as critique intersects with philosophy without quite coinciding with it, so Foucault in that introduction seeks to make of his own thought an example of a non-prescriptive form of moral inquiry. In the same way, he will later ask about forms of moral experience that are not rigidly defined by a juridical law, a rule or command to which the self is said mechanically or uniformly to submit. The essay that he writes, he tells us, is itself the example of such a practice, “to explore what might be changed, in its own thought, through the practice of a knowledge that is foreign to it.” (9) Moral experience has to do with a self-transformation prompted by a form of knowledge that is foreign to one’s own. And this form of moral experience will be different from the submission to a command. Indeed, to the extent that Foucault interrogates moral experience here or elsewhere, he understands himself to be making an inquiry into moral experiences that are not primarily or fundamentally structured by prohibition or interdiction.

Essay on structuralism

essay on structuralism

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