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Flusser and Descartes. The Unremitting Mindfulness of Thinking and Being

Of all modern scholars, Descartes is probably the one who has met with most criticism, and even though his formulation of the cogito sounds pretty obvious, Hobbes, Locke, Leibniz, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre and Žižek have repeatedly tried to poke holes in his ideas. The lifelong effects of the Cartesian doubt worried Vilém Flusser too. To him, Cartesianism is Christianity through and through. What exactly, in Flusser’s view, is so unacceptable about the Cartesian doubt, then? Why does Flusser identify Descartes with Christianity? Can we appreciate Flusser’s concern with the Cartesian doubt without losing the excitement and intimacy of grappling with Descartes’ metaphysics? Of course, Flusser’s critique is not mainstream; and we can even hear traces of Heidegger’s voice in the background. Still, Flusser’s objection is unique and interesting, making it a refreshing alternative in the scholarly discussion of Descartes. One aim of the paper is to turn the sword of Flusser’s critique of the Cartesian doubt against Descartes’ own detractors.

Descartes and Flusser (PDF 416.63 KB)

No-nada. Formas brasileiras do niilismo

In his notes from 1887-1888 Nietzsche wrote that “European Nihilism," the “uncanniest all of guests” [unheimlichste aller Gäste], is already waiting at the door. He tried to show that there will be several ways of nihilism in history. The present essay investigates the question, starting out from Vilem Flusser's “Fenomenologia do Brasileiro," whether there are specific “brazilian ways of being-in-nothing” [estar-no-nada].

No-nada (PDF 134.14 KB)