|Session 1: Castoriadis in Context
A propos of The
"Early" and "Late" Work of Cornelius Castoriadis: A
D. A. Curtis, Paris
The distinction between an "early" and a "late" period writings has
a history, both in print (at least since a two-part series of articles written two decades
ago by Brian Singer) and in reality (such a distinction is not entirely foreign to
Castoriadis's own political-intellectual itinerary, but it requires elucidation and needs
to be placed in proper perspective). Using examples culled from the extensive ten-language
bibliography of writings about him available on the Cornelius Castoriadis/Agora
International Website <http://aleph.lib.ohio-state.edu/~bcase/castoriadis> as well
as bringing out the "magmatic" character of his ?uvre, I offer some reflections
on the reception, appreciation, and use of Castoriadis's ideas that, while sometimes
suggesting disagreements, tries to avoid being disagreeable, and instead proposes a
critical-integrative approach. The dangers of separation and isolation that present
themselves when working exclusively on different "periods" or themes in his
thought are scrutinized, and the opportunities for dialogic exchange and
"interdisciplinary" study are emphasized, so that this work may retain a
relevance for a broad range of interests and problems once one has learned to recognize
and appreciate the multiple cross-disciplinary and transtemporal "referrals"
actually contained in this magmatic ensemble.
Cornelius Castoriadis - Kostas Papaioannou: Common Starting Point - Different
N. Sergis, University of Ioannina, Greece
The birth and development of greek-french thought after the Second World War is a
subject not sufficiently studied. We call greek-french thought the fertile meeting between
greek and french philosophic tradition in the city of Paris, starting from 1945. In that
time, a big group of young greek intellectuals moves in the French capital, to be
assimilated and produce new forms of thinking, there. C. Castoriadis and K. Papaioannou
are two characteristic representatives of what we call greek-french thought.
In the starting point of their study, the two philosophers have a lot of affinities.
Some of them are: the common interest for the content of ancient democracy, the
hegelian-marxist questions and the discussion of the route to socialism. The study of Marx
and Hegel comes into the french intellectual "enviroment", where the philosophy
of existentialism and other ethnological or epistemological currents dominate. The two
greek philosophers, together with other french colleagues, form the important current of
critical marxism in the decades of '50 and '60. In this period we can find similarities
between the works of Kastoriades-Papaioannou, in the subjects, the demands and the method
of the philosophical approach. The historical study of the relationship between them
becomes difficult because there was no cooperation. Yet, their offer to the greek-french
thought -and especially to the critical marxism- is important.
Their ways of thinking are paraller in the study of the "foundations of
marxism" and in the critic of its historical realization. Reaching the fundamental
subject of the consciousness and action of political human being, their ways of thinking
follow different directions -although the purpose of socialism remains common. Papaioannou
chooses the way that "returns to Hegel" and ancient humanism. His aim is the
saving of spirit from nihilism and the saving of political man from the passivity of
totalitarism. Castoriadis chooses psychoanalysis and sociology, trying to find a solution
to the problem of the consciounsness and action of political human being. In the second
period of his work, he invents the terms of "social-historic institution" and
"social imaginaire", in order to save the purpose of self-instituting society to
socialism. His intervention to the discussion of modern problems in the decade of 1970 is
also interesting because it is a "bridge" between critical marxism and modern
For history of philosophy, the subject of the birth and development of greek-french
thought remains interesting. Papaioannou died young and his work is not enough known, so
his offer to the study of modern problems needs more investigation. Castoriadis -
Papaioannou set a number of questions in the decade of '50, which still influence modern
thinking. The political events of 1989 in Russia add new important elements to the origin
and the future of social transformation and socialism. A systematical and total study of
the development of greek-french thought to modern theories must examine the work of
Castoriadis-Papaioannou. Their questions about social transformation and socialism are
still in use. "The value of a theory is not so much in the problems that solves, but
in the forms of reality that enlightens".
On the Aporias of Time and History: Castoriadis and Heidegger.
A. Mouzakitis, University of Warwick, U.K.
The paper is an attempt to discuss the issues resulting from Castoriadis' and
Heidegger's meditations on history and their overall attempt to break with the
philosophical tradition. Castoriadis' understanding of historical praxis as the enactment
of autonomy via the emergence of the radically new, is here examined over against
Heidegger's treatment of authentic historicity as fate and repetition.
Despite the existence of a certain incomensurability between the socially-historically
oriented philosophy of Castoriadis and Heidegger's modification of the ontological
question, certain points of convergence are higlighted, always with regard to the issues
Bauman and Castoriadis - An Exchange of Sympathies.
P. Beilharz, La Trobe University, Austarlia
The working thesis is that the two projects are sympathetic because they each espouse
autonomy , but with differing frames , classical and psychoanalytical in Castoriadis,
modern and sociological in Bauman, so that the emphases are complementary in ways that are
both striking and fruitful