Human thought possesses for Stanley Cavell both a tragic and a comic dimension. There exists indeed an acknowledged link between tragedy and philosophy but the connection between philosophy and comedy seems to common perception, at least obscure. Our whole philosophical tradition begins according to Plato with a tragic conflict between the philosopher and the polis. In examining himself and investigating his fellow citizens, Socrates has performed a critical service to his city. But the city condemns the philosopher to death and there arises a tragic alienation of philosophy from politics in which both are permanently left poorer.
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They originate from two ways of looking at ourselves purauits are both indispensable and yet also incompatible. No trivia or quizzes yet. We can read his book as evidence for the weakening of this classical conception over the course of the last century and a half — a process that is by no means completed but one that has already begun to undermine all our traditional philosophical conceptions of the nature of the political.
A third source of social conflict derives from the fact that human beings are at all times joined together by multiple social bonds and unions and that these impose on them different and potentially conflicting demands.
But that insight proves, in turn, deleterious for Cavell for it leads him to neglect the tragic dimension of politics which Weber recognizes so clearly. We may call in this context also on Hannah Arendt who wrote: According to this formula Greek happinese is concerned precisely with the conflict between power and ultimate ends. Our tradition has always seen political thought as an effort to provide formulas for human coexistence, foundations for the state, and apriori principles of political action and political judgment.
On the dynamism at play in marriage and remarriage: For His Girl Fridaythe fastest of a set of wonderfully fast Hollywood films of the Thirties and Forties, not only moves by cut and splice at a pace that a play never can. A conversation is static, in that it remains what it is, and yet can be novel and exciting as well. Weber is considering situations in which politics itself becomes theater and is thereby stripped of its seriousness and, hence, happinezs of its tragic character.
In one of its forms it is the bond that unites men and women in marriage, in another quite different form it maintains the unity of political bodies. What matters to Cavell and what matters to him in the comedies he examines are certainly not the great economic and political issues of the time in which these films were made and in which their stories take place.
We are hearing about the yappiness aristocracy that democracy needs. But this is no Emersonian suburb either. For Protagoras it follows that they need to foster two kinds of pursiits skill, if they are to survive. Happlness for telling us about the problem. The humor, and the sadness, of remarriage comedies can be said to result from the fact that we have no good answer to that question.
The subject matter is definitely interesting and worth pursuing. Against his hopes, these films have, in fact, not become the common possession of our culture. There might be records. There can, therefore, be no such thing as a Christian tragedy. The comedy of remarriage is a subgenre of American comedy films of the s and s. Weber is, hapoiness doubt, right in saying that anyone lacking knowledge of tragedy will also lack a proper grasp of the nature of politics, but we must add that the same holds true of anyone lacking a proper knowledge of comedy.
More recently, film critics A. Scott and David Edelstein both argued that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was a 21st-century example of the genre. One is, indeed, struck by the fact that even Weber cannot avoid speaking of politics in theatrical terms.
Protagoras and Aristotle, Max Weber and Carl Schmitt prove, in this context, important reference points. It is certainly easier to assume an asymmetric relation between philosophy, tragedy, and comedy. To begin prusuits, there is the technical fact of talk itself.
Politics in the broad sense is, in fact, embodied in all the acts of care that develop, nurture, and maintain these qualities. It is at best a disquieting force, a gadfly that can stir us on, a critical and destructive force. This is a great analysis of the former. While he is strongly perhaps too strongly attuned cavll the tragic potential of politics, he lacks an ear, so it seems, for its comic side. Related Posts
Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage
This is a close reading by the philosopher Stanley Cavell of 7 films from the 30s and 40s which he calls "comedies of remarriage". Admittedly, I love the films in this genre independently in no small part because of the frequency with which Katharine Hepburn turns up in these , but what makes this book spectacular is how it fills a largely unnoticed gap, which I believe exists, in the way we are able to talk about love and marriage. I try to lay out the background in part I, and you can skip it if you just want to know about the book itself. And yet, here it is. Part I: My idiosyncratic topography of ideas The traditional conservative picture of marriage, if we follow Genesis, can be thought of as the union of man and woman, the literal becoming of one flesh.
Pursuits of Happiness Quotes
They originate from two ways of looking at ourselves purauits are both indispensable and yet also incompatible. No trivia or quizzes yet. We can read his book as evidence for the weakening of this classical conception over the course of the last century and a half — a process that is by no means completed but one that has already begun to undermine all our traditional philosophical conceptions of the nature of the political. A third source of social conflict derives from the fact that human beings are at all times joined together by multiple social bonds and unions and that these impose on them different and potentially conflicting demands.
The Same and Different. Three years ago, Cavell himself addressed the question, and directly, in The Claim of Reason. Green Films Read, highlight, and take notes, across web, tablet, and phone. Comedy of remarriage films Film genres.
Stanley Cavell and the Pursuits of Happiness