#6: 'My life, your life, equality and the philosophy of non-violence' 13/02/2019
Wednesday 13 February | 5 - 6.30pm | LHRI | All welcome
This semester’s second session will be a discussion of Butler’s Gifford lectures given at the University of Glasgow in October 2018. Entitled ‘My life, your life, equality and the philosophy of non-violence’, Butler’s lectures continue and develop her work on both precarity and grievability. Butler aims to uncover the mechanisms which define which life is determined as a life, which loss is registered as a loss. Critical of the myth of individualism and the concomitant notion of a subject-centred morality, Butler produces what she terms a ‘counter-fantasy’, an ethics that registers our mutual dependency and fundamental relationality. Butler’s notion of non-violence is not a call for pacificism, but rather an active and ‘aggressive’ response to the violent effects of contemporary biopolitical structures.
Our discussion will focus primarily, but will not be restricted to, Butler’s first and third Gifford lectures. We will also be reading the opening (pp. 11-16) and the conclusion (pp. 39-40) of Achille Mbembe’s essay ‘Necropolitics’, which concerns the notion of sovereignty and the power effects that determine what lives can be justifiably killed.