Truth and Knowledge
The UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory invites applications to its Winter and Spring 2015 core graduate seminar.
Some of the most fundamental questions human beings have asked themselves involve the nature of truth and knowledge. What do we know about the world we live in and ourselves, and how do we know what we (believe we) know? Is there such a thing as truth, or is all knowledge relative, historical, perspectival – even ideological? Are there limits to knowledge, things we simply cannot know, as Kant argued, or can our knowledge expand indefinitely? When we talk about truth, are we talking about the correspondence of our knowledge to objects in the world? What do Heidegger, Lacan, and Badiou (e.g.) mean when they insist that truth is categorically distinct from knowledge? How is truth as a juridical concept (“I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”) different from other accounts of truth, such as those used in mathematics, logic, and science? Does truth function in politics (other than through the perception of its absence)? What is the role of truth in the humanities, in terms of both research and pedagogy? Does truth have a place in literature and art? What does Cézanne mean when he refers to “the truth in painting,” and what does it mean in Derrida’s book of that title? How does truth function in the contexts of rhetoric and pragmatism? Does gender have a relationship to truth and knowledge? How do race and class inflect the status and function of truth and knowledge? How do the concepts of data, information, and the digital revolution reorient our senses of truth and knowledge? These are some of the questions to be addressed in this year’s ECT core seminar, through readings of thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, William James, Heidegger, Foucault, Lacan, Derrida, and Badiou.
Visitors to the seminar and other ECT sponsored events this year will include Alain Badiou, Jacques Rancière, Emily Apter, Zina Giannopoulou, Monte Ransome Johnson, Jerome Christensen, John Carriero, John H. Smith, Slavoj Zizek, Mladen Dolar, and Alenka Zupancic.
Graduate students in all Ph.D. and MFA programs at UCLA are invited to apply to the seminar, and the ECT graduate certificate program. To apply, please write a one page statement describing your interests and experience in critical theory. Please include your name, email, departmental affiliation, and year in graduate school. Applications should be sent by November 15 to
, Acting Student Affairs Officer for the Department of Comparative Literature.
Truth and Knowledge ECT Seminar Winter 2015 (tentative syllabus)
1. Jan. 8 Introduction: Truth and Knowledge
Jan. 13 ECT Symposium: Martin Treml, Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Berlin
(Humanities 348, 5:00PM)
“‘The true history of Christianity’: Friedrich Nietzsche as a Reader of Saint Paul”
Jan. 14 Jacques Rancière at UC Irvine, 2:00 HG 1030
2. Jan.15 Emily Apter (NYU): Translation in-Equality: Equivalence, Egaliberté, Rightness
Maurizio Lazzarato, The Making of the Indebted Man: An Essay on the
Étienne Balibar, Equaliberty, Ch. 1, “The Proposition of Equaliberty,”
Ch. 3, “New Reflections on Equaliberty: Two Lessons”
Derrida, “What is a 'Relevant' Translation?”
Jan. 16 “Auerbach, Our Contemporary? Responding to Figura and Mimesis” (conference)
(Royce 314, 12:00 – 6:00) Jacques Rancière, Emily Apter, Roland Greene,
Efrain Kristal, Amir Mufti, Jane O. Newman, Martin Treml, Christopher Warley.
Jan. 20 Jacques Rancière at West Hollywood Public Library (7:00PM)
“Time, Narration, Politics”
3. Jan. 22 Plato: Truth and Knowledge In and Beyond the Cave
Plato, The Republic (Allegory of the Cave)
Heidegger, The Essence of Truth (selections)
Badiou, Plato’s Republic (selections)
4. Jan. 29 Plato and Knowledge (Zina Giannopoulou, UCI)
Plato, Theaetetus (Burnyeat, Levett)
Zina Giannopoulou, Plato's Theaetetus as a Second Apology, “Introduction”
5. Feb. 5 Aristotle and Knowledge (Monte Ransome Johnson, UCSD)
Aristotle, Metaphysics, Book 1; Nicomachean Ethics, Book 10
(reconstructed by Johnson and Hutchinson)
Feb. 10 ECT Symposium: Jerome Christensen, UC Irvine (Humanities 193, 5:00PM)
“Suing Warner Bros.: The Dark Knight Rises, the Aurora Massacre,
and Studio Liability”
6. Feb. 12 Descartes (John Carriero, UCLA)
Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy
John Carriero, Between Two Worlds: A Reading of Descartes’ Meditations,
“Introduction” and “Chapter One”
7. Feb. 19 An Introduction to Kant's Critical Project (John Smith, UCI)
“Preface” to the 2nd edition of the Critique of Pure Reason; the “Third Antinomy,”
the comment on it, and its “Resolution” from the Critique of Pure Reason
Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (1784), §§ 17-35
Section One from Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals
8. Feb. 26 Kant, cont.
Kant, Critique of Judgment (selections)
9. March 5 Experience, Bildung, and Dialectic: An Introduction to Hegel's Phenomenology
and Logic (John Smith, UCI)
“The Oldest Systematic Program of German Idealism” (1797)
Preface (Vorrede) and Introduction (Einleitung) to the Phenomenology of Spirit (1807)
March 10 ECT Symposium: John Smith, UC Irvine (Humanities 348, 5:00PM)
“On the Mathematical Infinite from Kant to Hegel”
10. March 12 Hegel, cont.
Phenomenology of Spirit (selections)
Science of Logic (selections)