The lecture David McNeill gave to students during the 2010 Rostrum lecture series, on “Antigone’s Autonomy”, has been published in the academic journal Inquiry.
Vol. 54, No. 5, 411–441, October 2011 Antigone’s Autonomy
DAVID N. MCNEILL, University of Essex, UK
ABSTRACT: Sophocles’ Antigone contains the first recorded instance of the word αu’ τ ´oνoμoς, the source for our word “autonomous”. I argue that reflection upon
the human aspiration toward autonomy is central to that work. I begin by focusing on the difficulty readers of the play have determining whether Antigone’s actions in the play should be considered autonomous and then suggest that recognizing this difficulty is crucial to a proper understanding of the play. The very aspects of Antigone’s character that seem to militate against understanding her actions within the play as autonomous—her rejection of life, her intimacy with death and the way she seems defined by her incestuous heritage— serve to illustrate the inherently problematic character of a moral ideal that we can provisionally call Antigone’s autonomy. I show how the movement of the play can be understood in terms of Antigone’s progress from what Kant would characterize as a heteronomous representation of her irremissible duty to bury her dead brother, to a self-conception defined by a recognition and embrace of her autonomy understood as, in Kant’s words, “a respect for something entirely different from life”. Antigone’s autonomy is exemplified by her choice to be dead, the choice to bear the burden of responsibility to her own. This choice, I argue, must be understood as the choice of herself as defined by her obligation to her own. Sophocles’ Antigone suggests that the moral ideal Antigone represents is unlivable, but that this ideal is nonetheless essential to human moral aspiration.
What college is tougher to get into than Harvard, Princeton or Yale? Bard College. Not the campus in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., but the one behind bars in five Empire State prisons. The privately funded Bard Prison Initiative is putting convicts through a rigorous B.A. program that would challenge even the smartest Ivy Leaguers.
This summer, the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard) presents If you lived here, you’d be home by now, an exhibition about the life of the art object in domestic spaces. Co-curated by artist Josiah McElheny, CCS Bard Executive Director Tom Eccles, and Dia Art Foundation Curator-at-Large Lynne Cooke, the exhibition offers visitors to the museum a unique opportunity to view artworks from the vantage point of historically important furniture and seating arrangements. Conceived as a complement to Blinky Palermo: Retrospective 1964-1977 (concurrently on view in the adjacent CCS Bard Galleries and at Dia:Beacon), it includes a number of new site-specific works by New York-based artist McElheny. These wall works draw upon the legacy of Palermo, an important German artist who often worked within domestic or formerly domestic spaces.
This exhibition is cocurated by Josiah McElheny, Tom Eccles, and Lynne Cooke, and will be on view in the CCS Bard Hessel Museum June 25 through December 16, 2011.
From our Hudson Valley neighbor, farmer and Greenhorns founder Severine von Tscharner Fleming:
Despite a longstanding trend of farmer attrition and the rapid loss of farmland to development,The Greenhorns shows how a new generation of young agrarians are exerting a promising and necessary impact against these crises. Today, farmers across the country are working to reverse negative trends in favor of healthy food, local and regional foodsheds, and the revitalization of rural economies. With over 400 million acres of farmland poised to change hands over the next twenty years, and the 2012 Farm Bill package of legislation already on the pipeline, The Greenhorns film sets the context, shows the issues, and introduces the viewer to a savvy, purposeful posse of young farmers getting into the business of fixing America, one farm at a time.
Free screening of this film on Sunday, May 29, 2011 at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck>>
Visit the Greeenhorns website>>
Palermo died in 1977, and afterward, his work didn’t much cross the Atlantic; most of it, in fact, remains in the possession of private collectors and museums in Europe.
Until now. This week, the Hirshhorn unveiled “Blinky Palermo: Retrospective 1964-1977,” an overview of the artist’s short career that’s all the more significant because it’s the first such exhibition of Palermo’s work in the United States.
A Fight to Win the Future: Computers vs. Humans
by John Markoff
Not only do designers face ethical issues … but increasingly as skills that were once exclusively human are simulated by machines, their designers are faced with the challenge of rethinking what it means to be human. Read the full article from The New York Times>>
Update (2/25): IBM Senior Software Engineer Adam Lally will lecture at Bard on Thursday March 3rd, 2011 at 3:30pm in the Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito ’60 Auditorium.
Adam Lally: IBM’s Watson deep question answering system defeated two all-time champions on the Jeopardy! quiz show this February. Winning at Jeopardy! is a difficult challenge for a computer because clues are expressed in complex natural language over an extremely broad domain of topics, and because questions must be answered with very high precision and in a very short amount of time. In this talk I will discuss these challenges and our approach to solving them, and give a short demonstration of Watson. I will also discuss how the underlying technology of Watson may be applied to important applications such as in health care.
It’s not all relative: Without judgment, a society loses its sense of justice.
In 2004, The New York Times reported that numerous captured Iraqi military officers had been beaten by American interrogators, and that Major General Abed Hamed Mowhoush had been killed by suffocation. The Times has also published the stories of the so-called “ice man” of Abu Ghraib, Manadel al-Jamadi, who was beaten and killed while in U.S. custody, his body wrapped in ice to hide evidence of the beatings; of Walid bin Attash, forced to stand on his one leg (he lost the other fighting in Afghanistan) with his hands shackled above his head for two weeks; and of Gul Rahman, who died of hypothermia after being left naked from the waist down in a cold cell in a secret CIA prison outside Kabul. And the paper has documented the fate of Abu Zubaydah, captured in Pakistan, questioned in black sites and waterboarded at least 83 times, before being brought to Guantanamo, as well as the story of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, waterboarded 183 times.
What was missing from these stories, published in the newspaper of record? A simple word: torture.
Read the complete article from Roger Berkowitz in Democracyhere>>