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Eros and Philosophy

Eros and Philosophy

General Information

Alâra Kuset - Surrender or Embracing our Vulnerability:
In this session, we will focus on the concepts of trust, surrender and vulnerability, and examine their role in various erotic experiences. For instance, how can we understand an erotic experience that intervenes on the body, leaves traces on it, sometimes even deforms it, within the framework of trust, surrender and vulnerability? In this context, can trust, surrender and vulnerability be considered as constitutive elements that make erotic experience possible? What role do these emotions play during erotic experience? Is it possible to make the erotic experience, which can sometimes turn into a shocking and violent experience, a healing one? In this interactive session, we will discuss these and similar questions, utilizing Nussbaum's concepts of love and compassion to discuss the vulnerability of eroticism.

Özgür Soysal - Love as a Passion in Descartes' Philosophy

The aim of this course is to explain and evaluate Descartes' views on love as a passion within the framework of the debates on the place of morality and thus the analysis of the passions in his philosophical thought as a whole. In academic studies of Descartes' thought, it can be said that there is a widespread view that his views on morality can be ignored due to their incompleteness and incompatibility with his metaphysics and epistemology. On the other hand, there is a growing body of work and debate on the idea that Descartes' views on morality in general and the passions of the soul in particular can shed light on the fundamental concepts and tensions in his philosophy. The route of the course will be shaped by revealing the unique aspects of Descartes' analysis of love as a passion that can contribute to these debates. As Turkish resources, Descartes' The Passions of the Soul and Stephen Voss' essay "Descartes' Theory of Love" are recommended for those who will follow the course.

Zeynep Sayın - The Archaeology of Eroticism
In these sessions we will consider the archaeology and genealogy of erotic behavior through myths, symbols and images. How can we interpret forms of eroticism and sexuality in hunter-gatherer societies in the light of masculine myths from this period? What were the changes in sexual behavior from the female-dominated local order to the patriarchal order? What is fatherhood? And how should we describe the decisive role of blood ties in our sexual and erotic life? What can myths and archaic images that span cultural history in various forms tell us about the gender roles that surround our erotic experiences today? In the course "The Archaeology of Eroticism" we will explore the concepts of kinship, gender, sexuality and eroticism.

Murat Erşen - The Collapse of the Erotic and the 'Seduced' Society?

In Greek mythology, which is based on the dialectic of Chaos/Hubris and Kosmos, the function of Eros, Athena and Artemis is not to encourage unbridled love and "free" sexuality, but to control sexuality as a way of living together: In order to maintain social order, marriage and childbirth are regulated, and unacceptable loves and unions are forbidden. In Freud's primitive tribal mythos, we encounter the prohibition of incest; Freud describes civilization as the postponement of pleasure. Foucault, on the other hand, strongly opposes Marcuse and Reich's claim that the liberation of our repressed natural sexuality will bring social freedom, arguing that sexuality is a construction of the recent history of the West, a new experience, not a natural truism to be returned to. With Christianity, the concept of aphrodisia was transformed into the concept of flesh, and then with modernity into the concept of sexuality. Skin, like sexuality, is an experience. The emergence of the sexual subject is accompanied by the development of new technologies that regulate the manifestation of truth and the use of pleasure.

Sexuality and eroticism, as fundamental elements of social organization and common life, are always shaped around rituals and play. But neoliberalism, based on the consumption of emotions and energies, abolishes seduction as play, as part of the order of rituals. In a society of display, spectacle or narcissism, eroticism is replaced by pornographic narcissistic pleasure. Unmediated consumption, which aims to guarantee protection from the wounding of the other, eliminates mystery and riddle, and destroys love and eroticism more effectively than morality and repression with the univocality it creates. In this course that undermines commonality, love is replaced by what Badiou calls "the stage of the One". In this seminar, we will try to discuss the adventure of sexuality and eroticism in the formation and destruction of the social along the lines of Foucault, Kierkegaard, Bataille, Ballard and Baudrillard.

Sarp Çelikel — The Eroticism of Flooding and Transgression: Women+ Writers Forming Cracks Through the Silence of Alterity 
Those excluded from representation are pulled into a double silence. While no space is left for the excluded to speak within the bounds of representation, the established representations of language stick at the throats of those excluded when they speak out. While honesty is rendered impossible under representational language, the excluded are constantly examined under considerations of the honesty of their emotions. But literature overflows with women writers that express themselves with the full power of honesty. The issue is not of an abstract difference positioned against representation and constantly escaping from it: it is a latent force that infiltrates representation, cracks it from the inside and continues to flow through those cracks: transgression. In this course, we will follow the modes of expression of transgression and flooding through writers such as Clarice Lispector, Sema Kaygusuz, Virginia Woolf and Toni Morrison, and problematize masculine irony, immanence as a solution to the saturation of irony, and the 'naturization' of 'femininity' submerged in immanence. In this process, we will utilize Sara Ahmed's thought and search for eroticism as an emotivity of excess on the tense surfaces of the encounter with the Other: “Around the shadow is a heat of abundant sweat.” (Clarice Lispector, Aqua Viva)

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