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Reified LifeSpeculative Capital and the Ahuman Condition$
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J. Paul Narkunas

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823280308

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823280308.001.0001

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Utilitarian Humanism

Utilitarian Humanism

“We Other Humans” Regulated by Culture

Chapter:
(p.72) Chapter 2 Utilitarian Humanism
Source:
Reified Life
Author(s):

J. Paul Narkunas

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823280308.003.0003

Through a critical analysis of UNESCO’s instrumentalization of culture, this chapter describes how culture, often defined as a third way between states and markets, functions as a utilitarian cash-nexus for policing the limit on useful and non-useful cultures. The author calls this utilitarian humanism, with utility measuring what forms of life are recognized as human. With an extended engagement of utilitarianism, the chapter outlines how oppositional cultural critics and realpolitik figures like Samuel Huntington share the same notions of culture as ontologically given that instrumentalizes life and generates a hierarchy of life based on utilitarian categories. This chapter ends by delineating a type of immanent ahuman agency through Giambattista Vico, Deleuze and the stoics notions of “haeccity,” or “thisness” as an antidote to cultural normativity.

Keywords:   Bentham, Jeremy, Cash-Nexus, Culture, Huntington, Samuel, Mill, John Stuart, UNESCO, Utilitarianism, Utilitarian Humanism, Vico, Giambattista

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