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The Architectonics of Answerability

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Departing from Bakhtin's early essay "Art and Answerability" this class seeks to examine the meaning of answerability in the work of the Russian philosopher known for his philosophy of "dialogism". If -as noted elsewhere- the Bakhtinian self is never whole, since it can exist only dialogically, answerability seems to be an essential element in the relation of the self and the other.

Thus understanding not only production but also reception as creative act Bakhtin opens up fixed positions of answerability; furthermore according to him any utterance (as an answerable act) takes place in a situation of communication, which at the same time is always a social-objective act. This refers to two possible aspects of an architectonics of answerability: the plurality of perspectives and their imbedding in a social situation.

We will trace Bakhtin's notion to unite thinking and acting, theory and practice in the principle of personal answerability by reading "Art and Answerability" published in 1919 and the early essays "Toward a Philosophy of the Act" as well as "Author and Hero in Aesthetic Activity" from the 1920ies. 

Please find the readings here:

1st meeting, April 27
Art and Answerability
Toward a Philosophy of the Act (pp 1-4 and pp 40-54)

2nd meeting, May 11
Author and Hero in Aesthetic Activity:
The Spatial Form of the Hero, pp 22-61 (especially pp 22-27 & pp 47-61)
The Problem of the Author, pp 187-208


  • Anke Hennig
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fiona geuss's picture

hello everybody,

just a quick reminder that we are starting the bakhtin reading group tomorrow. we begin at noon and will have a lunch break around 2 pm. the class will go until about 6 pm and/or how long we make it!

the readings are: the very short essay art and answerability and an abstract of toward a philosophy of the act (p 1-4 and 40-54).

in case of any questions, or additional links to the texts are needed, or german versions please just drop a quick line.

see you tomorrow


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