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Ludwig Wittgenstein changed everything. To understand how, we need to understand what he did to the subject of critical reasoning. Wittgenstein didn't leave us "philosophy"; he left a pathway for a more perspicuous intellect. This was caused by a psychological condition that made him meticulous and hypersensitive. He could abnormally perceive three natural phenomena: (a) the social traits implicated in word use; (b) the task-functions signified in communication; and (c) the pictures that flash before the mind's eye. With this unique acuity, he showed us how post-analytic thinking was to occur. And this discovery changes everything. It revolutionizes how we must argue with one another and what we believe is "true." Instead of focusing primarily upon premises or facts, we must point people to how their intellect behaves during a speech act-something called "therapy." And this has radical implications for analysis, conceptual investigation, value judgments, political ideology, ethics and even religion. This book is both an explanation of, and a blueprint for, the new critical thinking. Written for both a lay and special audience, and for all fields of study, it shows what Wittgenstein invented and how it affects us all.
'Foucault leaves no reader untouched or unchanged' Edward Said Aesthetics, the second volume of the complete collection of Michel Foucault's courses, articles and interviews, focuses on the philosophy, literature and art which informed his engagement with ethics and power, including brilliant commentaries on the work of de Sade, Rousseau, Marx, Magritte, Nietzsche, Freud and Wagner. He also explores a number of avant-garde authors who challenge our traditional notions of humanism, extends his theories on power relations and looks back over the whole of his extraordinary 'critical history of thought'. Edited by James D. Faubion Translated by Robert Hurley and Others
The English philosopher Michael Oakeshott (1901-1990) is known as a conservative who rejected philosophically ambitious rationalism and the grand political ideologies of the twentieth century on the grounds that no human ideas have ultimately reliable foundations. Instead, he embraced tradition and habit as the guides to moral and political life. In this book, Aryeh Botwinick presents an original account of Oakeshott's skepticism about foundations, an account that newly reveals the unity of his thought.
Botwinick argues that, despite Oakeshott's pragmatic conservatism, his rejection of all-embracing intellectual projects made him a friend to liberal individualism and an ally of what would become postmodern antifoundationalism. Oakeshott's skepticism even extended paradoxically to skepticism about skepticism itself and is better described as a "generalized agnosticism." Properly conceived and translated, this agnosticism ultimately evolves into mysticism, which becomes a bridge linking philosophy and religion. Botwinick explains and develops this strategy of interpretation and then shows how it illuminates and unifies the diverse strands of Oakeshott's thought in the philosophy of religion, metaphysics, epistemology, political theory, philosophy of personal identity, philosophy of law, and philosophy of history.
In this important new book, the leading philosopher Francois Laruelle examines the role of intellectuals in our societies today, specifically with regards to criminal justice. He argues that, rather than concerning themselves with abstract philosophical notions like justice, truth and violence, intellectuals should focus on the human victims. Drawing on his influential theory of non-philosophy , he shows how we can submit the theorizing of intellectuals to the scrutiny of the everyday suffering of the victims of crime. In the course of a wide-ranging discussion with Philippe Petit, Laruelle suspends the presumed authority of intellectuals by challenging the image of the dominant intellectual exemplified by philosophers such as Sartre, Foucault, Lyotard and Debray. In place of domination, he puts forward instead a theory of determination : the determined intellectual is one whose character is conditioned by his relationship to the victim, rather than one who attempts to dominate the victim s experience through a process of theorizing. While philosophy consistently takes the voice away from victims of suffering, non-philosophy is able to construct a theory of violence and crime that gives voice to the victim. This highly original book will be essential reading for all those interested in contemporary French philosophy and all those concerned with justice in the modern world.
Bergson was a pre-eminent European philosopher of the early twentieth century and his work covers all major branches of philosophy. This volume of essays is the first collection in twenty years in English to address the whole of Bergson's philosophy, including his metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophy of life, aesthetics, ethics, social and political thought, and religion. The essays explore Bergson's influence on a number of different fields, and also extend his thought to pressing issues of our time, including philosophy as a way of life, inclusion and exclusion in politics, ecology, the philosophy of race and discrimination, and religion and its enduring appeal. The volume will be valuable for all who are interested in this important thinker and his continuing relevance.
In this lively look at current debates in American philosophy,
leading philosophers talk candidly about the changing character of
their discipline. In the spirit of Emerson's "The American
Scholar," this book explores the identity of the American
philosopher. Through informal conversations, the participants
discuss the rise of post-analytic philosophy in America and its
relations to European thought and to the American pragmatist
tradition. They comment on their own intellectual development as
well as each others' work, charting the course of American
philosophy over the past few decades.
Poststructuralism changes the way we understand the relations between human beings, their culture, and the world. While culture invests us with agency and choice, it also limits the possibilities on offer. But since the cultural script is not fixed, we can intervene to increase the range of options. This brief and lucid introduction explains how, with illustrations from literature, art, film, and popular culture.
Bruno Latour is among the most important figures in contemporary philosophy and social science. His ethnographic studies have revolutionized our understanding of areas as diverse as science, law, politics and religion. To facilitate a more realistic understanding of the world, Latour has introduced a radically fresh philosophical terminology and a new approach to social science, Actor-Network Theory . In seminal works such as Laboratory Life, We Have Never Been Modern and An Inquiry into Modes of Existence, Latour has outlined an alternative to the foundational categories of modern western thought D particularly its distinction between society and nature D that has major consequences for our understanding of the ecological crisis and of the role of science in democratic societies. Latour s empirical philosophy has evolved considerably over the past four decades. In this lucid and compelling book, Gerard de Vries provides one of the first overviews of Latour s work. He guides readers through Latour s main publications, from his early ethnographies to his more recent philosophical works, showing with considerable skill how Latour s ideas have developed. This book will be of great value to students and scholars attempting to come to terms with the immense challenge posed by Latour s thought. It will be of interest to those studying philosophy, anthropology, sociology, science and technology studies, and almost all other branches of the social sciences and humanities.
"Isn't it ... particularly difficult to 'speak' of your work?" Frederic-Yves Jeannet asks Helene Cixous in this fascinating book of interviews. " I]t's only in writing, on paper, ... that I reach the most unknown, the strangest, the most advanced part of me for me. I feel closer to my own mystery in the aura of writing it," Cixous responds.
These conversations, which took place over three years and cover the creative process behind Cixous's fictional writing, illuminate the genesis and particular genius of one of France's most original writers. Cixous muses on her "coming to writing," from her first publications to her recent acclaim for a series of fictional texts that spring, as, she insists all true writing does, from her life: the loss of her father when she was a child, and her relationship with her mother, now in her tenth decade, as well as with such friends as Jacques Derrida and Jacques Lacan. The conversations delve into Cixous's career as an academic in Paris and abroad, her summer retreats to the Bordeaux region to write uninterrupted for two months, her work with Ariane Mnouchkine's Theatre du Soleil, her political engagements and her dreams. Readers and writers who have followed Cixous's path-blazing career as a fiction writer who crosses boundaries of genre and gender while posing essential questions about the nature of narrative and life will find this a book that cannot be put down.
Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, and Vladimir Nabokov transformed the art of the novel in order to convey the experience of time. Nevertheless, their works have been read as expressions of a desire to transcend time-whether through an epiphany of memory, an immanent moment of being, or a transcendent afterlife. Martin Hagglund takes on these themes but gives them another reading entirely. The fear of time and death does not stem from a desire to transcend time, he argues. On the contrary, it is generated by the investment in temporal life. From this vantage point, Hagglund offers in-depth analyses of Proust's Recherche, Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, and Nabokov's Ada. Through his readings of literary works, Hagglund also sheds new light on topics of broad concern in the humanities, including time consciousness and memory, trauma and survival, the technology of writing and the aesthetic power of art. Finally, he develops an original theory of the relation between time and desire through an engagement with Freud and Lacan, addressing mourning and melancholia, pleasure and pain, attachment and loss. Dying for Time opens a new way of reading the dramas of desire as they are staged in both philosophy and literature.
The question of how to lead a happy and meaningful life has been at the heart of philosophical debate since time immemorial. Today, however, these questions seem to be addressed not by philosophers but self-help gurus, who frantically champion the individual's quest for self-expression and self-realization; the desire to become authentic. Against these new age sophistries, How to Stop Living and Start Worrying tackles the question of 'how to live' by forcing us to explore our troubling relationship with death. For Critchley, philosophy begins with the question of finitude and with his understanding of a key classical theme - that to philosophize is to learn how to die. Learning how to accept both our own and others' mortality as a part of life also raises the question of how to love. Critchley argues that the act of love requires us to give up something of ourselves, to lose control so as to be open to the demands of love. We will never be equal to this demand and so we are brought face to face with our own limitations - one form of which is what Critchley calls our 'originary inauthenticity'. By scrutinizing the very nature of humour, Critchley explores what we need to laugh at ourselves and presents the need to confront the inescapable ridiculousness of life. Reflecting on the work of over 20 years, this book provides a unique, witty and erudite introduction to the thought of Simon Critchley. It includes a revealing biographical conversation with Critchley and a fascinating debate with the critically acclaimed novelist Tom McCarthy about the nature of authenticity. Taken together the conversations give an intimate portrait of one of the most lucid, provocative and engaging philosophers writing today.
Essays by a provocative Italian philosopher on memory and oblivion, on what is lost and what remains. The Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has always been an original reader of texts, understanding their many rich historical, aesthetic, and political meanings and effects. In Profanations, Agamben has assembled for the first time some of his most pivotal essays on photography, the novel, and film. A meditation on memory and oblivion, on what is lost and what remains, Profanations proves yet again that Agamben is one of the most provocative writers of our time. In ten essays, Agamben ponders a series of literary and philosophical problems: the relation among genius, ego, and theories of subjectivity; the problem of messianic time as explicated in both images and lived experience; parody as a literary paradigm; and the potential of magic to provide an ethical canon. The range of topics and themes addressed here attest to the creativity of Agamben's singular mode of thought and his persistent concern with the act of witnessing, sometimes futile, sometimes earth-shattering. "In Praise of Profanity," the central essay of this short but dense book, confronts the question of profanity as the crucial political task of the moment. An act of resistance to every form of separation, the concept of profanation reorients perceptions of how power, consumption, and use interweave to produce an urgent political modality and desire: to profane the unprofanable. Agamben not only provides a new and potent theoretical model but describes it with a writerly style that itself forges inescapable links among literature, politics, and philosophy.
With extraordinary concision and clarity, A. J. Ayer gives an
account of the major incidents of Bertrand Russell's life and an
exposition of the whole range of his philosophy. "Ayer considers
Russell to be, except possibly for Wittgenstein, the most
influential philosopher of our time. In this book he] gives a lucid
account of Russell's philosophical achievements."--James Rachels,
"New York Times Book Review"
Brings together all of Gadamer's published writings on Celan's poetry, and makes them available in English for the first time. This is accessible commentary on a notoriously difficult poet.
Gadamer on Celan makes all of Hans-Georg Gadamer's published writings on Paul Celan's poetry available in English for the first time. Gadamer's commentaries on Celan's work are explicitly meant for a general audience, and they are further testimony to Celan's growing importance in world literature since the Second World War. Celan's poetry has attracted the attention of many well-known figures, including Maurice Blanchot, Jacques Derrida, Edmond Jabe's, Otto Poggeler, and George Steiner. As Steiner has said, "It will take a long time for our sensibilities to apprehend poetry of these dimensions and this radicality". Gadamer's commentaries will help readers to listen to Celan's poetry, and to become acquainted with his only book-length commentary on a poet, using the best example of Gadamer's thinking on the relationship of philosophy and poetry. This book also contains a translation of Who Am land Who Are You?, the centerpiece of Gadamer's most important philosophical project since the publication of Truth and Method (1960).
Matthias Vogel challenges the belief, dominant in contemporary philosophy, that reason is determined solely by our discursive, linguistic abilities as communicative beings. In his view, the medium of language is not the only force of reason. Music, art, and other nonlinguistic forms of communication and understanding are also significant. Introducing an expansive theory of mind that accounts for highly sophisticated, penetrative media, Vogel advances a novel conception of rationality while freeing philosophy from its exclusive attachment to linguistics.
Vogel's media of reason treats all kinds of understanding and thought, propositional and nonpropositional, as important to the processes and production of knowledge and thinking. By developing an account of rationality grounded in a new conception of media, he raises the profile of the prelinguistic and nonlinguistic dimensions of rationality and advances the Enlightenment project, buffering it against the postmodern critique that the movement fails to appreciate aesthetic experience.
Guided by the work of J?rgen Habermas, Donald Davidson, and a range of media theorists, including Marshall McLuhan, Vogel rebuilds, if he does not remake, the relationship among various forms of media -- books, movies, newspapers, the Internet, and television -- while offering an original and exciting contribution to media theory.
In Pragmatism's Evolution, Trevor Pearce demonstrates that the philosophical tradition of pragmatism owes an enormous debt to specific biological debates in the late 1800s, especially those concerning the role of the environment in development and evolution. Many are familiar with John Dewey's 1909 assertion that evolutionary ideas overturned two thousand years of philosophy-but what exactly happened in the fifty years prior to Dewey's claim? What form did evolutionary ideas take? When and how were they received by American philosophers? Although the various thinkers associated with pragmatism-from Charles Sanders Peirce to Jane Addams and beyond-were towering figures in American intellectual life, few realize the full extent of their engagement with the life sciences. In his analysis, Pearce focuses on a series of debates in biology from 1860 to 1910-from the instincts of honeybees to the inheritance of acquired characteristics-in which the pragmatists were active participants. If we want to understand the pragmatists and their influence, Pearce argues, we need to understand the relationship between pragmatism and biology.
When the Catholic Inquisitors persecuted Galileo for teaching that the Earth moves through space, they did so because Galileo insisted that this was the truth. The Church was quite prepared to tolerate the notion of a moving Earth, so long as it was regarded as an instrument useful for calculation, as true merely within a particular framework which might be adopted or discarded for reasons of convenience. For centuries Galilieo has been seen as a heroic fighter for enlightenment against benighted tyranny, but strangely enough, recent years have seen the rise, within Western philosophy, of a wave of relativism, according to which Galileo was wrong and his persecutors were correct. In the view of this new relativism, which has roots in both the continental and analytic traditions, there are no universal or trans-cultural standards of rationality. Among the sources of the new relativism are the failure of logical positivism and the shift within anthropology from a single evolutionary model to several models for understanding human culture. In this critique of relativism, Professor Harris turns the techniques of relativism against relativism, showing that it is ultimately self-refuting or ineffectual. A number of methodological points are stressed in the book. Quine's rejection of the anaytic-synthetic distinction appeals to the very analytic truths Quine hopes to dispel. The relativism arising from Goodman's "grue paradox" is innocuous, since the paradox is not really concerned with induction. Kuhn's theory of paradigms must be either self-refuting or incomprehensible. Winch grossly distorts Wittgenstein's theory and fails to show that basic notions of rationality are culturally relative. Rorty cannot avoid presupposing the epistemological principles he is attacking. Finally, feminist criticism of science can exert a welcome corrective, but the notion of a distinctive "feminist science" is indefensible (and counter-productive for feminism).
This guide offers something new among texts elucidating the ethical theory known as Utilitarianism. Intended primarily for students ready to dig deeper into moral philosophy, it examines, in a dialectical and reader-friendly manner, a set of normative principles and a set of evaluative principles leading to what is perhaps the most defensible version of Utilitarianism. With the aim of laying its weaknesses bare, each principle is serially introduced, challenged, and then defended. The result is a battery of stress tests that shows with great clarity not only what is attractive about the theory, but also where its problems lie. It will fascinate any student ready for a serious investigation into what we ought to do and what is of value.
Following on from The Beast and the Sovereign, Volume I, this book extends Jacques Derrida's exploration of the connections between animality and sovereignty. In this second year of the seminar, originally presented in 2002 2003 as the last course he would give before his death, Derrida focuses on two markedly different texts: Heidegger's 1929 1930 course The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, and Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. As he moves back and forth between the two works, Derrida pursuesthe relations between solitude, insularity, world, violence, boredom and death as they supposedly affect humans and animals in different ways. Hitherto unnoticed or underappreciated aspects of Robinson Crusoe are brought out in strikingly original readings of questions such as Crusoe's belief in ghosts, his learning to pray, his parrot Poll, and his reinvention of the wheel. Crusoe's terror of being buried alive or swallowed alive by beasts or cannibals gives rise to a rich and provocative reflection on death, burial, and cremation, in part provoked by a meditation on the death of Derrida's friend Maurice Blanchot. Throughout, these readings are juxtaposed with interpretations of Heidegger's concepts of world and finitude to produce a distinctively Derridean account that will continue to surprise his readers.
Georges Bataille was a philosopher, writer, librarian, pornographer and a founder of the influential journals Critique and Acephale. He has had an enormous impact on contemporary thought, influencing such writers as Barthes, Baudrillard, Derrida, Foucault and Sontag. Many of his books, including the notorious Story of the Eye and the fascinating The Accursed Share, are modern classics. In this acclaimed intellectual biography, Michel Surya gives a detailed and insightful account of Bataille s work against the backdrop of his life his troubled childhood, his difficult relationship with Andre Breton and the surrealists and his curious position as a thinker of excess, potlatch, sexual extremes and religious sacrifice, one who nonetheless remains at the heart of twentieth century French thought all of it drawn here in rich and allusive prose. While exploring the source of the violent eroticism that laces Bataille s novels, the book is also an acute guide to the development of Bataille s philosophical thought. Enriched by testimonies from Bataille s closest acquaintances and revealing the context in which he worked, Surya sheds light on a figure Foucault described as one of the most important writers of the century .
My interest in Max] Scheler's critique of Kant runs back nearly a decade. ... The more I read of Scheler, the more I began to see the value of a project dealing with his critique of Kant in Der Formalismus in der Ethik und die Materiale Wetethik, which would possess the virtue of focusing in a single project three important strands of philosophical interest: phenomenology, Kantianism, and ethics. ... The study is divided into six chapters and two appendices. Each of the chapters constituting the body of the work contains a brief analysis of the Kantian position or discussion of the basic questions at issue in it, an exposition of Scheler's critique of the Kantian position and its presuppositions, and a detailed appraisal of Scheler's critique. -- from the introduction by the author
The work of French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty touches on some of the most essential and vital concerns of the world today, yet his ideas are difficult and not widely understood. Lawrence Hass redresses this problem by offering an exceptionally clear, carefully argued, critical appreciation of Merleau-Ponty's philosophy. Hass provides insight into the philosophical methods and major concepts that characterize Merleau-Ponty's thought. Questions concerning the nature of phenomenology, perceptual experience, embodiment, intersubjectivity, expression, and philosophy of language are fully and systematically discussed with reference to main currents and discussions in contemporary philosophy. The result is a refreshingly jargon-free invitation into Merleau-Ponty's important and transformational way of understanding human experience.
Until now it has been impossible to read the full story of the
relationship between Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre. Their
dramatic rupture at the height of the Cold War, like that conflict
itself, demanded those caught in its wake to take sides rather than
to appreciate its tragic complexity. Now, using newly available
sources, Ronald Aronson offers the first book-length account of the
twentieth century's most famous friendship and its end.
Political philosopher Richard Rorty's influence on contemporary
thought has increased in tandem with the controversy his outspoken
views have provoked. His rejection of the grand, metaphysical
questions of traditional philosophy has made him the most prominent
living thinker in social and political theory. By declaring himself
a pragmatist Rorty has attempted to shift the direction of modern
philosophy toward the question of how to achieve a better, more
humane, and more tolerant society.
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