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Contemporary philosophical pluralism recognizes the inevitability and legitimacy of multiple ethical perspectives and values, making it difficult to isolate the higher-order principles on which to base a theory of justice. Rising up to meet this challenge, Rainer Forst, a leading member of the Frankfurt School's newest generation of philosophers, conceives of an "autonomous" construction of justice founded on what he calls the basic moral right to justification.
Forst begins by identifying this right from the perspective of moral philosophy. Then, through an innovative, detailed critical analysis, he ties together the central components of social and political justice--freedom, democracy, equality, and toleration--and joins them to the right to justification. The resulting theory treats "justificatory power" as the central question of justice, and by adopting this approach, Forst argues, we can discursively work out, or "construct," principles of justice, especially with respect to transnational justice and human rights issues.
As he builds his theory, Forst engages with the work of Anglo-American philosophers such as John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, and Amartya Sen, and critical theorists such as J?rgen Habermas, Nancy Fraser, and Axel Honneth. Straddling multiple subjects, from politics and law to social protest and philosophical conceptions of practical reason, Forst brilliantly gathers contesting claims around a single, elastic theory of justice.
For more than 30 years and until his death in 2004, Jacques Derrida remained one of the most influential contemporary philosophers. It may be difficult to evaluate what forms his legacy will take in the future but Derrida Now provides some provocative suggestions. Derrida's often-controversial early reception was based on readings of his complex works, published in journals and collected in books. More recently attention has tended to focus on his later work, which grew out of the seminars that he presented each year in France and the US. The full texts of these seminars are now the subject of a major publication project, to be produced over the next ten years. Derrida Now presents contemporary articles based on or around the study of Derrida. It provides a critical introduction to Derrida's complex and controversial thought, offers careful analysis of some of his most important concepts, and includes essays that address the major strands of his thought. Derrida's influence reached not only into philosophy but also into other fields concerned with literature, politics, visual art, law, ecology, psychoanalysis, gender and sexuality and this book will appeal to readers in all these disciplines. Contributors include Peggy Kamuf, Geoff Bennington, Nicholas Royle, Roy Sellars, Graham Allen and Irving Goh.
Robert Brandom is one of the most renowned contemporary American philosophers, discussed widely in analytic as well as continental philosophical communities on both sides of the Atlantic. His innovative approach to language and rationality combines the philosophies of language and mind, epistemology, metaphysics, and logic with intriguing interpretations of historical figures such as Kant, Hegel, and Wittgenstein. Yet, due to its boldly unorthodox and highly technical nature, Brandom's work can also be daunting for the beginner. In this accessible book, Ronald Loeffler provides a critical and clear-headed guide through the maze of Brandom's philosophy. He conveys the pioneering nature of Brandom's approach to language and communication, with its unabashed appropriation of the German Idealistic tradition, and offers focused, sure-footed introductions to all major aspects of Brandom's thought, including his normative pragmatics and inferential role semantics and his theories of empirical knowledge, logic, linguistic representation, and objectivity. This book will be essential reading for students of philosophy, as well as those in related fields with interests in language, communication, and the nature of norm-governed social interaction.
"We should be grateful to Schopenhauer for managing to express the truth about life so beautifully." -Alain De Botton, author of The Consolations of Philosophy "Schopenhauer's philosophy has had a special attraction for those who wonder about life's meaning, along with those engaged in music, literature, and the visual arts." -Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy The Essential Schopenhauer delivers the first comprehensive English anthology of the seminal philosopher's writings. Edited by Wolfgang Schirmacher, president of the International Schopenhauer Association, this indispensible collection affords readers a uniquely accessible gateway into the monolithic thinker's prodigious body of work. Just as the Harper Perennial Basic Writings series renders the work of Heidegger and Nietzsche accessible for English readers, The Essential Schopenhauer gives us unprecedented access to the complex ideas of this profound and influential thinker.
Consciousness has been described as one of the most mysterious things in the universe. Scientists, philosophers, and commentators from a whole range of disciplines can't seem to agree on what it is, generating a sizeable field of contemporary research known as consciousness studies. Following its forebear Music and Consciousness: Philosophical, Psychological and Cultural Perspectives (OUP, 2011), this volume argues that music can provide a valuable route to understanding consciousness, and also that consciousness opens up new perspectives for the study of music. It argues that consciousness extends beyond the brain, and is fundamentally related to selves engaged in the world, culture, and society. The book brings together an interdisciplinary line up of authors covering topics as wide ranging as cognitive psychology, neuroscience, psychoanalysis, philosophy and phenomenology, aesthetics, sociology, ethnography, and performance studies and musical styles from classic to rock, trance to Daoism, jazz to tabla, and deep listening to free improvisation. Music and Consciousness 2 will be fasinating reading for those studying or working in the field of musicology, those researching consciousness as well as cultural theorists, psychologists, and philosophers.
Jean-Luc Nancy stands as one of the great French theorists of "deconstruction." His writings on philosophy, politics, aesthetics, and religion have significantly contributed to the development of contemporary French thought and helped shape and transform the field of continental philosophy. Through Nancy's immense oeuvre, which covers a wide range of topics such as community, freedom, existence, sense/ touch, democracy, Christianity, the visual arts and music, and writing itself, we have learned to take stock of the world in a more nuanced fashion. In this collection, contemporaries of Nancy and eminent scholars of continental philosophy, including Giorgio Agamben, Etienne Balibar, Ginette Michaud, Georges Van Den Abbeele, Gregg Lambert and Ian James, have been invited to reflect on the force of Nancy's "deconstruction" and how it has affected, or will affect, the ways we approach many of the most pertinent topics in contemporary philosophy. The collection also includes Jean-Luc Nancy's previously unpublished 'Dialogue Beneath the Ribs', where he reflects, twenty years after, on his heart transplant. Nancy Now will be of critical interest not only to scholars working on or with Nancy's philosophy, but also to those interested in the development and future of French thought.
The great ideological cliche of our time, Cesar Rendueles argues in Sociophobia, is the idea that communication technologies can support positive social dynamics and improve economic and political conditions. We would like to believe that the Internet has given us the tools to overcome modernity's practical dilemmas and bring us into closer relation, but recent events show how technology has in fact driven us farther apart. Named one of the ten best books of the year by Babelia El Pais, Sociophobia looks at the root causes of neoliberal utopia's modern collapse. It begins by questioning the cyber-fetishist dogma that lulls us into thinking our passive relationship with technology plays a positive role in resolving longstanding differences. Rendueles claims that the World Wide Web has produced a diminished rather than augmented social reality. In other words, it has lowered our expectations with respect to political interventions and personal relations. In an effort to correct this trend, Rendueles embarks on an ambitious reassessment of our antagonistic political traditions to prove that post-capitalism is not only a feasible, intimate, and friendly system to strive for but also essential for moving past consumerism and political malaise.
Originating in the pioneering work of Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, G. E. Moore, and Ludwig Wittgenstein in the four decades around the turn of the twentieth century, analytic philosophy established itself in various forms in the 1930s. After the Second World War, it developed further in North America, in the rest of Europe, and is now growing in influence as the dominant philosophical tradition right across the world, from Latin America to East Asia. In this Very Short Introduction Michael Beaney introduces some of the key ideas of the founders of analytic philosophy by exploring certain fundamental philosophical questions and showing how those ideas can be used in offering answers. Considering the work of Susan Stebbing, he also explores the application of analytic philosophy to critical thinking, and emphasizes the conceptual creativity that lies at the heart of fruitful analysis. Throughout, Beaney illustrates why clarity of thinking, precision of expression, and rigour of argumentation are rightly seen as virtues of analytic philosophy. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
An internationally famous philosopher and best-selling author during his lifetime, Georg Simmel has been marginalized in contemporary intellectual and cultural history. This neglect belies his pathbreaking role in revealing the theoretical significance of phenomena-including money, gender, urban life, and technology-that subsequently became established arenas of inquiry in cultural theory. It further ignores his philosophical impact on thinkers as diverse as Benjamin, Musil, and Heidegger. Integrating intellectual biography, philosophical interpretation, and a critical examination of the history of academic disciplines, this book restores Simmel to his rightful place as a major figure and challenges the frameworks through which his contributions to modern thought have been at once remembered and forgotten.
When we understand that something is a pot, is it because of one property that all pots share? This seems unlikely, but without this common essence, it is difficult to see how we could teach someone to use the word "pot" or to see something as "a" pot. The Buddhist apoha theory tries to resolve this dilemma, first, by rejecting properties such as "potness" and, then, by claiming that the element uniting all pots is their very difference from all non-pots. In other words, when we seek out a pot, we select an object that is not a non-pot, and we repeat this practice with all other items and expressions.
Writing from the vantage points of history, philosophy, and cognitive science, the contributors to this volume clarify the nominalist apoha theory and explore the relationship between apoha and the scientific study of human cognition. They engage throughout in a lively debate over the theory's legitimacy. Classical Indian philosophers challenged the apoha theory's legitimacy, believing instead in the existence of enduring essences. Seeking to settle this controversy, essays explore whether apoha offers new and workable solutions to problems in the scientific study of human cognition. They show that the work of generations of Indian philosophers can add much toward the resolution of persistent conundrums in analytic philosophy and cognitive science.
Bernard Williams was one of the most important philosophers of the past fifty years, but he was also a distinguished critic and essayist with an elegant style and a rare ability to communicate complex ideas to a wide public. This is the first collection of Williams's popular essays and reviews. Williams writes about a broad range of subjects, from philosophy to science, the humanities, economics, feminism, and pornography. Included are reviews of major books such as John Rawls's Theory of Justice, Richard Rorty's Consequences of Pragmatism, and Martha Nussbaum's Therapy of Desire. But many of these essays extend beyond philosophy, providing an intellectual tour through the past half century, from C. S. Lewis to Noam Chomsky. No matter the subject, readers see a first-class mind grappling with landmark books in "real time," before critical consensus had formed and ossified.
This wide ranging and challenging book explores the relationship between subjectivity and mortality as it is understood by a number of twentieth-century French philosophers including Sartre, Lacan, Levinas and Derrida. Making intricate and sometimes unexpected connections, Christina Howells draws together the work of prominent thinkers from the fields of phenomenology and existentialism, religious thought, psychoanalysis, and deconstruction, focussing in particular on the relations between body and soul, love and death, desire and passion. From Aristotle through to contemporary analytic philosophy and neuroscience the relationship between mind and body (psyche and soma, consciousness and brain) has been persistently recalcitrant to analysis, and emotion (or passion) is the locus where the explanatory gap is most keenly identified. This problematic forms the broad backdrop to the work's primary focus on contemporary French philosophy and its attempts to understand the intimate relationship between subjectivity and mortality, in the light not only of the 'death' of the classical subject but also of the very real frailty of the subject as it lives on, finite, desiring, embodied, open to alterity and always incomplete. Ultimately Howells identifies this vulnerability and finitude as the paradoxical strength of the mortal subject and as what permits its transcendence. Subtle, beautifully written, and cogently argued, this book will be invaluable for students and scholars interested in contemporary theories of subjectivity, as well as for readers intrigued by the perennial connections between love and death.
The writings of Jean Baudrillard have dramatically altered the face of critical theory and promise to pose challenges well into the 21st century. His work on simulation, media, the status of the image, the system of objects, hyperreality, and information technology continues to influence intellectual work in a diverse set of fields. This volume uniquely provides overviews of Baudrillard's career while also simultaneously including examples of current works on and with Baudrillard that engage some of the many and varied ways Baudrillard's work is being addressed, deployed, and critiqued in the present. As such, it offers chapters useful to the novice and the well-versed in critical theory and Baudrillard Studies alike. Contributors to the volume include John Armitage, John Beck, Ryan Bishop, Doug Kellner, John Phillips and Mark Poster. No less controversial today than he was in the past, Baudrillard continues to divide intellectuals and academicians, an issue this volume addresses by re-engaging the writing itself without falling into either simplistic dismissal or solipsistic cheerleading, but rather by taking the fecundity operative in the thought and meeting its consistent challenge. "Baudrillard Now" provokes sustained interaction with one of philosophy's most important, provocative and stimulating thinkers.
Martin Heidegger's ties to Nazism have tarnished his stature as one of the towering figures of twentieth-century philosophy. The publication of the Black Notebooks in 2014, which revealed the full extent of Heidegger's anti-Semitism and enduring sympathy for National Socialism, only inflamed the controversy. Richard Wolin's The Politics of Being: The Political Thought of Martin Heidegger has played a seminal role in the international debate over the consequences of Heidegger's Nazism. In this edition, the author provides a new preface addressing the effect of the Black Notebooks on our understanding of the relationship between politics and philosophy in Heidegger's work. Building on his pathbreaking interpretation of the philosopher's political thought, Wolin demonstrates that philosophy and politics cannot be disentangled in Heidegger's oeuvre. Volkisch ideological themes suffuse even his most sublime philosophical treatises. Therefore, despite Heidegger's profundity as a thinker, his critique of civilization is saturated with disturbing anti-democratic and anti-Semitic leitmotifs and claims.
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.
It is commonly believed that Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), well known
as the founder of phenomenology and as the teacher of Heidegger,
was unable to free himself from the framework of a classical
metaphysics of subjectivity. Supposedly, he never abandoned the
view that the world and the Other are constituted by a pure
transcendental subject, and his thinking in consequence remains
Cartesian, idealistic, and solipsistic.
Julia Kristeva is one of the most creative and prolific writers to address the personal, social, and political trials of our times. Linguist, psychoanalyst, social and cultural theorist, and novelist, Kristeva's broad interdisciplinary appeal has impacted areas across the humanities and social sciences.
S. K. Keltner's book provides the first comprehensive introduction to the breadth of Kristeva's work. In an original and insightful analysis, Keltner presents Kristeva's thought as the coherent development and elaboration of a complex, multidimensional threshold constitutive of meaning and subjectivity. The 'threshold' indicates Kristeva's primary sphere of concern, the relationship between the speaking being and its particular social and historical conditions; and Kristeva's interdisciplinary approach. Kristeva's vision, Keltner argues, opens a unique perspective within contemporary discourses attentive to issues of meaning, subjectivity, and social and political life. By emphasizing Kristeva's attention to the permeable borders of psychic and social life, Keltner offers innovative readings of the concepts most widely discussed in Kristeva scholarship: the semiotic and symbolic, abjection, love, and loss. She also provides new interpretations of some of the most controversial issues surrounding Kristeva's work, including Kristeva's conceptions of intimacy, social and cultural difference, and Oedipal subjectivity, by contextualizing them within her methodological approach and oeuvre as a whole.
"Julia Kristeva: Thresholds" is an engaging and accessible introduction to Kristeva's theoretical and fictional works that will be of interest to both students and scholars across the humanities and social sciences.
The critical theory tradition has, since its inception, sought to distinguish its perspective on society by maintaining that persons have a deep-seated interest in the free development of their personality-an interest that can only be realized in and through the rational organization of society, but which is systematically stymied by existing society. And yet tradition has struggled to specify this emancipatory interest in a way that is neither excessively utopian nor accommodating to existing society. Despite the fact that Hegel's concept of reconciliation is normally thought to run aground on the latter horn of this dilemma, this book argues that reconciliation is the best available conceptualization of emancipatory interest. Todd Hedrick presents Hegel's idea of freedom as something actualized in individuals' lives through their reconciliation with how society shapes their roles, prospects, and sense of self; it presents reconciliation as less a matter of philosophical cognition, and more of inclusion in a responsive, transparent political process. Hedrick further introduces the concept of reification, which-through its development in Marx and Lukacs, through Horkheimer and Adorno-substantiates an increasingly cogent critique of reconciliation as something unachievable within the framework of modern society, as social forces that shape our identities and life prospects come to appear natural, as part of the way things just are. Giving equal weight to psychoanalysis and legal theory, this work critically appraises the writings of Rawls, Honneth, and Habermas as efforts to spell out a reconciliation more democratic and inclusive than Hegel's, yet still sensitive to the reifying effects of legal systems that have become autonomous and anonymous.
Almost a decade ago, Alvin Plantinga articulated his bold and controversial "evolutionary argument against naturalism." This intriguing line of argument raises issues of importance to epistemologists and to philosophers of mind, of religion, and of science. In this, the first book to address the ongoing debate, Plantinga presents his influential thesis and responds to critiques by distinguished philosophers from a variety of subfields.
Plantinga's argument is aimed at metaphysical naturalism, or roughly, the view that no supernatural beings exist. Naturalism is typically conjoined with evolution as an explanation of the existence and diversity of life. Plantinga's claim is that one who holds to the truth of both naturalism and evolution is irrational in doing so. More specifically, because the probability that unguided evolution would have produced reliable cognitive faculties is either low or inscrutable, one who holds both naturalism and evolution acquires a "defeater" for every belief he/she holds, including the beliefs associated with naturalism and evolution.
Following Plantinga's brief summary of his thesis are eleven original pieces by his critics. The book concludes with a new essay by Plantinga in which he defends and extends his view that metaphysical naturalism is self-defeating.
Throughout the twentieth century, German writers, philosophers, theologians, and historians turned to Gnosticism to make sense of the modern condition. While some saw this ancient Christian heresy as a way to rethink modernity, most German intellectuals questioned Gnosticism's return in a contemporary setting. In No Spiritual Investment in the World, Willem Styfhals explores the Gnostic worldview's enigmatic place in these discourses on modernity, presenting a comprehensive intellectual history of Gnosticism's role in postwar German thought. Establishing the German-Jewish philosopher Jacob Taubes at the nexus of the debate, Styfhals traces how such figures as Hans Blumenberg, Hans Jonas, Eric Voegelin, Odo Marquard, and Gershom Scholem contended with Gnosticism and its tenets on evil and divine absence as metaphorical detours to address issues of cultural crisis, nihilism, and the legitimacy of the modern world. These concerns, he argues, centered on the difficulty of spiritual engagement in a world from which the divine has withdrawn. Reading Gnosticism against the backdrop of postwar German debates about secularization, political theology, and post-secularism, No Spiritual Investment in the World sheds new light on the historical contours of postwar German philosophy.
Impossible Modernism reads the writings of German philosopher and critic Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) and Anglo-American poet and critic T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) to examine the relationship between literary and historical form during the modernist period. It focuses particularly on how they both resisted the forms of narration established by nineteenth-century academic historians and turned instead to traditional literary devices-lyric, satire, anecdote, and allegory-to reimagine the forms that historical representation might take. Tracing the fraught relationship between poetry and history back to Aristotle's Poetics and forward to Nietzsche's Untimely Meditations, Robert S. Lehman establishes the coordinates of the intellectual-historical problem that Eliot and Benjamin inherited and offers an analysis of how they grappled with this legacy in their major works.
The Hegelian-Marxist idea of alienation fell out of favor during the post-metaphysical rejection of humanism and essentialist views of human nature. In this book Jaeggi draws on phenomenological analyses grounded in modern conceptions of agency, along with recent work in the analytical tradition, to reconceive of alienation as the absence of a meaningful relationship to oneself and others, which manifests itself in feelings of helplessness and the despondent acceptance of ossified social roles and expectations. A revived approach to alienation helps critical social theory engage with phenomena, such as meaninglessness, isolation, and indifference, which have broad implications for issues of justice. By severing alienation's link to a problematic conception of human essence while retaining its social-philosophical content, Jaeggi provides resources for a renewed critique of social pathologies, a much-neglected concern in contemporary liberal political philosophy. Her work revisits the arguments of Rousseau, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Heidegger, placing them in dialogue with Thomas Nagel, Bernard Williams, and Charles Taylor.
During the 1975-76 academic year, Jacques Derrida delivered a seminar, La vie la mort (Life Death), at the Ecole normale superieure, in Paris. Based on archival translations of this untapped but soon-to-be-published seminar, The Reproduction of Life Death offers an unprecedented study of Derrida's engagement with molecular biology and genetics, particularly the work of the biologist Francois Jacob. Structured as an itinerary of "three rings," each departing from and coming back to Nietzsche, Derrida's seminar ties Jacob's logocentric account of reproduction to the reproductive program of teaching that characterizes the academic institution, challenging this mode of teaching as auto-reproduction along with the concept of "academic freedom" on which it is based. McCance also brings Derrida's critique of Jacob's theory of auto-reproduction together with his reading of reproductivity, the tendency to repeat-reproduce, that is theorized and enacted in Freud's Beyond the Pleasure Principle. The book further shows how Derrida's account of life death relates to his writings on autobiography and the signature and to such later concerns as the question of the animal. McCance brings extensive archival research together with a deep knowledge of Derrida's work a background in genetics to offer a fascinating new account of an encounter between philosophy and the hard sciences that will be of interest to theorists in a wide range of disciplines concerned with the question of life.
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