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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.
Arguably the most prolific and most widely read philosopher of our time, Slavoj Zizek has made indelible interventions into many disciplines of the so-called human sciences that have transformed the terms of discussion in these fields. Although his work has been the subject of many volumes of searching criticism and commentary, there is no assessment to date of the value of his work for the development of these disciplines. "Zizek Now" brings together distinguished critics to explore the utility and far-ranging implications of Zizek's thought and provide an evaluation of the difference his work makes or promises to make in their chosen fields. As such, the volume offers chapters on quantum physics and Zizek's transcendentalist materialist theory of the subject, Hegel's absolute, materialist Christianity, postcolonial violence, eco-politics, ceremonial acts, and the postcolonial revolutionary subject. Contributors to the volume include Adrian Johnston, Ian Parker, Todd McGowan, Bruno Bosteels, Erik Vogt, Verena Conley, Joshua Ramey, Jamil Khader, and Zizek himself.
Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) was one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century. Regarded as the father of existentialist philosophy, he was also a political critic, moralist, playwright, novelist, and author of biographies and short stories. Thomas R. Flynn provides the first book-length account of Sartre as a philosopher of the imaginary, mapping the intellectual development of his ideas throughout his life, and building a narrative that is not only philosophical but also attentive to the political and literary dimensions of his work. Exploring Sartre's existentialism, politics, ethics, and ontology, this book illuminates the defining ideas of Sartre's oeuvre: the literary and the philosophical, the imaginary and the conceptual, his descriptive phenomenology and his phenomenological concept of intentionality, and his conjunction of ethics and politics with an 'egoless' consciousness. It will appeal to all who are interested in Sartre's philosophy and its relation to his life.
"I get up every day with one day more," says Eve, the writer's 97-year-old mother. She is escaping into the New Life and the writer must race to catch up. As things slip away and fall into oblivion, as her mother's world and thus her own relentlessly shrinks, the writer is stunned to see for the first time the vestiges of a prison scene in her beloved Tower of Montaigne, which she has been visiting for fifty years. It represents the story of Cimon and Pero, a daughter's act of charity that saved her father from certain death. How extraordinary that it should only now appear to this other daughter who dreams of nothing less for her parent and thus for herself. A different prison scene draws the writer to reflect on Freud's remark "that the dream of a prisoner can have nothing other than escape as content," a comment he illustrates with Moritz von Schwind's painting "The Prisoner's Dream." But it is Freud's own dreams of escape from the prison of declining powers in his old age that the writer channels through her telepathic connection to the one she calls her "nuncle." She knows that the worst, worse even than the effects of the disease eating through his body, would have been the obliteration of his dreams upon waking, a sensation of theft that is "like a rug one pulls from beneath the head's feet, bam, bam like a tapestry of life folded up in a flash." And yet life's tapestry has never seemed more richly colored, more elaborately woven, more abundantly endowed with the gifts of Eve, the mother, the midwife, the irrepressible story-teller, the great escape artist, and the indomitable heroine of this book.
A dual biography crafted around the famous encounter between the French philosopher who wrote about power and the Russian empress who wielded it with great aplomb. In October 1773, after a grueling trek from Paris, the aged and ailing Denis Diderot stumbled from a carriage in wintery St. Petersburg. The century's most subversive thinker, Diderot arrived as the guest of its most ambitious and admired ruler, Empress Catherine of Russia. What followed was unprecedented: more than forty private meetings, stretching over nearly four months, between these two extraordinary figures. Diderot had come from Paris in order to guide-or so he thought-the woman who had become the continent's last great hope for an enlightened ruler. But as it soon became clear, Catherine had a very different understanding not just of her role but of his as well. Philosophers, she claimed, had the luxury of writing on unfeeling paper. Rulers had the task of writing on human skin, sensitive to the slightest touch. Diderot and Catherine's series of meetings, held in her private chambers at the Hermitage, captured the imagination of their contemporaries. While heads of state like Frederick of Prussia feared the consequences of these conversations, intellectuals like Voltaire hoped they would further the goals of the Enlightenment. In Catherine & Diderot, Robert Zaretsky traces the lives of these two remarkable figures, inviting us to reflect on the fraught relationship between politics and philosophy, and between a man of thought and a woman of action.
"Strange Wonder" confronts Western philosophy's ambivalent relationship to the Platonic "wonder" that reveals the strangeness of the everyday. On the one hand, this wonder is said to be the origin of all philosophy. On the other hand, it is associated with a kind of ignorance that ought to be extinguished as swiftly as possible. By endeavoring to resolve wonder's indeterminacy into certainty and calculability, philosophy paradoxically secures itself at the expense of its own condition of possibility.
"Strange Wonder" locates a reopening of wonder's primordial uncertainty in the work of Martin Heidegger, for whom wonder is first experienced as the shock at the groundlessness of things and then as an astonishment that things nevertheless "are." Mary-Jane Rubenstein traces this double movement through the thought of Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Jacques Derrida, ultimately thematizing wonder as the awesome, awful opening that exposes thinking to devastation as well as transformation. Rubenstein's study shows that wonder reveals the extraordinary in and through the ordinary, and is therefore crucial to the task of reimagining political, religious, and ethical terrain.
At last available in paperback, this book anticipates and explains the post-structuralist turn to empiricism. Presenting a challenging reading of David Hume's philosophy, the work is invaluable for understanding the progress of Deleuze's thought.
Being and Nothingness is without doubt one of the most significant
books of the twentieth century. The central work by one of the
world's most influential thinkers, it altered the course of western
philosophy. Its revolutionary approach challenged all previous
assumptions about the individual's relationship with the world.
Known as 'the Bible of existentialism', its impact on culture and
literature was immediate and was felt worldwide, from the absurd
drama of Samuel Beckett to the soul-searching cries of the Beat
"Radical Atheism" presents a profound new reading of the
influential French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Against the
prevalent notion that there was an ethical or religious "turn" in
Derrida's thinking, Hagglund argues that a radical atheism informs
Derrida's work from beginning to end. Proceeding from Derrida's
insight into the constitution of time, Hagglund demonstrates how
Derrida rethinks the condition of identity, ethics, religion, and
political emancipation in accordance with the logic of radical
atheism. Hagglund challenges other major interpreters of Derrida's
work and offers a compelling account of Derrida's thinking on life
and death, good and evil, self and other. Furthermore, Hagglund
does not only explicate Derrida's position but also develops his
arguments, fortifies his logic, and pursues its implications. The
result is a groundbreaking deconstruction of the perennial
philosophical themes of time and desire as well as pressing
contemporary issues of sovereignty and democracy.
Heidegger scholars consider the philosopher's recently published notebooks, including the issues of Heidegger's Nazism and anti-Semitism. For more than forty years, the philosopher Martin Heidegger logged ideas and opinions in a series of notebooks, known as the "Black Notebooks" after the black oilcloth booklets into which he first transcribed his thoughts. In 2014, the notebooks from 1931 to 1941 were published, sparking immediate controversy. It has long been acknowledged that Heidegger was an enthusiastic supporter of the Nazi Party in the early 1930s. But the notebooks contain a number of anti-Semitic passages-often referring to the stereotype of "World-Jewry"-written even after Heidegger became disenchanted with the Nazis themselves. Reactions from the scholarly community have ranged from dismissal of the significance of these passages to claims that the anti-Semitism in them contaminates all of Heidegger's work. This volume offers the first collection of responses by Heidegger scholars to the publication of the notebooks. In essays commissioned especially for the book, the contributors offer a wide range of views, addressing not only the issues of anti-Semitism and Nazism but also the broader questions that the notebooks raise. Contributors Babette Babich, Andrew Bowie, Steven Crowell, Fred Dallmayr, Donatella Di Cesare, Michael Fagenblat, Ingo Farin, Gregory Fried, Jean Grondin, Karsten Harries, Laurence Paul Hemming, Jeff Malpas, Thomas Rohkramer, Tracy B. Strong, Peter Trawny, Daniela Vallega-Neu, Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann, Nancy A. Weston, Holger Zaborowski
Theodor Adorno's reputation as a cultural critic has been well- established for some time, but his status as a philosopher remains unclear. In Adorno and the Ends of Philosophy Andrew Bowie seeks to establish what Adorno can contribute to philosophy today. Adorno's published texts are notably difficult and have tended to hinder his reception by a broad philosophical audience. His main influence as a philosopher when he was alive was, though, often based on his very lucid public lectures. Drawing on these lectures, both published and unpublished, Bowie argues that important recent interpretations of Hegel, and related developments in pragmatism, echo key ideas in Adorno's thought. At the same time, Adorno's insistence that philosophy should make the Holocaust central to the assessment of modern rationality suggests ways in which these approaches should be complemented by his preparedness to confront some of the most disturbing aspects of modern history. What emerges is a remarkably clear and engaging re-interpretation of Adorno's thought, as well as an illuminating and original review of the state of contemporary philosophy. Adorno and the Ends of Philosophy will be indispensable to students of Adorno's work at all levels. This compelling book is also set to ignite debate surrounding the reception of Adorno's philosophy and bring him into the mainstream of philosophical debate at a time when the divisions between analytical and European philosophy are increasingly breaking down.
A compact and accessible edition of Hume's political and moral writings with essays by a distinguished set of contributors A key figure of the Scottish Enlightenment, David Hume was a major influence on thinkers ranging from Kant and Schopenhauer to Einstein and Popper, and his writings continue to be deeply relevant today. With four essays by leading Hume scholars exploring his complex intellectual legacy, this volume presents an overview of Hume's moral, political, and social philosophy. Editors Angela Coventry and Andrew Valls bring together a selection of writings from Hume's most important works, with contributors placing them in their appropriate context and offering a lively discourse on the relevance of Hume's thought to contemporary subjects like reason's dependence on emotion and the importance of social convention in political and economic behavior. Perfect for classroom use, this volume is an invaluable companion for anyone studying an important thinker who advanced the development of moral philosophy, economics, cognitive science, and many other fields of the Western tradition.
In the seven and a half years before his collapse into madness, Nietzsche completed Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the best-selling and most widely read philosophical work of all time, as well as six additional works that are today considered required reading for Western intellectuals. Together, these works mark the final period of Nietzsche's thought, when he developed a new, more profound, and more systematic teaching rooted in the idea of the eternal recurrence, which he considered his deepest thought. Cutting against the grain of most current Nietzsche scholarship, Michael Allen Gillespie presents the thought of the late Nietzsche as Nietzsche himself intended, drawing not only on his published works but on the plans for the works he was unable to complete, which can be found throughout his notes and correspondence. Gillespie argues that the idea of the eternal recurrence transformed Nietzsche's thinking from 1881 to 1889. It provided both the basis for his rejection of traditional metaphysics and the grounding for the new logic, ontology, theology, and anthropology he intended to create with the aim of a fundamental transformation of European civilization, a "revaluation of all values." Nietzsche first broached the idea of the eternal recurrence in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, but its failure to gain attention or public acceptance led him to present the idea again through a series of works intended to culminate in a never-completed magnum opus. Nietzsche believed this idea would enable the redemption of humanity. At the same time, he recognized its terrifying, apocalyptic consequences, since it would also produce wars of unprecedented ferocity and destruction. Through his careful analysis, Gillespie reveals a more radical and more dangerous Nietzsche than the humanistic or democratic Nietzsche we commonly think of today, but also a Nietzsche who was deeply at odds with the Nietzsche imagined to be the forefather of Fascism. Gillespie's essays examine Nietzsche's final teachinga its components and its political, philosophical, and theological significance. The book concludes with a critical examination and a reflection on its meaning for us today.
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.
People tend to confuse winning freedom with conversion to capitalism. It is doubtful that the joys of capitalism are enough to free peoples.... The American "revolution" failed long ago, long before the Soviet one. Revolutionary situations and attempts are born of capitalism itself and will not soon disappear, alas. Philosophy remains tied to a revolutionary becoming that is not to be confused with the history of revolutions.--from Two Regimes of MadnessCovering the last twenty years of Gilles Deleuze's life (1975-1995), the texts and interviews gathered in this volume complete those collected in Desert Islands and Other Texts (1953-1974). This period saw the publication of his major works: A Thousand Plateaus (1980), Cinema I: Image-Movement (1983), Cinema II: Image-Time (1985), all leading through language, concept and art to What is Philosophy? (1991). Two Regimes of Madness also documents Deleuze's increasing involvement with politics (with Toni Negri, for example, the Italian philosopher and professor accused of associating with the Red Brigades). Both volumes were conceived by the author himself and will be his last. Michel Foucault famously wrote: "One day, perhaps, this century will be Deleuzian." This book provides a prodigious entry into the work of the most important philosopher of our time. Unlike Foucault, Deleuze never stopped digging further into the same furrow. Concepts for him came from life. He was a vitalist and remained one to the last. This volume restores the full text of the original French edition.The philosopher Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995) published twenty-five books, including five in collaboration with Felix Guattari."
We believe we know our bodies intimately--that their material reality is certain and that this certainty leads to an epistemological truth about sex, gender, and identity. By exploring and giving equal weight to transgendered subjectivities, however, Gayle Salamon upends these certainties. Considering questions of transgendered embodiment via phenomenology (Maurice Merleau-Ponty), psychoanalysis (Sigmund Freud and Paul Ferdinand Schilder), and queer theory, Salamon advances an alternative theory of normative and non-normative gender, proving the value and vitality of trans experience for thinking about embodiment.
Salamon suggests that the difference between transgendered and normatively gendered bodies is not, in the end, material. Rather, she argues that the production of gender itself relies on a disjunction between the "felt sense" of the body and an understanding of the body's corporeal contours, and that this process need not be viewed as pathological in nature. Examining the relationship between material and phantasmatic accounts of bodily being, Salamon emphasizes the productive tensions that make the body both present and absent in our consciousness and work to confirm and unsettle gendered certainties. She questions traditional theories that explain how the body comes to be--and comes to be made one's own--and she offers a new framework for thinking about what "counts" as a body. The result is a groundbreaking investigation into the phenomenological life of gender.
This book is an introduction to the high humanitarian ideas of the great Russian writer and philosopher Leo Tolstoy. It was inspired by the portrait reproduced on the cover dustjacket. The inscription on the portrait was written, in Russian, by Alexandra Lvovna Tolstoy, youngest daughter of the world famous writer and presented to the author, Michael Levin, on the occasion of his visit to her in 1977 at her home in upstate New York. In translation, the inscription reads: My father once said: 'Believing gives soulful peace; sense of divine soul gives power'. These words of his have always helped me in life. And I am happy that you helped people - tourists - when they came to bow their heads at his grave. Thank you! Alexandra Tolstoy (92 years). 18 February 1977.
Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World presents a highly original global theory of culture. Here, in his greatest work, Rene Girard explores the function of violence, mimetic desire and the mechanism of the scapegoat, in the history of society and religion. Girard's vision is a brilliant and devastating challenge to conventional views of literature, anthropology, philosophy and psychoanalysis.
Martin Heidegger is widely regarded as one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth-century, and his seminal text Being and Time is considered one of the most significant texts in contemporary philosophy. Yet his name has also been mired in controversy because of his affiliations with the Nazi regime, his failure to criticize its genocidal politics and his subsequent silence about the holocaust. Now, according to Heidegger's wishes, and to complete the publication of his multi-volume Complete Works, his highly controversial and secret 'Black Notebooks' have been released to the public. These notebooks reveal the extent to which Heidegger's 'personal Nazism' was neither incidental nor opportunistic, but part of his philosophical ethos. So, why would Heidegger, far from destroying them, allow these notebooks, which contain examples of this extreme thinking, to be published? In this revealing new book, Peter Trawny, editor of Heidegger's complete works in German, confronts these questions and, by way of a compelling study of his theoretical work, shows that Heidegger was committed to a conception of freedom that is only beholden to the judgement of the history of being; that is, that to be free means to be free from the prejudices, norms, or mores of one's time. Whoever thinks the truth of being freely exposes themselves to the danger of epochal errancy. For this reason, Heidegger's decision to publish his notebooks, including their anti-Jewish passages, was an exercise of this anarchical freedom. In the course of a wide-ranging discussion of Heidegger's views on truth, ethics, the truth of being, tragedy and his relationship to other figures such as Nietzsche and Schmitt, Trawny provides a compelling argument for why Heidegger wanted the explosive material in his Black Notebooks to be published, whilst also offering an original and provocative interpretation of Heidegger's work.
Meaning Diminished examines the complex relationship between semantic analysis and metaphysical inquiry. Kenneth A. Taylor argues that we should expect linguistic and conceptual analysis of natural language to yield far less metaphysical insight into what there is - and the nature of what there is - than many philosophers have imagined. Taking a strong stand against the so-called linguistic turn in philosophy, Taylor contends that philosophers as diverse as Kant, with his Transcendental Idealism, Frege, with his aspirational Platonism, Carnap with his distinction between internal and external questions, and Strawson, with his descriptive metaphysics, have placed too much confidence in the ability of linguistic and conceptual analysis to achieve deep insight into matters of ultimate metaphysics. He urges philosophers who seek such insight to turn away from the interrogation of language and concepts and back to the more direct interrogation of reality itself. In doing so, he maps out the way forward toward a metaphysically modest semantics, in which semantics carries less weighty metaphysical burdens, and toward a revisionary and naturalistic metaphysics, untethered to the a priori analysis of ordinary language.
"The heart of history, for Heidegger, is not a sequence of occurrences but the eruption of significance at critical junctures that bring us into our own by making all being, including our being, into an urgent issue. In emergency, being emerges." from The Emergency of Being
The esoteric Contributions to Philosophy, often considered Martin Heidegger's second main work after Being and Time, is crucial to any interpretation of his thought. Here Heidegger proposes that being takes place as "appropriation." Richard Polt's independent-minded account of the Contributions interprets appropriation as an event of emergency that demands to be thought in a "future-subjunctive" mode. Polt explores the roots of appropriation in Heidegger's earlier philosophy; Heidegger's search for a way of thinking suited to appropriation; and the implications of appropriation for time, space, human existence, and beings as a whole. In his concluding chapter, Polt reflects critically on the difficulties of the radically antirationalist and antimodern thought of the Contributions.
Polt's original reading neither reduces this challenging text to familiar concepts nor refutes it, but engages it in a confrontation an encounter that respects a way of thinking by struggling with it. He describes this most private work of Heidegger's philosophy as "a dissonant symphony that imperfectly weaves together its moments into a vast fugue, under the leitmotif of appropriation. This fugue is seeded with possibilities that are waiting for us, its listeners, to develop them. Some are dead ends viruses that can lead only to a monolithic, monotonous misunderstanding of history. Others are embryonic insights that promise to deepen our thought, and perhaps our lives, if we find the right way to make them our own.""
Over the course of his career, Gianni Vattimo has assumed a number of public and private identities and has pursued multiple intellectual paths. He seems to embody several contradictions, at once defending and questioning religion and critiquing and serving the state. Yet the diversity of his life and thought form the very essence of, as he sees it, the vocation and responsibility of the philosopher. In a world that desires quantifiable results and ideological expediency, the philosopher becomes the vital interpreter of the endlessly complex.
As he outlines his ideas about the philosopher's role, Vattimo builds an important companion to his life's work. He confronts questions of science, religion, logic, literature, and truth, and passionately defends the power of hermeneutics to engage with life's conundrums. Vattimo conjures a clear vision of philosophy as something separate from the sciences and the humanities but also intimately connected to their processes, and he explicates a conception of truth that emphasizes fidelity and participation through dialogue.
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