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Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.;Voltaire's short, radical and iconoclastic essays on philosophical ideas from angels to idolatry, miracles to wickedness, make wry observations about human beliefs, and mock hypocrisy and extravagant piety - his call to his fellow men to act with reason and see through the lies they are fed by their leaders has provided inspiration to freethinkers everywhere.
This engaging and instructive analysis of the first half of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason continues to be valuable to both practiced Kant scholars and newcomers. Jonathan Bennett examines the arguments and themes of Kant's work in relation to those of the works of philosophers old and new, including Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume, Wittgenstein, Ryle, Ayler, Quine, Warnock, and others. Presented in a fresh twenty-first-century series livery, and including a specially commissioned preface written by James Van Cleve, illuminating its continuing importance and relevance to philosophical enquiry, this influential work is available for a new generation of readers.
A fascinating examination of ethics, religion and psychology, this selection of Schopenhauer's works contains scathing attack on the nature and logic of religion, and an essay on ethics that ranges from the American slavery debate to the vices of Buddhism. Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.
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.
Theories of justice often fixate on purely normative, abstract principles unrelated to real-world situations. The philosopher and theorist Axel Honneth addresses this disconnect, and constructs a theory of justice derived from the normative claims of Western liberal-democratic societies and anchored in morally legitimate laws and institutionally established practices. Honneth's paradigm-which he terms "a democratic ethical life"-draws on the spirit of Hegel's Philosophy of Right and his own theory of recognition, demonstrating how concrete social spheres generate the tenets of individual freedom and a standard for what is just. Using social analysis to re-found a more grounded theory of justice, he argues that all crucial actions in Western civilization, whether in personal relationships, market-induced economic activities, or the public forum of politics, share one defining characteristic: they require the realization of a particular aspect of individual freedom. This fundamental truth informs the guiding principles of justice, enabling a wide-ranging reconsideration of its nature and application.
The four early essays in Untimely Meditations are key documents for understanding the development of Nietzsche's thought and clearly anticipate many of his later writings. They deal with such broad topics as the relationship between popular and genuine culture, strategies for cultural reform, the task of philosophy, the nature of education, and the relationship among art, science and life. This new edition presents R. J. Hollingdale's translation of the essays and a new introduction by Daniel Breazeale, who places them in their historical context and discusses their significance for Nietzsche's philosophy.
Translated by J.J. Graham, revised by F.N. Maude Abridged and with an Introduction by Louise Willmot. On War is perhaps the greatest book ever written about war. Carl von Clausewitz, a Prussian soldier, had witnessed at first hand the immense destructive power of the French Revolutionary armies which swept across Europe between 1792 and 1815. His response was to write a comprehensive text covering every aspect of warfare. On War is both a philosophical and practical work in which Clausewitz defines the essential nature of war, debates the qualities of the great commander, assesses the relative strengths of defensive and offensive warfare, and - in highly controversial passages - considers the relationship between war and politics. His arguments are illustrated with vivid examples drawn from the campaigns of Frederick the Great and Napoleon Bonaparte. For the student of society as well as the military historian, On War remains a compelling and indispensable source.
The literary friendship between Alain Robbe-Grillet and Roland Barthes lasted 25 years. Everything attests to their deep and mutual intellectual esteem: their private correspondence, their published texts, their conversations - notably in the famous dialogue which gives its name to this work. Robbe-Grillet freely said he had very few true friends but, next to the publisher J r me Lindon, he always cited the name of Roland Barthes. In 1980, he wrote his own 'I love, I don't love', published here for the first time, thinking about his friend. In 1985, he predicted: 'It is his work as a writer which will remain'. Ten years later, in 1995, he imagined him as an impatient, blithe novelist, merrily rewriting - 'euphorically, with inexhaustible happiness' - The Sorrows of Young Werther. This small collection of conversations and short texts by Robbe-Grillet is like the deferred echo of those that Roland Barthes dedicated to him in his Critical Essays in 1964. It offers fresh insight into the development of Robbe-Grillet's own work as well as that of Barthes, and is a unique testimony to one of the most important literary friendships of our time.
Translated into English for the first time, the letters collected here bring to life one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century, Ludwig Wittgenstein. In letters written over forty years, we see how his ideas and relationships developed during his time as a prisoner of war, a school teacher, an architect and throughout his years at Cambridge. Always frank and often brutally honest, these letters between Wittgenstein, his brother Paul and his three sisters, Hermine, Margaret and Helene are filled with a familiarity and an intimacy. They allow us to enter the bygone world of an extraordinary family, revealing a side of Wittgenstein we have never seen before.
Jacques Derrida is, in the words of the New York Times, "perhaps the world's most famous philosopher if not the only famous philosopher." He often provokes controversy as soon as his name is mentioned. But he also inspires the respect that comes from an illustrious career, and, among many who were his colleagues and peers, he inspired friendship. The Work of Mourning is a collection that honors those friendships in the wake of passing. Gathered here are texts letters of condolence, memorial essays, eulogies, funeral orations written after the deaths of well-known figures: Roland Barthes, Paul de Man, Michel Foucault, Louis Althusser, Edmond Jab\u00e8s, Louis Marin, Sarah Kofman, Gilles Deleuze, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-Fran\u00e7ois Lyotard, Max Loreau, Jean-Marie Benoist, Joseph Riddel, and Michel Servi\u00e8re. With his words, Derrida bears witness to the singularity of a friendship and to the absolute uniqueness of each relationship. In each case, he is acutely aware of the questions of tact, taste, and ethical responsibility involved in speaking of the dead the risks of using the occasion for one's own purposes, political calculation, personal vendetta, and the expiation of guilt. More than a collection of memorial addresses, this volume sheds light not only on Derrida's relation to some of the most prominent French thinkers of the past quarter century but also on some of the most important themes of Derrida's entire oeuvre-mourning, the "gift of death," time, memory, and friendship itself. "In his rapt attention to his subjects' work and their influence upon him, the book also offers a hesitant and tangential retelling of Derrida's own life in French philosophical history. There are illuminating and playful anecdotes how Lyotard led Derrida to begin using a word-processor; how Paul de Man talked knowledgeably of jazz with Derrida's son. Anyone who still thinks that Derrida is a facetious punster will find such resentful prejudice unable to survive a reading of this beautiful work." Steven Poole, Guardian "Strikingly simpa meditations on friendship, on shared vocations and avocations and on philosophy and history." Publishers Weekly
The thirty-three essays in "Relativism: A Contemporary Anthology" grapple with one of the most intriguing, enduring, and far-reaching philosophical problems of our age. Relativism comes in many varieties. It is often defined as the belief that truth, goodness, or beauty is relative to some context or reference frame, and that no absolute standards can adjudicate between competing reference frames.
Michael Krausz's anthology captures the significance and range of relativistic doctrines, rehearsing their virtues and vices and reflecting on a spectrum of attitudes. Invoking diverse philosophical orientations, these doctrines concern conceptions of relativism in relation to facts and conceptual schemes, realism and objectivity, universalism and foundationalism, solidarity and rationality, pluralism and moral relativism, and feminism and poststructuralism. Featuring nine original essays, the volume also includes many classic articles, making it a standard resource for students, scholars, and researchers.
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.
When it appeared in 1670, Baruch Spinoza's "Theological-Political Treatise" was denounced as the most dangerous book ever published--"godless," "full of abominations," "a book forged in hell . . . by the devil himself." Religious and secular authorities saw it as a threat to faith, social and political harmony, and everyday morality, and its author was almost universally regarded as a religious subversive and political radical who sought to spread atheism throughout Europe. Yet Spinoza's book has contributed as much as the Declaration of Independence or Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" to modern liberal, secular, and democratic thinking. In "A Book Forged in Hell," Steven Nadler tells the fascinating story of this extraordinary book: its radical claims and their background in the philosophical, religious, and political tensions of the Dutch Golden Age, as well as the vitriolic reaction these ideas inspired.
It is not hard to see why Spinoza's "Treatise" was so important or so controversial, or why the uproar it caused is one of the most significant events in European intellectual history. In the book, Spinoza became the first to argue that the Bible is not literally the word of God but rather a work of human literature; that true religion has nothing to do with theology, liturgical ceremonies, or sectarian dogma; and that religious authorities should have no role in governing a modern state. He also denied the reality of miracles and divine providence, reinterpreted the nature of prophecy, and made an eloquent plea for toleration and democracy.
A vivid story of incendiary ideas and vicious backlash, "A Book Forged in Hell" will interest anyone who is curious about the origin of some of our most cherished modern beliefs.
Following his opposition to the establishment of a theatre in Geneva, Jean-Jacques Rousseau is often considered an enemy of the stage. Yet he was fascinated by drama: he was a keen theatre-goer, his earliest writings were operas and comedies, his admiration for Italian lyric theatre ran through his career, he wrote one of the most successful operas of the day, Le Devin du village, and with his Pygmalion, he invented a new theatrical genre, the Scene lyrique(`melodrama'). Through multi-faceted analyses of Rousseau's theatrical and musical works, authors re-evaluate his practical and theoretical involvement with and influence on the dramatic arts, as well as his presence in modern theatre histories. New readings of the Lettre a d'Alembert highlight its political underpinnings, positioning it as an act of resistance to external bourgeois domination of Geneva's cultural sphere, and demonstrate the work's influence on theatrical reform after Rousseau's death. Fresh analyses of his theory of voice, developed in the Essai sur l'origine des langues, highlight the unique prestige of Italian opera for Rousseau. His ambition to rethink the nature and function of stage works, seen in Le Devin du village and then, more radically, in Pygmalion, give rise to several different discussions in the volume, as do his complex relations with Gluck. Together, contributors shed new light on the writer's relationship to the stage, and argue for a more nuanced approach to his theatrical and operatic works, theories and legacy.
The Das Kapital of the 20th century. An essential text, and the main theoretical work of the situationists. Few works of political and cultural theory have been as enduringly provocative. From its publication amid the social upheavals of the 1960's up to the present, the volatile theses of this book have decisively transformed debates on the shape of modernity, capitalism, and everyday life in the late 20th century. This is the original translation by Fredy Perlman, kept in print continuously for the last 30 years, keeping the flame alive when no-one else cared.
The essays collected in this volume develop the theoretical perspective initiated in Laclau and Mouffe's classic Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, taking it in three principal directions. First, this book explores the specificity of social antagonisms and answers the question What is an antagonistic relation?--an issue which has become increasingly crucial in our globalized world, where the proliferation of conflicts and points of rupture is eroding their links to the social subjects postulated by classical social analysis. This leads Laclau to a second line of questioning: What is the ontological terrain that allows us to understand the nature of social relations in our heterogeneous world? This is a task he addresses with theoretical instruments drawn from analytical philosophy and from the phenomenological and structuralist traditions. Finally, central to the argument of the book is the basic role attributed to rhetorical tropes--metaphor, metonymy, catachresis--in shaping the non-foundational grounds of society.
This book is the first translation into English of the Reflections which Kant wrote whilst formulating his ideas in political philosophy: the preparatory drafts for Theory and Practice, Toward Perpetual Peace, the Doctrine of Right, and Conflict of the Faculties; and the only surviving student transcription of his course on Natural Right. Through these texts one can trace the development of his political thought, from his first exposure to Rousseau in the mid 1760s through to his last musings in the late 1790s after his final system of Right was published. The material covers such topics as the central role of freedom, the social contract, the nature of sovereignty, the means for achieving international peace, property rights in relation to the very possibility of human agency, the general prohibition of rebellion, and Kant's philosophical defense of the French Revolution.
To what extent was Machiavelli a "Machiavellian"? Was he an amoral adviser of tyranny or a stalwart partisan of liberty? A neutral technician of power politics or a devout Italian patriot? A reviver of pagan virtue or initiator of modern nihilism? Reading Machiavelli answers these questions through original interpretations of Niccol Machiavelli's three major political works--The Prince, Discourses, and Florentine Histories--and demonstrates that a radically democratic populism seeded the Florentine's scandalous writings. John McCormick challenges the misguided understandings of Machiavelli set forth by prominent thinkers, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau and representatives of the Straussian and Cambridge schools. McCormick emphasizes the fundamental, often unacknowledged elements of a vibrant Machiavellian politics: the utility of vigorous class conflict between elites and common citizens for virtuous democratic republics, the necessity of political and economic equality for genuine civic liberty, and the indispensability of religious tropes for the exercise of effective popular judgment. Interrogating the established reception of Machiavelli's work by such readers as Rousseau, Leo Strauss, Quentin Skinner, and J.G.A. Pocock, McCormick exposes what was effectively an elite conspiracy to suppress the Florentine's contentious, egalitarian politics. In recovering the too-long-concealed quality of Machiavelli's populism, this book acts as a Machiavellian critique of Machiavelli scholarship. Advancing fresh renderings of works by Machiavelli while demonstrating how they have been misread previously, Reading Machiavelli presents a new outlook for how politics should be conceptualized and practiced.
This carefully edited selection of correspondence includes letters both to - and from - Martin Buber from world-renowned scholars, thinkers, and philosophers. This edition contains the Preface to the German edition, as well as a Biographical Sketch by Grete Schaeder.
Who hasn't had the frightening experience of stumbling around in the pitch dark? Alain Badiou experienced that primitive terror when he, with his young friends, made up a game called "The Stroke of Midnight." The furtive discovery of the dark continent of sex in banned magazines, the beauty of black ink on paper, but also the mysteries of space and the grief of mourning: these are some of the things we encounter as the philosopher takes us on a trip through the private theater of his mind, at the whim of his memories. Music, painting, politics, sex, and metaphysics: all contribute to making black more luminous than it has ever been.
Human, All Too Human (1878), a series of 638 stunning epigrams and essays on almost every subject under the sun, was described by Friedrich Nietzsche as ‘the monument of a crisis’.
The year 1876 marked a turning point. Nietzsche felt compelled to reject not only Richard Wagner, his former mentor, as a man and a thinker, but also their common intellectual influence, Schopenhauer. The onset of ill health in the same year led him to give up his secure professorship, attained at the extraordinarily young age of twenty four. Yet out of these upheavals he forged his mature philosophy. This book sketches in his key theories about the will to power, the need to transcend Christian morality and the elite Free Spirits who live untrammelled by convention. Rejecting the style and spirit of German romanticism and returning to sources in the French Enlightenment, Nietzsche sets out his unsettling, views on topics ranging from art, arrogance and boredom to passion, science, vanity, women and youth. The result is one of the cornerstones of his life’s work.
The story of the greatest of all philosophical friendships--and how it influenced modern thought David Hume is widely regarded as the most important philosopher ever to write in English, but during his lifetime he was attacked as "the Great Infidel" for his skeptical religious views and deemed unfit to teach the young. In contrast, Adam Smith was a revered professor of moral philosophy, and is now often hailed as the founding father of capitalism. Remarkably, the two were best friends for most of their adult lives, sharing what Dennis Rasmussen calls the greatest of all philosophical friendships. The Infidel and the Professor is the first book to tell the fascinating story of the friendship of these towering Enlightenment thinkers--and how it influenced their world-changing ideas. The book follows Hume and Smith's relationship from their first meeting in 1749 until Hume's death in 1776. It describes how they commented on each other's writings, supported each other's careers and literary ambitions, and advised each other on personal matters, most notably after Hume's quarrel with Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Members of a vibrant intellectual scene in Enlightenment Scotland, Hume and Smith made many of the same friends (and enemies), joined the same clubs, and were interested in many of the same subjects well beyond philosophy and economics--from psychology and history to politics and Britain's conflict with the American colonies. The book reveals that Smith's private religious views were considerably closer to Hume's public ones than is usually believed. It also shows that Hume contributed more to economics--and Smith contributed more to philosophy--than is generally recognized. Vividly written, The Infidel and the Professor is a compelling account of a great friendship that had great consequences for modern thought.
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