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In this short book Peter Sloterdijk clarifies his views on religion and its role in pre-modern and modern societies. He begins by returning to the Mount Sinai episode in the Book of Exodus, where he identifies the emergence of what he calls the `Sinai Schema'. At the core of monotheism is the logic of belonging to a community of confession, of being a true believer - this is what Sloterdijk calls the Sinai Schema. To be a member of a people means that you submit to the beliefs of the community just as you submit to its language. Monotheism is predicated on the logic of one God who demands your utmost loyalty. Hence at the core of monotheism is also the fear of apotheosis, of heresy, of heterodoxy. So monotheism is associated first and foremost with a certain kind of internal violence D namely, a violence against those who violate their membership through a break in loyalty and trust. On the basis of this analysis of the inner logic of monotheism, Sloterdijk retraces its historical legacy and shows how this account enables us to understand why we react so nervously today to all forms of fundamentalism - whether that of radical Islamists, the Catholic Pius Brotherhood or evangelical sects in the USA
The mid-eighteenth century witnessed a particularly intense conflict between the Enlightenment philosophes and their enemies, when intellectual and political confrontation became inseparable from a battle for public opinion. Logan J. Connors underscores the essential role that theatre played in these disputes. This is a fascinating and detailed study of the dramatic arm of France's war of ideas in which the author examines how playwrights sought to win public support by controlling every aspect of theatrical production - from advertisements, to performances, to criticism. An expanding theatre-going public was recognised as both a force of influence and a force worth influencing. By analysing the most indicative examples of France's polemical theatre of the period, Les Philosophes by Charles Palissot (1760) and Voltaire's Le Cafe ou L'Ecossaise (1760), Connors explores the emergence of spectators as active agents in French society, and shows how theatre achieved an unrivalled status as a cultural weapon on the eve of the French Revolution. Adopting a holistic approach, Connors provides an original view of how theatre productions `worked' under the ancien regime, and discusses how a specific polemical atmosphere in the eighteenth century gave rise to modern notions of reception and spectatorship.
"An outstandingly good introduction to Foucault's work: lucid, measured, well organised, and covering this complex and in many ways heterogeneous body of work with remarkable thoroughness and ease." - Professor John Frow, University of Melbourne "This is a clear and understandable book, starting with a very helpful glossary of theoretical terms... an accessible introduction to Foucault's major work exploring power and control, governmentality and ethics which are crucial for students to understand." - Tracy Ramsey, Liverpool Hope University "A very good accompaniment to any student thinking seriously about following the work of Foucault... Easy to follow, very well structured." - Mark Timoney, Sligo Institute of Technology Michel Foucault is now regarded as one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. He is known for his sensibility of critique and his commitment to movements for social change. His analysis of the ways our notions of truth, meaning, knowledge and reason are shaped by historical forces continues to influence thinkers around the world. Understanding Foucault offers a comprehensive introduction to Foucault's work. The authors examine Foucault's thinking in the context of the philosophies he engaged with during his career, and the events he participated in, including the student protests of 1968. A unique feature of the book is its consideration of recently published lectures and minor works, and the authors show how these illuminate and extend our understanding of Foucault's major books. Understanding Foucault provides an accessible entree to the world of this extraordinary and challenging philosopher.
The Early Romantics met resistance from artists and academics alike in part because they defied the conventional wisdom that philosophy and the arts must be kept separate. Indeed, as the literary component of Romanticism has been studied and celebrated in recent years, its philosophical aspect has receded from view. This book, by one of the most respected scholars of the Romantic era, offers an explanation of Romanticism that not only restores but enhances understanding of the movement's origins, development, aims, and accomplishments--and of its continuing relevance.
Poetry is in fact the general ideal of the Romantics, Frederick Beiser tells us, but only if poetry is understood not just narrowly as poems but more broadly as things made by humans. Seen in this way, poetry becomes a revolutionary ideal that demanded--and still demands--that we transform not only literature and criticism but all the arts and sciences, that we break down the barriers between art and life, so that the world itself becomes "romanticized." Romanticism, in the view Beiser opens to us, does not conform to the contemporary division of labor in our universities and colleges; it requires a multifaceted approach of just the sort outlined in this book.
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.
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 "Meditations" of Marcus Aurelius" are treasured today--as they have been over the centuries--as an inexhaustible source of wisdom. And as one of the three most important expressions of Stoicism, this is an essential text for everyone interested in ancient religion and philosophy. Yet the clarity and ease of the work's style are deceptive. Pierre Hadot, eminent historian of ancient thought, uncovers new levels of meaning and expands our understanding of its underlying philosophy.
Written by the Roman emperor for his own private guidance and self-admonition, the "Meditations" set forth principles for living a good and just life. Hadot probes Marcus Aurelius's guidelines and convictions and discerns the hitherto unperceived conceptual system that grounds them. Abundantly quoting the "Meditations" to illustrate his analysis, the author allows Marcus Aurelius to speak directly to the reader. And Hadot unfolds for us the philosophical context of the "Meditations," commenting on the philosophers Marcus Aurelius read and giving special attention to the teachings of Epictetus, whose disciple he was.
The soul, the guiding principle within us, is in Marcus Aurelius's Stoic philosophy an inviolable stronghold of freedom, the "inner citadel." This spirited and engaging study of his thought offers a fresh picture of the fascinating philosopher-emperor, a fuller understanding of the tradition and doctrines of Stoicism, and rich insight on the culture of the Roman empire in the second century. Pierre Hadot has been working on Marcus Aurelius for more than twenty years; in this book he distills his analysis and conclusions with extraordinary lucidity for the general reader.
This volume contains the correspondence of La Beaumelle, writer, thinker and Huguenot man of letters. It reflects the contemporary social and intellectual scene, and covers politics, religion, literature, and the book trade.
Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997) was a central figure in twentieth-century political thought. This volume highlights Berlin's significance for contemporary readers, covering not only his writings on liberty and liberalism, the Enlightenment and Romanticism, Russian thinkers and pluralism, but also the implications of his thought for political theory, history, and the social sciences, as well as the ethical challenges confronting political actors, and the nature and importance of practical judgment for politics and scholarship. His name and work are inseparable from the revival of political philosophy and the analysis of political extremism and defense of democratic liberalism following World War II. Berlin was primarily an essayist who spoke through commentary on other authors and, while his own commitments and allegiances are clear enough, much in his thought remains controversial. Berlin's work constitutes an unsystematic and incomplete, but nevertheless sweeping and profound, defense of political, ethical, and intellectual humanism in an anti-humanistic age.
One of the most distinguished cultural and intellectual historians of our time, Frank Turner taught a landmark Yale University lecture course on European intellectual history that drew scores of students over many years. His lectures-lucid, accessible, beautifully written, and delivered with a notable lack of jargon-distilled modern European history from the Enlightenment to the dawn of the twentieth century and conveyed the turbulence of a rapidly changing era in European history through its ideas and leading figures. Richard A. Lofthouse, one of Turner's former students, has now edited the lectures into a single volume that outlines the thoughts of a great historian on the forging of modern European ideas. Moreover, it offers a fine example of how intellectual history should be taught: rooted firmly in historical and biographical evidence.
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.
In 1815 a manuscript containing one of the long-lost treasures of antiquity was discovered--the letters of Marcus Cornelius Fronto, reputed to have been one of the greatest Roman orators. But this find disappointed many nineteenth-century readers, who had hoped for the letters to convey all of the political drama of Cicero's. That the collection included passionate love letters between Fronto and the future emperor Marcus Aurelius was politely ignored--or concealed. And for almost two hundred years these letters have lain hidden in plain sight. Marcus Aurelius in Love rescues these letters from obscurity and returns them to the public eye. The story of Marcus and Fronto began in 139 CE, when Fronto was selected to instruct Marcus in rhetoric. Marcus was eighteen then and by all appearances the pupil and teacher fell in love. Spanning the years in which the relationship flowered and died, these are the only love letters to survive from antiquity--homoerotic or otherwise. With a translation that reproduces the effusive, slangy style of the young prince and the rhetorical flourishes of his master, the letters between Marcus and Fronto will rightfully be reconsidered as key documents in the study of the history of sexuality and classics.
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.
Long before the United States was a nation, it was a set of ideas, projected onto the New World by European explorers with centuries of belief and thought in tow. From this foundation of expectation and experience, America and American thought grew in turn, enriched by the bounties of the Enlightenment, the philosophies of liberty and individuality, the tenets of religion, and the doctrines of republicanism and democracy. Crucial to this development were the thinkers who nurtured it, from Thomas Jefferson to Ralph Waldo Emerson, W.E.B. DuBois to Jane Addams, and Betty Friedan to Richard Rorty. The Ideas That Made America: A Brief History traces how Americans have addressed the issues and events of their time and place, whether the Civil War, the Great Depression, or the culture wars of today. Spanning a variety of disciplines, from religion, philosophy, and political thought, to cultural criticism, social theory, and the arts, Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen shows how ideas have been major forces in American history, driving movements such as transcendentalism, Social Darwinism, conservatism, and postmodernism. In engaging and accessible prose, this introduction to American thought considers how notions about freedom and belonging, the market and morality - and even truth - have commanded generations of Americans and been the cause of fierce debate.
The Possibility of Culture: Pleasure and Moral Development in Kant's Aesthetics presents an in-depth exploration and deconstruction of Kant's depiction of the ways in which aesthetic pursuits can promote personal moral development. Presents an in-depth exploration of the connection between Kant's aesthetics and his views on moral development Reveals the links between Kant's aesthetics and his anthropology and moral psychology Explores Kant's notion of genius and his views on the connections between the social aspects of taste and moral development Addresses aspects of Kant's ethical theory that will interest scholars working in ethics and moral psychology
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.
Hospitality, in particular hospitality to strangers, was promoted in the eighteenth century as a universal human virtue, but writing of the period reveals many telling examples of its abuse. Through analysis of encounters across cultural and sexual divides, Judith Still revisits the current debate about the social, moral and political values of the Enlightenment. Focussing on (in)hospitality in relation to two kinds of exotic Other, Judith Still examines representations of indigenous peoples of the New World, both as hosts and as cannibals, and of the Moslem `Oriental' in Persia and Turkey, associated with both the caravanserai (where travellers rest) and the harem. She also explores very different examples of Europeans as hosts and the practice of `adoption', particularly that of young girls. The position of women in hospitality, hitherto neglected in favour of questions of cultural difference, is central to these analyses, and Still considers the work of women writers alongside more canonical male-authored texts. In this thought-provoking study, Judith Still uncovers how the Enlightenment rhetoric of openness and hospitality is compromised by self-interest; the questions it raises about attitudes to difference and freedom are equally relevant today.
`Reason, seriousness, mastery over the emotions, the whole murky affair which goes by the name of thought, all the privileges and showpieces of man: what a high price has been paid for them! How much blood and horror is at the bottom of all "good things!"' On the Genealogy of Morals (1887) is a book about the history of ethics and about interpretation. Nietzsche rewrites the former as a history of cruelty, exposing the central values of the Judaeo-Christian and liberal traditions - compassion, equality, justice - as the product of a brutal process of conditioning designed to domesticate the animal vitality of earlier cultures. The result is a book which raises profoundly disquieting issues about the violence of both ethics and interpretation. Nietzsche questions moral certainties by showing that religion and science have no claim to absolute truth, before turning on his own arguments in order to call their very presuppositions into question. The Genealogy is the most sustained of Nietzsche's later works and offers one of the fullest expressions of his characteristic concerns. This edition places his ideas within the cultural context of his own time and stresses the relevance of his work for a contemporary audience. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
In Thus Spake Zarathustra, one of the greatest works of western philosophy, Nietzsche brought a revolutionary and critical approach to the ideas of the past. Proclaiming 'God is dead', he extolled the virtues of the 'Superman' and of individuality in his concept of the 'will to power'. Portrayed as the speeches of the ancient Persian prophet Zarathustra, Nietzsche examines issues of morality, power, death and self-mastery in a passionate and poetic affirmation of life and freedom.
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 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.
Although Joseph de Maistre has long been regarded as characterising the Counter-Enlightenment, his intellectual relationship to eighteenth-century philosophy remains unexplored. In this first comprehensive assessment of Joseph de Maistre's response to the Enlightenment, a team of renowned scholars uncover a writer who was both the foe and heir of the philosophes. While Maistre was deeply indebted to thinkers who helped to fashion the Enlightenment - Rousseau, the Cambridge Platonists - he also agreed with philosophers such as Schopenhauer who adopted an overtly critical stance. His idea of genius, his critique of America and his historical theory all used `enlightened' language to contradict Enlightenment principles. Most intriguingly, and completely unsuspected until now, Maistre used the writings of the early Christian theologian Origen to develop a new, late, religious form of Enlightenment that shattered the logic of philosophie. The Joseph de Maistre revealed in this book calls into question any simple opposition of Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment, and offers particular lessons for our own time, when religion is at the forefront of public debate and a powerful political tool.
With the aim of widening the scope of Marxist theory, Henri Lefebvre finished Dialectical Materialism just before the beginning of World War II and the Resistance movement against the Vichy regime. As the culmination of Lefebvre's interwar activities, the book highlights the tension-fraught relationship between Lefebvre and the French Communist Party (PCF). For Lefebvre, unlike for the PCF, Marxism was above all a dynamic movement of theory and practice. Dialectical Materialism is an implicit response to Joseph Stalin's Dialectical and Historical Materialism and an attempt to show that the Stalinist understanding of the concept was dogmatic and oversimplified. This edition contains a new introduction by Stefan Kipfer, explaining the book's contemporary ramifications in the ever-expanding reach of the urban in the twentieth-century Western world.
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