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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.
Here are The Prince and the most important of the Discourses newly translated into spare, vivid English. Why a new translation? Machiavelli was never the dull, worthy, pedantic author who appears in the pages of other translations, says David Wootton in his Introduction. In the pages that follow I have done my best to let him speak in his own voice. (And indeed, Wootton's Machiavelli does just that when the occasion demands: renderings of that most problematic of words, virtu, are in each instance followed by the Italian). Notes, a map, and an altogether remarkable Introduction no less authoritative for being grippingly readable, help make this edition an ideal first encounter with Machiavelli for any student of history and political theory.
For those open to the possibility that philosophical thought can improve life, David Hume's Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary have something to say. In the first comprehensive study of the Essays, Margaret Watkins engages closely with these neglected texts and shows how they provide important insights into Hume's perspective on the breadth and depth of human life, arguing that the Essays reveal his continued commitment to philosophy as a discipline that can promote both social and individual progress. Addressing topics such as politics, war, slavery, the priesthood, the development of industry, aesthetics, emotional disorders, egoism, friendship, sexuality, gender relations, and the nature of philosophy itself, the volume examines Hume's purposes and aims against the backdrop of the eighteenth century society in which he lived. It will be of interest to scholars of modern thought in philosophy, politics, history, and economics.
Posthumous Life launches critical life studies: a mode of inquiry that neither endorses nor dismisses a wave of recent "turns" toward life, matter, vitality, inhumanity, animality, and the real. Questioning the nature and limits of life in the natural sciences, the essays in this volume examine the boundaries and significance of the human and the humanities in the wake of various redefinitions of what counts as life. They explore the possibility of theorizing life without assuming it to be either a simple substrate or an always-mediated effect of culture and difference. Posthumous Life provides new ways of thinking about animals, plants, humans, difference, sexuality, race, gender, identity, the earth, and the future.
This is the first full study in English of the German historicist tradition. Frederick C. Beiser surveys the major German thinkers on history from the middle of the eighteenth century until the early twentieth century, providing an introduction to each thinker and the main issues in interpreting and appraising his thought. The volume offers new interpretations of well-known philosophers such as Johann Gottfried Herder and Max Weber, and introduces others who are scarcely known at all, including J. A. Chladenius, Justus Moeser, Heinrich Rickert, and Emil Lask. Beyond an exploration of the historical and intellectual context of each thinker, Beiser illuminates the sources and reasons for the movement of German historicism-one of the great revolutions in modern Western thought, and the source of our historical understanding of the human world.
The Birth of Tragedy is one of the seminal philosophical works of the modern period. The theories developed in this relatively short text have had a profound influence on the philosophy, literature, music and politics of the twentieth century. This edition presents a new translation by Ronald Speirs and an introduction by Raymond Geuss that sets the work in its historical and philosophical context. The volume also includes two essays on related topics that Nietzsche wrote during the same period.
The "Nicomachean Ethics" is one of Aristotle's most widely read and influential works. Ideas central to ethics - that happiness is the end of human endeavor, that moral virtue is formed through action and habituation, and that good action requires prudence - found their most powerful proponent in the person medieval scholars simply called "the Philosopher." Drawing on their intimate knowledge of Aristotle's thought, Robert C. Bartlett and Susan D. Collins have produced here an English-language translation of the "Ethics" that is as remarkably faithful to the original as it is graceful in its rendering. Aristotle is well known for the precision with which he chooses his words, and in this elegant translation his work has found its ideal match. Bartlett and Collins provide copious notes and a glossary providing context and further explanation for students, as well as an introduction and a substantial interpretive essay that sketch central arguments of the work and the seminal place of Aristotle's "Ethics" in his political philosophy as a whole. The "Nicomachean Ethics" has engaged the serious interest of readers across centuries and civilizations - of people ancient, medieval, and modern; pagan, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish - and this new edition will take its place as the standard English-language translation.
`IB was one of the great affirmers of our time.' John Banville, New York Review of Books The title of this final volume of Isaiah Berlin's letters is echoed by John Banville's verdict in his review of its predecessor, Building: Letters 1960-75, which saw Berlin publish some of his most important work, and create, in Oxford's Wolfson College, an institutional and architectural legacy. In the period covered by this new volume (1975-97) he consolidates his intellectual legacy with a series of essay collections. These generate many requests for clarification from his readers, and stimulate him to reaffirm and sometimes refine his ideas, throwing substantive new light on his thought as he grapples with human issues of enduring importance. Berlin's comments on world affairs, especially the continuing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and the collapse of Communism, are characteristically acute. This is also the era of the Northern Ireland Troubles, the Iranian revolution, the rise of Solidarity in Poland, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the spread of Islamic fundamentalism, and wars in the Falkland Islands, the Persian Gulf and the Balkans. Berlin scrutinises the leading politicians of the day, including Reagan, Thatcher and Gorbachev, and draws illuminating sketches of public figures, notably contrasting the personas of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Andrey Sakharov. He declines a peerage, is awarded the Agnelli Prize for ethics, campaigns against philistine architecture in London and Jerusalem, helps run the National Gallery and Covent Garden, and talks at length to his biographer. He reflects on the ideas for which he is famous - especially liberty and pluralism - and there is a generous leavening of the conversational brilliance for which he is also renowned, as he corresponds with friends about politics, the academic world, music and musicians, art and artists, and writers and their work, always displaying a Shakespearean fascination with the variety of humankind. Affirming is the crowning achievement both of Berlin's epistolary life and of the widely acclaimed edition of his letters whose first volume appeared in 2004.
"Acting Out " is the first appearance in English of two short books
published by Bernard Stiegler in 2003. In "How I Became a
Philosopher," he outlines his transformation during a five-year
period of incarceration for armed robbery. Isolated from what had
been his world, Stiegler began to conduct a kind of experiment in
phenomenological research. Inspired by the Greek stoic Epictetus,
Stiegler began to read, write, and discover his vocation,
eventually studying philosophy in correspondence with Gerard Granel
who was an important influence on a number of French philosophers,
including Jacques Derrida, who was later Stiegler's teacher.
When it first appeared in 1979, "Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature" hit the philosophical world like a bombshell. In it, Richard Rorty argued that, beginning in the seventeenth century, philosophers developed an unhealthy obsession with the notion of representation: comparing the mind to a mirror that reflects reality. Rorty's book is a powerful critique of this imagery and the tradition of thought that it spawned.
Thirty years later, the book remains a must-read and stands as a classic of twentieth-century philosophy. Its influence on the academy, both within philosophy and across a wide array of disciplines, continues unabated. This edition includes new essays by philosopher Michael Williams and literary scholar David Bromwich, as well as Rorty's previously unpublished essay "The Philosopher as Expert."
Lampooned in 406 B.C.E. in a blistering Aristophanic satire, Socrates was tried in 399 B.C.E. on a charge of corrupting the youth, convicted by a jury of about five hundred of his peers, and condemned to death. Glimpsed today through the extant writings of his contemporaries and near-contemporaries, he remains for us as compelling, enigmatic, and elusive a figure as Jesus or Buddha. Although present-day (like ancient Greek) opinion on the real Socrates diverges widely, six classic texts that any informed judgment of him must take into account appear together, for the first time, in this volume. Those of Plato and Xenophon appear in new, previously unpublished translations that combine accuracy, accessibility, and readability; that of Aristophanes' Clouds offers these same qualities in an unbowdlerized translation that captures brilliantly the bite of Aristophanes' wit. An Introduction to each text and judicious footnotes provide crucial background information and important cross-references.
In On Aristotle, Alan Ryan examines Plato's most famous student and sharpest critic. Aristotle was the first thinker to posit that a society should be ruled by laws and not men. His strongly empirical cast of mind was brought to bear on a stunning range of subjects and the resulting system dominated European thought from the thirteenth to seventeenth centuries. Aristotle's meticulous thinking on the nature of human affairs, ethics, politics, citizenship and virtue in a civil society remains as vital today as it was in his own time. Including key sections from Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, Aristotle's only surviving works, with a new introduction by Alan Ryan and a chronology of the philosopher's life and works, On Aristotle contextualises Aristotle's views of government and the political community within the Ancient World.
In this book, the author shows that it is necessary to enrich the conceptual frame of the theory of rational choice beyond consequentialism. He argues that consequentialism as a general theory of rational action fails and that this does not force us into the dichotomy teleology vs deontology. The unity of practical reason can be saved without consequentialism. In the process, he presents insightful criticism of standard models of action and rational choice. This will help readers discover a new perspective on the theory of rationality. The approach is radical: It transcends the reductive narrowness of instrumental rationality without denying its practical impact. Actions do exist that are outlined in accordance to utility maximizing or even self-interest maximizing. Yet, not all actions are to be understood in these terms. Actions oriented around social roles, for example, cannot count as irrational only because there is no known underlying maximizing heuristic. The concept of bounded rationality tries to embed instrumental rationality into a form of life to highlight limits of our cognitive capabilities and selective perceptions. However, the agent is still left within the realm of cost-benefit-reasoning. The idea of social preferences or meta-preferences cannot encompass the plurality of human actions. According to the author they ignore the plurality of reasons that drive agency. Hence, they coerce agency in fitting into a theory that undermines humanity. His theory of structural rationality acknowledges lifeworld patterns of interaction and meaning.
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.
Superficially, Wittgenstein and Heidegger seem worlds apart: they worked in different philosophical traditions, seemed mostly ignorant of one another's work, and Wittgenstein's terse aphorisms in plain language could not be farther stylistically from Heidegger's difficult prose. Nevertheless, Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations and Heidegger's Being and Time share a number of striking parallels. In particular, this book shows that both authors manifest a similar concern with authenticity. David Egan develops this position in three stages. Part One explores the emphasis both philosophers place on the everyday, and how this emphasis brings with it a methodological focus on recovering what we already know rather than advancing novel theses. Part Two argues that the dynamic of authenticity and inauthenticity in Being and Time finds homologies in Philosophical Investigations. Here Egan particularly articulates and defends a conception of authenticity in Wittgenstein that emphasizes the responsiveness and reciprocity of play. Part Three considers how both philosophers' conceptions of authenticity apply reflexively to their own work: each is concerned not only with the question of what it means to exist authentically but also with the question of what it means to do philosophy authentically. For both authors, the problematic of authenticity is intimately linked to the question of philosophical method.
The Oxford Translation of Aristotle was originally published in 12 volumes between 1912 and 1954. It is universally recognized as the standard English version of Aristotle. This revised edition contains the substance of the original Translation, slightly emended in light of recent scholarship; three of the original versions have been replaced by new translations; and a new and enlarged selection of Fragments has been added. The aim of the translation remains the same: to make the surviving works of Aristotle readily accessible to English speaking readers.
To see the presence of Spinoza, Louis Althusser once quipped, "one must at least have heard of him". The essays collected in this volume suggest that what applies to Althusser applies to his whole generation -- that Spinoza is an unsuspected but very real presence in the work of contemporary philosophers from Deleuze and Lacan to Foucault and Derrida.
These essays, most of them appearing in English for the first time, establish Spinoza's rightful role in the development and direction of contemporary continental philosophy. The volume should interest not only the growing group of scholars attracted to Spinoza's thought on ethics, politics, and subjectivity, but also theorists in a variety of fields who have not yet understood how their work can productively engage Spinoza.
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.
Since Friedrich Schleiermacher s work in the 1800s, scholars interested in the literary dimension of Plato s writings have sought to reconcile the dialogue form with the expository imperative of philosophical argument. It is now common for mainstream classicists and philosophers to attribute vital importance to literary form in Plato, which they often explain in terms of rhetorical devices serving didactic goals. This study brings the disciplines of literary and classical studies into methodological debate, questioning modern views of Plato s dialogue form.
In the first part of this book, David Schur argues that the literary features of Plato s dialogues when treated as "literary cannot be limited to a single argumentative agenda. In the second part, he demonstrates the validity of this point by considering a rhetorical pattern of self-reflection that is prominent in the Republic." He emphasizes that Plato s book consistently undermines the goal-driven conversation that it portrays. Offering a thought-provoking blend of methodological investigation and methodical close reading, Schur suggests that the Republic" qualifies the authority of its conclusions by displaying a strong countercurrent of ongoing movement."
Jose L. Zalabardo puts forward a new interpretation of central ideas in Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus concerning the structure of reality and our representations of it in thought and language. He shows the origins of Wittgenstein's picture theory of propositional representation in Russell's theories of judgment, arguing that the picture theory is Wittgenstein's solution to some of the problems that he found in Russell's position. Zalabardo defends the view that, for Wittgenstein, facts in general, and the facts that play the role of propositions in particular, are not composite items, arising from the combination of their constituents. They are ultimate, irreducible units, and what we think of as their constituents are features that facts have in common with one another. These common features have built into them their possibilities of combination with other features into possible situations. This is the source of the Tractarian account of non-actual possibilities. It is also the source of the idea that it is not possible to produce propositions answering to certain descriptions, including those that would give rise to Russell's paradox. Zalabardo then considers Wittgenstein's view that every proposition is a truth function of elementary propositions. He argues that this view is motivated by Wittgenstein's epistemology of logic, according to which we should be able to see logical relations by inspecting the structures of propositions. Finally, Zalabardo considers the problems that we face if we try to extend the application of the picture theory from elementary propositions to truth functions of these.
"Intention" is one of the masterworks of twentieth-century philosophy in English. First published in 1957, it has acquired the status of a modern philosophical classic. The book attempts to show in detail that the natural and widely accepted picture of what we mean by an intention gives rise to insoluble problems and must be abandoned. This is a welcome reprint of a book that continues to grow in importance.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau has been cast as a champion of Enlightenment and a beacon of Romanticism, a father figure of radical revolutionaries and totalitarian dictators alike, an inventor of the modern notion of the self, and an advocate of stern ancient republicanism. Engaging with Rousseau treats his writings as an enduring topic of debate, examining the diverse responses they have attracted from the Enlightenment to the present. Such notions as the general will were, for example, refracted through very different prisms during the struggle for independence in Latin America and in social conflicts in Eastern Europe, or modified by thinkers from Kant to contemporary political theorists. Beyond Rousseau's ideas, his public image too travelled around the world. This book examines engagement with Rousseau's works as well as with his self-fashioning; especially in turbulent times, his defiant public identity and his call for regeneration were admired or despised by intellectuals and political agents.
'In this thought-provoking book, Massimo Pigliucci shares his journey of discovering the power of Stoic practices in a philosophical dialogue with one of Stoicism's greatest teachers.' RYAN HOLIDAY, BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE OBSTACLE IS THE WAY AND THE DAILY STOIC Who am I? What am I doing? How ought I to live my life? Stoicism teaches us to acknowledge our emotions, reflect on what causes them and redirect them for our own good. Whenever we worry about how to be happy, we are worrying about how to lead a good life. No goal seems more elusive. Massimo Pigliucci explores this remarkable philosophy and how its wisdom can be applied to our everyday lives in the quest for meaning. He shows how stoicism teaches us the importance of a person's character, integrity and compassion. Whoever we are, we can take something away from stoicism and, in How to be a Stoic, with its practical tips and exercises, meditations and mindfulness, he also explains how relevant it is to every part of our modern lives.
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