The publication of Reading Capital—by Louis Althusser, Étienne Balibar, Roger Establet, Pierre Macherey, and Jacques Rancière—in 1965 marked a key intervention in Marxist philosophy and critical theory, bringing forth a stunning array of concepts that continue to inspire philosophical reflection of the highest magnitude. The Concept in Crisis reconsiders the volume’s reading of Marx and renews its call for a critique of capitalism and culture for the twenty-first century. The contributors—who include Alain Badiou, Étienne Balibar, and Fernanda Navarro—interrogate Althusser's contributions in particular within the context of what is surely the most famous collective reading of Marx ever undertaken. Among other topics, they offer a symptomatic critique of Althusser; consider his writing as a materialist production of knowledge; analyze the volume’s conceptualization of value and crisis; examine how leftist Latin American leaders like Che Guevara and Subcomandante Marcos engaged with Althusser and Reading Capital; and draw out the volume's implications and use for feminist theory and praxis. Retrieving the inspiration that drove Althusser's reinterpretation of Marx, The Concept in Crisis explains why Reading Capital's revolutionary inflection retains its critical appeal, prompting readers to reconsider Marx's relevance in an era of neoliberal capitalism.
Contributors. Emily Apter, Alain Badiou, Étienne Balibar, Bruno Bosteels, Adrian Johnston, Warren Montag, Fernanda Navarro, Nick Nesbitt, Knox Peden, Nina Power, Robert J. C. Young
Applying systems theory to the comedies of Chekhov, Balzac, Kleist, Moliere, and Shakespeare, A Concept of Dramatic Genre and the Comedy of a New Type: Chess, Literature, and Film approaches dramatic genre from the point of view of the degree of richness and strength of a character’s potential. Its main focus is to establish a methodology for analyzing the potential from multidimensional perspectives, using systems thinking. The whole concept is an alternative to the Aristotelian plot-based approach and is applied to an analysis of western and eastern European authors as well as contemporary American film.
This innovative study consists of three parts: The first part is mostly theoretical, proposing a new definition of the dramatic as a category linked to general systems phenomena and offering a new classification of dramatic genre. In the second part, Ulea offers a textual analysis of some works based on this new classification. She analyzes comedies, tragedies, and dramas on the same or similar topics in order to reveal what makes them belong to opposite types of dramatic genre.
Additionally, she considers the question of fate and chance, with regard to tragedy and comedy, from the point of view of the predispositioning theory. In the third part, Ulea explores an analysis of the comedy of a new type—CNT. Her emphasis is on the integration of the part and the whole in approaching the protagonist’s potential. She introduces the term quasi-strong potential in order to reveal the illusory strength of protagonists of the CNT and to show the technique of CNT’s analysis and synthesis.
Ulea’s research begins with the notion of the comic, traditionally considered synonymous with the laughable, and attempts to approach it as independent from the laughable and laughter. The necessity to do so is dictated by the desire to penetrate the enigmatic nature of Chekhov’s comedy. The result is A Concept of Dramatic Genre and the Comedy of a New Type: Chess, Literature, and Film, a completely new approach to potential and systems thinking—which has never been a focus of dramatic theory before. Such potential is the touchstone of the comic and comedy, their permanent basic characteristic, the heart and axis around which the comedic world spins.
"Liberty was the most cherished right possessed by English-speaking people in the eighteenth century. It was both an ideal for the guidance of governors and a standard with which to measure the constitutionality of government; both a cause of the American Revolution and a purpose for drafting the United States Constitution; both an inheritance from Great Britain and a reason republican common lawyers continued to study the law of England."
As John Philip Reid goes on to make clear, "liberty" did not mean to the eighteenth-century mind what it means today. In the twentieth century, we take for granted certain rights—such as freedom of speech and freedom of the press—with which the state is forbidden to interfere. To the revolutionary generation, liberty was preserved by curbing its excesses. The concept of liberty taught not what the individual was free to do but what the rule of law permitted. Ultimately, liberty was law—the rule of law and the legalism of custom. The British constitution was the charter of liberty because it provided for the rule of law.
Drawing on an impressive command of the original materials, Reid traces the eighteenth-century notion of liberty to its source in the English common law. He goes on to show how previously problematic arguments involving the related concepts of licentiousness, slavery, arbitrary power, and property can also be fit into the common-law tradition. Throughout, he focuses on what liberty meant to the people who commented on and attempted to influence public affairs on both sides of the Atlantic. He shows the depth of pride in liberty—English liberty—that pervaded the age, and he also shows the extent—unmatched in any other era or among any other people—to which liberty both guided and motivated political and constitutional action.
The Concept of Mind
Gilbert Ryle University of Chicago Press, 2003 Library of Congress BF161.R9 2002 | Dewey Decimal 128.2
This now-classic work challenges what Ryle calls philosophy's "official theory," the Cartesians "myth" of the separation of mind and matter. Ryle's linguistic analysis remaps the conceptual geography of mind, not so much solving traditional philosophical problems as dissolving them into the mere consequences of misguided language. His plain language and esstentially simple purpose place him in the traditioin of Locke, Berkeley, Mill, and Russell.
What is good political judgment? Is it a science subject to strict standards of logic and inference, or is it more like an art, the product of intuition, feeling, or even chance? Peter J. Steinberger shows how the seemingly contradictory claims of inference and intuition are reconciled in the concept of political judgment.
Resting his argument on the larger notion of judgment itself, Steinberger develops an original model of how political judgments are made and how we justify calling some of them "good." His systematic analysis of such thinkers as Machiavelli, Kant, Gadamer, Wittgenstein, and Oakeshott introduces an original notion of judgment as "intelligent performance," incorporating both intuition and rational reconstruction.
Steinberger's conclusion—that a coherent political society must also be a judgmental one—flies in the face of much contemporary thinking.
"Americans did not rebel from Great Britain because they wanted a different government. They rebelled because they believed that Parliament was violating constitutional precepts. Colonial Whigs did not fight for American rights. They fought for English rights."—from the Preface
John Phillip Reid goes on to argue that it was generally the application, not the definition, of these rights that was disputed. The sole—and critical—exception concerned the right of representation. American perceptions of the responsibility of representatives to their constituents, the necessity of equal representation, and the constitutional function of consent had diverged gradually, but significantly, from British tradition. Drawing on his mastery of eighteenth-century legal thought, Reid explores the origins and shifting meanings of representation, consent, arbitrary rule, and constitution. He demonstrates that the controversy which led to the American Revolution had more to do with jurisprudential and constitutional principles than with democracy and equality. This book will interest legal historians, Constitutional scholars, and political theorists.
“Social justice” is a term heard a great deal today, but what does it mean? It does not appear in pre-nineteenth century classic texts on justice. Is it a social agenda inspired by compassion? Is it a particular set of institutional arrangements to achieve justice? What the term means, and – in some quarters – whether it is even a term worth using, is a matter of controversy.
The inspiration for this book comes from the fact that current discussions of “social justice” often deal overwhelmingly with programs that aim to advance certain specific and controversial policies to deal with various social problems. In the process, important theoretical questions about social justice are not even confronted, much less resolved. For example, what does the word “social” add to “justice”? Isn't all justice “social”? What is the relation between “social justice” and more classical Aristotelian terms such as “distributive justice,” “commutative justice,” and “legal justice”? With respect to its current usage, is the term “social justice” applicable only to special policies or programs (e.g., government or nonprofit social welfare programs)? Does it apply only to the provision of material goods and services? Does it play a role in the ordinary everyday world of business and work?
The papers in this book aim, not at identifying some particular set of public policies that allegedly constitute the right content of “social justice,” but at reflection on the meaning of social justice. It is not an exhortation to pursue policies that are “understood,” without discussion, to be the right way to pursue social justice. It is not aimed at stimulating activism, mobilizing people to go out and achieve social justice now. Rather, it aims at building the foundation upon which people can identify general principles of justice, and make reasonable prudential judgments about how to pursue social justice. This theoretical orientation means that it is neither “right-wing” nor “left-wing.” The Concept of Social Justice provides a range of insightful essays on the term and on its various uses and abuses. The authors of these papers are committed to something like “social justice” – they don't believe that it is spurious notion that should be rejected. They may very well disagree about exactly how to pursue social justice. But their primary concern here is to ask, simply, “what is social justice?”
Jean Bethke Elshtain and Michael Novak show various ways in which the term has been misunderstood or narrowed or abused for ideological reasons. Nicholas Wolterstorff’s essay makes careful distinctions necessary to identify the implications of adding “social” to “justice” and fleshes out a valuable notion of the concept. John Finnis locates the origins of social justice in an historical misreading of Thomas Aquinas’ discussion of justice, which narrowed his “general justice” in a way that required a new notion of “social justice.” Joseph Koterksi, S.J., Robert Kennedy, and J. Brian Benestad each elaborate some of the ways in which “social justice” has been used in the Catholic social teaching since Rerum Novarum and in international theological and U.S. episcopal documents.
Readers will come away from this book with a deeper understanding of the origins of social justice, a sensitivity to the frequent abuses of the term, and a recognition of the forms in which it can be a valuable part of today’s political discourse.
In this, his most influential work, legal theorist and political philosopher Carl Schmitt argues that liberalism's basis in individual rights cannot provide a reasonable justification for sacrificing oneself for the state. This edition of the 1932 work includes the translator's introduction (by George Schwab) which highlights Schmitt's intellectual journey through the turbulent period of German history leading to the Hitlerian one-party state. It also includes Leo Strauss's analysis of Schmitt's thesis and a foreword by Tracy B. Strong placing Schmitt's work into contemporary context.
In this, his most influential work, legal theorist and political philosopher Carl Schmitt argues that liberalism’s basis in individual rights cannot provide a reasonable justification for sacrificing oneself for the state—a critique as cogent today as when it first appeared. George Schwab’s introduction to his translation of the 1932 German edition highlights Schmitt’s intellectual journey through the turbulent period of German history leading to the Hitlerian one-party state. In addition to analysis by Leo Strauss and a foreword by Tracy B. Strong placing Schmitt’s work into contemporary context, this expanded edition also includes a translation of Schmitt’s 1929 lecture “The Age of Neutralizations and Depoliticizations,” which the author himself added to the 1932 edition of the book. An essential update on a modern classic, The Concept of the Political, Expanded Edition belongs on the bookshelf of anyone interested in political theory or philosophy.
In this book, Michael Brown provides original and critical analysis of the state of the social sciences and the humanities. He examines the different disciplines that address human affairs--from sociology, philosophy, political science, and anthropology to the humanities in general--to understand their common ground. He probes the ways in which we investigate the meaning of individuality in a society for which individuals are not the agents of the activities in which they participate, and he develops a critical method for studying the relations among activities, objects, and situations.
The Concept of the Social in Uniting the Humanities and Social Sciences restores the centrality of sociality to all disciplines that provide for and depend on the social dimension of human life. Ultimately, he establishes a theory of the unity of the human sciences that will surely make readers rethink the current state and future of theory in those fields for years to come.
Alexandre Kojève (1902–1968) is most widely known in America for his provocative assertion that history is at its end, that is, its completion. In the “practical” sense, this means that the process of historical development can at last be seen (if from a distance) as the realization of the Marxist “universal and homogeneous state.” However, Kojève claimed as well that the history of philosophical thinking had also reached its goal in the transformation of philosophy, as the “love of wisdom” (or the unsatisfied quest for comprehensive knowledge), into that very Wisdom itself and had done so in the most essential respects in the philosophy of Hegel.
The Concept, Time, and Discourse is the first volume of Kojève’s magnum opus, which was to have given an exposition of the (Hegelian) System of Knowledge and of which five volumes were written before his death. It contains, along with a preliminary discussion of the need for an updating of the Hegelian system, the first two of three introductions to the exposition of that system: a First Introduction of the Concept (the integrated totality of what is comprehensible, which is the final object of philosophic inquiry) and a Second Introduction concerning Time, both introductions leading to the (Hegelian) identification of the Concept with Time, an identification which alone takes adequate account of the fact that Philosophy is necessarily discursive (that it must actualize the requirements and essential structure of Discourse).
The present volume offers Kojève’s fullest statement of his Ontology. It includes a critical discussion of the traditional oppositions of the “general” to the “particular” and of the “abstract” to the “concrete” and an analysis of the act of “generalizing abstraction,” which detaches Essence from the Existence of Things. Kojève then discusses the three great figures in the three-stage development of philosophy into wisdom: Parmenides, Plato, and Hegel. Parmenides’ monadic account of Being (= Eternity) rendered it ineffable, thereby reducing philosophy to (non-philosophic) silence; Plato’s dyadic account of Being (as eternal) was intended to make Being a possible subject of discourse but failed to reflect adequately the triadic (and temporally developing) structure which Plato himself discerned in Discourse. Finally, Hegel’s triadic account of Being as itself “dialectical” achieved the final identification of the Concept with Time.
This is a first-time, meticulous translation of Kojève’s late, unfinished magnum opus, the “updating” of the Hegelian System of Knowledge, meaning its modification so as to make it comprehensible to the author himself and to his contemporaries. It is, however, much more than an exposition of its central terms, The Concept and Time and their identity. It is an acute, original review of the major themes of the West’s philosophical tradition; it is, in fact, a philosophical education in itself. Robert Williamson has done this tradition a great service by making Kojève’s work accessible to Americans. – Eva Brann, Dean Emerita and Senior Faculty, St. John’s College, Annapolis, Maryland
We now recognize Alexandre Kojève as one of the central figures of 20th century European philosophy. A translation of his The Concept, Time, and Discourse will enable English speaking readers to have a fuller understanding of his remarkably ambitious intellectual project. – Michael S. Roth, President, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut.
Robert B. Williamson is Tutor Emeritus at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, where he continues to teach. He is co-author, with Alfred Mollin, of An Introduction to Ancient Greek (University Press of America) and the author of articles on Plato’s philosophy and Einstein’s early work on relativity theory.
James H. Nichols, Jr. is Professor of Government and Dr. Jules L. Whitehill Professor of Humanism and Ethics at Claremont McKenna College, where he teaches political philosophy. Among his publications are Epicurean Political Philosophy: The De rerum natura ofLucretius, translations with interpretations of Plato’s Gorgias and Phaedrus, and most recently Alexandre Kojève: Wisdom at the End ofHistory.
Marx and Engels’ concept of the “lumpenproletariat,” or underclass (an anglicized, politically neutral term), appears in The Communist Manifesto and other writings. It refers to “the dangerous class, the social scum, that passively rotting mass thrown off by the lowest layers of old society,” whose lowly status made its residents potential tools of the capitalists against the working class. Surprisingly, no one has made a substantial study of the lumpenproletariat in Marxist thought until now. Clyde Barrow argues that recent discussions about the downward spiral of the American white working class (“its main problem is that it is not working”) have reactivated the concept of the lumpenproletariat, despite long held belief that it is a term so ill-defined as not to be theoretical. Using techniques from etymology, lexicology, and translation, Barrow brings analytical coherence to the concept of the lumpenproletariat, revealing it to be an inherent component of Marx and Engels’ analysis of the historical origins of capitalism. However, a proletariat that is destined to decay into an underclass may pose insurmountable obstacles to a theory of revolutionary agency in post-industrial capitalism. Barrow thus updates historical discussions of the lumpenproletariat in the context of contemporary American politics and suggests that all post-industrial capitalist societies now confront the choice between communism and dystopia.
In 1859 a Hungarian obstetrician named Ignaz Semmelweis, reflecting on his years as resident in the Vienna maternity clinic, wrote a graphic account of his attempt to diagnose and eliminate the then epidemic scourge of childbed fever. The resulting Etiology triggered an immediate and international squall of protest from Semmelweis’s colleagues; today it is recognized as a pioneering classic of medical history. Now, for the first time in many years, Codell Carter makes that classic available to the English-speaking reader in this vivid translation of the 1861 original, augmented by footnotes and an explanatory introduction. For students and scholars of medical history and philosophy, obstetrics and women’s studies, the accessibility of this moving and revolutionary work, important both as an historical document and as a groundbreaking precursor of modern medical theory, is long overdue.
Semmelweis’s exposure to the childbed fever was concurrent with his appointment to the Vienna maternity hospital in 1846. Like many similar hospitals and clinics in the major cities of nineteenth-century Europe and America, where death rates from the illness sometimes climbed as high as 40 percent of admitted patients, the Viennese wards were ravaged by the fever. Intensely troubled by the tragic and baffling loss of so many young mothers, Semmelweis sought answers. The Etiology was testimony to his success. Based on overwhelming personal evidence, it constituted a classic description of a disease, its causes, and its prevention. It also allowed a necessary response to the obstetrician’s already vocal, rabid, and perhaps predictable critics. For Semmelweis’s central thesis was a startling one - the fever, he correctly surmised, was caused not by epidemic or endemic influences but by unsterilized and thus often contaminated hands of the attending physicians themselves.
Carter’s translation of this radical work, judiciously abridged and extensively footnoted, captures all the drama and impassioned conviction of the original. Complementing this translation is a lucid introduction that places Semmelweis’s Etiology in historical perspective and clarifies its contemporary value. That value, Carter argues, is considerable. Important as a model of clinical analysis and as a chronicle of early nineteenth-century obstetrical practices, the Etiology is also a revolutionary polemic in its innovative doctrine of antisepsis and in its unique etiological explanation of disease. As such its recognition and reclamation allows a crucial understanding, one that clarifies the roots and theory of modern medicine and ultimately redeems and important, resolute, pathfinder.
The idea that the United States—a nation founded after a war of independence—operates as an imperialist power on the world stage has gained considerable traction since the turn of the twenty-first century. But just a few decades earlier, this position was considered radical and even “un-American.” How did this dramatic change come about?
Tracing the emergence of the concept of US imperialism, James G. Morgan shows how radical and revisionist scholars in the 1950s and 1960s first challenged the paradigm of denying an American empire. As the Vietnam War created a critical flashpoint, bringing the idea of American imperialism into the US mainstream, radical students of the New Left turned toward Marxist critiques, admiring revolutionaries like Che Guevara. Simultaneously, a small school of revisionist scholars, led by historian William Appleman Williams at the University of Wisconsin, put forward a progressive, nuanced critique of American empire grounded in psychology, economics, and broader historical context. It is this more sophisticated strand of thinking, Morgan argues, which demonstrated that empire can be an effective analytical framework for studying US foreign policy, thus convincing American scholars to engage with the subject seriously for the first time.
Written in the intense political and intellectual tumult of the early years of the Weimar Republic, Political Theology develops the distinctive theory of sovereignty that made Carl Schmitt one of the most significant and controversial political theorists of the twentieth century.
Focusing on the relationships among political leadership, the norms of the legal order, and the state of political emergency, Schmitt argues in Political Theology that legal order ultimately rests upon the decisions of the sovereign. According to Schmitt, only the sovereign can meet the needs of an "exceptional" time and transcend legal order so that order can then be reestablished. Convinced that the state is governed by the ever-present possibility of conflict, Schmitt theorizes that the state exists only to maintain its integrity in order to ensure order and stability. Suggesting that all concepts of modern political thought are secularized theological concepts, Schmitt concludes Political Theology with a critique of liberalism and its attempt to depoliticize political thought by avoiding fundamental political decisions.
Social Change in Contemporary China offers a wide-ranging examination of Chinese institutional change in areas of education, religion, health care, economics, labor, family, and local communities in the post-Mao era. Based on the pioneering work of sociologist C. K. Yang (1911–1999), and his institutional diffusion theory, the essays analyze and develop the theory as it applies to both public and private institutions. The interrelationship of these institutions composes what Yang termed the Chinese “system,” and affects nearly every aspect of life. Yang examined the influence of external factors on each institution, such as the influence of Westernization and Communism on family, and the impact of industrialization on rural markets. He also analyzed the impact of public opinion and past culture on institutions, therein revealing the circular nature of diffusion. Perhaps most significant are Yang’s insights on the role of religion in Chinese society. Despite the common perception that China had no religion, he uncovers the influence of classical Confucianism as the basis for many ethical value systems, and follows its diffusion into state and kinship systems, as well as Taoism and Buddhism.
Writing in the early years of Communism, Yang had little hard data with which to test his theories. The contributors to this volume expand upon Yang’s groundbreaking approach and apply the model of diffusion to a rapidly evolving contemporary China, providing a window into an increasingly modern Chinese society and its institutions.
This study of theories of music and art in China from the classical period to the Six Dynasties is based on analysis and interpretation of textual and archaeological evidence. Its wide-ranging sources include mythology, aesthetic philosophy, musical lore, and notation systems. The evolution of theories of music and art is considered in the context of cosmological and moral philosophy.
In modern life, technology is everywhere. Yet as a concept, technology is a mess. In popular discourse, technology is little more than the latest digital innovations. Scholars do little better, offering up competing definitions that include everything from steelmaking to singing. In Technology: Critical History of a Concept, Eric Schatzberg explains why technology is so difficult to define by examining its three thousand year history, one shaped by persistent tensions between scholars and technical practitioners. Since the time of the ancient Greeks, scholars have tended to hold technicians in low esteem, defining technical practices as mere means toward ends defined by others. Technicians, in contrast, have repeatedly pushed back against this characterization, insisting on the dignity, creativity, and cultural worth of their work.
The tension between scholars and technicians continued from Aristotle through Francis Bacon and into the nineteenth century. It was only in the twentieth century that modern meanings of technology arose: technology as the industrial arts, technology as applied science, and technology as technique. Schatzberg traces these three meanings to the present day, when discourse about technology has become pervasive, but confusion among the three principal meanings of technology remains common. He shows that only through a humanistic concept of technology can we understand the complex human choices embedded in our modern world.