This new edition of Descartes’ Meditations by Zbigniew Janowski, wrote extensively on Descartes and 17th c. philosophy, was prepared with the first-year college student in mind. unlike all existing editions in english, which contain bare text of the Meditations, the novelty of this edition is that it includes a short commentary to each meditation, in which the editors help the reader follow Descartes’ steps and arguments.
In addition to their brief commentaries, the author also included short footnotes to the books and articles by contemporary Cartesian specialists who discuss in greater detail specific questions and problems which the text of the Meditations raises. In doing so, the author hopes to familiarize students with authors and titles of major works on Descartes, and with on-going scholarly controversies which this masterpiece of modern thought still inspires
Six Days with Descartes: The Meditations, Latin and English Text with a Commentary for College Students can also serve as a helpful tool for young and less experienced teachers of philosophy.
This book brings together for the first time in English the major writings of Mikhail Epstein, one of post-Soviet Russia's most prominent theoreticians of cultural studies and postmodernism. Written from a non-Western point of view yet informed by a familiarity with Western literary theory, it offers a fresh, lucid perspective on the post-communist literary scene as well as a practical and theoretical introduction to the new discipline of Russian "culturology."
A nuanced extrapolation of Hannah Arendt’s theory of judgment through her highly provocative reading of Immanuel Kant
More than a half century after it was first published, Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism rose to the top of best-seller lists as readers grappled with the triumph of Trumpism. Arendt, Kant, and the Enigma of Judgment directs our attention to her later thought, the posthumously published and highly provocative Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy. Martin Blumenthal-Barby puts this work in dialogue with Arendt’s other writings, including her notes on Kant’s Critique of Judgment, to outline her own theory of judgment for the twentieth century. In an era of post-truths and artificial intelligence, the idea that authentic judgment—for example, the ability to distinguish right from wrong—is incommensurable with abstract, automated processes lies at the center of Arendt’s late work and at the fore of our collective reckoning.
Rather than presenting us with a fixed account, Blumenthal-Barby suggests, Arendt’s drawing and redrawing of conceptual distinctions is itself an enactment of judgment, a process that challenges and complicates what she says at every turn. In so doing, Arendt, in thoroughly Kantian fashion, establishes judgment as a performative category that can never be taught but only demonstrated. As sharp as it is timely, this incisive book reminds us why a shared reality matters in a time of intense political polarization and why the democratic project, vulnerable as it may appear today, crucially depends on it.
This is a new translation, with introduction, commentary, and an explanatory glossary.
"Sachs's translation and commentary rescue Aristotle's text from the rigid, pedantic, and misleading versions that have until now obscured his thought. Thanks to Sachs's superb guidance, the Physics comes alive as a profound dialectical inquiry whose insights into the enduring questions about nature, cause, change, time, and the 'infinite' are still pertinent today. Using such guided studies in class has been exhilarating both for myself and my students." ––Leon R. Kass, The Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago
Aristotle’s Physics is the only complete and coherent book we have from the ancient world in which a thinker of the first rank seeks to say something about nature as a whole. For centuries, Aristotle’s inquiry into the causes and conditions of motion and rest dominated science and philosophy. To understand the intellectual assumptions of a powerful world view—and the roots of the Scientific Revolution—reading Aristotle is critical. Yet existing translations of Aristotle’s Physics have made it difficult to understand either Aristotle’s originality or the lasting value of his work.
In this volume in the Masterworks of Discovery series, Joe Sachs provides a new plain-spoken English translation of all of Aristotle’s classic treatise and accompanies it with a long interpretive introduction, a running explication of the text, and a helpful glossary. He succeeds brilliantly in fulfilling the aim of this innovative series: to give the general reader the tools to read and understand a masterwork of scientific discovery.
“Appiah is a writer and thinker of remarkable range… [He] has packed into this short book an impressive amount of original reflection… A rich and illuminating book.” —Thomas Nagel, New York Review of Books
Idealization is a fundamental feature of human thought. We build simplified models to make sense of the world, and life is a constant adjustment between the models we make and the realities we encounter. Our beliefs, desires, and sense of justice are bound up with these ideals, and we proceed “as if” our representations were true, while knowing they are not. In this elegant and original meditation, Kwame Anthony Appiah suggests that this instinct to idealize is not dangerous or distracting so much as it is necessary. As If explores how strategic untruth plays a critical role in far-flung areas of inquiry: decision theory, psychology, natural science, and political philosophy. A polymath who writes with mainstream clarity, Appiah defends the centrality of the imagination not just in the arts but in science, morality, and everyday life.
“Appiah is the rare public intellectual who is also a first-rate analytic philosopher, and the characteristic virtues associated with each of these identities are very much in evidence throughout the book.” —Thomas Kelly, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
A dual biography crafted around the famous encounter between the French philosopher who wrote about power and the Russian empress who wielded it with great aplomb.
In October 1773, after a grueling trek from Paris, the aged and ailing Denis Diderot stumbled from a carriage in wintery St. Petersburg. The century’s most subversive thinker, Diderot arrived as the guest of its most ambitious and admired ruler, Empress Catherine of Russia. What followed was unprecedented: more than forty private meetings, stretching over nearly four months, between these two extraordinary figures. Diderot had come from Paris in order to guide—or so he thought—the woman who had become the continent’s last great hope for an enlightened ruler. But as it soon became clear, Catherine had a very different understanding not just of her role but of his as well. Philosophers, she claimed, had the luxury of writing on unfeeling paper. Rulers had the task of writing on human skin, sensitive to the slightest touch.
Diderot and Catherine’s series of meetings, held in her private chambers at the Hermitage, captured the imagination of their contemporaries. While heads of state like Frederick of Prussia feared the consequences of these conversations, intellectuals like Voltaire hoped they would further the goals of the Enlightenment.
In Catherine & Diderot, Robert Zaretsky traces the lives of these two remarkable figures, inviting us to reflect on the fraught relationship between politics and philosophy, and between a man of thought and a woman of action.
“A history of philosophy in twelve thinkers…The whole performance combines polyglot philological rigor with supple intellectual sympathy, and it is all presented…in a spirit of fun…This bracing and approachable book [shows] that there is life in philosophy yet.” —Times Literary Supplement
“Exceptionally engaging…Geuss has a remarkable knack for putting even familiar thinkers in a new light.” —Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
“Geuss is something like the consummate teacher, his analyses navigable and crystal, his guidance on point.” —Doug Phillips, Key Reporter
Raymond Geuss explores the ideas of twelve philosophers who broke dramatically with prevailing wisdom, from Socrates and Plato in the ancient world to Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, and Adorno. The result is a striking account of some of the most innovative thinkers in Western history and an indirect manifesto for how to pursue philosophy today. Geuss cautions that philosophers’ attempts to break from convention do not necessarily make the world a better place. Montaigne’s ideas may have been benign, but the fate of those of Hobbes, Hegel, and Nietzsche has been more varied. Yet in the act of provoking people to think differently, philosophers remind us that we are not fated to live within the systems of thought we inherit.
Cinema without Reflection traces an implicit film theory in Jacques Derrida’s oeuvre, especially in his frequent invocation of the myth of Echo and Narcissus. Derrida’s reflections on the economies of image and sound that reverberate in this story, along with the spectral dialectics of love, mirrors, and poiesis, serve as the basis for a theory of cinema that Derrida perhaps secretly imagined.
Following Derrida’s interventions on Echo and Narcissus across his thought on the visual arts, Akira Mizuta Lippit seeks to return to a theory of cinema adrift in Derrida’s philosophy.
Forerunners is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital works. Written between fresh ideas and finished books, Forerunners draws on scholarly work initiated in notable blogs, social media, conference plenaries, journal articles, and the synergy of academic exchange. This is gray literature publishing: where intense thinking, change, and speculation take place in scholarship.
The complete surviving works of Epictetus, the most influential Stoic philosopher from antiquity.
“Some things are up to us and some are not.”
Epictetus was born into slavery around the year 50 CE, and, upon being granted his freedom, he set himself up as a philosophy teacher. After being expelled from Rome, he spent the rest of his life living and teaching in Greece. He is now considered the most important exponent of Stoicism, and his surviving work comprises a series of impassioned discourses, delivered live and recorded by his student Arrian, and the Handbook, Arrian’s own take on the heart of Epictetus’s teaching.
In Discourses, Epictetus argues that happiness depends on knowing what is in our power to affect and what is not. Our internal states and our responses to events are up to us, but the events themselves are assigned to us by the benevolent deity, and we should treat them—along with our bodies, possessions, and families—as matters of indifference, simply making the best use of them we can. Together, the Discourses and Handbook constitute a practical guide to moral self-improvement, as Epictetus explains the work and exercises aspirants need to do to enrich and deepen their lives. Edited and translated by renowned scholar Robin Waterfield, this book collects the complete works of Epictetus, bringing to modern readers his insights on how to cope with death, exile, the people around us, the whims of the emperor, fear, illness, and much more.
CUSTOMER NOTE: THE HARDCOVER IS FOR LIBRARIES AND HAS NO JACKET.
A new reading of Hegel’s Science of Logic through the history of European mathematics.
Conceptual Harmonies develops an original account of G. W. F. Hegel’s perplexing Science of Logic from a simple insight: philosophical and mathematical thought have shaped each other since classical times. Situating the Science of Logic within the rise of modern mathematics, Redding stresses Hegel’s attention to Pythagorean ratios, Platonic reason, and Aristotle’s geometrically inspired logic. He then explores how later traditions shaped Hegel’s world, through both Leibniz and new forms of algebraic geometry. This enlightening reading recovers an overlooked stream in Hegel’s philosophy that remains, Redding argues, important for contemporary conceptions of logic.
Called “the most important critic of his time” by Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin has only become more influential over the years, as his work has assumed a crucial place in current debates over the interactions of art, culture, and meaning. A “natural and extraordinary talent for letter writing was one of the most captivating facets of his nature,” writes Gershom Scholem in his Foreword to this volume; and Benjamin's correspondence reveals the evolution of some of his most powerful ideas, while also offering an intimate picture of Benjamin himself and the times in which he lived.
Writing at length to Scholem and Theodor Adorno, and exchanging letters with Rainer Maria Rilke, Hannah Arendt, Max Brod, and Bertolt Brecht, Benjamin elaborates on his ideas about metaphor and language. He reflects on literary figures from Kafka to Karl Kraus, and expounds his personal attitudes toward such subjects as Marxism and French national character. Providing an indispensable tool for any scholar wrestling with Benjamin’s work, The Correspondence of Walter Benjamin, 1910–1940 is a revelatory look at the man behind much of the twentieth century’s most significant criticism.
John F. Finamore Catholic University of America Press, 2017 Library of Congress B395.D37 2017 | Dewey Decimal 184
Diary of a Philosophy Student: Volume 2, 1928-29
Simone de Beauvoir; Translation by Barbara Klaw; Edited by Barbara Klaw, Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir, Margaret A. Simons, and Marybeth Timmermann University of Illinois Press, 2021 Library of Congress B2430.B344A3 2006 | Dewey Decimal 194
Simone de Beauvoir, still a teen, began a diary while a philosophy student at the Sorbonne. Written in 1926-27—before Beauvoir met Jean-Paul Sartre—the diaries reveal previously unknown details about her life and times and offer critical insights into her early intellectual interests, philosophy, and literary works.
Presented for the first time in translation, this fully annotated first volume of the Diary includes essays from Barbara Klaw and Margaret A. Simons that address its philosophical, historical, and literary significance. It remains an invaluable resource for tracing the development of Beauvoir’s independent thinking and her influence on philosophy, feminism, and the world.
Hegel’s philosophy of history—which most critics view as a theory of inevitable progress toward modern European civilization—is widely regarded as a failure today. In Does History Make Sense? Terry Pinkard argues that Hegel’s understanding of historical progress is not the kind of teleological or progressivist account that its detractors claim, but is based on a subtle understanding of human subjectivity.
Pinkard shows that for Hegel a break occurred between modernity and all that came before, when human beings found a new way to make sense of themselves as rational, self-aware creatures. In Hegel’s view of history, different types of sense-making become viable as social conditions change and new forms of subjectivity emerge. At the core of these changes are evolving conceptions of justice—of who has authority to rule over others. In modern Europe, Hegel believes, an unprecedented understanding of justice as freedom arose, based on the notion that every man should rule himself. Freedom is a more robust form of justice than previous conceptions, so progress has indeed been made. But justice, like health, requires constant effort to sustain and cannot ever be fully achieved.
For Hegel, philosophy and history are inseparable. Pinkard’s spirited defense of the Hegelian view of history will play a central role in contemporary reevaluations of the philosopher’s work.
At its most basic, philosophy is about learning how to think about the world around us. It should come as no surprise, then, that children make excellent philosophers! Naturally inquisitive, pint-size scholars need little prompting before being willing to consider life’s big questions, however strange or impractical. Plato & Co. introduces children—and curious grown-ups—to the lives and work of famous philosophers, from Socrates to Descartes, Einstein, Marx, and Wittgenstein. Each book in the series features an engaging—and often funny—story that presents basic tenets of philosophical thought alongside vibrant color illustrations.
Sprawled in his favorite armchair, Dr. Freud notices a peculiar phrase in pages of his notebook: “preaching to the fishes.” What could he have meant by this? If there’s one thing he has learned working as a psychoanalyst, it’s that the best way to make sense of yourself is through your dreams—and so he settles down for a nice long nap. But no sooner does his head hit the pillow than he begins to hear voices! A frightened fish with a childhood memory lodged in its throat coaxes Dr. Freud into the cold water, where his ideas come to life through an unforgettable cast of characters, including a loquacious carp and three frogs—Id, Ego, and Superego—locked in fierce competition for a single waterlily.
A surprising look at how Rousseau defended the philosophic life as the most natural and best of lives.
Dreaming of Justice, Waking to Wisdom reveals what could be thought of as the capstone of Rousseau’s thought, even if that capstone has been nearly invisible to readers. Despite criticizing philosophy for its corrosive effects on both natural goodness and civic virtue, Rousseau, argues Laurence D. Cooper, held the philosophic life as an ideal. Cooper expertly unpacks Rousseau’s vivid depiction of the philosophic life and the case for that life as the most natural, the freest, or, in short, the best or most choice-worthy of lives. Cooper focuses especially on a single feature, arguably the defining feature of the philosophic life: the overcoming of the ordinary moral consciousness in favor of the cognitivist view of morality. Cooper shows that Rousseau, with his particular understanding and embrace of the philosophic life, proves to be a kind of latter-day Socratic. Thorough and thought-provoking, Dreaming of Justice, Waking to Wisdom provides vital insight into Rousseau.
A fine example of the best scholarship that lies at the intersection of philosophy, religion, and history.
Dynamic Repetition proposes a new understanding of modern Jewish theories of messianism across the disciplines of history, theology, and philosophy. The book explores how ideals of repetition, return, and the cyclical occasioned a new messianic impulse across an important swath of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century German Jewish thought. To grasp the complexities of Jewish messianism in modernity, the book focuses on diverse notions of “dynamic repetition” in the works of Franz Rosenzweig, Walter Benjamin, Franz Kafka, and Sigmund Freud, and their interrelations with basic trajectories of twentieth-century philosophy and critical thought.
The Elements of Foucault
Gregg Lambert University of Minnesota Press, 2020 Library of Congress B2430.F724L36 2020 | Dewey Decimal 194
A new conceptual diagram of Foucault’s original vision of the biopolitical order
The history around the critical reception of Michel Foucault’s published writings is troubled, according to Gregg Lambert, especially in light of the controversy surrounding his late lectures on biopolitics and neoliberal governmentality. In this book, Lambert’s unique approach distills Foucault’s thought into its most basic components in order to more fully understand its method and its own immanent rules of construction.
The Elements of Foucault presents a critical study of Foucault’s concept of method from the earlier History of Sexuality, Volume 1, to his later lectures. Lambert breaks down Foucault’s post-1975 analysis of the idea of biopower into four elements: the method, the conceptual device (i.e., dispositif), the grid of intelligibility, and the notion of “milieu.” Taken together, these elements compose the diagram of Foucault’s early analysis and the emergence of the neoliberal political economy. Lambert further delves into how Foucault’s works have been used and misused over time, challenging the periodization of Foucault’s later thought in scholarship as well as the major and most influential readings of Foucault by other contemporary philosophers—in particular Gilles Deleuze and Giorgio Agamben.
The Elements of Foucault is the first generally accessible, yet rigorous and comprehensive, discussion of lectures and major published works of Foucault’s post-1975 theory of biopower and of the major innovation of the concept of dispositif. It is also the first critical work to address the important influence of French philosopher Georges Canghuilhem on Foucault’s thought.
In the West, Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel is a thinker of unusual prominence. In China, he’s a phenomenon, greeted by vast crowds. China Daily reports that he has acquired a popularity “usually reserved for Hollywood movie stars.” China Newsweek declared him the “most influential foreign figure” of the year. In Sandel the Chinese have found a guide through the ethical dilemmas created by the nation’s swift embrace of a market economy—a guide whose communitarian ideas resonate with aspects of China’s own rich and ancient philosophical traditions.
Chinese citizens often describe a sense that, in sprinting ahead, they have bounded past whatever barriers once held back the forces of corruption and moral disregard. The market economy has lifted millions from poverty but done little to define ultimate goals for individuals or the nation. Is the market all there is? In this context, Sandel’s charismatic, interactive lecturing style, which roots moral philosophy in real-world scenarios, has found an audience struggling with questions of their responsibility to one another.
Encountering China brings together leading experts in Confucian and Daoist thought to explore the connections and tensions revealed in this unlikely episode of Chinese engagement with the West. The result is a profound examination of diverse ideas about the self, justice, community, gender, and public good. With a foreword by Evan Osnos that considers Sandel’s fame and the state of moral dialogue in China, the book will itself be a major contribution to the debates that Sandel sparks in East and West alike.
Throughout his life, prophetic American philosopher Murray Bookchin created social ecology as a comprehensive social program for the challenges of our present era. Through tireless teaching, speaking, organizing, and writing, Bookchin presented a humanist vision of ecology based on community, direct democracy, and the better promises of the Enlightenment, showing how we could transform our society into one that is free and egalitarian.
Enlightenment and Ecology is an international collection of commemorative essays by scholars and activists who have each incorporated the ideas of social ecology into their own work. This book also examines how the Kurdish freedom movement is using the Bookchin’s utopian ideas. In a time of urgent need for radical change, these essays provide both precious historical lessons and a transformative road map.
By the time Eric Voegelin fled Hitler’s regime and made his way to the United States in 1938, he had already written four books criticizing Nazi racism, establishing what would be the focus of his life’s work: to account for the endemic political violence of the twentieth century. One of the most original political philosophers of the period, Voegelin has largely avoided ideological labels or categorizations of his work. Because of this, however, and because no one work or volume of his can do justice to his overall project, his work has been seen as difficult to approach.
Drawing from the University of Missouri Press’s thirty-four-volume edition of The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin (1990-2009), Charles Embry and Glenn Hughes have assembled a selection of representative works of Voegelin, satisfying a longstanding need for a single volume that can serve as a general introduction to Voegelin’s philosophy. The collection includes writings that demonstrate the range and creativity of Voegelin’s thought as it developed from 1956 until his death in 1985 in his search for the history of order in human society.
The Reader begins with excerpts from Autobiographical Reflections (1973), which include an orienting mixture of biographical information, philosophical motivations, and the scope of Voegelin’s project. It reflects key periods of Voegelin’s philosophical development, pivoting on his flight from the Gestapo.
The next section focuses on Voegelin’s understanding of the contemporary need to re-ground political science in a non-positivistic, post-Weberian outlook and method. It begins with Voegelin’s historical survey of science and scientism, followed by his explanation of what political science now requires in his introduction to The New Science of Politics. Also included are two essays that exemplify the practice of this “new science.” Voegelin started his academic career as a political scientist, and these early essays indicate his wide philosophical vision.
Voegelin recognized that a fully responsible “new science of politics” would require the development of a philosophy of history. This led to the writing of his magnum opus, the five-volume Order and History (1956–1985). This section of the Reader includes his introductions to volumes 1, 2 and 4 and his most essential accounts of the theoretical requirements and historical scope of a philosophy of history adequate to present-day scholarship and historical discoveries.
In the course of his career, Voegelin came to understand that political science, political philosophy, and philosophy of history must have as their theoretical nucleus a sound philosophical anthropology based on an accurate philosophy of human consciousness. The next set of writings consists of one late lecture and four late essays that exemplify how Voegelin recovers the wisdom of classical philosophy and the Western religious tradition while criticizing modern misrepresentations of consciousness. The result is Voegelin’s contemporary accounts of the nature of reason, the challenge of truly rational discussion, and the search for divine origins and the life of the human spirit.
During his philosophical journey, Voegelin addressed the historical situatedness of human existence, explicating the historicity of human consciousness in a manner that gave full due to the challenges of acknowledging both human immersion in the story of history and the ability of consciousness to arrive at philosophically valid truths about existence that are transhistorical. The essays in this final section present the culmination of his philosophical meditation on history, consciousness, and reality.
A clarifying examination of Gilles Deleuze’s first book shows how he would later transform the problem of immanence into the problem of difference
Despite the wide reception Gilles Deleuze has received across the humanities, research on his early work has remained scant. Experience and Empiricism remedies that gap with a detailed study of Deleuze’s first book, Empiricism and Subjectivity, which is devoted to the philosophical project of David Hume. Russell Ford argues that this work is poorly understood when read simply as a stand-alone study on Hume. Its significance only becomes apparent within the context of a larger problematic that dominated, and continues to inform, modern European philosophy: the conceptual constitution of a purely immanent account of existence. While the importance of this debate is recognized in contemporary scholarship, its genealogy—including Deleuze’s place within it—has been underappreciated. This book shows how Deleuze directly engages in an ongoing debate between his teachers Jean Wahl and Jean Hyppolite over experience and empiricism, an intervention that restages the famous encounter between rationalism and empiricism that yielded Kant’s critical philosophy. What, Deleuze effectively asks, might have happened had Hume been the one roused from his empirical dogmatic slumber by the rationalist challenge of Kant?
In the most comprehensive account to date of Walter Benjamin’s philosophy of language, Alexander Stern explores the nature of meaning by putting Benjamin in dialogue with Wittgenstein.
Known largely for his essays on culture, aesthetics, and literature, Walter Benjamin also wrote on the philosophy of language. This early work is famously obscure and considered hopelessly mystical by some. But for Alexander Stern, it contains important insights and anticipates—in some respects surpasses—the later thought of a central figure in the philosophy of language, Ludwig Wittgenstein.
As described in The Fall of Language, Benjamin argues that “language as such” is not a means for communicating an extra-linguistic reality but an all-encompassing medium of expression in which everything shares. Borrowing from Johann Georg Hamann’s understanding of God’s creation as communication to humankind, Benjamin writes that all things express meanings, and that human language does not impose meaning on the objective world but translates meanings already extant in it. He describes the transformations that language as such undergoes while making its way into human language as the “fall of language.” This is a fall from “names”—language that responds mimetically to reality—to signs that designate reality arbitrarily.
While Benjamin’s approach initially seems alien to Wittgenstein’s, both reject a designative understanding of language; both are preoccupied with Russell’s paradox; and both try to treat what Wittgenstein calls “the bewitchment of our understanding by means of language.” Putting Wittgenstein’s work in dialogue with Benjamin’s sheds light on its historical provenance and on the turn in Wittgenstein’s thought. Although the two philosophies diverge in crucial ways, in their comparison Stern finds paths for understanding what language is and what it does.
Frederic Jameson and Film Theory is the first collection of its kind, it assesses and critically responds to Fredric Jameson’s remarkable contribution to film theory. The essays assembled explore key Jamesonian concepts—such as totality, national allegory, geopolitics, globalization, representation, and pastiche—and his historical schema of realism, modernism, and postmodernism, considering, in both cases, how these can be applied, revised, expanded and challenged within film studies. Featuring essays by leading and emerging voices in the field, the volume probes the contours and complexities of neoliberal capitalism across the globe and explores world cinema's situation within these forces by deploying and adapting Jamesonian concepts, and placing them in dialogue with other theoretical paradigms. The result is an innovative and rigorously analytical effort that offers a range of Marxist-inspired approaches towards cinemas from Asia, Latin America, Europe, and North America in the spirit of Jameson's famous rallying cry: 'always historicize!'.
An accessible and informative study of the life and work of this vaunted German philosopher.
In this concise yet comprehensive critical biography, Ritchie Robertson examines the work of Friedrich Nietzsche within the context of his life. The book traces Nietzsche’s development from outstanding classical scholar to cultural critic, who measured Imperial Germany by the standards of ancient Greece. It follows him on his path from a prophet (in the persona of Zarathustra) to a savage polemicist against modern liberal values, offering a “philosophy of the future.” Robertson argues that Nietzsche’s middle-period writings offer a subtle and searching analysis of his culture, more rewarding than the strident and often-controversial later works. The book also assesses Nietzsche’s claim to be continuing the Enlightenment and shows that he valued reason, evidence, and fact, without which his historical case against Christianity would make no sense.
German-born Gerhard (Gershom) Scholem (1897–1982), the preeminent scholar of Jewish mysticism, delved into the historical analysis of kabbalistic literature from late antiquity to the twentieth century. His writings traverse Jewish historiography, Zionism, the phenomenology of mystical religion, and the spiritual and political condition of contemporary Judaism and Jewish civilization. Scholem famously recounted rejecting his parents’ assimilationist liberalism in favor of Zionism and immigrating to Palestine in 1923, where he became a central figure in the German Jewish immigrant community that dominated the nation’s intellectual landscape in Mandatory Palestine. Despite Scholem’s public renunciation of Germany for Israel, Zadoff explores how the life and work of Scholem reflect ambivalence toward Zionism and his German origins.
A reevaluation of Édouard Glissant that centers on the catastrophe of the Middle Passage and creates deep, original theories of trauma and Caribbeanness
While philosophy has undertaken the work of accounting for Europe’s traumatic history, the field has not shown the same attention to the catastrophe known as the Middle Passage. It is a history that requires its own ideas that emerge organically from the societies that experienced the Middle Passage and its consequences firsthand. Glissant and the Middle Passage offers a new, important approach to this neglected calamity by examining the thought of Édouard Glissant, particularly his development of Caribbeanness as a critical concept rooted in the experience of the slave trade and its aftermath in colonialism.
In dialogue with key theorists of catastrophe and trauma—including Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, George Lamming, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Derek Walcott, as well as key figures in Holocaust studies—Glissant and the Middle Passage hones a sharp sense of the specifically Caribbean varieties of loss, developing them into a transformative philosophical idea. Using the Plantation as a critical concept, John E. Drabinski creolizes notions of rhizome and nomad, examining what kinds of aesthetics grow from these roots and offering reconsiderations of what constitutes intellectual work and cultural production.
Glissant and the Middle Passage establishes Glissant’s proper place as a key theorist of ruin, catastrophe, abyss, and memory. Identifying his insistence on memories and histories tied to place as the crucial geography at the heart of his work, this book imparts an innovative new response to the specific historical experiences of the Middle Passage.
Understanding the political and ecological implications of Heidegger’s work without ignoring his noxious public engagements
The most controversial philosopher of the twentieth century, Martin Heidegger has influenced generations of intellectuals even as his involvement with Nazism and blatant anti-Semitism, made even clearer after the publication of his Black Notebooks, have recently prompted some to discard his contributions entirely. For Michael Marder, Heidegger’s thought remains critical for interpretations of contemporary politics and our relation to the natural environment.
Bringing together and reframing more than a decade of Marder’s work on Heidegger, this volume questions the wholesale rejection of Heidegger, arguing that dismissive readings of his project overlook the fact that it is impossible to grasp without appreciating his lifelong commitment to phenomenology and that Heidegger’s anti-Semitism is an aberration in his still-relevant ecological and political thought, rather than a defining characteristic. Through close readings of Heidegger’s books and seminars, along with writings by other key phenomenologists and political philosophers, Marder contends that neither Heidegger’s politics nor his reflections on ecology should be considered in isolation from his phenomenology. By demonstrating the codetermination of his phenomenological, ecological, and political thinking, Marder accounts for Heidegger’s failures without either justifying them or suggesting that they invalidate his philosophical endeavor as a whole.
Heidegger's Question of Being
Holger Zaborowski Catholic University of America Press, 2017 Library of Congress B3279.H49H46 2017 | Dewey Decimal 193
The number of open and controversial questions in contemporary Heidegger research continues to be a source of scholarly dialogue. There are important questions that concern the development, as it were, of his thought and the differences and similarities between his early main work Being and Time and his later so-called being-historical thought, the thinking of the event, or appropriation, of Being. There are questions that focus on his relation to important figures in the history of ideas such as the pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Leibniz, Kant, the German idealists, and Nietzsche. Other questions focus on his biography, on his rectorate and on his relation to politics in general and to National Socialism in particular or on his influence on subsequent philosophers.
The contributions to this volume, written by leading scholars in the field of Heidegger research, address many of these questions in close readings of Heidegger’s texts and thus provide sound orientation in the field of contemporary Heidegger research. They show how the different trajectories of Heidegger’s thought—his early interest in the meaning of Being and in Dasein, his discussion of, and involvement with, politics, his understanding of art, poetry, and technology, his concept of truth and the idea of a history of Being—all converge at one point: the question of Being. It thus becomes clear that, all differences notwithstanding, Heidegger followed one very consistent path of thinking.
Vladimir Jankélévitch Duke University Press, 2015 Library of Congress B2430.B43J315 2015
Appearing here in English for the first time, Vladimir Jankélévitch's Henri Bergson is one of the two great commentaries written on Henri Bergson. Gilles Deleuze's Bergsonism renewed interest in the great French philosopher but failed to consider Bergson's experiential and religious perspectives. Here Jankélévitch covers all aspects of Bergson's thought, emphasizing the concepts of time and duration, memory, evolution, simplicity, love, and joy. A friend of Bergson's, Jankélévitch first published this book in 1931 and revised it in 1959 to treat Bergson's later works. This unabridged translation of the 1959 edition includes an editor's introduction, which contextualizes and outlines Jankélévitch's reading of Bergson, additional essays on Bergson by Jankélévitch, and Bergson's letters to Jankélévitch.
A nuanced reflection on the meaning and resonance of Patočka’s philosophy
Foregrounding the turbulent political and intellectual scene in Czechoslovakia following the Prague Spring in 1968, James Dodd explores the unity of philosophy, history, and politics in Jan Patočka’s life and legacy. Dodd presents Patočka as an essential philosopher of modern concepts—such as freedom, subjectivity, and history—and also as an interpreter of prominent thinkers such as Husserl and Heidegger.
Dodd outlines the phenomenology that Patočka, as a late pupil of Husserl and Heidegger, crafted in response to the classical model before turning to his philosophy of history, which was oriented around the problem of Europe and the care for the soul. Finally, Dodd examines Patočka’s role as a dissident intellectual and one of the principal voices of the Charter 77 human rights movement until his death in March 1977. By situating Patočka’s thought in relation to classical phenomenology and to the political and historical conditions of Central Europe, Dodd illuminates the enduring impact of this key thinker of the twentieth century.
An engrossing account of the meteoric rise of contemporary philosophy’s most contentious and prolific intellectual.
Slovenian philosopher bad boy Slavoj Žižek is one of the most famous intellectuals of our time, publishing at a breakneck speed and lecturing around the world. With his unmistakable speaking style and set of mannerisms that have made him ripe material for internet humor and meme culture, he is recognizable to a wide spectrum of fans and detractors. But how did an intellectual from a remote Eastern European country come to such popular notoriety? In How Slavoj Became Žižek, sociologist Eliran Bar-El plumbs the emergence, popularization, and development of this phenomenon called “Žižek.”
Beginning with Žižek’s early years as a thinker and political figure in Slovenian civil society, Bar-El traces Žižek’s rise from Marxist philosopher to a political candidate to eventual intellectual celebrity as Žižek perfects his unique performative style and a rhetorical arsenal of “Hegelacanese.” Following 9/11, Žižek’s career as a global op-ed writer and TV commentator married his rhetoric with global events such as the War on Terror, the financial crisis of 2008, and the Arab Spring of 2011. Yet, at the same time, this mainstream popularity, as well as a series of politically incorrect views, almost entirely estranged the Slovenian from the normal workings of academia. Ultimately, this account shows how Žižek harnessed the power of the digital era in his own self-fashioning as a public intellectual.
New 2016 paperback edition of the original 1989 printing (out-of-print).
Michael Allen's latest work on the profoundly influential Florentine thinker of the fifteenth century, Marsilio Ficino, will be welcomed by philosophers, literary scholars, and historians of the Renaissance, as well as by classicists. Ficino was responsible for inaugurating, shaping, and disseminating the wide-ranging philosophico-cultural movement known as Renaissance Platonism, and his views on the Sophist, which he saw as Plato's preeminent ontological dialogue, are of signal interest. This dialogue also served Ficino as a vehicle for exploring a number of other humanist, philosophical, and magical preoccupations, including the theme of man the artist and creator.
Information and Mind explores questions of consciousness that Fred Dretske addressed in his philosophical career. Ranging from one of the earliest problems Dretske analyzed—the nature of seeing an object—to epistemological issues that he began working on mid-career, to matters he focused on in later years, including information, mental representation, and conscious experience, this volume investigates and engages with a spectrum of his prolific works. These papers, written by former colleagues and students from the University of Wisconsin and Stanford University, were inspired by talks given at the Center for the Explanation of Consciousness at Stanford in 2015 to celebrate Dretske’s life and work. In addition to scholarly essays, the authors also recount stories of personal interactions with Dretske that transformed their views or changed their professional trajectory. A bibliography of Dretske’s publications rounds out the volume. This generous volume includes contributions by Fred Adams, John A. Barker, John Perry, Paul Skokowski, and Dennis Stampe.
An engaging account of the titan of political philosophy and the development of his most important work, A Theory of Justice, coming at a moment when its ideas are sorely needed.
It is hard to overestimate the influence of John Rawls on political philosophy and theory over the last half-century. His books have sold millions of copies worldwide, and he is one of the few philosophers whose work is known in the corridors of power as well as in the halls of academe. Rawls is most famous for the development of his view of “justice as fairness,” articulated most forcefully in his best-known work, A Theory of Justice. In it he develops a liberalism focused on improving the fate of the least advantaged, and attempts to demonstrate that, despite our differences, agreement on basic political institutions is both possible and achievable.
Critics have maintained that Rawls’s view is unrealistic and ultimately undemocratic. In this incisive new intellectual biography, Andrius Gališanka argues that in misunderstanding the origins and development of Rawls’s central argument, previous narratives fail to explain the novelty of his philosophical approach and so misunderstand the political vision he made prevalent. Gališanka draws on newly available archives of Rawls’s unpublished essays and personal papers to clarify the justifications Rawls offered for his assumption of basic moral agreement. Gališanka’s intellectual-historical approach reveals a philosopher struggling toward humbler claims than critics allege.
To engage with Rawls’s search for agreement is particularly valuable at this political juncture. By providing insight into the origins, aims, and arguments of A Theory of Justice, Gališanka’s John Rawls will allow us to consider the philosopher’s most important and influential work with fresh eyes.
A leading philosopher seeks to recover “common sense” as a meeting place to reconcile science and philosophy
With her previous books on Alfred North Whitehead, Isabelle Stengers not only secured a reputation as one of the premier philosophers of our times but also inspired a rethinking of critical theory, political thought, and radical philosophy across a range of disciplines. Here, Stengers unveils what might well be seen as her definitive reading of Whitehead.
Making Sense in Common will be greeted eagerly by the growing group of scholars who use Stengers’s work on Whitehead as a model for how to think with conceptual precision through diverse domains of inquiry: environmentalism and ecology, animal studies, media and technology studies, the history and philosophy of science, feminism, and capitalism. On the other hand, the significance of this new book extends beyond Whitehead. Instead, it lies in Stengers’s recovery of the idea of “common sense” as a meeting place—a commons—where opposed ideas of science and humanistic inquiry can engage one another and help to move society forward. Her reconciliation of science and philosophy is especially urgent today—when climate disaster looms all around us, when the values of what we thought of as civilization and modernity are discredited, and when expertise of any kind is under attack.
Nietzsche and Race
Marc de Launay
University of Chicago Press, 2023 Library of Congress B3317.L277813 2023
A definitive debunking of the “Nietzsche as Nazi” caricature.
The caricature of Friedrich Nietzsche as a proto-Nazi is still with us, originating with his own Nazi sister, Elisabeth Förster, who curated Nietzsche’s disparate texts to suit her own purposes. In Nietzsche and Race, Marc de Launay deftly counters this persistent narrative in a series of concise and highly accessible reflections on the concept of race in Nietzsche’s publications, notebooks, and correspondence. Through a fresh reading of Nietzsche’s core philosophical project, de Launay articulates a new understanding of race in Nietzsche’s body of work free from the misunderstanding of his detractors.
A holistic reading of Nietzsche’s distinctive thought beyond the “death of God.”
In Nietzsche’s Kind of Philosophy, Richard Schacht provides a holistic interpretation of Friedrich Nietzsche’s distinctive thinking, developed over decades of engagement with the philosopher’s work. For Schacht, Nietzsche’s overarching project is to envision a “philosophy of the future” attuned to new challenges facing Western humanity after the “death of God,” when monotheism no longer anchors our understanding of ourselves and our world. Schacht traces the developmental arc of Nietzsche’s philosophical efforts across Human, All Too Human, Daybreak, Joyful Knowing (The Gay Science), Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil, and On the Genealogy of Morality. He then shows how familiar labels for Nietzsche—nihilist, existentialist, individualist, free spirit, and naturalist—prove insufficient individually but fruitful if refined and taken together. The result is an expansive account of Nietzsche’s kind of philosophy.
A penetrating study of the sister who betrayed and endangered her famous brother's legacy
In 1901, a year after her brother Friedrich's death, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche published The Will to Power, a hasty compilation of writings he had never intended for print. In Nietzsche's Sister and the Will to Power, Carol Diethe contends that Förster-Nietzsche's own will to power and her desire to place herself--not her brother--at the center of cultural life in Germany are centrally responsible for Nietzsche's reputation as a belligerent and proto-Fascist thinker.
Offering a new look at Nietzsche's sister from a feminist perspective, this spirited and erudite biography examines why Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche recklessly consorted with anti-Semites, from her own husband to Hitler himself, out of convenience and a desire for revenge against a brother whose love for her waned after she caused the collapse of his friendship with Lou Salomé. The book also examines their family dynamics, Nietzsche's dismissal of his sister's early writing career, and the effects of limited education on intelligent women. Diethe concludes by detailing Förster-Nietzsche's brief marriage and her subsequent colonial venture in Paraguay, maintaining that her sporadic anti-Semitism was, like most things in her life, an expedient tool for cultivating personal success and status.
A volume in the series International Nietzsche Studies, edited by Richard Schacht
Frequently cited and just as often disputed, Elizabeth Anscombe’s “Modern Moral Philosophy” (1958) and “The First Person” (1975) are touchstones of twentieth-century analytic philosophy. Though the arguments Anscombe advances in these papers are familiar to philosophers, their significance remains widely misunderstood, says James Doyle.
No Morality, No Self offers a fresh interpretation of Anscombe’s still-controversial theses about ethical reasoning and individual identity, specifically, her argument that the term “moral” (as it occurs in such contexts as “moral obligation”) is literally meaningless, and that “I” does not refer to some special entity called a “self”—a pair of claims that philosophers have responded to with deep skepticism. However unsettling Anscombe’s conclusions may be, Doyle shows the underlying seriousness of the British philosopher’s reasoning, exposing with clarity and concision how the counterarguments of Anscombe’s detractors are based on a flawed or incomplete understanding of her ideas.
Doyle zeroes in on the central conundrum Anscombe posed to the referentialist school: namely, that it is impossible to give a noncircular explanation of how “I” refers to the person who utters it. He shows where the refutations of philosophers including Lucy O’Brien, Gareth Evans, and Ian Rumfitt fall short, and throws light on why “I” developed features that make it look as if it functions as a referring expression. Reconciling seemingly incompatible points of view, Doyle argues that “I” does refer to a self, but not in a way anyone suspected—a surprising conclusion that is entirely à propos of Anscombe’s provocative thought.
Old English Tradition contains eighteen new essays by leading scholars in the field of Old English literary studies. The collection is centered around five key areas of research—Old English poetics, Anglo-Saxon Christianity, Beowulf, codicology, and early Anglo-Saxon studies—on which the work of scholar J. R. Hall, the volume’s honorand, has been influential over the course of his career.
The volume’s contents range from fresh insights on individual Old English poems such as The Wife’s Lament and Beowulf; new studies in Old English metrics and linguistics; codicological examinations of individual manuscripts; fresh editions of understudied texts; and innovative examinations of the role of early antiquarians in shaping the field of Old English literary studies as we know it today.
Emmanuel Levinas’s interview with Françoise Armengaud in 1988 is one of the only statements we have from the philosopher, who became influential in various disciplines through his ethics that focuses on the fine arts specifically. Presented in English for the first time here, this interview brings us Levinas’s understanding of “obliteration” as an uncanny, disruptive, and even “unavailable” concept. Discussing the work of the French sculptor Sacha Sosno, Levinas parses the complex relationship between ethics and aesthetics, examining how they play out in artistic operations and practices. In doing so, he turns away from the “ease and lighthearted casualness of the beautiful” to shed light instead on the processes of material wear and tear and the traces of repair that go into the creation and maintenance of works of art, and which ultimately give them a profound uniqueness of presence. This evocative interview uncovers a hidden thread of aesthetic thinking in Levinas’s work and introduces a new way of looking at artistic practices in general.
Jeremy Bentham’s writings on Australian governance and colonization.
Jeremy Bentham conceived the panopticon, in part, as an alternative to criminal transportation to Australia. This latest volume in The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham series draws out these connections by collecting both Bentham’s fragmentary and extended comments on Australian governance and colonization. These writings include a fragment headed “New Wales” (1792) correspondence with William Wilberforce (1802), three letters to Lord Pelham (1802), a “Plea for the Constitution” (1802–3), and “Colonization Company Proposal” (1831)—the majority published here for the first time. Although Bentham’s most famous ideas emerged from his opposition to colonization, these writings demonstrate how the reformer became a vocal advocate for settler colonization near the end of his life.
Perjury and Pardon, Volume I
Jacques Derrida University of Chicago Press, 2022 Library of Congress BF637.F67D4713 2022 | Dewey Decimal 155.92
An inquiry into the problematic of perjury, or lying, and forgiveness from one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century.
“One only ever asks forgiveness for what is unforgivable.” From this contradiction begins Perjury and Pardon, a two-year series of seminars given by Jacques Derrida at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris in the late 1990s. In these sessions, Derrida focuses on the philosophical, ethical, juridical, and political stakes of the concept of responsibility. His primary goal is to develop what he calls a “problematic of lying” by studying diverse forms of betrayal: infidelity, denial, false testimony, perjury, unkept promises, desecration, sacrilege, and blasphemy.
Although forgiveness is a notion inherited from multiple traditions, the process of forgiveness eludes those traditions, disturbing the categories of knowledge, sense, history, and law that attempt to circumscribe it. Derrida insists on the unconditionality of forgiveness and shows how its complex temporality destabilizes all ideas of presence and even of subjecthood. For Derrida, forgiveness cannot be reduced to repentance, punishment, retribution, or salvation, and it is inseparable from, and haunted by, the notion of perjury. Through close readings of Kant, Kierkegaard, Shakespeare, Plato, Jankélévitch, Baudelaire, and Kafka, as well as biblical texts, Derrida explores diverse notions of the “evil” or malignancy of lying while developing a complex account of forgiveness across different traditions.
Pagan rhetor, (Neo-)Platonist philosopher, Christian theologian
This collection of essays is devoted to the rhetoric, Neoplatonic philosophy, and Christian theology of Marius Victorinus, a mid-fourth-century professor of rhetoric and philosopher who converted to Christianity late in life. Scholars from eight different countries, some of whom have not previously published in English, reflect on debates about his writings and theological development. These topics include Victorinus's deployment of philosophical sources for trinitarian theology, possible connections in his work to Origen, Augustine, Plotinus, Porphyry, and Gnosticism, as well as his contributions to Latin rhetoric and dialectic. Contributors include Jan Dominik Bogataj, Michael Chase, Nello Cipriani, Stephen A. Cooper, Volker Henning Drecoll, Lenka Karfíková, Josef Lössl, Václav Němec, Thomas Riesenweber, Guadalupe Lopetegui Semperena, Miran Špelič, Chiara O. Tommasi, John D. Turner, and Florian Zacher. The chapters in this volume are of great interest to students of late antique philosophy, Christian theology, and Latin rhetoric.
Catherine Malabou's concept of plasticity has influenced and inspired scholars from across disciplines. The contributors to Plastic Materialities—whose fields include political philosophy, critical legal studies, social theory, literature, and philosophy—use Malabou's innovative combination of post-structuralism and neuroscience to evaluate the political implications of her work. They address, among other things, subjectivity, science, war, the malleability of sexuality, neoliberalism and economic theory, indigenous and racial politics, and the relationship between the human and non-human. Plastic Materialities also includes three essays by Malabou and an interview with her, all of which bring her work into conversation with issues of sovereignty, justice, and social order for the first time.
Contributors. Brenna Bhandar, Silvana Carotenuto, Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller, Jairus Victor Grove, Catherine Kellogg, Catherine Malabou, Renisa Mawani, Fred Moten, Alain Pottage, Michael J. Shapiro, Alberto Toscano
Plato as Critical Theorist
Jonny Thakkar Harvard University Press, 2018 Library of Congress B398.P45T43 2018 | Dewey Decimal 321.07
What is the best possible society? How would its rulers govern and its citizens behave? Such questions are sometimes dismissed as distractions from genuine political problems, but in an era when political idealism seems a relic of the past, says Jonny Thakkar, they are more urgent than ever. A daring experiment in using ancient philosophy to breathe life into our political present, Plato as Critical Theorist takes seriously one of Plato’s central claims: that philosophers should rule. What many accounts miss is the intimate connection between Plato’s politics and his metaphysics, Thakkar argues. Philosophy is the activity of articulating how parts and wholes best fit together, while ruling is the activity that shapes the parts of society into a coherent whole conducive to the good life. Plato’s ideal society is thus one in which ideal theory itself plays a leading role.
Today’s liberal democracies require not philosopher-kings legislating from above but philosopher-citizens willing to work toward a vision of the best society in their daily lives. Against the claim that such idealism is inherently illiberal, Thakkar shows that it is fully compatible with the liberal theories of both Popper and Rawls while nevertheless pushing beyond them in providing a new vantage point for the Marxian critique of capitalism.
How was the universe created, and what is our place within it? These are the questions at the heart of Plotinus’ Against the Gnostics. For the Gnostics, the universe came into being as a result of the soul’s fall from intelligible reality—it is the evil outcome of a botched creation. Plotinus challenges this, and insists that the soul’s creation of the world is the necessary consequence of its contemplation of the ideal forms. While the Gnostics claim to despise the visible universe, Plotinus argues that such contempt displays their ignorance of the higher realities of which the cosmos is a beautiful image.
Against the Gnostics is a polemical text. It aims to show the superiority of Plotinus’ philosophy over that of his Gnostic rivals, and poses unique challenges: Plotinus nowhere identifies his opponents by name, he does not set out their doctrines in any great detail, and his arguments are frequently elliptical. The detailed commentary provides a guide through these difficulties, making Plotinus’ meandering train of thought in this important treatise accessible to the reader.
The Pocket Epicurean
John Sellars University of Chicago Press, 2021 Library of Congress B512.S45 2021 | Dewey Decimal 187
A short, smart guide to living the good life through the teachings of Epicurus.
As long as there has been human life, we’ve searched for what it means to be happy. More than two thousand years ago, the Greek philosopher Epicurus came to his own conclusion: all we really want in life is pleasure. Though today we tend to associate the word “Epicurean” with indulgence in the form of food and wine, the philosophy of Epicurus was about a life well lived even in the hardest of times. As John Sellars shows in this concise, approachable guide, the ideal life envisioned by Epicurus and his followers was a life much more concerned with mental pleasures and the avoidance of pain. Their goal, in short, was a life of tranquility or contentment.
In The Pocket Epicurean Sellars walks us through the history of Epicureanism, starting with the private garden on the edge of ancient Athens where Epicurus and his students lived in the fourth century BC, and where women were as welcome as men. Sellars then moves on to ancient Rome, where Epicurean influence flourished thanks to the poet Lucretius and his cohort. Throughout the book, Sellars draws on the ideas of Epicurus to offer a constructive way of thinking about the pleasures of friendship and our place in the world.
Many definitions of postmodernism focus on its nature as the aftermath of the modern industrial age when technology developed dynamically. In The Postmodern Condition Jean-Francois Lyotard extends that analysis to postmodernism by looking at the status of science, technology, and the arts, the significance of technocracy, and the way the flow of information and knowledge are controlled in the Western world. Lyotard emphasized language; the world of postmodern knowledge can be represented as a game of language where speaking is participation in the game whose goal is the creation of new and ever-changing social linkages.
Throughout his diverse and highly influential career, Hilary Putnam was famous for changing his mind. As a pragmatist he treated philosophical “positions” as experiments in deliberate living. His aim was not to fix on one position but to attempt to do justice to the depth and complexity of reality. In this new collection, he and Ruth Anna Putnam argue that key elements of the classical pragmatism of William James and John Dewey provide a framework for the most progressive and forward-looking forms of philosophy in contemporary thought. The Putnams present a compelling defense of the radical originality of the philosophical ideas of James and Dewey and their usefulness in confronting the urgent social, political, and moral problems of the twenty-first century.
Pragmatism as a Way of Life brings together almost all of the Putnams’ pragmatist writings—essays they wrote as individuals and as coauthors. The pragmatism they endorse, though respectful of the sciences, is an open experience-based philosophy of our everyday lives that trenchantly criticizes the fact/value dualism running through contemporary culture. Hilary Putnam argues that all facts are dependent on cognitive values, while Ruth Anna Putnam turns the problem around, illuminating the factual basis of moral principles. Together, they offer a shared vision which, in Hilary’s words, “could serve as a manifesto for what the two of us would like philosophy to look like in the twenty-first century and beyond.”
Around 1800, print culture became a particularly rich source for metaphors about thinking as well as writing, nowhere more so than in the German tradition of Dichter und Denker. Goethe, Jean Paul, and Hegel (among many others) used the preface in order to reflect on the problems of writing itself, and its interpretation. If Sterne teaches us that a material book enables mind games as much as it gives expression to them, the Germans made these games more theoretical still. Weaving in authors from Antiquity to Agamben, Williams shows how European–and, above all, German–Romanticism was a watershed in the history of the preface. The playful, paradoxical strategies that Romantic writers invented are later played out in continental philosophy, and in post-Structuralist literature. The preface is a prompt for playful thinking with texts, as much as it is conventionally the prosaic product of such an exercise.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
The Quotable Voltaire
Garry Apgar Bucknell University Press, 2021 Library of Congress PQ2074.A64 2021 | Dewey Decimal 848.509
The author of more than 2,000 books and pamphlets, Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet, 1694-1778) was one of the most prolific writers of the eighteenth century, and also one of the wittiest and most insightful. This unique collection of over 800 of Voltaire’s wisest passages and choicest bons mots runs the gamut on topics from adultery to Zoroaster, in both English and French.
Drawing from a wide range of his publications, private letters, and remarks recorded by his contemporaries, The Quotable Voltaire includes material never before gathered in a single volume. English translations appear alongside the original French, and each quote is thoroughly indexed and referenced, with page numbers for both the first known publication edition of each entry and the most recent edition of Voltaire’s works. The book also features over 400 quotes about Voltaire, including commentary by eighteenth-century luminaries like Samuel Johnson, Catherine the Great, Casanova, and John Adams, as well as an eclectic assortment of modern-day personages ranging from Winston Churchill and Jorge Luis Borges to Mae West and Mike Tyson.
Lavishly illustrated with nearly three dozen images of Voltaire-related art, this collection opens with a scholarly essay that recounts the great man’s life and reflects on his outsized influence on Western culture. Whether you are a Voltaire scholar or a neophyte, The Quotable Voltaire is the perfect introduction to a brilliant mind.
Reading Aristotle with Thomas Aquinas: His Commentaries on Aristotle’s Major Works offers an original and decisive work for the understanding of the thought of Thomas Aquinas. For decades his commentaries on the major works of Aristotle have been the subject of lively discussions. Are his commentaries faithful and reliable expositions of the Stagirite's thought or do they contain Thomas’s own philosophy and are they read through the lens of Thomas’s own Christian faith and in doing so possibly distorting Aristotle?
In order to be able to provide clarity and offer a nuanced response to this question a careful study of all the relevant texts is needed. This is precisely what the author sets out do to in this work.
Each chapter is devoted to one of the twelve commentaries Thomas wrote on major works of Aristotle including both his massive and influential commentaries on the Metaphysics, Physics and Nicomachean Ethics as well as lesser known commentaries. Elders places Thomas’s commentary in its historical context, reviews the Greek, Arabic and Latin translation and reception of Aristotle’s text as well as contemporary interpretations thereof and presents the reader with a thorough presentation and analysis of the content of the commentary, drawing attention to all the places where Thomas intervenes and makes special observations. In this way the reader can study Aristotle’s treatises with Thomas as guide.
The conclusion reached is that Thomas’s commentaries are a masterful and faithful presentation of Aristotle’s thought and of that of Thomas himself. Thomas’s Christian faith does not falsify Aristotle’s text, but gives occasionally an outlook at what lies behind philosophical thought.
In Reading Wittgenstein with Anscombe, Going On to Ethics, Cora Diamond follows two major European philosophers as they think about thinking, as well as about our ability to respond to thinking that has miscarried or gone astray. Acting as both witness to and participant in the encounter, Diamond provides fresh perspective on the importance of the work of these philosophers and the value of doing philosophy in unexpected ways.
Diamond begins with the Tractatus (1921), in which Ludwig Wittgenstein forges a link between thinking about thought and the capacity to respond to misunderstandings and confusions. She then considers G. E. M. Anscombe’s An Introduction to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (1959), in which Anscombe, through her engagement with Wittgenstein, further explores the limits of thinking and the ability to respond to thought that has gone wrong. Anscombe’s book is important, Diamond argues, in challenging contemporary assumptions about what philosophical problems are worth considering and about how they can be approached. Through her reading of the Tractatus, Anscombe exemplified an ethics of thinking through and against the grain of common preconceptions. The result drew attention to the questions that mattered most to Wittgenstein and conveyed with great power the nature of his achievement.
Diamond herself, in turn, challenges Anscombe on certain points, thereby further carrying out just the kind of ethical work Wittgenstein and Anscombe each felt was crucial to getting things right. Through her textured engagement with her predecessors, Diamond demonstrates what genuinely independent thought is able to achieve.
Agon Hamza, ed. Duke University Press, 2015 Library of Congress B4870.Z594R474 2015
Repeating Žižek offers a serious engagement with the ideas and propositions of philosopher Slavoj Žižek. Often subjecting Žižek's work to a Žižekian analysis, this volume's contributors consider the possibility (or impossibility) of formalizing Žižek's ideas into an identifiable philosophical system. They examine his interpretations of Hegel, Plato, and Lacan, outline his debates with Badiou, and evaluate the implications of his analysis of politics and capitalism upon Marxist thought. Other essays focus on Žižek's approach to Christianity and Islam, his "sloppy" method of reading texts, his relation to current developments in neurobiology, and his theorization of animals. The book ends with an afterword by Žižek in which he analyzes Shakespeare's and Beckett's plays in relation to the subject. The contributors do not reach a consensus on defining a Žižekian school of philosophy—perhaps his idiosyncratic and often heterogeneous ideas simply resist synthesis—but even in their repetition of Žižek, they create something new and vital.
Contributors. Henrik Jøker Bjerre, Bruno Bosteels, Agon Hamza, Brian Benjamin Hansen, Adrian Johnston, Katja Kolšek, Adam Kotsko, Catherine Malabou, Benjamin Noys, Geoff Pfeifer, Frank Ruda, Oxana Timofeeva, Samo Tomšic, Gabriel Tupinambá, Fabio Vighi, Gavin Walker, Sead Zimeri, Slavoj Žižek
An influential thinker on the concept of singularity and its implications on politics, theology, economics, psychoanalysis, and literature
For readers versed in critical theory, German and comparative literature, or media studies, a new book by Samuel Weber is essential reading. Singularity is no exception. Bringing together two decades of his essays, it hones in on the surprising implications of the singular and its historical relation to the individual in politics, theology, economics, psychoanalysis, and literature. Although singularity has long been a keyword in literary studies and philosophy, never has it been explored as in this book, which distinguishes singularity as an “aporetic” notion from individuality, with which it remains historically closely tied.
To speak or write of the singular is problematic, Weber argues, since once it is spoken of it is no longer strictly singular. Walter Benjamin observed that singularity and repetition imply each other. This approach informs the essays in Singularity. Weber notes that what distinguishes the singular from the individual is that it cannot be perceived directly, but rather experienced through feelings that depend on but also exceed cognition. This interdependence of cognition and affect plays itself out in politics, economics, and theology as well as in poetics. Political practice as well as its theory have been dominated by the attempt to domesticate singularity by subordinating it to the notion of individuality. Weber suggests that this political tendency draws support from what he calls “the monotheological identity paradigm” deriving from the idea of a unique and exclusive Creator-God.
Despite the “secular” tendencies usually associated with Western modernity, this paradigm continues today to inform and influence political and economic practices, often displaying self-destructive tendencies. By contrast, Weber reads the literary writings of Hölderlin, Nietzsche, and Kafka as exemplary practices that put singularity into play, not as fiction but as friction, exposing the self-evidence of established conventions to be responses to challenges and problems that they often prefer to obscure or ignore.
Forty years in the making, this long-awaited reinterpretation of Hegel’s The Phenomenology of Spirit is a landmark contribution to philosophy by one of the world’s best-known and most influential philosophers.
In this much-anticipated work, Robert Brandom presents a completely new retelling of the romantic rationalist adventure of ideas that is Hegel’s classic The Phenomenology of Spirit. Connecting analytic, continental, and historical traditions, Brandom shows how dominant modes of thought in contemporary philosophy are challenged by Hegel.
A Spirit of Trust is about the massive historical shift in the life of humankind that constitutes the advent of modernity. In his Critiques, Kant talks about the distinction between what things are in themselves and how they appear to us; Hegel sees Kant’s distinction as making explicit what separates the ancient and modern worlds. In the ancient world, normative statuses—judgments of what ought to be—were taken to state objective facts. In the modern world, these judgments are taken to be determined by attitudes—subjective stances. Hegel supports a view combining both of those approaches, which Brandom calls “objective idealism”: there is an objective reality, but we cannot make sense of it without first making sense of how we think about it.
According to Hegel’s approach, we become agents only when taken as such by other agents. This means that normative statuses such as commitment, responsibility, and authority are instituted by social practices of reciprocal recognition. Brandom argues that when our self-conscious recognitive attitudes take the radical form of magnanimity and trust that Hegel describes, we can overcome a troubled modernity and enter a new age of spirit.
Thinking and Being
Irad Kimhi Harvard University Press, 2018 Library of Congress B808.5.K56 2018 | Dewey Decimal 128.33
Opposing a long-standing orthodoxy of the Western philosophical tradition running from ancient Greek thought until the late nineteenth century, Frege argued that psychological laws of thought—those that explicate how we in fact think—must be distinguished from logical laws of thought—those that formulate and impose rational requirements on thinking. Logic does not describe how we actually think, but only how we should. Yet by thus sundering the logical from the psychological, Frege was unable to explain certain fundamental logical truths, most notably the psychological version of the law of non-contradiction—that one cannot think a thought and its negation simultaneously.
Irad Kimhi’s Thinking and Being marks a radical break with Frege’s legacy in analytic philosophy, exposing the flaws of his approach and outlining a novel conception of judgment as a two-way capacity. In closing the gap that Frege opened, Kimhi shows that the two principles of non-contradiction—the ontological principle and the psychological principle—are in fact aspects of the very same capacity, differently manifested in thinking and being.
As his argument progresses, Kimhi draws on the insights of historical figures such as Aristotle, Kant, and Wittgenstein to develop highly original accounts of topics that are of central importance to logic and philosophy more generally. Self-consciousness, language, and logic are revealed to be but different sides of the same reality. Ultimately, Kimhi’s work elucidates the essential sameness of thinking and being that has exercised Western philosophy since its inception.
This in-depth biography of Italian intellectual Antonio Gramsci casts new light on his life and writing, emphasizing his unflagging spirit, even in the many years he spent in prison.
One of the most influential political thinkers of the twentieth century, Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937) has left an indelible mark on philosophy and critical theory. His innovative work on history, society, power, and the state has influenced several generations of readers and political activists, and even shaped important developments in postcolonial thought. But Gramsci’s thinking is scattered across the thousands of notebook pages he wrote while he was imprisoned by Italy’s fascist government from 1926 until shortly before his death.
To guide readers through Gramsci’s life and works, historian Jean-Yves Frétigné offers To Live Is to Resist, an accessible, compelling, and deeply researched portrait of an extraordinary figure. Throughout the book, Frétigné emphasizes Gramsci’s quiet heroism and his unwavering commitment to political practice and resistance. Most powerfully, he shows how Gramsci never surrendered, even in conditions that stripped him of all power—except, of course, the power to think.
A vital and timely contribution to the growing scholarship on the political thought of Alain Badiou
Is inattention to questions of race more than just incidental to Alain Badiou’s philosophical system? Universal Emancipation reveals a crucial weakness in the approach to (in)difference in political life of this increasingly influential French thinker. With white nationalist movements on the rise, the tensions between commitments to universal principles and attention to difference and identity are even more pressing.
Elisabeth Paquette’s powerful critical analysis demonstrates that Badiou’s theory of emancipation fails to account for racial and racialized subjects, thus attenuating its utility in thinking about freedom and justice. The crux of the argument relies on a distinction he makes between culture and politics, whereby freedom only pertains to the political and not the cultural. The implications of this distinction become evident when she turns to two examples within Badiou’s theory: the Négritude movement and the Haitian Revolution. According to Badiou’s 2017 book Black, while Négritude is an important cultural movement, it cannot be considered a political movement because Négritude writers and artists were too focused on particularities such as racial identity. Paquette argues that Badiou’s discussion of Négritude mirrors that of Jean-Paul Sartre in his 1948 essay “Black Orpheus” that has been critiqued by leading critical race theorists. Second, prominent Badiou scholar Nick Nesbitt claims that the Haitian Revolution could only be considered political if its adherents had shifted their focus away from race. However, Paquette argues that not only was race a central feature of this revolution but also that the revolution ought to be understood as a political emancipation movement.
Paquette also moves beyond Badiou, drawing on the groundbreaking work of Sylvia Wynter to offer an alternative framework for emancipation. She juxtaposes Badiou’s use of universality as indifference to difference with Wynter’s pluri-conceptual theory of emancipation, emphasizing solidarity over indifference. Paquette then develops her view of a pluri-conceptual theory of emancipation, wherein particular identities, such as race, need not be subtracted from a theory of emancipation.
A close read of the rich collections of texts left behind by Václav Havel, one of the most important Czech thinkers and leaders of the twentieth century.
No one in Czech politics or culture could match the international stature of Václav Havel at the time of his death in 2011. In the years since his passing, his legacy has only grown, as developments in the Czech Republic and elsewhere around the world continue to show the importance of his work and writing against a range of political and social ills, from autocratic brutality to messianic populism.
This book looks squarely at the heart of Havel’s legacy: the rich corpus of texts he left behind. It analyzes the meanings of key concepts in Havel’s core vocabulary: truth, power, civilsociety, home, appeal, indifference, hotspot, theatre, prison, and responsibility. Where do these concepts appear in Havel’s oeuvre? What part do they play in his larger intellectual project? How might we understand Havel’s focus on these concepts as a centerpiece of his contribution to contemporary thought? How does Havel’s particular perspective on the meaning of these concepts speak to us in the here and now? The ten contributors use a variety of methodological tools to examine the meaning of these concepts, drawing on a diversity of disciplines: political science and political philosophy, historical and cultural analysis, discourse/textual analysis, and linguistic-corpus analysis.
Walter Benjamin is today regarded as one of the leading thinkers of the twentieth century. Often captured in pensive pose, his image is now that of a serious intellectual. But Benjamin was also a fan of the comedies of Adolphe Menjou, Mickey Mouse, and Charlie Chaplin. As an antidote to repressive civilization, he developed, through these figures, a theory of laughter. Walter Benjamin and the Aesthetics of Film is the first monograph to thoroughly analyse Benjamin's film writings, contextualizing them within his oeuvre whilst also paying attention to the various films, actors, and directors that sparked his interest. The book situates all these writings with Benjamin's 'anthropological materialism', a concept that analyses the transformations of the human sensorium through technology. Through the term 'innervation', Benjamin thought of film spectatorship as an empowering reception that, through a rush of energy, would form a collective body within the audience, interpenetrating a liberated technology into the distracted spectators. Benjamin's writings on Soviet film and German cinema, Charlie Chaplin, and Mickey Mouse are analysed in relation to this posthuman constellation that Benjamin had started to dream of in the early twenties, long before he started to theorize about films.
The trajectory of Friedrich Nietzsche’s thought has long presented a difficulty for the study of his philosophy. How did the young Nietzsche—classicist and ardent advocate of Wagner’s cultural renewal—become the philosopher of Will to Power and the Eternal Return?
With this book, Laurence Lampert answers that question. He does so through his trademark technique of close readings of key works in Nietzsche’s journey to philosophy: The Birth of Tragedy, Schopenhauer as Educator, Richard Wagner in Bayreuth, Human All Too Human, and “Sanctus Januarius,” the final book of the 1882 Gay Science. Relying partly on how Nietzsche himself characterized his books in his many autobiographical guides to the trajectory of his thought, Lampert sets each in the context of Nietzsche’s writings as a whole, and looks at how they individually treat the question of what a philosopher is. Indispensable to his conclusions are the workbooks in which Nietzsche first recorded his advances, especially the 1881 workbook which shows him gradually gaining insights into the two foundations of his mature thinking. The result is the most complete picture we’ve had yet of the philosopher’s development, one that gives us a Promethean Nietzsche, gaining knowledge even as he was expanding his thought to create new worlds.
Wilfrid Sellars tackled the difficult problems of reconciling Pittsburgh school–style analytic thought, Husserlian phenomenology, and the Myth of the Given.
This collection of essays brings into dialogue the analytic philosophy of Wilfrid Sellars—founder of the Pittsburgh school of thought—and phenomenology, with a special focus on the work of Edmund Husserl. The book’s wide-ranging discussions include the famous Myth of the Given but also more traditional problems in the philosophy of mind and phenomenology such as the
status of perception and imagination
nature of intentionality
concept of motivation
relationship between linguistic and nonlinguistic experiences
relationship between conceptual and preconceptual experiences
Moreover, the volume addresses the conflicts between Sellars’s manifest and scientific images of the world and Husserl’s ontology of the life-world. The volume takes as a point of departure Sellars’s criticism of the Myth of the Given, but only to show the many problems that label obscures. Contributors explain aspects of Sellars’s philosophy vis-à-vis Husserl’s phenomenology, articulating the central problems and solutions of each. The book is a must-read for scholars and students interested in learning more about Sellars and for those comparing Continental and analytic philosophical thought.
Daniele De Santis