For decades Continental theorists from Derrida to Deleuze have engaged in provocative, penetrating, and often extensive examinations of modern philosophers-studies that have opened up new ways to think about figures such as Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Hume, Rousseau, and Kant. This volume, for the first time, gives this work its due. A systematic rereading of early modern philosophers in the light of recent Continental philosophy, it exposes overlooked but critical aspects of sixteenth- through eighteenth-century philosophy even as it brings to light certain historical assumptions that have colored-and distorted-our understanding of modernist thought. This volume thus retrieves modern thinkers from the modernistic ways in which they have been portrayed since the nineteenth century; at the same time, it enhances our view of the roots and concerns of current Continental thought.
What claims does the early modern period have on contemporary philosophy? How have recent theorists engaged this material, and why? In answer, some of these essays explore how major Continental theorists such as Derrida, Deleuze, Le Doeuff, Irigaray, Kristeva, and Althusser explicate the ideas of classical modern thinkers; others draw on recent Continental insights to examine the doctrines of modern philosophers beginning with Machiavelli and ending with Kant. Together they show how current Continental theory reinvigorates the study of the history of modern philosophers by transforming not only how we interpret their answers to certain questions, but also how we understand the very nature of these questions.
The term “civilization” comes with considerable baggage, dichotomizing people, cultures, and histories as “civilized”—or not. While the idea of civilization has been deployed throughout history to justify all manner of interventions and sociopolitical engineering, few scholars have stopped to consider what the concept actually means. Here, Brett Bowden examines how the idea of civilization has informed our thinking about international relations over the course of ten centuries.
From the Crusades to the colonial era to the global war on terror, this sweeping volume exposes “civilization” as a stage-managed account of history that legitimizes imperialism, uniformity, and conformity to Western standards, culminating in a liberal-democratic global order. Along the way, Bowden explores the variety of confrontations and conquests—as well as those peoples and places excluded or swept aside—undertaken in the name of civilization. Concluding that the “West and the rest” have more commonalities than differences,this provocative and engaging bookultimately points the way toward an authentic intercivilizational dialogue that emphasizes cooperation over clashes.
Secularism is usually thought to contain the project of self-deification, in which humans attack God’s authority in order to take his place, freed from all constraints. Julie E. Cooper overturns this conception through an incisive analysis of the early modern justifications for secular politics. While she agrees that secularism is a means of empowerment, she argues that we have misunderstood the sources of secular empowerment and the kinds of strength to which it aspires.
Contemporary understandings of secularism, Cooper contends, have been shaped by a limited understanding of it as a shift from vulnerability to power. But the works of the foundational thinkers of secularism tell a different story. Analyzing the writings of Hobbes, Spinoza, and Rousseau at the moment of secularity’s inception, she shows that all three understood that acknowledging one’s limitations was a condition of successful self-rule. And while all three invited humans to collectively build and sustain a political world, their invitations did not amount to self-deification. Cooper establishes that secular politics as originally conceived does not require a choice between power and vulnerability. Rather, it challenges us—today as then—to reconcile them both as essential components of our humanity.
John Sallis is one of America’s preeminent and most original contemporary philosophers. The absence, until now, of a com-prehensive work on Sallis has constituted a glaring oversight in philosophical scholarship. The Thought of John Sallis is both an introduction for students new to his work and a valuable resource for scholars needing a systematic consideration of Sallis’s wide-ranging thought.
Sallis’s work possesses an intrinsic power and originality, as well as deep interpretive insight. This book is a descriptive and critical journey through his thought, providing an overview for readers who wish to gain a sense of its sweep, along with discrete sections on particular philosophical disciplines for readers whose interests are more specific. It grapples with the challenges Sallis’s thought presents, making them explicit and opening them up to further consideration. And it attempts to locate his thought within both contemporary continental philosophy and philosophy as a whole. Essential for any student of continental philosophy, The Thought of John Sallis expounds on his work in a manner that increases access, honors its depth, and opens up unexplored possibilities for phil-osophy.
Sophus A. Reinert Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress HB83.R45 2011 | Dewey Decimal 330.1094
Historians have traditionally turned to free trade and laissez faire to explain the development of political economy during the Enlightenment. Reinert argues that economic emulation was the prism through which philosophers, ministers, reformers, and merchants thought about imperialism, economics, industry, and reform in the early modern period.
In recent years, Richard Kearney has emerged as a leading figure in the field of continental philosophy, widely recognized for his work in the areas of philosophical and religious hermeneutics, theory and practice of the imagination, and political thought. This much-anticipated--and long overdue--study is the first to reflect the full range and impact of Kearney's extensive contributions to contemporary philosophy.
The book opens with Kearney's own "prelude" in which he traces his intellectual itinerary as it traverses the three imaginaries explored in the volume: the dialogical, the political, and the narrative. The interviews that follow the first section allow readers to listen in on conversations between Kearney and some of the most interesting and respected thinkers of our time--Noam Chomsky, Charles Taylor, Jacques Derrida, Paul Ricouer, and Martha Nussbaum--as they reveal new and unexpected aspects of their thought on stories and mourning, ethics and narrative, terror and religion, intellectuals and ideology. The next section, on the political imaginary, looks at Kearney's distinctive contribution to the political situation in Ireland and in Europe more generally; and in the last, on narrative, writers including David Wood, Terry Eagleton, and Mark Dooley focus on Kearney's novels as instances of narrative theory put into literary practice. Concluding with Kearney's postscript, an essay on "Traversals and Epiphanies in Joyce and Proust," the volume comes full circle, encompassing the full extent of Richard Kearney's engagement and offerings as a philosopher,