In 1980, Michel Foucault began a vast project of research on the relationship between subjectivity and truth, an examination of conscience, confession, and truth-telling that would become a crucial feature of his life-long work on the relationship between knowledge, power, and the self. The lectures published here offer one of the clearest pathways into this project, contrasting Greco-Roman techniques of the self with those of early Christian monastic culture in order to uncover, in the latter, the historical origin of many of the features that still characterize the modern subject. They are accompanied by a public discussion and debate as well as by an interview with Michael Bess, all of which took place at the University of California, Berkeley, where Foucault delivered an earlier and slightly different version of these lectures.
Foucault analyzes the practices of self-examination and confession in Greco-Roman antiquity and in the first centuries of Christianity in order to highlight a radical transformation from the ancient Delphic principle of “know thyself” to the monastic precept of “confess all of your thoughts to your spiritual guide.” His aim in doing so is to retrace the genealogy of the modern subject, which is inextricably tied to the emergence of the “hermeneutics of the self”—the necessity to explore one’s own thoughts and feelings and to confess them to a spiritual director—in early Christianity. According to Foucault, since some features of this Christian hermeneutics of the subject still determine our contemporary “gnoseologic” self, then the genealogy of the modern subject is both an ethical and a political enterprise, aiming to show that the “self” is nothing but the historical correlate of a series of technologies built into our history. Thus, from Foucault’s perspective, our main problem today is not to discover what “the self” is, but to try to analyze and change these technologies in order to change its form.
One of Hegel’s most controversial and confounding claims is that “the real is rational and the rational is real.” In this book, one of the world’s leading scholars of Hegel, Jean-François Kervégan, offers a thorough analysis and explanation of that claim, along the way delivering a compelling account of modern social, political, and ethical life.
Kervégan begins with Hegel’s term “objective spirit,” the public manifestation of our deepest commitments, the binding norms that shape our existence as subjects and agents. He examines objective spirit in three realms: the notion of right, the theory of society, and the state. In conversation with Tocqueville and other theorists of democracy, whether in the Anglophone world or in Europe, Kervégan shows how Hegel—often associated with grand metaphysical ideas—actually had a specific conception of civil society and the state. In Hegel’s view, public institutions represent the fulfillment of deep subjective needs—and in that sense, demonstrate that the real is the rational, because what surrounds us is the product of our collective mindedness. This groundbreaking analysis will guide the study of Hegel and nineteenth-century political thought for years to come.
Are judges supposed to be objective? Citizens, scholars, and legal professionals commonly assume that subjectivity and objectivity are opposites, with the corollary that subjectivity is a vice and objectivity is a virtue. These assumptions underlie passionate debates over adherence to original intent and judicial activism.
In Common Law Judging, Douglas Edlin challenges these widely held assumptions by reorienting the entire discussion. Rather than analyze judging in terms of objectivity and truth, he argues that we should instead approach the role of a judge’s individual perspective in terms of intersubjectivity and validity. Drawing upon Kantian aesthetic theory as well as case law, legal theory, and constitutional theory, Edlin develops a new conceptual framework for the respective roles of the individual judge and of the judiciary as an institution, as well as the relationship between them, as integral parts of the broader legal and political community. Specifically, Edlin situates a judge’s subjective responses within a form of legal reasoning and reflective judgment that must be communicated to different audiences.
Edlin concludes that the individual values and perspectives of judges are indispensable both to their judgments in specific cases and to the independence of the courts. According to the common law tradition, judicial subjectivity is a virtue, not a vice.
Dead Letters to Nietzsche examines how writing shapes subjectivity through the example of Nietzsche’s reception by his readers, including Stanley Rosen, David Farrell Krell, Georges Bataille, Laurence Lampert, Pierre Klossowski, and Sarah Kofman. More precisely, Joanne Faulkner finds that the personal identification that these readers form with Nietzsche’s texts is an enactment of the kind of identity formation described in Lacanian and Kleinian psychoanalysis. This investment of their subjectivity guides their understanding of Nietzsche’s project, the revaluation of values.
Not only does this work make a provocative contribution to Nietzsche scholarship, but it also opens in an original way broader philosophical questions about how readers come to be invested in a philosophical project and how such investment alters their subjectivity.
Entrepreneurial Seoulite might be read as a memoir on Hongdae based on the author’s observations as a member of South Korea’s Generation X. During the 1990’s, Hongdae became widely known as a cool place associated with discourses on alternative music, independent labels, and club culture. Today, Hongdae is well known for its youth culture and nightlife, as well as its gentrification.
Recent research on Korean culture approaches the K-wave phenomenon from the perspectives of cultural consumption, media analysis, and cultural management and policy. Meanwhile, studies on Seoul have centered on its transformation as a global, creative city. Rather than examining the K-wave or the city itself, this book explores the experience of living through the city-in-transition, focusing on the relationship between “the ideology that justified engagement in capitalism” and the “subjectification process.” The book aims to understand the project to institutionalize a cultural district in Hongdae as a demonstration of the coevolution of ideologies and citizenship in a society undergoing rapid liberalization—politically, culturally, and economically.
A cultural turn took place in Korea during the 1990s, amid the economic prosperity driven by state-led industrialization and the collapse of the military dictatorship due to democratization movements. Cultural critiques, emerging as an alternative to social movements, proliferated to assert the freedom and autonomy of individuals against regulatory systems and institutions. The nation was hit by the Asian financial crisis in 1997, and witnessed massive economic restructuring including layoffs, stakeouts, and a prevalence of contingent employment. As a result, the entire nation had to find new engines of economic growth while experiencing a creative destruction. At the center of this national transformation, Seoul has sought to recreate itself from a mega city to a global city, equipped with cutting-edge knowledge industries and infrastructures.
By juxtaposing the cultural turn and cultural/creative city-making, Entrepreneurial Seoulite interrogates the formation of new citizen subjectivity, namely the enterprising self, in post-Fordist Seoul. What kinds of logic guide individuals in the engagement of new urban realities in rapidly liberalized Seoul—culturally and economically? In order to explore this query, Mihye Cho draws on Weber’s concept of “the spirit of capitalism” on the formation of a new economic agency focusing on the re-configuration of meanings, and seeks to capture a transformative moment detailing when and how capitalism requests a different spirit and lifestyle of its participants. Likewise, this book approaches the enterprising self as the new spirit of post-Fordist Seoul and explores the ways in which people in Seoul internalize and negotiate this new enterprising self.
Modern philosophy continues to grapple with the idea of subjectivity—and, as the concept of subjectivity has consequently been repeatedly refined and redefined, the struggle has spread to the ways we conceive of sovereignty, collectivity, nationality, and identity as a result. Yet, in the absence of an authoritative account of these central philosophical concepts, exciting new ways of thinking have emerged which continue to develop and evolve.
Epidemic Subjects—Radical Ontology brings together a renowned team of contributors, including Levi Bryant, Angela Melitopoulos, and Susan Stryker, who together forge a radically inclusive definition of subjectivity. Drawing on Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s concept of the “girl” as a heuristic device for examining modern society and its foundations, they tie together recent trends in philosophy and offer a concrete way forward from the conception of the “thing” or “object” privileged by new materialism, speculative realism, and other theories of subjectivity.
In Foucault’s Discipline, John S. Ransom extracts a distinctive vision of the political world—and oppositional possibilities within it—from the welter of disparate topics and projects Michel Foucault pursued over his lifetime. Uniquely, Ransom presents Foucault as a political theorist in the tradition of Weber and Nietzsche, and specifically examines Foucault’s work in relation to the political tradition of liberalism and the Frankfurt School. By concentrating primarily on Discipline and Punish and the later Foucauldian texts, Ransom provides a fresh interpretation of this controversial philosopher’s perspectives on concepts such as freedom, right, truth, and power. Foucault’s Discipline demonstrates how Foucault’s valorization of descriptive critique over prescriptive plans of action can be applied to the decisively altered political landscape of the end of this millennium. By reconstructing the philosopher’s arguments concerning the significance of disciplinary institutions, biopower, subjectivity, and forms of resistance in modern society, Ransom shows how Foucault has provided a different way of looking at and responding to contemporary models of government—in short, a new depiction of the political world.
One of the very few accounts in English of German idealism, this ambitious work advances and revises our understanding of both the history and the thought of the classical period of German philosophy. As he traces the structure and evolution of idealism as a doctrine, Frederick Beiser exposes a strong objective, or realist, strain running from Kant to Hegel and identifies the crucial role of the early romantics--HÃƒÂ¶lderlin, Schlegel, and Novalis--as the founders of absolute idealism.
Traditionally, German idealism is understood as a radical form of subjectivism that expands the powers of the self to encompass the entire world. But Beiser reveals a different--in fact, opposite--impulse: an attempt to limit the powers of the subject. Between Kant and Hegel he finds a movement away from cosmic subjectivity and toward greater realism and naturalism, with one form of idealism succeeding another as each proved an inadequate basis for explaining the reality of the external world and the place of the self in nature. Thus German idealism emerges here not as a radical development of the Cartesian tradition of philosophy, but as the first important break with that tradition.
Table of Contents:
Introduction 1. Realism in German Idealism 2. Exorcising the Spirit 3. The Critique of Foundationalism 4. The Troublesome Hegelian Legacy 5. The Taxonomy of German Idealism
I. KANT'S CRITIQUE OF IDEALISM
Introduction: Kant and the Problem of Subjectivism 1. The Clash of Interpretations 2. Method and Results 3. Contemporary Kant Scholarship
1. Idealism in the Precritical Years 1. The Idealist Challenge 2. The First Refutation of Idealism 3. Idealist Dreams and Visions 4. The Critique of Idealism in the Inaugural Dissertation 5. Skeptical Ambivalence 6. David Hume, Transcendental Realist
2. Transcendental Idealism and Empirical Realism 1. The Case for Subjectivism 2. The First Edition Definitions of Transcendental Idealism 3. Transcendental versus Empirical Idealism 4. Empirical Realism in the Aesthetic 5. Empirical Realism and Empirical Dualism
3. The First Edition Refutation of Skeptical Idealism 1. The Priority of Skeptical Idealism 2. The Critique of the Fourth Paralogism 3. The Proof of the External World 4. A Cartesian Reply 5. Appearances and Spatiality 6. The Ambiguity of Transcendental Idealism 7. The Coherence of Transcendental Idealism
4. The First Edition Refutation of Dogmatic Idealism 1. The Missing Refutation 2. Kant's Interpretation of Leibniz 3. The Dispute in the Aesthetic 4. Dogmatic Idealism in the Antinomies
5. Kant and Berkeley 1. The GÃƒÂ¶ttingen Review 2. Kant's Reaction 3. Berkeleyianism in the First Edition of the Kritik 4. The Argument of the Prolegomena 5. Kant's Interpretation of Berkeley 6. The Small but Real Differences?
6. The Second Edition Refutation of Problematic Idealism 1. The Problem of Interpretation 2. Kant's Motives 3. The Question of Kant's Realism 4. Realism in the Refutation 5. The New Strategy 6. The Argument of the Refutation 7. Outer vis-ÃƒÂ -vis Inner Sense 8. Kant's Refutations in the Reflexionen, 1788-93
7. Kant and the Way of Ideas 1. The Theory of Ideas 2. Loyalty and Apostasy 3. The Transcendental versus the Subjective 4. The Question of Consistency 5. The Doctrine of Inner Sense 6. Kantian Self-Knowledge and the Cartesian Tradition
8. The Transcendental Subject 1. Persistent Subjectivism 2. Eliminating the Transcendental Subject 3. The Criteria of Subjectivity 4. The Subjectivity of the Transcendental 5. Restoring the Transcendental Subject
9. The Status of the Transcendental 1. The Problematic Status of the Categories 2. The Metaphysial Interpretation 3. The Psychological Interpretation 4. The Logical Interpretation 5. The Ineliminable Psychological Dimension 6. Problems of Transcendental Psychology 7. Transcendental Psychology and Transcendental Idealism
10. Kant's Idealism in the Opus postumum 1. Kant's Peruke 2. The Gap in the Critical System 3. The Transition Program and Its Implications 4. The Transition and Refutation 5. The Selbstsetzungslehre 6. Appearance of Appearance: Continuity with Critical Doctrines 7. Appearance of Appearance: Its Novelty 8. The Thing-in-Itself
II. FICHTE'S CRITIQUE OF SUBJECTIVISM
Introduction: The Interpretation of Fichte's Idealism
1. Fichte and the Subjectivist Tradition 1. The Challenge of Subjectivism 2. Early Critique of Reinhold 3. The Discovery of Desire 4. The Primacy of Practical Reason 5. Fichte's Foundationalism?
2. The Battle against Skepticism 1. First Doubts 2. The Aenesidemus Review 3. Maimon's Skepticism 4. The Official Response 5. The Final Line of Defense
3. Criticism versus Dogmatism 1. The Transformation of the Kantian Problematic 2. The Two Systems 3. The Refutation of Dogmatism 4. Fichte and the Thing-in-Itself
4. Freedom and Subjectivity 1. The Meaning of Freedom 2. The Theory of Subjectivity 3. Woes of the Absolute Ego 4. The Two Egos
5. Knowledge of Freedom 1. The Break with Kant 2. A Philosophy of Striving 3. The Origins of Intellectual Intuition 4. The Meaning of Intellectual Intuition 5. Fichte versus Kant on Intellectual Intuition 6. Self-Knowledge and Freedom 7. Faith in Freedom
6. Critical Idealism 1. Problems of Idealism 2. The Role of Striving 3. The Synthesis of Idealism and Realism 4. Reintroducing and Reinterpreting the Thing-in-Itself
7. The Refutation of Idealism 1. Later Arguments against Idealism 2. The Fichtean versus Kantian Refutation 3. Problems of Exposition 4. The Deduction of the External World
8. The Structure of Intersubjectivity 1. Kant versus Fichte on the Problem of Other Minds 2. First Reflections 3. The Argument for Intersubjectivity 4. The Normative Structure of Intersubjectivity
III. ABSOLUTE IDEALISM
1. Absolute Idealism: General Introduction 1. The Dramatis Personae 2. The Meaning of Absolute Idealism 3. Absolute versus Critical Idealism 4. The Break with Critical Idealism 5. Intellectual Sources 6. The Rehabilitation of Metaphysics 7. The Aesthetics of Absolute Idealism
2. HÃƒÂ¶lderlin and Absolute Idealism 1. Philosophy versus Poetry 2. Sources of Absolute Idealism 3. The Critique of Fichte 4. Aesthetic Sense 5. The Concept of Nature 6. Philosophy in Literature
3. Novalis' Magical Idealism 1. Novalis and the Idealist Tradition 2. Fichte Studies 3. Fichte in Novalis' Idealism 4. The Elements of Magical Idealism 5. Syncriticism 6. Models of Knowledge
4. Friedrich Schlegel's Absolute Idealism 1. Philosophy, History, and Poetry 2. The Break with Fichte 3. An Antifoundationalist Epistemology 4. Romanticism and Absolute Idealism 5. The Mystical 6. Lectures on Transcendental Idealism
IV. SCHELLING AND ABSOLUTE IDEALISM
Introduction: The Troublesome Schellingian Legacy
1. The Path toward Absolute Idealism 1. The Fichte-Schelling Alliance 2. Early Fault Lines 3. An Independent Standpoint 4. The First Quarrel
2. The Development of Naturphilosophie 1. The Claims of Naturphilosophie 2. The Early Fichtean Phase 3. The First Decisive Step 4. The Priority of Naturphilosophie
3. Schelling's Break with Fichte 1. Background 2. The Dispute Begins 3. Schelling States His Case 4. A Botched Reconciliation 5. Persistent Hopes 6. The Irresolvable Differences
4. Problems, Methods, and Concepts of Naturphilosophie 1. Absolute Idealism and Naturphilosophie 2. The Problematic of Naturphilosophie 3. Rethinking Matter 4. Nature as Organism 5. Regulative or Constitutive? 6. The Methodology of Naturphilosophie
5. Theory of Life and Matter 1. The Spinozism of Physics 2. The Dynamic Construction of Matter 3. The Theory of Life 4. Irritability, Sensibility, and World Soul 5. The Mental and Physical as Potencies
6. Schelling's Absolute Idealism 1. The Blinding Light of 1801 2. Objective Idealism 3. The Kantian-Fichtean Interpretation 4. The Interpretation of Subject-Object Identity
7. The Dark Night of the Absolute 1. The Dark Parmenidian Vision 2. The Dilemma of Absolute Knowledge 3. Rethinking the Absolute 4. The Fall
8. Absolute Knowledge 1. In Defense of Speculation 2. The Strategy for the Defense 3. Intellectual Intuition 4. Fichte versus Schelling on Intellectual Intuition 5. Art versus Philosophy 6. The Method of Construction 7. Head over Heels into the Absolute? 8. The Paradox of Absolute Knowledge
Notes Bibliography Index
Reviews of this book: [A] magnificent new book...That Beiser manages to keep the reader afloat as he steers through such deep and turbulent waters deserves the highest praise. Expository writing of unfailing lucidity is supported by reference to an unrivalled range of sources...I learned something from this book on almost every page...For anyone at all seriously interested in the topic this is now the place to start. --Michael Rosen, Times Literary Supplement
History & Subjectivity
Roger Gottlieb Temple University Press, 1987 Library of Congress JA74.G68 1987 | Dewey Decimal 335.4
"...rescues the probing spirit of Marx from the dead hand of Marx-ism. In this bold and argumentative book, Gottlieb joins other contemporary theorists in challenging the primacy of class and relations of production as keys to understanding our collective predicament. The result is an important contribution to left theory- both for its summation of the insights drawn from recent movements and for its provocative confrontation with the wisdom of the past."
Can Marxism still serve the American left? History and Subjectivity answers this question by synthesizing the conflicting perspectives of traditional Marxism, Western and neo-Marxism, socialist-feminism, and various minority political movements into a comprehensive and original social theory.
In the last seventy years, social change and the failure of leftist movements have made it necessary to transform Marxist theory. Undermined by its own theoretical success, traditional Marxism mistakenly assumed that Marx's understanding of competitive capitalism could be the model for theories of any society. Roger Gottlieb argues convincingly that the transformation of Marxist theory requires a fundamentally new understanding of social primacy.
Gottlieb draws on resources from virtually all areas of contemporary radical social theory. This interdisciplinary approach results in a sweeping synthesis of existing Marxist thought and an original and compelling social theory.
"Roger Gottlieb has written a very rich and often brilliant book.... [His] general thesis is developed, argued, and tested in the course of an impressive series of reconsiderations of debates in the Marxist tradition--impressive for the sheer breadth of the material mastered, as well as the critical acumen with which Gottlieb finds his way through the thicket of arguments and counter arguments. The result is an always lively, frequently exciting journey through the Marxist tradition, as well as a major contribution to the transformation which Marxism is currently undergoing."
"This is a serious and ambitious book. Its attempt to incorporate socialist feminism, and its interesting discussion of the American left are major strengths. It is a distinctive argument, framed within a personal sensibility, which should encourage wide response."
--Marx W. Wartofsky
Can subjective, individual taste be reconciled with an objective, universal standard? In Homo Aestheticus, Luc Ferry argues that this central problem of aesthetic theory is fundamentally related to the political problem of democratic individualism.
Ferry's treatise begins in the mid-1600s with the simultaneous invention of the notions of taste (the essence of art as subjective pleasure) and modern democracy (the idea of the State as a consensus among individuals). He explores the differences between subjectivity and individuality by examining aesthetic theory as developed first by Kant's predecessors and then by Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, and proponents of the avant-garde. Ferry discerns two "moments" of the avant-garde aesthetic: the hyperindividualistic iconoclasm of creating something entirely new, and the hyperrealistic striving to achieve an extraordinary truth. The tension between these two, Ferry argues, preserves an essential element of the Enlightenment concern for reconciling the subjective and the objective—a problem that is at once aesthetic, ethical, and political.
Rejecting postmodern proposals for either a radical break with or return to tradition, Ferry embraces a postmodernism that recasts Enlightenment notions of value as a new intersubjectivity. His original analysis of the growth and decline of the twentieth-century avant-garde movement sheds new light on the connections between aesthetics, ethics, and political theory.
A profound, challenging, wide-ranging book, back in print for a new generation
“Inwardness and Existence accomplishes what no book before or after has even approximated: it demonstrates with great lucidity and insight the shared philosophical project that animates psychoanalysis, Marxism, existentialism, and Hegelian dialectics. Davis roots the reader in the enterprise of questioning what is given and probing beyond what is safe in order to demonstrate that psychoanalytic inquiry, Marxist politics, existential reflection, and dialectical connection all move within the same orbit. No one who reads it will ever think about existence itself in the same way again. Davis’s landmark work will profoundly transform anyone who reads it.”—Todd McGowan, author of The Real Gaze: Film Theory after Lacan
Built in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, India’s Mughal monuments—including majestic forts, mosques, palaces, and tombs, such as the Taj Mahal—are world renowned for their grandeur and association with the Mughals, the powerful Islamic empire that once ruled most of the subcontinent. In Monumental Matters, Santhi Kavuri-Bauer focuses on the prominent role of Mughal architecture in the construction and contestation of the Indian national landscape. She examines the representation and eventual preservation of the monuments, from their disrepair in the colonial past to their present status as protected heritage sites.
Drawing on theories of power, subjectivity, and space, Kavuri-Bauer’s interdisciplinary analysis encompasses Urdu poetry, British landscape painting, imperial archaeological surveys, Indian Muslim identity, and British tourism, as well as postcolonial nation building, World Heritage designations, and conservation mandates. Since Independence, the state has attempted to construct a narrative of Mughal monuments as symbols of a unified, secular nation. Yet modern-day sectarian violence at these sites continues to suggest that India’s Mughal monuments remain the transformative spaces—of social ordering, identity formation, and national reinvention—that they have been for centuries.
The Natural World as a Philosophical Problem
Jan Patocka, edited by Ivan Chvatík and Lubica Ucnik, translated by Erika Abrams, foreword by Ludwig Landgrebe Northwestern University Press, 2016 Library of Congress BD516.P3713 2016 | Dewey Decimal 113
The first text to critically discuss Edmund Husserl’s concept of the "life-world," The Natural World as a Philosophical Problem reflects Jan Patocka's youthful conversations with the founder of phenomenology and two of his closest disciples, Eugen Fink and Ludwig Landgrebe. Now available in English for the first time, this translation includes an introduction by Landgrebe and two self-critical afterwords added by Patocka in the 1970s. Unique in its extremely broad range of references, the work addresses the views of Russell, Wittgenstein, and Carnap alongside Husserl and Heidegger, in a spirit that considerably broadens the understanding of phenomenology in relation to other twentieth-century trends in philosophy. Even eighty years after first appearing, it is of great value as a general introduction to philosophy, and it is essential reading for students of the history of phenomenology as well as for those desiring a full understanding of Patocka’s contribution to contemporary thought.
The contributors to Negotiated Moments explore how subjectivity is formed and expressed through musical improvisation, tracing the ways the transmission and reception of sound occur within and between bodies in real and virtual time and across memory, history, and space. They place the gendered, sexed, raced, classed, disabled, and technologized body at the center of critical improvisation studies and move beyond the field's tendency toward celebrating improvisation's utopian and democratic ideals by highlighting the improvisation of marginalized subjects. Rejecting a singular theory of improvisational agency, the contributors show how improvisation helps people gain hard-won and highly contingent agency. Essays include analyses of the role of the body and technology in performance, improvisation's ability to disrupt power relations, Pauline Oliveros's ideas about listening, flautist Nicole Mitchell's compositions based on Octavia Butler's science fiction, and an interview with Judith Butler about the relationship between her work and improvisation. The contributors' close attention to improvisation provides a touchstone for examining subjectivities and offers ways to hear the full spectrum of ideas that sound out from and resonate within and across bodies.
Contributors. George Blake, David Borgo, Judith Butler, Rebecca Caines, Louise Campbell, Illa Carrillo Rodríguez, Berenice Corti, Andrew Raffo Dewar, Nina Eidsheim, Tomie Hahn, Jaclyn Heyen, Christine Sun Kim, Catherine Lee, Andra McCartney, Tracy McMullen, Kevin McNeilly, Leaf Miller, Jovana Milovic, François Mouillot, Pauline Oliveros, Jason Robinson, Neil Rolnick, Simon Rose, Gillian Siddall, Julie Dawn Smith, Jesse Stewart, Clara Tomaz, Sherrie Tucker, Lindsay Vogt, Zachary Wallmark, Ellen Waterman, David Whalen, Pete Williams, Deborah Wong, Mandy-Suzanne Wong
Focusing on Stendhal, Gérard de Nerval, George Sand, Émile Zola, and Marcel Proust, The Novel Map: Mapping the Self in Nineteenth-Century French Fiction explores the ways that these writers represent and negotiate the relationship between the self and the world as a function of space in a novel turned map.
With the rise of the novel and of autobiography, the literary and cultural contexts of nineteenth-century France reconfigured both the ways literature could represent subjects and the ways subjects related to space. In the first-person works of these authors, maps situate the narrator within the imaginary space of the novel. Yet the time inherent in the text’s narrative unsettles the spatial self drawn by the maps and so creates a novel self, one which is both new and literary. The novel self transcends the rigid confines of a map. In this significant study, Patrick M. Bray charts a new direction in critical theory.
At the dawn of the modern era, philosophers reinterpreted their subject as the study of consciousness, pushing the body to the margins of philosophy. With the arrival of Husserlian thought in the late nineteenth century, the body was once again understood to be part of the transcendental field. And yet, despite the enormous influence of Husserl’s phenomenology, the role of "embodiment" in the broader philosophical landscape remains largely unresolved. In his ambitious debut book, Phenomenology and Embodiment, Joona Taipale tackles the Husserlian concept—also engaging the thought of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Michel Henry—with a comprehensive and systematic phenomenological investigation into the role of embodiment in the constitution of self-awareness, intersubjectivity, and objective reality. In doing so, he contributes a detailed clarification of the fundamental constitutive role of embodiment in the basic relations of subjectivity.
Why are some discourses more politically efficacious than others? Seeking answers to this question, Ty Solomon develops a new theoretical approach to the study of affect, identity, and discourse—core phenomena whose mutual interweaving have yet to be fully analyzed in International Relations. Drawing upon Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytic theory and Ernesto Laclau’s approach to hegemonic politics, Solomon argues that prevailing discourses offer subtle but powerfully appealing opportunities for affective investment on the part of audiences.
Through empirical case studies of the affective resonances of the war on terror and the rise and fall of neoconservative influence in American foreign policy, Solomon offers a unique way to think about the politics of identity as the construction of “common sense” powerfully underpinned by affective investments. He provides both a fuller understanding of the emotional appeal of political rhetoric in general and, specifically, a provocative explanation of the reasons for the reception of particular U.S. foreign policy rhetoric that shifted Americans’ attitudes toward neoconservative foreign policy in the 1990s and shaped the post-9/11 “war on terror.”
After World War II, Japanese intellectuals believed that world history was moving inexorably toward bourgeois democracy and then socialism. But who would be the agents—the active "subjects"—of that revolution in Japan? Intensely debated at the time, this question of active subjectivity influenced popular ideas about nationalism and social change that still affect Japanese political culture today.
In a major contribution to modern Japanese intellectual history, J. Victor Koschmann analyzes the debate over subjectivity. He traces the arguments of intellectuals from various disciplines and political viewpoints, and finds that despite their stress on individual autonomy, they all came to define subjectivity in terms of deterministic historical structures, thus ultimately deferring the possibility of radical change in Japan.
Establishing a basis for historical dialogue about democratic revolution, this book will interest anyone concerned with issues of nationalism, postcolonialism, and the formation of identities.
In recent criticism, Samuel Beckett's prose has been increasingly described as a labor of refusal: not only of what traditionally has made possible narrative and the novel but also of the major conventional suppositions concerning the primacy of consciousness, subjectivity, and expression for the artistic act. Beginning from the premise that Beckett never betrays his belief in "the impossibility to express," Saying I No More explores the Beckettian refusal. Katz posits that the expression of voicelessness in Beckett is not silence, that the negativity and negation so evident in the great writer's work are not simply affirmed, but that the valorization of abnegation, emptiness, impotence, or the "no" can all too easily become itself an affirmation of power or an inverted imposition of force.
As LGBTQ movements in Western Europe and North America are becoming increasingly successful at awarding LGBTQ people rights, especially institutional recognition for same-sex couples and their families, what becomes of the deeper social transformation that these movements initially aimed to achieve? The United States is in many ways a paradigmatic model for LGBTQ movements in other countries. This book focuses on the transformations of the United States' LGBTQ movement since the 1980s, highlighting the relationship between its institutionalization and the disappearance of sexuality from its most visible claims, so that its growing visibility and legitimation since the 1990s have not led to an increase in militancy. The book examines the issue from the bottom up, identifying the links between the varying importance of sexuality as a movement theme and actors' mobilization, and enhances the import of subjectivity in militancy. It draws attention to cultural, sometimes infrapolitical, forms of militancy that perpetuate the role of sexuality in LGBTQ militancy.
The purpose of the text is threefold: to contribute to the renaissance of Husserl interpretation around the continuing publication of Husserl's manuscripts and unpublished manuscripts; to account for the historical origins and influence of the phenomenological project by articulating Husserl's relationship to authors before and after him; and to argue for the viability of the phenomenological project as conceived by Husserl in his later years.
In regard to the last purpose, Luft's main argument shows that Husserlian phenomenology is not exhausted in the Cartesian (early) perspective, which is indeed its weakest and most vulnerable perspective. Husserlian phenomenology is a robust and philosophically necessary perspective when taken from its hermeneutic (late) perspective.
The key point Luft brings into focus is that Husserl's hermeneutic phenomenology is distinct from other hermeneutic philosophers, namely, Cassirer, Heidegger and Gadamer. Unlike them, Husserl's focus centers on the work the subject must do in order to uncover the prejudices that guide his/her unreflective relationship to the world. Luft also demonstrates that there is a deep consistency within Husserl's own writings-from early to late-around the guiding themes of: the natural attitude, the need and function of the epoché, and the split between egos, where the transcendental self (distinct from the natural self) is seen as the fundamental ability we all have to inquire into the genesis of our tradition-laden attitudes toward the world.
During the Middle Ages, philosophers and theologians argued over the extramental reality of universal forms or essences. In the early modern period, the relation between subjectivity and objectivity, the individual self and knowledge of the outside world, was a rich subject of debate. Today, there is considerable argument about the relation between spontaneity and determinism within the evolutionary process, whether a principle of spontaneous self-organization as well as natural selection is at work in the aggregation of molecules into cells and the development of primitive forms of life into complex organisms. In Subjectivity, Objectivity and Intersubjectivity, Joseph A. Bracken proposes that what is ultimately at stake here is the age-old problem of the relationship between the One and the Many, universality and particularity on different levels of existence and activity within nature.
Bracken rejects traditional models of this relationship, wherein either the One or the Many is presupposed to have priority over the other. He instead suggests that a new social ontology—one that is grounded in a theory of universal intersubjectivity—protects both the concrete particularity of individual entities in their specific relations to one another and their enduring corporate reality as a stable community or environment within Nature.
What emerges is a bold reimagining of the sometimes strained relationship between religion and science. Bracken's clear writing, sophisticated philosophical analysis, and exemplary scholarship will lend this new work an enthusiastic appreciation by readers with deep interests in philosophy and philosophical theology.
In Talking Heads, Benjamin Lee situates himself at the convergence of multiple disciplines: philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, and literary theory. He offers a nuanced exploration of the central questions shared by these disciplines during the modern era—questions regarding the relations between language, subjectivity, community, and the external world. Scholars in each discipline approach these questions from significantly different angles; in seeking to identify and define the intersection of these angles, Lee argues for the development of a new sense of subjectivity, a construct that has repercussions of immense importance beyond the humanities and into the area of politics. Talking Heads synthesizes the views and works of a breathtaking range of the most influential modern theorists of the humanities and social sciences, including Austin, Searle, Derrida, Jakobson, Bakhtin, Wittgenstein, Peirce, Frege, Kripke, Donnellan, Putnam, Saussure, and Whorf. After illuminating these many strands of thought, Lee moves beyond disciplinary biases and re-embeds within the context of the public sphere the questions of subjectivity and language raised by these theorists. In his examination of how subjectivity relates not just to grammatical patterns but also to the specific social institutions in which these patterns develop and are sustained, Lee discusses such topics as the concept of public opinion and the emergence of Western nation-states.
This collection breaks new ground in the area of gender studies both because it creates a name for gender fantasy--virtual gender--that introduces a new understanding of the concept, and in expanding the idea of virtuality to include people and events in history. The essays in Virtual Gender help identify and name the persistent cultural desire for an imaginative space in which to "put on" alternative gender identities, while examining as well the equally persistent and consequent critique of that desire.
The sweep of the volume's coverage is impressive, ranging across historical periods and academic disciplines, as contributors consider the place of the body in gender fantasy and the consequences of gender fantasy for real people and real bodies. The essays investigate figures and topics including Amelia Earhart, soap-opera chat groups, Elizabeth I, mesmerism, lesbianism in the early modern period, cybergames, women in the federalist period, the transgendered body, and performance art. Also examined are the status of embodiment, the origins of gender, gender politics, the pains of subjectivity, the uses of utopian fantasy, technological advances and information technology, the experience of gendered communities, and the role of gender in global politics.
Contributors include Harriette Andreadis, Seyla Benhabib, Charlotte Canning, Bernice Hausman, Janel Mueller, Mary Ann O'Farrell, Kay Schaffer, Sidonie Smith, Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, Helen F. Thompson, Lynne Vallone, and Robyn Warhol. The book will appeal to an interdisciplinary audience of scholars, critics, and students with interests in gender, identity, and cyberculture.
Mary Ann O'Farrell is Associate Professor of English, Texas A & M University. Lynne Vallone is Associate Professor of English, Texas A & M University.
“Compelling, timely, and provocative. The writing is sleek and exhilarating. It doesn’t waste time telling us what it will do or what it has just done—it just does it.”
—Don Kulick, Professor of Anthropology, New York University
How we can talk about sex and risk in the age of barebacking—or condomless sex—without invoking the usual bogus and punitive clichés about gay men’s alleged low self-esteem, lack of self-control, and other psychological “deficits”? Are there queer alternatives to psychology for thinking about the inner life of homosexuality? What Do Gay Men Want? explores some of the possibilities.
Unlike most writers on the topic of gay men and risky sex, David Halperin liberates gay male subjectivity from psychology, demonstrating the insidious ways in which psychology’s defining opposition between the normal and the pathological subjects homosexuality to medical reasoning and revives a whole set of unexamined moral assumptions about “good” sex and “bad” sex.
In particular, Halperin champions neglected traditions of queer thought, including both literary and popular discourses, by drawing on the work of well-known figures like Jean Genet and neglected ones like Marcel Jouhandeau. He shows how the long history of of gay men’s uses of “abjection” can offer an alternative, nonmoralistic model for thinking about gay male subjectivity, something which is urgently needed in the age of barebacking.
Anyone searching for nondisciplinary ways to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS among gay men—or interested in new modes of thinking about gay male subjectivity—should read this book.
David M. Halperin is W. H. Auden Collegiate Professor of the History and Theory of Sexuality, Professor of English, Professor of Women’s Studies, Professor of Comparative Literature, and Adjunct Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan.
Slavoj Žižek is one of the most interesting and important philosophers working today, known chiefly for his theoretical explorations of popular culture and contemporary politics. This book focuses on the generally neglected and often overshadowed philosophical core of Žižek’s work—an essential component in any true appreciation of this unique thinker’s accomplishment.
His central concern, Žižek has proclaimed, is to use psychoanalysis (especially the teachings of Jacques Lacan) to redeploy the insights of late-modern German philosophy, in particular, the thought of Kant, Schelling, and Hegel. By taking this avowal seriously, Adrian Johnston finally clarifies the philosophical project underlying Žižek’s efforts. His book charts the interlinked ontology and theory of subjectivity constructed by Žižek at the intersection of German idealism and Lacanian theory. Johnston also uses Žižek’s combination of philosophy and psychoanalysis to address two perennial philosophical problems: the relationship of mind and body, and the nature of human freedom. By bringing together the past two centuries of European philosophy, psychoanalytic metapsychology, and cutting-edge work in the natural sciences, Johnston develops a transcendental materialist theory of subjectivity—in short, an account of how more-than-material forms of subjectivity can emerge from a corporeal being. His work shows how an engagement with Žižek’s philosophy can produce compelling answers to today’s most vexing and urgent questions as inherited from the history of ideas.