This book develops a toolkit for acute reading of our modern pace, not through withdrawal but rather through active engagement with a broad range of disciplines. The main characters in this drama comprise a cast of master readers: Hannah Arendt, Jean Starobinski, Harold Bloom, Angus Fletcher, Hans Blumenberg and John Ashbery, with secondary figures drawn from the readers and critics whom this central group suggests. We must develop a vocabulary of pacing, reflecting our modern distance from classical sources and the concomitant acceleration of the modern condition.
Gabriel Tarde’s Monadology and Sociology, originally published in 1893, is a remarkable and unclassifiable book. It sets out a theory of ‘universal sociology’, which aims to explicate the essentially social nature of all phenomena, including the behaviour of atoms, stars, chemical substances and living beings. He argues that all of nature consists of elements animated by belief and desire, which form social aggregates analogous to those of human societies and institutions. In developing this central insight, Tarde outlines a metaphysical system which builds on both classical rationalist philosophy and the latest scientific theories of the time, in a speculative synthesis of extraordinary range and power.
The Rational Kernel of the Hegelian Dialectic is the last in a trilogy of political-philosophical essays, preceded by Theory of Contradiction and On Ideology, written during the dark days at the end of the decade after May ‘68. With the late 1970’s “triumphant restoration” in Europe, China and the United States, Badiou and his collaborators return to Hegel with a Chinese twist.
What will happen to the tradition formerly known as continental philosophy? This exciting new anthology sketches an answer by bringing together the most prominent established and emerging authors in the field, all of them taking a more speculative turn than was found in the textually oriented continental philosophies of the past. The diverse positions outlined in this book include such old and new approaches as transcendental materialism, speculative realism, actor-network theory, object-oriented philosophy, non-philosophy, cosmopolitics, eliminative materialism, and even new-wave deconstruction. The book also has a highly international flavour, with its 19 authors hailing from 12 different countries on 5 continents.
This study presents an original interpretation of the meaning and complex inter-relationship of the concepts of love, sexuality, family and the law. It argues that they should be understood as forms of interplay between the subjective and the objective, necessity and contingency and unity and difference. A comprehensive elaboration of these forms is to be found in Hegel’s Science of Logic—the conclusions of which he used to organise his ethical and political thought. The argument is introduced with a discussion of the relevance of Hegel’s speculative philosophy to modernity. The authors then explore the relationship between thought, being and recognition in Hegel’s philosophical system and offer an interpretation of the Science of Logic. This interpretation forms the basis of a re-assessment of Hegel’s treatment of love, sexual relationships, the family and law. A Hegelian account of familial love is employed to review recent debates within a range of discourses, including feminism, family law and gay and lesbian studies. As well as addressing current concerns about sexual difference and the ontology of homosexuality, the study provides a guide to reading Hegel in an original and productive way. It will be of interest to philosophers, feminists, theorists of sexualities, ethical and legal theorists.
In his new book, the eminent philosopher Andrew Benjamin turns his attention to architecture, design, sculpture, painting and writing. Drawing predominantly on a European tradition of modern philosophical criticism running from the German Romantics through Walter Benjamin and beyond, he offers a sequence of strong meditations on a diverse ensemble of works and themes: on the library and the house, on architectural theory, on Rachel Whiteread, Peter Eisenman, Anselm Kiefer, Peter Nielson, David Hawley, Terri Bird, Elizabeth Presa and others.
First Love: A Phenomenology of the One takes seriously literature’s repeated attestations of a One in its stories, poems and plays entitled First Love. With this groundbreaking work, Jöttkandt suspends the contemporary philosophical stricture against every idea of a whole to unmask the figure concealed behind the psychoanalytic myth of first love.
Walter Benjamin is universally recognized as one of the key thinkers of modernity: his writings on politics, language, literature, media, theology and law have had an incalculable influence on contemporary thought. Yet the problem of architecture in and for Benjamin’s work remains relatively underexamined. Engaged, interdisciplinary, bristling with insights, the essays in this collection will constitute an indispensable supplement to the work of Walter Benjamin, as well as providing a guide to some of the obscurities of our own present.
This volume brings together essays by different generations of Italian thinkers which address, whether in affirmative, problematizing or genealogical registers, the entanglement of philosophical speculation and political proposition within recent Italian thought. Nihilism and biopolitics, two concepts that have played a very prominent role in theoretical discussions in Italy, serve as the thematic foci around which the collection orbits, as it seeks to define the historical and geographical particularity of these notions as well their continuing impact on an international debate. The volume also covers the debate around ‘weak thought’ (pensiero debole), the feminist thinking of sexual difference, the re-emergence of political anthropology and the question of communism. The contributors provide contrasting narratives of the development of post-war Italian thought and trace paths out of the theoretical and political impasses of the present—against what Negri, in the text from which the volume takes its name, calls ‘the Italian desert’.
This book is the first treatment of Bruno Latour specifically as a philosopher. Part One covers four key works in Latour’s career in metaphysics: Irreductions, Science in Action, We Have Never Been Modern, and Pandora’s Hope. In Part Two, the author identifies Latour’s key contributions to ontology, while criticizing his focus on the relational character of actors at the expense of their autonomous reality.
Set against the collapse of social theory into a theory of ideological discourse, Geoff Boucher sets to work a rigorous mapping of the contemporary field, targeting the relativist implications of this new form of philosophical idealism. Offering a detailed and immanent critique Boucher concentrates his critical attention on the ‘postmarxism’ of Laclau and Mouffe, Butler and Žižek. Combining close reading and careful exposition with polemical intent, Boucher links the relativism exemplified in these contemporary theoretical trends to unresolved philosophical problems of modernity. In conclusion Boucher points to ‘intersubjectivity’ as an exit from postmarxist theory’s charmed circle of ideology.
Hegel’s brilliant Introductions, provided all together here, offer a panoramic overview of his grand system. The Introductions are the most accessible of Hegel’s writings, concisely and clearly laying out the Hegelian project. Although each Introduction deals with the distinct theme of the text which it introduces, ultimately they are all inextricably linked together: the natural result of Hegel’s systematic method. As the Editors’ Introduction demonstrates, Hegel’s thought comes across as a system where all particulars take their respective places along the ‘circle’ of knowledge. Thus, each chapter in the book presents an element of this edifice.
Despite political theorists’ repeated attempts to demonstrate their incoherence liberal values appear to have withstood the test of time. Indeed, engagement with them has become the meeting point of the different political philosophical traditions. But should radical critique justifiably become a thing of the past? Should political philosophy now be conducted in the light of the triumph of liberalism? These are the wider questions that the book takes up in an attempt to demonstrate the intellectual power of systemic critique in the tradition of Hegel. The author argues that the most ambitious of the communitarian critiques of liberal thought failed due to a fundamental weakness of their philosophical methodology. Moreover, the re-workings of these critiques by feminists, discourse ethicists, postmodern and postcolonial theorists have been equally unsuccessful because they have not traced the individualist commitment of liberal theory back to its source in liberal inquiring practices. Working through the theories of prominent liberal theorists, including John Rawls, Jeremy Waldron, Charles Larmore and Will Kymlicka, the book demonstrates that an adequate appreciation of the deep structural flaws of liberal theory presupposes the application of a critical philosophical methodology that has the power to reveal the systemic interconnections within and between the varieties of liberal inquiring practices.
In this characteristically incisive analysis, Sam Gillespie maintains that, whereas novelty in Deleuze is ultimately located in a Leibnizian affirmation of the world, for Badiou, the new, which is the coming-to-be of a truth, must be located at the ‘void’ of any situation. Following a lucid presentation of the central concepts of Badiou’s philosophy as they relate to the problem of novelty (mathematics as ontology, truth, the subject and the event), Gillespie identifies a significant problem in Badiou’s conception of the subject which he suggests can be answered by way of a supplementary framework derived from Lacan’s concept of anxiety.
Is it becoming more obvious today that the thinkers of the post-Hegelian era were/are not “able to bear the greatness, the immensity of the claims made by the human spirit”? Is our era the era of the “faint-hearted” philosophy? Celebrating 200 years since the publication of The Phenomenology of Spirit this volume addresses these questions through a renewed encounter with Hegel’s thought.