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An accessible introduction to Badiou's key ideas In this short and accessible book, the French philosopher Alain Badiou provides readers with a unique introduction to his system of thought, summed up in the trilogy of Being and Event, Logics of Worlds, and The Immanence of Truths. Taking the form of an interview and two talks and keeping in mind a broad audience without any prior knowledge of his work, the book touches upon the central concepts and major preoccupations of Badiou's philosophy: fundamental ontology, mathematics, politics, poetry, and love. Well-chosen examples illuminate his thinking in regards to being and universality, worlds and singularity, and the infinite and the absolute, among other topics. A veritable tour de force of pedagogical clarity, this new student-friendly work is perhaps the single best general introduction to the work of this prolific and committed thinker. If, for Badiou, the task of philosophy consists in thinking through the truths of our time, the texts collected in this small volume could not be timelier.
This volume provides the first English translation of Nietzsche's unpublished notes from the spring of 1884 through the winter of 1884–85, the period in which he was composing the fourth and final part of his favorite work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra. These notebooks therefore provide special insight into Nietzsche's philosophical concept of superior humans,as well as important clues to the identities of the famous nineteenth-century European figures who inspired Nietzsche's invention of fictional characters such as "the prophet," "the sorcerer," and "the ugliest human."In these notebooks, Nietzsche also further explores ideas that were introduced in the first three parts of Thus Spoke Zarathustra: Zarathustra's teaching about the death of God; his proclamation that it is time for humankind to overcome itself and create the superhumans; his discovery that the secret of life is the will to power; and his most profound thought—that the entire cosmos will eternally return. Readers will encounter here a wealth of material that Nietzsche would include in his next book, Beyond Good and Evil, as he engages the ideas of Kant and Schopenhauer, challenges cultural icons like Richard Wagner, and mercilessly exposes the foibles of his contemporaries, especially of his fellow Germans. Readers will also discover an extensive collection of Nietzsche's poetry. Richly annotated and accompanied by a detailed translators' afterword, this volume showcases the cosmopolitanism at work in Nietzsche's multifaceted and critical exploration of aesthetic and cultural influences that transcend national (and nationalist) notions of literature, music, and culture.
Are we unique as individuals, or are we replaceable? Seventeenth-century English literature pursues these questions through depictions of marriage. The writings studied in this book elevate a love between two individuals who deem each other to be unique to the point of being irreplaceable, and this vocabulary allows writers to put affective pressure on the meaning of marriage as Pauline theology defines it. Stubbornly individual, love threatens to short-circuit marriage's function in directing intimate feelings toward a communal experience of Christ's love. The literary project of testing the meaning of marriage proved to be urgent work throughout the seventeenth century. Monarchy itself was put on trial in this century, and so was the usefulness of marriage in linking Christian belief with the legitimacy of hereditary succession. Starting at the end of the sixteenth century with Edmund Spenser, and then exploring works by William Shakespeare, William Davenant, John Milton, Lucy Hutchinson, and Aphra Behn, Eric Song offers a new account of how notions of unique personhood became embedded in a literary way of thinking and feeling about marriage.
With this profound final work, completed in the days leading up to his death, Michel Serres presents a vivid picture of his thinking about religion—a constant preoccupation since childhood—thereby completing Le Grand Récit, the comprehensive explanation of the world and of humanity to which he devoted the last twenty years of his life. Themes from Serres's earlier writings—energy and information, the role of the media in modern society, the anthropological function of sacrifice, the role of scientific knowledge, the problem of evil—are reinterpreted here in the light of the Old Testament accounts of Isaac and Jonah and a variety of Gospel episodes, including the Three Wise Men of the Epiphany, the Transfiguration, Peter's denying Christ, the Crucifixion, Emmaus, and the Pentecost. Monotheistic religion, Serres argues, resembles mathematical abstraction in its dazzling power to bring together the real and the virtual, the natural and the transcendent; but only in its Christian embodiment is it capable of binding together human beings in such a way that partisan attachments are dissolved and a new era of history, free for once of the lethal repetition of collective violence, can be entered into.
From medieval contemplation to the early modern cosmopoetic imagination, to the invention of aesthetic experience, to nineteenth-century decadent literature, and to early-twentieth century essayistic forms of writing and film, Niklaus Largier shows that mystical practices have been reinvented across the centuries, generating a notion of possibility with unexpected critical potential. Arguing for a new understanding of mystical experience, Largier foregrounds the ways in which devotion builds on experimental practices of figuration in order to shape perception, emotions, and thoughts anew. Largier illuminates how devotional practices are invested in the creation of possibilities, and this investment has been a key element in a wide range of experimental engagements in literature and art from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, and most recently in forms of "new materialism." Read as a history of the senses and emotions, the book argues that mystical and devotional practices have long been invested in the modulating and reconfiguring of sensation, affects, and thoughts. Read as a book about practices of figuration, it questions ordinary protocols of interpretation in the humanities, and the priority given to a hermeneutic understanding of texts and cultural artifacts.
Democracy has become disentangled from our ordinary lives. Mere cooperation or ethical consumption now often stands in for a robust concept of solidarity that structures the entirety of sociality and forms the basis of democratic culture. How did democracy become something that is done only at ballot boxes and what role can solidarity play in reviving it? In Solidarity in Conflict, Rochelle DuFord presents a theory of solidarity fit for developing democratic life and a complementary theory of democracy that emerges from a society typified by solidarity. DuFord argues that solidarity is best understood as a set of relations, one agonistic and one antagonistic: the solidarity groups' internal organization and its interactions with the broader world. Such a picture of solidarity develops through careful consideration of the conflicts endemic to social relations and solidarity organizations. Examining men's rights groups, labor organizing's role in recognitional protections for LGBTQ members of society, and the debate over trans inclusion in feminist praxis, DuFord explores how conflict, in these contexts, becomes the locus of solidarity's democratic functions and thereby critiques democratic theorizing for having become either overly idealized or overly focused on building and maintaining stability. Working in the tradition of the Frankfurt School, DuFord makes a provocative case that the conflict generated by solidarity organizations can address a variety of forms of domination, oppression, and exploitation while building a democratic society.
With this nuanced and interdisciplinary work, political theorist Mihaela Mihai tackles several interrelated questions: How do societies remember histories of systemic violence? Who is excluded from such histories' cast of characters? And what are the political costs of selective remembering in the present? Building on insights from political theory, social epistemology, and feminist and critical race theory, Mihai argues that a double erasure often structures hegemonic narratives of complex violence: of widespread, heterogeneous complicity and of "impure" resistances, not easily subsumed to exceptionalist heroic models. In dialogue with care ethicists and philosophers of art, she then suggests that such narrative reductionism can be disrupted aesthetically through practices of "mnemonic care," that is, through the hermeneutical labor that critical artists deliver—thematically and formally—within communities' space of meaning. Empirically, the book examines both consecrated and marginalized artists who tackled the memory of Vichy France, communist Romania, and apartheid South Africa. Despite their specificities, these contexts present us with an opportunity to analyze similar mnemonic dynamics and to recognize the political impact of dissenting artistic production. Crossing disciplinary boundaries, the book intervenes in debates over collective responsibility, historical injustice, and the aesthetics of violence within political theory, memory studies, social epistemology, and transitional justice.
In this rich intellectual history of the French-Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas's Talmudic lectures in Paris, Ethan Kleinberg addresses Levinas's Jewish life and its relation to his philosophical writings while making an argument for the role and importance of Levinas's Talmudic lessons. Pairing each chapter with a related Talmudic lecture, Kleinberg uses the distinction Levinas presents between "God on Our Side" and "God on God's Side" to provide two discrete and at times conflicting approaches to Levinas's Talmudic readings. One is historically situated and argued from "our side" while the other uses Levinas's Talmudic readings themselves to approach the issues as timeless and derived from "God on God's own side." Bringing the two approaches together, Kleinberg asks whether the ethical message and moral urgency of Levinas's Talmudic lectures can be extended beyond the texts and beliefs of a chosen people, religion, or even the seemingly primary unit of the self. Touching on Western philosophy, French Enlightenment universalism, and the Lithuanian Talmudic tradition, Kleinberg provides readers with a boundary-pushing investigation into the origins, influences, and causes of Levinas's turn to and use of Talmud.
A pathbreaking exploration of the fate of utopia in our troubled times, this book shows how the historically intertwined endeavors of utopia and critique might be leveraged in response to humanity's looming existential challenges. Utopia in the Age of Survival makes the case that critical social theory needs to reinstate utopia as a speculative myth. At the same time the left must reassume utopia as an action-guiding hypothesis—that is, as something still possible. S. D. Chrostowska looks to the vibrant, visionary mid-century resurgence of embodied utopian longings and projections in Surrealism, the Situationist International, and critical theorists writing in their wake, reconstructing utopia's link to survival through to the earliest, most radical phase of the French environmental movement. Survival emerges as the organizing concept for a variety of democratic political forms that center the corporeality of desire in social movements contesting the expanding management of life by state institutions across the globe. Vigilant and timely, balancing fine-tuned analysis with broad historical overview to map the utopian impulse across contemporary cultural and political life, Chrostowska issues an urgent report on the vitality of utopia.
This volume in The Complete Works presents the first English translations of Nietzsche's unpublished notebooks from Winter 1874/1875 through 1878, the period in which he developed the mixed aphoristic-essayistic mode that continued across the rest of his career. These notebooks comprise a range of different materials, including early drafts and near-final versions of aphorisms that would appear in both volumes of Human, All Too Human. Additionally, there are extensive notes for a never-completed Unfashionable Observation that was to be titled "We Philologists," early drafts for the final sections of "Richard Wagner in Bayreuth," plans for other possible publications, and detailed reading notes on philologists, philosophers, and historians of his era, including Friedrich August Wolf, Eugen Dühring, and Jacob Burckhardt. Through this volume, readers gain insight into Nietzsche's emerging sense of himself as a composer of complexly orchestrated, stylistically innovative philosophical meditations—influenced by, but moving well beyond, the modes used by aphoristic precursors such as Goethe, La Rochefoucauld, Vauvenargues, and Schopenhauer. Further, these notebooks allow readers to trace more closely Nietzsche's development of ideas that remain central to his mature philosophy, such as the contrast between free and constrained spirits, the interplay of national, supra-national, and personal identities, and the cultural centrality of the process of Bildung as formation, education, and cultivation. With this latest book in the series, Stanford continues its English-language publication of the famed Colli-Montinari edition of Nietzsche's complete works, which include the philosopher's notebooks and early unpublished writings. Scrupulously edited so as to establish a new standard for the field, each volume includes an Afterword that presents and contextualizes the material it contains.
An incisive exploration of the way Greek myths empower us to defeat tyranny. As tyrannical passions increasingly plague twenty-first-century politics, tales told in ancient Greek epics and tragedies provide a vital antidote. Democracy as a concept did not exist until the Greeks coined the term and tried the experiment, but the idea can be traced to stories that the ancient Greeks told and retold. From the eighth through the fifth centuries BCE, Homeric epics and Athenian tragedies exposed the tyrannical potential of individuals and groups large and small. These stories identified abuses of power as self-defeating. They initiated and fostered a movement away from despotism and toward broader forms of political participation. Following her highly praised book Enraged: Why Violent Times Need Ancient Greek Myths, the classicist Emily Katz Anhalt retells tales from key ancient Greek texts and proceeds to interpret the important message they hold for us today. As she reveals, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Aeschylus's Oresteia, and Sophocles's Antigone encourage us—as they encouraged the ancient Greeks—to take responsibility for our own choices and their consequences. These stories emphasize the responsibilities that come with power (any power, whether derived from birth, wealth, personal talents, or numerical advantage), reminding us that the powerful and the powerless alike have obligations to each other. They assist us in restraining destructive passions and balancing tribal allegiances with civic responsibilities. They empower us to resist the tyrannical impulses not only of others but also in ourselves. In an era of political polarization, Embattled demonstrates that if we seek to eradicate tyranny in all its toxic forms, ancient Greek epics and tragedies can point the way.
Green Mass is a meditation on—and with—twelfth-century Christian mystic and polymath Saint Hildegard of Bingen. Attending to Hildegard's vegetal vision, which greens theological tradition and imbues plant life with spirit, philosopher Michael Marder uncovers a verdant mode of thinking. The book stages a fresh encounter between present-day and premodern concerns, ecology and theology, philosophy and mysticism, the material and the spiritual, in word and sound. Hildegard's lush notion of viriditas, the vegetal power of creation, is emblematic of her deeply entwined understanding of physical reality and spiritual elevation. From blossoming flora to burning desert, Marder plays with the symphonic multiplicity of meanings in her thought, listening to the resonances between the ardency of holy fire and the aridity of a world aflame. Across Hildegard's cosmos, we hear the anarchic proliferation of her ecological theology, in which both God and greening are circular, without beginning or end. Introduced with a foreword by philosopher Marcia Sá Cavalcante Schuback and accompanied by cellist Peter Schuback's musical movements, which echo both Hildegard's own compositions and key themes in each chapter of the book, this multifaceted work creates a resonance chamber, in which to discover the living world anew. The original compositions accompanying each chapter are available free for streaming and for download at www.sup.org/greenmass
What does a truly democratic experience of political action look like today? In this provocative new work, Adriana Cavarero weighs in on contemporary debates about the relationship between democracy, happiness, and dissent. Drawing on Arendt's understanding of politics as a participatory experience, but also discussing texts by Émile Zola, Elias Canetti, Boris Pasternak, and Roland Barthes, along with engaging Judith Butler, Cavarero proposes a new view of democracy, based not on violence, but rather on the spontaneous experience of a plurality of bodies coming together in public. Expanding on the themes explored in previous works, Cavarero offers a timely intervention into current thinking about the nature of democracy, suggesting that its emergence thrives on the nonviolent creativity of a widespread, participatory, and relational power that is shared horizontally rather than vertically. From digital democracy to selfies to contemporary protest movements, Cavarero argues that we need to rethink our focus on individual happiness and turn toward rediscovering the joyful emotions of birth through plural interaction. Yes, let us be happy, she urges, but let us do so publicly, politically, together.
Marking the centenary of Walter Benjamin's immensely influential essay, "Toward the Critique of Violence," this critical edition presents readers with an altogether new, fully annotated translation of a work that is widely recognized as a classic of modern political theory. The volume includes twenty-one notes and fragments by Benjamin along with passages from all of the contemporaneous texts to which his essay refers. Readers thus encounter for the first time in English provocative arguments about law and violence advanced by Hermann Cohen, Kurt Hiller, Erich Unger, and Emil Lederer. A new translation of selections from Georges Sorel's Reflections on Violence further illuminates Benjamin's critical program. The volume also includes, for the first time in any language, a bibliography Benjamin drafted for the expansion of the essay and the development of a corresponding philosophy of law. An extensive introduction and afterword provide additional context. With its challenging argument concerning violence, law, and justice—which addresses such topical matters as police violence, the death penalty, and the ambiguous force of religion—Benjamin's work is as important today as it was upon its publication in Weimar Germany a century ago.
A lively examination of the life and work of one of the great Enlightenment intellectuals Philosopher, translator, novelist, art critic, and editor of the Encyclopédie, Denis Diderot was one of the liveliest figures of the Enlightenment. But how might we delineate the contours of his diverse oeuvre, which, unlike the works of his contemporaries, Voltaire, Rousseau, Schiller, Kant, or Hume, is clearly characterized by a centrifugal dynamic? Taking Hegel's fascinated irritation with Diderot's work as a starting point, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht explores the question of this extraordinary intellectual's place in the legacy of the eighteenth century. While Diderot shared most of the concerns typically attributed to his time, the ways in which he coped with them do not fully correspond to what we consider Enlightenment thought. Conjuring scenes from Diderot's by turns turbulent and quiet life, offering close readings of several key books, and probing the motif of a tension between physical perception and conceptual experience, Gumbrecht demonstrates how Diderot belonged to a vivid intellectual periphery that included protagonists such as Lichtenberg, Goya, and Mozart. With this provocative and elegant work, he elaborates the existential preoccupations of this periphery, revealing the way they speak to us today.
Anyone who has ever experienced a sporting event in a large stadium knows the energy that emanates from stands full of fans cheering on their teams. Although "the masses" have long held a thoroughly bad reputation in politics and culture, literary critic and avid sports fan Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht finds powerful, as yet unexplored reasons to sing the praises of crowds. Drawing on his experiences as a spectator in the stadiums of South America, Germany, and the US, Gumbrecht presents the stadium as "a ritual of intensity," thereby offering a different lens through which we might capture and even appreciate the dynamic of the masses. In presenting this alternate view, Gumbrecht enters into conversation with thinkers who were more critical of the potential of the masses, such as Gustave Le Bon, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, José Ortega y Gasset, Elias Canetti, Siegfried Kracauer, T. W. Adorno, or Max Horkheimer. A preface explores college crowds as a uniquely specific phenomenon of American culture. Pairing philosophical rigor with the enthusiasm of a true fan, Gumbrecht writes from the inside and suggests that being part of a crowd opens us up to an experience beyond ourselves.
We need a new philosophy of the earth. Geological time used to refer to slow and gradual processes, but today we are watching land sink into the sea and forests transform into deserts. We can even see the creation of new geological strata made of plastic, chicken bones, and other waste that could remain in the fossil record for millennia or longer. Crafting a philosophy of geology that rewrites natural and human history from the broader perspective of movement, Thomas Nail provides a new materialist, kinetic ethics of the earth that speaks to this moment. Climate change and other ecological disruptions challenge us to reconsider the deep history of minerals, atmosphere, plants, and animals and to take a more process-oriented perspective that sees humanity as part of the larger cosmic and terrestrial drama of mobility and flow. Building on his earlier work on the philosophy of movement, Nail argues that we should shift our biocentric emphasis from conservation to expenditure, flux, and planetary diversity. Theory of the Earth urges us to rethink our ethical relationship to one another, the planet, and the cosmos at large.
Do we need to be a "people," populus, in order to embrace democracy and live together in peace? If so, what is a populus? Is it by definition a nation? What exactly do we mean by nationality? In this book, Davide Tarizzo takes up the problem of modern democratic, liberal peoples—how to define them, how to explain their invariance over time, and how to differentiate one people from another. Specifically, Tarizzo proposes that Jacques Lacan's theory of the subject enables us to clearly distinguish between the notion of personal identity and the notion of subjectivity, and that this very distinction is critical to understanding the nature of nations whose sense of nationhood does not rest on any self-evident identity or pre-existent cultural or ethnic homogeneity between individuals. Developing an argument about the birth and rise of modern peoples that draws on the American Declaration of Independence of 1776 and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen of 1789 as examples, Tarizzo introduces the concept of "political grammar"—a phrase that denotes the conditions of political subjectification that enable the enunciation of an emergent "we." Democracy, Tarizzo argues, flourishes when the opening between subjectivity and identity is maintained. And in fact, as he compellingly demonstrates, depending on the political grammar at work, democracy can be productively perceived as a process of never-ending recovery from a lack of clear national identity.
The year 1888 marked the last year of Friedrich Nietzsche's intellectual career and the culmination of his philosophical development. In that final productive year, he worked on six books, all of which are now, for the first time, presented in English in a single volume. Together these new translations provide a fundamental and complete introduction to Nietzsche's mature thought and to the virtuosity and versatility of his most fully developed style. The writings included here have a bold, sometimes radical tone that can be connected to Nietzsche's rising profile and growing confidence. In The Antichrist, we are offered an extended critique of Christianity and Christian morality alongside blunt diagnoses of contemporary Europe's cultural decadence. In Dionysus Dithyrambs we are presented with his only work composed exclusively of poetry, and in Twilight of the Idols we find a succinct summary of his mature philosophical views. At times the works are also openly personal, as in The Case of Wagner, which presents Nietzsche's attempt to settle accounts with his former close friend, German composer Richard Wagner, and in his provocative autobiography, Ecce Homo, which sees Nietzsche taking stock of his past and future while also reflecting on many of his earlier texts. Scrupulously edited, this critical volume also includes commentary by esteemed Nietzsche scholar Andreas Urs Sommer. Through this new collection, students and scholars are given an essential introduction to Nietzsche's late thought.
An innovative reassessment of the last writings and final years of Karl Marx. In the last years of his life, Karl Marx expanded his research in new directions—studying recent anthropological discoveries, analyzing communal forms of ownership in precapitalist societies, supporting the populist movement in Russia, and expressing critiques of colonial oppression in India, Ireland, Algeria, and Egypt. Between 1881 and 1883, he also traveled beyond Europe for the first and only time. Focusing on these last years of Marx's life, this book dispels two key misrepresentations of his work: that Marx ceased to write late in life, and that he was a Eurocentric and economic thinker fixated on class conflict alone. With The Last Years of Karl Marx, Marcello Musto claims a renewed relevance for the late work of Marx, highlighting unpublished or previously neglected writings, many of which remain unavailable in English. Readers are invited to reconsider Marx's critique of European colonialism, his ideas on non-Western societies, and his theories on the possibility of revolution in noncapitalist countries. From Marx's late manuscripts, notebooks, and letters emerge an author markedly different from the one represented by many of his contemporary critics and followers alike. As Marx currently experiences a significant rediscovery, this volume fills a gap in the popularly accepted biography and suggests an innovative reassessment of some of his key concepts.
The division between analytic and continental political theory remains as sharp as it is wide, rendering basic problems seemingly intractable. Across the Great Divide offers an accessible and compelling account of how this split has shaped the field of political philosophy and suggests means of addressing it. Rather than advocating a synthesis of these philosophical modes, author Jeremy Arnold argues for aporetic cross-tradition theorizing: bringing together both traditions in order to show how each is at once necessary and limited. Across the Great Divide engages with a range of fundamental political concepts and theorists—from state legitimacy and violence in the work of Stanley Cavell, to personal freedom and its civic institutionalization in Philip Pettit and Hannah Arendt, and justice in John Rawls and Jacques Derrida—not only illustrating the shortcomings of theoretical synthesis but also demonstrating a productive alternative. By outlining the failings of "political realism" as a synthetic cross-tradition approach to political theory and by modeling an aporetic mode of engagement, Arnold shows how we can better understand and address the pressing political issues of civil freedom and state justice today.
A fresh and more capacious reading of the Western religious tradition on nature and creation, Thinking Nature and the Nature of Thinking puts medieval Irish theologian John Scottus Eriugena (810–877) into conversation with American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882). Challenging the biblical stewardship model of nature and histories of nature and religion that pit orthodoxy against the heresy of pantheism, Willemien Otten reveals a line of thought that has long made room for nature's agency as the coworker of God. Embracing in this more elusive idea of nature in a world beset by environmental crisis, she suggests, will allow us to see nature not as a victim but as an ally in a common quest for re-attunement to the divine. Putting its protagonists into further dialogue with such classic authors as Augustine, Maximus the Confessor, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and William James, her study deconstructs the idea of pantheism and paves the way for a new natural theology.
Photography and Its Shadow argues that the invention of photography marked a rupture in our relation to the world and what we see in it. The dominant theoretical and artistic paradigm for understanding the invention has been the tracing of shadows. But what photography really inaugurated was the shadow's disappearance—a disappearance that irreversibly changed our relationship to nature and the real, to time and to death. A way of negotiating impermanence, photography was marked from the start by an inherent contradiction. It conflated two incompatible configurations of the visible: an embodied human eye, deeply sensitive to nature, and a machine vision that aimed to reify the instant and wallow in images alone. Photography's history is replete with efforts to conceal the mystery of its paradoxical constitution. Born in the century of Nietzsche's "death of God," it long enacted the fraught subjectivity of its age. Anxious, haunted by a void, it used an array of strategies to take on ever-new identities. Challenging the hitherto most influential accounts of the practice and taking us from its origins to the present, Hagi Kenaan shows us how photography has been transformed over time, and how it transforms us.
Is there a pill for love? What about an "anti-love drug", to help us get over an ex? This book argues that certain psychoactive substances, including MDMA—the active ingredient in Ecstasy—may help ordinary couples work through relationship difficulties and strengthen their connection. Others may help sever an emotional connection during a breakup. These substances already exist, and they have transformative implications for how we think about love. This book builds a case for conducting research into "love drugs" and "anti-love drugs" and explores their ethical implications for individuals and society. Scandalously, Western medicine tends to ignore the interpersonal effects of drug-based interventions. Why are we still in the dark about the effects of these drugs on romantic partnerships? And how can we overhaul scientific research norms to take relationships more fully into account? Ethicists Brian D. Earp and Julian Savulescu say that the time to think through such questions is now. Biochemical interventions into love and relationships are not some far-off speculation. Our most intimate connections are already being influenced by drugs we ingest for other purposes. Controlled studies are underway to see whether artificial brain chemicals can enhance couples therapy. And conservative religious groups are experimenting with certain medications to quash romantic desires—and even the urge to masturbate—among children and vulnerable sexual minorities. Simply put, the horse has bolted. Where it runs is up to us. Love Drugs arms us with the latest scientific knowledge and a set of ethical tools that we can use to decide if these sorts of medications should be a part of our society. Or whether a chemical romance will be right for us.
Two Studies of Friedrich Hölderlin shows how the poet enacts a radical theory of meaning that culminates in a unique and still groundbreaking concept of revolution, one that begins with a revolutionary understanding of language. The product of an intense engagement with both Walter Benjamin and Jacques Derrida, the book presents Werner Hamacher's major attempts at developing a critical practice commensurate with the immensity of Hölderlin's late writings. These essays offer an incisive and innovative combination of critical theory and deconstruction while also identifying where influential critics like Heidegger fail to do justice to the poet's astonishing radicality. Readers will not only come away with a new appreciation of Hölderlin's poetic and political-theoretical achievements but will also discover the motivating force behind Hamacher's own achievements as a literary scholar and political theorist. An introduction by Julia Ng and an afterword by Peter Fenves provide further information about these studies and the academic and theoretical context in which they were composed.
In a world that promotes assertion, agency, and empowerment, this book challenges us to revalue a range of actions and attitudes that have come to be disregarded or dismissed as merely passive. Mercy, resignation, politeness, restraint, gratitude, abstinence, losing well, apologizing, taking care: today, such behaviors are associated with negativity or lack. But the capacity to give way is better understood as positive action, at once intricate and demanding. Moving from intra-human common courtesies, to human-animal relations, to the global civility of human-inhuman ecological awareness, the book's argument unfolds on progressively larger scales. In reminding us of the existential threat our drives pose to our own survival, Steven Connor does not merely champion a family of behaviors; he shows that we are more adept practitioners of them than we realize. At a time when it is on the wane, Giving Way offers a powerful defense of civility, the versatile human capacity to deflect aggression into sociability and to exercise power over power itself.
This volume of The Complete Works provides the first English translation of all Nietzsche's unpublished notes from April 1885 to the summer of 1886, the period in which he wrote his breakthrough philosophical books Beyond Good and Evil and On the Genealogy of Morality. Keen to reinvent himself after Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the philosopher used these unpublished notes to chart his search for a new philosophical voice. The notebooks contain copious drafts of book titles; critical retrospection on his earlier projects; a critique of the feminine; prophetic commentary on Germany; and forays into metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, and language. They also reveal his deep concern for Europe and its future and a burgeoning presence of the Dionysian. We learn what Nietzsche was reading and from whom he borrowed, and we find a considerable portion of notes and fragments from the non-book "Will to Power," though here they are unembellished and unmediated. Richly annotated and accompanied by a detailed translator's afterword, this landmark volume sheds light on the controversy surrounding the Nachlass of the 1880s.
Possibility is a concept central to both philosophy and social theory. But in what philosophical soil, if any, does the possibility of a better society grow? At the intersection of metaphysics and social theory, What Would Be Different looks to Theodor W. Adorno to reflect on the relationship between the possible and the actual. In repeated allusions to utopia, redemption, and reconciliation, Adorno appears to reference a future that would break decisively with the social injustices that have characterized history. To this end, and though he never explains it in any detail—let alone in the form of a full-blown theory or metaphysics—he also makes extensive technical use of the concept of possibility. Taking Adorno's critical readings of other thinkers, especially Hegel and Heidegger, as his guiding thread, Iain Macdonald reflects on possibility as it relates to Adorno's own writings and offers answers to the question of how we are to articulate such possibilities without lapsing into a vague and naïve utopianism.
In recent years, the American fiction writer David Foster Wallace has been treated as a symbol, as an icon, and even a film character. Ordinary Unhappiness returns us to the reason we all know about him in the first place: his fiction. By closely examining Infinite Jest, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, and The Pale King, Jon Baskin points readers to the work at the center of Wallace's oeuvre and places that writing in conversation with a philosophical tradition that includes Wittgenstein, Kierkegaard, and Cavell, among others. What emerges is a Wallace who not only speaks to our postmodern addictions in the age of mass entertainment and McDonald's but who seeks to address a quiet desperation at the heart of our modern lives. Freud said that the job of the therapeutic process was to turn "hysterical misery into ordinary unhappiness." This book makes a case for how Wallace achieved this in his fiction.
When it comes to historical violence and contemporary inequality, none of us are completely innocent. We may not be direct agents of harm, but we may still contribute to, inhabit, or benefit from regimes of domination that we neither set up nor control. Arguing that the familiar categories of victim, perpetrator, and bystander do not adequately account for our connection to injustices past and present, Michael Rothberg offers a new theory of political responsibility through the figure of the implicated subject. The Implicated Subject builds on the comparative, transnational framework of Rothberg's influential work on memory to engage in reflection and analysis of cultural texts, archives, and activist movements from such contested zones as transitional South Africa, contemporary Israel/Palestine, post-Holocaust Europe, and a transatlantic realm marked by the afterlives of slavery. As these diverse sites of inquiry indicate, the processes and histories illuminated by implicated subjectivity are legion in our interconnected world. An array of globally prominent artists, writers, and thinkers—from William Kentridge, Hito Steyerl, and Jamaica Kincaid, to Hannah Arendt, Primo Levi, Judith Butler, and the Combahee River Collective—speak to this interconnection and show how confronting our own implication in difficult histories can lead to new forms of internationalism and long-distance solidarity.
With this latest book in the series, Stanford continues its English-language publication of the famed Colli-Montinari edition of Nietzsche's complete works, which include the philosopher's notebooks and early unpublished writings. Scrupulously edited so as to establish a new standard for the field, each volume includes an Afterword that presents and contextualizes the material therein. This volume provides the first English translation of Nietzsche's unpublished notebooks from 1882–1884, the period in which he was composing the book that he considered his best and most important work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Crucial transitional documents in Nietzsche's intellectual development, the notebooks mark a shift into what is widely regarded as the philosopher's mature period. They reveal his long-term design of a fictional tetralogy charting the philosophical, pedagogical, and psychological journeys of his alter-ego, Zarathustra. Here, in nuce, appear Zarathustra's teaching about the death of God; his discovery that the secret of life is the will to power; and his most profound and most frightening thought—that his own life, human history, and the entire cosmos will eternally return. During this same period, Nietzsche was also composing preparatory notes for his next book, Beyond Good and Evil, and the notebooks are especially significant for the insight they provide into his evolving theory of drives, his critical ideas about the nature and history of morality, and his initial thoughts on one of his best-known concepts, the superhuman (Übermensch).
Critical theorists of economy tend to understand the history of market society as a succession of distinct stages. This vision of history rests on a chronological conception of time whereby each present slips into the past so that a future might take its place. This book argues that the linear mode of thinking misses something crucial about the dynamics of contemporary capitalism. Rather than each present leaving a set past behind it, the past continually circulates through and shapes the present, such that historical change emerges through a shifting panorama of historical associations, names, and dates. The result is a strange feedback loop between now and then, real and imaginary. Demonstrating how this idea can give us a better purchase on financial capitalism in the post-crisis era, History in Financial Times traces the diverse modes of history production at work in the spheres of financial journalism, policymaking, and popular culture. Paying particular attention to narrative and to notions of crisis, recurrence, and revelation, Amin Samman gives us a novel take on the relation between historical thinking and critique.
Creation and the giving of orders are closely entwined in Western culture, where God commands the world into existence and later issues the injunctions known as the Ten Commandments. The arche, or origin, is always also a command, and a beginning is always the first principle that governs and decrees. This is as true for theology, where God not only creates the world but governs and continues to govern through continuous creation, as it is for the philosophical and political tradition according to which beginning and creation, command and will, together form a strategic apparatus without which our society would fall apart. The five essays collected here aim to deactivate this apparatus through a patient archaeological inquiry into the concepts of work, creation, and command. Giorgio Agamben explores every nuance of the arche in search of an an-archic exit strategy. By the book's final chapter, anarchy appears as the secret center of power, brought to light so as to make possible a philosophical thought that might overthrow both the principle and its command.
Reexamining the case of one of the most famous intellectuals to embrace fascism, this book argues that Martin Heidegger's politics and philosophy of language emerge from a deep affinity for the ethno-nationalist and anti-Semitic politics of the Nazi movement. Himself a product of a conservative milieu, Heidegger did not have to significantly compromise his thinking to adapt it to National Socialism but only to intensify certain themes within it. Tracing the continuity of these themes in his lectures on Greek philosophy, his magnum opus, Being and Time, and the notorious Black Notebooks that have only begun to see the light of day, Heidegger's Fascist Affinities argues that if Heidegger was able to align himself so thoroughly with Nazism, it was partly because his philosophy was predicated upon fundamental forms of silencing and exclusion. With the arrival of the Nazi revolution, Heidegger displayed—both in public and in private—a complex, protracted form of silence drawn from his philosophy of language. Avoiding the easy satisfaction of banishing Heidegger from the philosophical realm so indebted to his work, Adam Knowles asks whether what drove Heidegger to Nazism in the first place might continue to haunt the discipline. In the context of today's burgeoning ethno-nationalist regimes, can contemporary philosophy ensure itself of its immunity?
Neoliberalism has become a dirty word. In political discourse, it stigmatizes a political opponent as a market fundamentalist; in academia, the concept is also mainly wielded by its critics, while those who might be seen as actual neoliberals deny its very existence. Yet the term remains necessary for understanding the varieties of capitalism across space and time. Arguing that neoliberalism is widely misunderstood when reduced to a doctrine of markets and economics alone, this book shows that it has a political dimension that we can reconstruct and critique. Recognizing the heterogeneities within and between both neoliberal theory and practice, The Political Theory of Neoliberalism looks to distinguish between the two as well as to theorize their relationship. By examining the views of state, democracy, science, and politics in the work of six major figures—Eucken, Röpke, Rüstow, Hayek, Friedman, and Buchanan—it offers the first comprehensive account of the varieties of neoliberal political thought. Ordoliberal perspectives, in particular, emerge in a new light. Turning from abstract to concrete, the book also interprets recent neoliberal reforms of the European Union to offer a diagnosis of contemporary capitalism more generally. The latest economic crises hardly brought the neoliberal era to an end. Instead, as Thomas Biebricher shows, we are witnessing an authoritarian liberalism whose reign has only just begun.
Philosophy, Socrates declared, is the art of dying. This book underscores that it is also the art of learning to live and share the earth with those who have come before us. Burial, with its surrounding rituals, is the most ancient documented cultural-symbolic practice: all humans have developed techniques of caring for and communicating with the dead. The premise of Being with the Dead is that we can explore our lives with the dead as a cross-cultural existential a priori out of which the basic forms of historical consciousness emerge. Care for the dead is not just about the symbolic handling of mortal remains; it also points to a necropolitics, the social bond between the dead and living that holds societies together—a shared space or polis where the dead are maintained among the living. Moving from mortuary rituals to literary representations, from the problem of ancestrality to technologies of survival and intergenerational communication, Hans Ruin explores the epistemological, ethical, and ontological dimensions of what it means to be with the dead. His phenomenological approach to key sources in a range of fields gives us a new perspective on the human sciences as a whole.
Identity has become a central feature of national conversations: identity politics and identity crises are the order of the day. We celebrate identity when it comes to personal freedom and group membership, and we fear the power of identity when it comes to discrimination, bias, and hate crimes. Drawing on Isaiah Berlin's famous distinction between positive and negative liberty, Theodor Adorno and the Century of Negative Identity argues for the necessity of acknowledging a dialectic within the identity concept. Exploring the intellectual history of identity as a social idea, Eric Oberle shows the philosophical importance of identity's origins in American exile from Hitler's fascism. Positive identity was first proposed by Frankfurt School member Erich Fromm, while negative identity was almost immediately put forth as a counter-concept by Fromm's colleague, Theodor Adorno. Oberle explains why, in the context of the racism, authoritarianism, and the hard-right agitation of the 1940s, the invention of a positive concept of identity required a theory of negative identity. This history in turn reveals how autonomy and objectivity can be recovered within a modern identity structured by domination, alterity, ontologized conflict, and victim blaming.
Frantz Fanon may be most known for his more obviously political writings, but in the first instance, he was a clinician, a black Caribbean psychiatrist who had the improbable task of treating disturbed and traumatized North African patients during the wars of decolonization. Investigating and foregrounding the clinical system that Fanon devised in an attempt to intervene against negrophobia and anti-blackness, this book rereads his clinical and political work together, arguing that the two are mutually imbricated. For the first time, Fanon's therapeutic innovations are considered along with his more overtly political and cultural writings to ask how the crises of war affected his practice, informed his politics, and shaped his subsequent ideas. As David Marriott suggests, this combination of the clinical and political involves a psychopolitics that is, by definition, complex, difficult, and perpetually challenging. He details this psychopolitics from two points of view, focusing first on Fanon's sociotherapy, its diagnostic methods and concepts, and second, on Fanon's cultural theory more generally. In our present climate of fear and terror over black presence and the violence to which it gives rise, Whither Fanon? reminds us of Fanon's scandalous actuality and of the continued urgency of his message.
Sediments of Time features the most important essays by renowned German historian Reinhart Koselleck not previously available in English, several of them essential to his theory of history. The volume sheds new light on Koselleck's crucial concerns, including his theory of sediments of time; his theory of historical repetition, duration, and acceleration; his encounters with philosophical hermeneutics and political and legal thought; his concern with the limits of historical meaning; and his views on historical commemoration, including that of the Second World War and the Holocaust. A critical introduction addresses some of the challenges and potentials of Koselleck's reception in the Anglophone world.
This book shows how early economic ideas structured Christian thought and society, giving crucial insight into why money holds such power in the West. Examining the religious and theological sources of money's power, it shows how early Christian thinkers borrowed ancient notions of money and economic exchange from the Roman Empire as a basis for their new theological arguments. Monetary metaphors and images, including the minting of coins and debt slavery, provided frameworks for theologians to explain what happens in salvation. God became an economic administrator, for instance, and Christ functioned as a currency to purchase humanity's freedom. Such ideas, in turn, provided models for pastors and Christian emperors as they oversaw both resources and people, which led to new economic conceptions of state administration of populations and conferred a godly aura on the use of money. Divine Currency argues that this longstanding association of money with divine activity has contributed over the centuries to money's ever increasing significance, justifying various forms of politics that manage citizens along the way. Devin Singh's account sheds unexpected light on why we live in a world where nothing seems immune from the price mechanism.
The Re-Enchantment of the World is an interdisciplinary volume that challenges the long-prevailing view of modernity as "disenchanted." There is of course something to the widespread idea, so memorably put into words by Max Weber, that modernity is characterized by the "progressive disenchantment of the world." Yet what is less often recognized is the fact that a powerful counter-tendency runs alongside this one, an overwhelming urge to fill the vacuum left by departed convictions, and to do so without invoking superseded belief systems. In fact, modernity produces an array of strategies for re-enchantment, each fully compatible with secular rationality. It has to, because God has many "aspects"—or to put it in more secular terms, because traditional religion offers so much in so many domains. From one thinker to the next, the question of just what, in religious enchantment, needs to be replaced in a secular world receives an entirely different answer. Now, for the first time, many of these strategies are laid out in a single volume, with contributions by specialists in literature, history, and philosophy.
Dialectic of Enlightenment is undoubtedly the most influential publication of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. Written during the Second World War and circulated privately, it appeared in a printed edition in Amsterdam in 1947. "What we had set out to do," the authors write in the Preface, "was nothing less than to explain why humanity, instead of entering a truly human state, is sinking into a new kind of barbarism." Yet the work goes far beyond a mere critique of contemporary events. Historically remote developments, indeed, the birth of Western history and of subjectivity itself out of the struggle against natural forces, as represented in myths, are connected in a wide arch to the most threatening experiences of the present. The book consists in five chapters, at first glance unconnected, together with a number of shorter notes. The various analyses concern such phenomena as the detachment of science from practical life, formalized morality, the manipulative nature of entertainment culture, and a paranoid behavioral structure, expressed in aggressive anti-Semitism, that marks the limits of enlightenment. The authors perceive a common element in these phenomena, the tendency toward self-destruction of the guiding criteria inherent in enlightenment thought from the beginning. Using historical analyses to elucidate the present, they show, against the background of a prehistory of subjectivity, why the National Socialist terror was not an aberration of modern history but was rooted deeply in the fundamental characteristics of Western civilization. Adorno and Horkheimer see the self-destruction of Western reason as grounded in a historical and fateful dialectic between the domination of external nature and society. They trace enlightenment, which split these spheres apart, back to its mythical roots. Enlightenment and myth, therefore, are not irreconcilable opposites, but dialectically mediated qualities of both real and intellectual life. "Myth is already enlightenment, and enlightenment reverts to mythology." This paradox is the fundamental thesis of the book. This new translation, based on the text in the complete edition of the works of Max Horkheimer, contains textual variants, commentary upon them, and an editorial discussion of the position of this work in the development of Critical Theory.