Marx's critique of political economy is vital for understanding the crisis of contemporary capitalism. Yet the nature of its relevance and some of its key tenets remain poorly understood. This bold intervention brings together the work of leading Marx scholars Slavoj i ek, Agon Hamza and Frank Ruda, to offer a fresh, radical reinterpretation of Marxism that explains the failures of neoliberalism and lays the foundations for a new emancipatory politics.
Avoiding trite comparisons between Marx's world view and our current political scene, the authors show that the current relevance and value of Marx's thought can better be explained by placing his key ideas in dialogue with those that have attempted to replace them. Reading Marx through Hegel and Lacan, particle physics and modern political trends, the authors provide new ways to explain the crisis in contemporary capitalism and resist fundamentalism in all its forms. Reading Marx will find a wide audience amongst activists and scholars.
Amidst a devastating economic crisis, two tragic events coming from the outside - the wave of immigration and Islamic terrorism - have radically changed the profile and significance of the space we call Europe. Given a paradigm leap of this sort, philosophical reflection is in a position to exert its creative power more than other types of knowledge. But this can only happen if it is able to go beyond its own lexical boundaries, by turning its gaze outside itself.
In this book, the leading Italian philosopher Roberto Esposito looks at how various strands of German, French, and Italian thought have achieved this outward turn and successfully captured international attention by breaking with the language of early nineteenth century crisis philosophies. When analyzed from this novel perspective, the great texts of Adorno, Derrida, Foucault and Deleuze, as well as works by the latest Italian thinkers, are cast in a new light. From the relationship and tension between them, reconstructed here with extraordinary theoretical sensitivity, a form of thought can arise that is equal to the challenges faced by Europe today. Critical theory, philosophies of difference and biopolitics, in their confrontation and friction, offer crucial lenses for bringing into focus the features of our time and for tracing the contours of what awaits us.
This erudite and wide-ranging analysis of European thought in the light of the crises facing the continent today will appeal to students and scholars of philosophy, critical theory and beyond.
From the beginning to the end of his career, the philosopher Theodor W. Adorno sustained an uneasy but enduring bond with existentialism. His attitude overall was that of unsparing criticism, verging on polemic. In Kierkegaard he saw an early paragon for the late flowering of bourgeois solipsism; in Heidegger, an impresario for a jargon of authenticity cloaking its idealism in an aura of pseudo-concreteness and neo-romantic kitsch. Even in the straitened rationalism of Husserl's phenomenology Adorno saw a vain attempt to break free from the prison-house of consciousness.
Gordon, in a detailed, sensitive, fair-minded way, leads the reader through Adorno's various, usually quite vigorous, rhetorically pointed attacks on both transcendental and existential phenomenology from 1930 on.
There should no longer be any doubt: global capitalism is fast approaching its terminal crisis. But if the end of capitalism seems to many like the end of the world, how is it possible for Western society to face up to the end times? In a major new analysis of our global situation, Zizek argues that our collective responses to economic Armageddon correspond to the stages of grief: ideological denial, explosions of anger and attempts at bargaining, followed by depression and withdrawal. For this edition, Zizek has written a long afterword that leaves almost no subject untouched, from WikiLeaks to the nature of the Chinese Communist Party.
Billions of dollars were hastily poured into the global banking system in a frantic attempt at financial stabilisation. So why has it not been possible to bring the same forces to bear in addressing world poverty and environmental crisis? In this take-no-prisoners analysis, Slavoj Zizek frames the moral failures of the modern world in terms of the epoch-making events of the first decade of this century. What he finds is the old one-two punch of history: the jab of tragedy, the right hook of farce. In the attacks of 9/11 and the global credit crunch, liberalism dies twice: as a political doctrine and as an economic theory. The election of Donald Trump only confirms the bankruptcy of a liberal order on its last legs. First as Tragedy, Then as Farce is a call for the left to reinvent itself in the light of our desperate historical situation. The time for liberal, moralistic blackmail is over.
What does it mean to be a Muslim philosopher, or to philosophize in Islam? In Open to Reason, Souleymane Bachir Diagne traces Muslims' long intellectual and spiritual history of examining and questioning beliefs and arguments to show how Islamic philosophy has always engaged critically with texts and ideas both inside and outside its tradition. Through a rich reading of classical and modern Muslim philosophers, Diagne explains the long history of philosophy in the Islamic world and its relevance to crucial issues of our own time.
From classical figures such as Avicenna to the twentieth-century Sufi master and teacher of tolerance Tierno Bokar Salif Tall, Diagne explores how Islamic thinkers have asked and answered such questions as, Does religion need philosophy? How can religion coexist with rationalism? What does it mean to interpret a religious narrative philosophically? What does it mean to be human and what are human beings' responsibilities to nature? Is there such a thing as an "Islamic" state, or should Muslims reinvent political institutions that suit their own times? Diagne shows that philosophizing in Islam in its many forms throughout the centuries has meant a commitment to forward and open thinking.
A remarkable history of philosophy in the Islamic world as well as a work of philosophy in its own right, this book seeks to contribute to the revival of a spirit of pluralism rooted in Muslim intellectual and spiritual traditions.
Does science aim at providing an account of the world that is literally true or objectively true? Understanding the difference requires paying close attention to metaphor and its role in science. In The Third Lens, Andrew S. Reynolds argues that metaphors, like microscopes and other instruments, are a vital tool in the construction of scientific knowledge and explanations of how the world works. More than just rhetorical devices for conveying difficult ideas, metaphors provide the conceptual means with which scientists interpret and intervene in the world.
Reynolds here investigates the role of metaphors in the creation of scientific concepts, theories, and explanations, using cell theory as his primary case study. He explores the history of key metaphors that have informed the field and the experimental, philosophical, and social circumstances under which they have emerged, risen in popularity, and in some cases faded from view. How we think of cells - as chambers, organisms, or even machines - makes a difference to scientific practice. Consequently, an accurate picture of how scientific knowledge is made requires us to understand how the metaphors scientists use - and the social values that often surreptitiously accompany them - influence our understanding of the world, and, ultimately, of ourselves.
The influence of metaphor isn’t limited to how we think about cells or proteins: in some cases they can even lead to real material change in the very nature of the thing in question, as scientists use technology to alter the reality to fit the metaphor. Drawing out the implications of science’s reliance upon metaphor, The Third Lens will be of interest to anyone working in the areas of history and philosophy of science, science studies, cell and molecular biology, science education and communication, and metaphor in general.
The author of the contemporary classic, In the Dust of This Planet, is back with another raw and unsettling look at the human condition.
Comprised of aphorisms, fragments, and observations both philosophical and personal, Thacker’s new book traces the contours of pessimism, caught as it often is between a philosophical position and a bad attitude. Reflecting on the universe’s “looming abyss of indifference,” Thacker explores the pessimism of a range of philosophers, from the well-known (Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Camus), to the lesser-known (E.M. Cioran, Lev Shestov, Miguel de Unamuno).
Readers will find food for thought in Thacker’s handling of a range of themes in Christianity and Buddhism, as well as his engagement with literary figures (from Dostoevsky to Thomas Bernhard, Osamu Dazai, and Fernando Pessoa), whose pessimism about the world both inspires and depresses Thacker. By turns melancholic, misanthropic, and darkly funny, (“Birth is a metaphysical injury - healing takes time - the span of one's life”), many will find Infinite Resignation a welcome antidote to the exuberant imbecility of our times.
Spinoza's Ethics is one of the most significant texts of the early modern period, important to history, philosophy, Jewish studies and religious studies. It had a major influence on Enlightenment thinkers and the development of the modern world. In Ethics, Spinoza addresses the most fundamental perennial philosophical questions concerning the nature of God, human beings and a good life. His startling answers synthesize the longstanding traditions of ancient Greek and Jewish philosophy with the developments of the emerging scientific revolution. The resulting philosophical system casts out the willing, personal God of Abrahamic religions and takes up the challenge of reconceiving the natural world and human beings in an entirely secular way. This volume offers a new translation based on a new critical edition, reflecting the state of the art in Spinoza scholarship, and also includes an introduction, chronology and glossary to help make this notoriously difficult text accessible.
Human beings have long seen themselves as the center of the universe, the apple of God's eye, specially-created creatures who are somehow above and beyond the natural world. This viewpoint - a persistent paradigm of our own unique self-importance - is as dangerous as it is false.
In Through a Glass Brightly, noted scientist David P. Barash explores the process by which science has, throughout time, cut humanity "down to size," and how humanity has responded. A good paradigm is a tough thing to lose, especially when its replacement leaves us feeling more vulnerable and less special. And yet, as science has progressed, we find ourselves - like it or not - bereft of many of our most cherished beliefs, confronting an array of paradigms lost.
Barash models his argument around a set of "old" and "new" paradigms that define humanity's place in the universe. This new set of paradigms range from provocative revelations as to whether human beings are well designed, whether the universe has somehow been established with our species in mind (the so-called anthropic principle), whether life itself is inherently fragile, and whether Homo sapiens might someday be genetically combined with other species (and what that would mean for our self-image). Rather than seeing ourselves through a glass darkly, science enables us to perceive our strengths and weaknesses brightly and accurately at last, so that paradigms lost becomes wisdom gained. The result is a bracing, remarkably hopeful view of who we really are.
Timothy Morton argues that ecological awareness in the present Anthropocene era takes the form of a strange loop or M bius strip, twisted to have only one side. Deckard travels this oedipal path in Blade Runner (1982) when he learns that he might be the enemy he has been ordered to pursue. Ecological awareness takes this shape because ecological phenomena have a loop form that is also fundamental to the structure of how things are. The logistics of agricultural society resulted in global warming and hardwired dangerous ideas about life-forms into the human mind. Dark ecology puts us in an uncanny position of radical self-knowledge, illuminating our place in the biosphere and our belonging to a species in a sense that is far less obvious than we like to think. Morton explores the logical foundations of the ecological crisis, which is suffused with the melancholy and negativity of coexistence yet evolving, as we explore its loop form, into something playful, anarchic, and comedic. His work is a skilled fusion of humanities and scientific scholarship, incorporating the theories and findings of philosophy, anthropology, literature, ecology, biology, and physics. Morton hopes to reestablish our ties to nonhuman beings and to help us rediscover the playfulness and joy that can brighten the dark, strange loop we traverse.