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This book is an introduction to the high humanitarian ideas of the great Russian writer and philosopher Leo Tolstoy. It was inspired by the portrait reproduced on the cover dustjacket. The inscription on the portrait was written, in Russian, by Alexandra Lvovna Tolstoy, youngest daughter of the world famous writer and presented to the author, Michael Levin, on the occasion of his visit to her in 1977 at her home in upstate New York. In translation, the inscription reads: My father once said: 'Believing gives soulful peace; sense of divine soul gives power'. These words of his have always helped me in life. And I am happy that you helped people - tourists - when they came to bow their heads at his grave. Thank you! Alexandra Tolstoy (92 years). 18 February 1977.
This biography of Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) tells the story of a Jewish boy from Algiers, excluded from school at the age of twelve, who went on to become the most widely translated French philosopher in the world - a vulnerable, tormented man who, throughout his life, continued to see himself as unwelcome in the French university system. We are plunged into the different worlds in which Derrida lived and worked: pre-independence Algeria, the microcosm of the ecole Normale Superieure, the cluster of structuralist thinkers, and the turbulent events of 1968 and after. We meet the remarkable series of leading writers and philosophers with whom Derrida struck up a friendship: Louis Althusser, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean Genet, and Helene Cixous, among others. We also witness an equally long series of often brutal polemics fought over crucial issues with thinkers such as Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, John R. Searle, and Jurgen Habermas, as well as several controversies that went far beyond academia, the best known of which concerned Heidegger and Paul de Man. We follow a series of courageous political commitments in support of Nelson Mandela, illegal immigrants, and gay marriage. And we watch as a concept - deconstruction - takes wing and exerts an extraordinary influence way beyond the philosophical world, on literary studies, architecture, law, theology, feminism, queer theory, and postcolonial studies.
In writing this compelling and authoritative biography, Benoit Peeters talked to over a hundred individuals who knew and worked with Derrida. He is also the first person to make use of the huge personal archive built up by Derrida throughout his life and of his extensive correspondence. Peeters' book gives us a new and deeper understanding of the man who will perhaps be seen as the major philosopher of the second half of the twentieth century.
Originally given as a series of lectures at the Sorbonne, Francois Guizots "The History of Civilization in Europe" was published to great acclaim in 1828 and is now regarded as a classic in modern historical research. The History was particularly influential on Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill, and Alexis de Tocqueville. Tocqueville, in fact, requested that a copy of The History be sent to him when he arrived in the United States. This volume offers what Guizot himself describes as a philosophic history of Europe, one which searches for the underlying general causes and effects of particular events. Guizot considers European civilisation in its broadest senses, encompassing not merely political, economic, and social structures, but also the ideas, faculties, and sentiments of man himself". Guizot understood a two-way relationship between external conditions (i.e., social, political, and economic conditions) and the inner man: external conditions affect the inner man, whos moral and intellectual developments eventually shape social and other external conditions. Guizots History describes the development of European civilisation in terms of the inevitable advance of equality of conditions, due to many factors, including a new emphasis on the individual. The author explores the decentralisation of power that characterised feudalism, the centralisation of power after the fifteenth century, and finally the rebuilding of local autonomy necessary for representative and free government. As Editor Larry Siedentop describes, The [Historys] moral is about the social and political consequences of destroying local liberty ...excessive concentration of power at the centre of any society is, in the long run, its own undoing.
Spinoza's Political Psychology advances a novel, comprehensive interpretation of Spinoza's political writings, exploring how his analysis of psychology informs his arguments for democracy and toleration. Justin Steinberg shows how Spinoza's political method resembles the Renaissance civic humanism in its view of governance as an adaptive craft that requires psychological attunement. He examines the ways that Spinoza deploys this realist method in the service of empowerment, suggesting that the state can affectively reorient and thereby liberate its citizens, but only if it attends to their actual motivational and epistemic capacities. His book will interest a range of readers in Spinoza studies and the history of political thought, as well as readers working in contemporary political theory.
Many people regard Hegel's work as obscure and extremely difficult, yet his importance and influence are universally acknowledged. Peter Singer eliminates any excuse for remaining ignorant of the outlines of Hegel's philosophy by providing a broad discussion of his ideas and an account of his major works.
'Postmodernism' became the buzzword of contemporary society in
the 1990s. Yet, even now, it still remains confusing and baffling
in its variety of defiinitions, contexts and associations.
Beginning in the late eighteenth century, Europeans embarked on a new way of classifying the world, devising genealogies that determined degrees of relatedness by tracing heritage through common ancestry. This methodology organized historical systems into family trees, transforming the closest contemporaneous terms on trees of languages, religions, races, nations, species, or individuals into siblings. Encompassing political fraternity, sister languages, racial discourse on brotherhood, evolutionary sibling species, and intense, often incestuously inclined brother-sister bonds in literature, siblinghood stands out as a ubiquitous-yet unacknowledged-conceptual touchstone across the European long nineteenth century. In all such systems the sibling term, not-quite-same and not-quite-other, serves as an active fault line, necessary for and yet continuously destabilizing definition and classification. In her provocative book, Stefani Engelstein explores the pervasive significance of sibling structures and their essential role in the modern organization of knowledge and identity. Sibling Action argues that this relational paradigm came to structure the modern subject, life sciences, human sciences, and collective identities such as race, religion, and gender. Engelstein considers theoretical constructions of subjectivity through Sophocles' Antigone; fraternal equality and its exclusion of sisters in political rhetoric; the intertwining of economic and kinship theory by Friedrich Engels and Claude Levi-Strauss; Darwin and his contemporaries' accounts of speciation; anthropological and philological depictions of Muslims and Jews at the margins of Europe; and evolutionary psychology's theorizing around the incest taboo. Integrating close readings across the disciplines with panoramic intellectual history and arresting literary interpretations, Sibling Action presents a compelling new understanding of systems of knowledge and provides the foundation for less confrontational formulations of belonging, identity, and agency.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) was an extraordinarily original thinker, whose influence on twentieth-century thinking far outside the bounds of philosophy alone. In this engaging Introduction, A.C. Grayling makes Wittgenstein's thought accessible to the general reader by explaining the nature and impact of Wittgenstein's views. He describes both his early and later philosophy, the differences and connections between them, and gives a fresh assessment of Wittgenstein's continuing influence on contemporary thought.
Translated by Antony M. Ludovici. With an Introduction by Ray Furness. The three works in this collection, all dating from Nietzsche's last lucid months, show him at his most stimulating and controversial: the portentous utterances of the prophet (together with the ill-defined figure of the UEbermensch) are forsaken, as wit, exuberance and dazzling insights predominate, forcing the reader to face unpalatable insights and to rethink every commonly accepted 'truth'. Thinking with Nietzsche, in Jaspers' words, means holding one's own against him, and we are indeed refreshed and challenged by the vortex of his thoughts, by concepts which test and probe. In The Twilight of the Idols, The Antichrist, and Ecce Homo Nietzsche writes at breakneck speed of his provenance, his adversaries and his hopes for mankind; the books are largely epigrammatic and aphoristic, allowing this poet-philosopher to bewilder and fascinate us with their strangeness and their daring. He who fights with monsters, Nietzsche once told us, should look to it that he himself does not become one, and when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you. Reader, beware.
This is the first English-language introduction to Peter Sloterdijk, the distinguished German philosopher and controversial public intellectual. Sloterdijk, in the tradition of Nietzsche and Heine, is an iconoclast who uses humour and biting critique to challenge many of modernity's sacred thinkers, from Kant to Heidegger, in the process radically reinterpreting the canon of Western philosophy. In this unique textbook, leading Sloterdijk expert Jean-Pierre Couture explains in accessible language Sloterdijk's exceptional contribution, breaking his thought down into five key approaches: psychopolitics, anthropotechnics, spherology, controversy, and therapeutics. Sloterdijk's frequent public controversies, with supporters of Habermas and the Frankfurt school in particular, are assessed and their significance for current philosophical debates explained. This fascinating book will be an essential companion for those interested in the hybrid aesthetics of thought situated at the crossroads of art and philosophy. Its up-to-date analyses of Sloterdijk's recently translated corpus will make it essential reading for all students and scholars of modern European thought.
SHORTLISTED for the Katharine Briggs Award 2019 Scotland is famed for being a haunted nation, "whare ghaists and houlets nightly cry". Medieval Scots told stories of restless souls and walking corpses, but after the 1560 Reformation, witches and demons became the focal point for explorations of the supernatural. Ghosts re-emerged in scholarly discussion in the late seventeenth century, often in the guise of religious propagandists. As time went on, physicians increasingly reframed ghosts as the conjurations of disturbed minds, but gothic and romantic literature revelled in the emotive power of the returning dead; they were placed against a backdrop of ancient monasteries, castles and mouldering ruins, and authors such as Robert Burns, James Hogg and Walter Scott drew on the macabre to colour their depictions of Scottish life. Meanwhile, folk culture used apparitions to talk about morality and mortality. Focusing on the period from 1685 to 1830, this book provides the first academic study of the history of Scottish ghosts. Drawing on a wide range of sources, and examining beliefs across the social spectrum, it shows how ghost stories achieved a new prominence in a period that is more usually associated with the rise of rationalism. In exploring perceptions of ghosts, it also reflects on understandings of death and the afterlife; the construction of national identity; and the impact of the Enlightenment. MARTHA MCGILL completed her PhD at the University of Edinburgh.
From beginning to end, the philosophy of Michel Henry offers an original and profound reflection on life. Henry challenges the conventional understanding of life as a set of natural processes and a general classification of beings. Maintaining that our access to the meaning of life has been blocked by naturalism as well as by traditional philosophical assumptions, Henry carries out an enterprise that can rightfully be called "radical." His phenomenology leads back to the original dimension of life-to a reality that precedes and conditions the natural sciences and even objectivity as such. The Michel Henry Reader is an indispensable resource for those who are approaching Henry for the first time as well as for those who are already familiar with his work. It provides broad coverage of the major themes in his philosophy and new translations of Henry's most important essays. Sixteen chapters are divided into four parts, demonstrating the profound implications of Henry's philosophy of life for phenomenology; for subjectivity; for politics, art, and language; and for ethics and religion.
'Why do I know a few more things? Why am I so clever altogether?' Self-celebrating and self-mocking autobiographical writings from Ecce Homo, the last work iconoclastic German philosopher Nietzsche wrote before his descent into madness. One of 46 new books in the bestselling Little Black Classics series, to celebrate the first ever Penguin Classic in 1946. Each book gives readers a taste of the Classics' huge range and diversity, with works from around the world and across the centuries - including fables, decadence, heartbreak, tall tales, satire, ghosts, battles and elephants.
Blossoming from a correspondence between Luce Irigaray and Michael Marder, Through Vegetal Being is an intense personal, philosophical, and political meditation on the significance of the vegetal for our lives, our ways of thinking, and our relations with human and nonhuman beings. The vegetal world has the potential to rescue our planet and our species and offers us a way to abandon past metaphysics without falling into nihilism. Luce Irigaray has argued in her philosophical work that living and coexisting are deficient unless we recognize sexuate difference as a crucial dimension of our existence. Michael Marder believes the same is true for vegetal difference. Irigaray and Marder consider how plants contribute to human development by sustaining our breathing, nourishing our senses, and keeping our bodies and minds alive. They note the importance of returning to ancient Greek tradition and engaging with Eastern teachings to revive a culture closer to nature. As a result, we can reestablish roots when we are displaced and recover the vital energy we need to improve our sensibility and relation to others. This generative discussion points toward a more universal way of becoming human that is embedded in the vegetal world.
Briefly: Mill's Utilitarianism is a summarized version of John Stuart Mill's original treatise, which is designed to assist university and sixth-form students in acquiring knowledge and understanding of this key text Based on, and page referenced to, George Sher's Hackett edition an important feature of the book is its close adherence to Mill's text, enabling the reader to follow each development in the argument as it occurs. It will be of particular value in helping students to revise for university examinations in Philosophy and Theology and for A-level examinations in Religious Studies. The introduction contains a brief biography of Mill, examines and assesses the importance of the main issues covered by his Utilitarianism, and indicates where they are to be found in the text. There is a comprehensive glossary of terms.
Through a detailed study of Herder's Enlightenment thought, especially his philosophy of literature, Kristin Gjesdal offers a new and sometimes provocative reading of the historical origins and contemporary challenges of modern hermeneutics. She shows that hermeneutic philosophy grew out of a historical, anthropological, and poetic discourse in the mid-eighteenth century and argues that, as such, it represents a rich, stimulating, and relevant engagement with the potentials and limits of human meaning and understanding. Gjesdal's study broadens our conception of hermeneutic philosophy - the issues it raises and the answers it offers - and underlines the importance of Herder's contribution to the development of this discipline. Her book will be highly valuable for students and scholars of eighteenth-century thought, especially those working in the fields of hermeneutics, aesthetics, and European philosophy.
Grete Hermann (1901-1984) was a pupil of mathematical physicist Emmy Noether, follower and co-worker of neo-Kantian philosopher Leonard Nelson, and an important intellectual figure in post-war German social democracy. She is best known for her work on the philosophy of modern physics in the 1930s, some of which emerged from intense discussions with Heisenberg and Weizsacker in Leipzig. Hermann's aim was to counter the threat to the Kantian notion of causality coming from quantum mechanics. She also discussed in depth the question of 'hidden variables' (including the first critique of von Neumann's alleged impossibility proof) and provided an extensive analysis of Bohr's notion of complementarity. This volume includes translations of Hermann's two most important essays on this topic: one hitherto unpublished and one translated here into English for the first time. It also brings together recent scholarly contributions by historians and philosophers of science, physicists, and philosophers and educators following in Hermann's steps. Hermann's work places her in the first rank among philosophers who wrote about modern physics in the first half of the last century. Those interested in the many fields to which she contributed will find here a comprehensive discussion of her philosophy of physics that places it in the context of her wider work.
Desmond M. Clarke presents a thematic history of French philosophy from the middle of the sixteenth century to the beginning of Louis XIV's reign. While the traditional philosophy of the schools was taught throughout this period by authors who have faded into permanent obscurity, a whole generation of writers who were not professional philosophers-some of whom never even attended a school or college-addressed issues that were prominent in French public life. Clarke explores such topics as the novel political theory espoused by monarchomachs, such as Beze and Hotman, against Bodin's account of absolute sovereignty; the scepticism of Montaigne, Charron, and Sanches; the ethical discussions of Du Vair, Gassendi, and Pascal; innovations in natural philosophy that were inspired by Mersenne and Descartes and implemened by members of the Academie royale des sciences; theories of the human mind from Jean de Silhon to Cureau de la Chambre and Descartes; and the novel arguments in support of women's education and equality that were launched by De Gournay, Du Bosc, Van Schurman and Poulain de la Barre. The writers involved were lawyers, political leaders, theologians, and independent scholars and they acknowledged, almost unanimously, the authority of the Bible as a source of knowledge that was claimed to be more reliable than the fragile powers of human understanding. Since they could not agree, however, on which books of the Bible were canonical or how that should be understood, their discussions raised questions about faith and reason that mirrored those involved in the infamous Galileo affair.
In this important new book, the distinguished Egyptologist Jan Assmann provides a masterful overview of a crucial theme in the religious history of the West - that of 'religio duplex', or dual religion. He begins by returning to the theology of the Ancient Egyptians, who set out to present their culture as divided between the popular and the elite. By examining their beliefs, he argues, we can distinguish the two faces of ancient religions more generally: the outer face (that of the official religion) and the inner face (encompassing the mysterious nature of religious experience). Assmann explains that the Early Modern period witnessed the birth of the idea of dual religion with, on the one hand, the religion of reason and, on the other, that of revelation. This concept gained new significance in the Enlightenment when the dual structure of religion was transposed onto the individual. This meant that man now owed his allegiance not only to his native religion, but also to a universal 'religion of mankind'. In fact, argues Assmann, religion can now only hold a place in our globalized world in this way, as a religion that understands itself as one among many and has learned to see itself through the eyes of the other. This bold and wide-ranging book will be essential reading for historians, theologians and anyone interested in the nature of religion and its role in the shaping of the modern world.
Alien and Philosophy: I Infest, Therefore I Am presents a philosophical exploration of the world of Alien, the simultaneously horrifying and thought-provoking sci-fi horror masterpiece, and the film franchise it spawned. * The first book dedicated to exploring the philosophy raised by one of the most successful and influential sci-fi franchises of modern times * Features contributions from an acclaimed team of scholars of philosophy and pop culture, led by highly experienced volume editors * Explores a huge range of topics that include the philosophy of fear, Just Wars, bio-weaponry, feminism and matriarchs, perfect killers, contagion, violation, employee rights and Artificial Intelligence * Includes coverage of H.R. Giger s aesthetics, the literary influences of H.P. Lovecraft, sci-fi and the legacy of Vietnam, and much more!
Martin Heidegger is widely regarded as one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth-century, and his seminal text Being and Time is considered one of the most significant texts in contemporary philosophy. Yet his name has also been mired in controversy because of his affiliations with the Nazi regime, his failure to criticize its genocidal politics and his subsequent silence about the holocaust. Now, according to Heidegger's wishes, and to complete the publication of his multi-volume Complete Works, his highly controversial and secret 'Black Notebooks' have been released to the public. These notebooks reveal the extent to which Heidegger's 'personal Nazism' was neither incidental nor opportunistic, but part of his philosophical ethos. So, why would Heidegger, far from destroying them, allow these notebooks, which contain examples of this extreme thinking, to be published? In this revealing new book, Peter Trawny, editor of Heidegger's complete works in German, confronts these questions and, by way of a compelling study of his theoretical work, shows that Heidegger was committed to a conception of freedom that is only beholden to the judgement of the history of being; that is, that to be free means to be free from the prejudices, norms, or mores of one's time. Whoever thinks the truth of being freely exposes themselves to the danger of epochal errancy. For this reason, Heidegger's decision to publish his notebooks, including their anti-Jewish passages, was an exercise of this anarchical freedom. In the course of a wide-ranging discussion of Heidegger's views on truth, ethics, the truth of being, tragedy and his relationship to other figures such as Nietzsche and Schmitt, Trawny provides a compelling argument for why Heidegger wanted the explosive material in his Black Notebooks to be published, whilst also offering an original and provocative interpretation of Heidegger's work.
While Kant is commonly regarded as one of the most austere philosophers of all time, this book provides quite a different perspective of the founder of transcendental philosophy. Kant is often thought of as being boring, methodical, and humorless. Yet the thirty jokes and anecdotes collected and illustrated here for the first time reveal a man and a thinker who was deeply interested in how humor and laughter shape how we think, feel, and communicate with fellow human beings. In addition to a foreword on Kant's theory of humor by Noel Carroll as well as Clewis's informative chapters, Kant's Humorous Writings contains new translations of Kant's jokes, quips, and anecdotes. Each of the thirty excerpts is illustrated and supplemented by historical commentaries which explain their significance.
Discover a new understanding of Kierkegaard's thought and his life, a story filled with romance, betrayal, humor, and riots. Kierkegaard, like Einstein and Freud, is one of those geniuses whose ideas permeate the culture and shape our world even when relatively few people have read their works. That lack of familiarity with the real Kierkegaard is about to change. This lucid new biography by scholar Stephen Backhouse presents the genius as well as the acutely sensitive man behind the brilliant books. Scholarly and accessible, Kierkegaard: A Single Life introduces his many guises-the thinker, the lover, the recluse, the writer, the controversialist-in prose so compelling it reads like a novel. One chapter examines Kierkegaard's influence on our greatest cultural icons-Kafka, Barth, Bonhoeffer, Camus, and Martin Luther King Jr., to name only a few. A useful appendix presents an overview of each of Kierkegaard's works, for the scholar and lay reader alike.
The work of Henri Lefebvre - the only major French intellectual of
the post-war period to give extensive consideration to the city and
urban life - received considerable attention among both academics
and practitioners of the built environment following the
publication in English of "The Production of Space." This new
collection brings together, for the first time in English,
Lefebvre's reflections on the city and urban life written over a
span of some twenty years.
The selection of writings is contextualized by an introduction -
itself a significant contribution to the interpretation of Henri
Lefebvre's work - which places the material within the context of
Lefebvre's intellectual and political life and times and raises
pertinent issues as to their relevance for contemporary debates
over such questions as the nature of urban reality, the production
of space and modernity.
"Writings on Cities" is of particular relevance to architects, planners, geographers, and those interested in the philosophical and political understanding of contemporary life.
Originally written during the Cultural Revolution, this book introduces and interprets Kant's critical philosophy through the lens of its author Li Zehou's own philosophical approach: anthropological historical ontology. Li argues that the process of human development begins with and is shaped by the practical material activities associated with making and using tools in primitive societies. Over millions of years, these ever-evolving practices accumulate and become sedimented into archetypical forms that shape history, social relationships, and human psychology. Li's views draw upon Marx's theory of practice and, as those familiar with his work will recognize, his reinterpretation of Confucian thought with its emphasis on material life and worldly existence. Beginning with the assumption that the question at heart of Kant's philosophy is "What is the human being?" Li offers a highly original answer by arguing that the root of Kant's "transcendental" knowledge, universal forms, moral autonomy, and aesthetics can be found in the practical and social activities associated with tool-making. Li offers a new reading not only of Kant but of modern European philosophy, including Hegel and Marx, that forces us to rethink our understanding of the relation between individuals and communities and challenges us to ask ourselves how we can best achieve both harmony and freedom in our shared human future.
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