Book picks similar to
The Stars Down to Earth and Other Essays on the Irrational in Culture (Routledge Classics) by Theodor W. Adorno
The Essential Foucault: Selections from Essential Works of Foucault, 1954-1984
Michel Foucault - 2003
His complete uncollected writings, under the title Dits et écrits, were published in French in 1994 and in a three volume series from The New Press that brought the most important of these works—courses, articles, and interviews, many of them translated into English for the first time—to American readers. Now, Paul Rabinow and Nikolas Rose have collected the best pieces from the three-volume set into a one-volume anthology.The Essential Foucault, which features a new and provocative introduction by Rabinow and Rose, is certain to become the standard text for all those interested in a comprehensive overview of Foucault’s thought.
Intelligent Guide To Modern Culture
Roger Scruton - 1998
It shows just why culture matters in an age without faith, and gives an extended argument, drawing on philosophy, criticism, and anthropology, against the "post-modernist" world-view. Scruton offers a penetrating attack on deconstruction, on Foucault, on Nietzschean self-indulgence, and on the "culture of repudiation" which has infected the modern academy. But his book is not only negative. It is a celebration of the true heroes of modern culture and a call to the higher life.The American edition of this famous and notorious work has been revised to take account of the controversy which it has inspired, and contains new material specially directed to Americans.
Poststructuralism: A Very Short Introduction
Catherine Belsey - 2002
Following a brief account of the historical relationship between structuralism and poststructuralism, this Very Short Introduction traces the key arguments that have led poststructuralists to challenge traditional theories of language and culture. While the author discusses such well-known figures as Barthes, Foucault, Derrida, and Lacan, she also draws pertinent examples from literature, art, film, and popular culture, unfolding the poststructuralist account of what it means to be a human being. About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam
The Anatomy of Disgust
William Ian Miller - 1997
Our notion of the self, intimately dependent as it is on our response to the excretions and secretions of our bodies, depends on it. Cultural identities have frequent recourse to its boundary-policing powers. Love depends on overcoming it, while the pleasure of sex comes in large measure from the titillating violation of disgust prohibitions. Imagine aesthetics without disgust for tastelessness and vulgarity; imagine morality without disgust for evil, hypocrisy, stupidity, and cruelty.Miller details our anxious relation to basic life processes: eating, excreting, fornicating, decaying, and dying. But disgust pushes beyond the flesh to vivify the larger social order with the idiom it commandeers from the sights, smells, tastes, feels, and sounds of fleshly physicality. Disgust and contempt, Miller argues, play crucial political roles in creating and maintaining social hierarchy. Democracy depends less on respect for persons than on an equal distribution of contempt. Disgust, however, signals dangerous division. The high's belief that the low actually smell bad, or are sources of pollution, seriously threatens democracy.Miller argues that disgust is deeply grounded in our ambivalence to life: it distresses us that the fair is so fragile, so easily reduced to foulness, and that the foul may seem more than passing fair in certain slants of light. When we are disgusted, we are attempting to set bounds, to keep chaos at bay. Of course we fail. But, as Miller points out, our failure is hardly an occasion for despair, for disgust also helps to animate the world, and to make it a dangerous, magical, and exciting place.
Soul and Form
György Lukács - 1910
"Soul and Form" was his first book, published in 1910, and it established his reputation, treating questions of linguistic expressivity and literary style in the works of Plato, Kierkegaard, Novalis, Sterne, and others. By isolating the formal techniques these thinkers developed, LukAcs laid the groundwork for his later work in Marxist aesthetics, a field that introduced the historical and political implications of text.For this centennial edition, John T. Sanders and Katie Terezakis add a dialogue entitled "On Poverty of Spirit," which LukAcs wrote at the time of "Soul and Form," and an introduction by Judith Butler, which compares LukAcs's key claims to his later work and subsequent movements in literary theory and criticism. In an afterword, Terezakis continues to trace the LukAcsian system within his writing and other fields. These essays explore problems of alienation and isolation and the curative quality of aesthetic form, which communicates both individuality and a shared human condition. They investigate the elements that give rise to form, the history that form implies, and the historicity that form embodies. Taken together, they showcase the breakdown, in modern times, of an objective aesthetics, and the rise of a new art born from lived experience.
Demanding the Impossible
Slavoj Žižek - 2004
Based on live interviews, the book captures Zizek at his irrepressible best, elucidating such topics as the uprisings of the Arab Spring, the global financial crisis, populism in Latin America, the rise of China and even the riddle of North Korea. Zizek dazzles readers with his analyses of Hollywood films, Venezuelan police reports, Swedish crime fiction and much else. Wherever the conversation turns, his energetic mind illuminates unexpected horizons.While analyzing our present predicaments, Zizek also explores possibilities for change. What sort of society is worth striving for? Why is it difficult to imagine alternative social and political arrangements? What are the bases for hope? A key obligation in our troubled times, argues Zizek, is to dare to ask fundamental questions: we must reflect and theorize anew, and always be prepared to rethink and redefine the limits of the possible. These original and compelling conversations, many appearing here for the first time in English, offer an engaging and accessible introduction to one of the most important thinkers of our time.
Culture and Materialism
Raymond Williams - 2006
Aside from his more directly theoretical texts, however, case-studies of theatrical naturalism, the Bloomsbury group, advertising, science fiction, and the Welsh novel are also included as illustrations of the method at work. Finally, Williams’s identity as an active socialist, rather than simply an academic, is captured by two unambiguously political pieces on the past, present and future of Marxism.
The Roots of Romanticism
Isaiah Berlin - 1965
A published version has been keenly awaited ever since the lectures were given, and Berlin had always hoped to complete a book based on them. But despite extensive further work this hope was not fulfilled, and the present volume is an edited transcript of his spoken words.For Berlin, the Romantics set in motion a vast, unparalleled revolution in humanity's view of itself. They destroyed the traditional notions of objective truth and validity in ethics with incalculable, all-pervasive results. As he said of the Romantics elsewhere: The world has never been the same since, and our politics and morals have been deeply transformed by them. Certainly this has been the most radical, and indeed dramatic, not to say terrifying, change in men's outlook in modern times.In these brilliant lectures Berlin surveys the myriad attempts to define Romanticism, distills its essence, traces its developments from its first stirrings to its apotheosis, and shows how its lasting legacy permeates our own outlook. Combining the freshness and immediacy of the spoken word with Berlin's inimitable eloquence and wit, the lectures range over a cast of the greatest thinkers and artists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including Kant, Rousseau, Diderot, Schiller, Schlegel, Novalis, Goethe, Blake, Byron, and Beethoven. Berlin argues that the ideas and attitudes held by these and other figures helped to shape twentieth-century nationalism, existentialism, democracy, totalitarianism, and our ideas about heroic individuals, individual self-fulfillment, and the exalted place of art. This is the record of an intellectual bravura performance--of one of the century's most influential philosophers dissecting and assessing a movement that changed the course of history.
Anti-Semite and Jew: An Exploration of the Etiology of Hate
Jean-Paul Sartre - 1944
Nothing of the anti-Semite either in his subtle form as a snob, or in his crude form as a gangster, escapes Sartre's sharp eye, and the whole problem of the Jew's relationship to the Gentile is examined in a concrete and living way, rather than in terms of sociological abstractions.
The Principle of Hope, Vol. 1
Ernst Bloch - 1954
It is a critical history of the utopian vision and a profound exploration of the possible reality of utopia. Even as the world has rejected the doctrine on which Bloch sought to base his utopia, his work still challenges us to think more insightfully about our own visions of a better world.The Principle of Hope is published in three volumes: Volume 1 lays the foundations of the philosophy of process and introduces the idea of the Not-Yet-Conscious - the anticipatory element that Bloch sees as central to human thought. It also contains a remarkable account of the aesthetic interpretations of utopian "wishful images" in fairy tales, popular fiction, travel, theater, dance, and the cinema. Volume 2 presents "the outlines of a better world." It examines the utopian systems that progressive thinkers have developed in the fields of medicine, painting, opera, poetry, and ultimately, philosophy. It is nothing less than an encyclopedic account of utopian thought from the Greeks to the present. Volume 3 offers a prescription for ways in which humans can reach their proper "homeland," where social justice is coupled with an openness to change and to the future.
Fire Alarm: Reading Walter Benjamin's 'On the Concept of History'
Michael Löwy - 2001
Walter Benjamin is in every sense of the word an "unclassifiable" philosopher. His essay On the Concept of History was written in a state of urgency, as he attempted to escape the Gestapo in 1940, before finally committing suicide. Michael Lowy argues that it remains one of the most important philosophical and political writings of the twentieth century, in this scrupulous, clear and fascinating examination. Looking in detail at Benjamin's celebrated but often mysterious text, and restoring the philosophical, theological and political context, Lowy highlights the complex relationship between redemption and revolution in Benjamin's philosophy of history.
Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist
Walter Kaufmann - 1950
When Walter Kaufmann wrote it in the immediate aftermath of World War II, most scholars outside Germany viewed Nietzsche as part madman, part proto-Nazi, and almost wholly unphilosophical. Kaufmann rehabilitated Nietzsche nearly single-handedly, presenting his works as one of the great achievements of Western philosophy.Responding to the powerful myths and countermyths that had sprung up around Nietzsche, Kaufmann offered a patient, evenhanded account of his life and works, and of the uses and abuses to which subsequent generations had put his ideas. Without ignoring or downplaying the ugliness of many of Nietzsche's proclamations, he set them in the context of his work as a whole and of the counterexamples yielded by a responsible reading of his books. More positively, he presented Nietzsche's ideas about power as one of the great accomplishments of modern philosophy, arguing that his conception of the will to power was not a crude apology for ruthless self-assertion but must be linked to Nietzsche's equally profound ideas about sublimation. He also presented Nietzsche as a pioneer of modern psychology and argued that a key to understanding his overall philosophy is to see it as a reaction against Christianity.Many scholars in the past half century have taken issue with some of Kaufmann's interpretations, but the book ranks as one of the most influential accounts ever written of any major Western thinker.
Is Critique Secular?: Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech
Talal Asad - 2009
Taking the controversial Danish cartoons of Mohammad as a point of departure, Talal Asad, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, and Saba Mahmood inquire into the evaluative frameworks at stake in understanding the conflicts between blasphemy and free speech, between religious taboos and freedoms of thought and expression, and between secular and religious world views. Is the language of the law an adequate mechanism for the adjudication of such conflicts? What other modes of discourse are available for the navigation of such differences in multicultural and multi-religious societies? What is the role of critique in such an enterprise? These are among the pressing questions this volume addresses.
Responsibility and Judgment
Hannah Arendt - 2003
At the heart of the book is a profound ethical investigation, “Some Questions of Moral Philosophy,” in which Arendt confronts the inadequacy of traditional moral “truths” as standards to judge what we are capable of doing and examines anew our ability to distinguish good from evil and right from wrong. We also see how Arendt comes to understand that alongside the radical evil she had addressed in earlier analyses of totalitarianism, there exists a more pernicious evil, independent of political ideology, whose execution is limitless when the perpetrator feels no remorse and can forget his acts as soon as they are committed.Responsibility and Judgment is an indispensable investigation into some of the most troubling and important issues of our time.
An Essay on Liberation
Herbert Marcuse - 1969
Marcuse argues that the traditional conceptions of human freedom have been rendered obsolete by the development of advanced industrial society. Social theory can no longer content itself with repeating the formula, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs," but must now investigate the nature of human needs themselves. Marcuse's claim is that even if production were controlled and determined by the workers, society would still be repressive—unless the workers themselves had the needs and aspirations of free men. Ranging from philosophical anthropology to aesthetics An Essay on Liberation attempts to outline—in a highly speculative and tentative fashion—the new possibilities for human liberation. The Essay contains the following chapters: A Biological Foundation for Socialism?, The New Sensibility, Subverting Forces—in Transition, and Solidarity.