In Ethics–Politics–Subjectivity, Simon Critchley takes up three questions at the centre of contemporary theoretical debate: What is ethical experience? What can be said of the subject who has this experience? What, if any, is the relation of ethical experience to politics? These questions are approached by way of a critical confrontation with a number of major thinkers, including Lacan, Genet, Blanchot, Nancy, Rorty and, in particular, Levinas and Derrida. Critchley offers a critical reconstruction of Levinas's notion of ethical experience and, questioning the religious pietism and political conservatism of the dominant interpretation of Levinas's work, develops an ethics of finitude which, far from being tragic, opens on to an experience of humour and the comic. Using this reading of Levinas as a way of unlocking the rich ethical potential of Derrida's work, Critchley outlines and defends the political possibilities of deconstruction. On the basis of Derrida's recent work, Critchley attempts to rethink notions of friendship, democracy, economics and technology.
An ethical reappraisal of postmodern and poststructuralist theory, including works by Levinas, Foucault, Derrida, Jameson, Zizek, and Butler.
It is now widely accepted that The Ethics of Deconstruction was the first book to argue for the ethical turn in Derrida's work and to show as powerfully as possible how deconstruction has persuasive ethical consequences that were vital to our thinking through of questions of politics and democracy. Now reissued with three new appendices which restate as well as reflect upon and deepen the book's arguments, The Ethics of Deconstruction is undoubtedly the standard work in the field.
What is postmodern literary subjectivity? How to talk about it without falling in the trap of negative hyper-essentialism or being seduced by exuberant lit speak? One way out of this dilemma, as this book suggests, is via a redefinition of the concept in the context of Emmanuel Levinas and his radical ethics. By defining subjectivity as an ethically charged act of language, Levinas provides a fresh perspective on the often trivialized aspects of postmodern poetics such as referentiality and affect construction strategies. The foregrounding of the ethical dimension of those poetic elements has far-reaching consequences for how we read postmodern texts and understand postmodernism in general. Thus, to prove the benefits of the Levinasian approach, the author applies it to the work of the canonical American postmodernist, Donald Barthelme, and explains the distinctly ethical character of his apparently surfictional experiments.
Levinas, Subjectivity, Education explores how thephilosophical writings of Emmanuel Levinas lead us to reassesseducation and reveals the possibilities of a radical newunderstanding of ethical and political responsibility. Presents an original theoretical interpretation of EmmanuelLevinas that outlines the political significance of his work forcontemporary debates on education Offers a clear analysis of Levinas’s centralphilosophical concepts, including the place of religion in hiswork, demonstrating their relevance for educational theorists Examines Alain Badiou’s critique of Levinas’swork Considers the practical implications of Levinas’ theoriesfor concrete educational practices and frameworks
Despite, or quite possibly because of, the structuralist, post-structuralist, and deconstructionist critiques of subjectivity, master signifiers, and political foundations, contemporary philosophy has been marked by a resurgence in interest in questions of subjectivity and the political. Guided by the contention that different conceptions of the political are, at least implicitly, committed to specific conceptions of subjectivity while different conceptions of subjectivity have different political implications, this collection brings together an international selection of scholars to explore these notions and their connection. Rather than privilege one approach or conception of the subjectivity-political relationship, this volume emphasizes the nature and status of the and in the ‘subjectivity’ and ‘the political’ schema. By thinking from the place between subjectivity and the political, it is able to explore this relationship from a multitude of perspectives, directions, and thinkers to show the heterogeneity, openness, and contested nature of it. While the contributions deal with different themes or thinkers, the themes/thinkers are linked historically and/or conceptually, thereby providing coherence to the volume. Thinkers addressed include Arendt, Butler, Levinas, Agamben, Derrida, Kristeva, Adorno, Gramsci, Mill, Hegel, and Heidegger, while the subjectivity-political relation is engaged with through the mediation of the law-political, ethics-politics, theological-political, inside-outside, subject-person, and individual-institution relationships, as well as through concepts such as genius, happiness, abjection, and ugliness. The original essays in this volume will be of interest to researchers in philosophy, politics, political theory, critical theory, cultural studies, history of ideas, psychology, and sociology.
In this follow-up to Infinitely Demanding, a professor of philosophy, delving into questions of faith, love, religion and violence, discusses how the secular age has been replaced by a new era of politcal action and metaphysical conflict.
Although Wittgenstein is often held co-responsible for the so-called death of man as it was pronounced in the course of the previous century, no detailed description of his alternative to the traditional or Cartesian account of human being has so far been available. By consulting several parts of Wittgenstein's later oeuvre, Subjectivity after Wittgenstein aims to fill this gap. However, it also contributes to the debate about the Cartesian subject and its demise by discussing the criticism that the rethinking of subjectivity received, for it has been argued that the anti-Cartesian turn in continental philosophy has lead to a loss of a centre for both ethics and politics. By further exploring the implications of the Wittgensteinian account of human being, this book makes it clear that a non-Cartesian view on the subject is not necessarily ethically and politically inert. Moreover, it argues that ethical and political arguments should not automatically take precedence in a debate about the nature of man.
Levinas (1969) claims that "morality is not a branch of philosophy, but first philosophy" and if he is right about this, might ethics also serve as a first psychology? This possibility is explored by the authors in this volume who seek to bring the "ethical turn" into the world of psychoanalysis. This phenomenologically rich and socially conscious ethics has taken centre stage in a variety of academic disciplines, inspired by the work of philosophers and theologians concerned with the moral fabric of subjectivity, human relationship, and socio-political life. At the heart of this movement is a reconsideration of the other person, and the dangers created when the question of the "Other" is subsumed by grander themes. The authors showcased here represent the exceptional work being done by both scholars and practitioners working at the crossroads between psychology and philosophy in order to rethink the foundations of their disciplines. The Ethical Turn: Otherness and subjectivity in contemporary psychoanalysis guides readers into the heart of this fresh and exciting movement and includes contributions from many leading thinkers, who provide fascinating new avenues for enriching our responses to suffering and understandings of human identity. It will be of use to psychoanalysts, professionals in psychology, postgraduate students, professors and other academics in the field.
In his philosophy of ethics and time, Emmanuel Levinas highlighted the tension that exists between the "ontological adventure" of immediate experience and the "ethical adventure" of redemptive relationships-associations in which absolute responsibility engenders a transcendence of being and self. In an original commingling of philosophy and cinema study, Sam B. Girgus applies Levinas's ethics to a variety of international films. His efforts point to a transnational pattern he terms the "cinema of redemption" that portrays the struggle to connect to others in redeeming ways. Girgus not only reveals the power of these films to articulate the crisis between ontological identity and ethical subjectivity. He also locates time and ethics within the structure and content of film itself. Drawing on the work of Luce Irigaray, Tina Chanter, Kelly Oliver, and Ewa Ziarek, Girgus reconsiders Levinas and his relationship to film, engaging with a feminist focus on the sexualized female body. Girgus offers fresh readings of films from several decades and cultures, including Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Federico Fellini's La dolce vita (1959), Michelangelo Antonioni's L'avventura (1960), John Huston's The Misfits (1961), and Philip Kaufman's The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988).
Jessica Berman demonstrates how modernist narrative connects ethical attitudes and responsibilities to the active creation of political relationships and the way we imagine justice. She challenges divisions between "modernist" and "committed" writing, arguing that a continuum of political engagement undergirds modernisms worldwide and that it is strengthened rather than hindered by formal experimentation. In addition to making the case for a transnational model of modernism, Berman shows how modernism's play with formal matters, its challenge to the boundaries between fact and fiction, its incorporation of vernacular and folkways, and its engagement with embodied experience and intimacy offer not only an expanded account of modernist texts and commitments but a new way of thinking about what modernism is and can do.
Volume 1 in the ESSENTIAL WORKS OF FOUCAULT series and originally published by Allen Lane in 1997, a collection of articles, interviews and lectures on the subject of ethics, written by the twentieth century French philosopher, Michel Foucault and translated into English.
Gerald Moore shows how the problematic of the gift drives and illuminates the last century of French philosophy. By tracing the creation of the gift as a concept, from its origins in philosophy and the social sciences, right up to the present, Moore shows
This major new book offers a highly original account of ethical and political subjectivity in contemporary culture. It makes a strong case for a non–unitary or nomadic conception of the subject, in opposition to the claims of ideologies such as conservatism, liberal individualism and techno–capitalism. Braidotti takes a bold stand against moral universalism, while offering a vigorous defence of nomadic ethics against the charges of relativism and nihilism. She calls for a new form of ethical accountability that takes "Life" as the subject, not the object, of enquiry. This ethics is presented as a fundamental reconfiguration of our being in the world and it calls for more conceptual creativity in the production of worldviews that can better enable us to behave ethically in a technologically and globally mediated world. The nomadic ethical subject negotiates successfully the complex tension between the multiplicity of political forces on the one hand and the sustained commitment to emancipatory politics on the other. Transpositions provides an intellectually rich guide to the leading critical debates of our time and will be of great interest to scholars and students throughout the humanities and social sciences.
This book provides a clear and helpful overview of the thought of Emmanuel Levinas, one of the most significant and interesting philosophers of the late twentieth century. Michael L. Morgan presents an overall interpretation of Levinas' central principle that human existence is fundamentally ethical and that its ethical character is grounded in our face-to-face relationships. He explores the religious, cultural and political implications of this insight for modern Western culture and how it relates to our conception of selfhood and what it is to be a person, our understanding of the ground of moral values, our experience of time and the meaning of history, and our experience of religious concepts and discourse. Includes an annotated list of recommended readings and a selected bibliography of books by and about Levinas. An excellent introduction to Levinas for readers unfamiliar with his work and even for those without a background in philosophy.
This book explores how the notion of human identity informs the ethical goal of justice in human rights. Within the modern discourse of human rights, the issue of identity has been largely neglected. However, within this discourse lies a conceptualisation of identity that was derived from a particular liberal philosophy about the ‘true nature’ of the isolated, self-determining and rational individual. Rights are thus conceived as something that are owned by each independent self, and that guarantee the exercise of its autonomy. Critically engaging this subject of rights, this book considers how recent shifts in the concept of identity and, more specifically, the critical humanist notion of ‘the other’, provides a basis for re-imagining the foundation of contemporary human rights. Drawing on the work of Jacques Lacan and Emmanuel Levinas, an inter-subjectivity between self and other ‘always already’ marks human identity with an ethical openness. And, this book argues, it is in the shift away from the human self as a ‘sovereign individual’ that human rights have come to reflect a self-identity that is grounded in the potential of an irreducible concern for the other.
Rethinking the category of aesthetics in light of recent developments in literary theory and social criticism, the contributors to this volume showcase the interpretive possibilities available to those who bring politics, culture, ideology, and conceptions of identity into their critiques. Essays combine close readings of individual works and authors with more theoretical discussions of aesthetic theory and its relation to American literature. In their introduction, Weinstein and Looby argue that aesthetics never left American literary critique. Instead, the essay casts the current "return to aesthetics" as the natural consequence of shortcomings in deconstruction and new historicism, which led to a reconfiguration of aesthetics. Subsequent essays demonstrate the value and versatility of aesthetic considerations in literature, from eighteenth-century poetry to twentieth-century popular music. Organized into four groups—politics, form, gender, and theory—contributors revisit the canonical works of Henry James, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Stephen Crane, introduce the overlooked texts of Constance Fenimore Woolson and Earl Lind, and unpack the complexities of the music of The Carpenters. Deeply rooted in an American context, these essays explore literature's aesthetic dimensions in connection to American liberty and the formation of political selfhood. Contributors include Edward Cahill, Ivy G. Wilson, June Ellison, Dorri Beam, Christopher Castiglia, Christopher Looby, Wendy Steiner, Cindy Weinstein, Trish Loughran, Jonathan Freedman, Elisa New, Dorothy Hale, Mary Esteve, Eric Lott, Sianne Ngai
In Foucault’s Discipline, John S. Ransom extracts a distinctive vision of the political world—and oppositional possibilities within it—from the welter of disparate topics and projects Michel Foucault pursued over his lifetime. Uniquely, Ransom presents Foucault as a political theorist in the tradition of Weber and Nietzsche, and specifically examines Foucault’s work in relation to the political tradition of liberalism and the Frankfurt School. By concentrating primarily on Discipline and Punish and the later Foucauldian texts, Ransom provides a fresh interpretation of this controversial philosopher’s perspectives on concepts such as freedom, right, truth, and power. Foucault’s Discipline demonstrates how Foucault’s valorization of descriptive critique over prescriptive plans of action can be applied to the decisively altered political landscape of the end of this millennium. By reconstructing the philosopher’s arguments concerning the significance of disciplinary institutions, biopower, subjectivity, and forms of resistance in modern society, Ransom shows how Foucault has provided a different way of looking at and responding to contemporary models of government—in short, a new depiction of the political world.
An exploration of the contemporary re-conception of freedom after the critique of objective truths and ideas of an unchanging human nature, in which modern self-determination was grounded. This book focuses on the radical theorist Cornelius Castoriadis and the new paradigm of 'agonistic autonomy' is contrasted with Marxian and liberal approaches.
Michel Foucault is one of the most important and controversial thinkers of the twentieth century and one of the leading figures in contemporary Western intellectual life and debate. The recent publication of his last lecture courses at the Collège de France (1981-1984), together with the short texts, essays, and interviews from the same period, have sparked new interest in his work, allowing for a new understanding of his philosophical trajectory and challenging several interpretations produced over the last few decades. In this later phase of his thinking, Foucault deepens and expands the course of his preceding works on the genealogy of subjectivity, while at the same time adding a significant ethical and political dimension to it. His focus on the ancient ethics of care of the self and technologies of self-constitution during this period adds important nuances to his previous positions on power, truth, and subjectivity, shedding new light on his philosophical endeavour as a whole and situating his reflections at the centre of current moral debates. Focusing on the last stage of Foucault's thought, this book brings together international scholars to relaunch the critical debate on the significance of Foucault's so-called “ethical turn” and to discuss the ways in which the perspectives offered by Foucault in this period might help us to unravel modernity, giving us the tools to understand and transform our present, ethically and politically.