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"Is it meaningful to call oneself a democrat? And if so, how do you interpret the word?"In responding to this question, eight iconoclastic thinkers prove the rich potential of democracy, along with its critical weaknesses, and reconceive the practice to accommodate new political and cultural realities. Giorgio Agamben traces the tense history of constitutions and their coexistence with various governments. Alain Badiou contrasts current democratic practice with democratic communism. Daniel Bensaid ponders the institutionalization of democracy, while Wendy Brown discusses the democratization of society under neoliberalism. Jean-Luc Nancy measures the difference between democracy as a form of rule and as a human end, and Jacques Rancière highlights its egalitarian nature. Kristin Ross identifies hierarchical relationships within democratic practice, and Slavoj i ek complicates the distinction between those who desire to own the state and those who wish to do without it. Concentrating on the classical roots of democracy and its changing meaning over time and within different contexts, these essays uniquely defend what is left of the left-wing tradition after the fall of Soviet communism. They confront disincentives to active democratic participation that have caused voter turnout to decline in western countries, and they address electoral indifference by invoking and reviving the tradition of citizen involvement. Passionately written and theoretically rich, this collection speaks to all facets of modern political and democratic debate.
The provocative philosopher welcomes an era of a more open, democratic notion of truth.
Words like "terrorism" and "war" no longer encompass the scope of contemporary violence. With this explosive book, Adriana Cavarero, one of the world's most provocative feminist theorists and political philosophers, effectively renders such terms obsolete. She introduces a new word-"horrorism"-to capture the experience of violence. Unlike terror, horrorism is a form of violation grounded in the offense of disfiguration and massacre. Numerous outbursts of violence fall within Cavarero's category of horrorism, especially when the phenomenology of violence is considered from the perspective of the victim rather than that of the warrior. Cavarero locates horrorism in the philosophical, political, literary, and artistic representations of defenseless and vulnerable victims. She considers both terror and horror on the battlefields of the Iliad, in the decapitation of Medusa, and in the murder of Medea's children. In the modern arena, she forges a link between horror, extermination, and massacre, especially the Nazi death camps, and revisits the work of Primo Levi, Hannah Arendt's thesis on totalitarianism, and Arendt's debate with Georges Bataille on the estheticization of violence and cruelty. In applying the horroristic paradigm to the current phenomena of suicide bombers, torturers, and hypertechnological warfare, Cavarero integrates Susan Sontag's views on photography and the eroticization of horror, as well as ideas on violence and the state advanced by Thomas Hobbes and Carl Schmitt. Through her searing analysis, Caverero proves that violence against the helpless claims a specific vocabulary, one that has been known for millennia, and not just to the Western tradition. Where common language fails to form a picture of atrocity, horrorism paints a brilliant portrait of its vivid reality.
Gianni Vattimo, a leading philosopher of the continental school, has always resisted autobiography. But in this intimate memoir, the voice of Vattimo as thinker, political activist, and human being finds its expression on the page. With Piergiorgio Paterlini, a noted Italian writer and journalist, Vattimo reflects on a lifetime of politics, sexual radicalism, and philosophical exuberance in postwar Italy. Turin, the city where he was born and one of the intellectual capitals of Europe (also the city in which Nietzsche went mad), forms the core of his reminiscences, enhanced by fascinating vignettes of studying under Hans Georg Gadamer, teaching in the United States, serving as a public intellectual and interlocutor of Habermas and Derrida, and working within the European Parliament to unite Europe.Vattimo's status as a left-wing faculty president paradoxically made him a target of the Red Brigades in the 1970s, causing him to flee Turin for his life. Left-wing terrorism did not deter the philosopher from his quest for social progress, however, and in the 1980s, he introduced a daring formulation called "weak thought," which stripped metaphysics, science, religion, and all other absolute systems of their authority. Vattimo then became notorious both for his renewed commitment to the core values of Christianity (he was trained as a Catholic intellectual) and for the Vatican's denunciation of his views.Paterlini weaves his interviews with Vattimo into an utterly candid first-person portrait, creating a riveting text that is destined to become one of the most compelling accounts of homosexuality, history, politics, and philosophical invention in the twentieth century.
In this book Gobetti explains his idea of "liberal revolution": the constitution of local groups committed to democratic agitation. Gobetti studied Russian and translated several works by the author/playwright Andreiev, and he wrote essays on the Russian Revolution and theater criticism for Gramsci's journal, Ordine Nuovo. He gained his degree in jurisprudence in 1922. With the advent of Mussolini came Gobetti's penned defiance, earning the writer beatings and jailings that compelled him into French exile. He died from illness only days after arriving in Paris. This collection of 35 essays is divided in four: Men, women, and ideas (Gobetti discusses such figures as Trotsky, Woodrow Wilson, Henry Ford, Gramsci and Rosa Luxemburg); Our liberalism; Socialism and communism; and Fascism and the missed liberal revolution. Readers are likely to be impressed with the young Gobetti's knowledge of history, a necessary tool to forge what he calls a "consciousness of the state." Includes an extensive introduction.
For Elisabeth Roudinesco, a historian of psychoanalysis and one of France's leading intellectuals, Canguilhem, Sartre, Foucault, Althusser, Deleuze, and Derrida represent a "great generation" of French philosophers who accomplished remarkable work and lived incredible lives. These troubled and innovative thinkers endured World War II and the cultural and political revolution of the 1960s, and their cultural horizon was dominated by Marxism and psychoanalysis, though they were by no means strict adherents to the doctrines of Marx and Freud. Roudinesco knew many of these intellectuals personally, and she weaves an account of their thought through lived experience and reminiscences. Canguilhem, for example, was a distinguished philosopher of science who had a great influence on Foucault's exploration of sanity and madness-themes Althusser lived in a notorious personal drama. And in dramatizing the life of Freud for the screen, Sartre fundamentally altered his own philosophical approach to psychoanalysis. Roudinesco launches a passionate defense of Canguilhem, Sartre, Foucault, Althusser, Deleuze, and Derrida against the "new philosophers" of the late 1970s and 1980s, who denounced the work-and sometimes the private lives-of this great generation. Roudinesco refutes attempts to tar them, as well as the Marxist and left-wing tradition in general, with the brush of Soviet-style communism. In Freudian theory and the philosophy of radical commitment, she sees a bulwark against the kind of manipulative, pill-prescribing, and normalizing psychology that aims to turn individuals into mindless consumers. Intense, clever, and persuasive, Philosophy in Turbulent Times captivates with the dynamism of French thought in the twentieth century.
Marco Politi takes us deep inside the power struggle roiling the Roman Curia, beginning with Benedict XVI, the pope who famously resigned in 2013, and intensifying with the contested and unexpected election of Jorge Maria Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, now known as Pope Francis. Politi's account balances the perspectives of Pope Francis's supporters, Benedict's sympathizers, and the disappointed Catholic laity, who feel alienated by the institution's secrecy, financial corruption, and refusal to modernize. Politi dramatically recounts the sexual scandals that have rocked the church worldwide and the accusations of financial malfeasance swirling around the Vatican and the Italian Catholic Church. Pope Francis has tried to shine a light on these crimes, but his work has been met with stubborn resistance from entrenched factions. Politi writes of the decline in vocations to the priesthood in the developing world, and he visits European parishes where women now perform the functions of missing male priests-and where the parishioners would welcome the admission of women to the priesthood, if the church would allow it. Pope Francis's emphasis on pastoral work rather than theological doctrine in the developing world has also provoked the ire of the Roman Curia. He and his supporters are in a great battle with the defenders of Catholic tradition and with ecclesiastical corruption in Rome and Italy. In this conflict, the future of Catholicism is at stake-and it is far from certain that Francis will succeed in overcoming his opponents and save the faith from decline.
Over the course of his career, Gianni Vattimo has assumed a number of public and private identities and has pursued multiple intellectual paths. He seems to embody several contradictions, at once defending and questioning religion and critiquing and serving the state. Yet the diversity of his life and thought form the very essence of, as he sees it, the vocation and responsibility of the philosopher. In a world that desires quantifiable results and ideological expediency, the philosopher becomes the vital interpreter of the endlessly complex. As he outlines his ideas about the philosopher's role, Vattimo builds an important companion to his life's work. He confronts questions of science, religion, logic, literature, and truth, and passionately defends the power of hermeneutics to engage with life's conundrums. Vattimo conjures a clear vision of philosophy as something separate from the sciences and the humanities but also intimately connected to their processes, and he explicates a conception of truth that emphasizes fidelity and participation through dialogue.
Take a breath.... Read slowly.How often in the course and crush of our daily lives do we afford ourselves moments to truly relish-to truly be present in-the act of preparing and eating food? For most of us, our enjoyment of food has fall
Antonio Negri, a leading scholar on Baruch Spinoza (1632--1677) and his contemporary legacy, offers a straightforward explanation of the philosopher's elaborate arguments and a persuasive case for his ongoing utility. Responding to a resurgent interest in Spinoza's thought and its potential application to contemporary global issues, Negri demonstrates the thinker's special value to politics, philosophy, and a number of related disciplines.Negri's work is both a return to and advancement of his initial affirmation of Spinozian thought in The Savage Anomaly. He further defends his understanding of the philosopher as a proto-postmodernist, or a thinker who is just now, with the advent of the postmodern, becoming contemporary. Negri also deeply connects Spinoza's theories to recent trends in political philosophy, particularly the reengagement with Carl Schmitt's "political theology," and the history of philosophy, including the argument that Spinoza belongs to a "radical enlightenment." By positioning Spinoza as a contemporary, revolutionary intellectual, Negri addresses and effectively defeats critiques by Derrida, Badiou, and Agamben.