Strange Wonder

Author: Mary-Jane Rubenstein
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231146326
Size: 29.68 MB
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Western philosophy's relationship to "wonder" is deeply ambivalent. On the one hand, wonder is said to be the origin of all philosophy. On the other hand, it is associated with a kind of ignorance that ought to be extinguished. This study argues that by endeavoring to resolve wonder's indeterminacy, philosophy has secured itself at the expense of its own condition of possibility. Strange Wonder locates a reopening of this primordial uncertainty in the work of Martin Heidegger, whose "wonder" oscillates between a shock at the groundlessness of things and an astonishment that things nevertheless are. Mary-Jane Rubenstein traces this double movement through the thought of Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Jacques Derrida, tracing wonder as an awesome, awful opening that exposes thought to devastation as well as transformation. Insofar as wonder reveals the extraordinary through the ordinary, Rubenstein argues it is crucial to the task of reimagining political, religious, and ethical possibilities.

Radical Democracy And Political Theology

Author: Jeffrey W. Robbins
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231156375
Size: 55.74 MB
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Alexis de Tocqueville once wrote that "the people reign over the American political world like God over the universe," unwittingly casting democracy as the political instantiation of the death of God. According to Jeffrey W. Robbins, Tocqueville's assessment remains an apt observation of modern democratic power, which does not rest with a sovereign authority but operates as a diffuse social force. By linking radical democratic theory to a contemporary fascination with political theology, Robbins envisions the modern experience of democracy as a social, cultural, and political force transforming the nature of sovereign power and political authority. Robbins joins his work with Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's radical conception of "network power," as well as Sheldon Wolin's notion of "fugitive democracy," to fashion a political theology that captures modern democracy's social and cultural torment. This approach has profound implications not only for the nature of contemporary religious belief and practice but also for the reconceptualization of the proper relationship between religion and politics. Challenging the modern, liberal, and secular assumption of a neutral public space, Robbins conceives of a postsecular politics for contemporary society that inextricably links religion to the political. While effectively recasting the tradition of radical theology as a political theology, this book also develops a comprehensive critique of the political theology bequeathed by Carl Schmitt. It marks an original and visionary achievement by the scholar the Journal of the American Academy of Religion hailed "one of the best commentators on religion and postmodernism."

Philosophical Temperaments

Author: Peter Sloterdijk
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231527403
Size: 55.63 MB
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Peter Sloterdijk turns his keen eye to the history of western thought, conducting colorful readings of the lives and ideas of the world’s most influential intellectuals. Featuring nineteen vignettes rich in personal characterizations and theoretical analysis, Sloterdijk’s companionable volume casts the development of philosophical thinking not as a buildup of compelling books and arguments but as a lifelong, intimate struggle with intellectual and spiritual movements, filled with as many pitfalls and derailments as transcendent breakthroughs. Sloterdijk delves into the work and times of Aristotle, Augustine, Bruno, Descartes, Foucault, Fichte, Hegel, Husserl, Kant, Kierkegaard, Leibniz, Marx, Nietzsche, Pascal, Plato, Sartre, Schelling, Schopenhauer, and Wittgenstein. He provocatively juxtaposes Plato against shamanism and Marx against Gnosticism, revealing both the vital external influences shaping these intellectuals’ thought and the excitement and wonder generated by the application of their thinking in the real world. The philosophical “temperament” as conceived by Sloterdijk represents the uniquely creative encounter between the mind and a diverse array of cultures. It marks these philosophers’ singular achievements and the special dynamic at play in philosophy as a whole. Creston Davis’s introduction details Sloterdijk’s own temperament, surveying the celebrated thinker’s intellectual context, rhetorical style, and philosophical persona.

Religion And The Specter Of The West

Author: Arvind-Pal S. Mandair
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 023151980X
Size: 64.91 MB
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Arguing that intellectual movements, such as deconstruction, postsecular theory, and political theology, have different implications for cultures and societies that live with the debilitating effects of past imperialisms, Arvind Mandair unsettles the politics of knowledge construction in which the category of "religion" continues to be central. Through a case study of Sikhism, he launches an extended critique of religion as a cultural universal. At the same time, he presents a portrait of how certain aspects of Sikh tradition were reinvented as "religion" during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. India's imperial elite subtly recast Sikh tradition as a sui generis religion, which robbed its teachings of their political force. In turn, Sikhs began to define themselves as a "nation" and a "world religion" that was separate from, but parallel to, the rise of the Indian state and global Hinduism. Rather than investigate these processes in isolation from Europe, Mandair shifts the focus closer to the political history of ideas, thereby recovering part of Europe's repressed colonial memory. Mandair rethinks the intersection of religion and the secular in discourses such as history of religions, postcolonial theory, and recent continental philosophy. Though seemingly unconnected, these discourses are shown to be linked to a philosophy of "generalized translation" that emerged as a key conceptual matrix in the colonial encounter between India and the West. In this riveting study, Mandair demonstrates how this philosophy of translation continues to influence the repetitions of religion and identity politics in the lives of South Asians, and the way the academy, state, and media have analyzed such phenomena.

Self And Emotional Life

Author: Adrian Johnston
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 023153518X
Size: 71.71 MB
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Adrian Johnston and Catherine Malabou defy theoretical humanities’ deeply-entrenched resistance to engagements with the life sciences. Rather than treat biology and its branches as hopelessly reductive and politically suspect, they view recent advances in neurobiology and its adjacent scientific fields as providing crucial catalysts to a radical rethinking of subjectivity. Merging three distinct disciplines—European philosophy from Descartes to the present, Freudian-Lacanian psychoanalysis, and affective neuroscience—Johnston and Malabou triangulate the emotional life of affective subjects as conceptualized in philosophy and psychoanalysis with neuroscience. Their experiments yield different outcomes. Johnston finds psychoanalysis and neurobiology have the potential to enrich each other, though affective neuroscience demands a reconsideration of whether affects can be unconscious. Investigating this vexed issue has profound implications for theoretical and practical analysis, as well as philosophical understandings of the emotions. Malabou believes scientific explorations of the brain seriously problematize established notions of affective subjectivity in Continental philosophy and Freudian-Lacanian analysis. She confronts philosophy and psychoanalysis with something neither field has seriously considered: the concept of wonder and the cold, disturbing visage of those who have been affected by disease or injury, such that they are no longer affected emotionally. At stake in this exchange are some of philosophy’s most important claims concerning the relationship between the subjective mind and the objective body, the structures and dynamics of the unconscious dimensions of mental life, the role emotion plays in making us human, and the functional differences between philosophy and science.

Wonder

Author: Sophia Vasalou
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 1438455534
Size: 79.90 MB
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Synthesizes the most important recent work on wonder and brings a number of disciplines into conversation. Wonder has been celebrated as the quintessential passion of childhood. From the earliest stages of our intellectual history, it has been acclaimed as the driving force of inquiry and the prime passion of thought. Yet for an emotion acknowledged so widely for the multiple roles it plays in our lives, wonder has led a singularly shadowy existence in recent reflections. Philosophers have largely passed it over in silence; emotion theorists have shunned it as a case that sits awkwardly within their analytical frameworks. So what is wonder, and why does it matter? In this book, Sophia Vasalou sketches a “grammar” of wonder that pursues the complexities of wonder as an emotional experience that has carved colorful tracks through our language and our intellectual history, not only in philosophy and science but also in art and religious experience. A richer grammar of wonder and broader window into its past can give us the tools we need for thinking more insightfully about wonder, and for reflecting on the place it should occupy within our emotional lives. “Vasalou’s book is an important and exciting contribution to the literature. It is not a narrow academic inquiry on an obscure topic, but a sweeping exploration of an emotion that was once recognized as among the most important. Vasalou makes a powerful case for wonder and her book will spark great interest.” — Jesse Prinz, author of Beyond Human Nature: How Culture and Experience Shape the Human Mind “This is a powerful study of wonder, whose major strengths include its engagement of overlooked primary sources (in particular, Adam Smith and Zorba the Greek), its exhaustive treatment of the secondary literature, and its careful attunement to historical complexities.” — Mary-Jane Rubenstein, author of Strange Wonder: The Closure of Metaphysics and the Opening of Awe

Cut Of The Real

Author: Katerina Kolozova
Publisher: Insurrections: Critical Studie
ISBN: 9780231166119
Size: 61.41 MB
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A leading scholar of gender studies and speculative realism carves a universal conception of identity and the subject. Katerina Kolozova reclaims the relevance of categories traditionally rendered "unthinkable" by postmodern feminist philosophies, critically repositioning poststructuralist feminist philosophy and gender/queer studies.

A Hedonist Manifesto

Author: Michel Onfray
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780231171267
Size: 19.84 MB
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Michael Onfray passionately defends a radical and constructive politics of the body, demonstrating how philosophy can contribute to a humanistic ethics. He warns of the lure of attachment to the purportedly eternal, immutable truths of idealism, which detracts from the immediacy of the world and our bodily existence. Insisting that philosophy is a practice that operates in a real, material space, Onfray constructs a positive, hedonistic ethics that promotes a joyful approach to our lives in this, our only, world.