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Derrida’s Final Seminar, the Beast and the Sovereign
Jacques Derrida’s final seminars were devoted to animal life and political sovereignty–-the connection being that animals slavishly adhere to the law while kings and gods tower above it and that this relationship reveals much about humanity in the West. David Farrell Krell offers a detailed account of these seminars, placing them in the context of Derrida’s late work and his critique of Heidegger. Krell focuses his discussion on questions such as death, language, and animality. He concludes that Heidegger and Derrida share a commitment to finding new ways of speaking and thinking about human and animal life.
Derrida and the Inheritance of Democracy provides a theoretically rich and accessible account of Derrida's political philosophy. Demonstrating the key role inheritance plays in Derrida’s thinking, Samir Haddad develops a general theory of inheritance and shows how it is essential to democratic action. He transforms Derrida’s well-known idea of "democracy to come" into active engagement with democratic traditions. Haddad focuses on issues such as hospitality, justice, normativity, violence, friendship, birth, and the nature of democracy as he reads these deeply political writings.
From the Frankfurt School to Postmodernism
The Discourse of Domination tackles nothing less than the challenge of giving critical theory a new grip on current problems, and restoring the left's faith in the possibility of enlightened social change. Agger steers a course between orthodox Marxism and orthodox anti Marxism, bringing the concepts of ideology, dialectic, and domination out of the academy and making them into "a living medium of political self expression."
Toward an Aesthetics of Transitional Justice
Drawing the Line examines the ways in which cultural, political, and legal lines are imagined, drawn, crossed, erased, and redrawn in post-apartheid South Africa through literary texts, artworks, and other forms of cultural production. Under the rubric of a philosophy of the limit and with reference to a range of signifying acts and events, this book asks what it takes to recalibrate a sociopolitical scene, shifting perceptions of what counts and what matters, of what can be seen and heard, of what can be valued or regarded as meaningful. The book thus argues for an aesthetics of transitional justice and makes an appeal for a postapartheid aesthetic inquiry, as opposed to simply a political or a legal one. Each chapter brings a South African artwork, text, speech, building, or social encounter into conversation with debates in critical theory and continental philosophy, asking: What challenge do these South African acts of signification and resignification pose to current literary-philosophical debates?
Mass Crime, Denial, and Collective Responsibility
The subject of the book is responsibility for collective crime. Collective crime is an act committed by a significant number of the members of a group, in the name of all members of that group, with the support of the majority of group members, and against individuals targeted on the basis of their belonging to a different group. The central claim is that all members of the group in whose name collective crime is committed share responsibility for it. This book’s special interest is with analytical and normative defense of arguments that purport to explain reasons for, and the character of, responsibility of decent people. Those who did not intend, support, or committed wrong, are still accountable in a non-vicarious manner. The basis of their responsibility is the crime-specific relationship between group identity and personal identity.
The Political Project of Psychoanalysis
Although there have been many attempts to apply the ideas of psychoanalysis to political thought, this book is the first to identify the political project inherent in the fundamental tenets of psychoanalysis. And this political project, Todd McGowan contends, provides an avenue for emancipatory politics after the failure of Marxism in the twentieth century.
Where others seeking the political import of psychoanalysis have looked to Freud’s early work on sexuality, McGowan focuses on Freud’s discovery of the death drive and Jacques Lacan’s elaboration of this concept. He argues that the self-destruction occurring as a result of the death drive is the foundational act of emancipation around which we should construct our political philosophy. Psychoanalysis offers the possibility for thinking about emancipation not as an act of overcoming loss but as the embrace of loss. It is only through the embrace of loss, McGowan suggests, that we find the path to enjoyment, and enjoyment is the determinative factor in all political struggles—and only in a political project that embraces the centrality of loss will we find a viable alternative to global capitalism.
Explorations in Modern Political Thought
The Politics of Infinity
Human beings are restless souls, ever driven by an insistent inner force not only to have more but to be more—to be infinitely more. Various philosophers have emphasized this type of ceaseless striving in their accounts of humanity, as in Spinoza’s notion of conatus and Hobbes’s identification of “a perpetual and restless desire of power after power.” In this book, Laurence Cooper focuses his attention on three giants of the philosophic tradition for whom this inner force was a major preoccupation and something separate from and greater than the desire for self-preservation. Cooper’s overarching purpose is to illuminate the nature of this source of existential longing and discontent and its implications for political life. He concentrates especially on what these thinkers share in their understanding of this psychic power and how they view it ambivalently as the root not only of ambition, vigorous virtue, patriotism, and philosophy, but also of tyranny, imperialism, and varieties of fanaticism. But he is not neglectful of the differences among their interpretations of the phenomenon, either, and especially highlights these in the concluding chapter.