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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.
A Crisis of Faith
Correspondence and Writings on Religion and Practical Philosophy
George Turnbull belongs with a group of early Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, including Francis Hutcheson, who found their native Calvinism too repressive. They sought to relocate religion within a context of reason and science and to establish a tolerant and humane ethic upon values rooted in classical ideals.
In a distinctive voice, Turnbull presented natural-law theory “scientifically,” harnessed the arts to promote moral and civil virtue, and extolled reason as the foundation of liberty. The works in this volume exhibit the close interrelations between these concerns and show him as a paradigmatic “Enlightenment” figure. This extremely rare material includes two Aberdeen graduation theses, three tracts on religion, various writings on education and art, and, for the first time in print, the correspondence of Turnbull.
George Turnbull (1698–1748) was born in Scotland and ordained into the Church of England in 1739. A key figure in the Scottish Enlightenment, he taught moral philosophy at Marischal College, Aberdeen, where one of his pupils was Thomas Reid, who became the main representative of the Scottish Common Sense philosophy.
M. A. Stewart is Honorary Research Professor in the History of Philosophy at the Universities of Lancaster and Aberdeen.
Paul Wood is Professor of History at the University of Victoria.
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.
In the late eighteenth century, an array of European political thinkers attacked the very foundations of imperialism, arguing passionately that empire-building was not only unworkable, costly, and dangerous, but manifestly unjust. Enlightenment against Empire is the first book devoted to the anti-imperialist political philosophies of an age often regarded as affirming imperial ambitions. Sankar Muthu argues that thinkers such as Denis Diderot, Immanuel Kant, and Johann Gottfried Herder developed an understanding of humans as inherently cultural agents and therefore necessarily diverse. These thinkers rejected the conception of a culture-free "natural man." They held that moral judgments of superiority or inferiority could be made neither about entire peoples nor about many distinctive cultural institutions and practices.
Muthu shows how such arguments enabled the era's anti-imperialists to defend the freedom of non-European peoples to order their own societies. In contrast to those who praise "the Enlightenment" as the triumph of a universal morality and critics who view it as an imperializing ideology that denigrated cultural pluralism, Muthu argues instead that eighteenth-century political thought included multiple Enlightenments. He reveals a distinctive and underappreciated strand of Enlightenment thinking that interweaves commitments to universal moral principles and incommensurable ways of life, and that links the concept of a shared human nature with the idea that humans are fundamentally diverse. Such an intellectual temperament, Muthu contends, can broaden our own perspectives about international justice and the relationship between human unity and diversity.