Once solely the province of ivory-tower professors and college classrooms, contemporary philosophy was finally emancipated from its academic closet in 2010, when The Stone was launched in The New York Times. First appearing as an online series, the column quickly attracted millions of readers through its accessible examination of universal topics like the nature of science, consciousness and morality, while also probing more contemporary issues such as the morality of drones, gun control and the gender divide.
Now collected for the first time in this handsomely designed volume, The Stone Reader presents 133 meaningful and influential essays from the series, placing nearly the entirety of modern philosophical discourse at a reader’s grasp. The book, divided into four broad sections—Philosophy, Science, Religion and Morals, and Society—opens with a series of questions about the scope, history and identity of philosophy: What are the practical uses of philosophy? Does the discipline, begun in the West in ancient Greece with Socrates, favor men and exclude women? Does the history and study of philosophy betray a racial bias against non-white thinkers, or geographical bias toward the West?
These questions and others form a foundation for readers as the book moves to the second section, Science, where some of our most urgent contemporary philosophical debates are taking place. Will artificial intelligence compromise our morality? Does neuroscience undermine our free will? Is there is a legitimate place for the humanities in a world where science and technology appear to rule? Should the evidence for global warming change the way we live, or die?
In the book’s third section, Religion and Morals, we find philosophy where it is often at its best, sharpest and most disturbing—working through the arguments provoked by competing moral theories in the face of real-life issues and rigorously addressing familiar ethical dilemmas in a new light. Can we have a true moral life without belief in God? What are the dangers of moral relativism?
In its final part, Society, The Stone Reader returns to its origins as a forum to encourage philosophers who are willing to engage closely, critically and analytically with the affairs of the day, including economic inequality, technology and racial discrimination. In directly confronting events like the September 11 attacks, the killing of Trayvon Martin, the Sandy Hook School massacre, the essays here reveal the power of philosophy to help shape our viewpoints on nearly every issue we face today.
With an introduction by Peter Catapano that details the column’s founding and distinct editorial process at The New York Times, and prefatory notes to each section by Simon Critchley, The Stone Reader promises to become not only an intellectual landmark but also a confirmation that philosophy is, indeed, for everyone.
Informed by Critchley's acute insight, scholarly intelligence, and sprightly wit, each entry tells its own tale, but collected together they add up to a profound and moving investigation of meaning and the possibility of happiness for us all.
The purpose of this volume is to bring deconstruction and pragmatism into critical confrontation with one another through staging a debate between Derrida and Rorty, itself based on discussions that took place at the College International de Philosophie in Paris in 1993. The ground for this debate is layed out in introductory papers by Simon Critchley and Ernesto Laclau, and the remainder of the volume records Derrida's and Rorty's responses to each other's work. Chantal Mouffe gives an overview of the stakes of this debate in a helpful preface.
Reading Hamlet alongside other writers, philosophers, and psychoanalysts—Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin, Freud, Lacan, Nietzsche, Melville, and Joyce—Simon Critchley and Jamieson Webster go in search of a particularly modern drama that is as much about ourselves as it is a product of Shakespeare’s imagination. They also offer a startling interpretation of the action onstage: it is structured around “nothing”—or, in the enigmatic words of the player queen, “it nothing must.”
From the illusion of theater and the spectacle of statecraft to the psychological interplay of inhibition and emotion, Hamlet discloses the modern paradox of our lives: how thought and action seem to pull against each other, the one annulling the possibility of the other. As a counterweight to Hamlet’s melancholy paralysis, Ophelia emerges as the play’s true hero. In her madness, she lives the love of which Hamlet is incapable.
Avoiding the customary clichés about the timelessness of the Bard, Critchley and Webster show the timely power of Hamlet to cast light on the intractable dilemmas of human existence in a world that is rotten and out of joint.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In Impossible Objects, Simon Critchley - one of the most influential and insightful philosophers writing today - extends his philosophical investigation into non-philosophical territories, including discussions on tragedy, poetry, humor, and music. In a series of engaging and enlightening conversations, Critchley reflects on his early work on the ethics of deconstruction; the recurring themes of mortality and nihilism; his defense of neo-anarchism; and his recent investigation into secular faith, or "a faith of the faithless". Essential reading for artists, academics, and general readers alike, this book explores the relationship between the philosophical world and those complex and fascinating "impossible objects" which give life meaning.
Very Little...Almost Nothing goes to the heart of this problem through an exploration of Blanchot's theory of literature, Stanley Cavell's interpretations of romanticism and the importance of death in the work of Samuel Beckett. Simon Critchley links these themes to the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas to present a powerful new picture of how we must approach the importance of death in philosophy.
A compelling reading of the convergence of literature and philosophy, Very Little...Almost Nothing opens up new ways of understanding finitude, modernity and the nature of the imagination.
In this second edition, Simon Critchley has added a revealing and extended new preface, and a new chapter on Wallace Stevens which reflects on the idea of poetry as philosophy.
From Rousseau’s politics and religion to the return to St. Paul in Taubes, Agamben and Badiou, via explorations of politics and original sin in the work of Schmitt and John Gray, Critchley examines whether there can be a faith of the faithless, a belief for unbelievers. Expanding on his debate with Slavoj Žižek, Critchley concludes with a meditation on the question of violence, and the limits of non-violence.
Van de oudheid tot aan de moderne tijd en puttend uit het werk van een breed scala aan auteurs, in het bijzonder Swift, Sterne, Shaftesbury, Bergson, Beckett en Freud, keert Humor het komische binnenstebuiten en onthult ons een smakelijk inzicht in wat we grappig vinden. Humor beantwoordt vragen zoals: "Waarom lijden komieken aan depressies", "Waarom lachen we zo vaak om dieren" en "Wat gebeurt er in racistische en seksistische humor".
Humor zal niet alleen de lezers uit een reeks van disciplines zoals filosofie, theologie, literatuurwetenschap, psycholanalyse, geschiedenis en antropologie aanspreken, maar ook zeer tot de verbeelding spreken van een ieder met een gevoel voor humor - ieder van ons dus, hopelijk.
Against these new age sophistries, How to Stop Living and Start Worrying tackles the question of 'how to live' by forcing us to explore our troubling relationship with death. For Critchley, philosophy begins with the question of finitude and with his understanding of a key classical theme - that to philosophize is to learn how to die. Learning how to accept both our own and others' mortality as a part of life also raises the question of how to love. Critchley argues that the act of love requires us to give up something of ourselves, to lose control so as to be open to the demands of love. We will never be equal to this demand and so we are brought face to face with our own limitations - one form of which is what Critchley calls our 'originary inauthenticity'. By scrutinizing the very nature of humour, Critchley explores what we need to laugh at ourselves and presents the need to confront the inescapable ridiculousness of life.
Reflecting on the work of over 20 years, this book provides a unique, witty and erudite introduction to the thought of Simon Critchley. It includes a revealing biographical conversation with Critchley and a fascinating debate with the critically acclaimed novelist Tom McCarthy about the nature of authenticity. Taken together the conversations give an intimate portrait of one of the most lucid, provocative and engaging philosophers writing today.
This stimulating collection also includes replies to his critics by Laclau and the important exchange between Laclau and Judith Butler on equality, making it an excellent companion to Laclau's work and essential reading for students of political and social theory.