May starts by looking at the fundamental fact that life unfolds over time, and as it does so, it begins to develop certain qualities, certain themes. Our lives can be marked by intensity, curiosity, perseverance, or many other qualities that become guiding narrative values. These values lend meanings to our lives that are distinct from—but also interact with—the universal values we are taught to cultivate, such as goodness or happiness. Offering a fascinating examination of a broad range of figures—from music icon Jimi Hendrix to civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer, from cyclist Lance Armstrong to The Portrait of a Lady’s Ralph Touchett to Claus von Stauffenberg, a German officer who tried to assassinate Hitler—May shows that narrative values offer a rich variety of criteria by which to assess a life, specific to each of us and yet widely available. They offer us a way of reading ourselves, who we are, and who we might like to be.
Clearly and eloquently written, A Significant Life is a recognition and a comfort, a celebration of the deeply human narrative impulse by which we make—even if we don’t realize it—meaning for ourselves. It offers a refreshing way to think of an age-old question, of quite simply, what makes a life worth living.
In this unique study, Todd May, a philosopher who has himself participated in campaigns of nonviolent resistance, offers the first extended philosophical reflection on the particular and compelling political phenomenon of nonviolence. Drawing on both historical and contemporary examples, he examines the concept and objectives of nonviolence, and considers the different dynamics of nonviolence, from moral jiu-jitsu to nonviolent coercion. May goes on to explore the values that infuse nonviolent activity, especially the respect for dignity and the presupposition of equality, before taking a close-up look at the role of nonviolence in today’s world.
Students of politics, peace studies, and philosophy, political activists, and those interested in the shape of current politics will find this book an invaluable source for understanding one of the most prevalent, but least reflected upon, political approaches of our world.
In this book, Todd May seeks to confront death in its power. He considers the possibility that our mortal deaths are the end of us, and asks what this might mean for our living. What lessons can we draw from our mortality? And how might we live as creatures who die, and who know we are going to die?
In answering these questions, May brings together two divergent perspectives on death. The first holds that death is not an evil, or at least that immortality would be far worse than dying. The second holds that death is indeed an evil, and that there is no escaping that fact. May shows that if we are to live with death, we need to hold these two perspectives together. Their convergence yields both a beauty and a tragedy to our living that are inextricably entwined.Drawing on the thoughts of many philosophers and writers - ancient and modern - as well as his own experience, May puts forward a particular view of how we might think about and, more importantly, live our lives in view of the inescapability of our dying. In the end, he argues, it is precisely the contingency of our lives that must be grasped and which must be folded into the hours or years that remain to each of us, so that we can live each moment as though it were at once a link to an uncertain future and yet perhaps the only link we have left.
The problem such an account raises for much of traditional philosophy is that Foucault's critique of psychological concepts is ultimately a critique of the idea of the mind as a politically neutral ontological concept. As such, it renders politically suspect all forms of subjective foundationalism, and the epistemological justification for Foucault's own writings is then called into question. Drawing on the writings of such Anglo-American philosophers as Wilfrid Sellars and Ludwig Wittgenstein, Todd May refutes the idea that Foucault's critiques of knowledge, and especially psychological knowledge, undermine themselves.
After positioning poststructuralist political thought against the background of Marxism and the traditional anarchism of Bakunin, Kropotkin, and Proudhon, Todd May shows what a tactical political philosophy like anarchism looks like shorn of its humanist commitments—namely, a poststructuralist anarchism. The book concludes with a defense, contra Habermas and Critical Theory, of poststructuralist political thought as having a metaethical structure allowing for positive ethical commitments.
Reconsidering Difference has a twofold task, the primary one critical and the secondary one reconstructive. The critical task is to show that these various privilegings are philosophical failures. They wind up, for reasons unique to each position, endorsing positions that are either incoherent or implausible. Todd May considers the incoherencies of each position and offers an alternative approach. His reconstructive task, which he calls "contingent holism," takes the phenomena under investigation—community, language, ethics, and ontology—and sketches a way of reconceiving them that preserves the motivations of the rejected positions without falling into the problems that beset them.
May starts with a simple but hard truth: suffering is inevitable. At the most basic level, we suffer physically—a sprained ankle or a bad back. But we also suffer insults and indifference. We suffer from overburdened schedules and unforeseen circumstances, from moral dilemmas and emotional heartaches. Even just thinking about our own mortality—the fact that we only live one life—can lead us to tremendous suffering. No wonder philosophies such as Buddhism, Taosim, Stoicism, and even Epicureanism—all of which counsel us to rise above these plights—have had appeal over the centuries. May highlights the tremendous value of these philosophies and the ways they can guide us toward better lives, but he also exposes a major drawback to their tenets: such invulnerability is too emotionally disengaged from the world, leading us to place too great a distance between ourselves and our experience. Rather than seeking absolute immunity, he argues most of us just want to hurt less and learn how to embrace and accept what suffering we do endure in a meaningful way.
Offering a guide on how to positively engage suffering, May ultimately lays out a new way of thinking about how we exist in the world, one that reassures us that our suffering, rather than a failure of physical or psychological resilience, is a powerful and essential part of life itself.
Considered to be one of the most important philosophical works of all time, the History of Western Philosophy is a dazzlingly unique exploration of the ideologies of significant philosophers throughout the ages—from Plato and Aristotle through to Spinoza, Kant and the twentieth century. Written by a man who changed the history of philosophy himself, this is an account that has never been rivaled since its first publication over sixty years ago.
Since its first publication in 1945, Lord Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy is still unparalleled in its comprehensiveness, its clarity, its erudition, its grace, and its wit. In seventy-six chapters he traces philosophy from the rise of Greek civilization to the emergence of logical analysis in the twentieth century.
Among the philosophers considered are: Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, the Atomists, Protagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Cynics, the Sceptics, the Epicureans, the Stoics, Plotinus, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Benedict, Gregory the Great, John the Scot, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, William of Occam, Machiavelli, Erasmus, More, Bacon, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, the Utilitarians, Marx, Bergson, James, Dewey, and lastly the philosophers with whom Lord Russell himself is most closely associated—Cantor, Frege, and Whitehead, coauthor with Russell of the monumental Principia Mathematica.
In his concise Introduction, Eric Steinberg explores the conditions that led Hume to write the Enquiry and the work's important relationship to Book I of Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature.
The contributors consider representations of the black queer body, black queer literature, the pedagogical implications of black queer studies, and the ways that gender and sexuality have been glossed over in black studies and race and class marginalized in queer studies. Whether exploring the closet as a racially loaded metaphor, arguing for the inclusion of diaspora studies in black queer studies, considering how the black lesbian voice that was so expressive in the 1970s and 1980s is all but inaudible today, or investigating how the social sciences have solidified racial and sexual exclusionary practices, these insightful essays signal an important and necessary expansion of queer studies.
Contributors. Bryant K. Alexander, Devon Carbado, Faedra Chatard Carpenter, Keith Clark, Cathy Cohen, Roderick A. Ferguson, Jewelle Gomez, Phillip Brian Harper, Mae G. Henderson, Sharon P. Holland, E. Patrick Johnson, Kara Keeling, Dwight A. McBride, Charles I. Nero, Marlon B. Ross, Rinaldo Walcott, Maurice O. Wallace
Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) was one of the leading social theorists in the United States. Her Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy and Love and Saint Augustine are also published by the University of Chicago Press.
Trites argues that the development of the genre over the past thirty years is an outgrowth of postmodernism, since YA novels are, by definition, texts that interrogate the social construction of individuals. Drawing on such nineteenth-century precursors as Little Women and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Disturbing the Universe demonstrates how important it is to employ poststructuralist methodologies in analyzing adolescent literature, both in critical studies and in the classroom. Among the twentieth-century authors discussed are Blume, Hamilton, Hinton, Le Guin, L'Engle, and Zindel.
Trites' work has applications for a broad range of readers, including scholars of children's literature and theorists of post-modernity as well as librarians and secondary-school teachers.
Disturbing the Universe: Power and Repression in Adolescent Literature by Roberta Seelinger Trites is the winner of the 2002 Children's Literature Association's Book Award. The award is given annually in order to promote and recognize outstanding contributions to children's literature, history, scholarship, and criticisim; it is one of the highest academic honors that can accrue to an author of children's literary criticism.
25th Anniversary Edition of Terry Eagleton’s classic introduction to literary theory
First published in 1983, and revised in 1996 to include material on developments in feminist and cultural theory
Has served as an inspiration to generations of students and teachers
Continues to function as arguably the definitive undergraduate textbook on literary theory
Reissue includes a new foreword by Eagleton himself, reflecting on the impact and enduring success of the book, and on developments in literary theory since it was first published
Translated and edited by Walter Kaufmann
Commentary by Martin Heidegger, Albert Camus, and Gilles Deleuze
One hundred years after his death, Friedrich Nietzsche remains the most influential philosopher of the modern era. Basic Writings of Nietzsche gathers the complete texts of five of Nietzsche’s most important works, from his first book to his last: The Birth of Tragedy, Beyond Good and Evil, On the Genealogy of Morals, The Case of Wagner, and Ecce Homo. Edited and translated by the great Nietzsche scholar Walter Kaufmann, this volume also features seventy-five aphorisms, selections from Nietzsche’s correspondence, and variants from drafts for Ecce Homo. It is a definitive guide to the full range of Nietzsche’s thought.
Includes a Modern Library Reading Group Guide
One of the most controversial figures on the intellectual scene, Ayn Rand was the proponent of a moral philosophy—and ethic of rational self-interest—that stands in sharp opposition to the ethics of altruism and self-sacrifice. The fundamentals of this morality—"a philosophy for living on Earth"—are here vibrantly set forth by the spokesman for a new class, For the New Intellectual.
From the Paperback edition.
In Unclaimed Experience, Cathy Caruth proposes that in the "widespread and bewildering experience of trauma" in our century—both in its occurrence and in our attempt to understand it—we can recognize the possibility of a history no longer based on simple models of straightforward experience and reference. Through the notion of trauma, she contends, we come to a new understanding that permits history to arise where immediate understanding is impossible. In her wide-ranging discussion, Caruth engages Freud's theory of trauma as outlined in Moses and Monotheism and Beyond the Pleasure Principle; the notion of reference and the figure of the falling body in de Man, Kleist, and Kant; the narratives of personal catastrophe in Hiroshima mon amour; and the traumatic address in Lecompte's reinterpretation of Freud's narrative of the dream of the burning child.-- Robert Jay Lifton, M.D., author of Hiroshima in America and The Protean Self
From the Hardcover edition.
Pairing literary criticism and historical analysis, Berlant explores the territory of this intimate public sphere through close readings of U.S. women’s literary works and their stage and film adaptations. Her interpretation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and its literary descendants reaches from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, touching on Shirley Temple, James Baldwin, and The Bridges of Madison County along the way. Berlant illuminates different permutations of the women’s intimate public through her readings of Edna Ferber’s Show Boat; Fannie Hurst’s Imitation of Life; Olive Higgins Prouty’s feminist melodrama Now, Voyager; Dorothy Parker’s poetry, prose, and Academy Award–winning screenplay for A Star Is Born; the Fay Weldon novel and Roseanne Barr film The Life and Loves of a She-Devil; and the queer, avant-garde film Showboat 1988–The Remake. The Female Complaint is a major contribution from a leading Americanist.
Moving seamlessly across genres and disciplines, Dayan considers legal practices and spiritual beliefs from medieval England, the North American colonies, and the Caribbean that have survived in our legal discourse, and she explores the civil deaths of felons and slaves through lawful repression. Tracing the legacy of slavery in the United States in the structures of the contemporary American prison system and in the administrative detention of ghostly supermax facilities, she also demonstrates how contemporary jurisprudence regarding cruel and unusual punishment prepared the way for abuses in Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo.
Using conventional historical and legal sources to answer unconventional questions, The Law Is a White Dog illuminates stark truths about civil society's ability to marginalize, exclude, and dehumanize.
Characterization has long been a troubled and neglected problem within literary theory. Through close readings of such novels as Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations, and Le Père Goriot, Woloch demonstrates that the representation of any character takes place within a shifting field of narrative attention and obscurity. Each individual--whether the central figure or a radically subordinated one--emerges as a character only through his or her distinct and contingent space within the narrative as a whole. The "character-space," as Woloch defines it, marks the dramatic interaction between an implied person and his or her delimited position within a narrative structure. The organization of, and clashes between, many character-spaces within a single narrative totality is essential to the novel's very achievement and concerns, striking at issues central to narrative poetics, the aesthetics of realism, and the dynamics of literary representation.
Woloch's discussion of character-space allows for a different history of the novel and a new definition of characterization itself. By making the implied person indispensable to our understanding of literary form, this book offers a forward-looking avenue for contemporary narrative theory.
For the legions of readers who treasure Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, and who savor cogent analysis and provocative discussion of Ayn Rand's thoughts and beliefs, Understanding Objectivism takes the stimulating study of Rand's philosophy to the next level.
In The Construction of Social Reality, eminent philosopher John Searle examines the structure of social reality (or those portions of the world that are facts only by human agreement, such as money, marriage, property, and government), and contrasts it to a brute reality that is independent of human agreement. Searle shows that brute reality provides the indisputable foundation for all social reality, and that social reality, while very real, is maintained by nothing more than custom and habit.
Contributors. M. M. Bakhtin, John Barth, Roland Barthes, Wayne Booth, John Brenkman, Peter Brooks, Catherine Burgass, Seymour Chatman, J. Yellowlees Douglas, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Wendy B. Faris, Barbara Foley, E. M. Forster, Joseph Frank, Joanne S. Frye, William H. Gass, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Gérard Genette, Ursula K. Heise, Michael J. Hoffman, Linda Hutcheon, Henry James, Susan S. Lanser, Helen Lock, Georg Lukács, Patrick D. Murphy, Ruth Ronen, Joseph Tabbi, Jon Thiem, Tzvetan Todorov, Virginia Woolf
"I have been led into an exploration of the way the social form of Elizabethan holidays contributed to the dramatic form of festive comedy. To relate this drama to holiday has proved to be the most effective way to describe its character. And this historical interplay between social and artistic form has an interest of its own: we can see here, with more clarity of outline and detail than is usually possible, how art develops underlying configurations in the social life of a culture."--C. L. Barber, in the Introduction
This new edition includes a foreword by Stephen Greenblatt, who discusses Barber's influence on later scholars and the recent critical disagreements that Barber has inspired, showing that Shakespeare's Festive Comedy is as vital today as when it was originally published.
Scarry argues that our responses to beauty are perceptual events of profound significance for the individual and for society. Presenting us with a rare and exceptional opportunity to witness fairness, beauty assists us in our attention to justice. The beautiful object renders fairness, an abstract concept, concrete by making it directly available to our sensory perceptions. With its direct appeal to the senses, beauty stops us, transfixes us, fills us with a "surfeit of aliveness." In so doing, it takes the individual away from the center of his or her self-preoccupation and thus prompts a distribution of attention outward toward others and, ultimately, she contends, toward ethical fairness.
Scarry, author of the landmark The Body in Pain and one of our bravest and most creative thinkers, offers us here philosophical critique written with clarity and conviction as well as a passionate plea that we change the way we think about beauty.
The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work is an exploration of the joys and perils of the modern workplace, beautifully exploring what other people wake up to do each day—and night—to make our frenzied world function. With a philosophical eye and his signature combination of wit and wisdom, Alain de Botton leads us on a journey around an eclectic range of occupations, from rocket scientist to biscuit manufacturer, from accountant to artist—in search of what makes jobs either soul-destroying or fulfilling.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST
In this landmark addition to the literature of totalitarianism, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick follows the lives of six North Korean citizens over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il (the father of Kim Jong-un), and a devastating famine that killed one-fifth of the population.
Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive regime today—an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, where displays of affection are punished, informants are rewarded, and an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life. She takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors, and through meticulous and sensitive reporting we see her subjects fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we witness their profound, life-altering disillusionment with the government and their realization that, rather than providing them with lives of abundance, their country has betrayed them.
Praise for Nothing to Envy
“Provocative . . . offers extensive evidence of the author’s deep knowledge of this country while keeping its sights firmly on individual stories and human details.”—The New York Times
“Deeply moving . . . The personal stories are related with novelistic detail.”—The Wall Street Journal
“A tour de force of meticulous reporting.”—The New York Review of Books
“Excellent . . . humanizes a downtrodden, long-suffering people whose individual lives, hopes and dreams are so little known abroad.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“The narrow boundaries of our knowledge have expanded radically with the publication of Nothing to Envy. . . . Elegantly structured and written, [it] is a groundbreaking work of literary nonfiction.”—John Delury, Slate
“At times a page-turner, at others an intimate study in totalitarian psychology.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
Nietzsche's notebooks, kept by him during his most productive years, offer a fascinating glimpse into the workshop and mind of a great thinker, and compare favorably with the notebooks of Gide and Kafka, Camus and Wittgenstein. The Will to Power, compiled from the notebooks, is one of the most famous boooks of the philosophy. Here is the first critical edition in any language.
Down through the Nazi period The Will to Power was often mistakenly considered to be Nietzche's crowning systematic labor; since World War II it has frequently been denigrated. In fact, it represents a stunning selection from Nietzsche's notebooks, in a a topical arrangement that enables the reader to find what Nietzsche's wrote on a variety of subjects.
Walter Kaufmann, in collaboration with R. J. Holilngdale, brings to this volume his unsurpassed skills as a Nietzsche translator and scholar. Professor Kaufmann has included an approximate date of each note. His running footnote commentary offers information needed to follow Nietzsche's train of thought, and indicates, among other things, which notes were eventually superseded by later formulations. The comprehensive index serves to guide the reader to the extraordinary riches of this book.
In a careful unraveling of the fabulous and the false, Eco shows us how serendipities—unanticipated truths—often spring from mistaken ideas. From Leibniz's belief that the I Ching illustrated the principles of calculus to Marco Polo's mistaking a rhinoceros for a unicorn, Eco tours the labyrinth of intellectual history, illuminating the ways in which we project the familiar onto the strange.
Eco uncovers a rich history of linguistic endeavor—much of it ill-conceived—that sought to "heal the wound of Babel." Through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Greek, Hebrew, Chinese, and Egyptian were alternately proclaimed as the first language that God gave to Adam, while—in keeping with the colonial climate of the time—the complex language of the Amerindians in Mexico was viewed as crude and diabolical. In closing, Eco considers the erroneous notion of linguistic perfection and shrewdly observes that the dangers we face lie not in the rules we use to interpret other cultures but in our insistence on making these rules absolute.
With the startling combination of erudition and wit, bewildering anecdotes and scholarly rigor that are Eco's hallmarks, Serendipities is sure to entertain and enlighten any reader with a passion for the curious history of languages and ideas.
It is not hard to see why Spinoza's Treatise was so important or so controversial, or why the uproar it caused is one of the most significant events in European intellectual history. In the book, Spinoza became the first to argue that the Bible is not literally the word of God but rather a work of human literature; that true religion has nothing to do with theology, liturgical ceremonies, or sectarian dogma; and that religious authorities should have no role in governing a modern state. He also denied the reality of miracles and divine providence, reinterpreted the nature of prophecy, and made an eloquent plea for toleration and democracy.
A vivid story of incendiary ideas and vicious backlash, A Book Forged in Hell will interest anyone who is curious about the origin of some of our most cherished modern beliefs.
... a first-rate edition, which supersedes all other portable Peirces.... all the Peirce most people will ever need." —Louis Menand, The New York Review of Books
Volume 2 of this convenient two-volume chronological reader’s edition provides the first comprehensive anthology of the brilliant American thinker Charles Sanders Peirce’s mature philosophy. A central focus of Volume 2 is Peirce’s evolving theory of signs and its appplication to his pragmatism.
What is the nature of the relationship of Jacques Derrida and deconstruction to Edmund Husserl and phenomenology? Is deconstruction a radical departure from phenomenology or does it trace its origins to the phenomenological project? In Derrida and Husserl, Leonard Lawlor illuminates Husserl's influence on the French philosophical tradition that inspired Derrida's thought. Beginning with Eugen Fink's pivotal essay on Husserl's philosophy, Lawlor carefully reconstructs the conceptual context in which Derrida developed his interpretation of Husserl. Lawlor's investigations of the work of Jean CavaillÃ ̈s, Tran-Duc-Thao, and Jean Hyppolite, as well as recent texts by Derrida, reveal the depth of Derrida's relationship to Husserl's phenomenology. Along the way, Lawlor revisits and sheds light on the origin of many important Derridean concepts, such as deconstruction, the metaphysics of presence, diffÃ©rance, intentionality, the trace, and spectrality.