Philosophy as a Way of Life: History Directions, Dimensions
Matthew Sharpe and Michael Ure (Bloomsbury, 2021)
In this first ever introduction to philosophy as a way of life in the Western tradition, Matthew Sharpe and Michael Ure take us through the history of the idea from Socrates and Plato, via the medievals, Renaissance and Enlightenment thinkers, to Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, Foucault and Hadot. They examine the kinds of practical exercises each thinker recommended to transform their philosophy into manners of living. Philosophy as a Way of Life also examines the recent resurgence of thinking about philosophy as a practical, lived reality and why this ancient tradition still has so much relevance and power in the contemporary world.
Digital Souls: A Philosophy of Online Death
Patrick Stokes (Bloomsbury, 2021)
Social media is full of dead people. Untold millions of dead users haunt the online world where we increasingly live our lives. What do we do with all these digital souls? Can we simply delete them, or do they have a right to persist? Philosophers have been almost entirely silent on the topic, despite their perennial focus on death as a unique dimension of human existence. Until now. Drawing on ongoing philosophical debates, Digital Souls claims that the digital dead are objects that should be treated with loving regard and that we have a moral duty towards. Modern technology helps them to persist in various ways, while also making them vulnerable to new forms of exploitation and abuse. This provocative book explores a range of questions about the nature of death, identity, grief, the moral status of digital remains and the threat posed by AI-driven avatars of dead people. In the digital era, it seems we must all re-learn how to live with the dead.
The Selected Writings of Pierre Hadot: Philosophy as Practice
Translated and edited by Matthew Sharpe and Federico Testa (Bloomsbury, 2021)
This collection of writings from Pierre Hadot (1992-2010) presents, for the first time, previously unreleased and in some cases untranslated materials from one of the world’s most prominent classical philosophers and historians of thought. As a passionate proponent of philosophy as a ‘way of life’ (most powerfully communicated in the life of Socrates), Pierre Hadot rejuvenated interest in the ancient philosophers and developed a philosophy based on their work which is peculiarly contemporary. His radical recasting of philosophy in the West was both provocative and substantial. Indeed, Michel Foucault cites Pierre Hadot as a major influence on his work. This beautifully written, lucid collection of writings will not only be of interest to historians, classicists and philosophers but also those interested in nourishing, as Pierre Hadot himself might have put it, a ‘spiritual life’.
Brill’s Companion to Camus: Camus Among the Philosophers
Edited by Matthew Sharpe, Maciej Kałuża and Peter Francev (Brill, 2020)
This book is the first English-language collection of essays by leading Camus scholars from around the world to focus on Albert Camus’ place and status as a philosopher amongst philosophers. After a thematic introduction, the dedicated chapters of Part 1 address Camus’ relations with leading philosophers, from the ancient Greeks to Jean-Paul Sartre (Augustine, Hume, Kant, Diderot, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Husserl, Hegel, Marx, Sartre). Part 2 contains pieces considering philosophical themes in Camus’ works, from the absurd in The Myth of Sisyphus to love in The First Man (the absurd, psychoanalysis, justice, Algeria, solidarity and solitude, revolution and revolt, art, asceticism, love).
Aristotle and Law: The Politics of Nomos
George Duke (Cambridge, 2019)
In Aristotle and Law, George Duke argues that Aristotle’s seemingly dispersed statements on law and legislation are unified by a commitment to law’s status as an achievement of practical reason. This book provides a systematic exposition of the significance and coherence of Aristotle’s account of law, and also indicates the relevance of this account to contemporary legal theory. It will be of great interest to scholars and students in jurisprudence, philosophy, political science and classics.
The Egalitarian Sublime: A Process Philosophy
James Williams (Edinburgh, 2019)
We call ‘sublime’ those things and experiences supposed to be the very best. But what if the best encourages the worst? What if the best leads to inequality and exploitation? Williams critiques the sublime over its long history and in recent returns to sublime nature and technologies. Deploying a new critical method that draws on process philosophy, he shows how the sublime has always led to inequality. This holds true even where it underpins ideas of cosmopolitan enlightenment, and even when refined by Burke, Kant, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer and Žižek.
Against the unjust legacies of the traditional sublime, James Williams defends a new, anarchist sublime: multiple, self-destructive and temporary; opposed to any idea of highest value to be shared by all but always imposed on the powerless.
Bonhoeffer: God’s Conspirator in a State of Exception
Petra Brown (Palgrave, 2019)
Theologian. Conspirator. Martyr. Saint. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was killed in the waning days of World War II, having been implicated in the July 20th assassination attempt on Hitler. Since his death, Bonhoeffer’s life and writings have inspired contradictory responses. He is often seen as a model for Christian pacifist resistance, and more recently for violent direct political action. Bonhoeffer’s name has been invoked by violent anti-abortion protestors as well as political leaders calling for support on a ‘war on terror’ in the aftermath of 9/11. Petra Brown critically analyses Bonhoeffer’s writing preceding and during his conspiracy involvement, particularly his recurring concept of the ‘extraordinary.’ Brown examines this idea in light of ‘the state of exception,’ a concept coined by the one-time Nazi jurist and political theorist, Carl Schmitt. She also draws on the existentialist philosopher Sören Kierkegaard to consider what happens when discipleship is understood as obedience to a divine command. This book aims to complicate an unreflective admiration of Bonhoeffer’s decision for conspiracy, and draws attention to the potentially dangerous implications of his emerging political theology.
Edited by Adam Buben, Eleanor Helms, and Patrick Stokes (Routledge, 2019)
Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) remains one of the most enigmatic, captivating, and elusive thinkers in the history of European thought.
The Kierkegaardian Mind provides a comprehensive survey of his work, not only placing it in its historical context but also exploring its contemporary significance. Comprising thirty-eight chapters by a team of international contributors, this handbook is divided into eight parts covering the following themes:
- Philosophy of Religion and Theology
- Philosophy of Mind
Essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy, Kierkegaard’s work is central to the study of political philosophy, literature, existentialist thought, and theology.
Problems in Twentieth Century French Philosophy
Edited by Sean Bowden and Mark G.E. Kelly
Read through the lens of a single key concept in twentieth-century French philosophy, that of the “problem”, this book relates the concept to specific thinkers and situates it in relation both to the wider history of philosophy and contemporary concerns.
How exactly should the notion of problems be understood? What must a problem be in order to play an inaugurating role in thought? Does the word “problem” have a univocal sense? What is at stake – theoretically, ethically, politically, and institutionally – when philosophers use the word? This book addresses these and other questions, and is devoted to making historical and philosophical sense of the various uses and conceptualisations of notions of problems, problematics, and problematisations in twentieth-century French thought. In the process, it augments our understanding of the philosophical programs of a number of recent French thinkers, reconfigures our perception of the history and wider stakes of twentieth-century French philosophy, and reveals the ongoing theoretical richness and critical potential of the notion of the problem and its cognates.
Working through the twentieth-century, and focussing on specific thinkers including Foucault and Deleuze, this book will be of interest to all scholars of French philosophy.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Angelaki.
The Habits of Racism: A Phenomenology of Racism and Racialized Embodiment
Helen Ngo (Lexington, 2017)
The Habits of Racism examines some of the complex questions raised by the phenomenon and experience of racism. Helen Ngo first draws on the resources of Merleau-Ponty to argue that the conceptual reworking of habit as bodily orientation helps to identify the more subtle but fundamental workings of racism; to catch its insidious, gestural expressions, as well as its habitual modes of racialized perception. Racism, on this account, is equally expressed through bodily habits, and this in turn raises important ethical questions regarding the responsibility for one’s racist habits.
Ngo considers what the lived experience of racism and racialization teaches about the nature of the embodied and socially-situated being, arguing that racialized embodiment problematizes and extends existing accounts of general embodied experience, which calls into question dominant paradigms of the “self” in philosophy, as coherent, fluid, and synchronous. Drawing on thinkers such as Fanon, she argues that the racialized body is “in front of itself” and “uncanny” (in the Heideggerian senses of “strange” and “not-at-home”), while exploring the phenomenological and existential implications of this disorientation and displacement.
Finally, she returns to the visual register to take up the question of “objectification” in racism and racialization. While she critically examines the subject-object ontology presupposed by Sartre’s account of “the gaze” (le regard), recalling that all embodied being is always already relational and co-constituting, drawing on Merleau-Ponty’s concept of the intertwining, she argues that racialized embodiment reveals to us the ontological violence of racism—not a merely violation of one’s subjectivity as commonly claimed, but also a violation of one’s intersubjectivity.
Phenomenology, Naturalism and Science: A Hybrid and Heretical Proposal
Jack Reynolds (Routledge, 2017)
Arguing for the compatibility of phenomenology and naturalism, this book also refashions each. The opening chapters begin with a methodological focus, which seeks to curb the “over-bidding” characteristic of both traditional transcendental phenomenology and scientific naturalism. Having thus opened up the possibility that the twain might meet, it is in the detailed chapters on matters where scientific and phenomenological work overlap and sometimes conflict – on time, body, and others – that the book contests some of the standard ways of understanding the relationship between phenomenological philosophy and empirical science, and between phenomenology and naturalism. Without invoking a methodological move of quarantine, in which each is allocated to their proper and separate domains, the book outlines the significance of the first-person perspective characteristic of phenomenology – both epistemically and ontologically – while according due respect to the relevant empirical sciences. The book thus renews phenomenology and argues for its ongoing relevance and importance for the future of philosophy.
The Cambridge Companion to Natural Law Jurisprudence
Edited by George Duke and Robert George
This collection provides an intellectually rigorous and accessible overview of key topics in contemporary natural law jurisprudence, an influential yet frequently misunderstood branch of legal philosophy. It fills a gap in the existing literature by bringing together leading international experts on natural law theory to provide perspectives on some of the most pressing issues pertaining to the nature and moral foundations of law. Themes covered include the history of the natural law tradition, the natural law account of practical reason, normativity and ethics, natural law approaches to legal obligation and authority and constitutional law. Creating a dialogue between leading figures in natural law thought, the Companion is an ideal introduction to the main commitments of natural law jurisprudence, whilst also offering a concise summary of developments in current scholarship for more advanced readers.
100 years of European Philosophy Since the Great War: Crisis and Reconfigurations
Edited by Matthew Sharpe, Rory Jeffs and Jack Reynolds (Springer: 2017)
This book is a collection of specifically commissioned articles on the key continental European philosophical movements since 1914. It shows how each of these bodies of thought has been shaped by their responses to the horrors set in train by World War I, and considers whether we are yet ‘post-post-war’. The outbreak of World War I in August 1914,set in chain a series of crises and re-configurations, which have continued to shape the world for a century: industrialized slaughter, the end of colonialism and European empires, the rise of the USA, economic crises, fascism, Soviet Marxism, the gulags and the Shoah. Nearly all of the major movements in European thinking (phenomenology, psychoanalysis, Hegelianism, Marxism, political theology, critical theory and neoliberalism) were forged in, or shaped by, attempts to come to terms with the global trauma of the World Wars. This is the first book to describe the development of these movements after World War I, and as such promises to be of interest to philosophers and historians of philosophy around the world.
Emotion, Imagination, and the Limits of Reason
Talia Morag (Routledge, 2016)
The emotions pose many philosophical questions. We don’t choose them; they come over us spontaneously. Sometimes emotions seem to get it wrong: we experience wrongdoing but do not feel anger, feel fear but recognise there is no danger. Yet often we expect emotions to be reasonable, intelligible and appropriate responses to certain situations. How do we explain these apparent contradictions?
Emotion, Imagination, and the Limits of Reason presents a bold new picture of the emotions that challenges prevailing philosophical orthodoxy. Talia Morag argues that too much emphasis has been placed on the “reasonableness” of emotions and far too little on two neglected areas: the imagination and the unconscious. She uses these to propose a new philosophical and psychoanalytic conception of the emotions that challenges the perceived rationality of emotions; views the emotions as fundamental to determining one’s self-image; and bases therapy on the ability to “listen” to one’s emotional episode as it occurs.
Emotion, Imagination, and the Limits of Reason is one of the first books to connect philosophical research on the emotions to psychoanalysis. It will be essential reading for those studying ethics, the emotions, moral psychology and philosophy of psychology as well as those interested in psychoanalysis.
Phenomenology and Science: Confrontations and Convergences
Edited by Jack Reynolds and Richard Sebold (Palgrave, 2016)
This book investigates the complex, sometimes fraught relationship between phenomenology and the natural sciences. The contributors attempt to subvert and complicate the divide that has historically tended to characterize the relationship between the two fields. Phenomenology has traditionally been understood as methodologically distinct from scientific practice, and thus removed from any claim that philosophy is strictly continuous with science. There is some substance to this thinking, which has dominated consideration of the relationship between phenomenology and science throughout the twentieth century. However, there are also emerging trends within both phenomenology and empirical science that complicate this too stark opposition, and call for more systematic consideration of the inter-relation between the two fields. These essays explore such issues, either by directly examining meta-philosophical and methodological matters, or by looking at particular topics that seem to require the resources of each, including imagination, cognition, temporality, affect, imagery, language, and perception.
Camus, Philosophe: To Return to Our Beginnings
Matthew Sharpe (Brill, 2015)
Camus, Philosophe: To Return to our Beginnings is the first book on Camus to read Camus in light of, and critical dialogue with, subsequent French and European philosophy. It argues that, while not an academic philosopher, Albert Camus was a philosophe in more profound senses looking back to classical precedents, and the engaged French lumières of the 18th century. Aiming his essays and literary writings at the wider reading public, Camus’ criticism of the forms of ‘political theology’ enshrined in fascist and Stalinist regimes singles him out markedly from more recent theological and messianic turns in French thought. His defense of classical thought, turning around the notions of natural beauty, a limit, and mesure makes him a singularly relevant figure given today’s continuing debates about climate change, as well as the way forward for the post-Marxian Left.
The Naked Self: Kierkegaard and Personal Identity
Patrick Stokes (Oxford, 2015)
The Naked Self explores Kierkegaard’s understanding of selfhood by situating his work in relation to central problems in contemporary philosophy of personal identity: the role of memory in selfhood, the relationship between the notional and actual subjects of memory and anticipation, the phenomenology of diachronic self-experience, affective alienation from our past and future, psychological continuity, practical and narrative approaches to identity, and the intelligibility of posthumous survival. By bringing his thought into dialogue with major living and recent philosophers of identity (such as Derek Parfit, Galen Strawson, Bernard Williams, J. David Velleman, Marya Schechtman, Mark Johnston, and others), Stokes reveals Kierkegaard as a philosopher with a significant—if challenging—contribution to make to philosophy of self and identity.
Narrative, Identity, and the Kierkegaardian Self
Edited by John Lippitt and Patrick Stokes (Edinburgh, 2015)
Is each of us the main character in a story we tell about ourselves, or is this narrative understanding of selfhood misguided and possibly harmful? Are selves and persons the same thing? And what does the possibility of sudden death mean for our ability to understand the narrative of ourselves? These questions have been much discussed both in recent philosophy and by scholars grappling with the work of the enigmatic 19th-century thinker Søren Kierkegaard. For the first time, this collection brings together figures in both contemporary philosophy and Kierkegaard studies to explore pressing issues in the philosophy of personal identity and moral psychology. It serves both to advance important ongoing discussions of selfhood and to explore the light that, 200 years after his birth, Kierkegaard is still able to shed on contemporary problems.
Edited by Sean Bowden, Simone Bignall and Paul Patton (Routledge, 2015)
This collection brings together the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and the rich tradition of American pragmatist thought, taking seriously the commitment to pluralism at the heart of both. Contributors explore in novel ways Deleuze’s explicit references to pragmatism, and examine the philosophical significance of a number of points at which Deleuze’s philosophy converges with, or diverges from, the work of leading pragmatists. The papers of the first part of the volume take as their focus Deleuze’s philosophical relationship to classical pragmatism and the work of Peirce, James and Dewey. Particular areas of focus include theories of signs, metaphysics, perspectivism, experience, the transcendental and democracy. The papers comprising the second half of the volume are concerned with developing critical encounters between Deleuze’s work and the work of contemporary pragmatists such as Rorty, Brandom, Price, Shusterman and others. Issues addressed include antirepresentationalism, constructivism, politics, objectivity, naturalism, affect, human finitude and the nature and value of philosophy itself. With contributions by internationally recognized specialists in both poststructuralist and pragmatist thought, the collection is certain to enrich Deleuze scholarship, enliven discussion in pragmatist circles, and contribute in significant ways to contemporary philosophical debate.