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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.