Philosophy & Critical Theory

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The Symbol Is Dead, Long Live the Symbolic

The Symbol Is Dead, Long Live the Symbolic

WHEN MAURICE MERLEAU-PONTY published Adventures of the Dialectic in 1955, he was firmly disenchanted with Marxism. The USSR’s show trials and camp system had for some time contributed to a change in...

How the Humanities Will Save the World

How the Humanities Will Save the World

AT A DINNER GATHERING not long ago, some friends and colleagues were discussing ways to tackle intractable social problems: entrenched inequality, persistant discrimination, nihilistic extremists, cul...

The Human in University Education

The Human in University Education

LET ME BEGIN by explaining the aim of my title. I assume that two of the most important and closely tied purposes of a research university are the production and reproduction of knowledge, which goes ...

Every Which Way but Loose

Every Which Way but Loose

MY FIRST JOB after graduating from college was at a chain bookstore in a shopping mall. There were many silly regulations that employees there only followed when the boss was around. One in particular...

Casaubon’s Humanities

Casaubon’s Humanities

IF YOU ASK READERS to picture a philologist, they are apt to think of a blank space or a question mark. If they think of anything at all, they might tend to think of someone like Edward Casaubon, the...

Facing the Intolerable

Facing the Intolerable

JACQUES RANCIÈRE’S Figures of History is the latest installment from a serious thinker, whose pioneering work engages with the politics of aesthetics in an attempt to reimagine the political as an ...

Solar Wisdom

Solar Wisdom

IT IS NOT very common that a work of philosophy that deals with beauty is itself beautifully written. David E. Cooper’s Sunlight on the Sea: Reflecting on Reflections is one such work. The author’...

Plato at the Multiplex

Plato at the Multiplex

PLATO’S WELL-KNOWN ALLEGORY of the cave serves, in The Republic, mostly as a cautionary tale. A society that confuses mere shadows for substance, myth for reality, is, Plato seems to say, a society ...

Friends of Leo

Friends of Leo

“Both of us thought you were an idiot, Sherlock. We had nothing else to go on. Until we met other children.”“Oh yes. That was a mistake.”“Ghastly. What were they thinking?”“Probably some...

To Organize Without a Preface

To Organize Without a Preface

ALAIN BADIOU’S provocative The Rebirth of History poses some interesting challenges for anyone wishing to weigh in on the revolutionary wagers taking place around the world since at least late 2010....

What Are the Humanities For?

What Are the Humanities For?

DEBATES ABOUT THE “FUTURE of the humanities” frequently revolve around the suspicion that the humanities might not have one. Yet despite the direness of this anxiety — an anxiety especially pers...