Philosophy

The Telephone Book: Technology, Schizophrenia, Electric Speech
Avital Ronell
University of Nebraska Press - 60.00€ -

The telephone marks the place of an absence. Affiliated with discontinuity, alarm, and silence, it raises fundamental questions about the constitution of self and other, the stability of location, systems of transfer, and the destination of speech. Profoundly changing our concept of long-distance, it is constantly transmitting effects of real and evocative power. To the extent that it always relates us to the absent other, the telephone, and the massive switchboard attending it, plugs into a hermeneutics of mourning.

The Telephone Book, itself organized by a "telephonic logic," fields calls from philosophy, history, literature, and psychoanalysis. It installs a switchboard that hooks up diverse types of knowledge while rerouting and jamming the codes of the disciplines in daring ways. Avital Ronell has done nothing less than consider the impact of the telephone on modern thought. Her highly original, multifaceted inquiry into the nature of communication in a technological age will excite everyone who listens in. The book begins by calling close attention to the importance of the telephone in Nazi organization and propaganda, with special regard to the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. In the Third Reich the telephone became a weapon, a means of state surveillance, "an open accomplice to lies." Heidegger, in Being and Time and elsewhere, elaborates on the significance of "the call." In a tour de force response, Ronell mobilizes the history and terminology of the telephone to explicate his difficult philosophy.

Ronell also speaks of the appearance of the telephone in the literary works of Duras, Joyce, Kafka, Rilke, and Strindberg. She examines its role in psychoanalysis—Freud said that the unconscious is structured like a telephone, and Jung and R. D. Laing saw it as a powerful new body part. She traces its historical development from Bell's famous first call: "Watson, come here!" Thomas A. Watson, his assistant, who used to communicate with spirits, was eager to get the telephone to talk, and thus to link technology with phantoms and phantasms. In many ways a meditation on the technologically constituted state, The Telephone Book opens a new field, becoming the first political deconstruction of technology, state terrorism, and schizophrenia. And it offers a fresh reading of the American and European addiction to technology in which the telephone emerges as the crucial figure of this age.

The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study
Stefano Harney & Fred Moten
Minor Composition - 19.50€ -

In this series of essays Fred Moten and Stefano Harney draw on the theory and practice of the black radical tradition as it supports, inspires, and extends contemporary social and political thought and aesthetic critique. Today the general wealth of social life finds itself confronted by mutations in the mechanisms of control, from the proliferation of capitalist logistics through governance by credit and management of pedagogy.

Working from and within the social poesis of life in the undercommons Moten and Harney develop and expand an array of concepts: study, debt, surround, planning, and the shipped. On the fugitive path of an historical and global blackness, the essays in this volume unsettle and invite the reader to the self-organised ensembles of social life that are launched every day and every night amid the general antagonism of the undercommons.

Published 2013.

The Way of Love
Luce Irigaray
Continuum - 35.00€ -  out of stock

The Way of Love asks the question: How can we love each other? Here Luce Irigaray, one of the world's foremost philosophers, presents an extraordinary exploration of desire and the human heart. If Western philosophy has claimed to be a love of wisdom, it has forgotten to become a wisdom of love. We still lack words, gestures, ways of doing or thinking to approach one another as humans, to enter into dialogue, to build a world where we can live together.

Luce Irigaray is Director of Research in Philosophy at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris. A doctor of philosophy, Luce Irigaray is also trained in linguistics, philology, psychology and psychoanalysis. Now acknowledged as a key influential thinker of our times, her work focuses on the culture of two subjects, masculine and feminine - particularly through the liberation of a feminine subjectivity - something she explores in a range of literary forms, from the philosophical to the scientific, the political and the poetic.

Published 2004.

I Was More American than the Americans
Sylvère Lotringer, Donatien Grau
Diaphanes - 15.00€ -

A personal take on French Theory by one of the people who invented it. 

In the mid-1970s, Sylvère Lotringer created Semiotext(e), a philosophical group that became a magazine and then a publishing house. Since its creation, Semio-text(e) has been a place of stimulating dialogue between artists and philosophers, and for the past fifty years, much of American artistic and intellectual life has depended on it. The model of the journal and the publishing house revolves around the notion of the collective, and Lotringer has rarely shared his personal journey: his existence as a hidden child during World War II; the liberating and then traumatic experience of the collective in the kibbutz; his Parisian activism in the 1960s; his time of wandering, that took him, by way of Istanbul, to the United States; and then, of course, his American years, the way he mingled his nightlife with the formal experimentation he invented with Semiotext(e) and with his classes. Since the early 2010s, Donatien Grau has developed the habit of visiting Lotringer during his trips to Los Angeles; some of their dialogs were published or held in public. This book is an entry into Lotringer's life, his friendships, his choices, and his admiration for some of the leading thinkers of our times. The conversations between Lotringer and Grau show bursts of life, traces of a journey, through texts and existence itself, with an unusual intensity. 

Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things
Jane Bennett
Duke University Press - 25.00€ -  out of stock

In Vibrant Matter the political theorist Jane Bennett, renowned for her work on nature, ethics, and affect, shifts her focus from the human experience of things to things themselves. Bennett argues that political theory needs to do a better job of recognizing the active participation of nonhuman forces in events. Toward that end, she theorizes a “vital materiality” that runs through and across bodies, both human and nonhuman. Bennett explores how political analyses of public events might change were we to acknowledge that agency always emerges as the effect of ad hoc configurations of human and nonhuman forces. She suggests that recognizing that agency is distributed this way, and is not solely the province of humans, might spur the cultivation of a more responsible, ecologically sound politics: a politics less devoted to blaming and condemning individuals than to discerning the web of forces affecting situations and events. 

Bennett examines the political and theoretical implications of vital materialism through extended discussions of commonplace things and physical phenomena including stem cells, fish oils, electricity, metal, and trash. She reflects on the vital power of material formations such as landfills, which generate lively streams of chemicals, and omega-3 fatty acids, which can transform brain chemistry and mood. Along the way, she engages with the concepts and claims of Spinoza, Nietzsche, Thoreau, Darwin, Adorno, and Deleuze, disclosing a long history of thinking about vibrant matter in Western philosophy, including attempts by Kant, Bergson, and the embryologist Hans Driesch to name the “vital force” inherent in material forms. Bennett concludes by sketching the contours of a “green materialist” ecophilosophy.

Absence Where As: Claude Cahun and the Unopened Book
Nathanaël
Nightboat Books - 15.00€ -

This book, from inter-genre, bilingual writer Nathanaël, investigates the relationship between image and language through a philosophical and poetic meditation on a self-portrait by Surrealist photographer and writer Claude Cahun.

"In Absence Where As, Nathanael reads the unread book, ‘the book that comes’ to us nevertheless, that haunts and hovers unopened and dreamt, proceeding from the Ecrits of the visionary and revolutionary artist-activist Claude Cahun, to life’s library. Through this constellatory essay in the faults of thought, in reading’s flaw, Nathanael comes to know and know how, creating new epistemological and aesthetic territory in the radiant continuum between lyric and narrative, the text and the dream of text, which is literature itself." - John Keene

Gravity And Grace
Simone Weil
Bison Books - 20.00€ -

Simone Weil, the French philosopher, political activist, and religious mystic, was little known when she died young in 1943. Four years later the philosopher-farmer Gustave Thibon compiled La pesanteur et la grbce from the notebooks she left in his keeping.

In 1952 this English translation accelerated the fame and influence of Simone Weil. The striking aphorisms in Gravity and Grace reflect the religious philosophy of Weil's last years. Written at the onset of World War II, when her health was deteriorating and her left-wing social activism was giving way to spiritual introspection, this masterwork makes clear why critics have called Simone Weil "a great soul who might have become a saint" and "the Outsider as saint, in an age of alienation." Introducer Thomas R. Nevin is a professor of classical studies at John Carroll University and the author of Simone Weil: Portrait of a Self-Exiled Jew.

Can the Subaltern Speak?
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Estefanía Peñafiel Loaiza
Afterall Books - 18.00€ -

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's landmark essay in decolonial thought is animated for a new generation with art by Estefanía Peñafiel Loaiza.

In 1985 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's seminal essay, 'Can the Subaltern Speak' transformed the analysis of colonialism. In a deeply divided world Spivak's text interrogated the historical and ideological factors that, by obstructing the potential for certain subjects to be heard, maintained the degraded status of those subjects on the world's peripheries. The text remains, in the third decade of the twenty-first century, as compelling as ever, and affirms the continuing relevance of Marxism to contemporary decolonial thought.

In this Afterall Two Works edition, the essay is given new life in dialogue with especially commissioned artwork by Ecuadorian artist Estefanía Peñafiel Loaiza. Loaiza's preoccupation with questions of visibility and occlusion, the need for and absence of the image, has guide the creation of a mesmerising set of works. These form a visual vocabulary that echoes and refracts Spivak's central terms, bringing new inflections to an enduringly important text.

 

What Is Sex?
Alenka Zupančič
The MIT Press - 22.50€ -  out of stock

Why sexuality is at the point of a "short circuit" between ontology and epistemology.

Consider sublimation, conventionally understood as a substitute satisfaction for missing sexual satisfaction. But what if, as Lacan claims, we can get exactly the same satisfaction that we get from sex from talking (or writing, painting, praying, or other activities)? The point is not to explain the satisfaction from talking by pointing to its sexual origin, but that the satisfaction from talking is itself sexual. The satisfaction from talking contains a key to sexual satisfaction (and not the other way around), even a key to sexuality itself and its inherent contradictions. The Lacanian perspective would make the answer to the simple-seeming question, "What is sex?" rather more complex. In this volume in the Short Circuits series, Alenka Zupančič approaches the question from just this perspective, considering sexuality a properly philosophical problem for psychoanalysis; and by psychoanalysis, she means that of Freud and Lacan, not that of the kind of clinician practitioners called by Lacan "orthopedists of the unconscious."

Zupančič argues that sexuality is at the point of a "short circuit" between ontology and epistemology. Sexuality and knowledge are structured around a fundamental negativity, which unites them at the point of the unconscious. The unconscious (as linked to sexuality) is the concept of an inherent link between being and knowledge in their very negativity.

Humankind: Solidarity with Non-Human People
Timothy Morton
Verso Books - 14.00€ -  out of stock

A radical call for solidarity between humans and non-humans.

What is it that makes humans human? As science and technology challenge the boundaries between life and non-life, between organic and inorganic, this ancient question is more timely than ever. Acclaimed Object-Oriented philosopher Timothy Morton invites us to consider this philosophical issue as eminently political. In our relationship with non-humans, we decided the fate of our humanity.

The Parasite
Michel Serres
University of Minnesota Press - 19.50€ -  out of stock

Influential philosopher Michel Serres’s foundational work uses fable to explore how human relations are identical to that of the parasite to the host body. Among Serres’s arguments is that by being pests, minor groups can become major players in public dialogue, creating diversity and complexity vital to human life and thought.

Order Out of Chaos: Man’s New Dialogue with Nature
Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers
Verso Books - 25.00€ -

A pioneering book that shows how the two great themes of classic science, order and chaos, are being reconciled in a new and unexpected synthesis.

Order Out of Chaos is a sweeping critique of the discordant landscape created by modern scientific knowledge. An exciting and accessible account of the philosophical implications of thermodynamics, it brings contradictory philosophies of time and chance into a novel and ambitious synthesis. Since its first publication in 1978, this book has sparked debate among physicists, philosophers, literary critics and historians.

The Storyteller
Walter Benjamin
Verso Books - 16.00€ -  out of stock

The Storyteller gathers for the first time the fiction of the legendary critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin, best known for his groundbreaking studies of culture and literature, including Illuminations, One-Way Street and The Arcades Project. His stories revel in the erotic tensions of city life, cross the threshold between rational and hallucinatory realms, celebrate the importance of games, and delve into the peculiar relationship between gambling and fortune-telling, and explore the themes that defined Benjamin. The novellas, fables, histories, aphorisms, parables and riddles in this collection are brought to life by the playful imagery of the modernist artist and Bauhaus figure Paul Klee.

Critique of Everyday Life
Henri Lefebvre
Verso Books - 35.00€ -  out of stock

Lefebvre's classic analysis of daily life under capitalism in one complete volume.

The three-volume text by Henri Lefebvre is perhaps the richest, most prescient work about modern capitalism to emerge from one of the twentieth century's greatest philosophers and is now available for the first time in one complete volume. Written at the birth of post-war consumerism, Critique was an inspiration for the 1968 student revolution in France. It is a founding text of cultural studies and a major influence on the fields of contemporary philosophy, geography, sociology, architecture, political theory and urbanism. Lefebvre takes as his starting point and guide the "trivial" details of quotidian experience: an experience colonized by the commodity, shadowed by inauthenticity, yet remaining the only source of resistance and change. This is an enduringly radical text, untimely today only in its intransigence and optimism.

The Force of Nonviolence (paperback)
Judith Butler
Verso Books - 19.50€ -  out of stock

Judith Butler's new book shows how an ethic of nonviolence must be connected to a broader political struggle for social equality. Further, it argues that nonviolence is often misunderstood as a passive practice that emanates from a calm region of the soul, or as an individualist ethical relation to existing forms of power. But, in fact, nonviolence is an ethical position found in the midst of the political field. An aggressive form of nonviolence accepts that hostility is part of our psychic constitution, but values ambivalence as a way of checking the conversion of aggression into violence. One contemporary challenge to a politics of nonviolence points out that there is a difference of opinion on what counts as violence and nonviolence. The distinction between them can be mobilized in the service of ratifying the state's monopoly on violence.  

Considering nonviolence as an ethical problem within a political philosophy requires a critique of individualism as well as an understanding of the psychosocial dimensions of violence. Butler draws upon Foucault, Fanon, Freud, and Benjamin to consider how the interdiction against violence fails to include lives regarded as ungrievable. By considering how "racial phantasms" inform justifications of state and administrative violence, Butler tracks how violence is often attributed to those who are most severely exposed to its lethal effects. The struggle for nonviolence is found in movements for social transformation that reframe the grievability of lives in light of social equality and whose ethical claims follow from an insight into the interdependency of life as the basis of social and political equality.

Construction Site For Possible Worlds
Amanda Beech, Robin MacKay, James Wiltgen (eds.)
Urbanomic - 20.00€ -  out of stock

Perspectives from philosophy, aesthetics, and art on how to envisage the construction site of possible worlds.

Given the highly coercive and heavily surveilled dynamics of the present moment, when the tremendous pressures exerted by capital on contemporary life produces an aggressively normative "official reality," the question of the construction of other possible worlds is crucial and perhaps more urgent than ever.

This collection brings together different perspectives from the fields of philosophy, aesthetics, and art to discuss the mechanisms through which possible worlds are thought, constructed, and instantiated, forcefully seeking to overcome the contemporary moment's deficit of conceptualizing alternate realities--its apparent fear of imagining possible new and compelling futures--to begin the arduous task of producing the political dynamics necessary for actual construction.

Implicit in this dynamic between the imaginary and the possible is the question of how thinking intertwines with both rationality and the inherited contingencies and structures of the world. With no ascertainable ground on which to build, with no confidence in any given that could guarantee our labors, how do we even envisage the construction site(s) of possible worlds, and with what kind of diagrams, tools, and languages can we bring them into being?

Amanda Beech is an artist and writer based in Los Angeles.  

Robin Mackay is a philosopher, Director of the UK arts organization Urbanomic, and Associate Researcher at Goldsmiths University of London.  

James Wiltgen is a Lecturer at the California Institute of the Arts.  

Inigo Wilkins is Codirector of Glass Bead. He has published articles on sonic culture and other topics in such journals as Litteraria Pragensia, Mute Magazine, and HFT Review.

Letters and Other Texts
Gilles Deleuze
Semiotext(e) - 19.50€ -  out of stock

A posthumous collection of writings by Deleuze, including letters, youthful essays, and an interview, many previously unpublished.

Letters and Other Texts is the third and final volume of the posthumous texts of Gilles Deleuze, collected for publication in French on the twentieth anniversary of his death. It contains several letters addressed to his contemporaries (Michel Foucault, Pierre Klossowski, François Châtelet, and Clément Rosset, among others). Of particular importance are the letters addressed to Félix Guattari, which offer an irreplaceable account of their work as a duo from Anti-Oedipus to What is Philosophy? Later letters provide a new perspective on Deleuze's work as he responds to students' questions.

The Sacred Conspiracy
Georges Bataille
Atlas Press - 35.00€ -  out of stock

Georges Bataille's secret society, long the stuff of legend, is now revealed in its texts, meditations, rules and prohibitions.

This book recounts what must be one of the most unusual intellectual journeys of modern times, in which the influential philosopher, cultural theorist and occasional pornographer Georges Bataille (1897-1962), having spent the early 1930s in far-left groups opposing the rise of fascism, abandoned that approach in order to transfer the struggle onto the mythological plane.

In 1937, Bataille founded two groups in order to explore the combinations of power and the sacred at work in society. The first group, the College of Sociology, gave lectures that were intended to reveal the hidden undercurrents within a society on the verge of catastrophe. The second group was Acéphale, a genuine secret society and anti-religion whose emblem was a headless figure that, in part, represented the death of God. Until the discovery a few years ago of the group's internal papers (which include theoretical texts, meditations, minutes of meetings, rules and prohibitions and even a membership list), almost nothing was known of its activities.

This book is the first to collect a representative selection of the writings of Bataille, and of those close to him, in the years leading up to World War II. The texts published here comprise lectures given to the College of Sociology by Bataille, Roger Caillois and Michel Leiris, essays from the Acéphale journal and a large cache of the internal papers from the secret society. A desperate narrative unfolds, wherein Bataille risked all in a wholly unreasonable quest--with a few fellow travelers, he undertook what he later described as a journey out of this world.

Pedagogics of Liberation: A Latin American Philosophy of Education
Enrique Dussel
Punctum Books - 22.00€ -  out of stock

Enrique Dussel is considered one of the founding philosophers of liberation in the Latin American tradition, an influential arm of what is now called decoloniality. While he is astoundingly prolific, relatively few of his works can be found in English translation - and none of these focus specifically on education. Founding members of the Latin American Philosophy of Education Society David I. Backer and Cecilia Diego bring to us Dussel's THE PEDAGOGICS OF LIBERATION: A Latin American Philosophy of Education, the first English translation of Dussel's thinking on education, and also the first translation of any part of his landmark multi-volume work Towards an Ethics of Latin American Liberation.

Drawing heavily from the ethical philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, Dussel examines the dominating and liberating features of intimate, concrete, and observable interactions between different kinds of people who might sit down and have face-to-face encounters, specifically where there may be an inequality of knowledge and a responsibility to guide, teach, learn, care, or study: teacher-student, politician-citizen, doctor-patient, philosopher-nonphilosopher, and so on. Those occupying the superior position of these face-to-face encounters (teachers, politicians, doctors, philosophers) have a clear choice for Dussel when it comes to their pedagogics. They are either open to hearing the voice of the Other, disrupting their sense of what is and should be by a newness beyond what they know; or, following the dominant pedagogics, they can try to communicate and instruct their sense of what is and should be to the (supposed) tabula rasas in their charge. Dussel calls that sense of what is and should be "lo Mismo."

This groundbreaking translation makes possible a face-to-face encounter between an Anglo Philosophy of Education and Latin American Pedagogics. "Pedagogics" should be considered as a type of philosophical inquiry alongside ethics, economics, and politics. Dussel's pedagogics is a decolonizing pedagogics, one rooted in the philosophy of liberation he has spent his epic career articulating. With an Introduction by renowned philosopher Linda Martin Alcoff, this book adds an essential voice to our conversations about teaching, learning, and studying, as well as critical theory in general.

ENRIQUE DUSSEL was born in 1934 in the town of La Paz, in the region of Mendoza, Argentina. He first came to Mexico in 1975 as a political exile and is currently a Mexican citizen, Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the Iztapalapa campus of the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (Autonomous Metropolitan University, UAM), and also teaches courses at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (National Autonomous University of Mexico, UNAM).

Archive Fever
Jacques Derrida
University of Chicago Press - 25.00€ -  out of stock

In Archive Fever, Jacques Derrida deftly guides us through an extended meditation on remembrance, religion, time, and technology, fruitfully occasioned by a deconstructive analysis of the notion of archiving. Intrigued by the evocative relationship between technologies of inscription and psychic processes, Derrida offers for the first time a major statement on the pervasive impact of electronic media, particularly e-mail, which threaten to transform the entire public and private space of humanity. Plying this rich material with characteristic virtuosity, Derrida constructs a synergistic reading of archives and archiving, both provocative and compelling.

Without Alibi
Jacques Derrida
Stanford University Press - 28.00€ -

This book brings together five essays by Jacques Derrida, which advance his reflections on many issues: lying, perjury, forgiveness, confession, the profession of faith, and, most recently, cruelty, sovereignty, and capital punishment.

Strongly linked by their attention to "performatives" and the "as if," the essays show the necessity of thinking beyond the category of acts that are possible for a subject. Derrida argues forcefully that thought must engage with the im-possible, that is, the order of the unforeseeable event, the absolute future still to come. This acute awareness of the limits of performative programs informs the essays throughout and attunes them closely to events of a world undergoing "globalization."

The first essay, "History of the Lie," reviews some classic and modern definitions of the lie (Augustine, Rousseau, Kant, Koyré, Arendt), while renewing questions about what is called lying, as distinguished from other forms of nontruth. This inventive analysis is followed by "Typewriter Ribbon," which examines at length the famous lie recounted by Rousseau in his Confessions, when he perjured himself by accusing another of his own crime.

Paul de Man's reading of this textual event is at the center of Derrida's patient, at times seriously funny analyses. " Le parjure, Perhaps" engages with a remarkable novel by Henri Thomas that fictionalizes the charge of perjury brought against Paul de Man in the 1950s. Derrida's extraordinary fineness as a reader and thinker of fiction here treats, to profound effect, the "fatal experience of perjury."

The two final essays, "The University Without Condition" and "Psychoanalysis Searches the States of Its Soul," address the institutions of the university and of psychoanalysis as sites from which to resist and deconstruct the nontruth or phantasm of sovereignty. For the university, the principle of truth remains at the core of its resistance; for psychoanalysis, there is the obligation to remain true to what may be, Derrida suggests, its specific insight: into psychic cruelty. Resistance to the sovereign cruelty of the death penalty is just one of the stakes indicated by the last essay, which is the text of a keynote address to the "States General of Psychoanalysis" held in Paris, July 2000.

Especially for this volume, Derrida has written "Provocation: Forewords," which reflects on the title Without Alibi while taking up questions about relations between deconstruction and America. This essay-foreword also responds to the event of this book, which Peggy Kamuf in her introduction presents as event of resistance.

Without Alibi joins two other books by Derrida that Kamuf has translated for Stanford University Press: Points . . .: Interviews, 1974-1994 (1994) and Resistances of Psychoanalysis (1998).

Chronosis
Reza Negarestani, Keith Tilford, Robin Mackay
Urbanomic - 20.00€ -  out of stock

Approaching the comic medium as a supercollider for achieving maximum abstraction, in Chronosis artist Keith Tilford and philosopher Reza Negarestani create a graphically stunning and conceptually explosive universe in which the worlds of pop culture, modern art, philosophy, science fiction, and theoretical physics crash into one another.

Taking place after the catastrophic advent of the birth of time, Chronosis narrates the story of a sprawling multiverse at the center of which monazzeins, the monks of an esoteric time-cult, attempt to build bridges between the many fragmented tribes and histories of multiple possible worlds. Across a series of dizzying overlapping stories we glimpse worlds where time flows backward, where the universe can be recreated every five minutes, or where rigid facts are washed away by the tides of an infinite ocean of possibility.

A unique fusion of comics culture and philosophical cogitation, this conceptually and visually mind-expanding tale takes the reader on a dizzying rollercoaster ride through time, space, and thought.

This volume contains the entire Chronosis series in full color, along with additional background materials including early sketches, script notes, and alternative covers.

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