You can read my introduction to Peter’s new work, Philosophical Temperaments: From Plato to Foucault published by Columbia University Press. Enjoy your philosophical temperament! or does it enjoy you?
Please join me in New York for a most extraordinary opportunity to hear a lecture from one of the world’s greatest living philosophers and a member of the European Parliament, Gianni Vattimo. Vattimo (along with his prodigy student, Professor Santiago Zabala) have published Hermeneutic Communism: From Heidegger to Marx in my Insurrection series at Columbia (co-edited by Slavoj Zizek, Clayton Crockett & Jeff Robins).
Here are the details:
Istituto Italiano di Cultura di New York (Italian Cultural Institute of New York)
686 Park Ave
Friday, May 31, 2013
I will be giving a series of lectures on my work in Paris from October to December, which will be based on Insurrection theory and my Hegel book. Also here’s a short passage from my Foreword to Peter Sloterdijk‘s newly published book Philosophical Temperaments: From Plato to Foucault.
Sloterdijk is widely recognized as the leading public intellectual writing today in Germany.
“Sloterdijk delves into the work and times of Aristotle, Augustine, Bruno, Descartes, Foucault, Fichte, Hegel, Husserl, Kant, Kierkegaard, Leibniz, Marx, Nietzsche, Pascal, Plato, Sartre, Schelling, Schopenhauer, and Wittgenstein. He provocatively juxtaposes Plato against shamanism and Marx against Gnosticism, revealing both the vital external influences shaping these intellectuals’ thought and the excitement and wonder generated by the application of their thinking in the real world. The philosophical “temperament” as conceived by Sloterdijk represents the uniquely creative encounter between the mind and a diverse array of cultures. It marks these philosophers’ singular achievements and the special dynamic at play in philosophy as a whole.”
Creston Davis’s introduction details Sloterdijk’s own temperament, surveying the celebrated thinker’s intellectual context, rhetorical style, and philosophical persona.
My next story is one based around an unusual couple wedded in holy matrimony for more than a decade. What makes this couple unusual is that the wife ”Evelyn” (Eve) decides she wants to become a priest in a liberal Christian church. Her husband “Manuel” (Manny) supports her and even gives up many advancements in his own career to make her happy and to fulfill her dream. But as Eve achieves her dream and becomes a priest, Manny starts to find clues that suggests that the morally superior looking Eve might be having an affair. Manny tries to come to terms with this reality and begins to realize he has lost his ability to be a man and fight for his love as it may be too late to salvage the relationship. The stakes get higher when he realizes the efforts to save the relationship run the risk of undoing Eve’s career and reputation. Manny tries to find a way to negotiate Eve’s appearance of moral superiority all the while knowing that she is committing adultery–something that if she admits will crush her fantasy. Does Manny love her enough to keep her fantasy going, while he continues to live in “bad-faith”, or does he destroy her by revealing her dark side in hopes of rekindling the romance they once had? What is love?
Why is there story? I recently asked Jean-Luc Godard this question. And we already know what his answer was: ”…le cinéma c’est vingt-quatre fois la vérité par seconde” (Cinema is truth 24 times a second). But what if it’s the other way around? What if Cinema is a lie 24 x a second? Cinema tells stories through the time-image. But why is there’s story to begin with? We live our lives, but that doesn’t seems to be enough. We want more, we want a story to tell, and retell. And in the telling we want that extra element, the 1+1=3 as my friend Ken Burns says. We want something that will give us room to imagine a better world, to imagine that love is in fact possible, that, at the end of the day, it’s going to be okay. Story tells us that things will turn out alright, even if in reality things are not right. Between the alright and the not right, there is story. In sum, story reminds us that we are not alone in our despair, that in some way words can comfort us and deliver to us the magical “3″. And with the 3, we know we are not alone.
Over the past few years five renowned younger theorists have developed what has become known as an emerging new paradigm for philosophy, theology, science, and psychoanalysis. Clayton Crockett, Jeff Robins, Ward Blanton, Santiago Zabala, and myself have organized new ways of conceptualizing the basic make-up of existence. There are many conceptual lineages that formulate the basic outlook of “Insurrectional Theory” from North America (Charles Winquist, Catherine Keller & Carl Raschke), South America (Rozitchner), Europe (Badiou, Sloterdijk, Kolozova, Deleuze, Francois Laruelle, Vattimo, Negri, Malabou, Zizek), and India (Satya Brata Das). What distinguishes Insurrectional Theory from other outlooks is that it confronts the basic failure that theory has had with respect to materially confronting the deadlocks of our time namely financial, ecological, energy, and political crisis. We are theorizing new ways in which to reformulate consciousness and action as such by drawing power from energetic modes that flow through the cosmos which constitute new foundations for life, power, wisdom and freedom unencumbered by the “Big Other” as Lacan would say. In this respect, we are not concerned with defending zones determined by “identity politics” but to conceive of new levels of being and life heretofore unseen and unconscious. In this way, an inherent logic animating Insurrectional Theory is a logic of the infinite power of “the open” of making, as Trish Dalton does with her films, things visible in a field of existence that obscures connection, joy, and empowerment.
Here is our Brother, Cornel West addressing the general outline of Insurrectional Theory in his talk with Clayton and Jeff at Union Theological Seminary in New York.
What’s most exciting about Insurrectional Theory is not only the hope it contains with respect to our relationship with cosmic energy and joy, but its power to concretely and materially change the very world in which we live and by which we are determined. This infinite power emerging through re-thinking and celebrating the unforeseen forms of energy and freedom that are just now emerging in consciousness is undeniable and is itself a form of energy-expression that intensifies in and through itself. A new form of political responsibility has indeed dawned upon us and it takes bold new thinking and living that will bring it to its expression as a means through which the world will never be the same again.
Why do we think about freedom? Where does such an idea arrive from? Some philosophers are obsessed with this idea, the idea of freedom. By contrast, other philosophers settle for different concepts such as eternal stability, like for example, timeless entities that remain unaffected by change, flux, and chaos. It is a vulgar reduction, but it is not too unfair to explain the history of philosophy as caught between the oppositional poles of freedom and stability, between, if you like, contingency and necessity, anarchic chaos and totalitarian regimes. Moreover these two oppositional philosophical temperaments, of freedom and totalitarianism, can be read as formulating a bi-polar disorder found within history itself. Reading the history of philosophy in terms of the symptom of Bi-polar philosophical disorder (BPPD) describes what Peter Sloterdijk does in his recently translated book, Philosophical Temperaments: From Plato to Foucault. In the foreword, I examine Peter’s methodology on which he is able to diagnosis the different philosophers who have, for one reason or another, taken his or her place in the pantheon of ideas.
Normally a history of philosophy is read as a story that continues to unfold from Plato to the Post-Modern through the development of ideas which begin in an incoherent infancy all the way to the mature clarity of analytics. From embryo to the ‘anal’-itcs (i.e., the ‘revival’ of the ass). It seems that this history has literally brought us to the ass-end of ideas reducing the reader of philosophy to an anal-retentiveity as we obsess over minute details at the expensive of creativity and freedom.
It must be observed that Sloterdijk, Badiou, and Zizek have become the psychoanalysts who diagnosis philosophy as possessing the twin symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Bi-Polar Disorder (BPD). It is time to alleviate philosophy from these struggles by thinking through what freedom means for us today.
Columbia University Press is pleased to announce the publication of To Carl Schmitt: Letters and Reflections by Jacob Taubes, with an introduction by Mike Grimshaw.
Taubes and Schmitt were unlikely correspondents – Schmitt was a self-professed Nazi and Taubes a Jew – nonetheless carried on a decades long wide-ranging discussions and arguments over the fundamentals of political theology
Provides a fresh perspective on Carl Schmitt, whose works have generated renewed attention recently
“Carl Schmitt is among the most important political thinkers of the century. His work has proven influential on the right and, more recently, on the left. His interchange with Jacob Taubes, another interesting thinker, is remarkably clear and provides a window into their relationship and a framework for broader discussion.”
-Stephen Eric Bronner, Rutgers University and author of Reclaiming the Enlightenment: Toward a Politics of Radical Engagement
A philosopher, rabbi, religious historian, and Gnostic, Jacob Taubes was for many years a correspondent and interlocutor of Carl Schmitt (1888-1985), a German jurist, philosopher, political theorist, law professor-and self-professed Nazi. Despite their unlikely association, Taubes and Schmitt shared an abiding interest in the fundamental problems of political theology, believing the great challenges of modern political theory were ancient in pedigree and, in many cases, anticipated the works of Judeo-Christian eschatologists.
In this collection of Taubes’s writings on Schmitt, which includes decades of letters exchanged between them, the two intellectuals explore ideas of the apocalypse and other central concepts of political theology. Taubes acknowledges Schmitt’s reservations about the weakness of liberal democracy yet distances himself from his prescription to rectify it, arguing the apocalyptic worldview requires less of a rigid hierarchical social ordering than a community committed to the importance of decision making. In these writings, a sharper and more nuanced portrait of Schmitt’s thought emerges, as well as a more complicated understanding of Taubes, who has shaped the work of Giorgio Agamben, Peter Sloterdijk, and other major twentieth-century theorists.
Jacob Taubes (1923-1987) was professor of Jewish studies and hermeneutics at the Free University of Berlin. His books include From Cult to Culture: Fragments Toward a Critique of Historical Reason, Occidental Eschatology, and The Political Theology of Paul.
This book is in the series: Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture
To read an excerpt, view the table of contents, or find out more about this work go to: