This paper explores the paradox of the Frankfurt School's Critical Theory where the notion of "critical theory" became identified with aesthetics and asks whether the disappearance of the political dimension of critical theory was necessary.This disappearance of the political also presents some uncomfortable affinities between it and postmodernism. But in the more sober world after 1989, post-communism poses more relevant questions than post-modernism for an assessment of the history of the Frankfurt School.The political project of the old Frankfurt School has (...) to be revivified - or at least given a decent burial. (shrink)
Taking as its starting point the long-standing characterization of Milton as a "Hebraic" writer, Milton and the Rabbis probes the limits of the relationship between the seventeenth-century English poet and polemicist and his Jewish ...
Goldmann's "tragic vision" is shown to be founded on an antinomy between the demands of philosophy and those of sociology. To overcome this antinomy, he would need to formulate a 'second' antinomy, between philosophy and politics. This would permit him to think the political nature of modern democracy, rather than reduce it--like the Marxists--to the demands of a social class called the "bourgeoisie." The root of Goldmann's problem is shown to lie in his reading of Kant.
The article revisits Hannah Arendt’s On Revolution and the historical events of the American revolution so as to recast what Arendt called “the age’s problems”. Although every political actor claims that its policies are the incarnation of the united will of the nation in a democracy, the door to antipolitics is opened if the symbolic – and therefore contested – nature of the sovereign people is reduced to its temporary reality. That is the crucial lesson to be drawn still today (...) from The Origins of Totalitarianism, which can be read as an attempt to think the most extreme expression of antipolitics. KEY WORDS – Antipolitics. Arendt. Democracy. Revolution. (shrink)
This article explains why its author has spent much of the past decade rediscovering the history of political thought (rather than enter into the fray of political philosophy as it has been practised since Rawls). The article is only an illustration; but its virtue is that it summarizes in a short space the thesis developed in my book The Primacy of the Political: A History of Political Thought from the Greeks to the American and French Revolutions. It lays out a (...) general theory of the political, demonstrates that there exists an inherent anti-political tendency within all politics (as seen in the rise of 20 th -century totalitarianism), and tries to suggest how this difficulty can be confronted. (shrink)
The deconstructionist return to Kant was celebrated April 24-26, 1986 at the University of Minnesota, in a conference titled “In the Wake of Kant: Philosophy after the Third Critique.” Among those present were Lyotard and Derrida, along with a host of literary critics and some scattered philosophers. The “wake” did not turn out to be either the smooth path left by a mighty ocean liner nor the well-oiled Irish kind known to lovers of Studs Lonigan. It was an exhausting talk-fest. (...) The results however were banal, perhaps because the organizers' original idea of informality and short presentations were checked by the large size of the audience (and the corresponding size of the egos of some speakers). (shrink)
La Lettre Internationale is a new, international journal, edited by Antonin Liehm in French (with Paul Noirot) and in Italian (with Federico Coen). German and Spanish editions are in the planning stages. Liehm is known not only as a film critic, social thinker and political commentator; he is also the former editor of Literamy Listy, the journal of the Czech writers' union that was one of the important elements in the creation of the Prague Spring of 1968. Listy was a (...) cultural organ that played apolitical role without abandoning its primary mission. Small countries, Liehm explains, cannot afford parochialism. They are open necessarily to the outside world, from whose offerings they must know how to pick and choose. They do not have the luxury of purity; they cannot indulge their fantasies of autonomy. (shrink)
Perhaps Hoffmann's quarter of a century residence in the U.S., explains some of the tics in this provocative and yet frustrating book. The author was born in Vienna and educated in France, where he was a student of Raymond Aron, an interpretor of Gaullism, and spiritual father of the well-known In Search of France. He knows how to turn theory against supposed pragmatists while brandishing a tactical realism in the face of Utopian naiveté. As a Harvard professor, on the other (...) hand, he is more relaxed and dialogues mainly with his contemporaries (whom he supposes well known and worthy of attention). (shrink)
Esprit.Dick Howard - 1978 - Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 1978 (36):143-153.details
As the new director of Esprit, Paul Thibaud finds himself in an enviable, yet difficult and complex situation. Nearly half a century's tradition is a mixed blessing. The journal can call on contributors whose horizons extend beyond the tenacles of Paris, to the provinces, Europe and the Third World. Its reputation assures it a farflung readership and influence as well. Tradition can, of course, easily become habit and govern expectations: that is the danger that Jean-Marie Domenach successfully confronted when he (...) took over the directorship from Albert Benuin in 1957; and it is now Thibaud's problem in different social and political conditions. (shrink)
O artigo busca refletir sobre as eleições de 2004 nos EUA, colocando-as em seu contexto histórico e filosófico, de forma a revisitar as origens revolucionárias do pensamento político americano em uma análise fenomenológica que desvela em que sentido a democracia pode ser dita radical. PALAVRAS-CHAVE – Democracia. Eleições. Pensamento politico. Revolução americana. ABSTRACT The article tries to reflect on the 2004 US elections by putting them in historical and philosophical context, so as to recast the revolutionary origins of the American (...) political thought in a phenomenological analysis that unveils in which sense democracy may be said to be radical. KEY WORDS – American revolution. Democracy. Elections. Political thought. (shrink)
No social movement carried the French socialists to power in 1981; and contrary to 1936, none emerged to support or push further its action. Three years and three policies later the government was confronted by the largest demonstration in post-war history. More than a million Frenchmen came in the name of freedom of education to protest against the modernization of an educational system whose foundation was laid by Napoleon! The protesters were not concerned so much with the details of the (...) reform but its very principle: state controlled and uniform educational practices. That these millions misread the government's proposal is no more relevant than the charge that they were manipulated by the opposition (or the Church). (shrink)
Cohen is well known as the author of the 1973 biography, Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution. We learn more about Bukharin in the pivotal chapter of his new “revisionist” overview of sovietology, which illustrates how the man became a myth, and which serves also to justify Cohen's own analysis. The chapter is literally povital: it comes after two chapters which explain both the failures of American sovietology and the possibility of a better — if not more democratic — Soviet Union (...) in the post-Stalin age characterized by a choice between reformism and conservatism. The scholarly “revisionism” Cohen champions is thus also political — although the political implications are found more directly in his recently published collection of columns from The Nation titled Sovieticus: Soviet Realities and American Perceptions (Norton, 1985). (shrink)
Qual é a essência da política? Como devemos diferenciar entre a política e o político? Como propriedades anti-políticas podem ser concebidas em oposição a uma natureza supostamente política dos seres humanos? O artigo oferece reflexões originais e instigantes sobre a atualidade da história do pensamento político.
Marx was and remained a philosopher. This simple fact was forgotten when Marxism became a system. Now that the system has been defeated, the philosophy re-emerges. However, its "Marxist" adherents have never understood that this philosophy was always political - in short, they have never understood politics, and therefore will never understand philosophy. Thus, the claim of the article is that, correctly read, Marx can be seen as the true philosophical founder of a modern theory of democracy.
As we tend to forget the distinction between polemic and critique, readers of Castoriadis are often unaware of his frequent returns to a reading of Marx. In looking at the essays collected in the six volumes of Crossroads in the Labyrinth, it is useful to distinguish between, on the one hand, the political polemics launched against the failure of a Marxist Left, and on the other, the critiques of a Marx who is seeking to understand the sociohistorical meanings underlying a (...) rationality that is new only in appearance, thereby reviving traditional philosophical interrogation. Today, as Marxism has become merely a philosophy while, as a political movement it has lost its anchor, it is worth coming back to the meeting point between Marx and Castoriadis. This can also serve to revive our appreciation of the project of philosophy in general. (shrink)
This paper analyses Gadamer's hermeneutics and the critical theory of Horkheimer and Marcuse. It tries to show that, if modern society is conceived as political, then it is possible to elaborate a theory of modernity where hermeneutics and critical theory, instead of opposing, complement each other.O presente artigo, analisando a hermenêutica de Gadamer e a teoria crítica de Horkheimer e Marcuse, procura mostrar que, se se concebe a sociedade moderna do ponto de vista do político, é possível elaborar uma teoria (...) da modernidade em que ambas, em vez de se oporem, sejam complementares. (shrink)
The article uses the ideal of a New Left to conceptualize the underlying unity of diverse political experiences during the past half century. Although Marx is not the direct object of this reconstruction, his specter is a recurring presence at those “nodal points” where the imperative to move to “another element” becomes apparent. These are moments when the spirit that has animated a movement can advance no further; it is faced with new obstacles, which may be self-created. The article analyzes (...) from a participant’s perspective the development of the New Left in the U.S., France and West Germany as it tried to articulate what is dubbed the "unknown dimension" of Marx’s theoretical project. (shrink)
There are many recent historical analogies to the events that began in Tunisia and have spread across the Arab world and beyond. I consider them, and then propose a ‘Machiavellian’ reading, going back to the Florentine’s observation that humankind is made up of those who want to rule and those who desire not to be ruled. I then suggest, by means of an allusion to my recent book, The Primacy of the Political: A History of Political Thought from the Greeks (...) to the French and American Revolutions , that the distinction between politics and anti-politics is crucial for the analysis of the next stages of these revolutions. Finally, with reference to Hannah Arendt’s considerations of civil disobedience, I suggest a means of interpreting the possibilities that are on the horizon. (shrink)
O presente artigo, analisando a hermenêutica de Gadamer e a teoria crítica de Horkheimer e Marcuse, procura mostrar que, se se concebe a sociedade moderna do ponto de vista do político, é possível elaborar uma teoria da modernidade em que ambas, em vez de se oporem, sejam complementares.This paper analyses Gadamer's hermeneutics and the critical theory of Horkheimer and Marcuse. It tries to show that, if modern society is conceived as political, then it is possible to elaborate a theory of (...) modernity where hermeneutics and critical theory, instead of opposing, complement each other. (shrink)