In Rousseau and Critical Theory, Alessandro Ferrara argues that among the modern philosophers who have shaped the world we inhabit, Rousseau is the one to whom we owe the idea that identity can be a source of normativity (moral and political) and that an identity’s potential for playing such a role rests on its capacity for being authentic. This normative idea of authenticity brings unity to Rousseau’s reflections on the negative effects of the social order, on the just political order, on education, and more generally, on ethics. It is also shown to contain important teachings for contemporary Critical Theory, contemporary views of self-constitution (Korsgaard, Frankfurt and Larmore), and contemporary political philosophy.
Marx and Critical Theory examines Marx’s main philosophical, political and social theoretical ideas. Its purpose is twofold: making sense of the concepts and theses of Marx, and showing that they remain relevant for contemporary critical theory. Part 1 focuses on Marx’s conception of philosophy. Part 2 analyses the Marxian primacy of the practical. Part 3 is devoted to Capital and the critique of political economy. This book will be useful for those who want to deepen their understanding of Marx’s main ideas, as well as for those who want to clarify what is at stake in contemporary debates about the ways in which contemporary critical theory could or should refer to Marx.
In Vulnerability and Critical Theory, Estelle Ferrarese identifies contemporary developments on the theme of vulnerability within critical theory while also seeking to reconstruct an idea of vulnerability that enables an articulation of the political and demonstrates how it is socially produced. Philosophies that take vulnerability as a moral object contribute to rendering the political, as the site of a specific power and action, foreign to vulnerability and the notion of recognition offered by critical theory does not correct this deficit. Instead, Ferrarese argues that vulnerability, as susceptibility to a harmful event, is above all a breach of normative expectations. She demonstrates that these expectations are not mental phenomena but are situated between subjects and must even be conceived as institutions. On this basis she argues that the link between the political and vulnerability cannot be reduced to the institutional implementation of moral principles. Rather she seeks to rethink the political by taking vulnerability as the starting point and thereby understands the political as simultaneously referring to the advent of a world, the emergence of a relation, and the appearance of a political subject.