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Adab and Modernity

A “civilising process” ? (sixteenth-twenty-first century)


Edited by Cathérine Mayeur-Jaouen

Adab is a concept situated at the heart of Arabic and Islamic civilization. Adab is etiquette, ethics, and literature. It is also a creative synthesis, a relationship within a configuration. What became of it, towards modernity ? The question of the "civilising process" (Norbert Elias) helps us reflect on this story. During the modern period, maintaining one's identity while entering into what was termed "civilisation" ( al-tamaddun) soon became a leitmotiv. A debate on what was or what should be culture, ethics, and norms in Middle Eastern societies accompanied this evolution. The resilient notion of adab has been in competition with the Salafist focus on mores ( akhlāq). Still, humanism, poetry, and transgression are constants in the history of adab. Contributors: Francesca Bellino, Elisabetta Benigni, Michel Boivin, Olivier Bouquet, Francesco Chiabotti, Stéphane Dudoignon, Anne-Laure Dupont, Stephan Guth, Albrecht Hofheinz, Katharina Ivanyi, Felix Konrad, Corinne Lefevre, Cathérine Mayeur-Jaouen, Astrid Meier, Nabil Mouline, Samuela Pagani, Luca Patrizi, Stefan Reichmuth, Iris Seri-Hersch, Chantal Verdeil, Anne-Sophie Vivier-Muresan.


Edited by Amin Asfari

In Civility, Nonviolent Resistance, and the New Struggle for Social Justice, Amin Asfari brings together scholarly contributions addressing the causes of injustice in its many forms. Predicated on the idea that violence and injustice are systemic and historical, this collection includes chapters that examine the antecedents and effects of prejudice, state-sponsored violence, policies of exclusion, and the social forces that shape and solidify their existence.

Moving beyond ad-hoc, ahistorical, and descriptive explanations of violence and injustice, this volume provides a scholarly, multidisciplinary approach to confronting them. Contributions reflect the many ways in which injustice manifests, and civil, nonviolent means of engagement are emphasized, challenging the very systems that give rise to these notions.


Judith Benz-Schwarzburg

In Cognitive Kin, Moral Strangers?, Judith Benz-Schwarzburg reveals the scope and relevance of cognitive kinship between humans and non-human animals. She presents a wide range of empirical studies on culture, language and theory of mind in animals and then leads us to ask why such complex socio-cognitive abilities in animals matter. Her focus is on ethical theory as well as on the practical ways in which we use animals. Are great apes maybe better described as non-human persons? Should we really use dolphins as entertainers or therapists? Benz-Schwarzburg demonstrates how much we know already about animals’ capabilities and needs and how this knowledge should inform the ways in which we treat animals in captivity and in the wild.

Edited by Michael J. Thompson

Georg Lukács was one of the most important intellectuals and philosophers of the 20th century. His last great work was an systematic social ontology that was an attempt to ground an ethical and critical form of Marxism. This work has only now begun to attract the interest of critical theorists and philosophers intent on reconstructing a critical theory of society as well as a more sophisticated framework for Marxian philosophy. This collection of essays explores the concept of critical social ontology as it was outlined by Georg Lukács and the ways that his ideas can help us construct a more grounded and socially relevant form of social critique.
This work will of special interest to social, moral and political philosophers as well as those who study critical theory, social theory and Marxism. It is also of interest to those working within the area of social ontology.

Contributors include: Mario Duayer, Andreas Giesbert, Christoph Henning, Antonino Infranca, Reha Kadakal, Endre Kiss, Michael Morris, Michalis Skomvoulis, Matthew J. Smetona, Titus Stahl, Thomas Telios, Michael J. Thompson, Murillo van der Laan, Miguel Vedda, Claudius Vellay.

Josh Brandt

At the outset of the Republic, Polemarchus advances the bold thesis that “justice is the art which gives benefit to friends and injury to enemies”. He quickly rejects the hypothesis, and what follows is a long tradition of neglecting the ethics of enmity. The parallel issue of how friendship (and other positive relationships) affects the moral sphere has, by contrast, been greatly illuminated by discussions both ancient and contemporary. This article connects this existing work to the less explored topic of the normative significance of our negative relationships. I explain how negative partiality should be conceptualized through reference to the positive analogue, and argue that at least some forms of negative partiality are justified. I further explore the connection between positive and negative relationships by showing how both are justified by ongoing histories of encounter (though of different kinds). However, I also argue that these relationships are in some important ways asymmetrical (i.e. friendship is not the mirror image of enmity).

Michael Quante

Personhood and personality are essential features of human persons. Following the debate concerning ‘personal identity’ the metaphysical and the practical dimension of our personal lifeform are made explicit.
The search for criteria for personal identity on the one hand and for person-making characteristics on the other hand are at the center of the philosophy of person. In this book the various dimensions of the personal lifeform of human beings which have been debated in analytical philosophy are examined. Thereby a new systematic conception is unfolded in which the metaphysical and the practical aspects of our personal lifeform are made explicit as a complex unity.


Dan Swain

In None so Fit to Break the Chains Dan Swain offers an interpretation of Marx's ethics that foregrounds his commitment to working class self-emancipation and uses it as a guiding thread to interpret a number of different aspects of Marx’s ethical thought. This commitment is frequently overlooked in discussions of Marx's ethics, but it deeply influenced his criticism of capitalism, his approach towards an alternative, and his conception of his own role as activist and theorist.

Foregrounding self-emancipation offers new perspectives on various existing debates in the interpretation of Marx, such as the meanings of concepts like alienation, exploitation and utopianism, and can also offer insights into broader questions of the relationship between critical theory and practice.

Perspectives on Evil

From Banality to Genocide


Edited by Kanta Dihal

The question of evil is one of the oldest and most intensely studied topics in intellectual history. In fiction, legend and mythology the boundary between good and evil is often depicted as clear-cut, at least to the reader or listener, who is supposed to understand such tales as lessons and warnings. Evil is something that must be avoided by the hero in some cases and vanquished in others; it is either the exact opposite of the expected good behaviour, or its complete absence. Even so, for the characters in these didactic fictions, it turns out to be deceptively easy to fall to the infernal, ‘dark’ side. The chapters in this volume share a common thread – they all engage with ‘real’ evil: events and deeds of an evil nature that have been lived in the (recent) past and have become part of history, rather than fictional evil.


Francesca Alesse