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Ernst Bloch’s Speculative Materialism

Ontology, Epistemology, Politics

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Cat Moir

In Ernst Bloch’s Speculative Materialism: Ontology, Epistemology, Politics, Cat Moir offers a new interpretation of the philosophy of Ernst Bloch. The reception of Bloch’s work has seen him variously painted as a naïve realist, a romantic nature philosopher, a totalitarian thinker, and an irrationalist whose obscure literary style stands in for a lack of systematic rigour. Moir challenges these conceptions of Bloch by reconstructing the ontological, epistemological, and political dimensions of his speculative materialism. Through a close, historically contextualised reading of Bloch’s major work of ontology, Das Materialismusproblem, seine Geschichte und Substanz (The Materialism Problem, its History and Substance), Moir presents Bloch as one of the twentieth century’s most significant critical thinkers.

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.

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Eric Brandom and Tommaso Giordani

Georges Sorel’s Study on Vico is a revelatory document of the depths and stakes of French social thought at the end of the 19th century. What brought Sorel to the 18th century Neapolitan theorist of history? Acute awareness of the limitations of Marxist thought in his day, a profound concern with the material underpinnings of language, law, and culture, and the imperative to understand the possibilities of revolutionary change. We find here a different Sorel, one who speaks in surprising ways to the 21st century.
The translation is accompanied by an introduction and by a set of notes which situate the text both in Sorel’s overall intellectual trajectory and in the fin de siècle debates from which it emerged.

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Daniel Andrés López

Georg Lukács’s philosophy of praxis, penned between 1918 and 1928, remains a revolutionary and apocryphal presence within Marxism. His History and Class Consciousness has inspired a century of rapture and reprobation, perhaps, as Gillian Rose suggested, because of its ‘invitation to hermeneutic anarchy’.

In Lukács: Praxis and the Absolute, Daniel Andrés López radicalises Lukács’s famous return to Hegel by reassembling his 1920s philosophy as a conceptual-historical totality. This speculative reading defends Lukács while proposing an unprecedented, immanent critique. While Lukács’s concept of praxis approaches the shape of Hegel’s Absolute, it tragically fails to bear its weight. However, as López argues, Lukács’s failure was productive: it raises crucial political, methodological and philosophical questions for Marxism, offering to redeem a lost century.

Revisiting Gramsci’s Laboratory

History, Philosophy and Politics in the Prison Notebooks

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Edited by Francesca Antonini, Aaron Bernstein, Lorenzo Fusaro and Robert Jackson

Revisiting Gramsci’s Laboratory offers a rich collection of historical, philosophical, and political studies addressing the thought of Antonio Gramsci, one of the most significant intellects of the twentieth century. Based on thorough analyses of Gramsci’s texts, these interdisciplinary investigations engage with ongoing debates in different fields of study. They are exciting evidence of the enduring capacity of Gramsci’s thought to generate and nurture innovative inquiries across diverse themes.

Gathering scholars from different continents, the volume represents a global network of Gramscian thinkers from early-career researchers to experienced scholars. Combining rigorous explication of the past with a strategic analysis of the present, these studies mobilise underexplored resources from the Gramscian toolbox to confront the actuality of our ‘great and terrible’ world.

Contributors include: Francesca Antonini, Aaron Bernstein, Derek Boothman, Watcharabon Buddharaksa, Takahiro Chino, Riccardo Ciavolella, Carmine Conelli, Anthony Crézégut, Valentina Cuppi, Yohann Douet, Anne Freeland, Fabio Frosini, Lorenzo Fusaro, Robert Jackson, Alex Loftus, Susi Meret, Sebastian Neubauer, Alessio Panichi, Ingo Pohn-Lauggas, Roberto Roccu, Bruno Settis, Anne Showstack Sassoon, Alen Sućeska, Peter D. Thomas, Nicolas Vandeviver, Marta Natalia Wróblewska.

Edited by Frauke Albersmeier, David Hommen and Christoph Kann

Ever since the rise of the so-called analytic school in 20th century philosophy, philosophical analysis has often been considered to be synonymous with conceptual analysis. However, criticism has also been levelled at the conceptual analysis procedures, which undermined confidence in the merits of conceptual analysis. As far as the clarification of concepts is concerned, explication is therefore sometimes proposed as an alternative means.
Combining historical and systematic perspectives, this volume collects new work on analytical and explicatory methods within 20th century philosophy. The contributions explore how clarificatory and reformatory methods of engaging with concepts have been construed and utilized by such different authors as Aristotle, Russell, Wittgenstein, Carnap or Mackie, marking out underappreciated congruencies and reevaluating historical disputes. They explore the role of analysis in metaphysics as well as metaethics and examine how methodological accounts relate to underlying ideas about concepts.

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Jerry H. Gill

Words, Deeds, Bodies by Jerry H. Gill concentrates on the interrelationships between speech, accomplishing tasks, and human embodiment. Ludwig Wittgenstein, J. L. Austin, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Michael Polanyi have all highlighted these relationships. This book examines the, as yet, unexplored connections between these authors’ philosophies of language. It focuses on the relationships between their respective key ideas: Wittgenstein’s notion of “language game,” Austin’s concept of “performative utterances,” Merleau-Ponty’s idea of “slackening the threads,” and Polanyi's understanding of “tacit knowing,” noting the similarities and differences between and amongst them.

Nietzsche, the Aristocratic Rebel

Intellectual Biography and Critical Balance-Sheet

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Domenico Losurdo

Perhaps no philosopher is more of a conundrum than Nietzsche, the solitary rebel, poet, wayfarer, anti-revolutionary Aufklärer and theorist of aristocratic radicalism. His accusers identify in his ‘superman’ the origins of Nazism, and thus issue an irrevocable condemnation; his defenders pursue a hermeneutics of innocence founded ultimately in allegory. In a work that constitutes the most important contribution to Nietzschean studies in recent decades, Domenico Losurdo instead pursues a less reductive strategy. Taking literally the ruthless implications of Nietzsche's anti-democratic thinking – his celebration of slavery, of war and colonial expansion, and eugenics – he nevertheless refuses to treat these from the perspective of the mid-twentieth century. In doing so, he restores Nietzsche’s works to their complex nineteenth-century context, and presents a more compelling account of the importance of Nietzsche as philosopher than can be expected from his many contemporary apologists.

Originally published in Italian by Bollati Boringhieri Editore as Domenico Losurdo, Nietzsche, il ribelle aristocratico: Biografia intellettuale e bilancio critico, Turin, 2002.

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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.

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Timo Airaksinen

Vagaries of Desire is a major collection of new essays by Timo Airaksinen on the philosophy of desire. The first part develops a novel account of the philosophical theory of desire, including Girard. The second part discusses Kafka’s main works, namely The Castle, The Trial, and Amerika, and Thomas Hobbes and the problems of intentionality. The text develops such linguistic tropes as metaphor and metonymy in connection with topics like death and then applies them to Kafka’s texts. The third part makes an effort to understand the mysteries of sadism and masochism in philosophical and rhetorical terms. The last article criticizes Thomas Nagel’s influential account of sexual perversion and develops a viable alternative.