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For the last twenty years ecology, the last great political movement of the 20th century, has fired the imaginations not only of political activists but of popular movements throughout the industrialised world. EcoMedia is an enquiry into the popular mediations of environmental concerns in popular film and television since the 1980s. Arranged in a series of case studies on bio-security, relationships with animals, bioethics and biological sciences, over-fishing, eco-terrorism, genetic modification and global warming, EcoMedia offers close readings of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings, Miyazake's Princess Mononoke, The Perfect Storm, X-Men and X2, The Day After Tomorrow and the BBC's drama Edge of Darkness and documentary The Blue Planet. Drawing on the thinking of Flusser, Luhmann, Latour, Agamben and Bookchin, EcoMedia discusses issues from whether animals can draw and why we like to draw animals, to how narrative films can imagine global processes, and whether wonder is still an ethical pleasure. Building on the thesis that popular film and television can tell us a great deal about the state of contemporary beliefs and anxieties, the book builds towards an argument that the polis, the human world, cannot survive without a three way partnership with physis and techne, the green world and the technological.
This book is an attempt to read the totality of Camus’s oeuvre as a voyage, in which Camus approaches the fundamental questions of human existence: What is the meaning of life? Can ultimate values be grounded without metaphysical presuppositions? Can the pain of the other penetrate the thick shield of human narcissism and self-interest? Solipsism and solidarity are among the destinations Camus reaches in the course of this journey. This book is a new reading of one of the towering humanists of the twentieth century, and sheds new light on his spiritual world.
Die Bedeutung der Erscheinung für die Ansatzproblematik der transzendental begründeten Existenzphilosophie Heinrich Barths
Ist die Würde des Menschen nur ein Postulat, das allenfalls theologisch, nicht aber philosophisch begründet werden kann? Oder kann eine Grundlegung von Individuum und Existenz philosophisch geleistet werden, ist es doch gerade die genuine Aufgabe der Philosophie, eine solche zu leisten? Von dieser Leitfrage ist die hier vorliegende Auseinandersetzung mit dem Basler Philosophen Heinrich Barth (1890-1965) bestimmt. Barth, der von dem Marburger Neukantianismus her kommt, hat auf die Begründungs-bedürftigkeit der Existenz hingewiesen und mit seinem System einer transzendental begründeten Existenzphilosophie den Versuch unternommen, diese zu leisten. Zu seinem transzendentalphilosophischen Ansatz tritt Barths Philosophie der Erscheinung, von der aus er seine spätere Systematik Erkenntnis der Existenz entwickelt. Die hier gestellte Aufgabe ist es, erstmalig die Frage zu beantworten, ob Barth aufgrund seines transzendental- und erscheinungsphilosophischen Ansatzes und nicht aufgrund seiner theologischen Voraussetzungen - ein sein Lebenswerk durchgängig beschäftigendes Thema - die Existenz philosophisch begründen kann. Die Konsequenzen einer solchen Ansatzproblematik entscheiden nicht nur darüber, ob die Existenz als, wie es Barth nennt, In-die-Erscheinung-Treten, als Erkenntnis, sich ihrer selbst und anderer Dinge bewußt werden kann, sie sich auf ihren Ursprung auszurichten vermag, oder ob sie faktisch genommen ein Vorkommnis unter Vorkommnissen bleibt, Existenz und Dasein dann auch folglich unterschiedslos zusammenfallen. So hat Barths Verständnis der philosophischen Begründung eminente Konsequenzen auch für das Bestimmungsverhältnis von Philosophie und Theologie.
Perspectives East and West
Editors: Bo Stråth and Nina Witoszek
This volume is designed to bridge a gap in the current theoretical debate about the nature, scope and relevance of postmodern perspectives in the humanist and social sciences in Eastern and Western Europe. While the debate has been reasonably comprehensive and certainly abrasive in Western European and Anglophone countries, it has signally failed to incorporate the viewpoints of Eastern European scholars and intellectuals. Even the current appropriation of Mikhail Bakhtin as a prophet of the postmodern is, paradoxically, a monologic engagement with his thought rather than a dialogic encounter of cultures. Doubtless different historical experiences, ideology and social aspirations go some way to account for the weariness of Eastern Europe with postmodern challenge and its glad embrace by Western scholars. The volume comprises some fifteen essays by leading historians, literary theorists and social scientists from Western and Eastern Europe and America. It has a threefold aim: firstly, to illuminate the distinctiveness of current Western and Eastern European theorizing about history and society; secondly, to reveal points of tension and disagreement, and, finally, to open up a space for a meeting of seemingly incompatible worlds.
Editor: Achim Siegel
Concepts of totalitarianism have undergone an academic revival in recent years, particularly since the breakdown of communist systems in Europe in 1989-91: the totalitarian paradigm, so it seems to many scholars today, had been discarded prematurely in the heat of the Cold War. The demise of communism as a social system is, however, not only an important cause of the recurring attractiveness of the totalitarian paradigm, but provides at the same time new evidence and, correspondingly, new problems of explanation for all approaches in communist studies and totalitarianism theory in particular.
This book contains articles by philosophers, social scientists and historians who reassess the validity of the totalitarian approach in the light of the recent historical developments in Eastern Europe. A first group of authors focus on the analytical usefulness and explanatory power of classic concepts of totalitarianism after having observed the failed reforms of the Gorbachev-era and the collapse of Europe's communist systems in 1989-91. In these contributions the totalitarian paradigm is contrasted with other approaches with respect to cognitive power as well as normative implications. In the second group of contributions the focus is on the reassessment of methodological and theoretical problems of the classic concepts of totalitarianism. The authors attempt to reinterpret the classic concepts so as to meet the objections which have been put forward against those concepts during the last decades.
The study thereby traces some of the intellectual roots of the totalitarian paradigm that precede the outbreak of the Cold War, such as the work of Sigmund Neumann and Franz Borkenau. It also focuses on the most famous authors in the field: Hannah Arendt and Carl Joachim Friedrich. In addition it discusses theorists of totalitarianism like Juan Linz, whose contributions to totalitarianism theory have too often been overlooked.
The Work of Wilhelm Halbfass and its Impact on Indian and Cross-Cultural Studies
Wilhelm Halbfass, philosopher and Indologist, is a committed participant in the dialogue between India and Europe, whose reflections on the Indian tradition and its Western perception are accompanied by reflection on and critical examination of the Western tradition. In this innovative combination of Indological research and philosophical-hermeneutical research in the history of ideas, he demonstrates a purpose more ambitious and a scope wider than Edward Said's who constructed the Western study of the so-called Orient as an attempt to deprive it of its identity and sovereignty, and who perceived the pursuit of Oriental Studies in Western universities to be an extension of a fundamentally political will to power and domination. Without denying the domination of the dialogue between India and Europe by the West, Halbfass goes beyond that to show a different way of approaching Indian thought; he strives to establish the presuppositions and prerequisites that would make a true dialogue and mutual understanding between Indian and Western intellectual cultures possible. The papers in the present volume originate from twenty-three scholars of Indology, philosophy, religious studies, comparative theology, classics, folkloristics and political theory, working in eleven countries spread over three continents. They address central issues of Halbfass' work; his critical responses to them commence with an extensive essay in which he assesses in a masterly manner the state of Indian studies almost twenty years after the publication of Said's Orientalismz.
Arguments for a Postmodern Approach to Language & Text
The title of this book is inspired by Jacques Derrida and by his seminal work, The Margins of Philosophy. The study of meaning in the past thirty years has focused on core meaning, and largely ignored the margins of meaning, where much of the power of language is to be found. The present work seeks to shift this focus by taking a postmodern approach that sees meaning as an accretion of verbal, social, cultural and personal sign systems, with fluid boundaries that shrink or expand with each meaner.
Chapter 1 begins with a brief examination of present-day approaches to meaning, and goes on to a deconstruction of four twentieth century linguists. Chapter 2 takes as its starting point two aspects of the 20th century scientific paradigm, non-deterministic causation and relativity, and considers a number of thinkers who have worked within this paradigm. A major aim of this work is to convince students and teachers of literary theory, cultural studies and feminist theory of the validity of a linguistics of indeterminacy, so Chapter 3 focuses on an analytical approach that models indeterminacy in language, and Chapter 4 applies the model to a newspaper editorial, a Wallace Stevens' poem, and an extract from a Patrick White novel.