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A Humanist in Reformation Politics

Philipp Melanchthon on Political Philosophy and Natural Law

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Mads L. Jensen

This book is the first contextual account of the political philosophy and natural law theory of the German reformer Philipp Melanchthon (1497-1560). Mads Langballe Jensen presents Melanchthon as a significant political thinker in his own right and an engaged scholar drawing on the intellectual arsenal of renaissance humanism to develop a new Protestant political philosophy. As such, he also shows how and why natural law theories first became integral to Protestant political thought in response to the political and religious conflicts of the Reformation. This study offers new, contextual studies of a wide range of Melanchthon's works including his early humanist orations, commentaries on Aristotle's ethics and politics, Melanchthon's own textbooks on moral and political philosophy, and polemical works.

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.

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Lothar Peter

Alongside the ‘critical theory’ of the Frankfurt School, West Germany was also home to another influential Marxist current known as the Marburg School. In this volume, Marburg disciple Lothar Peter traces the school’s history and situates it in the political discourse and developments of its time. The renowned political scientist Wolfgang Abendroth plays a large role, but unlike most histories of the Marburg School Peter also takes the sociologists Werner Hofmann and Heinz Maus into account as well as their many students and successors. They were united by the conviction that teaching and scholarship must necessarily be tied to the practical goal of transforming society – an approach that met with considerable opposition in the harshly anti-Communist atmosphere of the period.

This book was first published in 2014 as Marx an die Uni. Die "Marburger Schule" – Geschichte, Probleme, Akteure by PapyRossa Verlag, Cologne, ISBN 978-38-94-38546-0. With a new Introduction by Ingar Solty.

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.

Perspectives on Evil

From Banality to Genocide

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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.

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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.

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Steve J. Shone

Steve Shone’s Women of Liberty explores the many overlaps between ten radical, feminist, and anarchist thinkers: Tennie C. Claflin, Noe Itō, Louise Michel, Rose Pesotta, Margaret Sanger, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mollie Steimer, Lois Waisbrooker, Mercy Otis Warren, and Victoria C. Woodhull. In an age of great and understandable dissatisfaction with governments around the world, Shone illuminates both the lost wisdom of the anarchists and the considerable contribution of women to intellectual thought, influences that are currently missing from many classes documenting the history of political theory.

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Andy Blunden

Hegel for Social Movements by Andy Blunden is an introduction to the reading of Hegel intended for those already active in social movements. It introduces Hegel’s ideas in a way which will be useful for those fighting for social change, and while some familiarity with philosophy would be an advantage for the reader, the main pre-requisite is a commitment to the practical pursuit of ideal aims. The book covers the whole sweep of Hegel’s writing, but focuses particularly on the Logic and Hegel’s social theory – the Philosophy of Right. Blunden brings to his exposition an original interpretation of Hegel’s Logic as the logic of social change, utilizing his expertise in Vygotsky’s cultural psychology and Soviet Activity Theory.