ASCP Members' Books 2011

The ASCP community is prolific in producing work that encompasses a variety of areas of scholarship in Continental Philosophy. The following book descriptions provide some recent examples of this work published in 2011. Further details about each book can be found by clicking on the links to Amazon Books. If you purchase any books from Amazon after linking from this site, Amazon will track your trajectory and part profits will be returned to the ASCP. Thank you for supporting the ASCP community!

Badiou and Plato

Adam Bartlett, Badiou and Plato: an Education by Truths (EUP, 2011)

This is an interrogation of Plato's entire work using the concepts and categories of Alain Badiou.This is the first book to critically address and draw consequences from Badiou's claim that his work is a "Platonism of the multiple" and that philosophy today requires a "platonic gesture". Examining the relationship between Badiou and Plato, Bartlett radically transforms our perception of Plato's philosophy and rethinks the central philosophical question: "what is education?"

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Adams, Suzi, Castoriadis' Ontology: Being and Creation (Fordham: 2011)

This book is the first systematic reconstruction of Castoriadis’ philosophical trajectory. It critically interprets the internal shifts in Castoriadis’ ontology through reconsideration of the ancient problematic of ‘human institution’ (nomos) and ‘nature’ (physis), on the one hand, and the question of ‘being’ and ‘creation’, on the other. Unlike the order of physis, the order of nomos played no substantial role in the development of western thought: The first part of the book suggests that Castoriadis sought to remedy this with his elucidation of the social-historical as the region of being elusive to the determinist imaginary of inherited philosophy. This ontological turn was announced with the publication of his magnum opus, The Imaginary Institution of Society (first published in 1975) which is reconstructed as Castoriadis’ long journey through nomos via four interconnected domains: ontological, epistemological, anthropological, and hermeneutical respectively. With the aid of archival sources, the second half of the book reconstructs a second ontological shift in Castoriadis’ thought that occurred during the 1980s. Here it argues that Castoriadis extends his notion of ‘ontological creation’ beyond the human realm and into nature. This move has implications for his overall ontology and signals a shift towards a general ontology of creative physis. The increasing ontological importance of physis is discussed further in chapters on objective knowledge, the living being, and philosophical cosmology. It suggests that the world horizon forms an inescapable interpretative context of cultural articulation – in the double sense of Merleau-Ponty’s mise en forme du monde – in which physis can be elucidated as the ground of possibility, as well as a point of culmination for nomos in the circle of interpretative creation. The book contextualizes Castoriadis’ thought within broader philosophical and sociological traditions. In particular it situates his thought within French phenomenological currents that take either an ontological and/or a hermeneutical turn. It also places a hermeneutic of modernity – that is, an interpretation that emphasizes the ongoing dialogue between romantic and enlightenment articulations of the world – at the centre of reflection. Castoriadis’ reactivation of classical Greek sources is reinterpreted as part of the ongoing dialogue between the ancients and the moderns, and more broadly, as part of the interpretative field of tensions that comprises modernity.

Simone Bignall, Postcolonial Agency: Critique and Constructivism 2nd Edition (EUP, 2011)

Newly released in a paperback second edition, this book complements and balances the attention given by postcolonial theory to the revitalisation and recognition of the agency of colonised peoples. It offers new conceptual scaffolding to those who have inherited the legacy of colonial privilege, and who now seek to responsibly transform this historical injustice. Simone Bignall attends to a minor tradition within Western philosophy including Spinoza, Nietzsche, Bergson and Deleuze, to argue that a non-imperial concept of social and political agency and a postcolonial philosophy of material transformation are embedded within aspects of poststructuralist social philosophy.

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The Priority of Events

Sean Bowden, The Priority of Events: Deleuze's Logic of Sense (EUP, 2011)

An incisive analysis of Deleuze's philosophy of events. Sean Bowden shows how the Deleuzian event should be understood in terms ofthe broader metaphysical thesis that substances are ontologically secondarywith respect to events. He achieves this through a reconstruction of Deleuze's relation to the history of thought from the Stoics through to Simondon, taking account of Leibniz, Lautman, structuralism and psychoanalysis along the way. This exciting new reading of Deleuze focuses firmly on his approach toevents. Bowden also examines and clarifies a number of Deleuze's mostdifficult philosophical concepts, including sense, problematic Ideas and intensive individuation, and engages with material by Lautman and Simondon that has not yet been translated into English.

"This is a wide-ranging and penetrating study of one of Deleuze's most important works. A superb book". -- Daniel W. Smith, Purdue "
"This book will readily take its place as one of the most important volumes in all of Deleuze Studies". -- Nick Nesbitt, Princeton

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P. Diego Bubbio and Philip Quadrio, The Relationship of Philosophy to Religion Today (Cambridge Scholars, 2011) 

The Relationship of Philosophy to Religion Today is a collection of texts authored by philosophers with an interest in contemporary philosophy of religion, its merits and its limitations. The collection has been stimulated by such questions as: 'What ought philosophy of religion be?' and 'How ought philosophy relate to religion today?' In pursuing such questions, the editors have asked the contributors to offer their insights and reflections on issues that they see as important to contemporary philosophy of religion, with the goal of producing a collection of texts offering the reader a variety of perspectives without privileging any particular philosophical, religious or irreligious orientation. The book covers such themes as the relationship between religion and modernity, faith in keeping with reason, contemplation, the merits and limitations of the atheism, and the relationship between philosophy, religion and politics.

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Literature Suspends Death

Chris Danta, Literature Suspends Death: Sacrifice and Storytelling in Kierkegaard, Kafka and Blanchot (Continuum, 2011)

 "With exemplary precision Literature Suspends Death demonstrates how the enigmatic account of the 'binding of Isaac' in Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling spurs a series of radical reflections on the interconnection among narrative, sacrifice, and mortality. Danta identifies a blind-spot in Kierkegaard's work that Kafka and Blanchot do not so much illuminate as make into the ethical content of literature." — Peter Fenves, Joan and Sarepta Harrison Professor of Literature, and Professor of German, Comparative Literary Studies, and Jewish Studies, Northwestern University, USA

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Joanne Faulkner, The Importance of Being Innocent (Cambridge)

The Importance of Being Innocent addresses the current debate in Australia and internationally regarding the sexualisation of children, predation on them by pedophiles and the risks apparently posed to their 'innate innocence' by perceived problems and threats in contemporary society. Joanne Faulkner argues that, contrary to popular opinion, social issues have been sensationally expounded in moral panics about children who are often presented as alternatively obese, binge-drinking and drug-using, self-harming, neglected, abused, medicated and driven to anti-social behavior by TV and computers. This erudite and thought-provoking book instead suggests that modern western society has reacted to problems plaguing the adult world by fetishizing children as innocents, who must be protected from social realities. Taking a philosophical and sociological perspective, it outlines the various historical trends, emotional investments and social tensions that shape contemporary ideas about what childhood represents, and our responsibilities in regard to children.

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Mark Hewson, Blanchot and Literary Criticism (Continuum)

Blanchot's writings on literature have imposed themselves in the canon of modern literary theory and yet have remained a mysterious presence. This is in part due to their almost hypnotic literary style, in part due to their distinctive amalgam of a number of philosophical sources (Hegel, Heidegger, Levinas, Bataille), which, although hardly unknown in the Anglophone philosophical world, have not yet made themselves fully at home in literary theory. This book aims to make visible the coherence of Blanchot's critical project. To recognize the challenge that Blanchot represents for literary criticism, one has to see that he always has in view the self-interrogation that characterizes modern literature, both in its theory and its practice. Blanchot's essays study the forms and the paths of this research, its solutions and its impasses; and increasingly, they sketch out the philosophical and historical horizon within which its significance appears. The effect is to revise the terms in which we see the genesis of the modern literary concept, not least of the manifestations of which is literary criticism itself.

The Interval

Rebecca Hill, The Interval: Relation and Becoming in Irigaray, Aristotle and Bergson (Fordham)

The Interval offers the first sustained analysis of the concept grounding Irigaray's thought: the constitutive yet incalculable interval of sexual difference. In an extension of Irigaray's project, Hill takes up her formulation of the interval as a way of rereading Aristotle's concept of topos and Bergson's concept of duration.Hill diagnoses a sexed hierarchy at the heart of Aristotle's and Bergson's presentations. Yet beyond that phallocentrism, she points out how Aristotle's theory of topos as a sensible relation between two bodies that differ in being and Bergson's intuition of duration as an incalculable threshold of becoming are indispensable to the feminist effort to think about sexual difference.Reading Irigaray with Aristotle and Bergson, Hill argues that the interval cannot be grasped as a space between two identities; it must be characterized as the sensible threshold of becoming, constitutive of the very identity of beings. The interval is the place of the possibility of sexed subjectivity and intersubjectivity; the interval is also a threshold of the becoming of sexed forces.

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Continuum Companion to Existentialism

Felicity Joseph, Jack Reynolds, and Ashley Woodward (eds), The Continuum Companion to Existentialism (Continuum, 2011)

Bringing together a team of leading international scholars, this is an accessibly one volume reference guide to the latest research and future directions in Existentialism.

"An exceptionally fruitful addition to the Continuum Companions, this volume on Existentialism gathers together an impressive range of scholars on a wide variety of research areas ranging through the philosophical, the psychoanalytic, the historical, the religious, and the literary to contemporary cognitive science and politics. Highly recommended for students and academics alike". (Christina Howells, Professor of French, University of Oxford)

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Catherine Mills, Futures of Reproduction: Bioethics and Biopolitics (Springer)

Issues in reproductive ethics, such as the capacity of parents to ‘choose children’, present challenges to philosophical ideas of freedom, responsibility and harm. This book responds to these challenges by proposing a new framework for thinking about the ethics of reproduction that emphasizes the ways that social norms affect decisions about who is born. The book provides clear and thorough discussions of some of the dominant problems in reproductive ethics - human enhancement and the notion of the normal, reproductive liberty and procreative beneficence, the principle of harm and discrimination against disability - while also proposing new ways of addressing these. The author draws upon the work of Michel Foucault, especially his discussions of biopolitics and norms, and later work on ethics, alongside feminist theorists of embodiment to argue for a new bioethics that is responsive to social norms, human vulnerability and the relational context of freedom and responsibility. This is done through compelling discussions of new technologies and practices, including the debate on liberal eugenics and human enhancement, the deliberate selection of disabilities, PGD and obstetric ultrasound.

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Agamben Dictionary

Alex Murray and Jess Whyte (eds), The Agamben Dictionary (EUP, 2011) 

Agamben's vocabulary is both expansive and idiosyncratic, with words such as "infancy", "gesture" and "profanation" given specific and complex meanings that can bewilder the new reader. Bringing together leading scholars in the field, including Thanos Zartaloudis (Birkbeck, University of London), Kevin Attell (Cornell University) and Catherine Mills (The University of Sydney) the 150 entries explain the key concepts in Agamben's work and his relationship with other thinkers, from Aristotle to Aby Warburg.

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Jack Reynolds, Chronopathologies: Time and Politics in Deleuze, Derrida, Analytic Philosophy and Phenomenology (Rowman and Littlefield) 

A battle over the politics (and philosophy) of time is a major part of what is at stake in the differences between three competing currents of contemporary philosophy: analytic philosophy, post-structuralist philosophy, and phenomenological philosophy. Avowed or tacit philosophies of time define representatives of each of these groups and also guard against their potential interlocutors. However, by bringing the temporal differences between these philosophical trajectories to the fore, and showing both their methodological presuppositions and their ethico-political implications, this book begins a long overdue dialogue on their respective strengths and weaknesses. It argues that there are systemic temporal problems (chronopathologies) that afflict each, but especially the post-structuralist tradition (focusing on Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Derrida and their prophetic future politics) and the analytic tradition (focusing on John Rawls and philosophical methodology in general, particularly the tendency to oscillate between forms of atemporality and intuition-oriented “presentism”). What is required is a “middle-way” that does not treat the living-present and the pragmatic temporality associated with bodily coping as an epiphenomenon to be explained away as either a transcendental illusion (and as a reactive force that is ethically problematic), or as a subjective/psychological experience that is not ultimately real.

"Reynolds is at the forefront of a return: the rebirth of phenomenology after successive burials by analytic philosophy, post-structuralism and naturalism. It returns, critically and controversially, through a philosophy of time setting lived time alongside contemporary scientific theories and ideas taken from Derrida and Deleuze. Reynolds has made believable phantoms of Heidegger, Levinas and, above all, Merleau-Ponty. It matters not whether you wish to dispel them or make them flesh, his book is an essential discussion of debates around time at the cross-over of different philosophical traditions" - James Williams.

"Jack Reynolds has undertaken the monumental task of defining philosophy as it stands today. Unlike any other book of which I know, Reynolds has approached all the major strains of contemporary philosophy with an even hand and a depth of insight, from analytic philosophy to post-structuralism, to phenomenology. Reynolds shows us that the primary philosophical problem remains that of time but now it is time connected to ethics and politics. The value of Chronopathologies cannot be underestimated" - Leonard Lawlor. 

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Jon Roffe, Badiou's Deleuze (Acumen, 2011)

Badiou's Deleuze presents the first thorough analysis of one of the most significant encounters in contemporary thought: Alain Badiou's summary interpretation and rejection of the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. Badiou's reading of Deleuze is largely laid out in his provocative book, Deleuze: The Clamor of Being, a highly influential work of considerable power. Badiou's Deleuze presents a detailed examination of Badiou's reading and argues that, whilst it fails to do justice to the Deleuzean project, it invites us to reconsider what Deleuze's philosophy amounts to, and to reassess Deleuze's power to address the ultimate concerns of philosophy. Badiou's Deleuze analyses the differing metaphysics of two of the most influential of recent continental philosophers, whose divergent views have helped to shape much contemporary thought.

"Substantial and highly original, this is an extremely topical and relevant work, which essentially concerns the direction modern philosophy should be taking ... a tour de force." - Daniel W. Smith, Purdue

"Badiou's Deleuze is a thorough and deep critical reading of Alain Badiou's interpretation of the work of Gilles Deleuze. An outstanding piece of original argument and scholarship, it makes a definitive intervention into an important debate." - James Williams, Dundee

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Robert Sinnerbrink, New Philosophies of Film: Thinking Images (Continuum)

A critical exploration of analytic and Continental philosophies of film, which puts film-philosophy into practice with detailed discussions of three filmmakers.

"Both an excellent introduction and an original contribution to the field, New Philosophies of Film: Thinking Images covers a large range of theoretical positions with impressive adroitness. By offering incisive philosophical analyses alongside brilliant film readings, Sinnerbrink achieves that rare thing, a true marriage of the abstract and the concrete that will be of huge value to scholars and students alike". Professor John Mullarkey, Kingston University

"New Philosophies of Film is an ambitious attempt to overcome the Analytic-Continental divide in theorizing about film and to develop a new understanding of the relationship between film and philosophy. Beginning with a critical overview of recent developments in the philosophy of film and ending with interpretations that present film as a new mode of thinking, this book breaks new ground and will have to be reckoned with by anyone interested in film and philosophy". Thomas E Wartenberg, Mount Holyoke College.

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Patrick Stokes and Adam Buben (eds.), Kierkegaard and Death (Indiana University Press, 2011)

Few philosophers have devoted such sustained, almost obsessive attention to the topic of death as Søren Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard and Death brings together new work on Kierkegaard's multifaceted discussions of death and provides a thorough guide to the development, in various texts and contexts, of Kierkegaard’s ideas concerning death. Essays by an international group of scholars take up essential topics such as dying to the world, living death, immortality, suicide, mortality and subjectivity, death and the meaning of life, remembrance of the dead, and the question of the afterlife. While bringing Kierkegaard's philosophy of death into focus, this volume connects Kierkegaard with important debates in contemporary philosophy.

World Affectivity Trauma

Robert Stolorow, World, Affectivity, Trauma: Heidegger and Post-Cartesian Psychoanalysis (Routledge)

Stolorow and his collaborators' post-Cartesian psychoanalytic perspective – intersubjective-systems theory – is a phenomenological contextualism that illuminates worlds of emotional experience as they take form within relational contexts. After outlining the evolution and basic ideas of this framework, Stolorow shows both how post-Cartesian psychoanalysis finds enrichment and philosophical support in Heidegger's analysis of human existence, and how Heidegger's existential philosophy, in turn, can be enriched and expanded by an encounter with post-Cartesian psychoanalysis. In doing so, he creates an important psychological bridge between post-Cartesian psychoanalysis and existential philosophy in the phenomenology of emotional trauma.

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Dimitris Vardoulakis (ed), Spinoza Now (University of Minnesota)

What does it mean to think about, and with, Spinoza today? This collection, the first broadly interdisciplinary volume dealing with Spinozan thought, asserts the importance of Spinoza’s philosophy of immanence for contemporary cultural and philosophical debates.

Engaging with Spinoza’s insistence on the centrality of the passions as the site of the creative and productive forces shaping society, this collection critiques the impulse to transcendence and regimes of mastery, exposing universal values as illusory. Spinoza Now pursues Spinoza’s challenge to abandon the temptation to think through the prism of death in order to arrive at a truly liberatory notion of freedom. In this bold endeavor, the essays gathered here extend the Spinozan project beyond the disciplinary boundaries of philosophy to encompass all forms of life-affirming activity, including the arts and literature. The essays, taken together, suggest that “Spinoza now” is not so much a statement about a “truth” that Spinoza’s writings can reveal to us in our present situation. It is, rather, the injunction to adhere to the attitude that affirms both necessity and impossibility.

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Ashley Woodward (ed), Interpreting Nietzsche : Reception and Influence (Continuum)

Helping students and researchers get to grips with the work of this compelling but often baffling thinker, this introductory guide surveys the impact and continuing influence of the work of Friedrich Nietzsche on modern European thought.
Interpreting Nietzsche explores how some of the most important thinkers of the 20th century have responded to the legacy of his writings.

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Understanding Nietzscheanism

Ashley Woodward, Understanding Nietzscheanism (Acumen)

Nietzsche's critiques of traditional modes of thinking, valuing and living, as well as his radical proposals for new alternatives, have been vastly influential in a wide variety of areas, such that an understanding of his philosophy and its influence is important for grasping many aspects of contemporary thought and culture. However Nietzsche's thought is complex and elusive, and has been interpreted in many ways. Moreover, he has influenced starkly contrasting movements and schools of thought, from atheism to theology, from existentialism to poststructuralism, and from Nazism to feminism. This book charts Nietzsche's influence, both historically and thematically, across a variety of these contrasting disciplines and schools of interpretation. It provides both an accessible introduction to Nietzsche's thought and its impact and an overview of contemporary approaches to Nietzsche.

"A superb achievement. The author's coverage of the phenomenon of Nietzscheanism is admirably comprehensive and hugely instructive. Students and teachers alike will find lucid and informative accounts of the nature and impact of Nietzsche's ideas on seminal movements in twentieth-century thought such as existentialism, poststructuralism and naturalism, as well as helpful treatments of important topics such as Nietzsche and posthumanism and Nietzsche and politics." Keith Ansell-Pearson, University of Warwick

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Anna Yeatman, Philip Hansen, Charles Barbour and Magdalena Zolkos, Action and Appearance: Ethics and the Politics of Writing in Hannah Arendt (Continuum)

"The essays assembled in this book subtly explore the phenomenological basis of Hannah Arendt's thought, demonstrating how concepts such as appearance, disclosure, world and individuation underlie her understanding of thinking and acting. In revealing both the richness of her political thought and the tensions inherent to it, these essays show why Arendt remains indispensable to 'think what we are doing' today." - Dr. Andrew Schaap, University of Exeter.

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