Author: ippolit

Laclau and Mouffe’s discourse theory

Laclau and Mouffe’s discourse theory

In their seminal 1985 Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (second edition with a new introduction 2001), Laclau and Mouffe present a rather complex discourse theory. They claim to oppose a number of theoretical traditions (notably, Michel Foucault), to an extent follow Louis Althusser, certainly borrow a lot of Jacques Lacan, but most importantly confuse a lot of readers with numerous new concepts. In this little post, I want to elaborate a little on the common concepts...

4 Examples of Oxymora in Romeo and Juliet – a study guide

4 Examples of Oxymora in Romeo and Juliet – a study guide

The main theme of Romeo and Juliet is of course love – but there are so many levels of depth in the play that it would be near impossible to go through all of them without embarking on a journey to madness of sorts. Just like Macbeth that I discussed previously, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet too is filled with contradictory and paradoxical statements. Given my interest in paradoxes, I will focus only on this particular...

Congratulations America

Congratulations America

As the American people have cast their votes on Tuesday, it is time to wholeheartedly congratulate the country with their 45th president: Donald J. Trump. While celebrations are high, and expectations even higher, it is nevertheless time to reflect on this historic moment. What does a Trump presidency mean for the left? While the Clinton campaign is reflecting on their loss – or at least, that is the speculation that we must hold – the...

Making sense of Zizek’s choice for Trump

Making sense of Zizek’s choice for Trump

It was long speculated, but on 4th of November 2016 Zizek finally came out and said it: if he were an American citizen, he’d vote for Trump. Although the video provided is relatively short, the reasons are all there. Perhaps one needs to get over the shock of a self-proclaimed Marxist voting for someone like Trump – that is, someone who has typically been accused of fascism. But perhaps also there is a need for some...

Nietzsche and the Jews

Nietzsche and the Jews

“Don’t let in any more Jews! And lock the doors to the east in particular (even to Austria)!” – so commands the instinct of a people whose type is still weak and indeterminate enough to blur easily and be easily obliterated by a stronger race.” Beyond Good and Evil, §251 The place of Jews is notoriously controversial in Nietzsche’s body of work. Ever since his sister Elisabeth took charge of editing his manuscripts, there has...

Zizek on neighbourly love

Zizek on neighbourly love

It is relatively well known that Zizek calls himself a ‘Christian atheist’ – paradoxical as that may sound. In this post, let us have a look at a particular statement from Christ, ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’ that Zizek gives a particular spin to. This is, as readers of Zizek would expect, a political statement, not simply a moral or religious one; and it is in this sense that Zizek can entertain the relationship between...

Nietzsche and affirmation of life

Nietzsche and affirmation of life

In this post, let us have a look at Nietzsche’s conception of affirmation. Netzsche’s conception of affirmation is not necessarily a straightforward one, as laid out in the statements within the various aphorisms towards the concept itself. So naturally, while looking at such aphorisms as the notorious ‘Ja-sager’ in The Gay Science is indicative of his views, there remain passages that are of equal (and perhaps higher) interest than these straightforward ones. One of these is...

‘War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength’

‘War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength’

Some two years ago I wrote this post defining what a paradox is and how it is used on this website. In there, I also gave as an example of paradoxes Orwell’s well-known quotations, appearing in all kinds of articles: ‘War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength’. It is, I think, high time to return to an idea from two years ago, and give my take on these paradoxical statements. It is assumed...

Zeno's paradox of motion - part 1

Zeno’s paradoxes

Zeno of Elea (c. 490 – c. 430 BC) is one of the most enigmatic pre-Socratic philosophers. Though none of his own works have survived, there are fragmentary mentions of his on the classics like Aristotle and Plato. He was a member of the Eleatic School and, according to Plato at least, aimed to reinfoced Parmenides’s arguments (Parmenides being the founder of the school). While we know very little of Zeno himself, other than some...

Sam Harris’s kind of thought experiment

Sam Harris’s kind of thought experiment

I have recently shown that there are three kinds of thought experiments. Very briefly, there are kinds that have sound theoretical premises and the conclusions of which can be verified by experimentation; there are kinds that have sound theoretical premises, but the conclusions cannot be verified by experimentation; and there kinds that have neither sound theoretical premises, nor verifiable conclusions. It has proven difficult in particular to show where category 2 overlaps with category 3....