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 […]

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

“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

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

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’

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 […]

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. […]

Three kinds of thought experiments in philosophy

Thought experiments are quite common in philosophy, but they are also quite problematic. Some thought experiments are meant to be taken almost literally (as in the case of Hobbes’s state of nature), while other are meant to lead the reader to a ‘logical’ conclusion based on a number of propositions (as in the case of Searle’s Chinese Room). Whatever the intention of the philosophers may be, it is important to establish what kinds of thought […]

Ten underappreciated philosophers of the Islamic World

On August 27th 2016, OUP published a list of 10 underappreciated philosophers of the Islamic World. The list is not readable on mobile phones (mine at least) and for this reason has been reproduced below. It was compiled by Peter Adamson, who is the author of Philosophy in the Islamic World. The philosophical contribution of Islamic culture often goes unacknowledged, and when it is recognized, it is often reduced to a discussion of Islamic influence on European […]

Some thoughts on art – part 3 (Zizek again)

My last written thoughts on art in this blog were roughly one and a half years ago. That’s a very long time to come back to a certain text; unless, of course, if you are an academic and for some reason are drawn to particular texts more than others. I picked up my copy of The Fragile Absolute and started reading, only to be captured once again on Zizek’s analysis of art. My estimation is that […]