Philosophy & Critical Theory

RECENT REVIEWS

"Chance and Necessity" Revisited

"Chance and Necessity" Revisited

IN THE FALL of 1970, Éditions du Seuil published Le hasard et la nécessité, a monograph by the French molecular biologist Jacques Monod,. Chance and Necessity was a slim book laden with technical d...

Peter de Bolla’s Human Rights Edifice

Peter de Bolla’s Human Rights Edifice

“Take care of freedom,” the late American philosopher Richard Rorty once remarked, “and truth will take care of itself.” It was his pragmatic attempt — one of many, actually, over the course...

Expanding Criticality

Expanding Criticality

Take It or Leave It at the Hammer Museum.Through May 18, 2014.10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles 90024 .   STEPHEN PRINA’S 16mm film Vinyl II (2000) begins in tight focus on Gerrit van Ho...

Fear And Trembling And Doom

Fear And Trembling And Doom

EITHER/OR takes the form of letters between A, a cynical, aesthete romantic, and Judge Vilhelm, a retired authority figure deeply committed to the ethical life. A tries to persuade Vilhelm of his own...

Descent into the Desert

Descent into the Desert

TO NOT EAT, or to eat very little, is one way to control what one takes in from the world. To go hungry is the ascetic desert retreat in miniature. One leaves the world and descends into the desert in...

Shoring Against the Ruins

Shoring Against the Ruins

ON July 7, 1914, a 22-year-old Walter Benjamin, increasingly disillusioned with his time at Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg and in Berlin, wrote to his friend Herbert Belmore: “The university i...

Any Port in a Shitstorm

Any Port in a Shitstorm

SHITAPILLARS, shitmoths, and all other manner of “shitisms” run amok in John Dunsworth’s book, The Dicshitnary. This compendium of “scatological eloquence” — fecal philosophy mixed with ir...

The Return of the Repressed

The Return of the Repressed

THIS IS AN ODD TIME in history to be reading and discussing theology. On the one hand, Richard Dawkins — a rock star, if atheists ever had one — avers with the utmost confidence that no sane, educ...

Deconstructing De Man in the Digital Age

Deconstructing De Man in the Digital Age

I DIDN'T KNOW Paul de Man — and it turns out, no one else really did either. I was a graduate student in English at Yale at the time of his greatest authority, the late 1970s and early 1980s. All t...