Philosophy & Critical Theory

RECENT REVIEWS

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...

The Self as Sediment

The Self as Sediment

IF YOU’VE EVER sat through a silent 10-day meditation retreat, you know the spectacle that is the human mind — the monkey mind (as the Buddhists call it), the clamoring mind; the memories rising, ...

Derrida and the Death Penalty

Derrida and the Death Penalty

WHILE 48 of 49 European nations have abolished the death penalty, it remains legal in 32 US states, with no shortage of politicians and voters eager to lend it their vocal support. Surveys indicate th...

Global Warming and Other Hyperobjects

Global Warming and Other Hyperobjects

YOU KNOW THE SCENARIO. It begins with someone asserting that global warming really exists. “Oh, yeah?” asks his skeptical friend. “Show me this thing called global warming; where is it exactly?...

A Practical Communism for the 21st Century

A Practical Communism for the 21st Century

TO WHAT CAN WE ATTRIBUTE the modern-day failures of communism? Can this ideology ever be dissociated from the associations which classically torpedo it, such as authoritarianism on the one hand and pr...