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Andrew Bowie

1 Modern philosophy and the emergence of aesthetic theory: Kant Self-consciousness, knowledge and freedom The importance attributed to aesthetic questions in recent philosophy becomes easier to grasp if one considers the reasons for the emergence of modern aesthetic theory. Kant’s main work on aesthetics, the ‘third Critique’, the Critique of Judgement (CJ) (1790), forms part of his response to unresolved questions which emerge from his Critique of Pure Reason (CPR) (1781) and Critique of Practical Reason (1787).1 In order to understand the significance of the CJ

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
Open Access (free)
Philip Nanton

working as seamen on ocean-going bulk transport ships registered in Liberia or Panama. Until the late twentieth century neglect and degradation have been the historical experiences of each tiny populated Grenadine island. This neglect took the form of a lack of basic amenities as a result of mainland uninterest from successive Government administrations, both colonial and postcolonial. The island of Canouan

in Frontiers of the Caribbean
Critical theory and the affective turn
Simon Mussell

1 Thinking through feeling: critical theory and the affective turn The assumption that thought profits from the decay of the emotions, or even that it remains unaffected, is itself an expression of the process of stupefaction.1 In this opening chapter, I will begin by offering an overview of the particular form of critical theory on which this book will focus, namely that of the first-​ generation Frankfurt School, since I believe that there is still much of interest within this tradition of thought for our present time. I will then set out the contemporary

in Critical theory and feeling
On late modernity and social statehood
Author: Darrow Schecter

Populism, neoliberalism, and globalisation are just three of the many terms used to analyse the challenges facing democracies around the world. Critical Theory and Sociological Theory examines those challenges by investigating how the conditions of democratic statehood have been altered at several key historical intervals since 1945. The author explains why the formal mechanisms of democratic statehood, such as elections, have always been complemented by civic, cultural, educational, socio-economic, and, perhaps most importantly, constitutional institutions mediating between citizens and state authority. Critical theory is rearticulated with a contemporary focus in order to show how the mediations between citizens and statehood are once again rapidly changing. The book looks at the ways in which modern societies have developed mixed constitutions in several senses that go beyond the official separation of legislative, executive, and judicial powers. In addition to that separation, one also witnesses a complex set of conflicts, agreements, and precarious compromises that are not adequately defined by the existing conceptual vocabulary on the subject. Darrow Schecter shows why a sociological approach to critical theory is urgently needed to address prevailing conceptual deficits and to explain how the formal mechanisms of democratic statehood need to be complemented and updated in new ways today.

The affective politics of the early Frankfurt School
Author: Simon Mussell

This book offers a unique and timely reading of the early Frankfurt School in response to the recent 'affective turn' within the arts and humanities. It revisits some of the founding tenets of critical theory in the context of the establishment of the Institute for Social Research in the early twentieth century. The book focuses on the work of Walter Benjamin, whose varied engagements with the subject of melancholia prove to be far more mobile and complex than traditional accounts. It also looks at how an affective politics underpins critical theory's engagement with the world of objects, exploring the affective politics of hope. Situating the affective turn and the new materialisms within a wider context of the 'post-critical', it explains how critical theory, in its originary form, is primarily associated with the work of the Frankfurt School. The book presents an analysis of Theodor Adorno's form of social critique and 'conscious unhappiness', that is, a wilful rejection of any privatized or individualized notion of happiness in favour of a militant and political discontent. A note on the timely reconstruction of early critical theory's own engagements with the object world via aesthetics and mimesis follows. The post-Cold War triumphalism of many on the right, accompanied by claims of the 'end of history', created a sense of fearlessness, righteousness, and unfettered optimism. The book notes how political realism has become the dominant paradigm, banishing utopian impulses and diminishing political hopes to the most myopic of visions.

Singular experiences
Steven Earnshaw

physical, political, psychological, ethical, and metaphysical dimensions. In this latter aspect it parallels Sartre’s image of the groundlessness of self: ‘If nothing compels me to save my life, nothing prevents me from precipitating myself into the abyss. The decisive conduct will emanate from a self which I am not yet’.9 Beyond the intricate intra-​symbolic weaving the symbols also gravitate around the idea that lies at the heart of this novel, which is something to the effect that humanity, in the form of Geoffrey Firmin, finds itself in a state of purgatory. So while

in The Existential drinker
Thomas Osborne

itself in a higher improved state. 3 For Simmel there is a theoretical distinction between objective culture and subjective culture. But not the least of his originality lay in his ability to use his metatheoretical stance on culture as a lever for a veritably empiricist cultural turn of attention – to investigate money, adornment, fashion, bridges and doors. He wanted to relate cultural forms, in all their complexity, to patterns of social organisation. He looked at culture, as it were, from the inside out, devoting himself to a series of close, careful and

in The structure of modern cultural theory
Rainer Forst in dialogue
Series: Critical Powers
Author: Rainer Forst

Rainer Forst's Toleration in Conflict (published in English 2013) is the most important historical and philosophical analysis of toleration of the past several decades. Reconstructing the entire history of the concept, it provides a forceful account of the tensions and dilemmas that pervade the discourse of toleration. In his lead essay for this volume, Forst revisits his work on toleration and situates it in relation to both the concept of political liberty and his wider project of a critical theory of justification. Interlocutors Teresa M. Bejan, Chandran Kukathas, John Horton, Daniel Weinstock, Melissa S. Williams, Patchen Markell and David Owen then critically examine Forst's reconstruction of toleration, his account of political liberty and the form of critical theory that he articulates in his work on such political concepts. The volume concludes with Forst’s reply to his critics.

Thomas Osborne

history of the confession. But in all these cases what is entailed is a certain attitude whereby Foucault hoped to show that the emergence of these concepts, institutions and practices was contingent not upon objective constraints in the world so much as upon – putting it bluntly – relations of power, forms of categorisation and anonymous human ingenuity. One can argue over what kind of nominalism it was that Foucault espoused exactly. The argument here is that Foucault’s was a strategic – even ultimately ethical – and not just an epistemic point of view, and

in The structure of modern cultural theory
Author: Thomas Osborne

This book is concerned with the scope of cultural theory in its modern, it might even be said in its modernist, form. The three thinkers under most consideration in the book are Theodor Adorno, Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu, who might hardly be seen as representatives of cultural theory per se if that enterprise is taken to be what it should often taken to be. The book starts with Adorno (1903-1969) not just because his work is an apt way to introduce further some very basic themes of the book: in particular those of critical autonomy and educationality. Adorno's reflections on art and culture are contributions to the ethical understanding of autonomy, emphasising the importance of the cultivation of critical reflection. The argument here is that he is, rather, an ethico-critical theorist of democracy and a philosopher of hope. The book then situates the work of Michel Foucault (1926-1984), in other ways so different from Adorno, in terms of a broadly, if minimally, parallel agenda in modern cultural theory. It outlines some of the importance of Foucault's notion of an 'aesthetics of existence' in relation to his work as a whole. It further invokes related themes in the work of Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002). Finally, it moves things in a different direction, towards postmodernism, invoking the increasing role of the cultural and aesthetic dimension in contemporary experience that is often taken as a central aspect of the postmodern turn.