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Kojève’s letter to Stalin

by / RP 184 (Mar/Apr 2014) / Article


The postconceptual condition

Or, the cultural logic of high capitalism today
by / RP 184 (Mar/Apr 2014) / Article

Those with long enough memories will no doubt recognize the crossed syntax of my title. It mimics, first, that of a text which, while in historical terms still recent, is nonetheless already antiquated, even if not yet sufficiently so to have acquired the ‘revolutionary energies’ that André Breton and, after him, Walter Benjamin sought in such objects: Jean-François Lyotard’s The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. It is thirty-five years […]


Sketch for a novel on Neville Chamberlain (1942)

Introduced by Esther Leslie
by / RP 184 (Mar/Apr 2014) / Article

In autumn 1942, while working with T.W. Adorno on Dialectic of Enlightenment, Max Horkheimer began to write a novel. Its lead character was the English prime minister Neville Chamberlain (1869–1940), who, in September 1938, after several meetings with Hitler and along with France’s Edouard Daladier, agreed not to oppose Germany’s demand to annex the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. Horkheimer regarded Chamberlain’s willingness to appease Hitler as evidence of the complicity of […]


Extra, extra, read all about it!

Contemporary art is postconceptual art
by / RP 183 (Jan/Feb 2014) / Article

Peter Osborne, Anywhere or Not At All: Philosophy of Contemporary Art, Verso, London and New York, 2013. vi + 282 pp., £60.00 hb., £19.95 pb., 978 1 78168 113 8 hb., 978 1 78168 094 0 pb. Numbers in parentheses in the main text refer to page numbers of this book. ‘The coming together of different times that constitute the contemporary, and the relations between the social spaces in which […]


Drone geographies

by / RP 183 (Jan/Feb 2014) / Article

Last year Apple rejected Josh Begley’s Drones+ app three times. The app promised to send push notifications to users each time a US drone strike was reported, but Apple decided that many people would find it ‘objectionable’ (they said nothing about what they might feel about the strikes). When he defended his thesis at NYU earlier this year, Begley asked: ‘Do we really want to be as connected to our […]


Defiance or emancipation?

by / RP 183 (Jan/Feb 2014) / Article

On Howard Caygill, On Resistance: A Philosophy of Defiance, Bloomsbury, London, 2013. 264 pp., £20.00 hb., 978 1 472522 58 0. Numbers in parentheses in the main text refer to pages of this book. What is resistance? Rather than offering a conceptual definition, Howard Caygill’s new book approaches resistance as a problematic and elusive practice that calls for reflective judgement in the Kantian sense. His point of departure is the […]


Cannibal metaphysics: Amerindian perspectivism

With an introduction by Peter Skafish
by and / RP 182 (Nov/Dec 2013) / Article

From anthropology to philosophy: Introduction to Eduardo Viveiros de Castro Peter Skafish Can anthropology be philosophy, and if so, how? For philosophers, the matter has been and often remains quite simple: anthropology’s concern with socio-cultural and historical differences might yield analyses that philosophy can put to use (provided that it condescends to examine them), but only rarely does anthropology conceive its material at a level of generality or in relation […]


Police power, all the way to heaven

Cujus est solum and the no-fly zone
by / RP 182 (Nov/Dec 2013) / Article

What is a no-fly zone? Formally, it is a prohibition on flying in order to call a halt to hostilities in the region, usually enacted in aid of a group or groups which might otherwise suffer violence. When the Libyan civil war broke out in early 2011 one of the first demands made by several political actors of varying political persuasions was for a no-fly zone. The debate surrounding this […]


Anti-Revolutionary Republicanism

Claude Lefort’s Machiavelli
by / RP 182 (Nov/Dec 2013) / Article

Amidst the enthusiasm marking the five hundredth anniversary of Machiavelli’s composition of The Prince in 1513, there is one recent publication that risks being overlooked. Last year saw the belated appearance in English of the French political philosopher Claude Lefort’s most substantial work, his 1972 doctoral thesis: Le travail de l’œuvre Machiavel. This volume, abridged in English and retitled Machiavelli in the Making,1 would turn out to be the only […]


Our contemporary impotence

Dossier: The Greek Symptom: Debt, Crisis and the Crisis of the Left
by / RP 181 (Sept/Oct 2013) / Article

We have, in this conference, discussed all of the crucial aspects of the situation in Europe and especially in Greece. We have, of course, analysed the great historical structures at stake: the particularly aggressive global politics of contemporary capitalism, the complicit weakness of the various states, and the reactive role played by Europe as it now stands, but also the law of subjective forms that illuminates the contemporary dialectic of […]


From the end of national Lefts to subversive movements for Europe

Dossier: The Greek Symptom: Debt, Crisis and the Crisis of the Left
by / RP 181 (Sept/Oct 2013) / Article

When we speak of the globalization of markets we also speak of a limitation imposed on the sovereignty of nation-states. In Western Europe, the essential error of national left-wing movements and parties [des gauches nationales] has been their failure to understand that globalization is an irreversible phenomenon. Up until the fall of the Soviet Union, the US leadership succeeded in combining – with prudence, but also with manifest consistency – […]


The Greek symptom

Debt, crisis and the crisis of the Left
by / RP 181 (Sept/Oct 2013) / Article

The texts in this dossier were initially presented to an international conference on the current crisis in Greece, ‘Le symptôma grec’, held on 18–20 January 2013, at the University of Paris 8 and the École normale supérieure. The conference took as its point of departure the exemplary role that Greece has played over the last few years as the outpost or ‘testing laboratory’ for the most recent, most implacable and […]


How can the aporia of the ‘European people’ be resolved?

Dossier: The Greek Symptom: Debt, Crisis and the Crisis of the Left
by / RP 181 (Sept/Oct 2013) / Article

The question that I deal with here is by no means a purely speculative one. It certainly evokes theoretical notions from different disciplines and from philosophy, but it does so because of a specific economy of circumstances, a crisis of economics, in a particular place (Greece), which happens to be at the origin of the whole apparatus of ‘concepts of politics’ by means of which modernity thinks its own history, […]


Total social crisis and the return of fascism

Dossier: The Greek Symptom: Debt, Crisis and the Crisis of the Left
by / RP 181 (Sept/Oct 2013) / Article

In memory of Sahtzat Loukman, 27 years old, murdered on 17 January 2013 in Athens, and Clement Meric, 18 years old, murdered on 5 June 2013 in Paris. This contribution seeks to mobilize certain concepts in order to symbolize what, in part, always resists symbolization. What is at issue is the return of fascism in Greece, the fact that the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn (GD) party have held seats in parliament […]


Debt society: Greece and the future of post-democracy

Dossier: The Greek Symptom: Debt, Crisis and the Crisis of the Left
by / RP 181 (Sept/Oct 2013) / Article

The passage from early to late modernity is generally associated with a gradual process of democratization, in both political and economic realms. Politically speaking, representative democracy has enjoyed an unprecedented global spread. In the West, especially, political and social rights seemed to have flourished until quite recently. Economically speaking, we have witnessed a ‘democratization of consumption’ with the gradual spread of a consumerist culture of ‘luxury’: having emerged with the […]


Time of Debt

On the Nietzschean origins of Lazzarato’s indebted man
by / RP 180 (July/Aug 2013) / Article

Among the many recent writings on the debt crisis engulfing economic relationships across the globe, one that is currently receiving a great deal of interest is Maurizio Lazzarato’s The Making of the Indebted Man: An Essay on the Neoliberal Condition*.


Politics in a Tragic Key

by / RP 180 (July/Aug 2013) / Article

In memory of Joel Olson (1967-2012) In the quarter-century or so since the obscure disaster of the Soviet bloc’s collapse, two words have been pinned to that of ‘communism’ with liberal abandon: ‘tragedy’ and ‘transition’. Tragedy, to signify the magnitude of suffering, but not the greatness of the enterprise; the depth of the fall, but not the rationality of the ambition. Transition, to capitalism, shadowed by the enumeration of crimes, […]


Here comes the new

Deadwood and the historiography of capitalism
by / RP 180 (July/Aug 2013) / Article

We are swept up, are we not, by the large events and forces of our times? A.W. Merrick, Deadwood, Season 3 Shown across three twelve-episode series that began in 2004, Deadwood is one of several recent television programmes to develop long, serially formatted narratives of a complexity and scale hitherto unusual in its medium. Produced by HBO, the American subscription cable network also responsible for The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, […]


Spontaneous generation

The fantasy of the birth of concepts in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason
by / RP 179 (May/Jun 2013) / Article

In the second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason, at the end of the transcendental deduction of the categories, Kant distinguishes the doctrine of transcendental idealism from competing theories of knowledge – or, more specifically, theories of the relation between concepts and experience – by characterizing them in terms of various theories of biological generation. Transcendental idealism, he writes there, is ‘a system of the epigenesis of pure reason’, […]


Philosophy and the Black Panthers

by / RP 179 (May/Jun 2013) / Article

The vanguard party only teaches the correct methods of resistance. Huey P. Newton, 1967 ‘Hey Joe! How many of you motherfuckers are coming out here?’ ‘Here’ was Santa Rita Jail, California, early morning, Thursday 3 December 1964. ‘Joe’ was Joe Blum, a student radical, and the accompanying ‘motherfuckers’ were the 814 students who had been arrested for occupying Berkeley the day before in support of the Free Speech and, indirectly, […]