Hegel and the advent of modernity

Abstraction is a bitter chalice but modernity must drain it to the dregs and reeling in simulated inebriation, proclaim it the ambrosia of the gods. Henri Lefebvre, Introduction to Modernity Bitter abstraction. In which the distance between cause and effect is developed with the aid of weaponry and mathematics to produce morbid symptoms in the […]

Must do better

William MacAskill, Doing Good Better: Effective Altruism and a Radical New Way to Make a Difference (London: Faber and Faber, 2015). 336pp., £8.99 pb., 978 1 78335 051 3 Peter Singer, The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015). 272pp., £14.99 hb., […]

The realism of our time

Kim Stanley Robinson is the author of more than twenty works of fiction, including the celebrated Mars trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars), Forty Signs of Rain, The Years of Rice and Salt, 2312 and, his latest novel, New York 2140. A former student of Fredric Jameson, Robinson’s work is consistently anti-capitalist. His […]

Proletarianisation isn’t working

Bernard Stiegler, Automatic Society: The Future of Work, Volume 1, trans, Daniel Ross (Cambridge: Polity, 2016). 341pp., £55.00 hb., £17.99 pb., 978 1 50950 630 9 hb., 978 1 50950 631 6 pb. Despairing over the conditions of living and working in Foxconn’s ‘factory city’ in China, a total of 14 workers leapt to their […]

Crimes of solidarity

‘Solidarity is not a crime.’ This is a slogan that has circulated widely across Europe in response to legal prosecutions and municipal decrees, which, especially in Italy and France, have been intended to act against citizens who provide logistical and humanitarian support to transiting migrants. Such criminalisation of individual acts of solidarity and coordinated platforms […]

Revolutionary commemoration

No more anniversaries! Vsevolod Meyerhold 1 Fire and ice On 18th March 1921 the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the Paris Commune was marked in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR). Newspapers were emblazoned with headlines decrying the brutal suppression of the heroic Communards by bourgeois reactionary forces just seventy-two days after its […]

Smart writing

Sarah Kember, iMedia: The Gendering of Objects, Environments and Smart Materials (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). vi+122pp., £45.00 hb., 978 1 13737 484 4 Sarah Kember’s new book positions itself in a field of theory dominated by an often masculinist discourse that privileges conceptualisations of its research objects as things or environments in-themselves, instead of as […]

Postmodernity, not yet

To take an attitude of partisanship towards key struggles of the past does not mean either choosing sides, or seeking to harmonise irreconcilable differences. In such extinct yet still virulent intellectual conflicts, the fundamental contradiction is between history itself and the conceptual apparatus which, seeking to grasp its realities, only succeeds in reproducing their discord […]

Paper trails

Kate Eichhorn, Adjusted Margin: Xerography, Art and Activism in the Late Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2016). 216pp., £21.95 hb., 978 0 26203 396 1 The punning title of Kate Eichhorn’s book refers to the ‘somewhat audacious argument’ at its core: that the xerographic (or dry photocopying) machine played an overlooked but decisive role […]

French philosophy today

Christopher Watkin, French Philosophy Today: New Figures of the Human in Badiou, Meillassoux, Malabou, Serres and Latour (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016). 272pp., £24.99 pb., 978 1 47441 473 9 Following an earlier study of ‘post-theological thinking’ in the work of Alain Badiou, Quentin Meillassoux and Jean-Luc Nancy (2011), Christopher Watkin’s new book on several […]

Editorial

Critical projects that seek to sustain themselves over a long stretch of time have to change if they are to avoid becoming part of an establishment. And if they are prepared to change, they have to change more than once. Radical Philosophy emerged out of the long 1960s, framed politically by the student movement and […]

Order in disorder

It would seem that the centenary of the Russian Revolution could not have come at a more inopportune moment for Russia. The colossal scale and universalist ambitions of that event are at odds with the apathetic state of Russian society today. Indeed, efforts to dispense with this inconvenient ghost appear to provide the sole point […]

Gridlock!

Rosie Warren, ed., The Debate on Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital (London and New York: Verso, 2016). 304pp., £60.00 hb., £19.99 pb., 978 1 78478 696 0 hb., 978 1 78478 695 3 pb. ‘To leave error unrefuted is to encourage intellectual immorality.’ Attributed to Karl Marx, this dictum prefaced E.P. Thompson’s infamous […]