The myth of Aufheben

Matthieu Renault argues in a recent issue of Radical Philosophy (RP 2.10, Summer 2021) that justifications for the counter-violence of the oppressed which draw on Hegel’s master-slave relation are based on a myth originating from Kojève’s Paris lectures (1933-9). The Kojève myth is that history begins with the violence of the master over the slave […]

Sylvère Lotringer, 1938-2021

Sylvère Lotringer’s life been celebrated as a ‘total work’ – a lived embodiment of the radical theories he did so much work to disseminate and promote. His commitment to an art of living, his embodiment and dissemination of thought, and his cultural experimentation have been widely affirmed – with the ‘primary text’ of his life […]

Dan Graham, 1942–2022

Dan Graham and I were friends for about 50 years. We began a correspondence in the late 1960s and met for the first time in London in 1972, when he had his first exhibition at the Lisson Gallery, which had opened five years earlier. In his later years Dan became increasingly forthright about the psychological […]

Crisis within crisis

Dario Gentili, The Age of Precarity: Endless Crisis as an Art of Government, trans. Stefania Porcelli in collaboration with Clara Pope (London and New York: Verso, 2021). 136pp., £12.99 pb., 978-1-78873-380-9 This is the new English translation of a book first published in Italian in 2018. In a world that is still struggling with the […]

Intersectional humanism

Kevin B. Anderson, Kieran Durkin and Heather A. Brown eds., Raya Dunayevskaya’s Intersectional Marxism: Race, Class, Gender, and the Dialectics of Liberation (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021). 350pp., £99.99 hb., 978 3 03053 716 6 Raya Dunayevskaya (1910-1987) was a Marxist, humanist, feminist and revolutionary thinker, neglected in both Marxist and feminist traditions. This collection presents […]

Allegorical mappings

Fredric Jameson, Allegory and Ideology (London and New York: Verso, 2019). 432pp., £19.99 pb., 978 1 78873 043 3 A concern with allegory as a mode of interpretation rather than as a literary historical description of a moribund genre has been a leitmotif in Fredric Jameson’s thought from Fables of Aggression (1979) and The Political […]

Defund culture

Following the spread of the Omicron variant this winter there have been renewed calls for the UK Government to fund the arts and culture through the Sars-CoV-2 pandemic and beyond. ‘We are in crisis mode’, Nicolas Hytner, former artistic director of the National Theatre, told the BBC’s Newsnight programme. ‘We need to see short-term finance, […]

What should feminist theory be?

Amia Srinivasan is the Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at All Souls College, University of Oxford, and a contributing editor of the London Review of Books. Her collection of essays, The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century, was published in 2021. In this interview with Radical Philosophy she is in conversation […]

Being, becoming, subsumption

One of the fundamental tensions within Marx’s writings arises from the complex relationship between the systematic and historical aspects of his description of capitalist society. 1 A century and a half after the publication of Capital – and in light of the historical adventures of communism that must, for the most part, be considered as […]

‘Everything can be made better, except man’

Over the past decade or so, Frédéric Lordon has morphed from Spinozist social philosopher and canny heterodox critic of political economy with a formation in Regulation Theory to one of the most prominent intellectual voices of the radical Left on the French scene1 – a shift crystallised by his protagonism during the Nuit Debout protests […]

Dismantling the apparatus of domination?

In November 2021, over 140 Artificial Intelligence (AI) researchers signed a letter asking the German government to oppose developments in autonomous weapons systems. With this they attempted to draw distinctions between beneficial and destructive AI: ‘Just as most chemists and biologists have no interest in building chemical or biological weapons, most AI researchers have no […]

On not becoming Chinese

As philosophy departments in the West come under greater pressure to provincialise themselves, calls to give ‘non-Western’ philosophical traditions their due have grown louder – and rightly so. But for all that is surely right about ‘diversifying the curriculum’ as a project driven by the relentless work of anti-racist and decolonial activists, the institutional co-optation […]

Estranging capitalist estrangement

Mattin, Social Dissonance (Falmouth: Urbanomic/Mono, 2022). 256pp., £14.99 hb., 978 1 91302 981 4 Both a reconstruction of the notion of alienation and a partisan reflection on the relationship between experimental art and a social world, Social Dissonance could be considered the first work of ‘Brassierian Marxism’. If the study of Wilfrid Sellars led Ray […]

Theoretical practices

Natalia Romé, For Theory: Althusser and the Politics of Time (Lanham, Boulder, NY: Rowman & Littlefield, 2021). 206pp., £81.00 hb., 978 1 53814 764 1 Although Natalia Romé’s book For Theory: Althusser and the Politics of Time comes in the disguise of humble secondary literature, it is not just an account of Althusser’s theory of […]

Back from the future

Keti Chukhrov, Practicing the Good: Desire and Boredom in Soviet Socialism (Minneapolis: eflux/University of Minnesota Press, 2020). 336pp., £22.99 pb., 978 1 51790 955 0 Spinoza’s dictum that we ought to understand first – not ridicule, not cry, nor detest – is ignored surprisingly often, even in philosophical scholarship, when it comes to revising and […]

Between context and transcendence

Martin Jay, Genesis and Validity: The Theory and Practice of Intellectual History (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022). 280pp., £26.99 hb., 978 0 81225 340 5 Can ideas transcend the context of their appearance? Can concepts depose the particularity of their origin to achieve validity? In the opening pages to a new collection of essays […]

About time

Gilbert Simondon, Individuation in light of notions of form and individuation (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2020). 440pp., £88.00 hb., £20.99 pb., 978 0 81668 001 6 hb., 978 0 81668 002 3 pb. Gilbert Simondon, Individuation in light of notions of form and individuation, Volume II: Supplemental Texts (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2020). […]

Lost at sea

Enzo Traverso, Revolution: An Intellectual History (London: Verso, 2021). 480 pp., £25.00 hb., 978 1 83976 333 5 The second volume of Peter Weiss’s epic historical novel The Aesthetics of Resistance opens in Paris in 1938. Recently defeated international brigade fighters in the Spanish Civil War, the unnamed narrator and his dejected comrades have taken […]