Open your head

In June 2015, twenty-two years after Frank Zappa’s death in 1993 and just before dying herself, his widow Gail released Dance Me This, his last completed album. While he was alive, Zappa’s each release mauled a fan’s idea of ‘good music’, exposing a previous identity as partial and bigoted, trashing personal taste in order to […]

Helen Macfarlane

Helen macfarlane Independent object David black and ben watson Talking of the destructive nature of egoistic desire, its satisfaction that the other is nothing, Hegel made room for further development, an empirical moment which might surprise those who think German Idealism only ever allowed for abstraction: ‘In this satisfaction, however, experience makes it [the simple […]

182 Reviews

Reviews Culture and adminBéatrice Hibou, La bureaucratisation du monde à l’ère néolibérale, La Découverte, Paris, 2012. 223 pp., €17.00 pb., 978 2 70717 439 0. ^ Ben Kafka, The Demon of Writing: Powers and Failures of Paperwork, Zone Books, New York, 2012. 182 pp., £19.95 hb., 978 1 93540 826 0. The ascendancy of neoliberalism […]

Truly Liberating

Yotam feldman Dialectics of liberationKevin B. Anderson and Russell Rockwell, eds, The Dunayevskaya–Marcuse–Fromm Correspondence, 1954–1978: Dialogues on Hegel, Marx and Critical Theory, Lexington Books, Lanham MD and Plymouth, 2012, 269 pp., £49.95 hb., £21.95 pb., 978 0 73916 835 6 hb., 978 0 73916 836 3 pb. Raya Dunayevskaya died in 1987 aged 77, but […]

178 Reviews

94 Reviews

Reviews Anti-Nazi musicology and the diminished seventhTheodor W. Adorno, Beethoven: The Philosophy of Music, ed. Rolf Tiedermann, trans. Edmund Jephcott, Polity Press, Cambridge, 1998. xii + 268 pp., £39.95 hb., 0 7456 1467 1. ^ Pamela M. Potter, Most German of the Arts: Musicology and Society from the Weimar Republic to the End of Hitlerʼs […]

97 Reviews

Reviews The tamagochi and the objet petit aSlavoj Žižek, The Žižek Reader, edited by Elizabeth and Edmond Wright, Blackwell, Oxford, 1999. xii + 332 pp., £55.00 hb., £15.99 pb., ISBN 0 631 21200 0 hb., 0 631 21201 9 pb. This is all delivered with such good humour that the critic stands disarmed. Anyone wishing […]

Backwoods musicology

Commentary Backwoods musicology Roger Scruton’s aesthetics of music Ben watson Roger Scruton is a right-wing pundit regularly rolled out by the British media to voice ʻbravely unfashionableʼ points of view. After the march against New Labour organized by the Countryside Alliance, he published a book in defence of fox-hunting. However, unlike most backwoods right-wingers, Scruton […]

Philosophy on television

Commentary Philosophy on television Ben watson Marx remarks somewhere that all true philosophy begins with the criticism of religion. If he had lived through the postwar era, he would have added: and the religion of a triumphant capitalism is television. Just as the medieval cathedral was the apotheosis of feudalism, television is the techno-exemplification of […]

106 Reviews

Friedrich Schlegelʼs two-hundred-year-old fragment ʻNothing is more rarely the subject of philosophy than philosophy itselfʼ shows its age. Now, its inversion seems true. Whether through recognition that philosophyʼs self-legitimating critique of the unexcavated presuppositions of other disciplines threatens to prove itself wanting; or, through various concerns for philosophyʼs apparently imminent death (which philosophers frequently seem […]

109 Reviews

Reviews The tale of TedTed Honderich, Philosopher: A Kind of Life, Routledge, London, 2001. x + 441 pp., £20.00 hb., 0 415 23697 5. There has been a surprisingly close relationship between philosophy and autobiography ever since Augustine. Indeed, it could plausibly be argued that modern European philosophy begins with Descartesʼ first-hand account of how […]

116 Reviews

Born in the Ukraine in 1910, Raya Dunayesvskaya emigrated to the United States in her teens. By the age of twenty she was active on the American Left, her ability to read Russian giving her an advantage in interpreting the contradictory messages emerging from revolutionary Russia. She served as Trotskyʼs secretary when the exiled Bolshevik […]

122 Reviews

in Vaneigemʼs expressionist polemic. Here, you suffer jolt after jolt, as intriguing commentaries on particular rights finish, and another right is bannered in capitals across the page (in this, it recalls the experience of Hegelʼs Logic, where the expositions in smaller type – oral improvisations transcribed by his students – are more accessible than the […]

NOISETHEORYNOISE#1, Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Middlesex University, 6 March 2004

News Walls of theoryNOISETHEORYNOISE#1, Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Middlesex University, 6 March 2004 ‘n oise is an unmapped continent, in comparison with which everything we recognize as music remains a parochial backwaterʼ, announced the organizers of this conference. Disdaining ʻpostmodern academicismʼs ostentatious displays of theoretical chicʼ, noise will invent its own theory. […]

129 Reviews

Reviews The hesitation waltzIan H. Birchall, Sartre against Stalinism, Berghahn, New York and London, 2004. xiii + 242 pp., £47.00 hb., £14.95 pb., 1 57181 621 6 hb., 1 57181 542 2 pb. As the adolescentʼs entrée into the world of ideas, existentialism has probably diminished a little since the Cureʼs 1978 ʻKilling an Arabʼ, […]

Philosophizing post-punk

COMMENTARYPhilosophizing post-punk Ben watson Philosophers are talking more about music than they did in the past. This is partly to do with the rise of Adornoʼs star in the philosophical firmament and the fact that over half of his writings are devoted to music. But it is also because a generation that imbibed punk in […]

143 Reviews

The reception of Adorno in Britain and America has largely focused on Negative Dialectics and Aesthetic Theory, late works which accepted the tragedy of an ongoing betrayal of Marxism in the Soviet Union and an ongoing capitalism in the West. Hence those Adornoites who emphasize optimism of the will rather than pessimism of the intellect […]