Fallen angel

The French philosopher and erstwhile Maoist militant Guy Lardreau (1947-2008) was the first to admit that much of his work was haunted by a single problem, one posed by the revolutionary political history of the twentieth century. 1 The great revolutions in Russia and China, and several other places inspired by their example, pursued radical […]

Left-wing populism

Martina Tazzioli [MT] Your latest book, published in 2017, Populisme: le grand ressentiment [‘Populism and deep resentment’], develops a critical reading of the concept and political role of populism today. 1 You offer an explanation for the apparent appeal of populist options in recent elections in Europe and the US, and you distance yourself from […]

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 […]

Reason and revolt

Guy Lardreau has few rivals for the honour of being the most under-appreciated contemporary French philosopher. [1] A student of Louis Althusser at the École Normale in the late 1960s and a flamboyant figure in Maoist intellectual circles before and after 1968, he remains best known for his searing reflections on cultural revolution and its […]

Blanqui’s bifurcations

Blanqui’s bifurcationspeter hallward Auguste Blanqui’s Eternity by the Stars (1872) is perhaps the only text, across the scattered fragments of his œuvre, that poses a genuine problem of interpretation.1 How could this ultra-voluntarist revolutionary come to embrace a vision of the cosmos based on endless repetition and the eternal recycling of monotonous variation? Blanqui committed […]

Defiance or emancipation?

Defiance or emancipation? peter hallward 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 claim that resistance demands appreciation on its own evolving terms, rather than as an […]

Noam Chomsky

Interview noam chomsky Freedom and power Peter hallward I’d like to start by asking you about some of your basic philosophical principles, starting with your understanding of human freedom and creativity. In the modern European tradition I’m most familiar with, freedom is a dominant philosophical theme from Descartes through Rousseau to Kant. With Kant we […]

Gilles Deleuze and the redemption from interest

Gilles Deleuze and the redemption from interest Peter Hallward Deleuze writes a redemptive philosophy. In conjunction with its mainly artistic allies, it is designed to save its readers from a situation contaminated by ʻconsciousnessʼ, ʻrepresentationʼ, ʻanalogyʼ, ʻrepressionʼ, ʻlackʼ, and ʻthe Other [autrui]ʼ. Redemption from these things, according to Deleuze, provides immediate access to a very […]

The singular and the specific

Not so long ago, theoretical insight was usually defended in terms of its universal inclusiveness or powers of generalization. It used to be that any theory worth the name – a theory of evolution or class conflict, a theory of the unconscious or of signification – shared something of the ambition and scope associated with […]

Ethics without others

In his otherwise sympathetic survey of Badiouʼs ethics in RP 100,1 Simon Critchley advances three significant arguments against Badiouʼs rather unusual position. They are likely to be fairly typical of the sort of objections we should expect from those committed, after Levinas and Derrida, to an ethics oriented around the category of the other. All […]

104 Reviews

Reviews Whatever happened to analytical Marxism? G.A. Cohen, If Youʼre an Egalitarian, How Come Youʼre So Rich?, Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA and London, 2000. xii + 233 pp., £30.95 hb., 0 674 00152 2. This is a strange and disappointing book. The jokey and populist title is misleading. In fact the book contains the […]

Whose war?

News Whose war? George Bush called it an act of war. He has rarely been good with words, but this time he was quite right. And an astonishingly brutal and vicious act of war it was. Nevertheless, the stunning violence of the attacks of 11 September does not by itself signal the beginning of a […]

112 Reviews

The ethical dimension of Adornoʼs work is elusive and gestural, but it is an ineliminable part of his philosophy. Jay Bernstein attempts to do justice to what he terms the ʻethical intensityʼ of Adornoʼs writing by reconstructing the ethical content and premisses of his philosophical output. However, this book is not only a mining of […]

Justification or affirmation?

Christian Kerslake is perfectly right to characterize Deleuzeʼs project as ʻa philosophy of the absoluteʼ, and in particular as one conceived in more or less direct competition with that of Hegel (ʻThe Vertigo of Philosophyʼ, RP 113). He is wrong, however, to emphasize the fundamentally discontinuous evolution of this philosophy, from an early period supposedly […]

Haitian inspiration

Two hundred years ago this month (January 2004), the French colony of SaintDomingue on the island of Hispaniola became the independent nation of Haiti. Few transformations in world history have been more momentous, few required more sacrifice or promised more hope. And few have been more thoroughly forgotten by those who would have us believe […]

Voting for hope

Commentary Voting for hope Elections in Haiti Peter hallward Late in the night of 29 February 2004, after weeks of confusion and uncertainty, the enemies of Haitiʼs president Jean-Bertrand Aristide forced him into exile for the second time. There was plenty of ground for confusion. Although twice elected with landslide majorities, by 2004 Aristide was […]

A Haitian boat disaster

News A Haitian boat disaster Every now and then something happens which serves to illuminate with particular clarity the way our newspapers distinguish between what counts as news and what does not. Consider the way the British press handled two very different disappearances, on the nights of 3 and 4 May 2007. In early May […]