Lukács, labor and the humanization of man

The premise that the economic sphere impacts the moral sphere of society is well accepted. Marxists claim such a separation of these spheres, whether in functional or analytic analysis results in idealism. Thus, the wager that the task of critique is to isolate or show how an autonomy of these spheres is possible is deeply … Continue reading Lukács, labor and the humanization of man

A post clash of civilizations framework?

What if Trump's upcoming speech in Saudi Arabia signifies a shift at the level of discourse -- one that effectively propels international relations into a new, post clash of civilizations framework? A post clash framework no longer requires any allusion to the idea that the west has a moral duty to help Islam revive its lost greatness, … Continue reading A post clash of civilizations framework?

Jameson on Badiou: Ships Passing in the Night

The American Marxist literary theorist Fredric Jameson's latest article in the New Left Review, "Badiou and the French Tradition" (full PDF here) ends by noting the most important omissions Badiou makes throughout his oeuvre. I find Jameson's reading of Badiou highly contradictory and sloppy at times. Jameson gives us a reading of Badiou that takes … Continue reading Jameson on Badiou: Ships Passing in the Night

The Theory of the Social Bond in Gauchet

I finished a careful reading of Marcel Gauchet’s The Disenchantment of the World: A Political History of Religion. He works with a method that is quite innovative, one part genealogy, one part philosophical anthropology. Gauchet is a working class liberal in terms of his politics. However he pulls from a rich set of post WW … Continue reading The Theory of the Social Bond in Gauchet

Theory Without an Enemy

Enemy-creation is the enterprise of contemporary politics. Temporary enemies proliferate all around us, from the immigrant, the bureaucrat, to the Mexican, to the Muslim--we all know these figures are little false flags which hide a more confused politics. The temporary enemy is a substitute for the true enemy as they offer an object by which … Continue reading Theory Without an Enemy

Islamophobia and the Coming Trump Era

What we know right now is that the Trump era lies ahead of us. The immediate intervallic period between now and late January when he assumes office will be a time of increasing fear met with protest and resistance against the way things turned out on 11/9 and against the sinking reality that we face four … Continue reading Islamophobia and the Coming Trump Era

Help Fund My Documentary Film on Philosophy and Revolt

Dear Reader, I am writing you a more personal post to ask for your help. If you have enjoyed my writing, if it has been helpful to you in any way, I ask that you consider helping my crowdfunding campaign to bring the world of ideas to film. As you may know, I have been working … Continue reading Help Fund My Documentary Film on Philosophy and Revolt

Is Conversion Possible?

What if we began to view leftist revolutionary thought as inextricably tied up with the problem of religious conversion? After all, a convert to revolutionary positions is far different than the merely philosophical conversionary model of Plato and St. Augustine, which is a cognitive level conversion. For Plato, conversion is when the individual develops a newfound commitment to … Continue reading Is Conversion Possible?

Insurrections and the Role of Philosophy

Here is the abstract of my talk at the upcoming Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World conference happening July 23rd-27 at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. My talk will include a rough trailer and some clips from the film Insurrections that I am directing. I welcome your feedback on this abstract. “Insurrections and the … Continue reading Insurrections and the Role of Philosophy

The Political Appeal of Ibn Taymiyyah

Ibn Taymiyyah looms large in today's imaginary; he is an untouchable authority in the minds of many Muslims. If you watch Salafi videos on YouTube, you'll notice the hagiography around the man clouds many of his followers from engaging him on a serious or critical level. Some scholars are told to avoid him outright, while … Continue reading The Political Appeal of Ibn Taymiyyah

Equality and Nihilism

We are ambivalent about calling today's far right movements fascist. The verdict will remain out on this for some time. But as we speculate into our own ambivalence, let me suggest that a leading reason that we do not describe these movements as fascist is because they do not have an intellectual determinism about them. … Continue reading Equality and Nihilism

Philosophy in Saturated Times

Frank Ruda's For Badiou: Idealism Without Idealism probes the question that has driven a number of interventions into Badiou's thought: what is the role of philosophy in non-evental or saturated times? Saturation is a state of atonality, a state in which the exception is not made actual. Saturation implies the end of a process or procedure of … Continue reading Philosophy in Saturated Times

Badiou’s Revision of Sartre’s Fused Group

In his late Marxist work, Critique of Dialectical Reason, Sartre was pessimistic about revolutionary politics. He theorized the subject of history in the figure of the group in revolt, what he termed the 'fused group'. The fused group, through their acts of negation (revolt), develop a new interior, untranscedable position. In a Lacanian sense, Sartre's fused group is … Continue reading Badiou’s Revision of Sartre’s Fused Group

Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: A Catharsis of Pleonexia

Mehdi Belhaj Kacem is a highly enigmatic thinker: an autodidact in the history of philosophy, a well known actor in French cinema and self-proclaimed anti-philosopher who had a major public break with his former mentor Alain Badiou around the same time as the Arab spring was taking off. I just finished his first major work translated into English, … Continue reading Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: A Catharsis of Pleonexia

How to Win an Aesthetic War: On Bernard Stiegler’s Symbolic Misery

How do we think political conflict that impacts all aspects of social life, from the family to public institutions? What domains of private and public life are affected by a form of conflict which is ubiquitous? The Greek term stasis has been invoked to theorize this form of ever-present conflict by a number of contemporary … Continue reading How to Win an Aesthetic War: On Bernard Stiegler’s Symbolic Misery

Time and Voluntarism in Badiou and Lazarus

How do we locate voluntarism in the political thought of Sylvain Lazarus and Alain Badiou? First, what do I mean by voluntarism. Two things mainly: voluntarism posits that consciousness declares antagonism, not that antagonism declares consciousness. Voluntarism posits that the possibility of political decisions and acts occurs from within the sphere of consciousness subtracted from capitalist time. It … Continue reading Time and Voluntarism in Badiou and Lazarus

Riots and Neoliberalism

In Riot. Strike. Riot. The New Era of Uprisings, Joshua Clover argues that riots have taken off and will continue with intensity due in large part to the fact that capital can no longer afford to buy off the social peace. Capital no longer has the need to invest in producing a situation of social stability among its pool of potential labor. … Continue reading Riots and Neoliberalism