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Impossible Objects

ISBN: 978-0-7456-5321-1
180 pages
December 2011, Polity
Impossible Objects (0745653219) cover image
Impossible objects are those about which the philosopher, narrowly conceived, can hardly speak: poetry, film, music, humor. Such "objects" do not rely on philosophy for interpretation and understanding; they are already independent practices and sites of sensuous meaning production. As Elvis Costello has said, "writing about music is like dancing about architecture." We don't need literary theory in order to be riveted by the poem, nor a critic's analysis to enjoy a film. How then can philosophy speak about anything outside of itself, namely all of those things which actually matter to us in this world?

In Impossible Objects, Simon Critchley - one of the most influential and insightful philosophers writing today - extends his philosophical investigation into non-philosophical territories, including discussions on tragedy, poetry, humor, and music. In a series of engaging and enlightening conversations, Critchley reflects on his early work on the ethics of deconstruction; the recurring themes of mortality and nihilism; his defense of neo-anarchism; and his recent investigation into secular faith, or "a faith of the faithless". Essential reading for artists, academics, and general readers alike, this book explores the relationship between the philosophical world and those complex and fascinating "impossible objects" which give life meaning.


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1. EARLY BEDFELLOWS.

Levinas, Derrida, and the Ethics of Deconstruction.

2. KEEP YOUR MIND IN HELL AND DESPAIR NOT.

Nietzsche and the Question of Nihilism.

3. THE STATE IS A LIMITATION ON HUMAN EXISTENCE.

Gramsci and Hegemony.

4. INFINITELY DEMANDING ANARCHISM.

Marxism and the Political.

5. ACTION IN A WORLD OF RECUPERATION.

Cynicism and the Slovenian Hamlet.

6. LANGUAGE AND MURDER.

Blanchot, Stevens, and the Literary.

7. CONFESSIONS OF A PUNK ROCKER.

Can, Rhythm, and Transient Joy.

8. ART AND ETHICS.

Transgression, Visibility, and Collective Resistance.

9. TRAGEDY AND MODERNITY.

The Logic of Affect.

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Simon Critchley is Hans Jonas Professor at the New School for Social Research in New York and part-time Professor of Philosophy at Tilburg University.

Carl Cederström is Lecturer in Human Resource Management at Cardiff University.

Todd Kesselman is PhD Candidate at New School for Social Research.

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  • Simon Critchley - one of the most influential and insightful philosophers writing today - extends his philosophical investigation into non-philosophical territories, including discussions on tragedy, poetry, humour and music
  • Moves effortlessly between a range of topics including: military neo-liberalism; the poetry of Wallace Stevens; from the left’s ‘motivational deficit’; and Greek Tragedy.
  • Critchley reflects on his early work on the ethics of deconstruction; the recurring themes of mortality and nihilism; his defense of neo-anarchism; and his recent investigation into secular faith, or 'a faith of the faithless'.
  • Lively, engaging, witty and erudite, this book will be of great interest to artists, academics and general readers alike.
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"It's hard not to be swept up in the sense of hope and possibility that he brings to his discipline as he turns his eyes outward upon the world, refusing to wallow in the stultifying confines of academic discourse ... at his best, Critchley is a truly inspiring voice."
PopMatters

"Critchley makes for a generous and fluent interlocutor."
Steve Poole, The Guardian

"A frank encounter with the philosophical mind; an encounter which, although brief, gives us a beautiful sense of how things work at the sharp end of the intellectual spectrum."
Kelvingrove Review

"Critchley is remarkably adept at clearly explaining quite difficult ideas."
Nina Power, Philosophers' Magazine

"An inspiring and thought-provoking collection of interviews with one of the finest minds of my generation, which serves to genuinely illuminate his impressive body of work. Critchley educates and unsettles the reader with his sharp wit and tremendous intelligence, offering fresh and arresting insights into a dazzling array of vital topics from the death of God to contemporary politics and the origins of tragedy."
Keith Ansell-Pearson, University of Warwick

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Impossible Objects (US $17.95)

-and- How to Stop Living and Start Worrying: Conversations with Carl Cederström (US $19.95)

Total List Price: US $37.90
Discounted Price: US $28.42 (Save: US $9.48)

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