What is Power?
What is Power?
ISBN: 978-1-509-51613-1 November 2018 Polity 120 Pages
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Power is commonly defined as a causal relation: an individual’s power is the cause that produces a change of behaviour in someone else against the latter’s will. Han rejects this view, arguing that power is better understood as a mediation between ego and alter which creates a complex array of reciprocal interdependencies. Power can also be exercised not only against the other but also within and through the other, and this involves a much higher degree of mediation. This perspective enables us to see that power and freedom are not opposed to one another but are manifestations of the same power, differing only in the degree of mediation.
This highly original account of power will be of great interest to students and scholars of philosophy and of social, political and cultural theory, as well as to anyone seeking to understand the many ways in which power shapes our lives today.
Table of contents
1. The Logic of Power 1
2. The Semantics of Power 22
3. The Metaphysics of Power 41
4. The Politics of Power 61
5. The Ethics of Power 80
Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Stanford University
“The new star of German philosophy.”
"It’s no exaggeration to say that Han is one of the most relevant philosophers of our age, able to make diagnoses when other philosophers, particularly knee-jerk Foucauldian social critics in America, have trouble even seeing an illness. What is Power? is an important document of a philosopher still developing, still growing, though it’s nevertheless interesting in its own right. Han’s flops are better than most other philosophers’ greatest hits."
The American Conservative