Infinitely Demanding: Ethics of Commitment, Politics of Resistance (Radical Thinkers)

Infinitely Demanding: Ethics of Commitment, Politics of Resistance (Radical Thinkers)

Simon Critchley

Language: English

Pages: 176

ISBN: 1781680175

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The clearest, boldest and most systematic statement of Simon Critchley’s influential views on philosophy, ethics, and politics, Infinitely Demanding identifies a massive political disappointment at the heart of liberal democracy. Arguing that what is called for is an ethics of commitment that can inform a radical politics, Critchley considers the possibility of political subjectivity and action after Marx and Marxism, taking in the work of Kant, Levinas, Badiou and Lacan. Infinitely Demanding culminates in an argument for anarchism as an ethical practice and a remotivating means of political organization.

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that would reduce morality to inclination, and rationality to what Kant calls 'pathol­ ogy' . The key question of Kant's critical philosophy insofar as it subscribes to the primacy of practical reason is simply: how can pure reason be practical? Kant recognizes that the response to this question requires some sort of account of the connection of reason to interest or motivation, but this cannot be an empirical or patho­ logical interest (particular beliefs, inclinations and desires), but must be

his work, being and the event (l'lire et l'eVe7zemen� , the title of his 1 988 magnum opus. 9 Thus, an event is that which calls a subj ect into existence, into the creation of a truth, whereas 'being' or that which is belongs to the order of knowledge. Badiou is a Platonist and believes that being is ultimately to be explained by mathematics. As he states in the initial thesis of L'euc et l'eiJenernent, ' l'ontologie s'accomplisse historiquement comme mathematique' ('ontology is accomplished

signifier be the key to understanding the savage inhumanity of contemporary war? And although I do not think that philosophers should be in the business of prediction and prophecy, there is little doubt in my mind that future wars (and there will be future wars without signific ant geo-political transformation) will also be economic wars fought for the possession of scarce commodities, notably oil as the key global commodity. Recall Schmitt's phrase, adap te d from Proudhon, 'Whoever invokes

(ed.), Fichte: Grundlage des Naturrechts. Ein kooperatiter Kommentar (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 200 I ) pp.63-80 . 2 7 Pinkard, Hegefr Phenomenolofg: The Socialif)! qf Reason (Cambridge: C am bridge University Press, 1 994) . 28 Karl Marx , EarlY Political Writings, ed. ]. O'Malley (Cambridge: C am bridge University Press, 1 994), p. 1 1 8 . 29 S e e Etienne Balibar's analysis of Marx i n Th e Philosophy qf Marx, trans. Chris Turner (London and New York: Verso, 1 995), p . 2 1 . See also Peter

administration 1 33, 1 38, I f l 2 French Revolution 1 1 0 Freud, Sigmund 1 0, 60, 63, 64- 5, 1 36 humour 79 80, 8 1 , 85, 87 melancholia 80 1 Oedipus complex 76 sublimation 7 1 super-ego 83 4 Futurism 5 eccentricity 86, 89 ego 79, 80, 8 I, 83, 84 enemy fantasy 1 34, 1 3 5 6, 1 38 Engels, Friedrich 1 2 , 94- 6, 9 7 , 98, 99 ethical experience 9, 10, 1 437, 39, 40 Badiou 44, 45, 46 humour 85 infinite responsibility 6 9 Lacan 63, 66 Levinas 56, 60, 6 1 , 66, 1 2 1 2 meta-political moment 1 1 9 20

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