By Caroline Williams
French philosophy and cultural concept proceed to carry a prestigious and influential place in eu idea. one of many significant issues of latest French philosophy is its difficulty with the theoretical and political prestige of the topic, a query which has been broached through structuralists and poststructuralists via an research of the development of the topic in and by way of language, discourse, energy and beliefs. modern French Philosophy outlines the development of the topic in sleek philosophy, focusing particularly at the seminal paintings of Althusser, Lacan, Derrida and Foucault. The ebook interrogates probably the most influential views at the query of the topic to contest these postmodern voices which announce its disappearance or dying. It argues as a substitute that the query of the topic persists, even in these views which search to desert it altogether. delivering a large advent to the sector and an unique research of a few of the main influential theorists of the twentieth Century, the ebook should be of significant curiosity to political and literary theorists, cultural historians, in addition to to philosophers.
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Extra info for Contemporary French Philosophy: Modernity and the Persistence of the Subject (Continuum Collection)
Ideas cannot be represented by the mind or cogito under the attribute of extension; indeed the metaphor of representation is deemed inappropriate here because it points to a separation between mind and body which Spinoza rejects. For Spinoza, mind is the idea of the body in thought, it is thinking body and cannot be disconnected from it. Given this crucial interconnectedness between mind and body, and the significance of the body as the physical and material site of ideas (the mind in fact cannot know the body, it may only come to think it through the affections of the body as an idea in thought), how may Spinoza develop a pure knowledge that may conform to substance viewed as the totality of life?
In what we may now view as a fundamental critique of empiricist conceptions of knowledge, Spinoza makes an important distinction between the idea of an object produced by a subject's sensory perception, which, as we have noted, produces knowledge of the first kind, 26 CONTEMPORARY FRENCH PHILOSOPHY and the idea of an object in thought which is prior to the perturbations of the finite body and mind and contains a multiplicity of different impressions and object-traces. Coupled with Spinoza's rejection of anthropomorphism and hence any conception of a subject of consciousness, Spinoza's third form of knowledge does not link subject and object together in a relation of inequality but rather poses consciousness as reflected substance where the order and connection of ideas is the same as the order and connections of things.
The Hegelian motifs of the unhappy consciousness and the master-slave dialectic were adopted by Hyppolite and Kojeve in order to develop an ontology of the subject's existence. The question became, in other words, the mode of existence of alienation. Could alienation be objectified in the social as Marx maintained in the Manuscripts, or was it a relation intrinsic to self and world? If the former, then what could be the political solution (Kojeve)? And, if the latter, was there a structure of existence which could still be conceptualized dialectically (Hyppolite)?