From a leading expert on the life and works of Niccolò Machiavelli, a superb overview of the pivotal Renaissance philosopher, writer, and historian.
“Machiavellian” can signify duplicity and amorality in politics, but Machiavelli himself was far more complex than this cliché. A high-ranking Florentine government official and prolific writer of hugely influential political, military, and historical works, Machiavelli was also a vernacular poet, first-rank dramatist, and religious radical, rejecting not only the contemporary Catholic Church but Christianity itself. From champion of Florentine popular republicanism to political radical to conservative, Machiavelli explores the many facets of the man described as the father of modern political philosophy and political science.
One of the century's greatest philosophers, without whom there would be no Sartre, no Foucault, no Frankfurt School, Martin Heidegger was also a man of great failures and flaws, a Faustus who made a pact with the devil of his time, Adolf Hitler. The story of Heidegger's life and philosophy, a quintessentially German story in which good and evil, brilliance and blindness are inextricably entwined and the passions and disasters of a whole century come into play, is told in this brilliant biography.
Heidegger grew up in Catholic Germany where, for a chance at pursuing a life of learning, he pledged himself to the priesthood. Soon he turned apostate and sought a university position, which set him on the path to becoming the star of German philosophy in the 1920s. Rüdiger Safranski chronicles Heidegger's rise along with the thought he honed on the way, with its debt to Heraclitus, Plato, and Kant, and its tragic susceptibility to the conservatism that emerged out of the nightmare of Germany's loss in World War I. A chronicle of ideas and of personal commitments and betrayals, Safranski's biography combines clear accounts of the philosophy that won Heidegger eternal renown with the fascinating details of the loves and lapses that tripped up this powerful intellectual.
The best intellectual biography of Heidegger ever written and a best-seller in Germany, Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil does not shy away from full coverage of Heidegger's shameful transformation into a propagandist for the National Socialist regime; nor does it allow this aspect of his career to obscure his accomplishments. Written by a master of Heidegger's philosophy, the book is one of the best introductions to the thought and to the life and times of the greatest German philosopher of the century.
Memoirs: Hans Jonas
Hans Jonas Brandeis University Press, 2021 Library of Congress B3279.J664A313 2008 | Dewey Decimal 193
When Hans Jonas died in 1993, he was revered among American scholars specializing in European philosophy, but his thought had not yet made great inroads among a wider public. In Germany, conversely, during the 1980s, when Jonas himself was an octogenarian, he became a veritable intellectual celebrity, owing to the runaway success of his 1979 book The Imperative of Responsibility. In the 1920s, Jonas studied philosophy with Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, but the Nazi regime forced him to leave Germany for London in 1933. He later emigrated to Palestine and eventually enlisted in the British Army’s Jewish Brigade to fight against Hitler. Following the Israeli War of Independence, he emigrated to the United States and took a position at the New School for Social Research in New York. He became part of a circle of friends around Hannah Arendt and Heinrich Blucher, which included Adolph Lowe and Paul Tillich.
This memoir, a diverse collection of previously unpublished materials—diaries, letters, interviews, and public statements—has been organized by Christian Wiese, whose afterword links the Jewish dimensions of Jonas’s life and philosophy. Because Jonas’s life spanned the entire twentieth century, this memoir provides nuanced pictures of German Jewry during the Weimar Republic, of German Zionism, of the Jewish emigrants in Palestine during the 1930s and 1940s, and of German Jewish émigré intellectuals in New York. Since Memoirs was first published in 2008, interest in the work of Hans Jonas has grown among American academics in recent years.
The polymath Michael Polanyi first made his mark as a physical chemist, but his interests gradually shifted to economics, politics, and philosophy, in which field he would ultimately propose a revolutionary theory of knowledge that grew out of his firsthand experience with both the scientific method and political totalitarianism. In this sixth entry in ISI Books’ Library of Modern Thinkers’ series, Mark T. Mitchell reveals how Polanyi came to recognize that the roots of the modern political and spiritual crisis lay in an errant conception of knowledge that served to foreclose any possibility of making meaningful statements about truth, goodness, or beauty. Polanyi’s theory of knowledge as ineluctably personal but also grounded in reality is not merely of historical interest, writes Mitchell, for it proposes an attractive alternative for anyone who would reject both the hubris of modern rationalism and the ultimately nihilistic implications of academic postmodernism.
With Michel Foucault, Reaktion Books introduces an exciting new series that brings the work of major intellectual figures to general readers, illuminating their groundbreaking ideas through concise biographies and cogent readings.
There is no better thinker than Foucault with which to begin the "Critical Lives" series. Though reticent about his personal life for most of his career, Foucault, in the last years of his life, changed his stance on the relationship between the personal and the intellectual and began to speak of an "aesthetics of existence" in which "the life" and "the work" become one. David Macey, a renowned expert on Foucault, demonstrates that these contradictions make it possible to relate Foucault's work to his life in an original and exciting way. Exploring the complex intellectual and political world in which Foucault lived and worked, and how that world is reflected in his seminal works, Macey paints a portrait of Foucault in which the thinker emerges as a brilliant strategist, one who-while fiercely promoting himself as a maverick-aligned himself with particular intellectual camps at precisely the right moments. Michel Foucault traces the philosopher's career from his comfortable provincial
background to the pinnacle of the French academic system, paying careful attention to
the networks of friendships and the relations of power that sustained Foucault's
prominence in the academy. In an interview in 1966, Foucault said, "One ought to read
everything, study everything. In other words, one must have at one's disposal the general
archive of a period at a given moment." It is precisely this archive that Macey restores
here, accessibly relating Foucault's works to the particular context in which they were
Didier Eribon Harvard University Press, 1991 Library of Congress B2430.F724E7513 1991 | Dewey Decimal 194
Reviews of this book: Didier Eribon...has produced an astonishingly readable account of the man and his ideas , which is also in many ways an intellectual history of postwar France, so wide a trail did Foucault blaze in his time...Eribon's sensitive, lucid and wide-ranging intellectual biography gives us both an appealingly personal view of this quirky and brilliant man, and also a sense of his true stature. --Thomas Frick, Los Angeles Times Book Review
Reviews of this book: Foucault is well served by his biographer, who has not hesitated to paint a warts-and-all portrait of his complicated, sometimes contradictory, subject. Eribon's book offers readers not only a fascinating account of Foucault's life and work, but a first-class short course in the contemporary French literary scene. --Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune
Reviews of this book: A striking biography. --Alan Ryan, New York Review of Books
Eribon offers not only a vivid, timely, detailed portrait of an enigmatic and ambiguous man but also a thoroughly accurate description of the French intellectual world, with all its rituals and fetishes. The book holds our attention like a good novel. --Pierre Bourdieu, CollÃƒÂ¨ge de France
Whenever Bakhtin, in his final decade, was queried about writing his memoirs, he shrugged it off. Unlike many of his Symbolist generation, Bakhtin was not fascinated by his own self-image. This reticence to tell his own story was the point of access for Viktor Duvakin, Mayakovsky scholar, fellow academic, and head of an oral history project, who in 1973 taped six interviews with Bakhtin over twelve hours. They remain our primary source of Bakhtin’s personal views: on formative moments in his education and exile, his reaction to the Revolution, his impressions of political, intellectual, and theatrical figures during the first two decades of the twentieth century, and his non-conformist opinions on Russian and Soviet poets and musicians. Bakhtin's passion for poetic language and his insights into music also come as a surprise to readers of his essays on the novel. One remarkable thread running through the conversations is Bakhtin's love of poetry, masses of which he knew by heart in several languages. Mikhail Bakhtin: The Duvakin Interviews, 1973, translated and annotated here from the complete transcript of the tapes, offers a fuller, more flexible image of Bakhtin than we could have imagined beneath his now famous texts.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
Though many well-known German philosophers have devoted considerable attention to music and its aesthetics, surprisingly few of their writings on the subject have been translated into English. Stefan Lorenz Sorgner, a philosopher, and Oliver Fürbeth, a musicologist, here fill this important gap for musical scholars and students alike with this compelling guide to the musical discourse of ten of the most important German philosophers, from Kant to Adorno.
Music in German Philosophy includes contributions from a renowned group of ten scholars, including some of today’s most prominent German thinkers, all of whom are specialists in the writers they treat. Each chapter consists of a short biographical sketch of the philosopher concerned, a summary of his writings on aesthetics, and finally a detailed exploration of his thoughts on music. The book is prefaced by the editors’ original introduction, presenting music philosophy in Germany before and after Kant, as well as a new introduction and foreword to this English-language addition, which places contemplations on music by these German philosophers within a broader intellectual climate.