Is anything ever not an interpretation?
Does interpretation go all the way down?
Is there such a thing as a pure fact that is interpretation-free? If not, how are we supposed to know what to think and do?
These tantalizing questions are tackled by renowned American thinker John D Caputo in this wide-reaching exploration of what the traditional term 'hermeneutics' can mean in a postmodern, twenty-first century world. As a contemporary of Derrida's and longstanding champ..
Beginning with metaphysical debates in the sixteenth century over the nature of Christ’s presence in the host, the distinguished historian and scholar of religion Robert Orsi imagines an alternative to the future of religion that early moderns proclaimed was inevitable.
The question of “real presence”—the Catholic doctrine of the literal, physical, embodied presence of Christ in the host—coincided with early modern global conquest and commerce and shaped how Europeans encountered the religions ..
'A cerebrally enjoyable survey, written with great clarity and touches of wit . . . The non-western section throws up some fascinating revelations' Sunday Times
The story of philosophy is an epic tale: an exploration of the ideas, views and teachings of some of the most creative minds known to humanity. But there has been no comprehensive and entertaining, single-volume history of this great intellectual journey since 1945.
With his characteristic clarity and elegance A. C. Grayling take..
'A brilliant display of fireworks, attacking the widespread and banal notion that "in the beginning" sexual activity was guilt-free and delicious, being repressed and blighted only by the gloom of Victorianism' Spectator
We talk about sex more and more, but are we more liberated? The first part of Michel Foucault's landmark account of our evolving attitudes in the west shows how the nineteenth century, far from suppressing sexuality, led to an explosion of discussion about sex as a separate sph..
'No brief survey can do justice to the richness, complexity and detail of Foucault's discussion' New York Review of Books
The second volume of Michel Foucault's pioneering analysis of the changing nature of desire explores how sexuality was perceived in classical Greek culture.
From the stranger byways of Greek medicine (with its advice on the healthiest season for sex, as well as exercise and diet) to the role of women, The Use of Pleasure is full of extraordinary insights into the difference..
'Bristles with provocative insights into the tangled liaisons of sex and self' Times Higher Education
In the third volume of his acclaimed examination of sexuality in modern Western society, Foucault investigates the Golden Age of Rome to reveal a decisive break from the classical Greek version of sexual pleasure. Exploring the moral reflections of philosophers and physicians of the era, he identifies a growing anxiety over sexual activity and its consequences. At the core of this transformatio..
This is the Chief Rabbi's thesis on the future of British society and the dangers facing liberal democracy. A counterweight to his earlier book, "The Dignity of Difference", Sacks makes the case for 'integrated diversity' within a framework of shared political values. 'Multiculturalism has run its course, and it is time to move on'. So begins Jonathan Sacks' new book on the future of British society and the dangers facing liberal democracy.Arguing that global communications have fragmented natio..
In recent decades, we have witnessed an explosion in the number of visual images we encounter, as our lives have become increasingly saturated with screens. From Google Images to Instagram, video games to installation art, this transformation is confusing, liberating and worrying all at once, since observing the new visuality of culture is not the same as understanding it.
Nicholas Mirzoeff is a leading figure in the field of visual culture, which aims to make sense of this extraordinary expl..
Human, All Too Human (1878) marks the point where Nietzsche abandons German romanticism for the French Enlightenment. At a moment of crisis in his life (no longer a friend of Richard Wagner, forced to leave academic life through ill health), he sets out his views in a scintillating and bewildering series of aphorisms which contain the seeds of his later philosophy (e.g. the will to power, the need to transcend conventional Christian morality). The result is one of the cornerstones of his life's ..
Is justice an ideal, forever beyond our grasp, or something that may actually guide our practical decisions and enhance our lives? In this wide-ranging book, Amartya Sen presents an alternative approach to mainstream theories of justice which, despite their many specific achievements have taken us, he argues, in the wrong direction in general.
At the heart of Sen's argument is his insistence on the role of public reason in establishing what can make societies less unjust. But it is in the natur..
Vladimir Lenin created this hugely significant Marxist text to explain fully the inevitable flaws and destructive power of Capitalism: that it would lead unavoidably to imperialism, monopolies and colonialism. He prophesied that those third world countries used merely as capitalist labour would have no choice but to join the Communist revolution in Russia.
GREAT IDEAS: Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They ..
Michael Sandel's Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? invites readers of all ages and political persuasions on a journey of moral reflection, and shows how reasoned debate can illuminate our lives. * Is it always wrong to lie?* Should there be limits to personal freedom?* Can killing sometimes be justified?* Is the free market fair? What is the right thing to do?* Questions like these are at the heart of our lives.
In this acclaimed book Michael Sandel - BBC Reith Lecturer and the Harvard p..
Translated by Elizabeth S. Haldane and G.R.T. Ross. Edited with an Introduction by Enrique Chavez-Arvizo.
Rene Descartes (1569-1650), the 'father' of modern philosophy, is without doubt one of the greatest thinkers in history: his genius lies at the core of our contemporary intellectual identity. Breaking with the conventions of his own time and suffering persecution by the Church as a consequence, Descartes in his writings - most of which are philosophical classics - attempted to answer the ..
'A lovely debut from a gifted young author. Violet Moller brings to life the ways in which knowledge reached us from antiquity to the present day in a book that is as delightful as it is readable.' Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk RoadsIn The Map of Knowledge Violet Moller traces the journey taken by the ideas of three of the greatest scientists of antiquity – Euclid, Galen and Ptolemy – through seven cities and over a thousand years. In it, we follow them from sixth-century Alexandria to nin..
This is the exhilarating, life-affirming call to spiritual arms from world-renowned spiritual teacher G. I. Gurdjieff. 'Gurdjieff's voice is heard as a call. He calls because he suffers from the inner chaos in which we live. He calls to us to open our eyes. He asks us why we are here, what we wish for, what forces we obey. He asks us, above all, if we understand what we are...' Part adventure narrative, part travelogue, part spiritual guide, Meetings with Remarkable Men is suffused with Gurdjief..
Longlisted for the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction
‘A thrilling and complex book, enlarges our view of Homer … There’s something that hits the mark on every page’ Claire Tomalin, Books of the Year, New Statesman
Where does Homer come from? And why does Homer matter? His epic poems of war and suffering can still speak to us of the role of destiny in life, of cruelty, of humanity and its frailty, but why they do is a mystery. How can we be so intimate with something so distant?
Do you consider yourself stoical? Do a bit of meditation or mindfulness practice? Buddhism and Stoicism have a lot to offer modern readers seeking the good life, but they’re also radical systems that ask much of their followers. In More than Happiness, Antonia Macaro delves into both philosophies, focusing on the elements that fit with our sceptical age, and those which have the potential to make the biggest impact on how we live. From accepting that some things are beyond our control, to m..
What is reality, really?
Are humans more special or important than the non-human objects we perceive?
How does this change the way we understand the world?
We humans tend to believe that things are only real in as much as we perceive them, an idea reinforced by modern philosophy, which privileges us as special, radically different in kind from all other objects. But as Graham Harman, one of the theory's leading exponents, shows, Object-Oriented Ontology rejects the idea of human specialness..
A virus is not human, but the reaction to it is a measure of humanity.
America has not measured up well. Tens of thousands are dead for no reason. America is supposed to be about freedom, yet illness and fear make its citizens less free. After all, freedom is meaningless if we are too ill to think about our right to happiness or too weak to pursue it. So, if a government is making its people unhealthy it is also making them unfree.
On December 29, 2019, Timothy Snyder fell gravely ill. As ..
Philosophy in Minutes distils 200 of the most important philosophical ideas into easily digestible, bite-sized sections.
The core information for every topic - including debates such as the role of philosophy in science and religion, key thinkers from Aristotle to Marx, and introductions to morality and ethics - is explained in straightforward language, using illustrations to make the concepts easy to understand and remember.
Whether you are perplexed by existentialism or pondering the not..
'A compelling vision, an urgent necessity, and not beyond reach' Noam Chomsky
The past is forgotten, and the future is without hope. Dystopia has become a reality. This is the new normal in our apocalyptic politics - but if we accept it, our helplessness is guaranteed. To bring about real change, argues activist and political philosopher Srecko Horvat, we must first transform our mindset.
Ranging through time and space, from the partisan liberation movements of Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia to the ..
Britain's favourite intelligent broadcaster explores why lying is so rife - and why we all think we can get away with it.
'A Malcolm Gladwell-style social psychology/behavioural economics primer' Evening Standard
Low-level dishonesty is rife everywhere, in the form of exaggeration, selective use of facts, economy with the truth, careful drafting - from Trump and the Brexit debate to companies that tell us 'your call is important to us'. How did we get to a place where bullshit is not ..
Democracy was born in Athens. From its founding myths to its golden age and its chaotic downfall, it’s rich with lessons for our own times.
Why did vital civil engagement and fair debate descend into paralysis and populism? Can we compare Creon to Trump, Demokratia to the American Constitution or Demosthenes’ On the Crown to the Brexit campaign? And how did a second referenda save the Athenians from a bloodthirsty decision?
With verve and acuity, the heroics and the critics of Athenian democra..
In this remarkable and groundbreaking book, Kenan Malik explores the history of moral thought as it has developed over three millennia, from Homer's Greece to Mao's China, from ancient India to modern America. It tells the stories of the great philosophers, and breathes life into their ideas, while also challenging many of our most cherished moral beliefs.
Engaging and provocative, The Quest for a Moral Compass confronts some of humanity's deepest questions. Where do values come from? Is God ..
Translated by John Llewelyn Davies and David James Vaughan. With an Introduction by Stephen Watt.
The ideas of Plato (c429-347BC) have influenced Western philosophers for over two thousand years. Such is his importance that the twentieth-century philosopher A.N. Whitehead described all subsequent developments within the subject as foot-notes to Plato's work. Beyond philosophy, he has exerted a major influence on the development of Western literature, politics and theology.
The Republic dea..
How popular democracy has paradoxically eroded trust in political systems worldwide, and how to restore confidence in democratic politics Democracies across the world are adopting reforms to bring politics closer to the people. Parties have turned to primaries and local caucuses to select candidates. Ballot initiatives and referenda allow citizens to enact laws directly. Many democracies now use proportional representation, encouraging smaller, more specific parties rather than two dominant ones..
Edited by Jean Ducange
Translated by John Howe
Introduction by Slavoj Žižek
Robespierre’s justification of the Terror in the French Revolution
Robespierre’s defence of the French Revolution remains one of the most powerful and unnerving justifications for political violence ever written. It has an e x traordinary resonance in a world obsessed with terrorism and appalled by the language of its proponents. Yet today the French Revolution is celebrated as the event which gave birt..
Why efforts to create a scientific basis of morality are neither scientific nor moral In this illuminating book, James Davison Hunter and Paul Nedelisky trace the origins and development of the centuries-long, passionate, but ultimately failed quest to discover a scientific foundation for morality. The "new moral science" led by such figures as E. O. Wilson, Patricia Churchland, Sam Harris, Jonathan Haidt, and Joshua Greene is only the newest manifestation of that quest. Though claims for its ac..
TRANSLATED BY CONSTANCE BORDE AND SHEILA MALOVANY-CHEVALLIER
ANNOTATED AND INTRODUCED BY MARTINE REID
'Everyone who cares about freedom and justice for women should read The Second Sex' Guardian
Simone de Beauvoir famously wrote, 'One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman'. In this groundbreaking work of feminism she examines the limits of female freedom and explodes our deeply ingrained beliefs about femininity. Liberation, she argues, entails challenging traditional perceptions of th..
Vintage Feminism: classic feminist texts in short form
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY NATALIE HAYNES
When this book was first published in 1949 it was to outrage and scandal. Never before had the case for female liberty been so forcefully and successfully argued. De Beauvoir’s belief that ‘One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman’ switched on light bulbs in the heads of a generation of women and began a fight for greater equality and economic independence. These pages contain the key passages..
Winner of the 2000 Mattei Dogan Award
2015 Wildavsky Award for Enduring Contribution to Policy Studies, from the Public Policy Section of the American Political Science Association
"One of the most profound and illuminating studies of this century to have been published in recent decades."-John Gray, New York Times Book Review Hailed as "a magisterial critique of top-down social planning" by the New York Times, this essential work analyzes disasters from Russia to Tanzania to uncover why states..
The powerful, beautiful and chilling sequel to the bestselling Straw Dogs.
'By nature volatile and discordant, the human animal looks to silence for relief from being itself while other creatures enjoy silence as their birthright'. Why do humans seek meaning to life? How do our imaginations leap into worlds so far beyond our actual reality? In this chilling and beautiful sequel to Straw Dogs, John Gray explores how we decorate our existence with countless fictions, twisting and turning to avo..
This landmark book is a founding work in the literature of black protest. W. E. B. Du Bois (1868–1963) played a key role in developing the strategy and program that dominated early 20th-century black protest in America. In this collection of essays, first published together in 1903, he eloquently affirms that it is beneath the dignity of a human being to beg for those rights that belong inherently to all mankind. He also charges that the strategy of accommodation to white supremacy advanced by B..
With an Introduction by Jane O'Grady. Translated by Tom Griffith.
In Symposium, a group of Athenian aristocrats attend a party and talk about love, until the drunken Alcibiades bursts in and decides to discuss Socrates instead. Symposium gives an unsurpassed picture of the sparkling society that was Athens at the height of her empire. The setting of the other dialogues is more sombre. Socrates is put on trial for impiety, and sentenced to death. Euthyphro discusses the nature of piety, Apolog..
In its vast scope, this book presents the continuum of Western philosophy. Ranging from ancient Greece to nineteenth-century America, it traces the history of our civilization through the seminal works of its most influential thinkers. Each philosopher in this volume made intellectual history; each created a revolution in ideas; each reaffirmed man’s view of himself as a sentient being capable of creating order out of the baffling contradictions of existence. And the most powerful reflections an..
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Your ultimate guide to the art of winning arguments, in a brand new edition
Everyone is always trying to persuade us of something: politicians, advertising, the media, and most definitely our families. Thank You for Arguing is your master class in the art of persuasion, taught by professors ranging from Bart Simpson to Winston Churchill. With all the wisdom of the ages, from classical oratory to contemporary politics and pop-culture, T..
How to reclaim wonder in our lives and achieve the good life.All of us experience a sense of wonder at some point in our lives. Perhaps you felt it when you experienced your first kiss; when you grasped the perfectly balanced beauty of an equation; or when you first saw the rose windows of Chartres Cathedral? Whatever the circumstances that triggered the feeling, you were left speechless by this extraordinary world of ours. We may speak different languages, cling to different ideas about politic..
Trotsky and Slavoj Žižek defend revolutionary violence.
Written in the white heat of revolutionary Russia’s Civil War, Trotsky’s Terrorism and Communism is one of the most potent defenses of revolutionary dictatorship. In his provocative commentary to this new edition the philosopher Slavoj Žižek argues that Trotsky’s attack on the illusions of liberal democracy has a vital relevance today...
In Trouble in Paradise, Slavoj Zizek, one of our most famous, most combative philosophers, explains how by drawing on the ideas of communism, we can find a way out of the crisis of capitalism. There is obviously trouble in the global capitalist paradise. But why do we find it so difficult to imagine a way out of the crisis we're in? It is as if the trouble feeds on itself: the march of capitalism has become inexorable, the only game in town.
Setting out to diagnose the condition of global cap..
'TOM PHILLIPS IS A VERY CLEVER, VERY FUNNY MAN' Greg Jenner
This is a book about TRUTH - and all the ingenious ways, throughout history, that we've managed to avoid it.
We live in a 'post-truth' age, we're told. The US has a president who openly lies on a daily basis (or who doesn't even know what's true, and doesn't care). The internet has turned our everyday lives into a misinformation battleground. People don't trust experts any more.
But was there ever really a golden age of truth-telling..
The three works in this collection, all dating from Nietzsche's last lucid months, show him at his moststimulating and controversial: the portentous utterances of the prophet (together with the ill-defined figure of the Ubermensch) are forsaken, as wit, exuberance and dazzling insights predominate, forcing the reader to face unpalatable insights and to rethink every commonly accepted 'truth'. Thinking with Nietzsche, in Jaspers' words, means holding one's own against him, and we are indeed refre..
These are dangerous times for democracy. We live in an age of winners and losers, where the odds are stacked in favour of the already fortunate. Stalled social mobility and entrenched inequality give the lie to the promise that "you can make it if you try". And the consequence is a brew of anger and frustration that has fuelled populist protest, with the triumph of Brexit and election of Donald Trump.
Michael J. Sandel argues that to overcome the polarized politics of our time, we must rethin..
Tourists, terrorists, secularists, hackers, fundamentalists, transhumanists, algorithmicians: in this book Roberto Calasso considers the tribes that inhabit and inform the world today. A world that feels more elusive than ever before.
This book, the ninth part of a work in progress, is a meditation on the obscure and ubiquitous process of transformation happening in societies today, where distant echoes of Auden's The Age of Anxiety give way to something altogether more unsettling.
Scruton argues that the tragedies and disasters of the history of the European continent have been the consequences of a false optimism and the fallacies that derive from it. In place of these fallacies, Scruton mounts a passionate defence of both civil society and freedom. He shows that the true legacy of European civilisation is not the false idealisms that have almost destroyed it - in the shapes of Nazism, fascism and communism - but the culture of forgiveness and irony which we must now pro..
Aspirations for a better even a perfect society have existed throughout history, often imagined in intricate detail by philosophers, poets, social reformers, architects and artists. This book explores a perennially powerful idea: the quest for the ideal society.
Gregory Claeys surveys the influence of the idea of Utopia on history. Central to his exploration of ideal worlds are creation myths; archetypes of heaven and the afterlife; new worlds and voyages of discovery; ages of revolution and te..
A game-changing book on the origins of life, called the most important scientific discovery 'since the Copernican revolution' in the Observer. 'More people should know about this guy's work' - Bill Gates.
Why is life the way it is? Bacteria evolved into complex life just once in four billion years of life on earth-and all complex life shares many strange properties, from sex to ageing and death. If life evolved on other planets, would it be the same or completely different?
In The Vital Ques..
No nineteenth-century American writer can claim to be as modern as Henry David Thoreau. His central preoccupations - the illusory nature of much of what we call 'progress', the proper symbiotic relationship between man and the natural environment, the limitations of government, especially where it seeks to intrude on the personal, the moral and political case for non-violence, the dubious pleasures of material comforts, our intoxication with excess, our unrelenting search for the 'rules' by whic..
Gripping ... revelatory ... unrivalled' Tom Holland, New Statesman
'From Mosul to Melbourne, from Cairo to Tokyo, from London to Oslo, from Connecticut to California: Graeme Wood's quest to understand the Islamic State is a round-the-world journey to the end of the night' Niall Ferguson
'A hugely important book ... Indispensable' David Aaronovitch, The Times
A radical rethinking of what ISIS is and what it really wants
From Graeme Wood, author of the explosive At..
Despite the fact that the European Union faces the biggest crisis since its foundation, on July 1st, 2013, a new state joined the club. For the foreseeable future, Croatia will probably be the last to join; at the same time creating a barrier between the once connected states of the Balkans. Paraphrasing Freud's famous question - What does a woman want? - one of the greatest European philosophers of our day, Slavoj Zizek, joins forces with the young Croatian philosopher, Srecko Horvat, to examin..