Showing posts from November, 2011

Goodbye, Mr. Chouchani

Even his many admirers - one of whom was the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas - did not know his real name, nor where he came from. Who was this eternal vagabond, ragged and grimy, who was considered one of the most brilliant teachers of the 20th century?By Yair Sheleg
Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel writes that he would not be the person, the Jew, that he is today were it not for the fact that one day, an amazing, rather curious vagabond came along and informed him that he understood nothing. Noted French-Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas called the same man a "wonderful teacher" and claimed he was able to decipher any Talmudic text. Levinas repeatedly emphasized that his own understanding of the Talmud (as expressed in his book "Nine Talmudic Readings," translated by Annette Aronowicz) is only the "shadow of the shadow" of what he learned from his great teacher. Shalom Rosenberg, Hebrew University professor of Jewish philosophy, who met this same man a fe…

Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism

by Slavoj Žižek, forthcoming (April 2012), 1200 pages.

For the last two centuries, Western philosophy has developed in the shadow of Hegel, whose influence each new thinker tries in vain to escape: whether in the name of the pre-rational Will, the social process of production, or the contingency of individual existence. Hegel’s absolute idealism has become the bogeyman of philosophy, obscuring the fact that he is the dominant philosopher of the epochal historical transition to modernity; a period with which our own time shares startling similarities. Today, as global capitalism comes apart at the seams, we are entering a new transition. In “Less Than Nothing”, the pinnacle publication of a distinguished career, Slavoj Zizek argues that it is imperative that we not simply return to Hegel but that we repeat and exceed his triumphs, overcoming his limitations by being even more Hegelian than the master himself. Such an approach not only enables Zizek to diagnose our present condition, bu…