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The New French Philosophy [Paperback]

Ian James

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Book Description

10 April 2012
This book gives a critical assessment of key developments in contemporary French philosophy, highlighting the diverse ways in which recent French thought has moved beyond the philosophical positions and arguments which have been widely associated with the terms ′post–structuralism′ and ′postmodernism′. These developments are assessed through a close comparative reading of the work of seven contemporary thinkers: Jean–Luc Marion, Jean–Luc Nancy, Bernard Stiegler, Catherine Malabou, Jacques Rancière, Alain Badiou and François Laruelle. The book situates the writing of each philosopher in relation to earlier traditions of French thought. In differing ways, these philosophers decisively distance themselves from the linguistic paradigm which dominated so much twentieth–century thought in order to rethink philosophical conceptions of materiality, worldliness, shared embodied existence and human agency or subjectivity. They thereby open the way for a radical renewal of the claims, possibilities and transformative power of philosophical thinking itself. This book will be an indispensable text for students of philosophy and for anyone interested in current developments in philosophy and social thought.

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"It is difficult to imagine a better introduction to contemporary French thought than this one." French Studies "Definitely a welcome contribution to the task of invigorating and renewing scholarship on French philosophy, that will hopefully raise new interest in texts whose theoretical and interpretative matrix is still ongoing." Review 31 "An all–encompassing view provided by this concise and insightful book allows us to comprehend the pressing issues of fundamentalism, evil and death, of madness and reason, of the ′questions of how something new might enter the world′." Spectrum "Ian James′s impressive new work carves out, with precision and clarity, a distinctive new domain within recent French philosophy, revealing a varied spectrum of thinkers who share a common desire to go beyond dominant theories of signification to engage with both the materiality of the real and the question of subjectivity in the wake of structuralism. A real contribution to French intellectual history." Christina Howells, University of Oxford "Concise, insightful, lucidly argued, The New French Philosophy discerns how seven thinkers turn away from the linguistic and writerly paradigms of the heyday of structuralism and post–structuralism. By invigorating French thought through emphasis on materiality and the concrete, James addresses pressing political, social and aesthetic dilemmas. His highly original discussions inform, delight and energize." Verena Andermatt Conley, Harvard University "Ian James′ The New French Philosophy provides an intelligent and accessible overview of the current state of play contemporary French philosophy. Students will welcome James′ clear–minded thinking, but will also benefit from an original contribution to the developments he outlines. The book is an ideal introduction to the post–linguistic orientation of French thought." Steven Groarke, Roehampton University "The vibrancy of French philosophy continues. Rather than succumb to the presentation of the development of thought within mere chronology, Ian James, by focusing on the centrality of materiality and the capacity of thought to enact modes of transformation, has recast the philosophical. Positing a set of relations between thinkers, James has provided a deeper and more complex version of contemporary French philosophy than has been aviable hitherto." Andrew Benjamin, Monash University  

About the Author

Ian James is university lecturer in the Department of French at the University of Cambridge.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and Comprehensive 23 Aug 2012
By DM - Published on
I bought this book in my local bookstore without knowing much of the author and nothing of its subjects. I was more familiar with the generation of French thinkers before the ones examined in James' lucid book - Deleuze and Derrida. James showcases recent French philosophy and does so with good style. I am very impressed by the book and have read it a few times now. His chapters on Jean-Luc Marion and Bernard Steigler are fascinating.

Those who have an interest in pheneomenology, deconstruction and, especially, Heidegger, will get alot out of this book. Each chapter displays the inventiveness and conceptual creativity of important thinkers who do homage to Husserl, Derrida and Heidegger by using them as a spring-board into new realms of thoughtful possibility. James' style is smooth and persuasive. So much so, since reading James' book I have become a fan of Marion and have purchased his wonderful triology "Reduction and Givenness", "Being Given", and "In Excess" (truly incredible and inspiring works!).

I recommend Ian James' book to would-be, and long-standing, students of modern philosophy. It is a good place to start the real, exciting journey of reading the works of the thinkers James presents.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not just outline , but real depth 15 Feb 2013
By barryb - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I already had a grasp of the general position of French philosophy and its radical interpretation of taking the far left position on Hegel's psychology. So I did not need overviews. And, thankfully, this book gives you more. James takes each thinker and presents their central significant contribution in a way that addresses real depth for each thinker. You actually come away with a real sense of substance. He gives about 20 pages to each thinker and keeps their presentation pure, without bleeding the positions together. I needed four thinkers that I had not studied: Marion, Nancy, Stiegler, and Badiou. All four were excellent presentations. If you have a firm grasp on Hegel's psychology you won't have any trouble integrating the material into a larger picture. This book was a pleasant surprise. It actually presents real depth in a concise presentation. A huge contribution for all interested in this emerging field of study. 5 stars for sure.
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