ASCP Members' Books 2014

The ASCP community is prolific in producing work that encompasses a variety of areas of scholarship in Continental Philosophy. The following book descriptions provide some recent examples of this work published in 2014.


Mathew Abbott, The Figure of This World: Agamben and the Question of Political Ontology (EUP: 2014)

Mathew Abbott argues that Agamben’s thought is misunderstood when read in terms of critical theory or traditional political philosophy, and shows it should instead be understood as engaging in political ontology: the study of the political stakes of the question of being. He demonstrates the crucial influence of Martin Heidegger on Agamben’s work, locating it in the post-Heideggerian tradition of the critique of metaphysics. He also positions it in relation to the thought of Benjamin, Nietzsche, Levinas, Nancy, and Wittgenstein. As he clarifies Agamben’s philosophy, Abbott links it with Wittgenstein’s picture theory and Heidegger’s concept of the world-picture, showing the importance of this for understanding – and potentially overcoming – the forms of alienation characteristic of the society of the spectacle.



Adam Bartlett, Justin Clemens and Jon Roffe, Lacan Deleuze Badiou (EUP: 2014)

The theoretical writings of Jacques Lacan, Gilles Deleuze and Alain Badiou stand at the heart of contemporary European thought. While the combined corpus of these three figures contains a significant number of references to each other’s work, such references are often simply critical, obscure – or both. Lacan Deleuze Badiou guides us through these crucial, under-remarked interrelations, identifying the conceptual passages, connections and disjunctions that underlie the often superficial statements of critique, indifference or agreement.

Working through the rubrics of the contemporary, time, the event and truth, Bartlett, Clemens and Roffe present a new, lucid account of where these three thinkers stand in relation to one another and why their nexus remains unsurpassed as a point of reference for contemporary thought itself.


Sean Bowden, Simone Bignall, & Paul Patton (eds.) Deleuze and Pragmatism (Routledge: 2014)

This collection brings together the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and the rich tradition of American pragmatist thought, taking seriously the commitment to pluralism at the heart of both. Contributors explore in novel ways Deleuze's explicit references to pragmatism, and examine the philosophical significance of a number of points at which Deleuze's philosophy converges with, or diverges from, the work of leading pragmatists. The papers of the first part of the volume take as their focus Deleuze's philosophical relationship to classical pragmatism and the work of Peirce, James and Dewey. Particular areas of focus include theories of signs, metaphysics, perspectivism, experience, the transcendental and democracy. The papers comprising the second half of the volume are concerned with developing critical encounters between Deleuze's work and the work of contemporary pragmatists such as Rorty, Brandom, Price, Shusterman and others. Issues addressed include antirepresentationalism, constructivism, politics, objectivity, naturalism, affect, human finitude and the nature and value of philosophy itself. With contributions by internationally recognized specialists in both poststructuralist and pragmatist thought, the collection is certain to enrich Deleuze scholarship, enliven discussion in pragmatist circles, and contribute in significant ways to contemporary philosophical debate.

db sacrifice

Paolo Diego Bubbio, Sacrifice in the Post-Kantian Tradition: Perspectivism, Intersubjectivity, and Recognition (SUNY: 2014)

In this book, Paolo Diego Bubbio offers an alternative to standard philosophical accounts of the notion of sacrifice, which generally begin with the hermeneutic and postmodern traditions of the twentieth century, starting instead with the post-Kantian tradition of the nineteenth century. He restructures the historical development of the concept of sacrifice through a study of Kant, Solger, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche, and shows how each is indebted to Kant and has more in common with him than is generally acknowledged. Bubbio argues that although Kant sought to free philosophical thought from religious foundations, he did not thereby render the role of religious claims philosophically useless. This makes it possible to consider sacrifice as a regulative and symbolic notion, and leads to an unorthodox idea of sacrifice: not the destruction of something for the sake of something else, but rather a kenotic emptying, conceived as a withdrawal or a “making room” for others.


Heikki Ikäheimo, (trans. Nadine Mooren) Anerkennung (De Gruyter: 2014)

Over the past two decades scholars in the fields of political and social philosophy have devoted much time to the subject of recognition. But what is recognition, exactly? Who (or what) can (or should) be recognized? What role does it play for individuals and society? This volume discusses these and other central questions from historical and systematic perspectives. In doing so, it helps define the framework of the discussion and advance recognition studies. (This book is in German)


Mark Kelly, Foucault and Politics: A Critical Introduction (EUP: 2014)

This book surveys Michel Foucault’s thought in the context of his life and times, utilising the latest primary and secondary materials to explain the political implications of each phase of his work and the relationships between each phase. It also illustrates how his thought has been used in the political sphere and examines the importance of his work for politics today.

One of the most prominent theorists in the contemporary humanities and social sciences, Foucault is known as a radical thinker who disturbs our understanding of society. He also presented a moving target, continually changing his concerns and his apparent position. So, until now, comparatively little attention has been given to his politics.


Simon Lumsden, Self-consciousness and the Critique of the Subject: Hegel, Heidegger, and the Post-Structuralists (Columbia University Press: 2014)

Poststructuralists hold Hegel responsible for giving rise to many of modern philosophy's problematic concepts — the authority of reason, self-consciousness, the knowing subject. Yet, according to Simon Lumsden, this animosity is rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of Hegel's though, and resolving this tension can not only heal the rift between poststructuralism and German idealism but also point these traditions in exciting new directions.

Revisiting the philosopher's key texts, Lumsden calls attention to Hegel's reformulation of liberal and Cartesian conceptions of subjectivity, identifying a critical though unrecognised continuity between poststructuralism and German idealism. Poststructuralism forged its identity in opposition to idealist subjectivity; however, Lumsden argues this model is not found in Hegel's texts but in an uncritical acceptance of Heidegger's characterisation of Hegel and Fichte as "metaphysicians of subjectivity." Recasting Hegel as both post-Kantian and post metaphysical, Lumsden sheds new light on this complex philosopher while revealing the surprising affinities between two supposedly antithetical modes of thought.


Knox Peden, Spinoza Contra Phenomenology: French Rationalism from Cavaillès to Deleuze (Stanford: 2014)

Spinoza Contra Phenomenology fundamentally recasts the history of postwar French thought, which is typically presumed by detractors and celebrants alike to have been driven by a critique of reason indebted above all to Nietzsche and Heidegger. Although the reception of German phenomenology gave rise to many of the most innovative developments in French philosophy, from existentialism to deconstruction, not everyone in France was pleased with this German import. The book recounts how a series of French philosophers used Spinoza's rationalism to erect a bulwark against the nominally irrationalist tendencies of Husserl's and Heidegger's thought in France. From its beginnings in the interwar years in philosophy of science and the history of philosophy, this Spinozist rationalism would prove foundational for Louis Althusser's rethinking of Marxism and Gilles Deleuze's ambitious metaphysics. There has been a renewed enthusiasm for Spinozism in various quarters of late by those who would see it as a kind of neo-vitalism or philosophy of life and affect. Peden bucks the trend by tracking a decisive and neglected aspect of Spinoza's philosophy—his rationalism—in a body of thought too often presumed to have rejected reason. In the process, he demonstrates that the critical resources of Spinoza's rationalism have yet to be exhausted today.


Alison Ross, Walter Benjamin's Concept of the Image (Routledge: 2014)

In this book, Alison Ross engages in a detailed study of Walter Benjamin’s concept of the image, exploring the significant shifts in Benjamin’s approach to the topic over the course of his career. Using Kant’s treatment of the topic of sensuous form in his aesthetics as a comparative reference, Ross argues that Benjamin’s thinking on the image undergoes a major shift between his 1924 essay on ‘Goethe’s Elective Affinities,’ and his work on The Arcades Project from 1927 up until his death in 1940. The two periods of Benjamin’s writing share a conception of the image as a potent sensuous force able to provide a frame of existential meaning. In the earlier period this function attracts Benjamin’s critical attention, whereas in the later he mobilises it for revolutionary outcomes. The book gives a critical treatment of the shifting assumptions in Benjamin’s writing about the image that warrant this altered view. It draws on hermeneutic studies of meaning, scholarship in the history of religions and key texts from the modern history of aesthetics to track the reversals and contradictions in the meaning functions that Benjamin attaches to the image in the different periods of his thinking. Above all, it shows the relevance of a critical consideration of Benjamin’s writing on the image for scholarship in visual culture, critical theory, aesthetics and philosophy more broadly.


Matthew Sharpe and Dylan Nickelson (Eds.) Secularisations and Their Debates (Springer: 2014)

This volume explores timely topics in contemporary political and social debates, including: the new atheisms, the debate between Habermas and the Pope on the fate of modernity, and the impact of new scientific developments on traditional religions.

This book collects articles first presented at the Deakin University "World in Crisis" workshop, held November 2010 by leading Australasian philosophers and theologians. It addresses questions raised by the recent, much-touted return to religion, including possible reasons for the return and its practical, political, and intellectual prospects.

tim themi lacan nietzsche plato

Tim Themi, Lacan's Ethics and Nietzsche's Critique of Platonism (SUNY: 2014)

Brings Lacan and Nietzsche together as part of a common effort to rethink the tradition of Western ethics.

Bringing together Jacques Lacan and Friedrich Nietzsche, Tim Themi focuses on their conceptions of ethics and on their accounts of the history of ethical thinking in the Western tradition. Nietzsche blames Plato for setting in motion a degenerative process that turned ethics away from nature, the body, and its senses, and thus eventually against our capacities for reason, science, and a creative, flourishing life. Dismissing Plato’s Supreme Good as a “mirage,” Lacan is very much in sympathy with Nietzsche’s reading. Following this premise, Themi shows how Lacan’s ethics might build on Nietzsche’s work, contributing to our understanding of Nietzsche, and likewise considering how Nietzsche’s critique can strengthen our understanding of Lacan.

Tim Themi has a PhD in philosophy and teaches at Deakin University in Australia.


Nick Turnbull, Michel Meyer's Problematology: Questioning and Society (Bloomsbury: 2014)

In today’s society, everything is in question. The reflexive questioning of modernity has fundamentally problematized society, including philosophy, which has experienced a crisis of metaphysics. Michel Meyer’s problematology answers this crisis by questioning questioning, unfolding a new way of doing philosophy, with special relevance for the study of society. In this first-ever extended treatment of Meyer’s work, Nick Turnbull examines the main features of problematology, including the principle of questioning and the deduction of an original conception of difference, based on the question-answer relationship. Turnbull shows how these concepts produce new perspectives in the philosophy of the emotions, history, meaning, politics, rhetoric and science. He applies Meyer’s ideas to key questions in the philosophy of social science, showing how problematology offers important insights for understanding contemporary society.

The book compares problematology with the work of well-known thinkers, including Bourdieu, Castoriadis, Collingwood, Derrida, Dewey, Gadamer, Heidegger and Lyotard. Turnbull uses problematology and rhetoric to explain how meaning is constructed through practice in the negotiation of social distance.


Jessica Whyte & Jernej Habjan (eds.), (Mis)Readings of Marx in Continental Philosophy (Palgrave Macmillan: 2014)

In the context of renewed attempts to theorise a crisis-prone capitalism, (Mis)readings of Marx in Continental Philosophy critically reflects on the ways in which major continental philosophers related to the theoretical and political legacy of Karl Marx, and identifies new possibilities for combining Marx's insights with those of recent continental thought. For a generation of leading European philosophers in the twentieth century, Marxism was no longer an unsurpassable horizon but a horizon in need of surpassing. The book provides striking new critical readings of the role of Marx in the work of these thinkers, their Marxist predecessors and their post-Marxist followers. It brings together both leading and emerging figures in continental philosophy and Marxism to address the interpretations of Marx offered by major European thinkers of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries: Benjamin, Adorno, Arendt, Althusser, Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, Negri, Badiou, Agamben, Rancière, Latour and Žižek.