Archive

Theory and Philosophy

9 January 2014

You don’t have to disagree with Chibber’s premise—the premise that all human beings are “subject to the same basic forces and are therefore part of the same basic history”—in order to have serious misgivings about the particular history he deduces from it. More…

16 August 2013

I don’t know if you can picture the Lipton’s tea box. Lipton is named for Sir Thomas J. Lipton, the founder of the company, who was a yachtsman and a symbol of the British Empire. There’s a tiny picture of him in the corner of the box. He’s all white, like a ghost. They made him really small and they pushed him into the corner, where he now haunts his own brand. More…

5 April 2013

At a debate in southern California in 2007, the French philosopher Alain Badiou informed the French philosopher Étienne Balibar that he, Balibar, was a reformist. “And you, monsieur,” Balibar replied, “are a theologian.” Both of these epithets say something, alas, about why Badiou, sells better in America than Balibar. Reform sounds like a chore. But left-wing theology! That has an occult, revolutionary ring to it. More…

11 February 2013

This was Cavell’s response to logical positivism: to demand that we only speak about what is absolutely true and false, that about that which we cannot speak with certainty, we must be silent, is to demand that we not speak at all—or else that we lie to ourselves about the ambiguity inherent in even the most carefully defined language. More…

22 April 2009

Despite the billing of the conference, and despite the fact that the papers presented were almost to a one solid pieces of philosophical work, I think it’s safe to say that nothing groundbreaking, or even all that unexpected, happened. The speakers routinely erred on the side of contrition and caution. When Marx was cited, which was often, it was apologetically. More…

20 June 2006

In early March, French philosopher Alain Badiou came to New York to promote the first English translation of his 1988 pillar work, l’Être et l’Événement, or Being and Event. I caught him at Labyrinth Books, where he was to be interviewed by the New School’s Simon Critchley—a man as hip as philosophers come, whom I once saw sporting leather pants. More…

20 September 2004

In between the naïve freak (the man who only wears purple, the man buying lumber in women’s clothing) and the sophisticated street success sits the childhood prototype of all great fashion: the girl who dares to come to school bizarre, wearing yellow plaid and leather and braids, eyes made up darker than an Ancient Egyptian’s, and a cut-and-resewn home modified t-shirt. More…

Image: Untitled, Nick Carter. Oil on paper. 2010.