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The Reckless Mind Intellectuals In Politics

Author: Mark Lilla
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 1681371170
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European history of the past century is full of examples of philosophers, writers, and scholars who supported or excused the worst tyrannies of the age. How was this possible? How could intellectuals whose work depends on freedom defend those who would deny it? In profiles of six leading twentieth-century thinkers—Martin Heidegger, Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin, Alexandre Kojève, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida—Mark Lilla explores the psychology of political commitment. As continental Europe gave birth to two great ideological systems in the twentieth century, communism and fascism, it also gave birth to a new social type, the philotyrannical intellectual. Lilla shows how these thinkers were not only grappling with enduring philosophical questions, they were also writing out of their own experiences and passions. These profiles demonstrate how intellectuals can be driven into a political sphere they scarcely understand, with momentous results. In a new afterword, Lilla traces how the intellectual world has changed since the end of the cold war. The ideological passions of the past have been replaced in the West, he argues, by a dogma of individual autonomy and freedom that both obscures the historical forces at work in the present and sanctions ignorance about them, leaving us ill-equipped to understand those who are inflamed by the new global ideologies of our time.

The Reckless Mind

Author: Mark Lilla
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590170717
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A political examination of how twentieth century intellectuals were entrapped by the dictatorial ideologies of their time

The Reckless Mind Intellectuals In Politics

Author: Mark Lilla
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 1681371162
Size: 27.54 MB
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In 1953 Czeslaw Milosz published The Captive Mind, his classic study of how intellectuals in postwar Eastern Europe were tempted to collaborate with the Communist system under which they lived. But they were hardly unique. European history of the past century is full of examples of philosophers, writers, and jurists who, whether they lived in democratic, Communist, or fascist societies, supported and defended totalitarian principles and horrific regimes.

The Shipwrecked Mind

Author: Mark Lilla
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 1590179021
Size: 45.51 MB
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"We don't understand the reactionary mind. As a result, argues Mark Lilla in this timely book, the ideas and passions that shape today's political dramas are unintelligible to us. The reactionary is anything but a conservative. He is as radical and modern a figure as the revolutionary, someone shipwrecked inthe rapidly changing present, and suffering from nostalgia for an idealized past and an apocalyptic fear that history is rushing toward catastrophe. And like the revolutionary his political engagements are motived by highly developed ideas. Lilla unveils the structure of reactionary thinking, beginning with three twentieth-century philosophers--Franz Rosenzweig, Eric Voegelin, and Leo Strauss --who attributed the problems of modern society to a break in the history of ideas and promoted a return to earlier modes of thought. He then examines the enduring power of grand historical narratives of betrayal to shape political outlooks ever since the French Revolution. These narratives are employed to serve different, and sometimes expressly opposed, ends. They appear in the writings of Europe's right-wing cultural pessimists and Maoist neocommunists, American theoconservatives fantasizing about the harmony of medieval Catholic society and radical Islamists seeking to restore a vanished Muslim caliphate. The revolutionary spirit that inspired political movements across the world for two centuries may have died out. But the spirit of reaction that rose to meet it has survived and is proving just as formidable a historical force. We live in an age when thetragicomic nostalgia of Don Quixote for a lost golden age has been transformed into a potent and sometimes deadly weapon. Mark Lilla helps us to understand why"--

The Once And Future Liberal

Author: Lilla
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 178738067X
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For nearly forty years, Ronald Reagan’s vision—small government, lower taxes, and self-reliant individualism—has remained America’s dominant political ideology. The Democratic Party has offered no truly convincing competing vision. Instead, American liberalism has fallen under the spell of identity politics. Mark Lilla argues with acerbic wit that liberals, originally driven by a sincere desire to protect the most vulnerable Americans, have now unwittingly invested their energies in social movements rather than winning elections. This abandonment of political priorities has had dire consequences. But, with the Republican Party led by an unpredictable demagogue and in ideological disarray, Lilla believes liberals now have an opportunity to turn from the divisive politics of identity, and offer positive ideas for a shared future. A fiercely-argued, no-nonsense book, The Once and Future Liberal is essential reading for our momentous times.

New French Thought

Author: Mark Lilla
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400863856
Size: 45.61 MB
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The past fifteen years in France have seen a remarkable flourishing of new work in political philosophy. This anthology brings into English for the first time essays by some of the best young French political thinkers writing today, including Marcel Gauchet, Pierre Manent, Luc Ferry, and Alain Renaut. The central theme of these essays is liberal democracy: its nature, its development, its problems, its fundamental legitimacy. Although these themes are familiar to American and British readers, the French approach to them--which is profoundly historical and rooted in the tradition of continental philosophy--is quite different from our customary one. Included in this collection is a series of reconsiderations of French critics of liberal society (Lévi-Strauss, Foucault, Bourdieu) and of classical European liberals (Kant, Constant, Tocqueville). The continuing controversies over the nature of the modern era and the place of religion within it play a central role throughout the collection. The book includes a debate on the foundations of human rights and on the nature of a liberal political order. The concluding section presents some of the new sociological writing on modern individualism, its pleasures and its discontents. An introduction by Mark Lilla provides the historical background to the revival of French political thought about liberalism, and offers an analysis of what American and English readers might learn from it. Originally published in 1994. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

G B Vico

Author: Mark Lilla
Publisher: Harvard Univ Pr
ISBN:
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The Italian scholar Giovanni Battista Vico is widely viewed as the first modern philosopher of history, a judgment largely based on his obscure 1744 masterpiece, New Science. In this new study Mark Lilla complicates this picture by presenting Vico as one of the most troubling of anti-modern thinkers. By combing Vico's neglected early writings on metaphysics and jurisprudence, Lilla reveals the philosopher's deep reservations about the modern outlook and shows how his science of history grew out of these very doubts. In works such as the untranslated Universal Right (1720-1722), a treatise on natural law, Vico emerges as a profoundly political and theological thinker who contrasted the authoritative traditions of an idealized Rome against the corrupting skepticism endemic in modern life. Vico explicitly blamed this skepticism on the founders of modern philosophy, particularly Descartes. Placed in the context of his critique of skepticism, Vico's "new science" of history appears in a wholly new light. Though modern in form, it can be seen here for what it was: a pessimistic vindication of divine authority directed against the freedom and reason that characterize the modern age. This first truly comprehensive introduction to Vico ties his concerns for authority, politics, and civil religion to his theory of history. As such, it raises provocative questions about the subsequent intellectual development of the anti-modern tradition as it relates to the historical and social sciences of our time. It is a brilliant antidote to the "standard" reading of Vico and will transform studies of his work.

The Legacy Of Isaiah Berlin

Author: Mark Lilla
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590170090
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In the fall of 1998, one year after the death of Isaiah Berlin, the New York Institute for the Humanities organized a conference to consider his intellectual legacy. The scholars who participated devoted much of their attention to the question of pluralism, which for Berlin was central to liberal values. His belief in pluralism was at the core of his philosophical writings as well as his studies of contemporary politics and the history of ideas. The papers given at the conference and collected in this volume concentrate on three aspects of Berlin's concept of pluralism. Aileen Kelly, Mark Lilla, and Steven Lukes trace the development and consequences of his distinction between "hedgehogs," thinkers who have a single, unified theory of human action and history, and "foxes," who believe in multiplicity and resist the impulse to subject humanity to a universal vision. Ronald Dworkin, Bernard Williams, Thomas Nagel, and Charles Taylor examine how liberalism can be sustained in the face of Berlin's insight that equally legitimate values, such as liberty and equality, may come into irreconcilable conflict. Avishai Margalit, Richard Wollheim, Michael Walzer, and Robert Silvers take up Berlin's advocacy for the State of Israel and his hopes for it as a place where the often contrary values of liberalism and nationalism might find harmonious resolution. The Legacy of Isaiah Berlin includes not only the panelists' contributions but also transcripts of the lively exchanges among themselves and with audience members following each session. The two days of discussion preserved here demonstrate the continuing vitality and relevance of Isaiah Berlin's thought in today's social and political debates.

The Stillborn God

Author: Mark Lilla
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 030747271X
Size: 39.24 MB
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A brilliant account of religion's role in the political thinking of the West, from the Enlightenment to the close of World War II. The wish to bring political life under God's authority is nothing new, and it's clear that today religious passions are again driving world politics, confounding expectations of a secular future. In this major book, Mark Lilla reveals the sources of this age-old quest-and its surprising role in shaping Western thought. Making us look deeper into our beliefs about religion, politics, and the fate of civilizations, Lilla reminds us of the modern West's unique trajectory and how to remain on it. Illuminating and challenging, The Stillborn God is a watershed in the history of ideas. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Nietzsche Godfather Of Fascism

Author: Jacob Golomb
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400825332
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Nietzsche, the Godfather of Fascism? What can Nietzsche have in common with this murderous ideology? Frequently described as the "radical aristocrat" of the spirit, Nietzsche abhorred mass culture and strove to cultivate an Übermensch endowed with exceptional mental qualities. What can such a thinker have in common with the fascistic manipulation of the masses for chauvinistic goals that crushed the autonomy of the individual? The question that lies at the heart of this collection is how Nietzsche came to acquire the deadly "honor" of being considered the philosopher of the Third Reich and whether such claims had any justification. Does it make any sense to hold him in some way responsible for the horrors of Auschwitz? The editors present a range of views that attempt to do justice to the ambiguity and richness of Nietzsche's thought. First-rate contributions by a variety of distinguished philosophers and historians explore in depth Nietzsche's attitudes toward Jews, Judaism, Christianity, anti-Semitism, and National Socialism. They interrogate Nietzsche's writings for fascist and anti-Semitic proclivities and consider how they were read by fascists who claimed Nietzsche as their intellectual godfather. There is much that is disturbingly antiegalitarian and antidemocratic in Nietzsche, and his writings on Jews are open to differing interpretations. Yet his emphasis on individualism and contempt for German nationalism and anti-Semitism put him at stark odds with Nazi ideology. The Nietzsche that emerges here is a tragic prophet of the spiritual vacuum that produced the twentieth century's totalitarian movements, the thinker who best diagnosed the pathologies of fin-de-siècle European culture. Nietzsche dared to look into the abyss of modern nihilism. This book tells us what he found. The contributors are Menahem Brinker, Daniel W. Conway, Stanley Corngold, Kurt Rudolf Fischer, Jacob Golomb, Robert C. Holub, Berel Lang, Wolfgang Müller-Lauter, Alexander Nehamas, David Ohana, Roderick Stackelberg, Mario Sznajder, Geoffrey Waite, Robert S. Wistrich, and Yirmiyahu Yovel.