“The End of American History As We Have Known It” (Thomas Bender)


La vie des idees interview with Thomas Bender (audio and text) is here.

One of the most illuminating examples of your approach seems to be the chapter on the Civil War. How does this apparently internal war between Northern and Southern States connect to global history?

Tom Bender: It is indeed such a very central American event, it seems implausible that it is part of something larger. But it actually is part of what we’ve just been talking about: it is a part of the construction of modern nation-state. And this is what the Republican Party understood: they were seeking a stronger, more centralized state than the Jacksonian period had had. And so we see, roughly around this time, that there are a number of these kinds of consolidations, they take different forms: there’s Germany, Italy, Japan, those are the most classic ones but there are other that are less obvious. Argentina is centralizing at the same time, and the world is starting to get divided up between those in nation-states and those in something else. 

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The New Republic (Finally) Reveals What Zizek “Really Believes”


UPDATE: Larval Subjects has an interesting discussion of the matter here and here.

An article from the next The New Republic on Zizek finally puts all things Zizek in their places and reveals the secret of “what Zizek really believes” – intrigued?

Last year the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek published a piece in The New York Times deploring America’s use of torture to extract a confession from Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the Al Qaeda leader who is thought to have masterminded the attacks of September 11. The arguments that Zizek employed could have been endorsed without hesitation by any liberal-minded reader. Yes, he acknowledged, Mohammed’s crimes were “clear and horrifying”; but by torturing him the United States was turning back the clock on centuries of legal and moral progress, reverting to the barbarism of the Middle Ages. We owe it to ourselves, Zizek argued, not to throw away “our civilization’s greatest achievement, the growth of our spontaneous moral sensitivity.” […] Continue reading

Fichte’s Addresses to the German Nation


UPDATE: I also came across this beautiful 1768 edition of Baumgarten’s Metaphysica that you can download as a PDF as well. Plus some Leibniz.

Google Books has an old translation available in “Full Preview” with an option to download a whole book a PDF file – there is a number of cool old books there as well… Like 1846 William Smith biography of Fichte, for example.