Book Review: French Philosophers on TV


Adding to the pile of crap on my desk, here’s a review (by Farhang Erfani of www.continental-philosophy.org. fame) of what promises to be an interesting book about French philosophers and French television.

TURNING ON THE MIND: French Philosophers on Television
By Tamara Chaplin

Reviewed by Farhang Erfani

France truly is unique in her adoring treatment of her intellectuals. Slavoj Žižek, undeniably the most mediatized philosopher alive, claims that France, Germany and Great Britain express “three different existential attitudes: reflective thoroughness (German), revolutionary hastiness (French), utilitarian pragmatism (English). In political terms, this triad can be read as German conservatism, French revolutionary radicalism and English liberalism.” Žižek illustrates their differences by showing how each country builds a different type of toilet, flushing cautiously, radically or pragmatically. This strange point, which I read in Žižek ’s work in English, heard him make in French on the radio, and watched him make on YouTube with different subtitles, highlights a particular European desire for uniqueness. In France, this is known as l’exception Française. Continue reading

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