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The Violent Visions of Slavoj Žižek | by John Gray | The New York Review of Books
Žižek was dismissed from his first university teaching post in the early 1970s, when the Slovenian authorities judged a thesis he had written on French structuralism—then an influential movement in anthropology, linguistics, psychoanalysis, and philosophy claiming that human thought and behavior exemplify a universal system of interrelated principles—to be “non-Marxist.” The episode demonstrated the limited nature of the intellectual liberalization that was being promoted in the country at the time, but Žižek’s later work suggests that the authorities were right in judging that his intellectual orientation was not Marxian. Throughout the enormous corpus of work he has since built up, Marx is criticized for being insufficiently radical in his rejection of existing modes of thought, while Hegel—a much greater influence on Žižek—is praised for being willing to lay aside classical logic in order to develop a more dialectical way of thinking. But Hegel is also criticized for having too great an attachment to traditional modes of reasoning, and a central theme of Žižek’s writings is the need to shed the commitment to intellectual objectivity that has guided radical thinkers in the past.
philosophy  slavojzizek  writing  books 
20 hours ago by aleksalhambra
How ‘Les Misérables’ Was the Biggest Deal in Book History
On the morning of April 4, 1862, part 1 of Les Misérables, called “Fantine,” was released simultaneously in Brussels, Paris, Saint Petersburg, London, Leipzig, and several other European cities. No book had ever had an international launch on this scale. Within a day, the first Paris printing of six thousand copies sold out to the avid queues that snaked around the bookstores. The critics and literati panned it brutally: Alexandre Dumas, inspired no doubt by Jean Valjean’s sojourn through the sewers, sneered that reading the novel was akin to “wading through mud.” Gustave Flaubert privately mocked it as a “book written for catholico-socialist shitheads and for the philosophico-evangelical ratpack.”

But the people absolutely loved it. When forty-eight thousand copies of the “Cossette” and “Marius” volumes went on sale a month later, “Hugonic fandom” had reached such a fever pitch that shoppers in Paris arrived with handcarts and wheelbarrows to whisk away as many copies as possible. A peeved Flaubert delayed publishing Salammbô by six months: the catholico-socialist shithead novel was monopolizing sales.
publishing  Books 
21 hours ago by wtokie
Overcoming Bias : A Book Response Prediction
I predict that one of the most common responses will be something like “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” While the evidence we offer is suggestive, for claims as counterintuitive as ours on topics as important as these, evidence should be held to a higher standard than the one our book meets. We should shut up until we can prove our claims.

I predict that another of the most common responses will be something like “this is all well known.” Wise observers have known and mentioned such things for centuries. Perhaps foolish technocrats who only read in their narrow literatures are ignorant of such things, but our book doesn’t add much to what true scholars and thinkers have long known.
ratty  hanson  rationality  epistemic  error  contradiction  prediction  books  culture  simler  hidden-motives  X-not-about-Y  aphorism  quotes  big-peeps 
22 hours ago by nhaliday

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