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Critique of Cynical Reason (Theory and History of Literature, Volume 40) Paperback – February 1, 1988


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; 1 edition (February 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816615861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816615865
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Sloterdijk's critique belongs as much to the genre of Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy as it does to that of Kant's critiques, for his objective is to see human society through his chosen concept rather than simply to explicate the concept in itself. He defines two aspects of cynicism; one, an "enlightened false consciousness," akin to Marx's alienation, which pervades modern society; the other, a species of critical reason first exemplified by Diogenes. Sloterdijk is clearly indebted to Hegel, Nietzsche, and Horkheimer, but his discursive method will appeal to scholars of literary criticism rather than social science. Brent A. Nelson, Univ. of Arkansas at Little Rock Lib.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
"Mistrust is the intelligence of the disadvantaged," or "In any form of erudition, intelligence risks its life" or "emigration has become a fact of mass psychology"--these are among hundreds of aphoristic statements that make Sloterdijk's wide-ranging studies and well-reasoned observations on cynicism, Diogenes and the search for truth, Nietzsche, Marx, and the contemporary human situation so striking. He's had enough of nihilism (and all its intellectual and industrial applications), and tells you why. And the book's illustrated with extraordinary aptness--everything from medieval woodcuts to Pasolini. In short, he clears a space to think--a rare event. To read a present-day Lucian who can shake hands with Kierkegaard, read this book.
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28 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
Sloterdijk adheres to the theories advanced by Immanuel Kant in the Critique of Pure Reason, but begins where Kant left off by exposing the force behind dynamic individualism. In other words, the a priori of Kant becomes the a posteriori here--the experience alone mitigates life. Rather than dwelling endlessly on mathematical knowledge, as Kant did, Sloterdijk's epistemology more nearly resembles David Hume's. Indeed, in shaping his discussion of logical versus factual propositions, knowledge by acquaintance is always knowledge based upon what Hume called "impressions". The 'cynical' aspect of the title derives from the "enlightened false consciousness" Sloterdijk finds in modern society.
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15 of 22 people found the following review helpful By kleistj@splava.cc.plattsburgh.edu on October 1, 1997
Format: Paperback
An insightful account of the cynical "Zeitgeist." Sloterdijk's book is-after 15 years-still a fresh wind in the grey landscape of Philosophy. He writes with "verve," thinks wonderfully unsystematic, and says what we all (more or less) think. Highly recommendable to the flexible mind. Juergen Kleist, Plattsburgh, New York
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5 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
Sloterdijk's categorical imperative centers on the phenomenology of reason and judgment, without the excess baggage one finds in Kant. Describing an arc, for example, Sloterdijk reveals the nuances of and reasoning surrounding a curve, bending the parallax of the necessary optical effect.
Sloterdijk's humor is not lost, either, for his critique blends the effusive as well as effective. I highly recommend this book.
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30 of 67 people found the following review helpful By R. Shackelford on April 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
"The fertile ground for cynicism in modern times is to be found not only in urban culture but also in the courtly sphere. Both are dies of pernicious realism through which human beings learn the crooked smile of open immorality. Here, as there, a sophisticated knowledge accumulates in informed, intelligent minds, a knowledge that moves elegantly back and forth between naked facts and conventional facades." (p. 4)

This goes on, more or less like that, until a few pages from the end, p. 544, in "Conclusions", we get:

"Under the pressure of suffering in the most recent crises, members of our civilization see themselves forced, quasi-neoclassically, to repeat the "know thyself," and in this they discover their systematic inability to communicate in the way that would guarantee true de-escalation."

If you are seeking to read 547 pages of that type of writing, this is your book.
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