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After Life Paperback – November 1, 2010

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"This is a timely, significant, and original work that deepens and enlarges the terms of contemporary philosophical debate over the nature of 'life.' After Life promises to become an indispensable point of reference for future discussions of this topic." - Ray Brassier, American University of Beirut"

About the Author

Eugene Thacker is the author of several books, including In The Dust Of This Planet. He teaches at The New School in New York City.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (November 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226793729
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226793726
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Jake Keenan on April 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The book manages to open up the philosophical dustbin from Aristotle to Kant to Deleuze to show how our basic questions about life have been shaped. The basic premise is that we are caught between searching for a principle of life and instances of life. Aristotle the metaphysician explored the former while Aristotle the biologist collected samples of the latter. Essentially, we are stuck with a contradiction because a principle of life somehow has to be beyond individual living things. This leads to three basic outlets - "The impasse here has to do with whether or not any attempt to resolve the contradiction sublimates Life [the principle] into something else: Life as indistinguishable from divine, sovereign Creation (theology); Life as subordinate to Being (metaphysics); or Life as pure description and classification (biology). In each instance, Life dissipates into God, Being, or the living." (P. 90)

Many of the detours in telling this long history of struggle with this contradiction through Neoplatonic thought, the Pseudo-Dionysius, the Scholastics, Kant, onto Bataille, among many others, and topically into non-Western thinkers range from highly convoluted to boldly thought-provoking. The emphasis varies over the three streams of theology, philosophy, and biology. The early arguments focus on theology and the plenitude of the principle of Life contained in the writings of early thinkers. There is little direct treatment of biology except to highlight the parallels between certain research trends and theological/philosophical ideas. In its broadest perspective the book puts forward the relative importance of a philosophical perspective on the question of the meaning of Life as compared to both theology (Life as spirit) and biology (Life as description and classification).
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If you're a fan of his horror of philosophy trilogy, this is a must read!
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