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Logics of Disintegration: Poststructuralist Thought and the Claims of Critical Theory (Radical Thinkers)

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1844675746
ISBN-10: 1844675742
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A major and brilliant work of Marxist theory, admirably rigorous, clear-minded and well-researched.”—Terry Eagleton

“This is a fascinating book on many levels ... Dews manages the exceptional feat of being both fair and clear in expounding Derrida, Lacan, Lyotard and Foucault.”—Charles Taylor

About the Author

Peter Dews is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Essex. He has published widely on contemporary French and German thought, and is the author of The Limits of Disenchantment.
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Product Details

  • Series: Radical Thinkers (Book 17)
  • Paperback: 331 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (January 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844675742
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844675746
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
To reduce any significant work to summary, to package thought in gelcaps, to address the broadest, deepest issues affecting our history and future... It might be considered dangerous by some, to publicly decry the work of another. On Daniel Miller's account, those responsible for the reissue of Dews' work on post-structuralism faced the moral choice of re-publishing the irrelevant works of established academics or "going out and finding the theorists of the future". As a bookseller, I was happy to see the reissue. Access to affordable materials, in my book, is essential to expanding the "reach of philosophy into the everyday". Though Miller of the NewHumanist.org.uk seems more disturbed by the profit-driven efforts of Verso publishing than the intellectual efforts of the authors in Verso's "Radical Thinkers" series, he does present a cursory attempt to characterize Peter Dews as one of these "brand name" academic stars.

Dews approaches his work with rigorous enthusiasm, a kind way of suggesting that the uninitiated may require years of effort to penetrate the significance and relevance of the work. It is likely impossible to do justice to such a dense assessment of equally rigorous tomes with an attempt at introduction. This attempt is rendered with the hope of dispelling the dismissive spirit indicative of Miller's impatient account and continuing the conversation along potentially novel lines.

The seven essays embodied in Logics of Disintegration, circling thematically around the central figures Derrida, Lacan, Lyotard and Foucault, are bookended with an introduction and conclusion. Both are attempts to give context and structure to the relatively disjointed interior discussions. This is not a seamless argument building chapter-by-chapter, one premise upon another.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book on a whim in the hopes that it would make writers like Derrida, Lyotard and Foucault comprehensible. To some extent, it did. But even in explaining Derrida (in particular) the writing gets so bogged down (or lifted to celestial realms?) in exotic concepts born from centuries of philosophical inbreeding that I skipped a few chapters in the middle. The section on Foucault was excellent and quite readable, on the other hand.

In essence, the postmodern French philosophers so revered in the United States (if not in France) start from an extreme phenomenological point of view (heheh, is that a sort of pun or redundancy?) - can't be sure of anything since all we know was filtered through our senses - get influenced by Nietzsche and want to smash down the ideologies and philosophical systems and sciences with all their illusory certitude - and end up building castles of sand.

Just wish the devotees of these guys would take their beliefs seriously by stripping naked (textiles today are heavily influenced by science) and living in the woods so as to stop acting as if scientific discourses were accurate truth claims, since they profess a strident agnosticism on this point. If you act as if scientific discourses made accurate truth claims by, say, living other than in a forest, entirely off the grid: then you are implicitly starting from the critical realists' starting point. Dispense with differance and a neologism-a-minute writing style, and start working on changing the world instead of explaining - rather, fantasizing about it.
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