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Transcritique: On Kant and Marx (MIT Press) Revised Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0262612074
ISBN-10: 9780262612074
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Editorial Reviews


An immensely ambitious theoretical edifice in which new relations between Kant and Marx are established, as well as a new kind of synthesis between Marxism and anarchism. The book is timely from both practical and theoretical perspectives, and stands up well against a tradition of Marx exegesis that runs from Rosdolsky and Korsch to Althusser and Tony Smith.

(Fredric Jameson, William A. Lane Professor of Comparative Literature, Duke University, author of Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism)

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Japanese --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: MIT Press
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; Revised edition (January 14, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780262612074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262612074
  • ASIN: 0262612070
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,266,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
In Transcritique, Kojin Karatani offers a reinterpretation of the Kant/Marx relationship. What Karatani sets out to do is two things: first, correct the misconceptions of Kant's three critiques, and second, underline the Kantian cadences in Marx. What Karatani wants to argue is that both thinkers were deploying a method of analysis, which Karatani calls: transcritique.

The transcritical method emerges in spaces where an contradiction emerges where two or more different perspectives may be taken with equal legitimacy. Instead of resolving the contradictions by synthesizing all the perspectives--a la Hegel--the transcritical method opts to sustain the differences by occupying its perspective. Obviously, this problematizes any one claim to the universality, which is not to say that universality is denied.

The book itself is divided into two halves: the first, devoted to readings of Kant; and the second, devoted to Marx. The first half on Kant is excellent. Through a detailed reading of Kant's three critiques, Karatani outlines what it is that Kant was trying to do, and in the process, Karatani corrects many misconceptions surrounding Kant and what exactly it is that he claimed. In an interesting way, Karatani argues that the whole project of the three critiques is pronounced in the third critique, which goes against the argument that Kant wrote the Critique of Judgement in order to fill in gaps. For Karatani, the third critique reraises issues that were latent within the first two, and takes them head on. In writing each of the critiques, Karatani argues, Kant bracketed certain issues in order to distill a trancendental problematic: thus the first bracketed the moral and the aesthetic in order to distill the analytic, etc.
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Format: Hardcover
It's ironic that the translation of Karatani's magunus opus comes at a time when organisational troubles and personal fall-outs have hindered his New Associationalist Movement's progress. Internet problems in setting up community currencies have put the `public' movement on hold for the moment.
The thesis is however is remarkably clearheaded. In order for workers-as-consumers to opt-out of the M-C-M flow and cease to produce surplus value at both the sites of production and consumption - community currencies are established (for example LETS) as a safety net. A non-profit, non-value making, fundamentally ethical relationship is established far from the imagined communities of the nation. Capital ceases to be accumulated, produced and re-produced. And, the state has no control over the activities.
Drawing on utopian socialism, anarchism and communism and by claiming that none of these traditions has properly dealt with the intrinsic relationship between Capital-Nation-State, but merely opposed one by utilising another, Karatani imagines a potent mix of strikes and boycotts that can oppose all.
This is all based on a thourough re-reading of Marx through Kant and Kant through Marx - completely at odds with the Neo-Kantians - that claims economics without ethics is blind and ethics without economics are empty. Karatani also chastises the "cultural turn" and comodification of Marxist theory as leading to only a form of despair and separation from the economic.
This is a breath of fresh-air and a far cry from the complex web of syntax coming from Hardt, Negri and others. Neither from the autonomist strand nor statist marxist traditions, Karatani himself says that his thesis pays a debt to Japanese Marxist traditions and it will be interesting to see him map this out.
Great translation! How to get it wider attention?!
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Format: Paperback
As we distance ouselves from 1989 the perennial Marx paradox takes effect: refuted over and over his thinking resurfaces. The same could be said for Kant in the wake of the postmodern assault on his philosophy. To find an exploration of the connection of the two is a nice surprise, completely topical and quite adacious. One always has the feeling that Marx is resonating a Kantian theme below the surface of the Hegelian swansong. A similar judgment is appropriate for Kant,whose ethical critique contains a latent Marx jack-in-the-box in the implications of the discourse on the Kingdom of Ends. Of course, as the author notes,this is nothing new, and the statement of Cohen that Kant was the true source of German socialism is well known. Time to wrest Kant from the Hayekian monopoly. Seeing the connection between Kant and Marx is one thing, carrying out the discourse in detail is a tricky assignment and I was amazed at how well the author carried this out, despite a considerable number of reservations. The Kant-Marx connection is mediated with a tertiary postmodern discourse/jargon that sounds a jarring note in some cases, although this is the key to gaining the ear of the current generation. One nice thing about the book is the no nonsense treatment of Marxism, with no outstanding commitments to theoretical failures, Stalinism, and much of the harebrained theory of the Second Internationale. We get a realistic and refreshed perspective on globalization that is not caught up in Lenin hangovers, Hegelian pastiche, or special pleading for programs known to have been disastrous.
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