Why Philosophize?

Why Philosophize?

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Why Philosophize? is a series of lectures given byJean-Fran ois Lyotard to students at the Sorbonne embarking ontheir university studies. The circumstances obliged him to be bothclear and concise: at the same time, his lectures offer a profoundand far-reaching meditation on how essential it is to philosophizein a world where philosophy often seems irrelevant, outdated, orinconclusive.

Lyotard begins by drawing on Plato, Proust and Lacan to show thatphilosophy is a never-ending desire - for wisdom, for the'other'. In the second lecture he draws on Heraclitusand Hegel to explore the close relation between philosophy andhistory: the same restlessness, the same longing for a precariousunity, drives both. In his third lecture, Lyotard examines howphilosophy is a form of utterance, both communicative and indirect.Finally, he turns to Marx, exploring the extent to which philosophycan be a transformative action within the world.

These wonderfully accessible lectures by one of the mostinfluential philosophers of the last 50 years will attract a widereadership, since, as Lyotard says, 'How can one notphilosophize?' They are also an excellent introduction toLyotard's mature thought, with its emphasis on the need forphilosophy to bear witness, however obliquely, to a recalcitrantreality.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text | 100 pages
  • Polity Press
  • United Kingdom
  • 074567996X
  • 9780745679969

Table of contents

Acknowledgements vi

Editorial note vii

Introduction 1

1 Why desire? 17

2 Philosophy and origin 44

3 On philosophical speech 70

4 On philosophy and action 100
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Review quote

"Lyotard suffered the fate of having his name attached to a oncefashionable idea that is now decisively d mod postmodernism. That Lyotard was a major voice in philosophy that weshould read and reread is evidenced by this genuinely delightful, surprising and accessible series of introductory lectures."
Simon Critchley, New School for Social Research

"Desire has a reality. Its hold is inescapable. It is bound up witha move across a divide. Desire brings a sense of unity into play.That sense is positioned in a relation to the constituting andineliminable sense of division and separation that continues tostructure thought. Philosophy is not just held in place by thistension: it is constituted by it. Lyotard's four lecturesintroduce philosophy as that which is at work within the interplayof desire and separation. Philosophy's point is there in itsinseparability from the reality of life."
Andrew Benjamin, Monash University
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About Jean-Francois Lyotard

Jean-Fran ois Lyotard is formerly Professor Emeritus ofPhilosophy, University of Paris VIII and Professor, University ofCalifornia at Irvine.
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Rating details

53 ratings
3.64 out of 5 stars
5 21% (11)
4 36% (19)
3 32% (17)
2 9% (5)
1 2% (1)
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