"Caroline Williams marks what is distinctive about 20th Century French philosophy's interrogation of the subject and demonstrates its historical continuity in a lucid, balanced and utterly convincing way."
David Wood, Vanderbilt University
French philosophy and cultural theory continue to hold a prestigious and influential position in European thought. One of the central themes of contemporary French philosophy is its concern with the theoretical and political status of the subject, a question which has been broached by structuralists and poststructuralists through an analysis of the construction of the subject in and by language, discourse, power and ideology.
Contemporary French Philosophy outlines the construction of the subject in modern philosophy, focusing in particular on the seminal work of Althusser, Lacan, Derrida and Foucault. The book interrogates some of the most influential perspectives on the question of the subject to contest those postmodern voices which announce its disappearance or death. It argues instead that the question of the subject persists, even in those perspectives which seek to abandon it altogether.
Providing a broad introduction to the field and an original analysis of some of the most influential theorists of the 20th century, the book will be of great interest to political and literary theorists, cultural historians, as well as to philosophers.
About the Author
Caroline Williams is Lecturer in Political Theory at Queen Mary and Westfield College. She has written on feminism, subjectivity and psychoanalysis.
Table of Contents
|1.||Inheriting Problems and Paradoxes: Subjectivity and Modern Philosophy||12|
|I.||Descartes and the birth of the modern cogito||14|
|II.||Spinoza's philosophy of substance: the decomposition and recomposition of the subject||18|
|III.||Hegelian phenomenology: constructing the subject of history||27|
|2.||Marxism and Subjectivity: from Lukacs to Althusser||38|
|I.||Returning to Lukacs||40|
|II.||The encounter between structuralism and subjectivity||54|
|III.||Althusser and the repositioning of the subject||56|
|3.||Psychoanalysis, Subjectivity and the Vita Lingua||78|
|I.||Lacan's theory of the subject||82|
|II.||The paradox of the subject: between philosophy and psychoanalysis||92|
|III.||Psychoanalysis, subjectivity and the political||102|
|4.||Derrida, Subjectivity and the Politics of Differance||109|
|I.||Situating deconstruction: Derrida, Althusser and Lacan||112|
|II.||Deconstruction and the subject: contesting the subject as self-presence||122|
|III.||Deconstruction and political critique||140|
|5.||The Discursive Construction of the Subject||152|
|I.||Archaeologies of the subject||156|
|II.||Foucauldian dilemmas: thinking the limits of discourse||170|
|III.||Genealogies of the subject: power and subjection||175|
|Conclusion - The Persistence of the Subject||190|