An Anatomy of Failure Philosophy and Political Action

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-05-02
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

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This book explores the concept of political action from historical, political and philosophical perspectives, resulting in an exciting intervention in the field of contemporary political philosophy. This book examines what actually happens in politics, addressing a crucial question: why is failure the fundamental category for understanding politics? We all expect promises to evaporate, policies to misfire, alliances to dissolve - politics must fail, but why? Employing Alain Badiou's method of conditioning philosophy with history, Oliver Feltham maps out how politics thinks its own successes and failures, leading to a more nuanced understanding of a distinctly collective form of action. He creates a dialogue between philosophy and politics, playing actual historical instances of political action - such as the English and French revolutions - against philosophical conceptions of political action - found in the work of such thinkers as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Rousseau and Marx. The book thus presents a more concrete conception of the nature of politics as a specific kind of action that reorients and clarifies the field of contemporary political philosophy as a whole.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements \ List of Abbreviations \ 1. Thrasymachus versus Socrates on Philosophy and Political Action \ 2. 1647 - the History of the Leveller-Agitators and the New Model Army \ 3. Hobbes' and Locke's Metaphysics: Substances No Longer Act, Institutions Act \ 4. Hobbes and Locke on Religious Conflict: When Institutions Act, Subjects Act \ 5. Hobbes and Locke on Politics: Sovereign Action and Contractual Action \ 6. Unveiling the Forgotten Model: the Leveller-Agitators on Joint Action \ Notes \ Bibliography \ Index

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