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Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism

The Hegel that Žižek loves is much like Žižek himself: a relentless iconoclast, a restless wordsmith, an inventive thinker with a hatred of received wisdom. —Bookforum
For the last two centuries, Western philosophy has developed in the shadow of Hegel, an influence each new thinker struggles to escape. As a consequence, Hegel's absolute idealism has become the bogeyman of philosophy, obscuring the fact that he is the defining philosopher of the historical transition to modernity, a period with which our own times share startling similarities.

Today, as global capitalism comes apart at the seams, we are entering a new period of transition. In Less Than Nothing, the product of a career-long focus on the part of its author, Slavoj Žižek argues it is imperative we not simply return to Hegel but that we repeat and exceed his triumphs, overcoming his limitations by being even more Hegelian than the master himself. Such an approach not only enables Žižek to diagnose our present condition, but also to engage in a critical dialogue with the key strands of contemporary thought—Heidegger, Badiou, speculative realism, quantum physics, and cognitive sciences. Modernity will begin and end with Hegel.

Reviews

  • “A lucid rendering of modern society’s debt to Hegel.”
  • “Few thinkers illustrate the contradictions of contemporary capitalism better than Slavoj Žižek ... one of the world's best-known public intellectuals.”
  • “A serious attempt to reanimate or re-actualize Hegel.”
  • “A gifted speaker—tumultuous, emphatic, direct—and he writes as he speaks.”
  • “The Hegel that Žižek loves is much like Žižek himself: a relentless iconoclast, a restless wordsmith, an inventive thinker with a hatred of received wisdom, an underminer of conventionally acknowledged truths. Žižek's Hegel is kind of a cosmic prankster.”

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  • 50% off all Slavoj Žižek books through Sunday!


    To celebrate the release of the paperback edition of Absolute Recoil (on sale today!), every single Slavoj Žižek title is now 50% off until Sunday at 8pm ET.

    In the New York Review of Books, John Gray states that, "few thinkers illustrate the contradictions of contemporary capitalism better than the Slovenian philosopher and cultural theorist Slavoj Žižek." 

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  • Verso authors declare support for student debt strike

    On Monday, February 23, fifteen former students of Corinthian Colleges Inc., a network of for-profit colleges, declared a debt strike by refusing to repay their federal loans. Taking a bold and unprecendented stand on the current student debt crisis, the Corinthian 15, who are members of the Debt Collective, are demanding that the Department of Education discharge their debts, as well as those of former and current Corinthian students. 



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  • Video: Slavoj Žižek discusses freedom and love with the Guardian

    Slavoj Žižek's take on freedom was never going to be common-sensical, so it's perhaps no suprise that he begins his recent Guardian Comment is Free video in typically paradoxical style. To be truely free, for Žižek, would involve "the state taking care of things, not only without my choice, but even without me knowing about them."


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