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Philosophy

Analysis of Karel Capek’s Plays

Karel Capek  (9 January 1890 – 25 December 1938) was concerned with the natural order of things, a theme that pervaded much of his work. His allegorical approach to expressionism linked his deep philosophical concerns to striking and often disturbing human… Read More ›

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The Philosophy of Buddha

The person known as “the Buddha” (c.480–400 bce) was Siddhattha Gotama (in Pali; in Sanskrit Siddhartha Gautama). “Buddha” means “Awakened One” or “Enlightened One,” and is a descriptive title rather than a name. Gotama lived in north-east India at a… Read More ›

Key Theories of Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) was the leading analytical philosopher of the twentieth century. His two philosophical masterpieces, the Tractatus Logico-philosophicus (1921) and the posthumous Philosophical Investigations (1953), changed the course of the subject. The first was the primary origin of the… Read More ›

The Philosophy of Jacques Derrida

Jacques Derrida (1930–2004), a leading figure in French post-structuralist philosophy, is renowned for having developed deconstruction. His prolific writings treat both philosophical and literary works, and do so in various ways, of which deconstruction is the most philosophically significant. The… Read More ›

Critical Theory

Critical Theory is, by and large, concerned with the critique of MODERNITY, MODERNIZATION, and the modern state. The first generation of critical theorists – Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Walter Benjamin, Erich Fromm – came together in the early… Read More ›

Deconstruction Theory

Deconstruction emerged out of a tradition of French philosophical thought strongly influenced by the phenomenological projects of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. The main concern of phenomenology is consciousness and essence. For Husserl, consciousness entailed an intention towards the essence… Read More ›

Key Theories of Theodor Adorno

German philosopher, sociologist and musicologist who was a leading member (and eventually director) of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research (the institutional basis of the Frankfurt School of German critical theory),  Theodor Adorno’s (1903-1969) work may be understood as an… Read More ›

Key Theories of Edward Said

American literary critic, postcolonial theorist and political commentator who was born in the Middle East. In 1963  Edward Said (1935- 2003) was made Parr Professor of English and Comparative Literature, at Columbia University, New York, where he has remained to… Read More ›

The Philosophy of Richard Rorty

Although trained within the so-called ‘analytic’ tradition, Richard Rorty (1931-2007) espouses an approach to philosophy that is generally referred to as ‘neo-pragmatist’. Rorty draws heavily on the works of C. S. Peirce, William James and John Dewey, and also displays an… Read More ›

Key Theories of Georg Lukacs

The Hungarian philosopher and literary critic Gyorgy (or Georg) Lukacs (1885-1971) had a major influence on the development of Western Marxism (that is to say, the largely Hegelian Marxism developed in Western Europe), while also being the most sophisticated literary… Read More ›

The Sociology of Emile Durkheim

Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) French sociologist, regarded as one of the ‘founding fathers’ of sociology. His early work developed a theory of society as a transcendent reality that constrained individuals, and proposed the methodology necessary to study that reality. His work… Read More ›

Key Concepts of Georges Bataille

French philosopher, novelist, poet and essayist. Georges Bataille‘s (1897-1962) work is antisystematic and hence defies summary, but a number of important themes predominate within it. These themes include an obsessive concern with the erotic, myth, sacrifice, the nature of excess,… Read More ›

Key Theories of Paul Ricoeur

Two different traditions in the study of language and philosophy come together magisterially in Paul Ricoeur’s (1913–2005) study The Rule of Metaphor (1975; trans. 1977), with Anglo-American and ‘French’ approaches thereby brought into dialogue. While there is much talk of transdisciplinary… Read More ›

Key Theories of Michel Foucault

Over three decades after his death, Michel Foucault’s (1920–1984) legacy continues to impact upon the humanities. Key phrases and concepts drawn from Foucault’s historical work now form part of the everyday language of criticism and analysis. Foucault’s texts continue to resonate… Read More ›

Historiographic Metafiction

A term originally coined by Linda Hutcheon, in A Poetics of Postmodernism, historiographic metafiction includes those postmodern works, usually popular novels, which are “both intensely self-reflexive and paradoxically lay claim to historical events and personages”. This is categorically a postmodern… Read More ›

Historiography

The postmodern idea of history repudiates the humanist notion that it corresponds faithfully to reality and asserts that it is textual and mediated in order to validate power centres. Thus, while “history” deals with the past, “historiography” deals with the… Read More ›

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