In the culture of the modern West, we see ourselves as thinking subjects, defined by our conscious thought, autonomous and separate from each other and the world we survey. Current research in neurology and cognitive science shows that this picture is false. We think with our bodies, and in interaction with others, and our thought is never completed. The Fiction of a ThinkIn the culture of the modern West, we see ourselves as thinking subjects, defined by our conscious thought, autonomous and separate from each other and the world we survey. Current research in neurology and cognitive science shows that this picture is false. We think with our bodies, and in interaction with others, and our thought is never completed. The Fiction of a Thinkable World is a wide-ranging exploration of the meaning of this insight for our understanding of history, ethics, and politicsAmbitious but never overwhelming, carrying its immense learning lightly, The Fiction of a Thinkable World shows how the Western conception of the human subject came to be formed historically, how it contrasts with that of Eastern thought, and how it provides the basic justification for the institutions of liberal capitalism. The fiction of a world separated from each of us as we are separated from each other, from which we make our choices in solitary thought, is enacted by the voter in the voting booth and the consumer at the supermarket shelf. The structure of daily experience in capitalist society reinforces the fictions of the Western intellectual tradition, stunt human creativity, and create the illusion that the capitalist order is natural and unsurpassable.Steinberg's critique of the intellectual world of Western capitalism at the same time illuminates the paths that have been closed off in that world. It draws on Chinese ethics to show how our actions can be brought in accord with the world as it is, in its ever-changing interaction and mutual transformation, and sketches a radical political perspective that sheds the illusions of the Western model. Beautifully conceived and written, The Fiction of a Thinkable World provides new ways of thinking and opens new horizons....
|Title||:||Fiction of a Thinkable World: Body, Meaning, and the Culture of Capitalism|
|Number of Pages||:||224 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Fiction of a Thinkable World: Body, Meaning, and the Culture of Capitalism Reviews
In one of the more exciting intellectual works I have read in a while, Steinberg chips away at some fundamental presumptions we have about what it means to be a person in and of the world. Crudely stated, his main thesis is that our bodies, our societies, and our ‘independent’ thoughts are inherently tied together. There is no thinking Self which can gaze upon the world and rationalize it outside of our embodied connections to everything else. Ultimately, and convincingly, he shows how the modern fetish of the individual, a building block of the capitalist world, is a deep denial and abstraction of what human life—and human thinking—really are.This book found me at the perfect moment. Already writing on how we come to think of ourselves as members of communities, Steinberg blew my mind with the question of how we come to think of ourselves as individuals, and only then as communities. Interestingly, he seeks to do so without treating the world as purely a construction of discourse. The early chapters merge neuroscience, psychology, and political philosophy. He convincingly dismantles the world of Cartesian thinking with a breathtaking range of sources and ideas, from ancient Greek thought, to modern philosophers, to literature, Chinese spirituality, and Steinberg’s own charming life examples, particularly in the chapter ‘Do our pets love us?’. The final few chapters make the argument less forcefully and become something more of a coda against what Steinberg sees as an increasingly disembodied and alienated world. I liked the entire book, but the latter half did not quite maintain the pace of the beginning.The jacket claims that this book is jargon free. That may be, but it is far from “accessible” material. While he may not use the buzzwords of academic philosophy, even with a good knowledge of the ideas pursued, this book still requires careful reading. And even then, some of the quotations he chose to illustrate his points with simply left me scratching my head. Bottom line, The Fiction of a Thinkable World is stimulating, ambitious, and well worth the time.
A first rate and epic tour of the locus where cognitive science, biology, history, and anti-capitalism meet. Sounds quirky or oddball, but Steinberg is erudite and masterful, and expresses much that is deeply worthwhile on the human condition under bourgeois social conditions. This is not an eccentric book for eccentrics but rather an interdisciplinary work knitting together wide-ranging fields of knowledge that are decidedly relevant to each other and work to cohere in a vision of a more expansive understanding of ourselves as social beings. Brilliant, eclectic scholarship and a top notch debut.