The Parallax View

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MIT Press, Feb 13, 2009 - Philosophy - 448 pages
28 Reviews
The Parallax View is Slavoj Žižek's most substantial theoretical work to appear in many years; Žižek himself describes it as his magnum opus. Parallax can be defined as the apparent displacement of an object, caused by a change in observational position. Žižek is interested in the "parallax gap" separating two points between which no synthesis or mediation is possible, linked by an "impossible short circuit" of levels that can never meet. From this consideration of parallax, Žižek begins a rehabilitation of dialectical materialism.Modes of parallax can be seen in different domains of today's theory, from the wave-particle duality in quantum physics to the parallax of the unconscious in Freudian psychoanalysis between interpretations of the formation of the unconscious and theories of drives. In The Parallax View, Žižek, with his usual astonishing erudition, focuses on three main modes of parallax: the ontological difference, the ultimate parallax that conditions our very access to reality; the scientific parallax, the irreducible gap between the phenomenal experience of reality and its scientific explanation, which reaches its apogee in today's brain sciences (according to which "nobody is home" in the skull, just stacks of brain meat -- a condition Žižek calls "the unbearable lightness of being no one"); and the political parallax, the social antagonism that allows for no common ground. Between his discussions of these three modes, Žižek offers interludes that deal with more specific topics -- including an ethical act in a novel by Henry James and anti-anti-Semitism.The Parallax View not only expands Žižek's Lacanian-Hegelian approach to new domains (notably cognitive brain sciences) but also provides the systematic exposition of the conceptual framework that underlies his entire work. Philosophical and theological analysis, detailed readings of literature, cinema, and music coexist with lively anecdotes and obscene jokes.

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Review: The Parallax View (Short Circuits)

User Review  - Maddy - Goodreads

What Zizek does in this book is what made the other two Zizek books I read this summer good. Always hard to rate - his project is too large, we only have parts and this book had some of the best. Read full review

Review: The Parallax View (Short Circuits)

User Review  - Ted Morgan - Goodreads

I did not understand this at all. Read full review

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Series Foreword
introduction Dialectical Materialism at the Gates
The Traps of Ontological Difference
chapter 1 The Subject This Inwardly Circumcised Jew
chapter 2 Building Blocks for a Materialist Theology
interlude 1 Kates Choice or The Materialism of Henry James
The Unbearable Lightness of Being No One
chapter 3 The Unbearable Heaviness of Being Divine Shit
chapter 4 The Loop of Freedom
interlude 2 objet petit a in Social Links or The Impasses of AntiAntiSemitism
Toward a Politics of Subtraction
chapter 5 From SurplusValue to SurplusPower
chapter 6 The Obscene Knot of Ideology and How to Untie It

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