We Need Thinking
Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His books include Living in the End Times, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, In Defense of Lost Causes, four volumes of the Essential Žižek, and Event: A Philosophical Journey Through a Concept.\r\n
Žižek received his Ph.D. in Philosophy in Ljubljana studying Psychoanalysis. He has been called the "Elvis of philosophy" and an "academic rock star." His work calls for a return to the Cartesian subject and the German Ideology, in particular the works of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling. Slavoj Žižek's work draws on the works of Jacques Lacan, moving his theory towards modern political and philosophical issues, finding the potential for liberatory politics within his work. But in all his turns to these thinkers and strands of thought, he hopes to call forth new potentials in thinking and self-reflexivity. He also calls for a return to the spirit of the revolutionary potential of Lenin and Karl Marx.\r\n
Slavoj Zizek: More than ever we need philosophy today. Even the most speculative (in the sense of reflecting on itself) science has to rely on a set of automatic presuppositions, like a scientist simply presupposes in his or her very approach to nature a set of implications of how the nature functions, what's the causality in nature and so on and so on. And philosophy teaches us that. Philosophy teaches us what we have to know without knowing it in order to function, even in science -- the silent presuppositions.
I claim that what is happening, for example, in quantum physics in the last 100 of years -- these things which are so daring, incredible, that we cannot include into our conscious view of reality -- that Hegel’s philosophy, with all it’s dialectical paradoxes, can be of some help here. I claim that reading quantum physics through Hegel and vice versa is very productive.
What I really want do is rehabilitate classical philosophy today. That is to say, Hegel was a child of his time. We are 200 years later. How to repeat Hegel, not to do the same things as he did but repeat in new circumstances the same gesture? And even here more for Hegel than for Marx. I think we should even return from Marx back to Hegel. So this is the focus of my work. Then come all the things for which I’m unfortunately better known, for example, my dealings with critique of capitalism, analysis of popular culture and so on and so on. But frankly, to use the not very appropriate metaphor known from today’s military adventures, all this, my writings on politics, on analysis of Hollywood and so on, is more or less collateral damage of my basic work.
Slavoj Zizek answers the question, "Do you think science has replaced philosophy in discovering the bigger questions of life?" Philosophy is not dying, he says -- in fact, we need it more now than ever.
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