Senses of the Subject

Judith Butler, University of California


"In this exceptional collection, Judith Butler displays the unusually vivid, even startling insight that makes her indisputably the world’s most interesting contemporary philosopher. These lucid essays climb in and out of the me, the her, the you, dream and reality, subject, object, nature and the preternatural, meaning and its deadly discontents. Butler wrestles the narratives of embodiment into language that lives."--Patricia J. Williams, Columbia Law School

"For me, Judith Butler is simply the most important philosopher of our age. This is an extremely interesting and wide-ranging collection of essays by that provide characteristically close readings of an impressive range of philosophers, some more closely associated with Butler's work (Hegel, Kierkegaard, Sartre and Irigaray) others much less so (Descartes, Malebranche, Spinoza and Merleau-Ponty). What ties the whole book together is a powerful and interconnected set of concerns with the pre-conscious, sensate formation of subjectivity and the ethical valence of the experience of dependence and susceptibility."--Simon Critchley, The New School for Social Research

"Butler concludes the Introduction to this book thus: “Acted on, I act still, but it is hardly this “I” that acts alone, and even though, and precisely because, it never gets done with being undone.” In these eloquent, passionately dialectical, and vertiginous essays Butler relentlessly tracks our being undone by others, by language, by things, by institutions, and the normative formations that hold us upright beyond our standing upright in the writings of, among others, Descartes, Spinoza, Hegel, Merleau-Ponty, Irigaray, and Fanon.

This is echt Butler: a necessity for those who already know her work, and a generous point of entry for those philosophers who have yet to find their way to her thought."--J.M. Bernstein, The New School of Social Research