Academic journal article Philosophy Today

Editors' Introduction: ÉTienne Balibar and Remembering Werner Hamacher

Academic journal article Philosophy Today

Editors' Introduction: ÉTienne Balibar and Remembering Werner Hamacher

Article excerpt

The fall issue of Philosophy Today is devoted to the work of Étienne Balibar and in memory of Werner Hamacher. This special issue on Balibar's work has been long in the planning, emerging out of a 2015 conference at DePaul University on Balibar's work, titled, "The New Universalities." The conference brought together a number of thinkers who explored the ways in which Balibar's work offers a new conception, now plural, of universality. Balibar attended the conference, responded to each paper in his generous and critical way, and gave the keynote address, published here in English for the first time. Without question, Balibar is one of the most important philosophical voices of our age. His respective work on Marx and Spinoza has given us a "New Marx" and a "New Spinoza" opening what Merleau-Ponty calls a new horizon, making it impossible to read these two thinkers in the same way ever again. At the same time and in part from out of these two thinkers, his work develops a new philosophical anthropology that rethinks materialism and history, the immanent and the transcendent, nature and human nature. He is also a leading public intellectual, demanding the rethinking of citizenship, human rights, the status of refugees, political borders, the idea of Europe, and class struggle. Since his early student days with Althusser, Balibar has been unwavering in his demand for what he terms "equaliberty." It is not too much to say that at the heart of his conception of new universalities lies "equaliberty. …

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