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In Medias Res

In Medias Res: Peter Sloterdijk's Spherological Poetics of Being

Willem Schinkel
Liesbeth Noordegraaf-Eelens
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 204
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  • Book Info
    In Medias Res
    Book Description:

    Sloterdijk has in recent years grown into one of Germany's most influential thinkers. His work, which is extremely relevant for philosophers, scientists of art and culture, sociologists, political scientists and theologists, is only now gradually being translated in English. This book makes his work accessible to a wider audience by putting it to work in orientation towards current issues. Sloterdijk's philosophy moves from a Heideggerian project to think 'space and time' to a Diogenes-inspired 'kynical' affirmation of the body and a Deleuzian ontology of network-spheres. In a range of accessible and clearly written chapters, this book discusses the many aspects of this thought. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1450-2
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. 1. Peter Sloterdijk’s Spherological Acrobatics: An Exercise in Introduction
    (pp. 7-28)
    Willem Schinkel and Liesbeth Noordegraaf-Eelens

    Peter Sloterdijk is a morphological thinker. He thinks morphologies and his thinking continually morphs. He is interested in life forms, in the forms of collectivity, and in the collective forms of individuality. He just as soon analyzes the intra-uteral life of the unborn child as he does the space of the apartment-dweller. He finds in Ficino’s rendition of the visual field just as many indications of a being-in-spheres as in the 15thand 16thcentury discovery of the sea as the primary medium of modern being. Sloterdijk’s work can be said to have a certain cosmogonic character. After the Fall,...

  4. 2. Foamy Business: On the Organizational Politics of Atmospheres
    (pp. 29-42)
    Christian Borch

    One of the most intriguing parts of Peter Sloterdijk’s recent work is undoubtedly his trilogy on spheres,Sphären I–III.¹ In this spheres project, Sloterdijk offers a grand theory of our spatial embeddedness in the world. Being is simply being-in-spheres, as he puts in an unmistakably Heidegger-inspired fashion, and which means that all life takes place within membranes that protect us (give us immunity and meaning). According to Sloterdijk, such membranes are always spatially situated and often even take physical spatial forms.

    The three volumes of the spherology unfold life’s spherical constitution on different scales. The first volume is devoted...

  5. 3. “Transgenous Philosophy”: Post-humanism, Anthropotechnics and the Poetics of Natal Difference
    (pp. 43-66)
    Sjoerd van Tuinen

    In this chapter¹ I investigate Peter Sloterdijk’s relation to humanism, especially in its post-Kantian sense of an ideology of Enlightenment based on anthropology. How does an author who writes after Nietzsche’s biopolitical challenge of theÜbermensch, Heidegger’s ontological upgrading of thehumanitas, Foucault’s structuralist decentering of man, Derrida’s deconstruction of anthropocentric discourse and Deleuze & Guattari’s machinic constructivism, relate to the ideology of emancipation through formation (Bildung), i.e. the “anthropotechnics” of reading and writing? What are the biopolitical insights of an “anthropo-phenomenology” or an “anthropology beyond humans”?² Can a positive understanding of ‘humanity’ still be found in his work?


  6. 4. Disinhibition, Subjectivity and Pride. Or: Guess Who Is Looking? Peter Sloterdijk’s reconstruction of ‘thymotic’ qualities, psychoanalysis and the question of spectatorship
    (pp. 67-82)
    Robert Pfaller

    A distinctive mark of Peter Sloterdijk’s philosophy, especially within the context of the German tradition, seems to be its striking serenity. Sloterdijk is obviously amused by what he observes (for example, postmodern cynicism), and he comments about it with a polite smile reflecting something between a certain kind of love and a slight contempt for a more or less silly object. This detached attitude appears to save psychic energy and to subsequently allow for a pleasurable release in beautiful and witty poetic verbalizations. So even where Sloterdijk is sharply critical, he is never passionate. This has apparently made him popular...

  7. 5. Sloterdijk and the Question of an Aesthetic
    (pp. 83-98)
    Peter Weibel

    In order to understand Peter Sloterdijk’s writings on aesthetics and their singularity, we must first at least outline the “setting”, the historical foil to the problems he addresses. Today, art is a “discourse”, as we know, a conceptual field in which the different types of images, objects, processes, activities, theories, ideas and institutions play a role. The dynamism of this field is characterized by instabilities, contradictions and conflicts that trigger disquiet among the one or other viewer. The one set learns from New Jersey (Land Artist Robert Smithson), the other from Las Vegas (Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown). The one...

  8. 6. Uneasy Places. Monotheism, Christianity, and the Dynamic of the Unlikely in Sloterdijk’s Work Context and Debate
    (pp. 99-114)
    Laurens ten Kate

    A spectre is visiting the western world – the spectre of monotheism. It is fashionable nowadays, when referring to this spectre, to speak of a ‘return of religion’ in our times, but in fact, what is returning, what is revisiting the world, is not religion in general, but its threefold western varieties: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The spectre is visiting us, and we have to ‘revisit’ it – in philosophy and science, in politics, in our daily existence. However, what does ‘revisiting’ mean? Does it simply address the return of something that had temporarily disappeared (or at least one hoped so)? Or...

  9. 7. The Attention Regime: On Mass Media and the Information Society
    (pp. 115-132)
    Rudi Laermans

    Peter Sloterdijk is not exactly a social theorist in the ongoing academic sense. One will look in vain in his books for elaborated conceptual arguments, lengthy discussions of the views of canonized social scientists, or the kind of meticulous step-by-step reasoning that tries to convince the sceptic who is already well versed in the matter at hand. Sloterdijk prefers to think fast and overwhelms the curious reader of his sometimes biting, much more often ironic comments on contemporary society primarily with well-chosen metaphors instead of dry concepts. Several of his writings do nevertheless address in an interesting way at least...

  10. 8. In the Beginning was the Accident: The Crystal Palace as a Cultural Catastrophe and the Emergence of the Cosmic Misfit A critical approach to Peter Sloterdijk’s Weltinnenraum des Kapitals vs. Fyodor M. Dostoevsky’s Notes from the underground
    (pp. 133-150)
    Yana Milev

    “Philosophy is a briefing”² is theeo ipsoand slightly strategic and business-like quote from Peter Sloterdijk’sVersuche nach Heidegger; it is also slightly broken down to size within the realm of quotidian management. However, what could be better than being invited to a briefing – especially since it connotes presenting solid facts and requesting our expert opinion (if we have one)? “Briefing” initially sounds inviting and like solution-oriented optimism. But since we know that solutions rarely bring us much further – not only because more solutions are circulating in the world than problems, which in itself causes more problems – a certain...

  11. 9. A Cautious Prometheus? A Few Steps Toward a Philosophy of Design with Special Attention to Peter Sloterdijk
    (pp. 151-164)
    Bruno Latour

    When I was young, the word design (imported to French from English) meant no more than what we now call “relooking” in French (a good English word that, unfortunately, does not exist in English). To “relook” means to give a new and better “look” or shape to something – a chair, a knife, a car, a package, a lamp, an interior – which would otherwise remain too clumsy, too severe or too bared if it were left only to its naked function. “Design” in this old and limited meaning was a way to redress the efficient but somewhat boring emphasis of engineers...

  12. 10. Sloterdijk and the Question of Action
    (pp. 165-184)
    Erik Bordeleau

    1. In this preliminary study we propose the development of some central issues in Sloterdijk’s thought, taking the question of power and its political elaboration as our central theme. In his seminalCritique of Cynical Reason, Sloterdijk establishes a crucial polemical distinction that takes on a programmatic value: “Psychological and political enlightenment are, in fact, opponents in that they not only compete for the free energies of individuals but also often come into conflict at the heart of the matter”.¹ Stigmatizing “the psychological naïveté of the old concept of politics”² and stating that, “the depth psychologies are, as it were,...

  13. 11. The Space of Global Capitalism and its Imaginary Imperialism: An Interview with Peter Sloterdijk
    (pp. 185-194)
    Liesbeth Noordegraaf-Eelens, Willem Schinkel and Peter Sloterdijk

    Q Professor Sloterdijk, you say that philosophy is its own place, raized to the level of thought. Can you tell us what you mean by spatiality in philosophy?

    PS I believe that space, in a philosophical sense, is actually the great unknown of the modern world, since all speak of space but no-one was there. That has to do with the fact that we know and use at least two or three deeply differing concepts of space. One is the concept of space used by physicists, mathematicians or topologists. It is the homogeneous space, the completely neutralized space in which...

  14. Contributors
    (pp. 195-196)
  15. Index
    (pp. 197-202)