KOJIN KARATANI TRANSCRITIQUE PDF

Kojin Karatani and Michael Speaks In Architecture as Metaphor, Kojin Karatani detects a recurrent "will to architecture" that he argues is the foundation of all Western thinking, traversing architecture, philosophy, literature, linguistics, city planning, anthropology, political economics, psychoanalysis, and mathematics. His works, of which Origins of Modern Japanese Literature is the only one previously translated into English, are the generic equivalent to what in America is called "theory. In Architecture as Metaphor, Karatani detects a recurrent "will to architecture" that he argues is the foundation of all Western thinking, traversing architecture, philosophy, literature, linguistics, city planning, anthropology, political economics, psychoanalysis, and mathematics. In the three parts of the book, he analyzes the complex bonds between construction and deconstruction, thereby pointing to an alternative model of "secular criticism," but in the domain of philosophy rather than literary or cultural criticism. His subsequent discussions trace a path through the work of Christopher Alexander, Jane Jacobs, Gilles Deleuze, and others.

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Indeed, the bulk of the book attempts a close reading of both Kant and Marx to show that an adequate understanding of each brings out hidden, usually invisible dimensions of both. It is fascinating, indeed, to see how an academically rich and well-informed reconstruction of thinkers like Kant and Marx can be made to speak to pressing current issues, namely the development of alternatives to global exploitation and the unjust distribution of wealth.

Similarly, each thinker is taken to exemplify this approach on his own. The second major similarity between Kant and Marx, as I read Karatani, consists in their understanding of reality as mediated by forms. What appears in Kant as categorial and intuitive forms of experience, and in Marx as value form, finds a common source in a conception of experience—and thus of subjective thought and individuality—as pre-constructed by media.

I would consider this claim toward a mediation of experience—whether in the symbolic form of cognitive categories or in the economico-symbolic form of money—as the essential move toward relating Kant and Marx. The experience is illusion, but at the same time perceived as necessary.

In compelling passages of rereading Marx, we are told about the intrinsically religious, since projective and illusionary character of capitalist economy, which entails its own metaphysics and religion in commodity fetishism. Third, the reconstruction of the mediated nature of capitalist economy enables a subtle position in-between a determinism cementing the status quo and a revolutionary project of a wholesale overthrow of capitalism a position admittedly not much defended today.

In this gap between appearance and the thing-in-itself resides an essential possibility to challenge, revise, and transcend the current order.

Moreover, Kant addresses the need to go beyond the mere experience of appearances in the ethical domain, where his categorical imperative gives immediate proof of the law of reason.

The Kantian path to ethical transcendence is crucial, first, since it suggests the content of the categorical imperative in the famous third formulation , i. Moreover, Karatani maintains that this shows that Kant situates this ethical demand squarely in the emerging capitalistic order, as the imperative to treat another never merely as a means is clearly taking into account the capitalistic mode of instrumental action, in which others are economically reduced to mere means.

For Karatani here similar to Frankfurt School Marxism , the Marxian enterprise makes sense only against the backdrop of a normative vision, which is implicitly entailed in concepts such as exploitation, alienation, revolution, and, of course, communism, and which can be explicated with reference to Kant.

So far, so good. We might now be more willing to accept Kant and Marx as possible companions in the trans- critique of capitalism. But this big picture needs a lot of filling in, which is precisely what the interpretive analyses of the book are about. Indeed, both Kant and Marx are explicated with regard to frequently invoked structuralist or holistic models of language references range from Cassirer to Saussure, Jakobson, and Wittgenstein. Karatani does not only read Kant or Marx closely, but fills this reading with numerous, indeed at times exuberant references to other theorists and ideas, either to support or to contrast the idea at stake.

Perhaps, then, certain questions concerning the specific and doubtlessly original readings of Kant and Marx could have been addressed better. Capital creates human relations through commodity exchange via money, the state is based on the principle of plunder and redistribution, and the nation is grounded in the principle of gift and return.

Even though analytically independent, the value form of money allowed the forging of the synthesis of the modern capitalistic nation-state. At the same time, capitalism always remains parasitic on lifeworld backgrounds.

He thus arrives at a reevaluation of the source of anti-capitalistic action, inasmuch as the true power of the worker resides in his role as consumer, on which capital essentially depends for the creation of surplus value.

The ethico-economic model combines moments from the state equality , where strangers encounter one another, and the nation fraternity , where subjects are empathetically concerned with one another while thereby, I presume, allowing for free self-realization.

Accordingly, Karatani argues that the exchange mode of money is but one of four forms of human interaction. Capitalism thus involves more than a narrowly defined economic infrastructure. Yet what we would need, then, is a more broadly conceived model of symbolic and cultural exchange, both to explain economic power and to point to a path of possible resistance.

The so-called postmodern theorists including Michel Foucault on power and Pierre Bourdieu on symbolic capital and habitus , which Karatani ignores, could have taught valuable lessons in this regard.

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KARATANI TRANSCRITIQUE PDF

Kojin Karatani, author of twenty books three in English, seventeen in Japanese is most famous for his studies of Japanese literature. His latest work, Transcritique: On Kant and Marx, has placed him at the forefront of the contemporary effort to re-read and re-think Marx in order to revitalise the socialist project in the twenty-first century. Novelty and boldness. These two ideas recur throughout the reviews of the text that have appeared thus far. The essential concern that I have with the text regards precisely the timing of its appearance. That effort traces its history back to Austrian neo-Kantianism, and especially the work of Hermann Cohen. For the best contemporary argument in this vein see van der Linden

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Kojin Karatani

Inhe was invited to Yale University to teach Japanese literature as a visiting professor, where he met Paul de Man and Fredric Jameson and began to work on formalism. One common way to read Kant is to say that he is a legislator, dictatorially setting forth the boundaries beyond which we must not push. Yet what we would need, then, is a more broadly conceived model of symbolic and cultural exchange, both to explain economic power and to point to a path of possible resistance. Open Preview See a Problem?

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