A new political ethics that confronts the injustices of liberal democracy
Infinitely Demanding is the clearest, boldest and most systematic statement of Simon Critchley’s influential views on philosophy, ethics, and politics. Part diagnosis of the times, part theoretical analysis of the impasses and possibilities of ethics and politics, part manifesto, Infinitely Demanding identifies a massive political disappointment at the heart of liberal democracy and argues that what is called for is an ethics of commitment that can inform a radical politics.
Exploring the problem of ethics in Kant, Levinas, Badiou, and Lacan that leads to a conception of subjectivity based on the infinite responsibility of an ethical demand, Critchley considers the possibility of political subjectivity and action after Marx and Marxism. Infinitely Demanding culminates in an argument for anarchism as an ethical practice and a remotivating means of political organization.
“Simon Critchley is the most powerful and provocative philosopher now writing about the complex relations of ethical subjectivity and reinvigorated democracy. His subtle readings of Badiou, Logstrup and Levinas as well as Marx, Gramsci and Laclau are a gem. And his humor-inflected notions of commitment and resistance are refreshing in our nihilistic times.” — Cornel West, Princeton University
“Simon Critchley’s book is remarkable in terms of its clarity, emotion, and energy. Combining close readings of both classical and modern writers with the data of his own experience, Critchley puts forward a theory of fundamental anarchism backed up by a virgorous ethical commitment. Reading and discussing this essay is utterly essential.” — Alain Badiou
Simon Critchley is Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research and at the University of Essex, Colchester, UK. He is the author of many books, including Ethics-Politics-Subjectivity from Verso, and, most recently, Things Merely Are.
“…no credit is due to me for discovering the existence of classes in modern society, nor yet the struggle between them. Long before me bourgeois historians had described the historical development of this struggle of the classes, and bourgeois economists the economic anatomy of the classes. What I did that was new was to prove: 1) that the existence of classes is only bound up with particular historical phases in the development of production; 2) that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat; 3) that this dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society.”
~ Marx in a letter to Weydenmeyer (1852)