Žižek and Heidegger

Žižek and Heidegger offers a radical new interpretation of the work of Slavoj Žižek, one of the world’s leading contemporary thinkers, through a study of his relationship with the work of Martin Heidegger. Thomas Brockelman argues that Žižek’s oeuvre is largely a response to Heidegger’s philosophy of finitude, an immanent critique of it which pulls it in the direction of revolutionary praxis. Brockelman also finds limitations in Žižek’s relationship with Heidegger, specifically in his ambivalence about Heidegger’s techno-phobia. Brockelman’s critique of Žižek departs from this ambivalence – a fundamental tension in Žižek’s work between a historicist critical theory of techno-capitalism and an anti-historicist theory of revolutionary change. In addition to clarifying what Žižek has to say about our world and about the possibility of radical change in it, Žižek and Heidegger explores the various ways in which this split at the center of his thought appears within it – in Žižek’s views on history or on the relationship between the revolutionary leader and the proletariat or between the analyst and the analysand.

Through a highly innovative gesture, Brockelman introduces a unique way of reinterpreting the entirety of the Žižek’s oeuvre through the lens of his under-explored rapport with Heidegger. The thought-provoking picture of Žižek that emerges from Brockelman’s careful reading is of someone who takes up the challenge of “thinking the unthought” of Heidegger’s treatments of finitude and technology in light of the contemporary dominance of global capitalism. Brockelman makes an important contribution to our understanding of Žižek.

Adrian Johnston, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of New Mexico at Albuquerque

Brockelman’s Žižek and Heidegger offers a sparkling new assessment of Slavoj Žižek’s voluminous publications by way of their different stances on human finitude. This is the first book to bring the two authors together under this heading, and it sheds invaluable new light on both thinkers. An astute and insightful philosophical analysis throughout makes this a unique landmark text in the study of Žižek’s challenging oeuvre: Brockelman’s book is the most consistently and profoundly philosophical approach ever taken to the brilliant Slovenian thinker. In the process, it casts fresh light on the question of “techno-capitalism” as this emerges in Žižek’s revision of Heidegger on technology.

Edward Casey, Distinguished Professor, SUNY at Stony Brook

… makes a significant contribution to Žižek studies and deserves to be read by those who seek to better understand his work.

The European Legacy, Vol. 16, No. 2

Tom Brockelman is Professor of Philosophy at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY. He is the former Director of the Core Curriculum and Interim Provost there.

Books by Tom Brockelman

Translations by Tom Brockelman

Cover of book Language and the Unconscious: Lacan's Hermeneutics of Psychoanalysis
Language and the Unconscious: Lacan's Hermeneutics of Psychoanalysis