Returning to Judgment

Bernard Stiegler and Continental Political Theory

By Ben Turner

Subjects: Political Theory, Continental Philosophy, Post Structuralism, Social Theory, Critical Theory
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Hardcover : 9781438492032, 267 pages, March 2023
Paperback : 9781438492025, 267 pages, September 2023

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Table of contents

Introduction: Totalization and Judgment in Continental Political Theory

1. The Default of Origin

2. The Pharmakon

3. Individuation and General Organology

4. Libidinal Economy and Proletarianization

5. Stiegler’s Theory of Political Judgment

6. Judgments on the Impossible: Otium, Antigone, Amateurs

7. Neganthropology and the Problem of Judgment

8. The Polis as Judgment on the Origins of the Political

Conclusion: A Pharmacology of the Political

Explores the importance of political judgment in the work of Bernard Stiegler, and argues his approach to judgment marks an important break with continental political thought.


Returning to Judgment provides the first extensive treatment of political judgment in the work of Bernard Stiegler and the first account of his significance for contemporary continental political thought. Ben Turner argues that Stiegler breaks with his predecessors in continental philosophy by advocating for, rather than retreating from, the task of proposing totalizing judgments on political problems that extend beyond the local and the particular. He shows that the reconciliation of judgment with continental political thought's commitment to anti-totalization structures the entirety of Stiegler's philosophy and demonstrates that this theory of the political decision highlights the difficulties that contemporary political ontology faces when addressing global and large-scale political problems. The book provides an overview of Stiegler's philosophy useful for those unfamiliar with his thought, shows how he draws on key influences including Deleuze, Derrida, Freud, and Simondon to develop his conception of judgment, and considers the challenges and consequences of his embrace of totalizing political decisions.

Ben Turner is Senior Lecturer in Political Theory in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent in England.


"Turner … demonstrates the exciting potential in the early work of Stiegler that more pessimistic and totalising later projects appear to foreclose—returning to political judgement may be a necessary theoretical move, but not at the expense of plurality and possibility. Turner's work exposes these internal contradictions and is, therefore, essential reading for those interested in Stiegler's concepts within the author's broader context and his philosophical legacy moving forward." — Technophany

"Ben Turner provides a faithful, inspiring and provocative account of Stiegler's magisterial corpus and its profound significance for twenty-first-century politics. Turner's book is essential reading for anyone already interested in Stiegler's philosophy, and a great pathway into the work of this important thinker." — Claire Colebrook, author of Understanding Deleuze