Examines how violence has been conceptually and rhetorically put to use in continental social theory.
Images of violence enjoy a particular privilege in contemporary continental philosophy, one manifest in the ubiquity of violent metaphors and the prominence of a kind of rhetorical investment in violence as a motif. Such images have also informed, constrained, and motivated recent continental feminist theory. In Violence and the Philosophical Imaginary, Ann V. Murphy takes note of wide-ranging references to the themes of violence and vulnerability in contemporary theory. She considers the ethical and political implications of this language of violence with the aim of revealing other ways in which identity and the social bond might be imagined, and encourages some critical distance from the images of violence that pervade philosophical critique.
Ann V. Murphy is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University.
"…a concise and insightful exploration of the motif of violence within twentieth- and twenty-first-century continental philosophy … Violence and the Philosophical Imaginary is an essential addition to recent rereadings of Beauvoir's oeuvre, especially her ethical period writings … a precisely written and important book for anyone interested in feminist ethics, violence, or contemporary continental philosophy." — Hypatia
"In short, Murphy's exciting book returns our attention to the ambiguity of our precarious lives and the overflowing imaginaries that animate them; we move from descriptive to prescriptive claims only through exercising critical restraint, such that we might do justice to our lived complexity." — APA Newsletter
"Violence and the Philosophical Imaginary makes a unique and remarkable contribution to contemporary discussions of violence. What is unique about the approach of the book is that, from a position squarely on the side of nonviolence, Ann Murphy embarks on a critical analysis of critiques of violence. This is as brave as it is necessary." — Rosalyn Diprose, author of Corporeal Generosity: On Giving with Nietzsche, Merleau-Ponty, and Levinas