The Parallax View


Zizek’s The Parallax View (MIT, 2006) is a more serious philosophical effort to articulate his theory of the gap or negativity (Heidegger’s “ontological difference”) between human thought (understanding mediated by image and concept) and being (our intuition of immediate material reality).

It is good to read Zizek writing in a more serious, scholarly mode (not that this book doesn’t also contain much of his famous humor). Philosophically, he makes a compelling case as to why the various postmodernist philosophers and theorists have done very little to advance philosophical discourse meaningfully beyond Kant and Hegel. In particular, he argues for a Parallax View of Hegel (and post-Hegelian philosophy): dialectical oppositions are never totally reconciled, there remains a gap, the negativity of thinking apart from being, yet this does not mean we regress backward to Kantian skepticism, nor or we stuck in the ‘bad infinity’ of postmodernist ‘deference’ or pious reverence for a mysterious Other. Rather, clarification about this gap, the negativity which causes the parallax of view, is shown by Zizek to be what is required of us (scientists and postmodernists alike) if we are at all interested in reason and enlightenment.

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