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Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  259 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
For the last two centuries, Western philosophy has developed in the shadow ofHegel, an influence each new thinker struggles to escape. As a consequence,Hegel’s absolute idealism has become the bogeyman of philosophy, obscuringthe fact that he is the defining philosopher of the historical transition tomodernity, a period with which our own times share startling similarities ...more
Hardcover, 1056 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by Verso (first published 2012)
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Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Mar 28, 2013 Nathan "N.R." Gaddis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zizek, hegel
A boring book about Hegel. And Lacan.

For years Slavoj had suggested that his books were simply a means to distract him from working on his big book about Hegel. Now we have his big book on Hegel and it may serve to distract us from reading Hegel himself. But of course we will need to read Hegel. And Marx. And Lacan. And Heidegger. And Deleuze. And Freud. And Paul. And Hitchcock. And. . .

I love Žižek. He is the objet a. To misrepresent the thought of Friend (Friar) Jeremy, the only true reason t
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Zawn Villines
Feb 01, 2015 Zawn Villines rated it it was amazing
It is a cardinal rule of pretentious academic existence that anyone who fancies herself a philosopher has to love Hegel. I've spent an embarrassing amount of time studying philosophy and even managed to pick up one of those fancy philosophy degrees that no one wants. But I'm just going to come right out and say it: I hate Hegel. I hate him so much that I seriously contemplated taking antidepressants during an undergraduate class on The Phenomenology of Spirit. I broke my computer trying to write ...more
Geoff
Dec 13, 2013 Geoff marked it as to-read
A Note On These Notes:
They are nothing more than my personal notes, they are not a "review", they will be ongoing throughout my reading of Less Than Nothing and they are simply things I wish to return to and explore more or designate with a digital place-marker in this review-space, mainly to document my progress in coming to understand ideas I do not currently understand. That being said, if you happen to read over this and wish to comment, add, clarify, discuss, question, correct, etc., please
...more
Diego
Oct 19, 2015 Diego rated it it was amazing
0) Trigger warning: not only this can easily take most of your reading year, but send you into reading a couple more books to cope with it.

1) Nontrivially, Zizek is worth knowing. Less than nothing was quite a surprise for me, who knew him as a buffoonish, self-deprecating political commentator and a slick, overarticulate theoretician seen in fashion catalogs and movies like the Pervert's Guide series. It's a very, very erudite book -- something of a virtuoso display of philosophical knowledge w
...more
Joshua Stein
Sep 27, 2013 Joshua Stein rated it it was ok
This book was, for me, an exercise in persistence. I'm not much of a fan of Zizek, but I really enjoy reading good Hegel scholarship (and scholarship in continental philosophy generally) so one of my friends who does enjoy Zizek foisted the book on me, extending me an opportunity to read it for free... It took me several months, as those who look at the reading log will note, for several reasons. The first is that while Zizek has a distinctive writing style that is engaging for his typical reade ...more
Shannon Finck
May 07, 2014 Shannon Finck rated it liked it
Well, I made it through, didn't I?
Alex Lee
Sep 17, 2015 Alex Lee rated it it was amazing
What is "less than nothing" is what is lost in order to maintain the relationship between subject and object. This nothing sustains the dialectic, but it’s also the ground that is synthesized in Hegel's dialectical project. But really, this nothing is also the "form" by which phenomenon is understood. That is to say, coming from Kant, understanding or the law of desire is the pure nothingness that imposes the order we see in the chaotic world.

It's actually pretty simple. The universal, the a pri
...more
Benjamin
Jul 31, 2012 Benjamin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
I know describing any Zizek book as "his most coherent" is like congratulating a Bob Dylan performance on being his "least nasal" but if one book can be said to finally put lazy criticism of Zizek to rest then this should be it.

It's not perfect (even though I gave it 5 stars), but what book of philosophy is? Generally speaking, Zizek is trying to "do Hegel again" whilst filtering in Lacan and Marx, reinterpreting Meilassoux, Butler, Heidegger, Jameson and Freud, as well as exploring the Hegelian
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Xdyj
Aug 30, 2015 Xdyj added it
I think Badiou and Zizek are probably the ppl who finally convinced me that, despite everything, it is still possible to take Marx and Hegel seriously today.
Clinton Smith
Sep 04, 2015 Clinton Smith rated it it was amazing
Perhaps Zizek's introduction of this topic, in first explaining how "nothing" is a type of "something" and that, therefore, the concept of "less than nothing" is possible, might remind one of the wearisome formulation at the beginning of Black Sabbath's record, "13": "is this the end of the beginning, or the beginning of the end". That said, in describing Plato's "Statesman", in which Zizek explains that the positivity of the word (concept? persona?) "barbarian" is that it serves as a container ...more
Maiiada
Mar 20, 2016 Maiiada rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This book took me one year to understand.
So, God bless you, Zizek!

Phillip
May 08, 2012 Phillip marked it as to-read
curious
Mike
Oct 14, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it
Well . . . that was a long book. To say the least, and it was a long book by a writer who at once makes every word a chore but also a delight. It's possible to read Žižek for the sheer humor and wide-ranging scope of his insight and enjoy it, but at times to pick apart the nuances of his extended arguments and complaints is a task best approached in small measures.

What Žižek does here and what is so majestic about this book is his ability to place Hegel's work into a very contemporary context.
...more
Marius Croeser
Jun 16, 2012 Marius Croeser rated it it was amazing
I don't often plug another authors book -- however, Zizek's 'Less Than Nothing' will go down as the philosophical work of this decade.

We will forgive Zizek when he classifies each of us (rather correctly..?) as either idiot, imbecile or moron. We will overlook his participation in the Cult of Nothingness. As all dogma should be mistrusted we will overlook his participation in the 200 year-old philosophical foolishness after scientific dogma (note, Zizek's incorporation of the Higgs into his phi
...more
Spoust1
Thorough, substantive review pending. In the meantime, I'll say:

Žižek's masterpiece. His most focused book: there's a clear narrative thread that realizes itself through all the meandering -- what is contingent turns out, after the fact, to be reaalizing an inner necessity. Those of us who've followed his work know that this is the case with (almost) everything he writes; but here the drive to realize unity, what he is trying to say, his truth, through his most diverse array of sources and refer
...more
John
Jan 24, 2015 John rated it really liked it
As usual with Zizek's books, this one is just bubbling with ideas and is almost too interesting to read. Zizek continues along his merry path of looking at all of German idealism through the prism of Lacan's work. At points it is breathtakingly brilliant. At others you'll wonder what the hell he's talking about. But as analyses of the modern world goes this is well worth the effort to struggle through.
Giorgi
Giorgi marked it as to-read
May 26, 2014
Berit
Apr 20, 2014 Berit rated it liked it
So, I "only" read up until p. 416, but that count as a "finished book" by itself, right?

I love Žižek's way of writing, especially because he has a way of illustrating complex material with clear examples from popular culture. It's a lot to take in, though - over a 1000 pages of theory on Hegel. Definitely one of those texts that gives you a lot of great ideas, but that you'll also have to read more than once (or twice).
Andrezza Torres
Mar 01, 2016 Andrezza Torres rated it really liked it
Denso ao extremo. Para os amantes de Hegel. Como me disse o amigo sociólogo para quem entreguei este livro sem terminar: "ninguém entende Hegel também", rsrs. Se quiser um elenco eterno de dúvidas comece a ler Zizek.
James
Feb 13, 2013 James rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, _openings
The author defines what I grasped as a high school student who experienced 'The Trial' by film maker Orson Welles.
(1) "If we are to overcome the 'effective' social power, we have to frist break its fantasmatic hold on us." p. 689
(2) "'Transversing the fantasy' does not mean going outside reality, but 'vacillating' it, accepting its inconsistent non-All." p. 689
Kyle Crawley
Jan 27, 2014 Kyle Crawley rated it really liked it
Good book! Repeats some of his trademark themes: non-coincidence of the one with itself; consciousness as self-positing loop; the subject as its own failure to signify; etc.

But I would recommend it. In fact, if you were only going to read one Zizek book, this should be it.
Cynthia
Jul 09, 2012 Cynthia rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
I only read chapter 14 in full (dealing with quantum ontology). While I disagree with Zizek's move regarding context, I appreciate his complication of Barad's agential realism. WIsh I had time to read the whole 1000+ pages.
Lowell AfdahlRice
Nov 16, 2012 Lowell AfdahlRice rated it really liked it
Actually, 3 and half stars. Too much Hegel for my liking;-) Absolute reads are Chapter 1 on the social ideological definitions of moron, imbecile, and idiot, and last chapter on political developments of the day.
Daniel
Jul 22, 2014 Daniel rated it it was amazing
still no internet :(; want to review later. brilliant resurrection of negative dialectics.
Andrew Booth
I am a bit defeated by this book. Will have to try again another year.
JJ Weber
Sep 19, 2013 JJ Weber rated it it was amazing
An excellent introduction to Hegel.
Matthew
Nov 16, 2012 Matthew rated it it was amazing
most difficult Zizek book I've read
Carola
May 23, 2012 Carola marked it as to-read
Found this via Zite.
Yi Shen
Aug 08, 2013 Yi Shen rated it it was amazing
Best of his works.
Scott Sandersfeld
Nov 04, 2012 Scott Sandersfeld rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece.
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Slavoj Žižek is a Slovene sociologist, philosopher, and cultural critic.

He was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia (then part of SFR Yugoslavia). He received a Doctor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Ljubljana and studied psychoanalysis at the University of Paris VIII with Jacques-Alain Miller and François Regnault. In 1990 he was a candidate with the party Liberal Democracy of Slovenia for P
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“Beyond the fiction of reality, there is the reality of the fiction.” 36 likes
“an entity is free when it can deploy its immanent potential without being impeded by any external obstacle.” 1 likes
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