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Giving an Account of Oneself

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  580 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
In her first extended study of moral philosophy, Judith Butler offers a provocative outline for a new ethical practice-one responsive to the need for critical autonomy and grounded in a new sense of the human subject.
Paperback, 160 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Fordham University Press (first published 2003)
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Jul 05, 2012 Trevor rated it it was amazing
This is really hard work – but hard work that pays dividends. This is a book that is about two very closely related topics. The one is, what does it mean to live an ethical life and to what extent can I give an account of living such a life? The other is, to what extent am I a subject and to what extent am I an object of social relations?

If the whole of sociology is a working out of the question of the relationship between my agency (my freedom, my self) and my acting in accordance with necessit
إيمان ريان
Nov 20, 2015 إيمان ريان rated it really liked it
في نظرنا لأنفسنا يجب أن يكون السؤال هو ماذا نحن؟ بدلا من من نحن؟
هذا يتضمّن بأنّ هنالك آخرين ونحن لا نوجد إلّا من خلال علاقاتنا مع الآخر. تميّز الآخر ينعكس أمامي فأتعّرفه كما ينعكس تميّزي أمامه وذلك لا يعني بالضرورة أنّنا مترابطين سوى باختلافاتنا. ومن خلال علاقتي مع العادات التي تحيط بي فأنا أعرّف من خلال تفاعلي مع هذه العادات.
Yassmeen Altaif
هنا استحضرت جوديث الفلاسفة العمالقة(أدورنو، فوكو، نيتشه، هيغل، لابلانش، ليفيناس) و ناقشت ماذا تعني أنا؟ و من أنا؟ وكيف أصف نفسي؟

فيلسوفة عملاقة كما قرأت عنها و تحكي عن فلاسفة فطبعاً سيكون كتاب ذا لغة صعبة، ولكن الأسلوب كان جيد كما أظهرته الترجمة الجيدة

لا يعني بتاتاً ذلك بأن الكتاب ليس ممتاز، اعتقد انه سيكون أكثر من رائع لأولئك محبي الفلسفة والفلاسفة.

رغم عمق الكتاب الذي يحتاج منك قراءة متأنية إلا أنني استمتعت بقراءته واعجبني الكثير فيه.

"لا توجد أنا معزولة تماماً عن الظروف الاجتماعية..."
محمد جلال

انتهيت من قراءة كتاب الذات تصف نفسها لأستاذه الأدب الفيلسوفة الامريكية النسوية جوديث بتلر قبل خمسة شهور وبين حين وآخر أعود لبعض ماكتبته في توصيفها للذات والنفس البشرية. اكثر ماقربني وحببني لهذه الأستاذة هو قدرتها العالية على توصيف النفس
يشكر الدكتور فلاح رحيم على ترجمته
وشكراً لمن آزره على إتمام ترجمته لان الأستاذة لغتها كالعقاد والرافعي وكافكا متمنعة لاتمنحك ماعندها بسهولة، فكان الدكتور المترجم اكثر من مرة يعزم عن التوقف لصعوبة لغة الفيلسوفة وخشية عدم شراء القارىء العربي لكتابها، [ملاحظة: نف
May 05, 2015 Carolyn rated it liked it
"Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" is a sentence. However, it must be contextualized by the grammatical rules of American English for it to make any sense. Outside of this context, it is an abstract and incomprehensible blabbering string of letters. Similarly, Butler posits that the Self cannot be iterated without context; namely, that one cannot discuss one's Selfhood without the preontological conception of the Other, both a recipient of and critic of this discou ...more
May 31, 2013 Faez rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece, tackling the most two essential questions we face: who am I and how has my "I" emerged? How do I give an account of myself to the judge, to the psychoanalyst, to a friend interested in my life-experience? Judith Butler goes deeper than any expectations of a book so short. You end up enlightened and thrilled at her mastery of philosophical idiom. I have already started translating the book into Arabic!
Sep 18, 2015 Nwaf rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
الكتاب جداً صعب للمبتدئيين الذين ليست لهم أي خلفية سابقة في الفلسفة والتحليل النفسي لوجود الكثير من المصطلحات الغريبة والكثير من الأمور اللغوية البالغة في التعقيد .
In Giving an Account of Oneself, Judith Butler sets out to “pose the question of moral philosophy within a contemporary social frame” (1), a frame in which such fields as psychoanalysis and social theory have demonstrated that “[t]he ‘I’ is always to some extent dispossessed by the social conditions of its emergence” (8). Concerned with avoiding the sort of ethical violence Adorno claims arises in times when “the collective ethos” breaks down (1), Butler asks whether questions of moral responsib ...more
Nov 22, 2009 Jamie rated it it was amazing
Oh, Judy B. You've stolen my heart from me, moon-speak and all. No, but seriously, the more Butler I read, the more awestruck I am by her incandescent brilliance (only half-kidding here). She's certainly one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th/21st centuries, and remains one of our best living thinkers. I know some people take issue with her theories of gender, but to them, I say: try this book on for size. It's more expressly engaged with philosophy than the other Butler texts I've read (Gende ...more
Apr 02, 2010 Marilena rated it it was ok
Quite interesting. There are however ideas that she cannot clearly explain and some to which I cannot agree.
I liked especially the first chapter ("I" defined in a social context;the problem of recognition; the importance of "exposure")and part of the second chapter. From the third I have to read more about "being addressed is a trauma". Anyway Judith Butler is not among my favourite philosophers. Her style of writing is difficult. One must stay with pencil in hand and focus and even reread what
Daniel Cardoso
May 16, 2010 Daniel Cardoso rated it it was amazing
Shelves: academia
Very complex, but also essential to understand the relations between the formation of the self and responsability/ethical pratices.
Also useful to understanding FOUCAULT, MICHEL's Lectures at the College de France, 1981-82: The Hermeneutics of the Subject, and other important works by the same author.
Ammar Madan
May 16, 2016 Ammar Madan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
الكتاب كان صعب علي فهم
لكن بعد لقاء مع الدكتورة سوسن كريمي في نادي إقرأ
أجد بأن الكتاب ذو موضوع مميز فعلا
وموضوعه الذات وكيف نصفها ونفهما بالشكل الأفضل
Wesley Ellis
Sep 28, 2015 Wesley Ellis rated it it was amazing
This may be one of the best books I've read in the last couple of years! I lament that I had to read it faster than I would have liked to. I will certainly be reading this again.
Fatima Abbas
Oct 10, 2016 Fatima Abbas marked it as كتب-لم-اقدر-على-انهاء-قراءتها  ·  review of another edition
كتاب فلسفي عميق لم أقدر على انهاء الورقة الاولى لم اشعر ان روحي في تماس مع الكتابة
الصراحة حسيت نفسي مثل الاطرش بالزفة"
Mar 11, 2015 Alexander rated it really liked it
At the heart of Judith Butler’s complex and pathbreaking reflections on gender has always been a concern with simply making the world a better place. A place at once more hospitable and more challenging than it has been, less exclusionary and less indifferent than is. A concern, in other words, with ethics. In Giving an Account of Oneself, Butler opens the question of the very possibility of ethics; what kind of subject could be an ethical subject? What are the sorts of conditions by which we ca ...more
Jan 31, 2017 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
تعرض المفكرة الأمريكية جوديث بتلر آراء الفلاسفة عن نشوء الذات وأصلها في هذا الكتاب الذي يتكون في الأساس على عدة محاضرات ألقتها الكاتبة مسبقا بإحدى الجامعات وتم تجميعها في كتاب واحد، رغم أنها قامت باستعراض للآراء الفلسفية لعدد من المفكرين إلا أنها كانت تتحدث بطريقتها عن أفكارها وبعض اعتراضاتها لعدد من الآراء المطروحة، أعجبتني جدًا طريقة سردها للأفكار واللغة المكتوبة فيها.

- يرى نيتشه في كتابه "جينيالوجيا الأخلاق" أننا لا نصبح واعين بأنفسنا إلا بعد أن نتعرض لأضرار معينة، أربكتني هذه الطريقة بالوصف
Joseph Sverker
2014: I must say that there was much more that became clear after a second reading of this book. And, after having read a fair bit more Butler over all. There are quite a few issues and topics that are not always explicitly expressed in this book, that might be important for a fuller understanding. One that comes to mind at the moment is that of Althusser's idea of interpellation and subject formation (the latter is also influenced by Foucault that Butler acknowledge in the book). What is import ...more
Erdem Tasdelen
Dec 10, 2008 Erdem Tasdelen rated it really liked it
I really love how Butler sees the world, or at least the snippets of how I think she sees the world. This is a wonderful read that offers a different interpretation of how we're ethically responsible in the world today, when we speak about our selves and when we are persecuting/persecuted. I especially concur that Levinas's claim of persecution (or rather the state of being persecuted) being the essence of Judaism is a preontological statement that licences an unacceptable irresponsibility to Je ...more
Jan 27, 2015 Rj rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading Judith Butler's recent collection of lectures and essays, Giving an Account of Oneself (2006). The book continues her epistomological/philosophical search in the wake of 9/11 to find arguments for an ethics of care and responsibility. Following questions and themes raised in earlier works, specifically Precarious Life: The Power of Mourning and Violence (2004) Butler moves her focus from the subject's relationships with others to how the subject formulates itself. Wading th ...more
Marcos Francisco Muñoz
En esta serie de ensayos, Butler nos presenta una amalgama de visiones de la percepción del otro y la movilidad (y maleabilidad) de éste concepto.
Si bien, sus argumentos son en extremo lúcidos, no recomendaría este libro como un inicio al tema de la ética (que es el que más se topa en los textos), ya que analiza y disecciona las ideas de Foucalt, Levinas, Adorno y otros, por lo que sería recomndable empaparse un poco de sus teorías para no perderse tanto en el manantial de argumentos de Butler.
Jun 09, 2009 Parvoneh rated it really liked it
Meandering at times, but JB gets it right often enough that most of the diversions are forgivable. I flagged a great number of passages throughout. Towards the middle I feared she might pursue a purely psychoanalytic approach to self and articulations of self, but I think Butler was just critical enough to use existing ideas while also keeping from essentializing other scholars or her own ideas. Like ice skating--she made me nervous, but she did not fall.

Plus, just thinking about selves, others,
Christian Hendriks
Dec 12, 2012 Christian Hendriks rated it really liked it
I would not consider myself to be part of Butler's intellectual entourage, but I would consider her somewhat brilliant. This book is an example of her brilliance: more readable than Gender Trouble, and perhaps less thoroughly absorbed by the academic community. As usual, it is hard work, and Butler's caution clogs up the argument sometimes. But that caution is indispensable and is characteristic.

What interests me about this work is Butler's unique moral imagination: what does it mean to tell an
Aug 22, 2007 Ryan rated it it was amazing
Written in 2005, this is Butler's answer to the criticism that poststructural identities are cryptonormative and do not lay bare their informing normative foundations. Interestingly, this book was published in 2005, the year prior to Amanda Anderson's "The Way We Argue Now" being released. Anderon's book levels the most pointed, sustained criticism to date of Butler's philosophical system of agency and identity. "Giving an Account" answers Anderson's criticisms and informs further her philosophi ...more
Jul 09, 2008 Scott rated it really liked it
J. Butler doesn't disappoint - in fact, this may be my favorite of her works. It's a brilliant analysis of what it means to be "responsible" and "accountable". Though it's tough to give an "in a nutshell" Judith Butler breakdown, I interpreted this book as explaining why it is imperative that everybody "know" the limits of our own knowledge (about ourselves and others). It has a great deal of political resonance and potency, even though it gets a little bit repetitive by the end.

Sep 30, 2013 Daniel rated it it was amazing
A truly great work of theory. The opening chapter is one of the single best essays I have ever read. The lucidity of Butler's prose belies the breadth and depth of her reading. This is the sort of book - like, say, Raymond Williams's Culture and Society - in which one senses as one reads a gradual enlargement of one's ethical and political scope. It is at once a challenge to the reader and a source of hope.
Yi Shen
Jun 18, 2012 Yi Shen rated it really liked it
One of Butler's most accessible works. She masterfully weaves together Adorno's, Foucault's, Levinas', and Laplanche's works on subject formation and discusses their implications for moral philosophy. Great read.
Laura Carter
Oct 10, 2016 Laura Carter rated it it was amazing
Really good book. I read this again this time, for I'd read it when it first came out years ago.

In the context of the current election, it's good to be reminded of Adorno. I don't know what else to do but recommend it here.
Sep 26, 2007 Javier rated it really liked it
Shelves: post-college
Much of this book exhibited J. Butler's notorious use of 'moon language' (at least for me); I thus found much of it rather impenetrable, even moreso than the prose of Theodor Adorno or Emmanuel Levinas. What I did understand of it, though, was rather valuable.
Abdurhman Saed
راح اكتب بجنب اسم حنة ارندت جوديث بتلر
بتملك بتلر قدرة تحليلية رائعة ولا تستطيع نقطة الهروب منها دون جلبها للتفتيش
مثل نعوم تشومسكي ولا عجب
قرات كثير قصة الحكم لكافكا ولكن تحليلها لمشهد انتحار جورج كان رائع
وفي صفحتين استطاعة نفي الذات المثقلة لنتشيه
Ahmed Khan
May 06, 2010 Ahmed Khan rated it liked it
"They are signs of an other, but they are also the traces from which an "I" will eventually emerge, an "I" who will never be able, fully, to recover or read these signs, for whom these signs will remain in part overwhelming and unreadable, enigmatic and formative." (Butler, 70)
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Judith Butler is an American post-structuralist and feminist philosopher who has contributed to the fields of feminism, queer theory, political philosophy and ethics. She is currently a professor in the Rhetoric and Comparative Literature departments at the University of California, Berkeley.
Butler received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Yale University in 1984, for a dissertation subsequently publi
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“[W]e must recognize that ethics requires us to risk ourselves precisely at moments of unknowingness, when what forms us diverges from what lies before us, when our willingness to become undone in relation to others constitutes our chance of becoming human. To be undone by another is a primary necessity, an anguish, to be sure, but also a chance--to be addressed, claimed, bound to what is not me, but also to be moved, to be prompted to act, to address myself elsewhere, and so to vacate the self-sufficient "I" as a kind of possession. If we speak and try to give an account from this place, we will not be irresponsible, or, if we are, we will surely be forgiven.” 21 likes
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