Peter Sloterdijk in English [updated July 2013]

Sloterdijk Portrait

Peter Sloterdijk (b.1947) is the coming man in philosophical anthropology (or rather, on the comeback after his first brush with fame in the 80s) — though his work is translated more often in French and Spanish than in English. His Sisyphean Spheres trilogy (1998, 1999, 2004), a decade in the making and as yet untranslated in English, seems to have prevented his work becoming more broadly known in the Anglo world. This has begun to change over the past year, as his hyperbolic philosophy has returned parabolically, as it were, his motifs of anthropo-technology, spherology and atmoterrorism having found their moment in this time of genetics, globalization and global warming. (Note that some of these texts are subscription only — I include these for my own reference and for those who have institutional access to journals.)

Texts already translated into English (in chronological order)

Critique of Cynical Reason, trans. Michael Eldred; intro. Andreas Huyssen (Minneapolis, MN: UMP, 1988). [Currently on Scribd (non-copyright).] There is a summary with excerpts at petersloterdijk.net (orig. Stefan Lorenz Sorgner, “In Search of Lost Cheekiness, An Introduction to Peter Sloterdijk’s “Critique of Cynical Reason,” Tabula Rasa 20.12 [2003] <http://www.tabvlarasa.de/20/sorgner.php>). [Currently on Scribd (non-copyright).]

Thinker on Stage: Nietzsche’s Materialism, trans. Jamie Owen Daniel; intro. Jochen Schulte-Sasse (Minneapolis, MN: UMP, 1989). [Currently on Scribd (non-copyright).]

Theory of the Post-War Periods: Observations on Franco-German Relations since 1945, trans. Robert Payne; intro. Klaus-Dieter Müller (New York, NY: Springer Vienna, 2008). [Available on SpringerLink and on Scribd (non-copyright).]

Terror from the Air, trans. Amy Patton (Los Angeles, CA: Semiotext(e), 2009).

God’s Zeal: The Battle of the Three Monotheisms (Cambridge: Polity P, 2009).

Derrida, an Egyptian: On the Problem of the Jewish Pyramid (Cambridge: Polity P, 2009). [Currently on Scribd (non-copyright).]

Rage and Time: A Psychopolitical Investigation, trans. Mario Wenning (Irvington, NY: Columbia UP, 2010). [Currently on Scribd (non-copyright).]

[The blurb:] While ancient civilizations worshipped strong, active emotions, modern societies trend more toward peaceful, democratic processes. We have largely forgotten the struggle to make use of the thymos, the section of Plato’s tripartite soul that contains spirit, pride, and indignation. Instead Christianity and psychoanalysis promote the idea that mutual understanding and therapy can settle all conflicts.With a unique collage of examples, from Alexandre Dumas’s Count of Monte Cristo to recent Islamic political riots in Paris, Peter Sloterdijk reinterprets the history of Western civilization according to the suppression and return of rage. He proves the fallacy that rage can be controlled. Global terrorism and economic frustrations have rendered strong emotions visibly resurgent, and the consequences of violent expression will determine international relations for decades to come. To better respond to rage and its complex challenges, Sloterdijk, the preeminent posthumanist, dares to break with deeply entrenched dogmas as he forms a new theory for confronting conflict. His approach respects the existence and proper place of rage within humanity and channels the fact of rage into productive political struggle.

An excerpt.

Neither Sun Nor Death (with Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs), trans. Steve Corcoran (Cambridge, MA: MIT P, 2010).

[The blurb:] In Neither Sun nor Death, Sloterdijk answers questions posed by German writer Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs, commenting on such issues as technological mutation, development media, communication technologies, and his own intellectual itinerary.

Bubbles, Spheres, vol. 1: Microspherology. Trans. Wieland Hoban. New York, NY: Semiotext(e), 2011. [See the so-called Foreword. No preview on Google Books or Amazon: boo!]

[From the blurb:] Rejecting the century’s predominant philosophical focus on temporality, Sloterdijk, a self-described “student of the air,” reinterprets the history of Western metaphysics as an inherently spatial and immunological project, from the discovery of self (bubble) to the exploration of world (globe) to the poetics of plurality (foam). Exploring macro- and micro-space from the Greek agora to the contemporary urban apartment, Sloterdijk is able to synthesize, with immense erudition, the spatial theories of Aristotle, René Descartes, Gaston Bachelard, Walter Benjamin, and Georges Bataille into a morphology of shared, or multipolar, dwelling — identifying the question of being as one bound up with the aerial technology of architectonics and anthropogenesis.

The Art of Philosophy: Wisdom as a Practice. Trans. Karen Margolis. New York, NY: Columbia UP, 2012. [On Google Books.]

[From the blurb:] In . . . You Must Change Your Life, Peter Sloterdijk argued exercise and practice were crucial to the human condition. In The Art of Philosophy, he extends this critique to academic science and scholarship, casting the training processes of academic study as key to the production of sophisticated thought.

You Must Change your Life: On Anthropotechnics. Trans. Wieland Hoban. Cambridge; Malden, MA: Polity P, 2013. [Preview on Amazon.]

[From the blurb:] Peter Sloterdijk presents a critique of myth: the myth of the return of religion. For it is not religion that is returning; rather, there is something else quite profound that is taking on increasing significance in the present: the human as a practising, training being, one that creates itself through exercises and thereby transcends itself. Rainer Maria Rilke formulated the drive towards such self-training in the early twentieth century in the imperative “You must change your life.”

Other texts (essays, excerpts and interviews) (in alphabetical order)

“Airquakes,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 27.1 (2009): 41-57, trans. Eduardo Mendieta, from Sphären III: Schäume (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2004) 89-126, 5 Feb. 2009 <http://www.envplan.com/abstract.cgi?id=dst1> [requires subscription; this special issue, "The Worlds of Peter Sloterdijk" (ed. Stuart Elden, Eduardo Mendieta and Nigel Thrift) has two essays by Sloterdijk and several about his work]. [Currently on Scribd (non-copyright).] Prelude to Terror from the Air.

In this excerpt from the introduction to volume three of Sphären (Spheres), subtitled Schäume (Foams), Sloterdijk argues that what makes the 20th century uniquely singular and creative is its invention of what he calls here atmoterrorism, the assault not on the body of the enemy, but on his or her environment. This terrorism of the atmosphere is to be understood as a human-made form of quake that turns the enemy’s environment into a weapon against them. Living organisms, among them humans, simply cannot not breathe, and it is this double negative that is at the heart of atmoterrorism. Weaving a fascinating narrative that links the development of insecticides and pesticides to the first use of poisonous gas during World War I, to the development of the gas chamber as the tool of supreme punishment in the United States, to the eventual convergence of putative humane killing and disinfection and delousing into the mobile and stationary gas chambers of extermination used in the Nazi concentration camps. Terrorism, argues Sloterdijk, reveals the essence of war, the will to exterminate the enemy, with the difference that the former expands the extermination of the enemy to the very world that enables the enemy to exist. In the 20th century, atmoterrorism leads to the exterminism of total war.

“Analytic Terror. Keyword for Avant-Gardism as Explicative Force,” Iconoclash: Beyond the Image Wars in Science, Religion and Art, ed. Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel (Cambridge, MA: MIT P, 2002) 352-59.

“Anthropo-Technology,” New Perspectives Quarterly 21.4 (Fall 2004): 40-44, 20 Oct. 2009 <http://www.digitalnpq.org/archive/2004_fall/08_sloterdijk.html>.

Information in our era of networks and genome maps, according to Sloterdijk, binds man and his tools that transform nature into one operative system. This “post-metaphysical” condition not only tends to abolish the separation between the subjective person and “objective spirit,” but the distinction between culture and nature as well.

For Sloterdijk, one co-intelligent system now encompasses subject and object, culture and nature. This information ecology gives man a new fused identity with the other, with his world and his tools. He is no longer an identity apart.

Such a civilization of co-intelligent “anthropo-technology” requires an entirely new perspective on ethics. For Sloterdijk, today’s passionate debates over man’s domination of nature or technology’s domination of man miss the point because they are fearfully rooted in the obsolete master-slave dichotomy that holds such a hallowed place in Western philosophy. As Sloterdijk sees it, this dichotomy, based as it was on the opposition between subject and object and between culture and nature, needs to be updated: In our time, master and slave are dissolved in the advance of intelligent technologies whose operability is non-dominating. One can only talk about self-manipulation, not slavery; not about a master, but about self-mastery.

Unleashing the basic force of nature against the people of Hiroshima may have been possible prior to the information revolution when “allo-technology” (the division between man and machine) still predominated. But, the anthropo-technology of the post-metaphysical 21st century, Sloterdijk contends, holds out a generous promise. In this system bound together by information feedback and artificial intelligence, the preservationist instinct of the co-beneficiaries of co-intelligence will limit the destructive acts of anthropo-technology against itself.

Between the lines, Sloterdijk even seems to suggest that the “astraying” fate of alienated Being may at last find its dwelling place rejoined with nature and the world.

“Architecture as an Art of Immersion” (2006), trans. translated by Tina Engels-Schwarzpaul, Interstices 12 (2011): 106-09, 12 Nov. 2011, <http://interstices.ac.nz/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/INT12_Sloterdijk.pdf>. (See this essay by Stephen Turner and myself in the same issue.)

“Atmospheric Politics” (2004), trans. Jeremy Gains, Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy, ed. Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005) 944-51, 2 Apr. 2009 <http://germanic.osu.edu/news/sloterdijk-atomos-politics.pdf>; also in Michael Hensel, Achim Menges and Christopher Hight (eds.), Space Reader: Heterogeneous Space in Architecture, AD Reader 3 (London: Wiley, 2009).

“Citizens in a Vat of Dye: The Birth of Democracy from the Spirit of Disarmament,” OPEN 10, (In)tolerance: Freedom of Expression in Art and Culture (2006): 6-11 (?).

The editors of Open had a lecture translated that was delivered by philosopher Peter Sloterdijk during the conference ‘Atmospheres for Freedom. Towards an Ecology of Good Government’ in Venice in 2004. In this lecture, Sloterdijk addresses the premises of a democratic society and the importance therein of written and representational media.

“Cynicism: The Twilight of False Consciousness” (with Michael Eldred and Leslie A. Adelson), New German Critique 33, Modernity and Postmodernity (Autumn 1984): 190-206, <http://www.jstor.org/stable/488361> [ch. 1 of Critique of Cynical Reason].

“The Crystal Palace,” Public 37 (2009), York Digital Journals, <https://pi.library.yorku.ca/ojs/index.php/public/article/viewFile/30252/27786> [ch. 33 of Weltinnenraum des Kapitals: Für eine Philosophische Theorie der Globalisierung [In the Global Inner Space of Capital: For a Philosophical Theory of Globalization] (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2005) 265-76].

“The Devil’s Advocate, Between the Ethical and the Systemic,” The Future of Values: 21st-Century Talks, ed. Jérôme Bindé (New York, NY; Oxford: UNESCO/Berghahn, 2004) 34-40.

[Excerpt:] I . . . propose, as an essential intermediary on the path leading to access to the Other, the figure of the advocatus diaboli in the guise of the modern intellectual, who, often unknowingly, offers his services as an advocate of the Other’s as yet unemancipated and unlimited egoism.

“Eurotaoism,” Nietzsche and the Rhetoric of Nihilism: Essays on Interpretation, Language and Politics, ed. Tom Darby, Bela Egyed and Ben Jones (Toronto: Carleton UP, 1989) 99-116.

“Ferocious Images,” Dynamics and Performativity of Imagination: Images Between the Visible and the Invisible, ed. by Bernd Hüppauf and Christoph Wulf, Routledge Research in Media Studies 21  (New York, NY: Routledge, 2009) 202-13.

“Foam City,” Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory 9.1 (2008): 47-59, <http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1600910X.2008.9672955#preview>.

“Foam City,” trans. Julie Di Filippo, Log 9 (Winter-Spring 2007): 63-76, from “Indoors: Arkhitekturen des Schaums [Indoors: Architectures of the Foam],” Sphären III: Schäume ["Foams"], Plurale Sphärologie (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2004) 604-11, 11 Oct. 2007. Distinktion 16, The Technologies of Politics (2008): 47-59.

Politics and political collectives are not merely symbolic phenomena. They are anchored physically in space and often supported by particular architectural representations. This article analyzes a specific example of this, namely the French Revolution and its immediate aftermath, and demonstrates how architectural designs were integral to establishing an assembly for the post-revolutionary collective. [It] focuses on the Fête de la Fédération of July 14, 1790, celebrated on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. The author argues that the architectural staging of this spectacle served to generate an embodiment of the nation, enhanced by affective and acoustic measures. While the article is mainly concerned with the architectural technologies of politics related to the French Revolution, it also points beyond this specific historical case and briefly indicates how 20th-century fascisms used techniques that were prefigured by 18th-century French inventions.

“Foam City: About Urban Spatial Multitudes,” trans. Antonio Petrov, New Geographies 0 [sic] (2008) 136-143, 1 Jan. 2010 <http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/users/apetrov/foam%20city.html>.

“From Agrarian Patriotism to the Global Self,” trans. Margarita Nieto and Nathan Gardels, New Perspectives Quarterly 17.1, The Global Mind (Winter 2000): 15–18,  28 June 2008 <http://www3.interscience.wiley.com.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/cgi-bin/fulltext/119011103/PDFSTART> [requires subscription] (orig. “Patria y Globalización: Notas Sobre un Recipiente Hecho Pedazos,” Nexos [Mexico] 262 [Oct. 1999], see “Revista Observaciones Filosóficas – Patria y globalización; Notas sobre un recipiente hecho pedazos,” 10 Dec. 2008 <http://www.observacionesfilosoficas.net/patriayglobal.html>).

A globalized world announces the end of a sedentarism and, with it, the concept of a homeland. What has produced this change in contemporary man and in his idea of what it means to belong to a specific place?

“Geometry in the Colossal: the Project of Metaphysical Globalization,” trans. Samuel A. Butler, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 27.1 (2009): 29-40, from Sphären II: Globen ["Globes"], Makrosphärologie (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1999) 47-72, 5 Feb. 2009 <http://www.envplan.com/epd/editorials/dst2.pdf>.

. . . The excerpt is a beginning of the history of the idea of the sphere or the globe. As claimed by Heidegger in the epigraph, the conquest of the world as picture is the fundamental event of modernity. The historical question that arises, then, is that of the rise of the globe as the fundamental picture of the world. Sloterdijk begins with remarks on what he calls a “treatise on the metaphysics of roundness,” Nicholas of Cusa’s De Ludo Globi, set in a discussion concerning the movement of the notion of the globe from the Greek to the Roman world. The second half of the excerpt is devoted to a more focused analysis of the composition, history, and significance of the Farnese Atlas. In this work we see the world portrayed as a “poetic-scientific bastard heaven, a product of geometry as much as of mythology,” borne upon the shoulders of a titan-philosopher-athlete, images at once ancient and modern. The conquest of the world as picture thus transforms Atlas’s punishment into a symbol of the greatest earthly power.

“The Grasping Hand,” trans. Alexis Cornell, City Journal 20.1 (Winter 2010) <http://www.city-journal.org/2010/20_1_snd-democratic-state.html>. Also at Forbes.com (27 Jan. 2010) <http://www.forbes.com/2010/01/27/free-market-democracy-modern-opinions-contributors-peter-sloterdijk_print.html>.

[Excerpt:] To assess the unprecedented scale that the modern democratic state has attained in Europe, it is useful to recall the historical kinship between two movements that emerged at its birth: classical liberalism and anarchism. Both were motivated by the mistaken hypothesis that the world was heading toward an era of the weakening of the state[. . . .] But the political history of the twentieth century, and not just in its totalitarian extremes, proved unkind to both classical liberalism and anarchism. The modern democratic state gradually transformed into the debtor state, within the space of a century metastasizing into a colossal monster — one that breathes and spits out money.

“Inspiration,” ephemera 9.3 (2009): 242-51 <http://www.ephemeraweb.org/journal/9-3/9-3sloterdijk.pdf>.
“Instant Democracy: The Pneumatic Parliament” (with Gesa Mueller von der Hagen), Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy, ed. Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005) 952-55, 2 Apr. 2009. [Currently on Scribd (non-copyright) — appended to "Atmospheric Politics."]

“Mobilization of the Planet from the Spirit of Self-Intensification,” TDR [The Drama Review] 50.4 (Winter 2006): 36-43, 27 Nov. 2006 <http://posterous.com/getfile/files.posterous.com/arredores/CP4KTIpUcsOp7G7MwSmh6LxYlasabT3rv4bGygxV1WRdAzMhHjOUtwUllNlA/_sloterdijk_2006_mobilization_.pdf>.

[Excerpt:] In this essay, the interpretation of the present is based on a philosophical kinetics originating from three axioms. First, that we are moving in a world that is moving itself; second, that the self-movements of the world include our own self-movements and affect them; and third, that in modernity, the self-movements of the world originate from our self-movements, which are cumulatively added to world-movement. From these axioms, it is possible to more or less entirely develop a relationship between an old world, a modern world, and a postmodern world.

“Modernity as Mobilisation,” Speed: Visions of an Accelerated Age, ed. Jeremy Millar and Michiel Schwarz (London: The Photographers’ Gallery and the Trustees of the Whitechapel Art Gallery, [1998]) 43-52.

“Nature-To-Be-Made: The Crucial Subject of Modern Times,” Politics: Agamben, Marramao, Rancière, Sloterdijk, Criticism of Contemporary Issues, Serralves International Conferences 2007 (Serralves Foundation, 2008) 195-218, <http://www.serralves.pt/fotos/editor2/PDFs/CC-CIS-2007-POLITICA-web.pdf>.

“Nearness and Da-sein: The Spatiality of Being and Time,” Theory, Culture & Society 29.4-5 (July-Sep. 2012): 36-42, <http://tcs.sagepub.com.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/content/29/4-5/36.short>

“The New Grapes of Wrath: Post-Communism — Neo-Liberalism — Islamism,” The State of the World, ed. António Pinto Ribeiro (Carcanet, 2007) 146-58.

“The Nomotop: On the Emergence of Law in the Island of Humanity,” Law and Literature 18.1 (Spring 2006): 1–14, 23 June 2006 <http://gateway.proquest.com.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&xri:pqil:res_ver=0.2&res_id=xri:lion&rft_id=xri:lion:ft:abell:R03897185:0> [requires subscription].

All insulated human groups, asserting themselves through processes of generation and thereby existing each in their proper time (Eigenzeit), partake in a mystery of stability that has been little investigated but without which their continuation could hardly be understood. They generate within themselves a normative architecture that exhibits a sufficiently supra-personal, imposing, and torsion-resistant character to be regarded by its users as valid law, as an apparatus of obligatory principles, and as a coercive normative reality.

“The Open Clearing and Illumination: Remarks on Metaphysics, Mysticism and the Politics of Light,” Light Art from Artificial Art [Lichtkunst aus Kunstlicht]: Light as a Medium in 20th and 21st Century Art, ed. Peter Weibel and Gregor Jansen (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2006) 45-56, repr. as “Light and Illumination: Notes on the Metaphysics, Mysticism and Politics of Light,” in Mischa Kuball: In Progress; Projects, ed. Florian Matzner (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2007) 15-35.

“The Operable Man: On the Ethical State of Gene Technology,” trans. Joel Westerdale and Günter Sautter, lecture at UCLA conference Enhancing the Human: Genomics, Science Fiction, and Ethics Collide, Goethe Institute, Los Angeles (21 May 2000), peter sloterdijk.net, 6 Oct. 2004 <http://www.petersloterdijk.net/international/texts/en_texts/en_texts_PS_operable_man.html> %5Bno longer available; contact me if you need it].

[Excerpt:] Biotechnologies and nootechnologies nurture by their very nature a subject that is refined, cooperative, and prone to playing with itself. This subject shapes itself through intercourse with complex texts and hypercomplex contexts. Domination must advance towards its very end, because in its rawness it makes itself impossible. In the inter-intelligently condensed net-world, masters and despoilers have hardly any long-term chances of success left, while cooperators, promoters, and enrichers fit into more numerous and more adequate slots. (From Pat Kane, “Transhumanism at Play,” h+ [16 Sep. 2009]; another excerpt at “Homelessness Is Coming To Be the Destiny of the World,” The Transducer [28 Sep. 2009])

“Polemic Against the Id, or: Think of the Devil,” Otto Mühl: Retrospektive: Jenseits von Zucht und Ordnung, ed. Otto Mühl and Harald Falckenberg (Frankfurt am Main: Revolver, 2005) 289-95, an excerpt from ch. 11, Critique of Cynical Reason 362-67.

“Rules for the Human Zoo: A Response to the Letter on Humanism,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 27.1 (2009): 12-28, 1 Jan. 2010 <http://www.xs4all.nl/~rekveld/tech/Sloterdijk_RulesForTheHumanZoo.pdf>.

“Rules for the Human Zoo,” also known as the “Elmauer Rede,” originally appeared in 1999 in the newspaper Die Zeit and was subsequently published by Suhrkamp in 2001. In this response to Heidegger’s “Letter on Humanism,” Sloterdijk poses the basic question about the purpose of politics, governance, and civic solidarity. On the one hand, since Plato, politics has been conceived in part as concerned with the necessity of “taming” humans into being good citizens. Sloterdijk thus follows Nietzsche and Heidegger in portraying humanism as one side in a “constant battle . . . between bestializing and taming tendencies.” It is in the Hobbesian state of nature that humans are “wolves” to each other; but who turns the wolves into friendly, loyal dogs? Humanism has claimed, according to Sloterdijk, that it is “reading the right books” which “calms the inner beast.” It is the great books, the “thick letters” from one great thinker to another, that provide the “model presented by the wise,” which enables “the care of man by man.” At the present, Sloterdijk argues, we appear to have been abandoned by the wise. It is no longer the humanist but the archivist who bothers to look up the old, thick letters. Humanism thus gives way to archivism.

“Society of Centaurs: Philosophical Remarks on Automobility,” trans. Katie Ritson, Transfers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies 1.1 (Spring 2011): 14-24. [Preview here — the journal is hard to come by.]

“Spheres Theory: Talking to Myself about the Poetics of Space,” 
Harvard University Graduate School of Design
 (17 Feb. 2009), Harvard Design Magazine 30 “(Sustainability) + Pleasure, vol. 1: Culture + Architecture” (Spring/Summer 2009), 1 Jan. 2010> (currently on Scribd (non-copyright)); see http://beyondentropy.aaschool.ac.uk/?p=689 [the talk in which the interview originated, “Networks and Spheres: Two Ways to Reinterpret Globalization" (with Bruno Latour, 17 Feb. 2009), is also online].

“The Thing about Power,” Entry Paradise: New Worlds of Design, ed. Gerhard Seltmann and Werner Lippert (Basel: Birkhauser, 2006) 98-111.

The Time of the Crime of the Monstrous: On the Philosophical Justification of the Artificial,” trans. Wieland Hoban, Sloterdijk Now, ed. Stuart Elden (Oxford: Polity P, 2012) 165-81.

Tractatus Philosophico-Touristicus,” Trends and Issues in Global Tourism 2009, ed. Roland Conrady and Martin Buck (Berlin; Heidelberg: Springer, 2009) 271-78, 23 May 2006 <http://www.eu2006.at/includes/Download_Dokumente/2003TourismSloterdijkEN.pdf>.

[Excerpt:] I start with an observation, which I’m sure we all share, that world tourism must be considered one of the key factors of the current as well as future global economy, more still in actual fact, of global culture, of global civilization.

“War on Latency: On Some Relations between Surrealism and Terror,” Radical Philosophy 137 (May-June 2006): 14-19 [later included in Terror from the Air].

[Excerpt:] The recollection of one of the best-known scenes from the surrealistic offensive [i.e., Dali's performance at Londonʼs New Burlington Galleries for the International Surrealist Exhibition in 1936] may well explain the parallelism between the atmo-terrorist explications of the atmosphere and the culturally revolutionary blows to the mentality of a bourgeois art audience [delivered by Surrealism].

“What Happened in the Twentieth Century? En Route to a Critique of Extremist Reason, Inaugural Lecture, Emmanuel Levinas Chair, Strasbourg, March 4, 2005,” Cultural Politics: An International Journal 3.3 (Nov. 2007): 327-55, 1 Jan. 2010 <http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/berg/cpij/2007/00000003/00000003/art00003> [requires subscription].

To a certain extent, it bears homage to that great thinker of the complex Other. However, other than taking a political stance, Sloterdijk prefers the perspective of a curator who is concerned about conserving the past century’s critical impulse, which today’s consumerism and the collapse of Left-wing traditions tend to render ghostly. In the first two parts of his essay, Sloterdijk argues that if in contemporary diagnoses the twentieth century appears as a time of confusions, this is because it is an Age of Extremes (Eric Hobsbawm): an age of revolts against complexities by the critical reference of all actual or objective states of affairs to a basic cause or fundamental factor. The subject of this extremist reason is defined by its vassalage, apostolate, and mediality in relation to a commanding and disinhibiting reality. Its forerunners are champions of “good crime” such as Marquis de Sade and the young Hegelians; its exemplary twentieth-century cases are Lenin and Mao. Alain Badiou is right to note that the memory of their critical projects is rapidly giving way to the uncontested status of today’s global neoliberalist ideology. Yet, Sloterdijk argues, this is not necessarily a bad thing, not even for critical thought. In the third and fourth parts of his essay, his explicit aim is to “translate” Badiou’s thesis that the twentieth century was marked by a “passion for the real” into the context of his own project of spherology. The twentieth century consists primarily of the activation of the real in a passion for technological and economic antigravitation. The result is the slow but unavoidable emancipation of Western civilization from “the dogmatic opportunism of the real as power-of-the-base-from-below” toward “a free-moving position intermediate between the heavy and antigravitational tendencies.” Economically, the ending of scarcity (Entknappung) and, technologically, the exoneration (Entlastung) of the burdens of human life by the intrusion of new motive forces into human propulsive arrangements have led to the death throes (“Agonie”) of the belief in the base/superstructure division and the radicalism or fundamentalism derived from it. If the twentieth century can still inspire us today, this is because its reprogramming of the pitch of existence (Daseinsstimmung) paves the way for a “critique of extremist reason,” a “post-Marxist theory of enrichment,” a “new interpretation of dreams,” and a “general economy” of energy resources based on excess and dissipation.

“World Markets and Secluded Spots: On the Position of the European Regions in the World-Experiment of Capital,” Random Access [1]: On Crisis and its Metaphors, ed. Pavel Büchler and Nikos Papastergiadis (London: Rivers Oram Press; Concord, MA: Paul, 1995) 35-56.

[Interviews:]

Alliez, Éric, “Living Hot, Thinking Coldly: An Interview with Peter Sloterdijk,” Cultural Politics: An International Journal 3.3 (Nov. 2007): 307-26, 3 Nov. 2009 <http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/berg/cpij/2007/00000003/00000003/art00002> [requires subscription].

. . . the focal points of the interview are Sloterdijk’s core cultural conception of Nietzschean-inflected thought and his own Sphere Theory, his ideas on immunization, notions of ecology, “anthropotechnics,” and the question of Being.

Afheldt, Heik, and Bernd Ulrich, “Animal Rights, Gene Technology, and Human Breeding:  A Conversation with Peter Sloterdijk,” Logos 6.3 (Summer 2007), 7 Oct. 2007 <http://www.logosjournal.com/issue_6.3/sloterdijk.htm>.

Funcke, Bettina, “Against Gravity: Bettina Funcke Talks with Peter Sloterdijk,” Bookforum (Feb.-Mar. 2005), 9 Sep. 2009 <http://www.bookforum.com/archive/feb_05/funcke.html>.

Gorris, Lothar, and Dirk Kurbjuweit, “Philosopher Peter Sloterdijk on the Tour de France: ‘The Riders are Just Regular Employees,’” trans. Christopher Sultan, Spiegel Online (7 Oct. 2008), 1 Jan. 2009 <http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,565111,00.html>.

. . . Sloterdijk talks about the the end of true heroism in professional cycling, the profanity of doping, and the destructive power of Danish nihilism.

Jandl, Paul, “[Found Papers:] Economic Crisis and Cultural Change,” Iconoclastia: News from a Post Iconic World: Architectural Papers IV, ed. Joseph Lluis Mateo (Zurich: ETH, 2009) 70-73, excerpts from a conversation orig. publ. in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung 29 Nov. 2008.

Kahl, Reinhard, “Learning is Looking Forward to Oneself,” trans. Wim Glas, GlazBlog, 28 Dec. 2010, <http://whglas.blogspot.com/2010/12/learning-is-looking-forward-to-oneself.html> (orig. “Lernen ist Vorfreude auf Sich Selbsts,” McK Wissen 14 [McKinsey & Company, 2005]: 110-11).

Meller, Marius, “Damned to Expertocracy,” Sight & Sound (trans. 1 July 2005), 1 Jan. 2010 <http://www.signandsight.com/features/238.html> (orig. “Die Hühner sind die Verlierer der Geschichte,” Der Tagesspiegel [24 June 2005], 1 Jan. 2010 <http://www.tagesspiegel.de/kultur/art772,2198236>).

The end of democracy? Philosopher Peter Sloterdijk talks with Marius Meller about Europe’s crisis and authoritarian capitalism.

Morse, Eric, “Something in the Air,” Frieze 127 (Nov.-Dec.2009) <http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/something_in_the_air/>.

German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk talks to Erik Morse about the 20th- and 21st-century phenomena of chemical warfare, designer ventilation and high-density urban living.

Ohanian, Melik, and Jean-Christophe Royoux, “Foreword to the Theory of Spheres” (2004), Cosmograms (New York, NY: Lukas & Sternberg, 2005) 223-40, 8 Oct. 2006 <www.sed.manchester.ac.uk/…/COSMOGRAM-INTER-GB_Spheres.pdf>.

Peters, Luc, “Inspiration,” Ephemera (2009) 9.3: 242-51, 24 Jan. 2010 <http://ephemeraweb.org/journal/9-3/9-3sloterdijk.pdf>.

48 thoughts on “Peter Sloterdijk in English [updated July 2013]

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  6. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing just a little investigation on that. And he actually bought me lunch simply because I discovered it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Many thanks for lunch!

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  8. Thanks so much for doing this. You’re a Godsend. A professor in my department just sent me this link. I’ve been begging around trying to figure out what’s in English and there you go, saving me a huge dose of stress during my thesis write-up year! I just wish Spheres was translated already.

  9. This blog seems to get a great deal of visitors. How do you get traffic to it? It gives a nice individual spin on things. I guess having something useful or substantial to give info on is the most important thing.

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  13. On my BLOG I posted: “Peter Sloterdijk: The erosion of school” http://whglas.blogspot.com/2011/01/peter-sloterdijk-erosion-of-school.html
    The chapter is a translation of the Chapter “Maligne Wiederholungen II: Die Erosion der Schule” (pages 679-685), from the book: Peter Sloterdijk, “Du musst dein Leben ändern : Über Anthropotechnik ” by Peter Sloterdijk.

    Also: “Peter Sloterdijk: Learning is looking forward to oneself” http://whglas.blogspot.com/2010/12/learning-is-looking-forward-to-oneself.html
    My own translation of “Lernen ist Vorfreude auf sich selbsts”, McK Wissen 14,Seiten 110.111, http://www.wissen.brandeins.de/uploads/tx_templavoila/mck14_15.pdf

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