This book is a major reassessment of Michael Weinstein’s political philosophy. It situates his singular contribution, designated as "critical vitalism," in the context of both canonical American and contemporary continental theory. Weinstein is presented as a philosopher of life and as an American Nietzsche. Yet the contributors also persuasively argue for this form of thinking as a prescient prophecy addressing contemporary society’s concern over the management of life as well as the technological changes that both threaten and sustain intimacy. This is the first full scale study of Weinstein’s work which reveals surprising aspects of a philosophic journey that has encompassed most of the major American (pragmatic or vitalist) or Continental (phenomenological or existential) traditions. Weinstein is read as a comparative political theorist, a precursor to post-structuralism, and as a post-colonial border theorist. A different aspect of his oeuvre is highlighted in each of the book’s three sections. The opening essays comprising the "Action" diptych contrasts meditative versus extrapolative approaches; "Contemplation" stages a series of encounters between Weinstein and his philosophic interlocutors; "Vitalism" presents Weinstein as a teacher, media analyst, musician, and performance artist. The book contains an epilogue written by Weinstein in response to the contributors.
Table of Contents
Foreword Deena Weinstein
1. Michael Weinstein’s Posthumous Thought For Our Times: An Introduction Robert L. Oprisko and Diane Rubenstein
Part I: Action
2. Nietzsche For Our Times: Three Meditations Arthur Kroker
3. Strings: A Political Theory of Multi-Dimensional Reality Robert L. Oprisko
Part II: Contemplation
4. This Flesh Belongs to Me: Michael Weinstein and Max Stirner Justin Mueller
5. Weinstein's American Philosophy: Intimacy and the Construction of Self Jonathan McKenzie
6. Irreducible Ends: Michael Weinstein and the Value of Agony and Happy Pessimism Melba Hoffer
7. Unpacking My Weinstein: Border Thinking and Classical American Philosophy Ramón E. Soto-Crespo
Part III: Vitalism
8. "I am the Radical Reality": Weinstein's "Defensive Life" as a Political Response to Post-Civilization Julie Webber
9. Weinstein's Methodology for Political Analysis Robert L. Oprisko
10. I am the God of My Own Tribe: Weinstein and Islam Joseph Kaminski
11. A Remarkable Teacher Kathy E. Ferguson
12. Michael Weinstein and Félix Guattari: A Militancy of "Vivacious Despair" Diane Rubenstein Epilogue
13. Performing Integral Consciousness: Simulation Michael A. Weinstein
Robert L. Oprisko is a research associate at Indiana University’s Center for the Study of Global Change. His research focuses on contemporary political philosophy, international relations theory, and critical university studies.
Diane Rubenstein is Professor of Government and American Studies at Cornell University. Her teaching and research focuses on contemporary continental theory- semiotics, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, post-structuralism, Western Marxism- as well as the manifestations of theory in current Franco-American politics and ideology.
"For those of us—and we are many—who have had the great fortune to know Michael Weinstein as a mentor, a teacher, a confident, a fellow provocateur, a passionate thought-wanderer, a colleague, a cultural bricoleur, a lover of philosophical texts, and a friend, this volume is at once touching, enthralling, thought-provoking, energizing, and a deeply pleasurable read. For everyone with a genuine passion for American political, aesthetic, visual, and digital thought, Oprisko and Rubenstein’s text exposes one to the mind/life/persona(s) of one of the most admirable thinkers of the last fifty years; it invites everyone to ride along with Weinstein’s unique and compelling philosophy of critical vitalism."—François Debrix, Professor of Political Science and Director of the ASPECT program, Virginia Tech