• Isonomia and the Origins of Philosophy

    Author(s):
    Translator(s): Joseph  A. Murphy
    Pages: 184
    Illustrations: 1 map
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
  • Cloth: $84.95 - Not In Stock
    978-0-8223-6885-4
  • Paperback: $23.95 - Not In Stock
    978-0-8223-6913-4
  • Translator's Note
    Author's Preface to the Japanese Edition
    Map
    Introduction
    Universal Religion
    Ethical Prophets
    Exemplary Prophets
    1. Ionian Society and Thought
    Athens and Ionia
    Isonomia and Democracy
    Athenian Democracy
    State and Democracy
    Colonization and Isonomia
    Iceland and North America
    Isonomia and Coucil
    2, The Background of Ionian Natural Philosophy
    Natural Philosophy and Ethics
    Hippocrates
    Herodotus
    Homer
    Hesiod
    3. The Essential Points of Ionian Natural Philosophy
    The Critique of Religion
    Self-Moving Matter
    Poiesis and Becoming
    4. Post-Ionian Thought
    Pythagoras
    Heraclitus
    Parmenides
    Post-Eliatics
    5. Socrates and Empire
    The Athenian Empire and Democracy
    Sophists and Rule by Rhetoric
    The Trial of Socrates
    The Riddle of Socrates
    Daimon
    The Socratic Method
    Plato and Pythagoras
    The Philosopher-King
    Isonomia and the Philosopher-King
    Appendix. From Structure of World History to Isonomia and the Origins of Philosophy
    Timeline of the Ancient World
    Notes
    Bibliography
    Index
  • "A unique and ambitious intellectual project, Isonomia and the Origins of Philosophy marks a new phase in the history of Marxism and in the career of Kojin Karatani. It should be regarded as one of the radical critiques of Western metaphysics by virtue of its challenge to conventional accounts of the origins of philosophy. This work is of historical importance." — Naoki Sakai, author of Translation and Subjectivity: On Japan and Cultural Nationalism

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  • Description

    In Isonomia and the Origins of Philosophy— published originally in Japanese and now available in four languages —Kojin Karatani questions the idealization of ancient Athens as the source of philosophy and democracy by placing the origins instead in Ionia, a set of Greek colonies located in present-day Turkey. Contrasting Athenian democracy with Ionian isonomia—a system based on non-rule and a lack of social divisions whereby equality is realized through the freedom to immigrate—Karatani shows how early Greek thinkers from Heraclitus to Pythagoras were inseparably linked to the isonomia of their Ionian origins, not democracy. He finds in isonomia a model for how an egalitarian society not driven by class antagonism might be put into practice, and resituates Socrates' work and that of his intellectual heirs as the last philosophical attempts to practice isonomia's utopic potentials. Karatani subtly interrogates the democratic commitments of Western philosophy from within, and argues that the key to transcending their contradictions lies not in Athenian democracy, with its echoes of imperialism, slavery and exclusion, but in the openness of isonomia.

    About The Author(s)

    Kojin Karatani is an internationally renowned theorist and philosopher. Previously, he was a professor at Hosei University in Tokyo, Kinki University in Osaka, and Columbia University. He is the author of numerous books, including The Structure of World History: From Modes of Production to Modes of Exchange and Origins of Modern Japanese Literature, both also published by Duke University Press.
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