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New Political Theory Books

Posted on 26/04/2012

We are pleased to announce the publication of new books by Dr. Michael Bacon and Dr. Nathan Widder.


Michael Bacon, Pragmatism: An Introduction (Polity Press, 2012).

Pragmatism: An Introduction provides an account of the arguments of the central figures of the most important philosophical tradition in the American history of ideas, pragmatism. This wide-ranging and accessible study explores the work of the classical pragmatists Charles Sanders Peirce, William James and John Dewey, as well as more recent philosophers including Richard Rorty, Richard J. Bernstein, Cheryl Misak, and Robert B. Brandom.

Michael Bacon examines how pragmatists argue for the importance of connecting philosophy to practice. In so doing, they set themselves in opposition to many of the presumptions that have dominated philosophy since Descartes. The book demonstrates how pragmatists reject the Cartesian spectator theory of knowledge, in which the mind is viewed as seeking accurately to represent items in the world, and replace it with an understanding of truth and knowledge in terms of the roles they play within our social practices.

The book explores the diverse range of positions that have engendered marked and sometimes acrimonious disputes amongst pragmatists. Bacon identifies the themes underlying these differences, revealing a greater commonality than many commentators have recognized. The result is an illuminating narrative of a rich philosophical movement that will be of interest to students in philosophy, political theory, and the history of ideas.

"This book offers an engaging and engrossing introduction to and overview of a rich philosophical tradition. Particularly valuable is its survey of a variety of recent and contemporary developments by thinkers who build on and carry forward that tradition." -- Robert B. Brandom, University of Pittsburgh

"Brings together classical and contemporary pragmatists in a very clear, succinct, and rigorous way." -- Cheryl Misak, University of Toronto

"Bacon has made an impressive contribution with this book. It is a lucid and fair–minded map of the pragmatist tradition, and an excellent introduction to the topic." -- Matthew Festenstein, University of York



Nathan Widder, Political Theory after Deleuze (Continuum Press, 2012).

Recent political theory has shifted decidedly towards ontology, the ‘science of being’, and thus towards examining fundamental concepts of identity, difference, space, and time. This new focus has reinvigorated questions concerning the nature of power, meaning, truth and agency, inspiring novel approaches to individual and collective subjectivity, the emergence of political events and the relationship between desire and politics. In this new study, Nathan Widder shows how Deleuze’s philosophy both inspires and presses beyond political theory’s ‘ontological turn’.

Linking his thought to current political theory debates, Widder explains how Deleuze’s philosophy and ontology of difference are cashed out through a micropolitics of creative and critical experimentation. He further demonstrates how Deleuze challenges ideas of identity and the subject that still dominate both political thought and practice today. Connecting Deleuze to key figures in both classical and contemporary political philosophy, from Plato and Aristotle to Hegel, Nietzsche, Lacan, and Foucault, this book will be of interest to students and scholars in political theory, philosophy, and related disciplines, looking to engage the emerging field of Deleuze studies.

"Looking for the introduction to Deleuze and political theory? You've found it. Nathan Widder gives the most clear and persuasive account of why Deleuze's philosophy matters for contemporary political thought. He situates this significance through an outstanding account of the place of Deleuze among historical and contemporary theories and figures, notably Hegel, Nietzsche and Lacan. The book also explains how Deleuze announces a new departure for political action and critique. In addition to a wonderful array of concrete examples, the book supports its arguments through an exemplary reading of Deleuze's works. A joy to read, and a joy to apply..." -- Professor James Williams, University of Dundee, UK

"Nathan Widder provides a remarkably accessible introduction to Deleuze’s ontology and its implications for political thought. He explains Deleuze’s distinctive contribution to contemporary political theory, namely that ‘we are micropolitical before we are political,’ by way of an informative tour through some of his most difficult texts, including Difference and Repetition, Nietzsche and Philosophy and Anti-Oedipus (co-written with Guattari). This book is an indispensable handbook to Deleuze’s key concepts that will be of interest to beginners as well as advanced students of Deleuze’s thought." -- Paul Patton, Professor of Philosophy, University of New South Wales, Australia


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