Google full text of our books:


The Era of the Individual:
A Contribution to a History of Subjectivity
Alain Renaut
With a foreword by Alexander Nehamas
Translated by M. B. DeBevoise and Franklin Philip

Paperback | 2014 | $40.95 | £34.95 | ISBN: 9780691604183
Hardcover | 2016 | $102.50 | £87.95 | ISBN: 9780691633350
292 pp. | 6 x 9
Add to Shopping Cart

Reviews | Table of Contents

Google full text of this book:

With the publication of French Philosophy of the Sixties, Alain Renaut and Luc Ferry in 1985 launched their famous critique against canonical figures such as Foucault, Derrida, and Lacan, bringing under rigorous scrutiny the entire post-structuralist project that had dominated Western intellectual life for over two decades. Their goal was to defend the accomplishments of liberal democracy, particularly in terms of basic human rights, and to trace the reigning philosophers' distrust of liberalism to an "antihumanism" inherited mainly from Heidegger. In The Era of the Individual, widely hailed as Renaut's magnum opus, the author explores the most salient feature of post-structuralism: the elimination of the human subject. At the root of this thinking lies the belief that humans cannot know or control their basic natures, a premise that led to Heidegger's distrust of an individualistic, capitalist modern society and that allied him briefly with Hitler's National Socialist Party. While acknowledging some of Heidegger's misgivings toward modernity as legitimate, Renaut argues that it is nevertheless wrong to equate modernity with the triumph of individualism. Here he distinguishes between individualism and subjectivity and, by offering a history of the two, powerfully redirects the course of current thinking away from potentially dangerous, reductionist views of humanity.

Renaut argues that modern philosophy contains within itself two opposed ways of conceiving the human person. The first, which has its roots in Descartes and Kant, views human beings as subjects capable of arriving at universal moral judgments. The second, stemming from Leibniz, Hegel, and Nietzsche, presents human beings as independent individuals sharing nothing with others. In a careful recounting of this philosophical tradition, Renaut shows the resonances of these traditions in more recent philosophers such as Heidegger and in the social anthropology of Louis Dumont.

Renaut's distinction between individualism and subjectivity has become an important issue for young thinkers dissatisfied with the intellectual tradition originating in Nietzsche and Heidegger. Moreover, his proclivity toward the Kantian tradition, combined with his insights into the shortcomings of modernity, will interest anyone concerned about today's shifting cultural attitudes toward liberalism.

Originally published in 1997.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.


"Alain Renaut places himself foursquare in [the] humanist tradition in a spirited and erudite attempt to retrieve what he sees as its most important legacy.... [He is] one of the brightest lights in contemporary French moral and political philosophy."--Fredrick Appel, The Boston Book Review

"Alain Renaut tells the story of the elimination of the [human] subject, bringing together, with astonishing virtuosity, pedagogical clarity and a sense of drama.... By the very virtue of its richness, this learned yet fast-paced book raises a myriad of questions.... [It is] a book that one must read ... as a moving and admirable restoration of the idea of the subject."--Alain Finkielkraut, L'événement du jeudi

"Renaut's journey through the rise of philosophical individualism is a fascinating one for those interested in modern philosophical developments."--Martin Sheehan, Australia and World Affairs

Table of Contents:

Translator's Note
Pt. 1 Readings of Modernity
Ch. I Heidegger: The Reign of the Subject 3
Ch. II Dumont: The Triumph of the Individual 29
Pt. 2 Logic of Philosophy
Ch. III Leibniz: The Monadological Idea and the Birth of the Individual 61
Ch. IV Berkeley and Hume: The Empiricist Monadologies and the Dissolution of the Subject 88
Ch. V Hegel and Nietzsche: Development of the Monadologies 115
Pt. 3 Transcendence and Autonomy: The End of the Monadologies
Preamble: Phenomenology and Criticism 141
Ch. VI Levinas: The Rupture of Immanence 143
Ch. VII Kant: The Horizon of Transcendence 167
Notes 201
Bibliography 241
Index 251


Subject Areas:

Hardcover: Not for sale in South Asia
Paperback: Not for sale in South Asia

Shopping Cart:

***Hardcover: Not for sale in South Asia

***Paperback: Not for sale in South Asia

  • For hardcover/paperback orders in United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia

 Paperback : $40.95 ISBN: 9780691604183

Add to shopping cart

 Hardcover : $102.50 ISBN: 9780691633350

Add to shopping cart
View contents of your shopping cart

  • For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan

 Hardcover  £87.95 ISBN: 9780691633350

Add to shopping cart

 Paperback  £34.95 ISBN: 9780691604183

Add to shopping cart
View contents of your shopping cart

Prices subject to change without notice

File created: 7/11/2017

Questions and comments to:
Princeton University Press

New Book E-mails
New In Print
PUP Blog
Princeton APPS
Sample Chapters
Princeton Legacy Library
Exam/Desk Copy
Recent Awards
Princeton Shorts
Freshman Reading
PUP Europe
About Us
Contact Us
PUP Home

Bookmark and Share 
Send me emails
about new books in:
Political Science And International Relations
More Choices