Being at Large

Sam Mickey in the Hong Kong Review of Books:

A philosopher and cultural critic, Santiago Zabala is well known for articulating the ongoing relevance of a strand of philosophy oriented around interpretation: philosophical hermeneutics. In his latest book, he brings his hermeneutic perspective to an interrogation of the mounting challenges posed by the conditions of today’s intellectual and political landscape. As the subtitle indicates, this book addresses the misinformation and misunderstandings that are so prevalent today. Alternative facts, fake news and post-truth are all symptoms of a lack of any mutual understanding about what is real. Similarly, the return of realism has become a trend in the intellectual world, reflected in the realist rationality proffered by a psychologist like Jordan Peterson or by the philosophical movement of speculative realism. Questions about what is real have never been so pressing on a global scale. Indeed, responses to those questions have impacts not only on humanity but on the diversity of species on Earth, which are currently threatened with a mass extinction event.

For Zabala, responding to what is transpiring in an age of alternative facts calls for an understanding of being, interpretation and emergency – three themes that are for the author “near synonyms” and are also necessary for facilitating freedom today.

More here.