Formulation of the new philosophical concept ‘disparities’

In 2019 the distinguished publishing house Bloomsbury published Slavoj Žižek’s exhaustive, over 400 pages-long monograph Disparities. This is a writing and publishing feat that can compare to his monumental study on Hegel and Lacan from 2013 entitled Less Than Nothing.

Authors: Slavoj Žižek

The ambition of this study is to formulate, define and inaugurate the new philosophical concept ‘disparities’, which Žižek seeks to place at the centre of philosophical reflection and base upon it a new position, a new basis, which stems from the incongruence of reality itself. In this way he raises ‘disparity’ into a kind of Leitbegriff, a fundamental or leading concept with its own, mainly ontological and epistemological reach, while at the same time researching its aesthetic, theological and political implications. Here he relies on Hegel’s concept of ‘inequality’ from the Phenomenology of Mind, while at the same time he strictly differentiates his concept of ‘disparities’ from the concepts of ‘plasticity’ of Catherine Malabou, ‘abjection’ of Julia Kristeva, and ‘self-consciousness’ of Robert Pippin and the God of negative theology.

The value of the term ‘disparities’ appears mainly in its epistemological pretension, which attempts to salvage ‘truth’ from its relativisation in dialogue, communication, consensual and pragmatic theories and give it the same binding and absolute philosophical sharpness it requires today, in the post-truth era, in the struggle to distinguish it from lies. Žižek borrows Badiou’s thought that a truthful idea is what separates. The authentic gesture of some philosophy does not lie in the fact that it enters into dialogue with another philosophical position, but that it must draw a line separating truth from lies. Through this the concept ‘disparities’ also becomes a war cry for the rehabilitation of the concept of truth as a counter to lies.

Source: Žižek S. (2019). Disparities. London: Bloomsbury Academic. 


Front cover of the published monograph Disparities
Source: Bloomsbury Academic.