Peter Sloterdijk

Peter Sloterdijk

region = Western Philosophy
era = 21st-century philosophy
color = #B0C4DE

image_caption =

name = Peter Sloterdijk
birth = birth date and age|1947|6|26
flagicon|GER Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg
death =
school_tradition = Posthumanism
main_interests =
influences = Klaus Briegleb, Friedrich Nietzsche, Michel Foucault, Osho
influenced =
notable_ideas =

Peter Sloterdijk (born June 26, 1947 in Karlsruhe) is a German philosopher.


Sloterdijk studied philosophy, German studies and history at the University of Munich. In 1975 he received his Ph.D. from the University of Hamburg. Since 1980 he has published many philosophical works, including the "Critique of Cynical Reason". In 2001 he was named president of the State Academy of Design, part of the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe. In 2002 he began to co-host "Das Philosophische Quartett" (Philosophical Quartet), a show on the German ZDF television channel devoted to discussing key issues affecting present-day society. [ [,1872,1021352,00.html ZDF website] ]


Sloterdijk’s philosophy strikes a balance between the firm academicism of a scholarly professor and a certain sense of anti-academicism (witness his ongoing interest in the ideas of Osho, whose disciple he became in the late seventies). ["die tageszeitung" [ interview] dd. 13 June 2006, [ interview] in "Lettre International" de icon] Notwithstanding the criticism that some of his thoughts have provoked, he refuses to be labeled a “polemic thinker,” describing himself instead as “hyperbolic.” His ideas reject the existence of dualisms—body and soul, subject and object, culture and nature, etc.—since their interaction, "spaces of coexistence" (see Spheres below), and technical advances create a hybrid reality. Thus Sloterdijk, who is trying to develop a new humanism sometimes called posthumanism, seeks to integrate different components that have been, in his opinion, erroneously considered detached from each other. This search has led him to propose the creation of an “ontological constitution” that would incorporate all beings—humans, animals, plants, and machines.

Critique of Cynical Reason

The "Kritik der zynischen Vernunft", published by Suhrkamp in 1983 (and in English as "Critique of Cynical Reason", 1988), became the best-selling philosophical book in the German language since the Second World War and launched Sloterdijk's career as an author.


The trilogy "Spheres" is the philosopher's magnum opus. The first volume was published in 1998, the second in 1999, and the last in 2004.

"Spheres" is about spaces of coexistence, spaces commonly overlooked or taken for granted that conceal information crucial to developing an understanding of the human. The exploration of these spheres begins with the basic difference between mammals and other animals: the biological and utopian comfort of the mother's womb, which humans try to recreate through science, ideology, and religion. From these microspheres (ontological relations such as fetus-placenta) to macrospheres ("macro-uteri" such as nations or states), Sloterdijk analyzes spheres where humans try but fail to dwell and traces a connection between vital crisis (e.g., emptiness and narcissistic detachment) and crises created when a sphere shatters.

Sloterdijk has said that the first paragraphs of "Spheres" are “the book that Heidegger should have written," a companion volume to "Being and Time", namely, "Being and Space".Fact|date=May 2007 He was referring to his initial exploration of the idea of "Dasein", which is then taken farther as Sloterdijk distances himself from Heidegger’s positions.


Sloterdijk also argues that the current concept of globalization lacks historical perspective. In his view it is merely the third wave in a process of overcoming distances (the first wave being the metaphysical globalization of the Greek cosmology and the second the nautical globalization of the 15th century). The difference for Sloterdijk is that, while the second wave created cosmopolitanism, the third is creating a global provincialism. Sloterdijk's sketch of a philosophical history of globalization can be found in "Im Weltinnenraum des Kapitals" (2005), subtitled "Die letzte Kugel" (The final sphere).

Genetics dispute

Shortly after Sloterdijk conducted a symposium on philosophy and Heidegger, he stirred up controversy with his essay "Regeln für den Menschenpark" ("Rules for the Human Zoo"). In this text, Sloterdijk regards cultures and civilizations as "anthropogenic hothouses," installations for the cultivation of human beings; just as we have established wildlife preserves to protect certain animal species, so too ought we to adopt more deliberate policies to ensure the survival of Aristotle's "zoon politikon". Breaking a German taboo on the discussion of genetic manipulation, Sloterdijk suggested that the advent of new genetic technologies required more forthright discussion and regulation of "bio-cultural" reproduction. The core of the controversy was not only Sloterdijk’s ideas but also his use of the German words "Züchtung" (breeding, cultivation) and "Selektion" (selection), which recalled Nazi eugenic policies. Sloterdijk rejected the accusation of Nazism, which he considered alien to his historical context. Still, the paper started a controversy in which Sloterdijk was strongly criticized, both for his apparent usage of a fascist rhetoric to promote Plato’s vision of a government with absolute control over the population, and for committing a non-normative, simplistic reduction of the bioethical issue itself. This second criticism was based on the vagueness of Sloterdijk’s position on how exactly society would be affected by this genetic development. After the controversy multiplied positions both for and against him, "Die Zeit" published an open letter from Sloterdijk to Jürgen Habermas in which he vehemently accused Habermas of "criticizing behind his back" and espousing a view of humanism (i.e., critical theory) that Sloterdijk declared dead.

List of works


*"Critique of Cynical Reason", University of Minnesota Press, 1988, ISBN 0816615861
*"Thinker on Stage: Nietzsche's Materialism", University of Minnesota Press, 1989, ISBN 0816617651


*"Kritik der zynischen Vernunft", 1983
*"Der Zauberbaum. Die Entstehung der Psychoanalyse im Jahr 1785", 1985
*"Der Denker auf der Bühne. Nietzsches Materialismus", 1986 (Thinker on Stage: Nietzsche's Materialism)
*"Kopernikanische Mobilmachung und ptolmäische Abrüstung", 1986
*"Zur Welt kommen - Zur Sprache kommen. Frankfurter Vorlesungen", 1988
*"Eurotaoismus. Zur Kritik der politischen Kinetik", 1989
*"Versprechen auf Deutsch. Rede über das eigene Land", 1990
*"Weltfremdheit", 1993
*"Im selben Boot. Versuch über die Hyperpolitik", 1993
*"Falls Europa erwacht. Gedanken zum Programm einer Weltmacht am Ende des Zeitalters seiner politischen Absence", 1994
*"Selbstversuch. Ein Gespräch mit Carlos Oliveira", 1996
*"Der starke Grund zusammen zu sein. Erinnerungen an die Erfindung des Volkes", 1998
*"Sphären I - Blasen, Mikrosphärologie", 1998 (Spheres I)
*"Sphären II - Globen, Makrosphärologie", 1999 (Spheres II)
*"Regeln für den Menschenpark. Ein Antwortschreiben zu Heideggers Brief über den Humanismus", 1999
*"Die Verachtung der Massen. Versuch über Kulturkämpfe in der modernen Gesellschaft", 2000
*"Über die Verbesserung der guten Nachricht. Nietzsches fünftes Evangelium. Rede zum 100. Todestag von Friedrich Nietzsche", 2000
*"Nicht gerettet. Versuche nach Heidegger", 2001
*"Die Sonne und der Tod. Dialogische Untersuchungen mit H.-J. Heinrichs", 2001
*"Tau von den Bermudas. Über einige Regime der Phantasie", 2001
*"Luftbeben. An den Wurzeln des Terrors", 2002
*"Sphären III - Schäume, Plurale Sphärologie", 2004 (Spheres III)
*"Im Weltinnenraum des Kapitals", 2005
*"Was zählt, kehrt wieder. Philosophische Dialoge, gem. mit Alain Finkielkraut (aus d. frz.)", 2005
*" Zorn und Zeit. Politisch-psychologischer Versuch, 2006, ISBN 3-518-41840-8
*"Der ästhetische Imperativ", 2007
*"Derrida Ein Ägypter", 2007
*"Gottes Eifer. Vom Kampf der drei Monotheismen." Frankfurt a.M. (Insel), 2007


External links


* [ See Stefan Lorenz Sorgner, "In Search of Lost Cheekiness, An Introduction to Peter Sloterdijk's Critique of Cynical Reason", in: Tabula Rasa, 20 (2003)]
* [ "The Operable Man", a Sloterdijk essay on the Ethical State of Gene Technology]
* [ Compilation of links about the genetics polemic (in French)]
* [ Peter Sloterdijk Compilation Articles]
* [ Peter Sloterdijk Sphären Articles]
* [ Peter Sloterdijk; spheres and interface space (in spanish)]
* [ Introduction to Sphären Book Peter Sloterdijk (in spanish)] ]


* [ Topics: Spheres (in English, Feb/Mar 2005)]
* [ Conference given at Sciences Po on May 2008, in French]
* [ Topics: Humanism, terrorism, ethics (in Spanish)]
* [ Topics: Utopia (in Spanish)]
* [ Topics: Spheres, Postmodernism, Enlightenment (in Italian)]
* [ Topics: Selbstversuch, Lacan, Osho (in German)]
* [ Peter Sloterdijk; Spheres, Sonorous experiments and ontogenesis of the human spaces (in Spanish)]

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  • Peter Sloterdijk — bei einer Lesung aus seinem Buch Du mußt dein Leben ändern Peter Sloterdijk [ˈsloːtɐˌdaɪk] (* 26. Juni 1947 in Karlsruhe) ist ein deutscher Philosoph, Fernsehmoderator …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Sloterdijk — Slọterdijk   [ daɪk], Peter, Philosoph und Schriftsteller, * Karlsruhe 1947; Professor in Karlsruhe. Aufsehen erregte seine »Kritik der zynischen Vernunft« (2 Bände, 1983), die zur zynischen Bildgeschichte Europas u. a. Polemiken, geschichtliche …   Universal-Lexikon

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