Zizek’s Critique of Caputo


In After the Death of God, John Caputo made this comment against Marxist philosophers:

“‘I would be perfectly happy if the far left politicians in the United States were able to reform the system by providing universal health care, effectively redistributing wealth more equitably with a revised IRS code, effectively restricting campaign financing, enfranchising all voters, treating migrant workers humanely, and effecting a multilateral foreign policy that would integrate American power within the international community, etc., i.e., intervene upon capitalism by means of serious and far-reaching reforms . . . . If after doing all that Badiou and Zizek complained that some Monster called Capital still stalks us, I would be inclined to greet that Monster with a yawn.’ The problem here is not Caputo’s conclusion that if one can achieve all that within capitalism, why not remain within the system? The problem lies with the “utopian” premise that it is possible to achieve all that within the coordinates of global capitalism. What if the particular malfunctionings of capitalism enumerated by Caputo are not merely accidental disturbances but are rather structurally necessary? What if Caputo’s dream is a dream of universality (of the universal capitalist order) without its symptoms, without any critical points in which its “repressed truth” articulates itself?” (First as Tragedy Then as Farce, 77-78)


6 Responses to “Zizek’s Critique of Caputo”

  1. Collin Says:

    Man you’re a blogging machine recently!
    Keep it coming with the new Zizek! Maybe i won’t have to buy it! 😉

  2. Jeremy Says:

    I’m just glad someone reads this other than me.

    Also, to save money just listen to this latest lecture he makes many of the same points in his analysis:http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=7035AF3E892EE640&search_query=zizek+monstrosity

    Or you like myself could check this out for a free (legal?) download: http://mariborchan.com/

  3. Jeremy Says:

    Apparently the equation is:

    1st semester Grad school + 5 hours of work = no productivity
    1st semester Grad school + 29 hours of work = more productivity

    I used to be a math major, but even I cannot figure this one out.

  4. Collin Says:

    seems slightly legal-ish!
    I wish i could find online downloads of books besides Zizek’s.

  5. Collin Says:

    Oh, also i just finished listening to Quest for a Satisfying Hermeneutic from Homebrewed. It was a damn fine conversation and i’m starting to understand the interest in Process Thought in regard to theology. Homebrewed also just released a podcast on someone who wrote an intro to Whitehead, they seem to be leaning towards process thought as well!

  6. Jeremy Says:

    Yeah, actually the guy that leads the podcast is studying at Claremont in California, which is the big process liberal seminary. Cobb and Sung teach there I believe. Here are some of my thoughts I reposted about reservations with regards to process thought:

    I don’t really understand why process theology is even considered to be Christian theology. I don’t think they could even begin justify from scripture their notion that God lacks omniscience. From what it seems to me, process theologians appropriated Whitehead’s metaphysics and situated within the Christian tradition. Honestly, I feel as if they’ve just decided that this understanding of God is more palatable to modern man who has ‘come of age’.

    Are omnipotence and impassibilty (although I agree that the latter attribute of God is not supported especially from the Hebrew Bible) only rejected because they make explaining theodicy difficult? Do we simply bracket these attributes because we cannot begin to reconcile the problem of evil with attributes of God such as omnipotence?

    Another question I have with postmodernism or process thought is the way the historical claims they make are structurally parallel to those of the ‘radical orthodoxy’ thinkers. Basically, process theology believes the entire history of western thought went off course because the concept of a static being was prioritized over an emerging becoming.

    My one last question is do you think the Jews and Christians who are worshipping God as recorded by the Scriptures believed in a God that lacked omnipotence and omniscience? I really don’t know enough about Biblical studies, but I have a hard time believing they didn’t conceive of God as all-powerful. Perhaps they were wrong, but acting as if that understanding was alien to Jews and early Christians before being tainted by Greek though sounds a tad unbelievable

    One last claim, the reason I distrust process theology is my skepticism (along with Barth) concerning natural theology. In our day and age the idea that one believe in God without revelations seems increasingly implausible (especially w/ the advent of modern science). I remember talking to a friend and we both agreed that without Jesus of Nazareth both of us would be atheist. I have no reason to believe in God save for God’s self-revelation through the Son. We don’t need God anymore, a point I think Bonhoeffer understood quite prophetically

    So are you suggesting that we have to forfeit claims to God’s impassibility, omniscience, and omnipotence that were solely inherited from Greek Metaphysics? I know I’ve pressed this before, but would you not concede that the God of the Hebrew Bible is far different from the God you’re proposing. I know this claim is getting quite trendy, but how would you avoid an accusation of Marcionism?

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