Philosophy & Critical Theory
Books in this online selection represent only a sliver of what we offer in the store. If you've got a particular book in mind and want to check on its availability, call us at 415-362-8193.

   
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The Responsibility of Intellectuals
Noam Chomsky
Originally published in the New York Review of Books, Chomsky's essay eviscerated the "hypocritical moralism of the past" (such as when Woodrow Wilson set out to teach Latin Americans "the art of good government") and exposed the shameful policies in Vietnam and the role of intellectuals in justifying it.
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The Red Atlas
How the Soviet Union Secretly Mapped the World
John Davies, Alexander J. Kent
Fascinating and full of detail. A wonderful rabbit hole to fall down, especially when Russian involvement in foreign politics has again made the news... —Recommended by Vanessa
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Crash Override
How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate
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Life in Code
A Personal History of Technology
The never-more-necessary return of one of our most vital and eloquent voices on technology and culture, the author of the seminal Close to the Machine The last twenty years have brought us the rise of the internet, the development of artificial intelligence, the ubiquity of once unimaginably powerful computers, and the thorough transformation...
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At the Existentialist Cafe
Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Others
Sarah Bakewell
Bakewell manifests the freedom and thrill of existentialism with hardly any of the dread. You are free. You decide. —Recommended by Caitlyn
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Radical Technologies
The Design of Everyday Life
Adam Greenfield
A field manual to the technologies that are transforming our lives
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The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge
Abraham Flexner
A short, provocative book about why "useless" science often leads to humanity's greatest technological breakthroughs A forty-year tightening of funding for scientific research has meant that resources are increasingly directed toward applied or practical outcomes, with the intent of creating products of immediate value.
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I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts
Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams
Mark Dery
"I must not think bad thoughts. I must not think bad thoughts." These lyrics by the band X have been my mantra on many occasions as I trudged my way here and there. Lucky for us that Mark Dery goes deep into the territories that many of us shun, illuminating the absurdity, humor and truths found on the dark side. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights
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Nan Dòmi
An Initiate's Journey into Haitian Vodou
Mimerose Beaubrun
The first and only insider's account of Vodou's private, mystical, interior practice, a compelling story of initiation and transformation.
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The Trouble with Being Born
E. M. Cioran
Crotchety old man snarks about the pointlessness of life. Wonderful. —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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The Grey Album
On the Blackness of Blackness
Kevin Young
Taking its title from Danger Mouse's pioneering mashup of Jay-Z's The Black Album and the Beatles' The White Album, Kevin Young’s encyclopedic book combines essay, cultural criticism, and lyrical chorus to illustrate the African American tradition of...
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A Lover's Discourse
Fragments
Roland Barthes
A Lover’s Discourse, at its 1978 publication, was revolutionary: Roland Barthes made unprecedented use of the tools of structuralism to explore the whimsical phenomenon of love. Rich with references ranging from Goethe’s Werther to Winnicott, from...
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A Little History of the World
E. H. Gombrich
In 1935, with a doctorate in art history and no prospect of a job, the 26-year-old Ernst Gombrich was invited by a publishing acquaintance to attempt a history of the world for younger readers. Amazingly, he completed the task in an intense six weeks...
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A Temple of Texts
William H. Gass
Winner of the 2007 Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism, A Temple of Texts is the latest critical collection from one of America's greatest essayists and novelists. Here, William H. Gass pays homage to the readerly side of the literary...

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