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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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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The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media
Walter Benjamin
Benjamin’s famous “Work of Art” essay sets out his boldest thoughts—on media and on culture in general—in their most realized form, while retaining an edge that gets under the skin of everyone who reads it. In this essay the visual arts of the...
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The Gift
Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World
Lewis Hyde
By now a modern classic, The Gift is a brilliantly orchestrated defense of the value of creativity and of its importance in a culture increasingly governed by money and overrun with commodities. Widely available again after twenty-five years, this...
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Maps of the Imagination
The Writer as Cartographer
Peter Turchi
What can German globe makers, British cartographers, the Marx brothers, and Roadrunner cartoons tell us about writers from Sappho to Italo Calvino? According to fiction writer Peter Turchi both cartographers and writers draw from the same well of...
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A Guide to Philosophy in Six Hours and Fifteen Minutes
Witold Gombrowicz
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books In this inspired book, the eminent Polish author Witold Gombrowicz reflects on seven great philosophers. He discusses Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Sartre, and Heidegger in six "one-hour" essays...
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Existentialism Is a Humanism
Jean Paul Sartre
It was to correct common misconceptions about his thought that Sartre accepted an invitation to speak on October 29, 1945, at the Club Maintenant in Paris. The unstated objective of his lecture (“Existentialism Is a Humanism”) was to...
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The Writer of Modern Life
Essays on Charles Baudelaire
Walter Benjamin
Walter Benjamin's essays on the great French lyric poet Charles Baudelaire revolutionized not just the way we think about Baudelaire, but our understanding of modernity and modernism as well. In these essays, Benjamin challenges the image of...
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Imperial San Francisco
Urban Power, Earthly Ruin
Gray Brechin
First published in 1999, this celebrated history of San Francisco traces the exploitation of both local and distant regions by prominent families--the Hearsts, de Youngs, Spreckelses, and others--who gained power through mining, ranching, water and...
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The Singularity Is Near
When Humans Transcend Biology
Ray Kurzweil
For over three decades, Ray Kurzweil has been one of the most respected and provocative advocates of the role of technology in our future. In his classic The Age of Spiritual Machines, he argued that computers would soon rival the full range of human...
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The Chomsky-Foucault Debate
On Human Nature
Noam Chomsky, Michel Foucault
Two of the twentieth century's most influential thinkers debate a perennial question.In 1971, at the height of the Vietnam War and at a time of great political and social instability, two of the world's leading intellectuals, Noam Chomsky and Michel...
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A Field Guide to Getting Lost
Rebecca Solnit
A Field Guide to Getting Lost is about the stories we use to navigate our way through the world and the places we traverse, from wilderness to cities, in finding ourselves or losing ourselves. Written as a series of autobiographical essays, it draws on...
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On Hashish
Walter Benjamin, Howard Eiland
Walter Benjamin's posthumously published collection of writings on hashish is a detailed blueprint for a book that was never written--a "truly exceptional book about hashish," as Benjamin describes it in a letter to his friend Gershom Scholem. A...
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Berlin Childhood around 1900
Walter Benjamin
Begun in Poveromo, Italy, in 1932, and extensively revised in 1938, Berlin Childhood around 1900 remained unpublished during Walter Benjamin's lifetime, one of his "large-scale defeats." Now translated into English for the first time in book form...
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On Bullshit
Harry G. Frankfurt
One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted.

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