Quora Answer: Slavoj Žižek: What are Zizek’s contributions to philosophy?

Oct 18 2014

People say that because the other truly great philosophers in the French school are all dead now. So he is the last one standing who appears on more talk shows. In comparison with Christopher Hitchens at least he is a real philosopher, unlike Hitchens who is also no longer standing.

As for Zizek’s contribution. Well he made Lacan make sense to me, that is something  but it does not qualify for greatness. To my mind he is not a truly great philosopher. Great Philosophers are people like Anaximander, Parmenides, Heraclitus, Plato, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger. They are people whose thought changed how we conceive of our world. It does not happen often.

Next rank down are philosophers such as Epidocles, Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Peirce, Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, Deleuze and others who present penetrating analyses of the world that cannot be ignored by others.

Next rank down are people like Hobbs, Hume, Locke, Levinas, Schopenhauer, Badiou, Zizek, Sartre, Jaspers, Kierkegaard, Bataille, Baudrillard, who are “interesting” as Zizek defies the term, which means that you can live without them and you wont be completely lost but it is better to know what they have to say if you can manage to work them into your study program.

Then there are those that are easy to ignore like Lyotard, Buber, Wm. James, Bergson, and othes of the lesser lights of philosophy.

However, that said I do find Zizek exciting, especially where he interprets Lacan as really being Hegel, because that is the reduction of the inexplicable to the impossible and there is something daring in that.

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