PRINT Summer 2009


Peter Sloterdijk’s Terror from the Air

PETER SLOTERDIJK IS THAT RARE THING, a public intellectual. Cohost of a program of cultural debate on German television called The Philosophical Quartet, he burst into public view in 1983 with his Critique of Cynical Reason, an ambitious study of the modern ego as steeped in cynicism, “inwardly adroit and outwardly armored,” which his American publisher touts as “the best-selling German book of philosophy since World War II,” and he has seen no fewer than twenty-seven titles into print since. Most important here is his expansive trilogy Sphären (Spheres I–III, 1998, 1999, 2004), which explores myriad spaces—from the microsphere of the uterus to the macrosphere of the nation-state—that are fundamental to the formation of human life but often overlooked by philosophers. At once polemical and holistic in approach, Sloterdijk has landed in trouble at times: In 1999 he published a text called

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