Volume 64, Issue 1, Winter 2020
Marxism and New Materialism
The Controversy about Sloterdijk’s "Rules for the Human Zoo"
Between Continental-Analytic Philosophy and Tropological Thinking
The so-called Menschenpark-debate on genetic engineering—originating in 1999—turned out to be one of the most controversial and contentious debates in German philosophy. It is also regarded as the first manifestation of the struggle between Sloterdijk and Habermas. While Sloterdijk’s ideas had a significant impact on Habermas’s theory, Sloterdijk’s philosophy has been consistently ignored and dismissed until today due to two reasons. First, he was accused of advocating for fascist ideology. Second, philosophers from the same academic circles claimed that his method does not meet academic standards. The debate therefore signifies a larger problem that concerns the methodological difference between analytic-Continental philosophies that work on a formal level and Continental philosophies that work with a tropological account experimenting with different non-formal philosophical expressions. I will carve out this distinction with respect to the Menschenpark-debate to argue that Sloterdijk is an integral part of our philosophical historical moment.