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Ebook Information

The Test Drive

A philosophical and cultural analysis of the motivation for and ubiquity of testing

The Test Drive deals with the war perpetrated by highly determined reactionary forces on science and research. How does the government at once promote and prohibit scientific testing and undercut the importance of experimentation? To what extent is testing at the forefront of theoretical and practical concerns today? Addressed to those who are left stranded by speculative thinking and unhinged by cognitive discourse, The Test Drive points to a toxic residue of uninterrogated questions raised by Nietzsche, Husserl, and Derrida. Ranging from the scientific probe to modalities of testing that include the limits of friendship or love, this work explores the crucial operations of an uncontestable legitimating machine. Avital Ronell offers a tour-de-force reading of legal, pharmaceutical, artistic, scientific, Zen, and historical grids that depend upon different types of testability, involving among other issues what it means to put oneself to the test.

"A brilliant success. Ronell's book makes us better understand who we are and what 'drives' us--that is to say, this is a book of the very first rank of importance."--Rüdiger Campe, professor of German, Johns Hopkins University

"As Ronell pursues the conceptual, figural, rhetorical, and even visual investigation of all the registers of testing, her line of argument remains exceptionally clear. The writing is always astute and imaginative--even witty. The Test Drive is cogently argued, exceptionally erudite, and stunningly original work."--Hent de Vries, author of Religion and Violence: Philosophical Reflections from Kant to Derrida


Avital Ronell is a professor of German, English, and comparative literature at New York University, where she also codirects the program in Trauma and Violence Transdiciplinary Studies. She is the author of Stupidity, Crack Wars, and other books.

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