The multiplicity of the self and the inaccessibility of truth are commonplaces of contemporary thought. But in Seeing Things Hidden they become key features of a philosophy of history that reunites emancipatory political theory with the apocalyptic tradition. Apocalyptic is the revelation of things hidden. But what does it mean to be hidden? And why are things hidden in the first place? By gently teasing out the meanings of hiddenness, this book develops a new theory of apocalyptic and explores its relation to the writings of Kant, Hegel, Benjamin and Derrida. Exploiting affinities between the work of Lukacs and recent American philosophers like Rorty and Cavell, Bull argues that the central dynamic of late modernity is the coming into hiding of the contradictory identities generated through political and social emancipation. Drawing on analytic and Continental philosophy he articulates the most ambitious philosophy of history since Francis Fukuyama's The End of History, presenting fresh interpretations of such icons of modernity as Hegel's master-slave dialectic, Benjamin's angel of history, Du Bois's concept of double consciousness, and Rawls's veil of ignorance.
Malcolm Bull teaches at Oxford. He is the editor of Apocalypse Theory.