The Italian philosopher Alessandro Ferrara has described how to constantly discuss what Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary should exemplify. Not least, it says something about what potential the good example holds, but to unleash this potential, one must approach the example with the right attitude.
Brian Benjamin Hansen's book For example – examples that think (2021) contains, among many other things, a defense of Slavoj Žižek's materialistic exemplary practice, which is characterized by a high degree of elasticity and readiness for change.
The panopticon is a way of understanding different techniques and practices in one
given period – as a prison.
Overall, the book operates with two types of examples. There is «the rhetorical example», which only has to convey a theory that is fixed in advance – the purpose of «the rhetorical example» is thus to facilitate communication, the example has a pedagogical purpose. And then there is «the theoretical example», the type of example that Žižek swears by, which acts as a thought-forming generator, a raw corrective, a destabilizing curiosity. If the function of the rhetorical example is to convey and disseminate (theory, concept, idea), then the function of the theoretical example is to expand, rebuild or undermine: The question here is not whether the example is in line with the concept, but rather whether the concept is measure with the example.
Before I return to Žižek, which is the main profile of the book, I would like to highlight Benjamin Hansen's fine review of French Michel Foucault's way of working, a method which, like Plato, Hegel's and Žižek's method, is described in a lot. . .