Manfred Frank, Philippe lacoue-labarthe, and Jean-Luc Nancy: Prolegomena to a French-German dialogue

Critical Horizons 5 (1):137-164 (2004)
Abstract
This essay works to set up a debate between the German philosopher Manfred Frank and the French philosophers Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy. At stake in the debate is the concept of freedom. The essay begins by explaining Frank's subject-based concept of freedom and then it presents the perfectly opposed non-subjective ontological concept of freedom that Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy forward. In the end, in the interest of threading a way through this impasse, and following the cue of these three philosophers, we turn to the early German Romantics Novalis and Friedrich Schlegel to help us reconceptualise freedom. Following their cue, I draw on the strengths of Frank and Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy while avoiding their dangerous extremes.
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