Page 1. Antonio Calcagno Jacques Derrida and Alain Badiou Is there a relation between politics and time ?This paper argues that though Derrida is correct to bring to the fore the undecidability that is contained in his ..
The phenomenological movement originates with Edmund Husserl, and two of his young students and collaborators, Edith Stein and Hedwig Conrad-Martius, made a notable contribution to the very delineation of the phenomenological method, which pushed phenomenology in a “realistic” direction. This essay seeks to examine the decisive influence that these two thinkers had on two specific areas: the value of the sciences and certain metaphysical questions. Concerningthe former, I maintain that Stein, departing from a philosophical, phenomenological analysis of the human being, (...) is interested particularly in the formation of the cognitive value of the human sciences. Regarding the latter, Conrad-Martius, given her knowledge of biology, tackled the question of the role and meaning of the sciences of nature. The second question, related to metaphysical themes, became a specific and relevant object of research for both women phenomenologists.It will be investigated by comparing two works, one by each thinker, namely, the Metaphysische Gespräche by Conrad-Martius and Potenz und Akt by Edith Stein. (shrink)
If community is determined primarily in consciousness as a mental state of oneness, can community exist when there is no accompanying mental state or collective intentionality that makes us realise that we are one community? Walther would respond affirmatively, arguing that there is a deep psychological structure of habit that allows us to continue to experience ourselves as a community. The habit of community works on all levels of our person, including our bodies, psyches and spirits (Geist). It allows us (...) to continue to be in community even though we are not always conscious of it. Husserl would describe this as part of the passive synthesis of Vergemeinschaftung. Walther’s analysis of the passive structure of habit opens up important possibilities for the inner consciousness of time. Drawing from Husserl’s and Walther’s analyses, I argue for the possibility of a communal inner time consciousness, or an inner awareness of timeconsciousness of the community, which gives rise to three constitutive moments: communal retention or communal memory, a sense of the communal present or a communal “now,” and communal protentions or anticipations. Ultimately, I will show how Walther’s treatment of habit demonstrates that time conditions the lived experience of community. One can, therefore, speak of a time of the community—its past, present and future—even though Walther herself does not explicitly develop this possibility. (shrink)
Edith Stein’s early phenomenological texts describe community as a special unity that is fully lived through in consciousness. In her later works, unity is described in more theological terms as participation in the communal fullness and wholeness of God or Being. Can these two accounts of community or human belonging be reconciled? I argue that consciousness can bring to the fore the meaning of community, thereby conditioning our lived-experience of community, but it can also, through Heideggerian questioning, uncover that which (...) remains somewhat hidden from consciousness itself: its own ground or condition of possibility, namely, being—a being that is both one and many, unified, communalised, and very diversified. If my reading of Stein is correct, the traditional understanding of the split between Stein’s strictly Husserlian/phenomenological period and her later Christian philosophical period must be renegotiated, at least when it comes to the philosophical problem of community or human togetherness. (shrink)
This article focuses on Michel Foucault’s concepts of authorship and power. Jacques Derrida has often been accused of being more of a literary author than a philosopher or political theorist. Richard Rorty complains that Derrida’s views on politics are not pragmatic enough; he sees Derrida’s later work, including his political work, more as a “private self-fashioning” than concrete political thinking aimed at devising short-term solutions to problems here and now. Employing Foucault’s work around authorship and the origins of power, I (...) show that Derrida is indeed fashioning himself. This self-fashioning is not merely private or fanciful. Rather, I argue that Derrida can be read as employing what Foucault would call “technologies of the self” to not only show the play of possibility and impossibility at work in all politics and thought, but also to use his savoir to create two important and potentially constructive power structures. First, there is the power of deconstruction itself as a “militant critique” that calls for a forceful and irreducible justice. Second, there is the power of Derrida himself, understood as leaving behind a legacy of himself as the “originator” of deconstruction and as a public intellectual. (shrink)
One of the more poignant claims Badiou makes is that the subject develops an understanding of itself as a political subject only by executing decisive political actions or making decisive political interventions. In this article I will argue that in order to have a fuller philosophical conception of political subjectivity, and therefore political agency, one must also hold that, first, political interventions do not necessarily lead to a definition or a further way of referring to and understanding the subject. In (...) fact, political events and interventions may consciously aim at and result in the de-politicizing, de-subjectivating or dehumanizing of the subject. Second, political agency need not result in an event or an intervention in order to be political. In other words, failed or non-interventions may still be considered political. Third, despite Badiou's call for an ethics rooted in truth and fidelity, his political philosophy results in a relativism that can easily lapse into violence and injustice. (shrink)
This article seeks to present for the first time a more systematic account of Edith Stein’s views on death and dying. First, I will argue that death does not necessarily lead us to an understanding of our earthly existence as aevum, that is, an experience of time between eternity and finite temporality. We always bear the mark of our finitude, including our finite temporality, even when we exist within the eternal mind of God. To claim otherwise, is to make identical (...) our eternity with God’s eternity, thereby undermining the traditional Scholastic argument, which Stein holds, that there is no real relation between the being (and, therefore, (a)temporality) of God and the being of human persons. Second, I will argue that Stein excludes the category of potentiality from her discussion of death as a relation between the fullness or actuality of being and nothingness. In fact, death is more a relation between possibility/potentiality and nothingness than a relation between actual fullness and nothingness. What Stein describes as fullness ought to be read as potential. (shrink)
Stein describes the peculiar mental life of the community as a Gemeinschaftserlebnis or lived experience of the community. Such an experience is marked by a certain form of consciousness insofar as one knows that one is dwelling with and for the other (miteinander und füreinander) at varying degrees of intensity.Furthermore, one experiences solidarity as one dwells within the experience of the other and vice versa. Two central problems arise with this phenomenologicaldescription. First, one wonders whether the doctrine of empathy itself (...) can account for these higher social mental states without necessarily arguing for a specific form of consciousness that is particular to community. Second, the question arises as to why community is described as being accompanied by a peculiar mental state, whereas other social structures like the mass, society, and the state are not described in this way. This article has as its focus these two questions. (shrink)
Badiou and Derrida have dedicated much of their thought to politics and the nature of the political. Calcagno shows how their views diverge and converge, providing some very intriguing developments in Continental philosophy.
This paper argues that though Derrida is correct to bring to the fore the undecidability that is contained in his political notion of the democracy to come, his account does not extend the aporia of undecidable politics far enough. Derrida himself makes evident this gap. Though politics may be structured with undecidability, there are times when direct, decisive and definitive political interventions are required. In his campaign against capital punishment, the blitzing campaigns in Bosnia and Iraq, and in his call (...) for les villes-refuges, Derrida makes decisive appeals which somehow seem to contradict the undecidability he sees as arch-structuring. Alain Badiou’s thinking about time as a subjective, decisive intervention executed within his ontological framework of undecidability and multiplicity can serve to extend the aporia of undecidability inherent in politics, ultimately giving an account for both the undecidability that structures politics and the decisive timely interventions that would seem to contradict Derridean undecidability. (shrink)