Re-treating Religion is the first volume to analyze his long-term project The Deconstruction of Christianity,especially his major statement of it in Dis-Enclosure.Nancy conceives monotheistic religion and secularization not as opposite ...
Le propos est précédé par une illustration, la seule de l’ouvrage, extraite d’une Histoire de l’industrie du coton en Grande-Bretagne parue en 1835. Il s’agit de la reproduction d’un dessin représentant le processus d’impression de motifs sur du calicot. On y voit deux hommes travailler, de façon semble-t-il minutieuse, sur deux grandes machines installées dans un atelier spacieux. L’illustration est égayée par les motifs imprimés sur les pans de tissu, qui occupent une grande partie de l’esp..
In Being and Time, Heidegger affirms that being-with or Mitsein is an essential constitution of Dasein but he does not submit this existential to the same rigorous analyses as other existentials. In this essay, Jean-Luc Nancy points to the different places where Heidegger erased the possibility of thinking an essential with that he himself opened. This erasure is due, according to Nancy, to the subordination of Mitsein to a thinking of the proper and the improper. The polarization of (...) Being-with between an improper face, the Anyone, and a proper one, the people, which is also, as Nancy shows, a polarization between everydayness and historicity, between a being-together in exteriority (indifference and anonymity) and a being-together in interiority (union through destiny), between a solitary dying and the sacrificial death in combat, leaves the essential with unthought. This essay shows not only the tensions that arise out of Heidegger’s own analyses of Mitsein and affect the whole of Being and Time but also underlines in the end a “shortfall in thinking” inherent not only to Heidegger’s work but, as Nancy claims, to our Western tradition, a shortfall which Nancy has attempted to remedy in his Being Singular Plural. (shrink)
If anything marks the image, it is a deep ambivalence. Denounced as superficial, illusory, and groundless, images are at the same time attributed with exorbitant power and assigned a privileged relation to truth. Mistrusted by philosophy, forbidden and embraced by religions, manipulated as “spectacle” and proliferated in the media, images never cease to present their multiple aspects, their paradoxes, their flat but receding spaces.What is this power that lies in the depths and recesses of an image—which is always only an (...) impenetrable surface? What secrets are concealed in the ground or in the figures of an image—which never does anything but show just exactly what it is and nothing else? How does the immanence of images open onto their unimaginable others, their imageless origin?In this collection of writings on images and visual art, Jean-Luc Nancy explores such questions through an extraordinary range of references. From Renaissance painting and landscape to photography and video, from the image of Roman death masks to the language of silent film, from Cleopatra to Kant and Heidegger, Nancy pursues a reflection on visuality that goes far beyond the many disciplines with which it intersects. He offers insights into the religious, cultural, political, art historical, and philosophical aspects of the visual relation, treating such vexed problems as the connection between image and violence, the sacred status of images, and, in a profound and important essay, the forbidden representation of the Shoah. In the background of all these investigations lies a preoccupation with finitude, the unsettling forces envisaged by the images that confront us, the limits that bind us to them, the death that stares back at us from their frozen traits and distant intimacies.In these vibrant and complex essays, a central figure in European philosophy continues to work through some of the most important questions of our time. Jean-Luc Nancy is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Université Marc Bloch, Strasbourg. The most recent of his many books to be published in English are A Finite Thinking and Multiple Arts. Jeff Fort has translated works by authors such as Jean Genet, Maurice Blanchot, and Jacques Derrida. He is currently a lecturer in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. (shrink)
One of the strongest strands in Nancy's philosophy is an attempt to rethink community and the very idea of the social in a way that does not ground these ideas in some individual subject or subjectivity. The fundamental argument of this book is that being is always 'being with', that 'I' is not prior to 'we', that existence is essentially co-existence. He thinks this being together, not as a comfortable enclosure in a pre-existing group, but as a mutual abandonment (...) and exposure to each other, one that would preserve the 'I' and its freedom in a mode of imagining community as neither a 'society of spectacle' nor via some form of 'authenticity'. (shrink)
This collection of writings by Jean-Luc Nancy, the renowned French critic and poet, delves into the history of philosophy to locate a fundamentally poetic modus operandi there. The book represents a daring mixture of Nancy’s philosophical essays, writings about artworks, and artwork of his own. With theoretical rigor, Nancy elaborates on the intrinsic multiplicity of art as a concept of “making,” and outlines the tensions inherent in the faire, the “making” that characterizes the very process of production (...) and thereby the structure of poetry in all its forms. Nancy shows that this multiplication that belongs to the notion of art makes every single work communicate with every other, all material in the artwork appeal to some other material, and art the singular plural of a praxis of the finite imparting of an infinity which is actually there in every utterance. In the collection, Nancy engages with the work of, among others, François Martin, Maurice Blanchot, and On Kawara. (shrink)
This paper is a response to one published in the June 1997 edition of the BJES (Cole, Hill & Rikowski, 1997) which criticises the author's claims about the utility of postmodern analysis for studies in education (Blake, 1997).
Los autores conversan sobre la distinta relación que tienen con la filosofía las lenguas española y francesa, encontrando la explicación de esa diferencia principalmente en los “espíritus” que nos separan, no obstante nuestra considerable cercanía lingüística. Mientras que la Reforma y la Contrarreforma exigieron de Francia un “humanismo del saber objetivo, del individuo y del progreso”, la cultura española dio de sí “un paradójico humanismo de la fe, de la expansión y de los juegos de la apariencia”. El “espíritu de (...) la filosofía” (Descartes, el ancestro de Hegel) se desarrolló en el norte de Europa, y en la Europa mediterránea floreció más bien “el espíritu de la ficción” (el Cervantes de Unamuno, de Ortega, de Borges y de Kundera). La inquietud de un mundo que bien podría no ser sino sueño, o incluso locura –de la que terminará por resurgir, al lado del cervantino y del calderoniano, el cogito cartesiano–, es sin embargo una inquietud española en primer lugar, y eso es algo que amerita ser estudiado, y sobre todo pensado. Una clave muy importante para dicho estudio es la constatación, subrayada por Nancy en respuesta al problema de la calificación de nuestra filosofía como “mera literatura”, de la “pérdida de confianza en las aventuras del sentido” que ha caracterizado a la Modernidad (o al Occidente en su versión nórdica, ese “espíritu de la filosofía alemana” que tras el efecto del nazismo se mudó a Francia y a Estados Unidos). Ahí donde Unamuno señalaba la necesidad, antes que de europeizar a España, de “españolizar a Europa”, Jean-Luc Nancy reconoce que Occidente necesita atreverse, una vez más, a abrirse a la aventura, y al riesgo del pensamiento. (shrink)
This collection, by one of the most challenging of contemporary thinkers, asks the question: why are there several arts and not just one? This question focuses on the point of maximal tension between the philosophical tradition and contemporary thinking about the arts: the relation between the plurality of the human senses and sense or meaning in general. Throughout the five essays, Nancy's argument hinges on the culminating formulation of this relation in Hegel's Aesthetics and The Phenomenology of Spirit - (...) art as the sensible presentation of the Idea. He considers the emergence of art as presentation rather than representation and looks at the contemporary situation of art, and the question of whether art today is still art. Other essays provide intricate and compelling readings of Caravaggio's Death of the Virgin and an analysis of a traced hand in the grotto of Lascaux as the essential mimetic gesture. (shrink)
This work, by two of the most innovative and challenging of contemporary thinkers, pivots on a Remark added by Hegel in 1831 to the second edition of his Science of Logic. As a model of close reading applied both to philosophical texts and the making of philosophical systems, The Speculative Remark played a significant role in transforming the practice of philosophy away from system building to analysis of specific linguistic detail, with meticulous attention to etymological, philological, and rhetorical nuance. The (...) authors use their extended examination of the Remark to delineate certain overall strategies in several Hegelian texts that militate for language-oriented readings of Hegel, as shown in Nancy's redefinition of such key terms as aufhebung, mediation, and speculation. (shrink)
1. Among the most striking features of the political arrangements on this planet is its division into sovereign states.1 To be sure, in recent times, globalization has woven together the fates of communities and individuals in distant parts of the world in complex ways. It is partly for this reason that now hardly anyone champions a notion of sovereignty that would entirely discount a state’s liability the effects that its actions would have on foreign nationals. Still, state sovereignty persists as (...) a political fact. The number of states has increased enormously due to upheavals of the 20th century, and there is nothing in principle morally wrong with the existence of states - or so we will assume.2 What must be explored, then, are the limits of normatively plausible sovereignty. How bad does a government have to be for outsiders to be allowed to interfere? What responsibilities does a country incur because of its contribution to global warming? What obligations arise through trading? In this paper, we explore another pertinent question: to what extent is a country allowed to influence who lives on its territory by regulating immigration? The angle from which we approach this question continues to be neglected even now that questions of global justice are receiving much attention. Immigration amounts to a change in political relationships as immigrants alter their standing within one community and acquire a status elsewhere. Yet it also amounts to an alteration in physical relationship, since they acquire a relationship to a territory, making a life for themselves with the resources offered by a part of the earth.3 We base our exploration of.. (shrink)
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Little work has been done to explore the moral foundations of the state’s right to territory.1 In modern times, the state has mostly been assumed to be a territorial unit, and no need was perceived to reflect on precisely what justifies its territorial jurisdiction. The state’s territoriality is related to another topic that has remained under-theorized: immigration. There is, moreover, an obvious relationship between these topics: the more powerful a state’s rights over its territory, the more powerful the right to (...) constrain access to that territory might become – or so, at any rate, we might suppose. Rights to territory and rights to immigration are usefully theorized together.2 Our starting point is a Lockean analysis of the moral foundations of territoriality offered by Simmons (2001). This is a natural starting point not only because Simmons is one of the very few contemporary writers who have taken up philosophical questions about territoriality in the first place, but also because Locke’s thought, as Simmons makes clear, actually allows for the development of a sophisticated account of territoriality. This makes Locke stand out simply because generally modern political.. (shrink)
Among psychologists and vision scientists,binocular rivalry has enjoyed sustainedinterest for decades dating back to the 19thcentury. In recent years, however, rivalry''saudience has expanded to includeneuroscientists who envision rivalry as a tool for exploring the neural concomitants ofconscious visual awareness and perceptualorganization. For rivalry''s potential to berealized, workers using this tool need toknow details of this fascinating phenomenon,and providing those details is the purpose ofthis article. After placing rivalry in ahistorical context, I summarize major findingsconcerning the spatial characteristics and thetemporal dynamics (...) of rivalry, discuss two majortheoretical accounts of rivalry ( eye vs stimulus rivalry) and speculate on possibleneural concomitants of binocular rivalry. (shrink)
'On the Meanings of Democracy' points to the fragility and contested meanings of 'democracy'. Once 'the assurance is given that "democracy" is the only kind of political regime that is acceptable to an adult, emancipated population which is an end in itself, the very idea of democracy fades and becomes blurred and confusing'. Such 'wide-spread lack of clarity' gave rise to Europe's 'totalitarian' regimes. It is claimed that 'it is impossible to be simply a "democrat" without questioning what this really (...) means', and that to ignore the conceptual difficulties is as 'dangerous as rejecting democracy completely'. A 'minimal argument or blueprint for an enquiry into the possible meanings' of the term is proposed. The implications of taking 'democracy', the word, 'to describe the exercising of political power by the people' are explored. The 'people' as a social group distinct from some 'other reputedly superior part, which dominates it', is distinguished from the 'people' taken to mean 'the whole'. In the first sense, 'democracy' is not a regime but an uprising against a regime or government. In the second sense, the 'political sovereignty of the people' signifies their 'self-constitution as a people'. Accounts of democracy that focus not so much on its 'political specificity' as on 'civil society' or the 'social bond' are then explored. The author concludes with a reflection on the relationship between democracy, 'modernity' and the scope, nature and place of politics. (shrink)
Biomedical ontologies are emerging as critical tools in genomic and proteomic research where complex data in disparate resources need to be integrated. A number of ontologies exist that describe the properties that can be attributed to proteins; for example, protein functions are described by Gene Ontology, while human diseases are described by Disease Ontology. There is, however, a gap in the current set of ontologies—one that describes the protein entities themselves and their relationships. We have designed a PRotein Ontology (PRO) (...) to facilitate protein annotation and to guide new experiments. The components of PRO extend from the classification of proteins on the basis of evolutionary relationships to the representation of the multiple protein forms of a gene (products generated by genetic variation, alternative splicing, proteolytic cleavage, and other post-translational modification). PRO will allow the specification of relationships between PRO, GO and other OBO Foundry ontologies. Here we describe the initial development of PRO, illustrated using human proteins from the TGF-beta signaling pathway (http://pir.georgetown.edu/pro). (shrink)
Rawls's Law of Peoples has not gathered a great deal of public support. The reason for this, I suggest, is that it ignores the differences between the international and domestic realms as regards the methodology of reciprocal agreement. In the domestic realm, reciprocity produces both stability and respect for individual moral agency. In the international realm, we must choose between these two values seeking stable relations between states, or respect for individual moral agency. Rawls's Law of Peoples ignores the (...) stark nature of this choice by insisting that the only legitimate extension of liberal toleration abroad is the toleration of different forms of political organization. It is this attempt to overcome liberalism's tragic dilemma which, I suggest, has made Rawls's international theory less attractive than his domestic theory. I also suggest that this difficulty is at the base of the further difficulties identified by Henry Shue and Martha Nussbaum in their accompanying essays. Key Words: Rawls international toleration reciprocity state Nussbaum Shue. (shrink)
What are the neural correlates of conscious visual awareness? Tackling this question requires contrasting neural correlates of stimulus processing culminating in visual awareness with neural correlates of stimulus processing unaccompanied by awareness. To contrast these two neural states, one must be able to erase an otherwise visible stimulus from awareness. This paper describes and critiques visual phenomena involving dissociation of physical stimulation and conscious awareness: degraded stimulation, visual masking, visual crowding, bistable figures, binocular rivalry, motion-induced blindness, inattentional blindness, change blindness (...) and attentional blink. While no single strategy stands above the others, those producing changing visual awareness despite invariant physical stimulation are clearly preferable. (shrink)
This is the most systematic, the most radical, and the most lucid treatise on freedom that has been written in contemporary Continental philosophy. Finding its guiding motives in Kant's second Critique and working its way up to and beyond Heidegger and Adorno, this book marks the most advanced position in the thinking of freedom that has been proposed after Sartre and Levinas. If we do not think being itself as a freedom, we are condemned to think of freedom as a (...) pure 'idea' or 'right', and being-in-the-world, in turn, as a blind and obtuse necessity. Since Kant, philosophy and our world have relentlessly confronted this schism. To combat this renunciation of freedom, one must think the experience of freedom in thought itself: what it is that, simply in order for there to be thinking, must partake of freedom. (shrink)
Anticipating Mikhail Bakhtin’s appreciation for the unfinalizability of Fedor Dostoevskij’s universe, prominent Protestant theologian Karl Barth celebrates the Russian novelist’s presentation of “the impenetrable ambiguity of human life” characteristic of both the ending of Dostoevsky’s novels and Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. Barth’s unique reading of The Brothers Karamazov not only demonstrates the barrenness of the “theocratic dream” but also complements Bakhtin’s discussion of polyphony with an explicitly theological dimension by focusing on the dialogue between Creator and the created. Dostoevsky’s (...) prophetic voice provides Barth with a poetic expression of the divine command that highlights the ethical dimension inherent in every theological choice. (shrink)
This essay attempts to identify the ethical principles appropriate to a second-order political agent—an agent, that is, whose primary responsibility lies not in the implementation of state power, but in the response to and evaluation of that state power. The specific agent I examine is the human rights non-governmental organization, and the specific context is that of humanitarian military intervention. I argue that the specific role of the human rights NGO gives rise to ethical permissions not available to government agents. (...) In particular, such NGOs may have permissions to ignore the motivation of government agents, and support even substantially unjust interventions, where such interventions would have substantial benefit for the defense and preservation of basic human rights. a Footnotesa Previous versions of this paper were presented at Brown University, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University. I am grateful to all participants for their questions and comments. Thanks in particular go to the editors of this volume, whose help with this paper has been especially valuable. Responsibility for errors, of course, remains my own. (shrink)