About this topic
Summary

Jean-Luc Nancy (1940-) was born in Caudéan near Bordeaux in France. During his studies at the Sorbonne, he worked closely with Canguilhem as well as Ricoeur, who supervised both his 1963 Master’s thesis on Hegel’s philosophy of religion and his 1973 PhD thesis on Kant’s analogical discourse. Shortly after graduating, Nancy joined the philosophy department at the Université des sciences humaines in Strasbourg, where he remained until his retirement in 2002. He has held visiting positions at the Freie Universität in Berlin and at UC Irvine, and is also a member of the faculty at the European Graduate School. Influenced by Derrida, his first books (some of which were written with Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe), attempted to uncover the subject’s (and hence the system’s) failure at self-foundation. In the 1980s he became known for his work on community, which developed in dialogue with Blanchot and Bataille. Influenced by Heidegger, his concerns for a renewed thinking of being-with led him to rethink the concept of freedom and develop an ontology of what he calls “being singular plural.” Unlike Heidegger’s this ontology is essentially material or embodied. Like Heidegger, but also Marx and Nietzsche, he seeks to overcome nihilism by undermining the opposition between presence and absence, and between inside and outside. He finds resources for this project in a deconstructive engagement with monotheism. Many of his recent works are about politics and directly related to current events. Another growing interest of Nancy is art, not only its theory but also its practice. He has collaborated with choreographer Mathilde Monnier and has written texts and poems to accompany many artists’ works. At the beginning of the 1990s, he received a heart transplant, which he discusses in L’intrus.

Key works

Nancy’s most influential works, aside from his book on community (Nancy 1991), are The Experience of Freedom, The Sense of the World, Being Singular Plural, and the two volumes of Deconstruction of Christianity (Nancy 2013, Nancy 2008). Two collections of essays have also been published in English: Birth to Presence and A Finite Thinking. Other important texts include “The Forgetting of Philosophy” in Nancy 1997 (on meaning and nihilism), Corpus (on the body), The Muses and The Ground of the Image (on art) and The Truth of Democracy (on politics).

Introductions

Two comprehensive introductions to Jean-Luc Nancy’s thinking exist in English, Ian James's and Marie-Eve Morin's. Many interviews with Nancy are also published and provide a good entry point in Nancy’s thinking, for example Nancy 2003, Fabbri 2007 and Nancy 2007.

Related categories

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  1. On Not Loving Everyone: Comments on Jean-Luc Nancy's “L’Amour En Éclats" ["Shattered Love"].Mathew Abbott - 2011 - Glossator 5:139-62.
  2. Democracy in What State?Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, Daniel Bensaïd, Wendy Brown, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Rancière, Kristin Ross & Slavoj Zizek - 2011 - Columbia University Press.
    "Is it meaningful to call oneself a democrat? And if so, how do you interpret the word?" -/- In responding to this question, eight iconoclastic thinkers prove the rich potential of democracy, along with its critical weaknesses, and reconceive the practice to accommodate new political and cultural realities. Giorgio Agamben traces the tense history of constitutions and their coexistence with various governments. Alain Badiou contrasts current democratic practice with democratic communism. Daniel Bensaid ponders the institutionalization of democracy, while Wendy Brown (...)
  3. Marie-Eve Morin,Jean-Luc Nancy, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012. 188 Pp. $24 USD , ISBN 978-0-7456-5241-2. [REVIEW]Nicholas Aldridge - 2014 - Derrida Today 7 (1):102-105.
  4. The Auto-Deconstructive Image: Of Vestigial Places.Alena Alexandrova - 2008 - Bijdragen 69 (3):321-336.
    Jean-Luc Nancy considers art to be of a great importance in his project of a deconstruction of Christianity. This article focuses on his analysis of the monotheist provenance of the notions of image and representation. According to Nancy, art and monotheism can be thought of as cooriginary. Art, or the image, gives monotheism invisibility as a negative and yet paradoxically sensible modality of the withdrawal of God. In turn, monotheism gives art the internal opening towards indefinite sense that results from (...)
  5. Re-Treating Religion: Deconstructing Christianity with Jean-Luc Nancy.Alena Alexandrova, Aukje van Rooden, Laurens ten Kate & Ignaas Devisch (eds.) - 2012 - Fordham University Press.
    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 ...
  6. The Inorganic Community. Hypotheses on Literary Communism in Novalis, Benjamin and Blanchot.Emmanuel Alloa - 2012 - Boundary2. An International Journal of Literature and Culture 39 (3):75-95.
    If literary avant-garde journals and their communities have been, in the twentieth century, a space for creating, if not sustaining, major political utopias, it should help explain why this “literary communism,” as Jean-Luc Nancy called it, is not a weakened or substitutional form of politics. No myth without narration, no implementation without an instrumentation, no organic unity without a political organ voicing its claim, in short: no organicity without an organon. But can there be a (literary) community that does not (...)
  7. Encounters with Alphonso Lingis.Thomas J. Altizer, Edward Casey, Thomas L. Dumm, Elizabeth Grosz, David Karnos, David Farrell Krell, Alphonso Lingis, Gerald Majer, Janice McLane, Jean-Luc Nancy & Mary Zournazi - 2003 - Lexington Books.
    Encounters with Alphonso Lingis is the first extensive study of this American philosopher who is gaining an international reputation to augment his national one. The distinguished contributors to this volume address most of the central themes found in Lingis's writings—including singularity and otherness, death and eroticism, emotions and rationality, embodiment and the face, excess and the sacred. The book closes with a new essay by Lingis himself.
  8. What Theory? Whose Community?Robert D' Amico - 1990 - Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 86:158.
  9. "Our Place in Al-Andalus": Kabbalah, Philosophy, Literature in Arab Jewish Letters.Gil Anidjar - 2002 - Stanford University Press.
    The year 1492 is only the last in a series of “ends” that inform the representation of medieval Spain in modern Jewish historical and literary discourses. These ends simultaneously mirror the traumas of history and shed light on the discursive process by which hermetic boundaries are set between periods, communities, and texts. This book addresses the representation of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries as the end of al-Andalus (Islamic Spain). Here, the end works to locate and separate Muslim from Christian (...)
  10. Poetic Becomings: A Sensing of the Good.Michael Anker - 2011 - Christianxiety.
    This paper is an attempt at developing a poetic ontology of the senses through an understanding of poetry, or more importantly the poetic as such, i.e., the movement, temporality, and various antinomies within poetic gesturing which interrupt the logic of closed meaning and totalization. Through a range of philosophers such as Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, and Jean-Luc Nancy, amongst others, and primarily the poetry of Pessoa and Rilke, the paper investigates how poetry (poetics) may not only show us a path toward (...)
  11. Jean-Luc Nancy, La Nascita Dei Seni & Jean-Claude Kaufmann, Corpi Di Donna, Sguardi Di Uomo. Sociologia Del Seno Nudo. [REVIEW]Tommaso Ariemma - 2008 - Kainós 8.
  12. Jean-Luc Nancy, Le Muse & Jean-Luc Nancy, Georges Didi-Hüberman, Nathalie Heinich, Jean-Christophe Bailly, Del Contemporaneo. [REVIEW]Tommaso Ariemma - 2007 - Studi di Estetica 35.
    JEAN-LUC NANCY, Le muse, Diabasis 2006, ISBN - 9788881034222JEAN-LUC NANCY, GEORGES DIDI-HUBERMAN, NATHALIE HEINICH, JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BAILLY, Del contemporaneo, Bruno Mondadori 2007, ISBN - 9788842420224.
  13. Reticulations: Jean-Luc Nancy and the Networks of the Political.Philip Armstrong - 2009 - University of Minnesota Press.
    The deposition of the political -- From paradox to partage : on citizenship and teletechnologies -- The disposition of being -- Being communist -- Seattle and the space of exposure.
  14. Federico Ferrari, Jean-luc Nancy,La Pelle Delle Immagini. [REVIEW]Stefania Astarita - 2008 - Kainós 8.
  15. À Propos de : Marion, Mattéi, Nancy, Rancière, Renaut, Serres, Zarka.Paul Audi, Jean-François Mattéi, Jean-Luc Nancy, Isabelle Barbéris, Alain Renaut & Christian Godin - 2014 - Cités 58 (2):223.
  16. The Adventure of French Philosophy.Alain Badiou - 2012 - Verso.
    Badiou explores the exponentially rich and varied world of French philosophy in a number of groundbreaking essays, published her for the first time in English or in a revised translation. Included are the often-quoted review of Louis Althussers's canonical works For Marks and Reading Capital and the scathing critique of 'potato fascism' in Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guttari's A Thousand Plateus. There are also talks on Michel Foucault and Jean-Luc Nancy, and reviews of the work of Jean-François Lyotard and Barbara (...)
  17. Touching the Opening of the World.Gary Banham - 2013 - Derrida Today 6 (1):58-77.
    In this article I seek to address the way that Jean-Luc Nancy's project of the ‘deconstruction of Christianity’ relates to the understanding of what might be meant by ‘Christian art’. In the process of looking at Nancy's treatment of some signal ‘Christian’ scenes I describe some ways in which the motif of ‘touching’ arises as significant for how Nancy addresses the possibility of ‘alienation from the world’, a possibility that he takes to be central to the self-deconstructive potential of ‘Christianity’. (...)
  18. Jean-Luc Nancy: Pensare Il Presente: Seminari Cagliaritani, 11-13 Dicembre 2007.Gabriella Baptist (ed.) - 2010 - Cuec.
  19. Jean-Luc Nancy, La creazione del mondo o la mondializzazione, trad. it. di Davide Tarizzo e Marina Bruzzese. [REVIEW]Gabriella Baptist - 2003 - Kainós 3.
  20. Jean-Luc NANCY, L’intruso, a cura di Valeria Piazza. [REVIEW]Gabriella Baptist - 2002 - Kainós 2.
  21. Jean-Luc Nancy, Le Regard du portrait. [REVIEW]Gabriella Baptist - 2001 - Kainós.
  22. Jean-Luc Nancy, Verità della democrazia. [REVIEW]Paolo Baresi - 2009 - la Società Degli Individui 36.
  23. Threshold (Pro-)Positions: Touch, Techné, Technics.Stephen Barker - 2009 - Derrida Today 2 (1):44-65.
    Touching on Nancy and Derrida offers a glimpse not only into the thesis both of Jean-Luc Nancy's critique of touch and of Derrida's Le Toucher, but also into the threshold of a technology of (the) sense to come. This glimpse is an interrogation, and one that is both historic and historical, in the sense that Derrida, in addressing Jean-Luc Nancy's work, has presented us with an encyclopedic history of touch in the philosophic tradition from Aristotle to Nancy, one in which (...)
  24. Hegel After Derrida.Stuart Barnett (ed.) - 1998 - Routledge.
    This book provides a much needed insight not only into the importance of Hegel and the importance of Derrida's work on Hegel, but also the very foundations of postmodern and deconstructionist thought. Eleven essays by key contributors in the field present a comprehensive picture of Hegel's place in deconstruction today. Contributors: Stuart Barnett, Robert Bernasconi, Simon Critchley, Suzanne Gearhart, Werner Hamacher, Heinz Kimmerle, Jean-Luc Nancy, John H. Smith, Kevin Thompson, Andrzej Warminski.
  25. Haraway’s Lost Cyborg and the Possibilities of Transversalism.Michelle Bastian - 2006 - Signs 43 (3):1027-1049.
    This article explores Donna Haraway’s overlooked theories of coalition-building along with the tactics of transversalism. I initially outline Haraway’s contributions and discuss why the cyborg of coalition has been ignored. I then relate this work to transversal politics, a form of coalition-building that acknowledges both the need for more open understandings of the subject and also the threatening circumstances that form these ‘hybrid’ subjects. The intriguing alliance that can be formed between them offers ways of dealing with the fears and (...)
  26. Jean-Luc Nancy I Polityczny Wymiar Praxis Świata.Błażej Baszczak - 2014 - Nowa Krytyka 32.
  27. Wspólnota Jako Ontologia [Jean-Luc Nancy, Rozdzielona Wspólnota].Błażej Baszczak - 2013 - Studia Philosophica Wratislaviensia 8 (2).
  28. The Fibre, the Thread, and the Weaving of Life: Wittgenstein and Nancy on Community.Chantal Bax - 2008 - Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 2008 (145):103-117.
    Although Wittgenstein is famously skeptical about the possibility of making substantial philosophical claims, he can be said to offer significant insights into the difference between inner and outer as well as the difference between self and other.1 He consistently reminds us that inner and outer are intimately connected instead of only causally related, as well as that the self—far from being a wholly independent entity—always already finds itself constituted by its relationships with others. In thus contesting the Cartesian view on (...)
  29. Bodenlos. Der Kampf um den Sinn im Politischen.Thomas Bedorf - 2007 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 55 (5):689-715.
    ‚Bodenlos’ lässt sich eine Sozialphilosophie nennen, die von einer Koexistenz von Sinnentwürfen ausgeht, wie sie Jean-Luc Nancy formuliert hat. Die aus dieser Gleichursprünglichkeit resultierenden Konflikte müssen durch Entscheidungen gelöst werden. Die Theorie des Politischen, wie sie in der französischen Gegenwartsphilosophie diskutiert wird, schließt an dieses Modell des Sozialen an. Doch deren dezisionistische Zuspitzung lässt sich nur dann mildern, wenn die darin implizierte Verkennung der Alterität aufgegeben und die Konflikte als Widerstreite singulärer Ansprüche interpretiert werden.
  30. Ernesto Laclau, Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time; Ephraim Nimni, Marxism and Nationalism: Theoretical Origins of a Political Crisis; Miami Theory Collective (Ed.), Community at Loose Ends; Jean-Luc Nancy, The Inoperative Community. [REVIEW]P. Beilharz - 1993 - Thesis Eleven 36:185-188.
  31. In Rhythm: A Response to Jean-Luc Nancy.Geoffrey Bennington - 2011 - Substance 40 (3):18-19.
  32. Handshake.Geoffrey Bennington - 2008 - Derrida Today 1 (2):167-184.
    How might Derrida be said to greet Jean-Luc Nancy in Le Toucher? What kind of handshake does he offer? Derrida explicitly mentions the handshake at the very centre of his book, in the tangent devoted to Merleau-Ponty. A reading of this moment reveals an exemplary case of what happens when Derrida reads apparently ‘fraternal’ texts, and opens up further levels of difference. What then if we consider Nancy's response to Derrida, when the recipient of the handshake shakes back? By examining (...)
  33. The Future of Paradosis: Jean-Luc Nancy’s Dis-Enclosure: Deconstruction of Christianity.Bettina Bergo - 2013 - Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 17 (2):178-203.
    This essay discusses Jean-Luc Nancy’s Dis-Enclosure: Deconstruction of Christianity . Nancy’s engagement with Christianity in this work contrasts with the so-called theological turn in phenomenology. This raises probing questions regarding the name of God and the sense of the “divine” in a demythified world, as well as the question of the exhaustion of Christianity and its self-deconstruction. I address Nancy’s exploration of the overcoming of nihilism and the possibility, and “look,” of a faith that is not tied to a god (...)
  34. The Future of Paradosis.Bettina Bergo - 2013 - Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 17 (2):178-203.
    This essay discusses Jean-Luc Nancy’s Dis-Enclosure: Deconstruction of Christianity . Nancy’s engagement with Christianity in this work contrasts with the so-called theological turn in phenomenology. This raises probing questions regarding the name of God and the sense of the “divine” in a demythified world, as well as the question of the exhaustion of Christianity and its self-deconstruction. I address Nancy’s exploration of the overcoming of nihilism and the possibility, and “look,” of a faith that is not tied to a god (...)
  35. A Colloquio Con Jean Luc Nancy.Laura Beritelli - 2008 - Humana Mente 7.
  36. La dischiusura. Decostruzione del cristianesimo - Jean Luc Nancy. [REVIEW]Laura Beritelli - 2007 - Humana Mente 2:48-50.
  37. De la crisis de la comunidad a la comunidad de la crisis. Algunas paradojas del estar en común.Ángeles Ma del Rosario Pérez Bernal & María Luisa Bacarlett - 2013 - Areté. Revista de Filosofía 25 (2):307-335.
    This paper explores the idea of community through the proposals of some contemporary thinkers who have tried to rethink the concept of being in common assuming some of its paradoxes. For authors like Roberto Esposito, Jean-Luc Nancy and Giorgio Agamben, thinking “the community” implies reflecting on it from the paradoxes and contradictions it contains, both conceptually and in terms of everyday reality. The central paradox that sums such contradictions is stating that the community is feasible only to the extent that (...)
  38. Expeausition's: La Pensée du Corps Ou la Passion D’Une «Peau D’Écriture» Chez Jean‑Luc Nancy.Fernanda Bernardo - 2014 - Revista Filosófica de Coimbra 23 (45):7-24.
  39. The Limits of Workplace Community: Jean-Luc Nancy and the Possibility of Teambuilding. [REVIEW]Alexander Bertland - 2011 - Journal of Business Ethics 99 (S1):1-8.
    Jean-Luc Nancy is a contemporary continental philosopher who argues that the hope of fully unifying a community through work is problematic. This is because people cannot be reduced to their function as workers. Thus, community is, at best, inoperative. This article takes Nancy’s ideas of community and applies them to the notion of teamwork in business. It shows how in some literature on business teamwork, there is a desire to build a team through shared work experiences. It then explains Nancy’s (...)
  40. The Practice of Strangeness: L'Intrus - Claire Denis (2004) and Jean-Luc Nancy (2000).Martine Beugnet - 2008 - Film-Philosophy 12 (1):31-48.
    A child of the era of decolonization, Claire Denis grew up in various regions of France’s subSaharan colonial lands, and was brought back to the ‘métropole’ as a teenager in the 1960s.She has thus had a double practice of foreignness, abroad, and in her ‘own’ country, whichshe did not know and where, in similar yet fundamentally different ways than in Africa, shefelt like an outsider again. As the daughter of a colonial administrator – a childhoodbeautifully evoked in her first feature, (...)
  41. Containing Community: From Political Economy to Ontology in Agamben, Esposito, and Nancy.Greg Bird - 2016 - SUNY Press.
    Community has been both celebrated and demonized as a fortress that shelters and defends its members from being exposed to difference. Instead of abandoning community as an antiquated model of relationships that is ill suited for our globalized world, this book turns to the writings of Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Esposito, and Jean-Luc Nancy in search for ways to rethink community in an open and inclusive manner. Greg Bird argues that a central piece of this task is found in how each (...)
  42. Roberto Esposito's Deontological Communal Contract.Greg Bird - 2013 - Angelaki 18 (3):33-48.
    This article underlines and draws attention to critical insights Esposito makes regarding the prospects of rethinking community in a globalized world. Alongside Agamben and Nancy, Esposito challenges the property prejudice found in mainstream models of community. In identity politics, collective identity is converted into a form of communal property. Borders, sovereign territories, and exclusive rights are fiercely defended in the name of communal property. Esposito responds to this problem by developing what I call a “deontological communal contract” where being and (...)
  43. Nancy Responds to Blanchot.Greg Bird - 2008 - Angelaki 13 (1):3 – 26.
  44. Community, Immunity and the Proper: Roberto Esposito.Greg Bird & Jon Short (eds.) - 2015 - Routledge.
    It is widely apparent in our hyper-globalized world that the epistemologies, institutions, and practices underwriting it have reached a state of profound crisis. In the globalized world, everything is inevitably brought into proximity and correlation. Wars, natural disasters, climatic upheaval, nor political and economic turmoil, none of these can be effectively isolated, insulated, instituted, even immunized, as something apart, something that might be considered proper only to itself. This collected edition considers this crisis of the proper with a focus on (...)
  45. Au-Delà du Toucher: La Caresse.Renato Boccali - 2007 - Studia Phaenomenologica 7 (1):209-226.
  46. ", Das Meiste Namlich/Vermag Die Geburt". Uber die Raumlichkeit des Daseins oder: Phanomenologie als Natologie.Artur R. Boelderl - 2008 - Perspektiven der Philosophie 34 (1):253-278.
    Den Prozeß der Phänomenalisierung des Seins, des Weltwerdens der Welt kann nur angemessen verstehen, wer dessen struktureller Selbigkeit mit dem Geborenwerden/Geborensein des Daseins gewahr wird und ihr philosophisch Rechnung trägt. Diese an Hannah Arendt und Hans Saner einerseits sowie an Jacques Derrida und Jean-Luc Nancy andererseits anschließende These versucht der Beitrag im zweifachen Wege eines Aufweises entsprechender Überlegungen bei Husserl und einer Kritik an Heideggers bereits von Günther Anders notierten Tilgungsbemühungen der einschlägigen Implikationen seines Denkens zu plausibilisieren. Als thematischer Leitfaden (...)
  47. The Sense of the World.Brian E. Bowles - 1999 - Review of Metaphysics 52 (4):961-962.
  48. The Absurdity of Christianity and Other Essays.Archibald Allan Bowman & Charles William Hendel - 1958 - Liberal Arts Press.
  49. The Hermeneutic Circle is Broken: On the Circulation of Being in Jean-Luc Nancy’s Hermeneutic Philosophy.Walter Brogan - 2011 - Internationales Jahrbuch für Hermeneutik.
  50. On the Anarchy of Poetry and Philosophy: A Guide for the Unruly.Gerald L. Bruns - 2006 - Fordham University Press.
    Marcel Duchamp once asked whether it is possible to make something that is not a work of art. This question returns over and over in modernist culture, where there are no longer any authoritative criteria for what can be identified (or excluded) as a work of art. As William Carlos Williams says, “A poem can be made of anything,” even newspaper clippings.At this point, art turns into philosophy, all art is now conceptual art, and the manifesto becomes the distinctive genre (...)
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