Univ of Minnesota Press (2013)

Marc Crépon
École Normale Supérieure
The Thought of Death and the Memory of War examines the career of Martin Heidegger’s concept of Being-toward-death. For Heidegger, the thought of death, the confrontation with the anxiety of death, reveals the path to a life authentically lived. His analysis of Being-toward-death exercised enormous influence over subsequent thinkers, from Sartre to Derrida, who both admired the power and originality of his thinking, but were confounded by its glaring oversight: the trenches and killing fields of a war that had reached its culmination less than ten years before Being and Time’s publication in 1927. Even more glaring was Heidegger’s resolute and dismaying silence regarding the Holocaust in the years following World War II. Marc Crépon examines the efforts of philosophers and writers – Sartre, Levinas, Patocka, Ricœur, Semprun, and Derrida – to contend critically with Heidegger’s thought of death. But Crépon’s project is not simply or even primarily one of intellectual history. Critical engagement with Heidegger’s Being-toward-death reveals the extent to which political frontiers are grounded in mourning and in the demarcation between those who must be mourned and those whose deaths can be overlooked and ignored. The thought of death thus enables us to discern the contours of a moral and political community that, grounded in our shared mortality, is universal in its extension. The book concludes by examining how the media’s representations of death maintain the frontiers of mourning and thus “eclipse,” hide, or discourage the thought of death.
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Reprint years 2015
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ISBN(s) 081668006X   9780816680061
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