Telepathy and Intersubjectivity in Derrida, Husserl and Levinas

Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 45 (3):254-267 (2014)
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Taking as its jumping off point recent attempts in the sciences of the mind to facilitate direct brain-to-brain communication, this article considers the challenges such a development poses to the phenomenology of intersubjectivity. This is examined initially through recourse to Husserl's description of the encounter with the other in the Cartesian Meditations, Levinas’ rival account in Totality and Infinity, and Derrida's contribution to this dialogue in the essay ‘Violence and Metaphysics’. All three turn around the problem of how the externality and otherness that constitutes the other qua other can be presented to the I while being maintained in its very externality and otherness. The paper asks whether the prospect of fully realised telepathic communication would overcome intersubjective distance by offering a direct insight into the other's phenomenological interior, and how such a relation is to be conceived using the terms outlined in the above trio of texts. Finally, through appealing to Derrida's enigmatic essay ‘Telepathy’ and offering a close reading of his late concept of teleiopoesis we will overturn the phenomenological terms in which the discussion has so far been framed while arriving at a form of telepathy that is not reducible to the simple communication of a message between an active sender and a passive recipient, but which simultaneously maintains the distance between the actors involved. Teleiopoesis undermines the stable identity of the terms I and other and consequently the very concept of intersubjectivity is put into question.



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Citations of this work

The Nudity of the Ego. An Eckhartian Perspective on the Levinas/Derrida Debate on Alterity.Martina Roesner - 2016 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 47 (1):33-55.

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References found in this work

Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority.Emmanuel Levinas - 1961 - Distribution for the U.S. And Canada, Kluwer Boston.
The Politics of Friendship.Jacques Derrida - 1988 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (11):632-644.
The Parallax View: Toward a New Reading of Kant.Slavoj Žižek - 2004 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 8 (2):255-269.

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