Authors
Alexei Procyshyn
Monash University
Abstract
Although he is usually understood to be an immanent critic who belongs to the first generation of the Frankfurt School, Walter Benjamin’s thought is much more heterodox than typically acknowledged. In this paper, I draw attention to one of Benjamin’s most heterodox tendencies. I show that Benjamin problematizes on the animating idea of immanent critique, i.e., that one can move from an object given in experience to the implicit concept of that object in order to assess the fit between concept and object. Benjamin develops his objection to this idea in his 1916 response paper “Eidos und Begriff.” In it he criticizes P. F. Linke’s account of givenness by showing that what is given in experience and what is essential to it are not identical. What is essential to first order experience, moreover, is quite distinct to what is essential for discursively structured reflection. And hence one cannot unproblematically move from what is given in experience to the concepts underwriting it. This leads Benjamin to develop a pragmatic and expressive alternative to semantic ascent, and hence to immanent critique.
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Contemporary Philosophy
Categories No categories specified
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ISBN(s) 978-1-63435-038-9
DOI 10.5840/wcp23201834779
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