Cruelty and its vicissitudes: Jacques Derrida and the future of psychoanalysis

Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (s1):143-159 (2012)

Authors
Elizabeth Rottenberg
DePaul University
Abstract
This paper discusses Jacques Derrida's Death Penalty Seminars (two consecutive seminars he gave at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in 1999–2000 and 2000–2001), as well as his 2000 Paris address to the States General of Psychoanalysis entitled “Psychoanalysis Searches the States of Its Soul.” The paper is magnetized by two questions: what does it mean to say, as Derrida says in his provocative statement at the end of his 1999 seminar, “even when the death penalty will have been abolished . . . it will survive, there will still be some death penalty [même quand la peine de mort sera abolie . . . elle survivra, il y en aura encore]”? And why is psychoanalysis in a privileged position to address “this irreducible thing in the life of the animate being” that is the possibility of cruelty?
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DOI 10.1111/j.2041-6962.2012.00119.x
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