What is an Event? Probing the Ordinary/Extraordinary Distinction in Recent European Philosophy

Constellations 24 (1):2-14 (2017)
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Abstract

In recent European philosophy, and especially in Heidegger, Arendt, Derrida, and Badiou, the distinction between the ordinary and the extraordinary, or between normality and “event,” has played a very prominent role. In the present paper, I raise a challenge to this distinction, a challenge inspired by Deleuze’s conception of repetition and difference. Is it not the case that every occurrence in some ways reproduces and in some ways deviates from the past, such that nothing is entirely extraordinary and nothing completely normal? The purpose of the paper is to examine whether the ordinary/extraordinary distinction—or the notion of event, respectively—can be defended against this challenge, i.e., whether it can be given a rigorous definition. Drawing on and departing from the named philosophers, I show that there are three alternative responses—the route of subjective experience, of transcendence, and of negation—and assess their respective merits.

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Wolfhart Totschnig
Universidad Diego Portales

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Authoritarian leadership: Is democracy in peril?Spencer Shaw - 2022 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 48 (9):1247-1276.

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