This article explores the ways in which Nietzsche’s conception of subjectivity, as rehearsed in The Birth of Tragedy, draws close to other modern models of split subjectivity as described by Hegel, Freud, or Althusser. Although the subjectivity depicted by Nietzsche is constituted in the tension between reaffirming and dissolving its boundaries, and this tension may seem to put the possibility of identity at risk, in effect individuation and dissolution function as symmetrical contraries. Rather than disrupting the boundaries of reason, the (...) Dionysian contributes to Apollonian equilibrium by temporarily destroying Apollonian rigidity, so that the polis can periodically overcome limitations, assimilate its others and gather new strength. Identity is thus seemingly reinforced through the controlled illusion of its shattering: it is protected from the irruption of real otherness. Unlike Nietzsche’s dialectical dramaturgy, Greek tragedy depicts an incipient rationality wounded by contradictions, institutionalizing conflict. Because of the ambiguity of the Greek tragic world, the fissures of its organizing powers and the ambivalent agency of tragic subjects, a parallel between Attic tragedy and modern subjectivity may illuminate the latter. (shrink)
If the tragic interpretation of experience is still so current, despite its disastrous ethical consequences, it is because it shapes our subjectivity. Instead of contradicting the ideals of autonomy and freedom, a modern subjectivity based on self-victimization in effect enables them. By embracing subjection to an alienating other (the Law, Power) the autonomous subject protects its sameness from the disruption of real people. Seductions of Fate stages a dialogue between this tragic agent of political emancipation and the unconditional ethical demands (...) it seeks to evade. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Kant's third antinomy introduces freedom as the unconditioned cause that allows reason to form a synthesis of causal linkage. What different thinking conditions, I ask, does this antinomy open up for reason even to entertain any possibility of success? Reason's ability to form a synthesis depends on acknowledging the role in Kant's argument of a subject that does not need to be envisioned as a standpoint—whether intelligible or empirical, as Kant's explicit solution has it—but, rather, as the site of (...) a relationship between the series and its outside. We may call it “unconditioned subjectivity,” clarifying from the outset that subjectivity in this sense names a structural position that plays an exceptional role in the series: it is the element that exceptionally introduces a boundary, a fleeting moment of closure. Unconditioned subjectivity would name the relationship and boundary that anchor the phenomenal series time and again. I argue, moreover, that the synthesis of causality forming here coheres as a dynamic system that is not stable or self-contained but, rather, contingent and “in progress.” Perhaps unexpectedly, the potential of this antinomy to form this dynamic system hinges on the fact that its antithesis denies freedom. (shrink)
This is a short introduction by the three authors, Gabriela Basterra, Rada Iveković and Boyan Manchev, to the issue of the French journal "Rue Descartes" (N. 67), titled "Quel sujet du politique?" or approximately, "Who is the subject (or Who is the agency) of the political [dimension]?". The question is posed in the specific political and philosophical context of 2008, and is dealt with through History and Political philosophy.