Le propos est précédé par une illustration, la seule de l’ouvrage, extraite d’une Histoire de l’industrie du coton en Grande-Bretagne parue en 1835. Il s’agit de la reproduction d’un dessin représentant le processus d’impression de motifs sur du calicot. On y voit deux hommes travailler, de façon semble-t-il minutieuse, sur deux grandes machines installées dans un atelier spacieux. L’illustration est égayée par les motifs imprimés sur les pans de tissu, qui occupent une grande partie de l’esp..
One of the strongest strands in Nancy's philosophy is an attempt to rethink community and the very idea of the social in a way that does not ground these ideas in some individual subject or subjectivity. The fundamental argument of this book is that being is always 'being with', that 'I' is not prior to 'we', that existence is essentially co-existence. He thinks this being together, not as a comfortable enclosure in a pre-existing group, but as a mutual abandonment (...) and exposure to each other, one that would preserve the 'I' and its freedom in a mode of imagining community as neither a 'society of spectacle' nor via some form of 'authenticity'. (shrink)
Appearing in English for the first time, Jean-Luc Nancy’s 2002 book reflects on globalization and its impact on our being-in-the-world. Developing a contrast in the French language between two terms that are usually synonymous, or that are used interchangeably, namely globalisation (globalization) and mondialisation (world-forming), Nancy undertakes a rethinking of what “world-forming” might mean. At stake in this distinction is for him nothing less than two possible destinies of our humanity, and of our time. On the one hand, (...) with globalization, there is the uniformity produced by a global economical and technological logic leading to the contrary of an inhabitable world, “the un-world” (l’im-monde)—as Nancy refers to it—an un-world that entails social disintegration, misery, and injustice. And, on the other hand, there is the possibility of an authentic world-forming, that is, of a making of the world and of a making sense that Nancy calls a “creation” of the world. Nancy understands such world-forming in terms of an inexhaustible struggle for justice. This book is an important contribution by Nancy to a philosophical reflection on the phenomenon of globalization and a further development on his earlier works on our being-in-common, justice, and a-theological existence. (shrink)
An essential exploration of sense and meaning. -/- Is there a “world” anymore, let alone any “sense” to it? Acknowledging the lack of meaning in our time, and the lack of a world at the center of meanings we try to impose, Jean-Luc Nancy presents a rigorous critique of the many discourses-from philosophy and political science to psychoanalysis and art history-that talk and write their way around these gaping absences in our lives. -/- In an original style befitting his (...) search for a new mode of thought, Nancy offers fragmentary readings of writers such as Nietzsche, Hegel, Marx, Lévinas, Lacan, Derrida, and Deleuze insofar as their work reflects his concern with sense and the world. Rather than celebrate or bemoan the loss of meaning or attempt to install a new one, his book seeks to reposition both sense and the world between the presence and absence of meaning, between objectivity and subjectivity. Nancy’s project entails a reconception of the field of philosophy itself, a rearticulation of philosophical practice. Neither recondite nor abstract, it is concerned with the existence and experience of freedom-the actuality of existence as experienced by contemporary communities of citizens, readers, and writers. -/- Combining aesthetic, political, and philosophical considerations to convey a sense of the world between meaning and reality, ideal content and material form, this book offers a new way of understanding-and responding to-“the end of the world.”. (shrink)
This book is a profound and eagerly anticipated investigation into what is left of a monotheistic religious spirit—notably, a minimalist faith that is neither confessional nor credulous. Articulating this faith as works and as an objectless hope, Nancy deconstructs Christianity in search of the historical and reflective conditions that provided its initial energy. Working through Blanchot and Nietzsche, re-reading Heidegger and Derrida, Nancy turns to the Epistle of Saint James rather than those of Saint Paul, discerning in it (...) the primitive essence of Christianity as hope. -/- The “religion that provided the exit from religion,” as he terms Christianity, consists in the announcement of an end. It is the announcement that counts, however, rather than any finality. In this announcement there is a proximity to others and to what was once called parousia. But parousia is no longer presence; it is no longer the return of the Messiah. Rather, it is what is near us and does not cease to open and to close, a presence deferred yet imminent. -/- In a demystified age where we are left with a vision of a self-enclosed world—in which humans are no longer mortals facing an immortal being, but entities whose lives are accompanied by the time of their own decline—parousia stands as a question. Can we venture the risk of a decentered perspective, such that the meaning of the world can be found both inside and outside, within and without our so-immanent world? -/- The deconstruction of Christianity that Nancy proposes is neither a game nor a strategy. It is an invitation to imagine a strange faith that enacts the inadequation of life to itself. Our lives overflow the self-contained boundaries of their biological and sociological interpretations. Out of this excess, wells up a fragile, overlooked meaning that is beyond both confessionalism and humanism. (shrink)
Adoration is the second volume of the Deconstruction of Christianity, following Dis-Enclosure. The first volume attempted to demonstrate why it is necessary to open reason up not to a religious dimension but to one transcending reason as we have been accustomed to understanding it; the term "adoration" attempts to name the gesture of this dis-enclosed reason. -/- Adoration causes us to receive ignorance as truth: not a feigned ignorance, perhaps not even a "nonknowledge," nothing that would attempt to justify the (...) negative again, but the simple, naked truth that there is nothing in the place of God, because there is no place for God. The outside of the world opens us in the midst of the world, and there is no first or final place. Each one of us is at once the first and the last. Each one, each name. And our ignorance is made worse by the fact that we do not know whether we ought to name this common and singular property of all names. We must remain in this suspense, hesitating between and stammering in various possible languages, ultimately learning to speak anew. -/- In this book, Jean-Luc Nancy goes beyond his earlier historical and philosophical thought and tries to think-or at least crack open a little to thinking-a stance or bearing that might be suitable to the retreat of God that results from the self-deconstruction of Christianity. Adoration may be a manner, a style of spirit for our time, a time when the "spiritual" seems to have become so absent, so dry, so adulterated. -/- The book is a major contribution to the important strand of attempts to think a "post-secular" situation of religion. (shrink)
If anything marks the image, it is a deep ambivalence. Denounced as superficial, illusory, and groundless, images are at the same time attributed with exorbitant power and assigned a privileged relation to truth. Mistrusted by philosophy, forbidden and embraced by religions, manipulated as “spectacle” and proliferated in the media, images never cease to present their multiple aspects, their paradoxes, their flat but receding spaces.What is this power that lies in the depths and recesses of an image—which is always only an (...) impenetrable surface? What secrets are concealed in the ground or in the figures of an image—which never does anything but show just exactly what it is and nothing else? How does the immanence of images open onto their unimaginable others, their imageless origin?In this collection of writings on images and visual art, Jean-Luc Nancy explores such questions through an extraordinary range of references. From Renaissance painting and landscape to photography and video, from the image of Roman death masks to the language of silent film, from Cleopatra to Kant and Heidegger, Nancy pursues a reflection on visuality that goes far beyond the many disciplines with which it intersects. He offers insights into the religious, cultural, political, art historical, and philosophical aspects of the visual relation, treating such vexed problems as the connection between image and violence, the sacred status of images, and, in a profound and important essay, the forbidden representation of the Shoah. In the background of all these investigations lies a preoccupation with finitude, the unsettling forces envisaged by the images that confront us, the limits that bind us to them, the death that stares back at us from their frozen traits and distant intimacies.In these vibrant and complex essays, a central figure in European philosophy continues to work through some of the most important questions of our time. Jean-Luc Nancy is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Université Marc Bloch, Strasbourg. The most recent of his many books to be published in English are A Finite Thinking and Multiple Arts. Jeff Fort has translated works by authors such as Jean Genet, Maurice Blanchot, and Jacques Derrida. He is currently a lecturer in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. (shrink)
Christian parables have retained their force well beyond the sphere of religion; indeed, they share with much of modern literature their status as a form of address: "Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." There is no message without there first being--or, more subtly, without there also being in the message itself--an address to a capacity or an aptitude for listening. This is not an exhortation of the kind "Pay attention!" Rather, it is a warning: if you do not (...) understand, the message will go away.The scene in the Gospel of John in which the newly risen Christ enjoins the Magdalene, "Noli me tangere," a key moment in the general parable made up of his life, is a particularly good example of this sudden appearance in which a vanishing plays itself out. Resurrected, he speaks, makes an appeal, and leaves."Do not touch me." Beyond the Christ story, this everyday phrase says something important about touching in general. It points to the place where touching must not touch in order to carry out its touch (its art, its tact, its grace). The title essay of this volume is both a contribution to Nancy's project of a "deconstruction of Christianity" and an exemplum of his remarkable writings on art, in analyses of "Noli me tangere" paintings by such painters as Rembrandt, Dürer, Titian, Pontormo, Bronzino, and Correggio. It is also in tacit dialogue with Jacques Derrida's monumental tribute to Nancy's work in Le toucher--Jean-Luc Nancy.For the English-language edition, Nancy has added an unpublished essay on the Magdalene and the English translation of "In Heaven and on the Earth," a remarkable lecture he gave in a series designed to address children between six and twelve years of age. Closely aligned with his entire project of "the deconstruction of Christianity,'" this lecture may give the most accesible account of his ideas about God. (shrink)
In Being and Time, Heidegger affirms that being-with or Mitsein is an essential constitution of Dasein but he does not submit this existential to the same rigorous analyses as other existentials. In this essay, Jean-Luc Nancy points to the different places where Heidegger erased the possibility of thinking an essential with that he himself opened. This erasure is due, according to Nancy, to the subordination of Mitsein to a thinking of the proper and the improper. The polarization of (...) Being-with between an improper face, the Anyone, and a proper one, the people, which is also, as Nancy shows, a polarization between everydayness and historicity, between a being-together in exteriority (indifference and anonymity) and a being-together in interiority (union through destiny), between a solitary dying and the sacrificial death in combat, leaves the essential with unthought. This essay shows not only the tensions that arise out of Heidegger’s own analyses of Mitsein and affect the whole of Being and Time but also underlines in the end a “shortfall in thinking” inherent not only to Heidegger’s work but, as Nancy claims, to our Western tradition, a shortfall which Nancy has attempted to remedy in his Being Singular Plural. (shrink)
This collection, by one of the most challenging of contemporary thinkers, asks the question: why are there several arts and not just one? This question focuses on the point of maximal tension between the philosophical tradition and contemporary thinking about the arts: the relation between the plurality of the human senses and sense or meaning in general. Throughout the five essays, Nancy's argument hinges on the culminating formulation of this relation in Hegel's Aesthetics and The Phenomenology of Spirit - (...) art as the sensible presentation of the Idea. He considers the emergence of art as presentation rather than representation and looks at the contemporary situation of art, and the question of whether art today is still art. Other essays provide intricate and compelling readings of Caravaggio's Death of the Virgin and an analysis of a traced hand in the grotto of Lascaux as the essential mimetic gesture. (shrink)
The Theory of Literature in German Romanticism Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Jean-Luc Nancy. Preface: The. Literary. Absolute. I. "There are classifications that are bad enough as classifications, but that have nonetheless dominated entire ...
This collection of writings by Jean-Luc Nancy, the renowned French critic and poet, delves into the history of philosophy to locate a fundamentally poetic modus operandi there. The book represents a daring mixture of Nancy’s philosophical essays, writings about artworks, and artwork of his own. With theoretical rigor, Nancy elaborates on the intrinsic multiplicity of art as a concept of “making,” and outlines the tensions inherent in the faire, the “making” that characterizes the very process of production (...) and thereby the structure of poetry in all its forms. Nancy shows that this multiplication that belongs to the notion of art makes every single work communicate with every other, all material in the artwork appeal to some other material, and art the singular plural of a praxis of the finite imparting of an infinity which is actually there in every utterance. In the collection, Nancy engages with the work of, among others, François Martin, Maurice Blanchot, and On Kawara. (shrink)
"Is it meaningful to call oneself a democrat? And if so, how do you interpret the word?" -/- In responding to this question, eight iconoclastic thinkers prove the rich potential of democracy, along with its critical weaknesses, and reconceive the practice to accommodate new political and cultural realities. Giorgio Agamben traces the tense history of constitutions and their coexistence with various governments. Alain Badiou contrasts current democratic practice with democratic communism. Daniel Bensaid ponders the institutionalization of democracy, while Wendy Brown (...) discusses the democratization of society under neoliberalism. Jean-Luc Nancy measures the difference between democracy as a form of rule and as a human end, and Jacques Rancière highlights its egalitarian nature. Kristin Ross identifies hierarchical relationships within democratic practice, and Slavoj Zizek complicates the distinction between those who desire to own the state and those who wish to do without it. -/- Concentrating on the classical roots of democracy and its changing meaning over time and within different contexts, these essays uniquely defend what is left of the left-wing tradition after the fall of Soviet communism. They confront disincentives to active democratic participation that have caused voter turnout to decline in western countries, and they address electoral indifference by invoking and reviving the tradition of citizen involvement. Passionately written and theoretically rich, this collection speaks to all facets of modern political and democratic debate. (shrink)
A meditation on the changing role of philosophy in a postmodernist context, the two essays gathered here—The Forgetting of Philosophy and The Weight of a Thought—represent some of the themes that have recently occupied Nancy's thought.
What interests us and claims our attention in Nazism is, essentially, its ideology, in the definition Hannah Arendt has given of this term in her book on The Origins of Totalitarianism. In this work, ideology is defined as the totally self-fulfilling logic of an idea, an idea “by which the movement of history is explained as one consistent process.” “The movement of history and the logical process of this notion,” Arendt continues, “are supposed to correspond to each other, so that (...) whatever happens, happens according to the logic of one ‘idea.’”2Ideology, in other words, interests us and claims our attention insofar as, on the one hand, it always proposes itself as a political explanation of the world, that is, as an explanation of history on the basis of a single concept—the concept of race, for example, or the concept of class—and insofar as, on the other hand, this ideological explanation or conception of the world seeks to be a total explanation or conception. This totality signifies that the explanation is indisputable, leaving neither gaps nor remainders—unlike philosophical thought, from which ideology shamelessly draws the greater part of its resources but which is characterized by a risky, problematic style, what Arendt calls the “insecurity” of philosophical questioning . 2. Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism , p. 469; hereafter abbreviated OT. Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy teach at the University of Human Sciences of Strasbourg, France, and are also visiting professors at the University of California, Berkeley. They are coauthors of The Literary Absolute and, related to the topic of politics, “The Jewish People Don’t Dream” . Lacoue-Labarthe is also the author of Typography and La Fiction du politique . Nancy has written “Sharing Voices” in Transforming Hermeneutics and La Communauté désoeuvrée . Brian Holmes is a doctoral candidate in romance languages and literatures at the University of California, Berkeley, and editor of the journal Qui Parle. He is currently at work on the parody of authorial identity in Cervantes and Flaubert. (shrink)
In this lyrical meditation on listening, Jean-Luc Nancy examines sound in relation to the human body. How is listening different from hearing? What does listening entail? How does what is heard differ from what is seen? Can philosophy even address listening, écouter, as opposed to entendre, which means both hearing and understanding? -/- Unlike the visual arts, sound produces effects that persist long after it has stopped. The body, Nancy says, is itself like an echo chamber, responding to (...) music by inner vibrations as well as outer attentiveness. Since “the ear has no eyelid” (Quignard), sound cannot be blocked out or ignored: our whole being is involved in listening, just as it is involved in interpreting what it hears. -/- The mystery of music and of its effects on the listener is subtly examined. Nancy’s skill as a philosopher is to bring the reader companionably along with him as he examines these fresh and vital questions; by the end of the book the reader feels as if listening very carefully to a person talking quietly, close to the ear. (shrink)
Los autores conversan sobre la distinta relación que tienen con la filosofía las lenguas española y francesa, encontrando la explicación de esa diferencia principalmente en los “espíritus” que nos separan, no obstante nuestra considerable cercanía lingüística. Mientras que la Reforma y la Contrarreforma exigieron de Francia un “humanismo del saber objetivo, del individuo y del progreso”, la cultura española dio de sí “un paradójico humanismo de la fe, de la expansión y de los juegos de la apariencia”. El “espíritu de (...) la filosofía” (Descartes, el ancestro de Hegel) se desarrolló en el norte de Europa, y en la Europa mediterránea floreció más bien “el espíritu de la ficción” (el Cervantes de Unamuno, de Ortega, de Borges y de Kundera). La inquietud de un mundo que bien podría no ser sino sueño, o incluso locura –de la que terminará por resurgir, al lado del cervantino y del calderoniano, el cogito cartesiano–, es sin embargo una inquietud española en primer lugar, y eso es algo que amerita ser estudiado, y sobre todo pensado. Una clave muy importante para dicho estudio es la constatación, subrayada por Nancy en respuesta al problema de la calificación de nuestra filosofía como “mera literatura”, de la “pérdida de confianza en las aventuras del sentido” que ha caracterizado a la Modernidad (o al Occidente en su versión nórdica, ese “espíritu de la filosofía alemana” que tras el efecto del nazismo se mudó a Francia y a Estados Unidos). Ahí donde Unamuno señalaba la necesidad, antes que de europeizar a España, de “españolizar a Europa”, Jean-Luc Nancy reconoce que Occidente necesita atreverse, una vez más, a abrirse a la aventura, y al riesgo del pensamiento. (shrink)
In a sequence of aphorisms, Jean-Luc Nancy interrogates the speculative suture between the sacred and truth. The sacred is indexed to an encounter or a point of intensity via which the subject approaches what cannot be grasped in itself, but solely in and as this unfinishable approach. The chance of this encounter is accorded to every subject and no longer confiscated by a religion or an exclusive regime of thought. In parallel, the sacred enters into a novel matrix with (...) the ordinary wherein neither supersedes the other. These aphorisms demonstrate that the ordinary supplies a point of access to the sacred because the sacred is itself one of the nomadic folds of the ordinary. (shrink)
A fresh look at the often-censured but imperfectly understood traditions of Utilitarianism and political economy in relation to Victorian literature and culture. Setting the writings of Bentham, Smith, Malthus, Mill, Dickens, Carlyle, Trollope, Eliot, Gaskell, and Tagore in historical context, Blake widens awareness of commonalities across the age.
The four talks collected here transcribe lectures delivered to an audience of children between the ages of ten and fourteen, under the auspices of the little dialogues series at the Montreuil's center for the dramatic arts. Modeled on Walter Benjamin's Aufklrung for Kinderradio talks, this series aims to awaken its young audience to pressing philosophical concerns. Each talk in God, Justice, Love, Beauty explores what is at stake in these topics as essential moments in human experience. (Indeed, the book argues (...) that they are constitutive of human experience.) Following each, Nancy's audience is given a chance to engage with him in a process of philosophical questioning; the texts of these touching and probing exchanges are included in the volume. Despite the fact that these lectures were delivered to an audience of children, the intellectual level they achieve-while remaining easily comprehensible-is astounding. No attempt is made to simplify Nancy's positions or to resolve the complexities that arise in the course of the talks or the question periods that follow. The work of opening performed here is fully in keeping with the strategy of Nancy's philosophy as a whole. Thus, for readers unfamiliar with his work, God, Justice, Love, Beauty will function as an excellent introduction to Nancy's larger corpus. As varied as the individual talks are, they share the motif of incalculability or the immeasurable. Broadly speaking, one could say that the various ways in which Nancy approaches this motif exemplify his deconstructive approach to think of human existence. As well, those treatments exemplify his conviction that the task of thinking is to develop original ways of communicating the incalculable.God, Justice, Love, Beauty is thus a skillful reminder that philosophy is important to all of us. The book is also a model of intellectual generosity and openness. Seamlessly moving from Schwarzenegger to Plato, from Kant, Roland Barthes, and Caravaggio to Caillou, Harry Potter, and the pages of Gala magazine, Nancy's wide-ranging references bear witness to his commitment to think of culturein its broadest sense. (shrink)
Jean-Luc Nancy'sOn the Commerce of Thinkingconcerns the particular communication of thoughts that takes place by means of the business of writing, producing, and selling books. His reflection is born out of his relation to the bookstore, in the first place his neighborhood one, but beyond that any such "perfumery, rotisserie, patisserie," as he calls them, dispensaries "of scents and flavors through which something like a fragrance or bouquet of the book is divined, presumed, sensed."On the Commerce of Thinking is (...) thus not only something of a semiology of the specific cultural practice that begins with the unique character of the writer's voice and culminates in a customer crossing the bookstore threshold, package under arm, on the way home to a comfortable chair, but also an understated yet persuasive plea in favor of an endangered species. In evoking the peddler who, in times past, plied the streets with books and pamphlets literally hanging off him, Nancy emphasizes the sensuality of this commerce and reminds us that this form of consumerism is like no other, one that ends in an experience-reading-that is the beginning of a limitless dispersion, metamorphosis, and dissemination of ideas. Making, selling, and buying books has all the elements of the exchange economy that Marx analyzedfrom commodification to fetishismyet each book retains throughout an absolute and unique value, that of its subject. With reading, it gets repeatedly reprinted and rebound. For Nancy, the book thus functions only if it remains at the same time open and shut, like some Moebius strip. Closed, it represents the Idea and takes its place in a canon by means of its monumental form and the title and author's name displayed on its spine. But it also opens itself to us, indeed consents to being shaken to its core, in being read each time anew. (shrink)
Ein Gespräch zwischen zweien, die sich nicht sicher sind, ob sie schon denken -/- Der Begriff des Denkens zieht sich als emphatischer Begriff durch das Werk von Jean-Luc Nancy. Zugleich lehnt er es ab, sich selbst als »Denker« bezeichnen zu lassen. Denken ist für ihn stets mit einem »noch nicht« zu versehen. Anknüpfend an Heideggers berühmte Vorlesung »Was heißt Denken?« spricht Nancy in diesem Band mit dem Philosophen und Kurator Daniel Tyradellis über das, was Denken macht: über prägende (...) Lektüren und einflussreiche Lehrer, über Misosophie und das Unerträgliche, über ästhetische Erfahrungen und ihre Medien. In Nähe und Abgrenzung zu Heidegger entsteht ein Bild des Denkens, das darum ringt, dem »uns« und dem »wir« Raum zu geben und das Mit-Sein als ontologische Kategorie zu fassen. (shrink)
Why is it that the modern conception of literature begins with one of the worst writers of the philosophical tradition? Such is the paradoxical question that lies at the heart of Jean-Luc Nancy’s highly original and now-classic study of the role of language in the critical philosophy of Kant. While Kant did not turn his attention very often to the philosophy of language, Nancy demonstrates to what extent he was anything but oblivious to it. He shows, in fact, (...) that the question of philosophical style, of how to write critical philosophy, goes to the core of Kant’s attempt to articulate the limits, once and for all, that would establish human reason in its autonomy and freedom. He also shows how this properly philosophical program, the very pinnacle of the Enlightenment, leads Kant to posit literature as its other by way of what is here called the syncope, and how this other of philosophy, entirely its product, cannot be said to exist outside of metaphysics in its accomplishment. This subtle, unprecedented reading of Kant demonstrates the continued importance of reflection on the relation between philosophy and literature, indeed, why any commitment to Enlightenment must consider and confront this partition anew. (shrink)
This work, by two of the most innovative and challenging of contemporary thinkers, pivots on a Remark added by Hegel in 1831 to the second edition of his Science of Logic. As a model of close reading applied both to philosophical texts and the making of philosophical systems, The Speculative Remark played a significant role in transforming the practice of philosophy away from system building to analysis of specific linguistic detail, with meticulous attention to etymological, philological, and rhetorical nuance. The (...) authors use their extended examination of the Remark to delineate certain overall strategies in several Hegelian texts that militate for language-oriented readings of Hegel, as shown in Nancy's redefinition of such key terms as aufhebung, mediation, and speculation. (shrink)
This article aims to explore the philosophical approach to faith after deconstruction as manifested in the work of Jean-Luc Marion and Jean-Luc Nancy. By taking the saturated phenomenon as its focus, the analysis seeks to demonstrate that whilst Marion’s thinking proves to be an innovative re-imagining of the possibilities of phenomenology, its problematic recourse to a supplementary hermeneutic means that saturation can never be adequately applied to faith without simultaneously compromising the excessive intuition upon which it relies. The article (...) then explores whether Nancy’s suggestion that saturation be re-framed as faith can offer a viable alternative approach. Whilst the post-phenomenological modality within which Nancy operates means it may be problematic to retain the term ‘saturation’ in the exact sense Marion gives it, it is argued that Nancy’s version of saturated faith allows us to approach the binary divide between philosophy and theology from a different direction, resulting in a vision of faith that cuts across theism and atheism, destabilising them from within. Although Nancy’s thought in this area certainly does nothing to respond to persistent questions surrounding the place of institutionalized religion within secular modernity, it nevertheless serves as a powerful tool for thinking the possibilities of faith in the twenty-first century. (shrink)
In this article, using the recent work by Charles Taylor in A Secular Age as my point of departure, I will argue that Jean-Luc Nancy enables us to think past the competing binary of atheistic and religious experience and allows us to surpass the present narratives of secularism. In A Secular Age, Taylor himself seeks a middle ground between atheism and religion, arguing that it is possible to open ourselves to the cross-pressures of modern existence that find us caught (...) between scientific atheism and a need for spiritual and religious guidance. Here, Taylor finds a way of picturing ourselves within a secular age, remaining faithful to scientific rationalism, but still open to religion and a sense of a higher good. However, as I shall demonstrate, in his thesis Taylor misrepresents the Continental philosophical tradition (particularly Nietzsche and post-structuralism) that has itself sought to understand these cross-pressures of existence. Taking this misrepresentation, and specifically his reductive and colloquial analysis of Nietzsche, Camus, and Derrida, as my point of departure, I provide an alternative manner of thinking through the work of these writers, one that leads to a detailed analysis of Jean-Luc Nancy and his project the deconstruction of Christianity. In this analysis I argue that Nancy provides a manner of thinking that remains open and allows an experience of freedom, without seeking to close that sense of openness with explanation, nor maintaining that sense of openness with a conception of the divine. (shrink)
It was William Blake's insight that the Christian churches, by inverting the Incarnation and the dialectical vision of Paul, have repressed the body, divided God from creation, substituted judgment for grace, and repudiated imagination, compassion, and the original apocalyptic faith of early Christianity. Blake's prophetic poetry thus contributes to the renewal of Christian ethics by a process of subversion and negation of Christian moral, ecclesiastical, and theological traditions, which are recognized precisely as inversions of Jesus, and therefore as (...) instances of the forms of evil that God-in-Christ overcomes through Incarnation, reversing the Fall. Blake's great epic poems, particularly Milton (1804–08) and Jerusalem (1804–20), embody his heterodox representation of the final coincidence of Christ and Satan through which, at last, all things are made new. (shrink)
Cross-cultural scholarship in ritual studies on women's laments provides us with a fresh vantage point from which to consider the function of women and women's complaining voices in the epic poems of William Blake. In this essay, I interpret Thel, Oothoon, and Enitharmon as strong voices of experience that unleash some of Blake's most profound meditations on social, sexual, individual, and institutional forms of violence and injustice, offering what might aptly be called an ethics of witness. Tracing the (...) performative function of Enion, Jerusalem, Vala, and Erin in Blake's later epics, The Four Zoas and Jerusalem , I argue for the close connection between the female laments and the possibility of redemption, though in Blake such "redemption" comes at the cost of the very voices of witness themselves. (shrink)
An analysis of Geoffrey Hill's lyric poem about William Blake illuminates the relations between art, prophecy, and imperial politics across more than two centuries. Hill's poem responds to David V. Erdman's argument that Blake was resolutely, if ineffectually and sometimes secretly, opposed to war. It also establishes Hill's own cryptic but definite resistance to contemporary war and warmongers, while it mourns poetry's public powerlessness to halt the violent competition for material resources. Ignored by the majority, poetry fails to (...) bring about the ethical social change that poets often envision. The layering of perspectives (Hill the poet and scholar writing about Erdman the scholar, who is explicating Blake the poet and artist) allows for a multidimensional interpretation of the role of poets and prophetic poetry. Despite their fury at society's deafness and greed, and frustration at their own incapacities, poets—because if they are great poets, they are prophets, too—continue to speak to their audiences about the problems of this world and about the better worlds that can be imagined. Hill's text obliquely teaches how the small success of a great poem can provide a minor note of consolation as it objects to terror and tyranny. (shrink)
In this paper, we turn to the philosophy of Jean-Luc Nancy. In his work La Création du Monde ou la Mondialisation of 2002 the French philosopher analyses the process of globalisation. Rather than denoting a new homogeneity, the term refers to a world horizon characterized in its interpalpable multiplicity of cultural, socio-economical, ideological and politico-moral content. According to Nancy, globalisation refers to ag-glome-ration: the decay of what once was a globe and now nothing more than a glome. On (...) the one hand, Nancy indicates that the world has changed by an unknown increase of techno-science, the worsening of inequalities between growing populations and by the changing and disappearing of given certainties, views and identities of the world and of man. On a large scale, this deformation is due to the relation between the capitalist evolution and the capitalising of worldviews. On the other hand, due to the inter-palpability of the multiplicity, this means that on our planet there is only space for one world. The world gradually becomes the only world. In this paper we will investigate what Nancy means with the becoming-world of the world and how this relates to our being in the world. For Nancy globalisation reveals two possible destinies of our relation with the world. In La Création du Monde ou la Mondialisation he discerns globalisation from mondialisation to analyze these two possibilities. We will investigate this distinction of Nancy and its consequences for everyday life. (shrink)
In this article I explore how a philosophical conception of love may be used to draw debate on the death of God beyond the binary opposition between theology and philosophy through a comparative study of the work of Jean-Luc Marion and Jean-Luc Nancy. Although Marion’s reading of love—in both its theological and phenomenological guises—proposes an innovative phrasing of a non-metaphysical notion of divinity, I argue that it is ultimately unable to maintain its coherence in nominal discourse due to Marion’s (...) insistence on keeping love and being separate. In contrast, through his unique thinking on ontology, Nancy’s philosophy allows us to reposition love at the heart of being, from whence it may serve as a means of disrupting the very principle governing the atheist and theist world-views. Far from dismantling Marion’s core proposition, I conclude that the two thinkers may in fact be more closely aligned than previous scholarship has acknowledged, coming together in the need to affirm an experience of the impossible that takes place in the present rather than in any eschatological fulfillment to come. At this intersection between two nominally very different thinkers, love forms an ontological limit-point for thought that poses a challenge to both theology and philosophy alike as they continue to grapple with the question of religion in the twenty-first century. (shrink)
My aim in this paper is to expose a misrepresentation of Jean-Luc Nancy’s ideas on community in the secondary literature. I argue that discussions of Nancy’s work have failed to recognize a transformation that has occurred in his later thought, which distances him from Jacques Derrida. I propose that Nancy’s later work points the way beyond the “persistence of unhappy consciousness” in deconstruction through allowing for the possibility of the creation of a world alternative to globalization. Recognition (...) of this transformation is suggestive for how Nancy’s theoretical framework might be employed in analyses of recent resistance movements. (shrink)
This essay examines Jean-Luc Nancy's re-posing of the question of freedom in The Experience of Freedom in relation to three issues—what he calls the “thought of freedom,” the reality of evil, and the closure of metaphysics. All three elements that he discusses point directly to Heidegger's engagement with Friedrich Schelling's attempt to establish a system of freedom. My intervention into the discussion between these three thinkers will address several issues. The first part draws out the implications of Nancy's (...) argument that the thought of freedom, not the question of being as Heidegger would have it, is the ultimate matter for thinking that arises at the end of metaphysics. This in turn has important implications for Nancy's understanding of evil. The next part confronts and criticizes Nancy's contention that there is an “ontodicy” in Heidegger's thought that lends a certain justification to evil. The final part aims to show how Heidegger's engagement with Schelling and the reality of evil has to be understood within the context of the question concerning technology. This leads to a second confrontation with Nancy, who proposes a quite different interpretation of technology according to his own ontology, which he calls “being singular plural,” which amounts in effect to a liberation of technology from the being-question. (shrink)
This article aims to be a confrontation with Nancy's 'deconstruction of Christianity.' Its arguments are instructed by Derrida's thesis in his On Touching—Jean-Luc Nancy , in which he speaks of the 'destructive effects' of Nancy's own thinking. One such effect is, according to Derrida, Nancy's complicity with some form of metaphysical thinking. The conclusion of this article therefore aims to expound on just what sort of metaphysics returns in Nancy's work and proposes a more viable—and (...) phenomenological—option with regard to the question of what is to be done with the relics of the Christian tradition through forging an opening towards Levinas' and Merleau-Ponty's philosophies. (shrink)
Why focus on the work of William Blake in a journal dedicated to religious ethics? The question is neither trivial nor rhetorical. Blake 's work is certainly not in anyone's canon of significant texts for the study of Christian or, more broadly, religious ethics. Yet Blake, however subversive his views, sought to lay out a Christian vision of the good, alternated between prophetic denunciations of the world's folly and harrowing laments over the wreck of the world's promise, (...) and wrote poetry as if poetry might mend the world. Setting imagination against the calculations of reason and the comfort of custom, Blake 's poems inspire questions about the relationship of ethics to prophecy, and open the possibility that ethics itself would be markedly enriched could it find a place for what Thomas J. J. Altizer has called Christian epic poetry. (shrink)
The “shrinking” of the globe in the last few centuries has made explicit that the world is a tense unity of many: the many worlds are forced to contend with one another. Nishida Kitarō, the founder of the Kyoto school, once stated that to be is to be implaced. We exist by partaking in “the socio-historical world.” More recently, Jean-luc Nancy has conceived of the world in terms of sense. What is striking in both is that the world emerges (...) out of a nothing, created ex nihilo—the phrase stripped of its theistic connotations. While for Nishida the world is ultimately implaced in the “place of absolute nothing,” Nancy speaks of the nothing that is the basis of the world’s self-creation. I will explore a possible convergence between these and any light it may shed upon our contemporary situation of globalization and its implications for praxis. I look to a sense of the nothing as a chōratic spatiality, an opening that provides space for co-being and serves as the source of creativity. In face of globalization, the project for meaning through mondialisation (in Nancy) and within a multi-cultural world (in Nishida) would imply the appropriation of such an originary spatiality. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 108 - 123 The following paper addresses itself to the question of ontology in the work of Jean-Luc Nancy. In so doing it attempts to read Nancy’s ontological project as a project of the deconstruction of structural forms of political violence. To this end, Nancy’s notion of “inoperative community” is brought into dialogue with Benjamin in order to show how, in Nancy’s work, ontology operates not as the refusal of (...) critique, but as its very condition. (shrink)
In On Touching Derrida locates Jean-Luc Nancy (and, briefly, Gilles Deleuze) within a tradition of haptic ethics and aesthetics that runs from Aristotle to the present. In his early work on Husserl, Derrida had already claimed that phenomenology's commitment to the genesis of sense and the sensible is at one and the same time a commitment to pure and rigorous philosophy at the same time as it threatens to over-turn the primacy of conceptuality and cognition.Whereas Nancy (and those (...) other figures whom Derrida cites, such as Merleau-Ponty) express a faith in a return to the sensibility of flesh, Derrida presents his own work as manifestly more cognisant of the necessary distance between flesh and sense. Another ‘approach’ to the haptic is suggested by Gilles Deleuze, whose work Derrida locates within phenomenological presence, despite Deleuze and Guattari's trenchant rejection of ‘the lived’ and the human organism that inevitably subtends any discussion of the relation between sensibility and sense. Rather than decide for or against this border between flesh and cognition, between post-deconstruction and deconstructive rigour, this essay examines this curious border of touch between philosophy and sensibility, and does so by referring to William Blake's problem of returning the signs of sense to the sensibility of the hand. (shrink)
O artigo apresenta os argumentos centrais da política deliberativa de Jürgen Habermas (1), e as perspectivas críticas de Axel Honneth (2) e Nancy Fraser (3) de forma a conferir à política habermasiana uma dimensão mais realista, um conteúdo político de vínculo mais concreto com a orientação emancipatória da práxis, e capaz de lidar melhor com a diferença, a diversidade e o conflito.