One of the challenges facing Continental Philosophy is how to maintain its identity as “Continental” (and thus as “European”) while avoiding the dangers of Euro-centrism. This challenge calls for many approaches, but one entry point is through the question of Europe—can we think a European identity that is pluralistic and radically open to its others, a Europe that is not Euro-centric? Rodolphe Gasché, in his recently published Europe, or the Infinite Task: A Study of a Philosophical Concept (Stanford 2009), (...) articulates just such a concept of Europe, providing careful studies of Husserl, Heidegger, Patočka, and Derrida, as well as his own insights. In spring of 2009, the Department of Philosophy at DePaul University invited Prof. Gasché for a discussion of Europe, or the Infinite Task. Peg Birmingham and Franklin Perkins presented papers engaging and responding to the book, and Rodolphe Gasché subsequently offered his response. The three essays are published together here, with slight revisions but retaining their original character as a dialogue. We hope that the lively debate they express will serve to stimulate further discussion of the relationships among philosophy, Europe, and openness to others. (shrink)
In this book, Rodolphe Gasche returns to some of the founding texts of deconstruction to propose a new and broader way of understanding it not as an operation or method to reach an elusive outside, or beyond, of metaphysics, but as something that takes place within it. Rather than unraveling metaphysics, deconstruction loosens its binary and hierarchical conceptual structure. To make this case, Gasche focuses on the concepts of force and violence in the work of Jacques Derrida, looking to (...) his essays Force and Signification and Force of Law, and his reading on "Of Grammatology" in Claude Levi-Strauss s autobiographical "Tristes Tropiques." The concept of force has not drawn extensive scrutiny in Derrida scholarship, but it is crucial to understanding how, by way of spacing and temporizing, philosophical opposition is reinscribed into a differential economy of forces. Gasche concludes with an essay addressing the question of deconstruction and judgment and considers whether deconstruction suspends the possibility of judgment, or whether it is, on the contrary, a hyperbolic demand for judgment.". (shrink)
ABSTRACT The focus of this essay is Kant's argument in the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals III that regarding oneself as rational implies regarding oneself as free. After setting out an interpretation of how the argument is meant to go, I argue that Kant fails to show that regarding oneself as free is incompatible with accepting universal causal determinism. However, I suggest that the argument succeeds in showing that regarding oneself as rational is inconsistent with accepting universal causal determinism (...) if one accepts a certain, plausible view of the explanation of events. RESUMEN El ensayo se enfoca en el argumento de Kant en la Fundamentación de la metafísica de las costumbres III según el cual considerarse racional implica verse a uno mismo como libre. Se interpreta la forma en que debe entenderse el argumento y se afirma que Kant no logra demostrar que considerarse libre es incompatible con la aceptación del determinismo casual universal. No obstante, se sugiere que el argumento sí logra demostrar que considerarse a uno mismo como racional es incompatible con la aceptación del determinismo casual universal, si se acepta una cierta versión plausible de la explicación de los eventos. (shrink)
Is the idea of Europe outdated? The concept of European unity, the animating spirit of the European Union, seems increasingly fragile in the face of far-right populist movements. In Locating Europe, Rodolphe Gasché attempts to answer the question of how to think about Europe. Is it a figure, a concept, or an idea? Is there anything still compelling and urgent about the idea of Europe? By looking at phenomenologist and postphenomenological thinkers in the second half of the 20th century, (...) Gasché reveals that Europe is more than just one geographical and cultural entity. The idea of Europe is based on common foundations: a distinctive conception of reason, of self-criticism, of responsibility, freedom, equality, human rights, and democracy, and it is these foundations that are under threat. In Locating Europe: A Figure, a Concept, an Idea? Gasché engages the philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Karl Jaspers, Karl Löwith, and others, focuses on the most significant philosophical representations of Europe, and explores the potential, and especially the limits, of the notion of Europe. (shrink)
Deconstruction is no game of mirrors, revealing the text as a play of surface against surface. Its more radical philosophical effort is to get behind the mirror and question the very nature of reflection. The Tain of the Mirror explores that gritty surface without which no reflection would be possible.
Nine essays written over a dozen years explore problems of engaging the ideas of the contemporary French philosopher and their reception in the US. Deconstruction as criticism, the eclipse of difference, structural infinity, and responding responsibly are among the perspectives. Several of the essays have been previously published. Annotation copyright by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR.
Edmund Husserl. Infinite tasks -- Universality and spatial form -- Universality in the making -- Martin Heidegger. Singular essence -- The strangeness of beginnings -- The originary world of tragedy -- Jan Patoka. Care of the soul -- The genealogy of Europe-responsibility -- Jacques Derrida. European memories -- This little thing that is Europe -- De-closing the horizon.
"This book in the main consists of lectures that I first delivered in 2010 at the Collegium Phenomenologicum at Citta di Castello, Italy, and subsequently expanded for a three-day seminar at the Universidad Diego Portales at Santiago, Chile, in 2011. In spring 2012 my graduate lecture course in the Department of Comparative Literature at the State University of New York at Buffalo was devoted to the subject "geophilosophy." It was on this occasion that I expanded the earlier lectures to the (...) dimensions of the book in its present form.". (shrink)
This book investigates what Bataille, in "The Pineal Eye," calls mythological representation: the mythological anthropology with which this unusual thinker wished to outflank and undo scientific (and philosophical) anthropology. Gasché probes that anthropology by situating Bataille's thought with respect to the quatrumvirate of Schelling, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Freud. He begins by showing what Bataille's understanding of the mythological owes to Schelling. Drawing on Hegel, Nietzsche, and Freud, he then explores the notion of image that constitutes the sort of representation that (...) Bataille's innovative approach entails. Gasché concludes that Bataille's mythological anthropology takes on Hegel's phenomenology in a systematic fashion. By reading it backwards, he not only dismantles its architecture, he also ties each level to the preceding one, replacing the idealities of philosophy with the phantasmatic representations of what he dubs "low materialism." Phenomenology, Gasché argues, thus paves the way for a new "science" of phantasms. (shrink)
Exploring and reassessing the philosophical notion of relation, Of Minimal Things views relation as the minimal and elemental theme and structure of philosophy, in contrast to the scholastic, ontological conception of relation as a thing of diminished being. Drawing radical conclusions from the classical understanding of relation as a being-toward-another, it argues that rethinking relation engages the very possibility and limits of philosophical discourse. In the author's studies of Nietzsche, Benjamin, Husserl, Heidegger, Derrida and Blanchot, relation is shown to be (...) central to their thought and to undergo elaborations that escape the ontological, categorial, and formalist ways in which the concept has traditionally been interpreted. Studying the writings of Mallarme; and Kafka, the author argues that philosophy necessarily opens up to and is implicated in its others, one such possible other being literature. (shrink)
Against the assumption that aesthetic form relates to a harmonious arrangement of parts into a beautiful whole, this book argues that reason is the real theme of the Critique of Judgment as of the two earlier Critiques. Since aesthetic judgment of the beautiful becomes possible only when the mind is confronted with things of nature, for which no determined concepts of understanding are available, aesthetic judgment is involved in an epistemological or, rather, para-epistemological task. The predicate “beautiful” indicates that something (...) has minimal form and is cognizable. This book explores this concept of form, in particular the role of presentation (Darstellung) in what Kant refers to as “mere form,” which involves not only the understanding, but also reason as the faculty of ideas. Such a notion of form reveals why the beautiful can be related to the morally good. On the basis of this reinterpreted concept of form, most major concepts and themes of the Critique of Judgment—such as disinterestedness, free play, the sublime, genius, and beautiful arts—are examined by the author and shown in a new light. (shrink)
This book investigates what Bataille, in "The Pineal Eye," calls mythological representation: the mythological anthropology with which this unusual thinker wished to outflank and undo scientific anthropology. Gasché probes that anthropology by situating Bataille's thought with respect to the quatrumvirate of Schelling, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Freud. He begins by showing what Bataille's understanding of the mythological owes to Schelling. Drawing on Hegel, Nietzsche, and Freud, he then explores the notion of image that constitutes the sort of representation that Bataille's innovative (...) approach entails. Gasché concludes that Bataille's mythological anthropology takes on Hegel's phenomenology in a systematic fashion. By reading it backwards, he not only dismantles its architecture, he also ties each level to the preceding one, replacing the idealities of philosophy with the phantasmatic representations of what he dubs "low materialism." Phenomenology, Gasché argues, thus paves the way for a new "science" of phantasms. (shrink)
Against the assumption that aesthetic form relates to a harmonious arrangement of parts into a beautiful whole, this book argues that reason is the real theme of the _Critique of Judgment_ as of the two earlier _Critiques_. Since aesthetic judgment of the beautiful becomes possible only when the mind is confronted with things of nature, for which no determined concepts of understanding are available, aesthetic judgment is involved in an epistemological or, rather, para-epistemological task. The predicate "beautiful" indicates that something (...) has minimal form and is cognizable. This book explores this concept of form, in particular the role of presentation in what Kant refers to as "mere form," which involves not only the understanding, but also reason as the faculty of ideas. Such a notion of form reveals why the beautiful can be related to the morally good. On the basis of this reinterpreted concept of form, most major concepts and themes of the _Critique of Judgment_—such as disinterestedness, free play, the sublime, genius, and beautiful arts—are examined by the author and shown in a new light. (shrink)
The Honor of Thinking investigates the limits of criticism, theory, and philosophy in light of what Martin Heidegger and French post-Heideggerian philosophers have established about the nature and tasks of thinking. In addition to in-depth analyses of Walter Benjamin's conception of critique—and in particular the relation of critique to ethics, as well as alternative models of criticism (such as Heidegger's notion of “Auseinandersetzung,” and Derridean deconstruction)—this book contains essays on the notion of theory from the Greeks and the early German (...) Romantics to the contemporary use of this notion in literary studies. The last part of the book investigates the different ways of understanding philosophical thinking that are found in contemporary French thought, examining works of Foucault, Deleuze, Lyotard, and Derrida. (shrink)
In the aftermath of Kant, that is, with Schelling and Hegel, the natural beautiful is no longer a major concern of aesthetic theory. According to Adorno, an evil star hangs over the theory of natural beauty. The essay examines the reasons for this neglect of the beautiful of nature by confronting Kant's account of natural beauty with Hegel's theory about the fundamental deficiencies of beauty in nature and locates them in the essential indeterminacy of everything that belongs to nature. Inquiring (...) into what Adorno seeks to achieve by playing Kant and Hegel off against one another, it is shown that this indeterminacy of nature is both an index of nature's interconnectedness with mythical violence and the promise of a freedom from myth. (shrink)
Persuasion (Aristotle) -- A truth resembling truth -- Probability or necessity -- Logos, topos, stoikheion -- Reflection (Heidegger) -- Breaking with the primacy of the theoretical -- The genesis of the theoretical -- Beyond theory: theoria, or watching over what is still to come -- Judgment (Arendt) -- The space of appearance -- The wind of thought -- A sense of the world.
Meditation on the character of the Eleatic Stranger in Plato's late dialogues, arguing that the prominent place afforded to this foreigner-the other-represents an important philosophical and political legacy regarding the way thought, and life in the community, is understood.
Attempts made by philosophical hermeneutics to come to grips with deconstruction as well as criticisms leveled by the Gadamerian perspective both operate on the assumption that deconstruction is of Nietzschean inspiration. Why does German hermeneutics choose an approach to Derridean thought that inevitably results in misinterpretation and thus thwarts the dialogue that it ostensibly seeks? I explore the philosophical presuppositions of hermeneutics that cause it to view deconstruction as an extension of Nietzschean thought. I also turn to Derrida’s Spurs: Nietzsche’s (...) Styles in order to argue that Derrida is critical of Nietzsche and, thus, deconstruction is not a specifically Nietzschean operation. (shrink)
Fynsk's book stands out against the three types of commentary that ordinarily prevail in Heidegger scholarship. If the emphasis has been either on the early versus the late Heidegger, on the later versus the Heidegger of Being and Time, or on the continuity and unity of the Heideggerian corpus of writings, then Fynsk's study, at first sight, is closest to the first of these approaches. But what clearly distinguishes his reading from such an approach is that while he stresses the (...) unsurpassed originality of the analytics of Dasein, Fynsk does not merely elevate Heidegger's fundamental ontology to the status of an unproblematic source of authority. Rather, from within the terms of the problematic opened in the work before the Kehre, Fynsk seeks the conditions for a renewed questioning that repeats the thrust of the analytics of Dasein in order to determine the very limits of Heidegger's early enterprise--limits that could serve as a new point of departure for those theoretical possibilities that Heidegger himself left unexplored and unexploited. These limits are double; they represent the boundary lines between Heidegger's most radical thoughts and the space of metaphysics which continues to function in his work as a horizon of confinement. (shrink)
ABSTRACTWith few exceptions, the prominent role of the Stranger in Plato’s late dialogue on the Sophist has drawn little attention in Plato scholarship. Yet, in this dialogue Plato charges the expatriated Stranger, who, furthermore, lacks a patronym and thus is not identifiable, remaining a stranger to the end, with the task not only of rejecting all philosophy hitherto as nothing more than a kind of storytelling about Being, but also of committing the parricide of Parmenides, the father of Greek philosophy (...) itself. By refuting Parmenides’ thesis on Being, including the claim that Non-being is unthinkable and unsayable, the Stranger develops a philosophy that for the first time merits this title. The core of his doctrine of the “greatest kinds” consists in recasting Non-being in terms of otherness, thus unseating the priority of the principle of opposition that, until then, dominated philosophical thinking. This paper delves into what it means for Greek philosophy to invite a stranger to uproot its foundin... (shrink)
This essay is an inquiry into Derrida’s elaborations on the concept of method, and the frequent discussions in his work of questions of method, particularly, in the context of the conception of a “science of writing.” The aim of the essay is to clarify what Derrida calls “a discourse of method in general,” that is, the discourse that represents the foundation of Descartes’s reflections on method, as well as Heidegger’s retracing of the concept of method back to the problematic of (...) methodos, and hodos, in short, to the problematic of “the way of thinking.” Centering on how this way becomes method, and how method brings about the narrowing of thought deplored by Heidegger, Derrida explores what it is in the way itself that makes such becoming, and hence “perversion” of itself inevitable. (shrink)