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Reviewed by:
  • Hatred and Forgiveness
  • Santiago Zabala (bio)
Julia Kristeva, Hatred and Forgiveness, trans. Jeanine Herman (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011), 336 pp.

When academics of my generation hear the name of Julia Kristeva, the first thing that comes to mind is Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont's attack (in the third chapter of Intellectual Impostures [1997]) on her use of mathematics. While this association might seem a negative one, we are quite happy with its reminding us we were raised in a time when analytic philosophy tried at all costs to align itself with, if not submit itself to, scientific terminology, methodology, and political hegemony. Sokal and Bricmont have almost disappeared from contemporary debate, an indication of the insignificance of their criticism and of the scant effect that their intervention has had, while the work of Kristeva continues to flourish, in new books such as Hatred and Forgiveness.

This text appeared in French in 2005 as the third volume of a trilogy on "the power and limits of psychoanalysis." (The first two volumes are The Sense and Non-Sense of Revolt [1996] and Intimate Revolt [1997]). Hatred and Forgiveness is composed of six parts ("Worlds," "Women," "Psychoanalizing," "Religion," "Portraits," and "Writing"), each venturing into the power and limits of psychoanalysis, in engagements with authors ranging from St. Teresa of Avila to Paul Ricoeur. However, as Pierre-Louis Fort explains in his foreword, Kristeva does not write here as a psychoanalyst or a philosopher setting down her ideas, but rather as one intent on provoking us and inciting independent thought. What is it she hopes to provoke? She is not concerned anymore with the political implications that "French theory" or "Continental philosophy" offer against the "American economic, political, and academic establishment," but rather with the different modes of thought they represent. Extending the hermeneutic revolutions of Freud and Heidegger, Kristeva attempts to get past the "production of theory" and "thought-as-calculation" models, in favor of "thinking as disclosure" or as "working through"—an "exercise of liberty-as-thinking" that aims, among other things, to rethink "the traditional boundaries between disciplines."

But Hatred and Forgiveness should not be read as a move against the compartmentalized science that Sokal and Bricmont deployed in their efforts to discredit Kristeva; rather, the book should be read as favoring a kind of thought in which freedom is a practice rather than a simple goal. The book prompts a new generation of academics to see how it is possible to "offer tranquility without offering a positive answer"—to offer liberty rather than science. [End Page 364]

Santiago Zabala

Santiago Zabala is ICREA Research Professor in the University of Barcelona department of philosophy. He is the author of The Remains of Being: Hermeneutic Ontology after Metaphysics; The Hermeneutic Nature of Analytic Philosophy: A Study of Ernst Tugendhat; and The Anarchy of Hermeneutics: Resistances, Transgressions, and Alterations (forthcoming). With Gianni Vattimo, he is coauthor of Hermeneutic Communism, and he is the editor of five books by or on Vattimo.



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