Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xiv

In/animate: what is the appropriate space of separation between those two words? Is there not an absolute distinction to be maintained between what lives and what does not; does not knowledge in general, and scientific knowledge in particular, starting from the eighteenth century, begin there? Or is there rather persistent contamination between the two...

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Introduction: Doubled Lives

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pp. 1-28

The logic of what lives has its own distinct history, understood as “a history of heredity” in the subtitle of the book published in 1970 by François Jacob, corecipient five years earlier of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The Logic of Life is indeed a history, the history of a changing or developing logic, the logic of a changing or developing history of the concept...

PART I: Autobiography

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1. Automatic Life, So Life: Descartes

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pp. 31-54

In 1619, Descartes is in his early twenties, beginning, one imagines, to fancy himself, yet neither as a mathematician nor a philosopher, rather as something of a writer. He begins to write some notes in Latin in a notebook that will come to light more than thirty years later, after his death. It is there that he makes his famous contribution to what Jean-Luc Nancy has called...

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2. Order Catastrophically Unknown: Freud

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pp. 55-80

Suppose such a syntagm: “Order catastrophically unknown.” Flashed on a screen in some operations room crowded with aghast personnel and overheating machines alike: the personnel either brow-furrowed Americans in crisp uniforms or incomprehensible transgalactic aliens, or a combination of one and the other; the machines a serial constellation...

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3. The Blushing Machine: Derrida

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pp. 81-108

In chapter 1, we discussed a type of first autobiographical utterance by a Descartes who would go on to define, in very specific terms, the thinking, and, by extension, the speaking, “I.” In chapter 2, we examined Freud’s representation, by means of the amoebic pseudopodium, of the autokinetic lifedeath projection of the psyche that he considered to be operating in...

PART II: Translation

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4. Living Punctuations: Cixous and Celan

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pp. 111-152

The previous chapter gives us to understand something of the complex operation by which the autos dies and lives in its own biographical, or any other, writing: how it dies in and as it writes but continues to haunt what remains; how, notwithstanding such a form of survival, the words themselves function only by being radically severed from their authoring...

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5. Naming the Mechanical Angel: Benjamin

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pp. 153-178

Through Cixous, I have just concluded, punctuation comes to life as a strange unuttered homonymy on one side and the other of a black dot: not something emerging from a latency or silence that would have always harbored it, and not just a problem concerning the different forms of utterance that are graphic traces on one side and enunciated sounds...

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6. Raw War: Schmitt, Jünger, and Joyce

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pp. 179-200

No raw history, Benjamin insists. So then, raw war? War, raw as it was always supposed to be, a naked physical contest, a Pancratic corps à corps that barely crosses the line separating it from sport? War, raw as it should be, an even-handed combat with mutual respect for rules of engagement, and a symmetrical separation of good on one side and evil on the other? Raw war...

PART III: Resonance

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7. Bloodless Coup: Bataille, Nancy, and Barthes

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pp. 203-228

We find a counterpoint to Ernst Jünger’s homosocial communion of warriors in Georges Bataille. His Blue of Noon is written within the same general European historical framework (1915–35) as The Storm of Steel, a time frame during which, we could say, Westphalian sovereignty convulsed for one of its final times. It traces the itinerary of protagonist couple...

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8. The Audible Life of the Image: Godard

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pp. 229-256

Since at least 1980, Godard’s cinema has been explicitly looking for (its) music, as if for its outside. In Sauve qui peut (la vie) (Every Man for Himself), the protagonist Paul Godard hears, and asks about it coming through the hotel room wall, and it follows him down to the lobby, but despite his questions, it remains “off,” outside the field of vision, in the same space...

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9. Meditations for the Birds: Descartes

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pp. 257-282

So, still more or less still life, eighteen years on, stove with melting wax. Descartes is holed up in a room that is, in a sense, all stove or oven (un poêle), composing his Discourse. He will publish it somewhat maskedly, in French, in Leiden. In it he will relate—also somewhat maskedly—what the literature has usually described as his nervousness following Galileo’s...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 283-284

I view this book as the culmination of work and thinking that began more than thirty years ago. It was then, and there, in Townsville, Australia, that my naive attempts to theorize what I would come to call “prosthesis” met their match in the whiplash wit, intellectual trenchancy, and inimitable Liverpudlianicity of Alec McHoul. It is he whom I wish to acknowledge...

Notes

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pp. 285-312

Index

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pp. 313-320

About the Author

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p. 320

Image Plates

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