Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Foreword

Emily Apter

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pp. vii-xviii

What is a citizen subject? A hyphenated subject, equal parts political citizen and subjected individual conscience? A freestanding agent capable of being federated with others? The ratifier of moral law, the self-punisher who dies by a thousand cuts at the hands of his or her own superego? The lead in a play about the psychic life of power in the era of weak states? The plebian legislator posed against the citizen king?

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Introduction: After the Controversy

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pp. 1-18

The present work is finally appearing in print after having been announced as forthcoming on several occasions by the publisher who accepted it for publication nearly twenty years ago. Exasperated though he must have been by my broken promises, he did not show it; and he never gave up asking for the manuscript. I am profoundly grateful to him. Without such unflagging interest and friendship I might never have pursued...

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Citizen Subject: Response to Jean-Luc Nancy’s Question “Who Comes After the Subject?”

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pp. 19-39

Both following Hegel and opposed to him, Heidegger proposes Descartes as the moment when the “sovereignty of the subject” is established (in philosophy), inaugurating the discourse of modernity. This supposes that man, or rather the ego, is determined and conceived of as subject (subjectum).
Doubtless, from one text to another, and sometimes even within the same “text”...

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Annex: Subjectus/Subjectum

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pp. 40-52

At the heart of the problems that are now raised by the use of the “subject” category—which has never been more central to philosophy, even though the twentieth century gave it a completely new orientation—there is a pun (intentional or other wise) on two Latin etymologies: that of the neuter subjectum (which, like suppositum, has, ever since the scholastics, been regarded by philosophers, as a translation...

Part One. “Our True Self Is Not Entirely Within Us”

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One. “Ego sum, ego existo”: Descartes on the Verge of Heresy

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pp. 53-73

Mister President, you have imposed Draconian limits upon me. As a result, I must cut to the chase. The abstract that you might have received is not, as you no doubt grasp, a summary of my talk: not only because I hadn’t yet given my text a definitive form but also because what I have to say, since it remains highly open to discussion, is very difficult to summarize. Rather than drawing conclusions, my goal today...

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Two. “My Self,” “My Own”: Variations on Locke

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pp. 74-91

In this lecture, I would like to tell a story about words. Or rather, two stories at once. The first is a public story, that of one moment within the great history of “personal” and “possessive” pronouns, which traverses the entire history of “Western culture,” thanks to what has been called its colingualism, and determines its understanding of subjectivity.1 The second and much more modest story is a private one...

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Three. Aimances in Rousseau: Julie or The New Heloise as Treatise on the Passions

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pp. 92-105

The chapter that Paul de Man devotes to Julie or the New Heloise in his Allegories of Reading does not only represent a central moment in the economy of the book, where the category that guides his readings (the “allegory” from the title) is explicated and justified; it is also a particularly illuminating discussion of a knot of questions regarding passion, which are generally considered to hold the philosophical key...

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Four. From Sense Certainty to the Law of Genre: Hegel, Benveniste, Derrida

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pp. 106-120

The present discussion is not exclusively devoted to the thought and work of Jacques Derrida. It is rather an attempt to bring the reading and discussion of Derrida in relation with other texts, and other heritages, in order to illustrate how his manner of philosophizing has transformed our understanding of certain fundamental problems. I would argue that what distinguishes his specific practice...

Part Two. Being(s) in Common

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Five. Ich, das Wir, und Wir, das Ich ist: Spirit’s Dictum

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pp. 121-142

The present talk—and I offer my thanks to Pierre Macherey for the invitation to speak to his working group, which afforded me an opportunity to write it—should fit, not too arbitrarily, I hope, into this year’s program devoted to exploring an discussing the category of “modernity.” That said, my intention is not to contribute directly to this discussion, even if the problems of philosophy...

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Six. The Messianic Moment in Marx

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pp. 143-154

In the present essay, I would like to reexamine and, if possible, elucidate a question that often recurs in interpretations of Marx: What is the relationship between his concept of politics and religious (or theological) discourse? In view of the comparison that this issue of the Revue Germanique Internationale would like to draw, but also because of the strategic importance that, I believe, must be conferred...

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Seven. Zur Sache Selbst: The Common and the Universal in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit

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pp. 155-172

Certain great commentators on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit (Kojève, Marcuse, Lukács), in part inspired by Marxism and Existentialism, built their interpretations around the statement that defines spiritual “substance” (Substanz) as a “work” (Werk) resulting from the activity of all and each (das Tun aller und jeder).1 Sartre should also be included, since one section of the Critique of Dialectical Reason comprises...

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Eight. Men, Armies, Peoples: Tolstoy and the Subject of War

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pp. 173-184

This chapter reprises several elements from a course taught at the University of California, Irvine, entitled “Politics as War, War as Politics” (January–March 2006). In this course, I opened to discussion the claim, frequent in con temporary discourse, that the “new wars,” which have broken out since the end of the Cold War and collapse of the world divided into “blocks” determined at the end of World War Two...

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Nine. The Social Contract Among Commodities: Marx and the Subject of Exchange

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pp. 185-202

From the first, Marx’s theory of commodity and money fetishism formed one of the most admired and contested aspects of his “critique” of political economy. In an astonishing fashion, it restores the correlation of sovereignty and subjection to the heart of the modern “social relation” that appears to herald the triumph of free individuality. To this end, it was necessary conceptually to reinscribe...

Part Three. The Right to Transgression

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Ten. Judging Self and Others: On the Political Theory of Reflexive Individualism

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pp. 203-212

In French and several other languages, the notion of judgment designates both a “faculty” or “capacity” and an action that takes place within the sphere of public or private relations. It can have a general neutral signification (that of an evaluation about the adequacy of means to ends or to the quality of the ends themselves). But more often it designates, in dissymmetrical fashion, the determination of a deserved...

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Eleven. Private Crime, Public Madness

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pp. 213-226

To clarify the questions raised today by the relations between madness and justice, with reference to the heritage of the French Revolution: such a project, if not confined to the stylistic exercises that typify certain commemorations, is paradoxical in several respects. Indeed, what prompts current discussions on the function of the psychiatrist in the courtroom or on the role of judgments of civil capacity...

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Twelve. The Invention of the Superego: Freud and Kelsen, 1922

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pp. 227-255

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sigmund Freud, speaking in an amphitheater that bears the name of Jean-Martin Charcot, the theoretician of hysteria who was his teacher, I would like to present a synthesis—and thus inevitably a mere summary—of the initial results of the research that I have been conducting over the last several years, primarily within the framework...

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Thirteen. Blanchot’s Insubordination: On the Writing of the Manifesto of the 121

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pp. 256-272

The title of this chapter derives from a metonymical displacement. Blanchot himself never authorized any confusion between his role as a drafter of the Manifesto of the 121 and that of the draft dodgers, deserters, and militants whom, along with his cosignatories, he intended to support and defend before the law. However, as we shall see, the word insubordination encompasses both a narrow and a broad sense...

Part Four. The Ill-Being of the Subject

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Fourteen. Bourgeois Universality and Anthropological Differences

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pp. 273-302

In this concluding chapter, I want to articulate the relationship between the political categories of modernity and the question to which its metaphysics always returns: that of subjectivity, endowed with consciousness—perhaps affected with unconsciousness—and with rights, duties, or individual and collective missions.3 Not only will I examine this relationship on the level of the history of ideas...

Notes

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pp. 303-386

Index

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pp. 387-392

Commonalities Series List

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pp. 393-395