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Derrida and Our Animal Others

Derrida’s Final Seminar, the Beast and the Sovereign

David Farrell Krell

Publication Year: 2013

Jacques Derrida’s final seminars were devoted to animal life and political sovereignty–-the connection being that animals slavishly adhere to the law while kings and gods tower above it and that this relationship reveals much about humanity in the West. David Farrell Krell offers a detailed account of these seminars, placing them in the context of Derrida’s late work and his critique of Heidegger. Krell focuses his discussion on questions such as death, language, and animality. He concludes that Heidegger and Derrida share a commitment to finding new ways of speaking and thinking about human and animal life.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Studies in Continental Thought


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pp. 1-9


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

I would like to thank the following colleagues and publishers for their reception of earlier versions of these chapters: John Sallis and James Risser of Research in Phenomenology for chapters 1 and 2; Jeff Powell for chapter 5, which in another form appears in his collection, Heidegger and Language, published by Indiana University Press in 2012. ...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xiii-xviii

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pp. 1-5

Not of shoes and ships and sealing wax, though cabbages may apply, but of beasts and kings, and principally of animals other than the human, our animal others: the final years of Jacques Derrida’s teaching, 2001–2003, recently published in two volumes under the title The Beast and the Sovereign, were devoted to the questions of animal life and political sovereignty. ...

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1. The Beast and the Sovereign I

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pp. 6-34

Imagine yourself standing outside the corner show window of one of the few academic bookstores left in Paris, this one on the rue des Écoles itself. Filling the window are twenty-five books on animal life considered from various philosophical points of view. The book jackets are all colorful—Dürer’s hare, Bosch’s uncanny monsters, ...

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2. The Beast and the Sovereign II

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pp. 35-75

In a course description designed for his American audience during the spring of 2003, Derrida restates the argument of the entire seminar and announces the themes now to be taken up: ...

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3. How Follow the Animal . . . That I Am?

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pp. 76-99

It may seem odd to revert to an earlier text of Derrida’s on the theme of the animal—after all the hours devoted to the subject in The Beast and the Sovereign. Yet there is more than one reason to turn back to The Animal That Therefore I Am, which gathers together texts written during the year 1997 with a view to the colloquium ...

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4. Is There a Touchstone for All Philosophy?

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pp. 100-119

Because eventually in this chapter I want to write about what Quaker art calls “The Peaceable Kingdom,” namely, that sovereign realm in which the lion and the lamb lie side by side in amity, and because one of Derrida’s favorite themes in his final seminar is παράδεισος, originally a Persian word—much older than both the Greek ...

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5. Is Apophantic Discourse the Touchstone?

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pp. 120-144

The chapter title intends to ask whether Heidegger takes apophantic discourse, which he (following Aristotle) attributes to humankind alone among all living beings, to be the ultimate distinguishing feature of humanity. In the 1929–1930 lecture course, especially in its final hundred pages, from section 69 onward, this appears to be the case. ...

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6. Conclusions and Directions for Future Research

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pp. 145-166

In this final chapter I will review some of the issues raised in the earlier chapters—those issues that for one reason or other strike me as problematic and as needing further reading, research, and reflection. No doubt, I will have missed many issues that readers may find particularly troublesome or compelling. ...


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pp. 167-174

E-ISBN-13: 9780253009456
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253009241

Page Count: 196
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Studies in Continental Thought