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An ardent admirer and student of Emmanuel Levinas during the last decade of the philosopher's life, Michaël de Saint Cheron sat down with his mentor for these interviews, conducted in 1983, 1992, and 1994. Throughout, their conversations provide further insight into the key concepts of responsibility, transcendence, holiness, and the hostage for understanding Levinas’s notion of ethics as first philosophy.
As Levinas and Saint Cheron discuss a variety of topics — death and time in the philosophies of Heidegger and Bergson, eros and the feminine, the Judeo-Christian dialogue, Levinas’s differences of thought with Paul Ricœur, reflections on the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the “end of history” with the fall of Western Communism — we can clearly see Levinas’s ceaseless engagement with the justification for living after such horrors as those of Auschwitz, Hiroshima, Stalinism, Cambodia, or Rwanda.
Included here as well, following the interviews, are several essays in which Saint Cheron presents his own further considerations of their conversations and Levinas’s ideas. He writes of the relation of the epiphany of the face to the idea of holiness; of Sartre and, in particular, that existentialist thinker’s “revision” of Jews and Judaism in his final controversial dialogues with Benny Lévy; of the epiphanies of death in André Malraux’s writings; and of the radical breach effected in the Western philosophical tradition by Levinas’s “otherwise-than-thinking." Finally, Saint Cheron pays homage to Levinas’s talmudic readings in an analysis of forgiveness and the unforgivable in Jewish tradition and liturgy, culminating in an inevitable confrontation with the Shoah from the perspective of Simon Wiesenthal’s harrowing The Sunflower and some of the contemporary reactions to it.
Jacques Derrida and the Question of the University
This book provides a definitive account of Jacques Derrida's involvement in debates about the university. Derrida was a founding member of the Research Group on the Teaching of Philosophy (GREPH), an activist group that mobilized opposition to the Giscard government's proposals to rationalizethe French educational system in 1975. He also helped to convene the Estates General of Philosophy, a vast gathering in 1979 of educators from across France. Furthermore, he was closely associated with the founding of the International College of Philosophy in Paris, and his connection with the International Parliament of Writers during the 1990s also illustrates his continuing interest in the possibility of launching an array of literary and philosophical projects while experimenting with new kinds of institutions in which they might take their specific shape and direction. Derrida argues that the place of philosophy in the university should be explored as both a historical question and a philosophical problem in its own right. He argues that philosophy simultaneously belongs and does not belong to the university. In its founding role, it must come from outsidethe institution in which, nevertheless, it comes to define itself. The author asks whether this irresolvable tension between belongingand not belongingmight not also form the basis of Derrida's political thinking and activism where wider issues of contemporary significance are concerned. Key questions today concerning citizenship, rights, the nation-state and Europe, asylum, immigration, terror, and the returnof religion all involve assumptions and ideas about belonging; and they entail constitutional, legal, institutional and material constraints that take shape precisely on the basis of such ideas. This project will therefore open up a key question: Can deconstruction's insight into the paradoxical institutional standing of philosophy form the basis of a meaningful political response by theoryto a number of contemporary international issues?
First published in German in 1995, volume 77 of Heidegger's Complete Works consists of three imaginary conversations written as World War II was coming to an end. Composed at a crucial moment in history and in Heidegger's own thinking, these conversations present meditations on science and technology; the devastation of nature, the war, and evil; and the possibility of release from representational thinking into a more authentic relation with being and the world. The first conversation involves a scientist, a scholar, and a guide walking together on a country path; the second takes place between a teacher and a tower-warden, and the third features a younger man and an older man in a prisoner-of-war camp in Russia, where Heidegger's two sons were missing in action. Unique because of their conversational style, the lucid and precise translation of these texts offers insight into the issues that engaged Heidegger's wartime and postwar thinking.
Conversations with Contemporary Thinkers
This important book brings together in one volume a collection of illuminating encounters with some of the most important philosophers of our age-by one of its most incisive and innovative critics.For more than twenty years, Richard Kearney has been in conversation with leading philosophers, literary theorists, anthropologists, and religious scholars. His gift is eliciting memorably clear statements about their work from thinkers whose writings can often be challenging in their complexity. Here, he brings together twenty-one originally published extraordinary conversations-his 1984 collection Dialogues: The Phenomenological Heritage, his 1992 Visions of Europe: Conversations on the Legacy and Future of Europe, and his 1995 States of Mind: Dialogues with Contemporary Thinkers. Featured interviewees include Stanislas Breton, Umberto Eco, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Herbert Marcus, George Steiner, Julia Kristeva, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jean-Fran?ois Lyotard. To this classic core, he adds recent interviews, previously unpublished, with Paul Ricoeur, Jean-Luc Marion, Jacques Derrida, and George DumZzil, as well as six colloquies about his own work.Wide-ranging and accessible, these interviews provide a fascinating guide to the ideas, concerns, and personalities of thinkers who have shaped modern intellec-tual life. This book will be an essential point of entry for students, teachers, scholars, and anyone seeking to understand contemporary culture.ContentsPrefacePart One: Recent DebatesJacques Derrida: Terror, Religion, and the New PoliticsJean-Luc Marion: The Hermeneutics of RevelationPaul Ricour: (a) On Life Stories (b) On The Crisis of Authority (c) The Power of the Possible (d) Imagination, Testimony, and TrustGeorges Dumzil: Myth, Ideology, SovereigntyPart Two: From Dialogues: The Phenomenological Heritage, 1984Emmanuel Levinas: Ethics of the InfiniteHerbert Marcuse: The Philosophy of Art and PoliticsPaul Ricour: (a) The Creativity of Language (b) Myth as the Bearer of Possible WorldsStanislas Breton: Being, God, and the Poetics of RelationJacques Derrida: Deconstruction and the OtherPart Three: From States of Mind, 1995Julia Kristeva: Strangers to Ourselves: The Hope of the SingularHans Georg Gadamer: Text MattersJean-Franois Lyotard: What Is Just?George Steiner: Culture-The Price You PayPaul Ricour: Universality and the Power of DifferenceUmberto Eco: Chaosmos: The Return to the Middle AgesPart Four: Colloquies with Richard KearneyVillanova Colloquy: Against OmnipotenceAthens Colloquy: Between Selves and OthersHalifax Colloquy: Between Being and God Stony Brook Colloquy: Confronting ImaginationBoston Colloquy: Theorizing the GiftDublin Colloquy: Thinking Is DangerousAppendix: Philosophy as Dialogue
The Basic Problem of Phenomenology
"[A] magnificent work... that will definitely shape the discussion on Derrida for years to come." -- Rodolphe Gasché
What is the nature of the relationship of Jacques Derrida and deconstruction to Edmund Husserl and phenomenology? Is deconstruction a radical departure from phenomenology or does it trace its origins to the phenomenological project? In Derrida and Husserl, Leonard Lawlor illuminates Husserl's influence on the French philosophical tradition that inspired Derrida's thought. Beginning with Eugen Fink's pivotal essay on Husserl's philosophy, Lawlor carefully reconstructs the conceptual context in which Derrida developed his interpretation of Husserl. Lawlor's investigations of the work of Jean Cavaillès, Tran-Duc-Thao, and Jean Hyppolite, as well as recent texts by Derrida, reveal the depth of Derrida's relationship to Husserl's phenomenology. Along the way, Lawlor revisits and sheds light on the origin of many important Derridean concepts, such as deconstruction, the metaphysics of presence, différance, intentionality, the trace, and spectrality.
Written in the wake of Jacques Derrida's death in 2004, Derrida From Now On attempts both to do justice to the memory of Derrida and to demonstrate the continuing significance of his work for contemporary philosophy and literary theory. If Derrida's thought is to remain relevant for us today, it must be at once understood in its original context and uprooted and transplanted elsewhere. Michael Naas thus begins with an analysis of Derrida's attachment to the French language, to Europe, and to European secular thought, before turning to Derrida's long engagement with the American context and to the ways in which deconstruction allows us to rethink the history, identity, and promise of post-9/11 America. Taking as its point of departure several of Derrida's later works (from Faith and Knowledgeand The Work of Mourning to Rogues and Learning to Live Finally), the book demonstrates how Derrida's analyses of the phantasms of sovereignty, the essential autoimmunity of democracy or religion, or the impossible mourning of the nation-state can help us to understand what is happening today in American culture, literature, and politics. Though Derrida's thought has always lived on only by being translated elsewhere, his disappearance will have driven home this necessity with a new force and an unprecedented urgency. Derrida From Now On is an effect of this force and an attempt to respond to this urgency.
Interweaving Deconstruction and Psychoanalysis
Derrida and Lacan have long been viewed as proponents of two opposing schools of thought. This book argues, however, that the logical structure underpinning Lacanian psychoanalytic theory is a complex, paradoxical relationality that corresponds to Derrida's plural logic of the aporia.Andrea Hurst begins by linking this logic to a strand of thinking (in which Freud plays a part) that unsettles philosophy's transcendental tradition. She then shows that Derrida is just as serious and careful a reader of Freud's texts as Lacan. Interweaving the two thinkers, she argues that the Lacanian Real is another name for Derrida's diffrance and shows how Derrida's writings on Heidegger and Nietzsche embody an attitude toward sexual difference and feminine sexuality that matches Lacanian insights. Derrida's plural logic of the aporia,she argues, can serve as a heuristic for addressing prominent themes in Lacanian psychoanalysis: subjectivity, ethics, and language. Finally, she takes up Derrida's prejudicial reading of Lacan's Seminar on 'The Purloined Letter,'which was instrumental in the antagonism between Derrideans and Lacanians. Although acknowledging the injustice of Derrida's reading, the author brings out the deep theoretical accord between thinkers that both recognize the power of psychoanalysis to address contemporary political and ethical issues.
Self-Knowledge and Cryptic Nature in the Platonic Dialogues
Since the appearance of Plato's Dialogues, philosophers have been preoccupied with the identity of Socrates and have maintained that successful interpretation of the work hinges upon a clear understanding of what thoughts and ideas can be attributed to him. In Descent of Socrates, Peter Warnek offers a new interpretation of Plato by considering the appearance of Socrates within Plato's work as a philosophical question. Warnek reads the Dialogues as an inquiry into the nature of Socrates and in doing so opens up the relationship between humankind and the natural world. Here, Socrates appears as a demonic and tragic figure whose obsession with the task of self-knowledge transforms the history of philosophy. In this uncompromising work, Warnek reveals the importance of the concept of nature in the Platonic Dialogues in light of Socratic practice and the Ancient ideas that inspire contemporary philosophy.