This paper argues that two distinct models of resistance are to be found in Foucault's work. The first, “tactical reversal,” is predicated on the idea that conflict is inherent to power relations, the strategical model of power, and thus that a specific configuration of power and knowledge can be thwarted by reversing the mechanisms whereby this relation is sustained. The second, the “aesthetics of existence,” is based in the governmental model of power and holds that it is possible to forge autonomous forms of life in and through such techniques of governance. I argue that Foucault came to favor the latter of these two alternatives because the model of power underlying resistance as tactical reversal proved insufficient both historically and conceptually. It was thus on this basis that he was able to work out the governmental conception of power relations and thereby accord a fundamental role to the concept of resistance as autonomy or self-formation. The key to understanding how this project is not only practical, but is also our obligation lies in the “genealogy of the critical attitude” that Foucault was developing in his final years.
Much has been written recently about the Deleuzian concept of becoming. Most of that writing, especially in feminist criticism, has drawn from the later collaborations with Guattari. However, the concept of a becoming arises earlier and appears more consistently across the trajectory of Deleuze's work than the discussion of specific becomings might lead one to believe. In this paper, I trace the concept of becoming in Deleuze's work, and specifically in the earlier works. By doing so, I hope to shed some light on the specific becomings that are the focus of the collaborative work with Guattari, and to deepen an understanding of the concept in general.
Is it possible to investigate subjectivity reflectively? Can reflection give us access to the original experiential dimension, or is there on the contrary reason to suspect that the experiences are changed radically when reflected upon? This is a question that Natorp discusses in his Allgemeine Psychologie (1912), and the conclusion he reaches is highly anti-phenomenological. The article presents Natorp's challenge and then goes on to account in detail for Heidegger's subsequent response to it in his early Freiburg lectures, in particular Die Idee der Philosophie und das Weltanschauungsproblem (1919), Grundprobleme der Phänomenologie (1919/1920), Phänomenologie der Anschauung und des Ausdrucks (1920) and Phänomenologische Interpretationen zu Aristoteles (1921–1922). Heidegger's early views on reflection, selfhood, and pre-reflective self-awareness are expounded, and the article concludes with a discussion of the relationship between reflective phenomenology and hermeneutical phenomenology.
Irigaray's insistence on sexual difference as the primary difference arises out of a phenomenological perception of nature. Drawing on Heidegger's insights into physis, she begins with his critique of the nature/culture binary. Both philosophers maintain that nature is not matter to be ordered by technical know-how; yet Irigaray reveals that although Heidegger distinguishes physis from technē in his work, his forgetting of the potentiality of matter, the maternal-feminine, and the two-fold essence of being as sexual difference means that his own concept of physis can be understood as another technē. Focussing in particular upon Heidegger's interpretation of Aristotle's privileging of morphé over hylé as a description of presencing into appearance, I show that for Irigaray the movements of presencing and absencing emerge out of a metaphysics that does not take into account the fluidity, the mixtures and interpenetrations of a nature that is limited by fecundity not by death. Our oblivion to nature is the greatest danger, and thus attending to our embodied and hence sexuate nature holds the promise of a new age, since it is rooted in the possibilities of the flesh revealed through the cultivated perception of sexual difference.
My title echoes Levinas' 1951 “Is ontology fundamental?” – a seminal piece that paved the way for his justly famous Totality and Infinity and Otherwise than Being. I suggest that the characteristically enthusiastic, uncritical reception of these works may not be due primarily to their originality and sheer intellectual brilliance, but rather to something in Levinas' position that deeply resonates with the spirit of our times and our preoccupation with the fate of “the Other.” My claim, however, is that accepting a Levinassian ethics, in which the Other has priority over the self, comes at too high a price, for it implies definitions of otherness and selfhood that fail to address precisely the problems that prompted preoccupation with otherness in the first place. I suggest that our struggles with racism, sexism, cultural bias point to frictions in (inter-)subjectivity that are inappropriately ethicized when treated, ala Levinas, simply as examples of an unwillingness to open up to the Other. In Levinas' universe, it is impossible not to hear the Other's appeal, but I argue that this view ignores the existence of a dimension of selfhood that cannot be absorbed into intersubjectivity. A metaphysical loneliness is thus implied here that our age seems unwilling to bear, preferring to cover it up with an ethics that makes us always responsible – that is, in response, connected to the Other. I develop this criticism by analyzing what I call a non-privative notion of irresponsibility whose roots are neither ethical nor ontological.
This paper argues that the metaphors of breath and voice as employed in the recent works of Luce Irigaray and Adriana Cavarero yield a reconceptualization of subjectivity as unique, embodied and relational. When interpreted in light of Cavarero's reorientation of the question of subjectivity from a what to a who, this newly configured notion of subjectivity can serve as the basis for a non-essentialist politics of sexual difference.
In recent works, Luce Irigaray offers arguments for the establishment of sexed rights that rely upon certain presuppositional accounts of the development of relational sexuate identity and difference. The paper advances a series of objections to these accounts, in addition to examining some of Irigaray's proposals concerning women's indefinition, the category of the neuter, and female genealogy. Supplementing Luce Irigaray's argument that mother-daughter genealogy is under-symbolized in present Occidental cultures, it suggests, for reasons consonant with Irigaray's general project, additional corrective representation of paternal genealogy in terms of father-daughter relations.
This article examines immortality ideologies in Western philosophy as exemplified in the writings of Descartes, Heidegger, and Derrida, showing in each instance the distinctiveness of the ideology. The distinctiveness is doubly significant: it broadens understandings of the nature of immortality ideologies generally and deepens comparative understandings of the ideologies of the philosophers discussed. Pertinent writings of Otto Rank, the psychiatrist who first wrote of immortality ideologies, contribute in fundamental ways to the discussion as do pertinent writings of cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, who elaborated and publicized Rank's thesis concerning immortality ideologies. The notion of an ideology, clarified in the beginning as an empirically unfounded belief structure, hence an illusion, is taken up briefly but pointedly at the end in the context of Rank's distinction between rational and irrational elements of the self as they are played out in the creations of the hero-artist. The article ends by examining his distinction in the context of the philosophic perspectives discussed, most notably the perspective of Heidegger.
This paper explores the compatibility of Luce Irigaray's recent insistence on the need to revalue nature, and to recognise culture's natural roots, with her earlier advocacy of social transformation towards a culture of sexual difference. Prima facie, there is tension between Irigaray's political imperatives, for if culture really is continuous with nature, this implies that our existing, non-sexuate, culture is naturally grounded and unchallengeable. To dissolve this tension, Irigaray must conceive culture as having self-transformative agency without positioning culture as active vis-à-vis an inert and passive nature. I argue that Irigaray achieves this by conceiving culture to arise from a division internal to nature. She derives this idea from Hölderlin, who claims that nature originally divides itself into subjects and objects, and from Heidegger, who maintains that nature inflicts an originary violence upon itself. Critically reworking Hölderlin and Heidegger, Irigaray argues that male nature tends to turn against itself to generate an anti-natural, ecologically destructive, culture. She argues, however, that this tendency can be redirected and alleviated by the very cultural resources which male nature generates in dividing itself. Irigaray thus develops a unique way to advocate social change while recognising nature's profound impact and influence upon culture.
This paper aims to give an overview of the central preoccupations of the work of Dominique Janicaud. In the first part, I discuss Janicaud's basic strategy with regard to Heidegger's work, with particular reference to the question of metaphysics and its overcoming. Opposing Heidegger's alternative between the completion of metaphysics in technology (Gestell), on the one hand, and the experience of meditative thinking (Gelassenheit), on the other, Janicaud's position can be described as what I call an overcoming of all claims at overcoming, whether it concerns metaphysics, rationality or humanity. This leads, in the second part of the paper, to a discussion of Janicaud's radical and compelling reconsideration of the genealogy of rationality in his major work, La puissance du rationnel. This genealogy permits Janicaud to sketch a novel conception of reason as what he calls partage, conceived as both the shared space of dialogue and the sense of the thrown contingency of our existence. In the third part of the paper, and with reference to posthumously published work, I go on to show how this conception of partage shapes Janicaud's conception of the human condition and how this conception shows a significant debt to Pascal.
Foucault notoriously suggests that his historical analyses are “fictions.” Commentators typically interpret this claim in a negative light to mean that Foucault's works are not, strictly speaking, true. In this paper, I present a positive interpretation of Foucault's claim, basing my argument on a hitherto marginalized aspect of his work: the “experience-book.” An experience-book is defined as a use of fiction in the practice of critique with desubjectifying effects. My argument for this interpretation proceeds in three steps. First, to prepare a preliminary account of Foucault's concept of fiction and its effects, I look at Blanchot's ontological interpretation of the work of literature in The Space of Literature. Blanchot, I suggest, provides a template for understanding Foucault's concept of the experience-book. Second, I identify traces of Blanchot's concept of fiction in Foucault's study of Jules Verne, “Behind the Fable.” I argue that Foucault's critique of fiction, in this paper, anticipates and prefigures his later use of fiction in the practice of critique. Third, pursuing this intuition, I develop an interpretation of Discipline and Punish understood as a use of fiction and experience-book. This interpretation provides a new, immanent perspective on Foucault's critique, and mitigates the epistemological skepticism of the claim that his works are fictions.
In spite of rhetorical disavowals, the 'Analytic/Continetnal Split' has hardened and widened in recent years, and continues to be the dominant trait of American philosophy. It is also a crippling trait: philosophers on either side who do good work are doing it in spite of the traditions to which they have been assigned. The Split has previously been interpreted in terms of a contrast between 'Analytical rigor' and 'Continental relevance'; but this view, I argue, misses the point entirely. Seeing it rather as a split between those (analysts) who seek a 'timeless' version of truth by reducing their topics and methods to a set of invariant structures, and those (Continentals) who view everything as radically temporal, points the way to a rejuvenated American philosophy. Such philosophy takes us not merely beyond the 'Analytic/Continental Split', but beyond Analytic and Continental philosophy altogether.
Despite his extended readings of parts of the Antigone of Sophocles, Heidegger nowhere explicitly sets about giving us a theory of tragedy or a detailed analysis of the essence of tragedy. The following paper seeks to piece together Heidegger's understanding of tragedy and tragic experience by looking to themes in his thinking – particularly his analyses of early Greek thinking – and connecting them both to his scattered references to tragedy and actual examples from Greek tragedy. What we find is that, for Heidegger, tragedy is an interruption of speculation, a refusal to philosophize, a way of showing how things are that resonates with the goal of Heidegger's own thinking.
When Heidegger pursues his destructive interpretation of Leibniz's doctrine of judgment, he identifies a principle of “abyssal ground” and a concealed metaphysics of truth that undermine the priority of logic with respect to ontology. His reading turns on an account of Leibniz's methodological generation of metaphysical principles and the relation between reason and identity, which, I argue, is at once deeply flawed and extremely productive. This essay pursues the implications of Heidegger's quickly abandoned suggestion that Leibniz's principle of identity is reflexively self-grounding, arguing that this claim makes possible a rigorous interpretation of Leibnizian method as an abyssal logic of repetition. I hold that the identification of such a methodology requires a modified account of the metaphysics of truth operative in Leibniz that reinvigorates Heidegger's reading even while moving beyond his now exhausted trope of a hidden presupposition of subjectivity.