Performatives After Deconstruction (Bloomsbury Studies in Continental Philosophy)

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2. Thematic Exposition of Levinas’ Philosophy

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Philosophy - Non-Fiction

Laruelle wants to move away from the thinking of the unconditional as the condition of the conditional, the Other as the principle for the thinking of the same or the other way around, but argues that these are all philofictions. This last God that opens the door to all sorts of mysteries and mysticisms, but perhaps this door needs to be closed somewhat again.

It is not the abyss surrounding the enclosure, but rather the abyss that is in language itself. Or perhaps, one does not need to think about the abyss at all, as the abyss is just one more thought-path of philosophy that becomes material for non-philosophy. The critical perspective will be offered by trying to understand the need for religion.

Or in the words of Jean-Luc Nancy:. It is, however, a question of opening mere reason up to the limitlessness that constitutes its truth. It is not a question of overcoming some deficiency in reason, but of liberating reason without reserve: once everything is accounted for, it is up to us to show what remains beyond these accounts. It is also not a question of repainting the skies, or of reconfiguring them: it is a question of opening up the earth — dark, hard, and lost in space.


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Nancy For Nancy, it is rather a question of knowing what the simple word human means 16 Nancy Humans are rational beings, by saying this I am not excluding other creations from rationality, but am rather focusing on reason, rationality and how human reason in scribes itself. Following Derrida and his close proximity and yet difference to negative theology, one can conclude that God is unknowable and therefore no conclusive statements can be made with regard to either theism or atheism.

Later he argues against Derrida, that Derrida might save the name God, but it does not entail a return to the Named. Kearney rather argues for the mystery of the Other and develops an ethic of hospitality towards the stranger as a kind of postmetaphysical mystical theology. Thereby, he again places an ethical demand on the individual with knowledge of what is good and evil. The knowledge of the good is to offer welcome to strangers, to offer hospitality, love.


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This is the difference between Derrida and Kearney. Kearney still seeks to come to terms with the Other, while Derrida argues that it is just as true for every other, as every other is wholly other.

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No conclusive statements can be made about God, but neither about Reality, and therefore all statements about theism or atheism are pure speculations, just as statements about Reality are speculations. Derrida tries to avoid a new dualism between speculative realism and speculative mysticism concerning the Other or Stranger. The best way to avoid these different speculations is to focus on what one does have, namely texts, which one can understand as the turn to literature, rather than the turn to religion.

He does this by identifying in three great novels of Western literature themes of Otherness. On the contrary, the turn to literature that I am referring to is the turn to text and nothing beyond text. What if God is not understood in transcendental terms at all, nor in radical transcendental terms as absolute unnameablilty, but is interpreted as a consequence of language, and therefore a part and parcel of language creating animals: humans? This elusive Other is still emplotted into a form of sacred story. Thus, various postmetaphysical and post-onto-theological theologies sacred stories are developed, but yet no matter how weak Caputo these theologies might be, or how much they seek to keep the challenges of both atheism and theism in conversation Kearney , they remain forms of a sacred story, or weak forms of conscious religion seeking to come to terms with what Van den Hoogen terms lived spirituality.

Postmetaphyiscal theologies are developed in an attempt to interpret lived spiritual experiences as consequences of some or other unknowable and unexplainable and elusive Otherness that breaks in, like a thief in the night, into the texts within contexts to disrupt them and opening them to the other. There is another possibility for interpreting lived spirituality that does not necessarily end in a weak theology or anatheism. Are these two possibilities opposites? Is one hereby not again creating a dualism, with two sides of the same coin, where one cannot think the one without thinking the other?

The position that I would like to take is that all one has is a text, which includes various texts postmetaphysical theologies concerning the Other anatheism, weakness of God, God who may be, etc. All these texts about Being, Other or Multiple are all different philosophical, religious or even scientific texts. These texts become the material of thought, not their object Other, Being or Multiple or Quantum, etc.

All there is, is text, without access to either the Real or a super-real metaphysical Other, and yet the only way one can make sense of the text is with some or other notion of the Real or a metaphysical concept as it is believed that there is no escaping metaphysics. All these texts give an account of the Real via some or other philosophical decision Laruelle There is no escaping a transcendent notion that gives credibility to the various texts concerning the Real. The elusive Real can be seen in terms of a given-without-givenness 19 and as a determination-in-the-last instant 20 see also Meylahn In other words, the various texts seek to understand, interpret and grasp Begreifen the Real and these attempts to understand, interpret and grasp are a result of the given-without-givenness of the real and therefore one can speak of determination-in-the-last-instance.

The Real gives to thought, but without being given in thought and therefore a given-without-givenness, and yet that thought is determined-in-the-last instance by the given-without-givenness. Yet, the name, acacia tree, is determined-in-the-last-instance by the Real tree standing before me.

On the basis of that decision, reality is cloned as a vision-in-One. This keeps one within the text, vision-in-One without an exit as the various transcendental decisions are not exits or links to the Other but theories based on arbitrary decisions and therefore different theories within the vision-in-One. One cannot know the Real tree but only the cloned version thereof. This is what Derrida argues, that one cannot know the other or Other and therefore every other is wholly Other tout autre est tout autre Derrida No conclusive statements can be made about God or about Reality, and therefore all statements about theism or atheism are speculations, just as statements about Reality are speculations.

The best way to avoid these different speculations is to focus on what one does have, namely texts, which one can understand as the turn to literature rather than the turn to religion see also Meylahn It is something grammatological, as something that happens in texts: autoimmunity.

The trace being a past that was never present and a future that is always still to come see Derrida ; Meylahn This past never present and future always still to come haunts the texts, and this haunting characterises the relationship between texts and its Other. Laruelle argues, according to Brassier , that this is still a non-relationship relationship.

Although he argues that reality is the determination-in-the-last-instance, it remains a given-without-givenness. The best way to maybe understand the text is as radical hyle, as axiomatic utterance, determined-in-the-last-instance, but still a given-without-givenness, as a cloned vision-in-One on the basis of one or other arbitrary decision see Brassier ; Meylahn a , Following Laruelle, there is an alternative possibility of interpreting this relationship, without reference to the haunting of the text by the trace, namely by postulating an axiomatic heresy of the radical hyle.

To understand the idea of the radical hyle see also Meylahn or the given-without-givenness, yet determined-in-the-last-instance, one can turn to one of the earliest hymns, Carmen Christi , in the New Testament, Philippians — Here, one has an exposition of the Logos becoming flesh and making its dwelling amongst humanity in human culture and history see Jn as a determination-in-the-last-instance. This incarnation, the becoming flesh, or being inscribed into human activity, or human history, or human culture, as human text did not seek equality with God.

This inscription into human activity does not seek equality with the Other. It does not seek to be a true reflection of the Other but has emptied itself of all divine Other content. It is a given-without-givenness and yet it is believed to be the Son of God axiomatic heresy , as it is believed to be determined-in-the-last-instance by the Other. There is no philosophy of difference that relates it to the Other, as it is empty of all divine content see also Meylahn All there are, are dogmatic utterances that have to be believed axiomatic heresies about the relationship between Christ and the Father Other.

Christ enters the given-without-givenness as a radical hyle. His entrance into the text does not connect the given-without-givenness to the Real but saves the given-without-givenness from the infinite demand to be the final link to the Real and allows the given-without-givenness to embrace its determination-in-the-last instance, or its nakedness see Meylahn :8ff of 9. It allows the text, human reason, to embrace that it is flawed and that communication always fails because of an inability and impossibility, as Lacan would say see Verhaeghe Derrida argued that Lacan was too conclusive when he argued that the letter always arrives at its destination Lacan —55 , when he argued that it perhaps arrives or does not arrive at its destination Derrida , as it is maybe haunted by the trace of the other.

The stranger subject is closer to Saint Paul who knows nothing, but Christ and him crucified alone. If it was a theory that can be understood, then it would also lead to work-righteousness. It is not a theory or philosophy of difference; it is not theism, atheism, panentheism or anatheism, but if anything, it is Christ and him crucified alone: sola Christus. But, rather it is an openness to embrace the in-reason of language, rather than offering hospitality to that which is beyond language.

As language is a host receiving the given-without-givenness and by virtue of some or other decision is cloning the given-without-givenness or the determination-in-the-last-instance into a vision of the Real as a unilateral duality. Laruelle a, There must be auto-mutation or self-destruction built-in. Hence, his approach must be seen as performative all the time. In fact, this is its primary constraint:.

In non-philosophy, thought in act is not distinct, in its essence at least, from its effects or its speech because, if it is relatively free regarding its cause, this is its cause as imprinted with a radical performativity, unlike philosophy which only reaches this under the form of a circle, or more or less a circle, or in another case some sort of unconscious which destroys it.

Non-philosophy is constrained -- materials aside -- to do what it says and say what it does. Laruelle c, [2]. Philosophers, Laruelle insists, do not know what they are doing.


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They are never doing what they say or saying what they are doing — even and especially when they purport to be able to legitimate their philosophical decisions in terms of some ethical, political or juridical end. To condemn Laruelle for excessive abstraction on the grounds that the worth of a philosophy can only be gauged in terms of its concrete, extra-philosophical e. In non-philosophy, radical axiomatic abstraction gives rise, not to a system or doctrine inviting assent or dissent, but to an immanent methodology whose function for philosophy no one is in a position to evaluate as yet.

Ultimately, then, non-philosophy can only be gauged in terms of what it can do. And no one yet knows what non-philosophy can or cannot do.

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Performatives After Deconstruction : New Book, ed. Mauro Senatore

Brassier , Laruelle himself expresses an allied point: there is no basis upon which non-philosophy can be commended that is itself philosophically necessary :. Non-philosophy is a posture — a set of performed axioms. If the concrete has inherent value ethical, political or juridical , how is it determined? It could then itself act as a norm to be embraced or resisted behaviorally , that is, followed or not followed. Movement through space can itself be a quality and not only a quantity.

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