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1. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Marcos Bisticas-Cocoves Tragedy, Comedy, and Ethical Action in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit
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For most readers of the Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel’s example of “Ethical Action” is taken from Sophocles’ Antigone. In fact, however, Hegel provides us with a trilogy of tragic examples. The first is Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannos; the second, Aeschylus’s Seven against Thebes; Antigone is but the third. Further, just as a dramatic trilogy was followed by a satyr play among the ancients, ethical action’s final moment is taken from Aristophanes’ Ekklesiazousai. These four examples do not form a simple series where each equally expresses the truth of ethical action. Rather, they are increasingly adequate to that truth.
2. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Jason Kemp Winfree The Expiation of Authority: Toward a Genealogy of Community
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This paper examines Bataille’s role in the formation of the question of community, as developed by Nancy and Blanchot. The paper aims to situate the problematic status of Bataille’s influence—as both formative but ultimately insufficient—in his relation to Nietzsche and what Bataille understands as the experience of an irrecoverable loss. What it would mean to share such loss, what is at stake in bringing that experience to articulation, and what happens to those who endeavor to do so constitute the recalcitrant elements in Bataille’s thought, which solicit but cannot sustain a renewal of the question of community.
3. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Richard Capobianco Heidegger’s Turn Toward Home: On Dasein’s Primordial Relation to Being
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Is Dasein primordially—that is, at the very core of its being—“at home” or “not at home” in Being? One of the more overlooked or understated issues in Heideggerstudies is how Heidegger, over the course of a lifetime of thinking, transformed his answer to such a question about Dasein’s fundamental relation to Being. In several important texts of the 1920s and 1930s, The History of the Concept of Time, Being andTime, and Introduction to Metaphysics, Heidegger maintained the position that Dasein is primordially unheimlich, “unsettled,” and thus also unheimisch, “unhomely,” at the core of its being. Yet, we discover a significant turning in his thinking toward home, especially in the early 1940s. The 1942 commentary on Hölderlin’s poem “The Ister” stands out as a bridge text between the early and later Heidegger on this issue; in particular, we find a striking and significant difference in his reading of Sophocles’ Antigone compared with the more well-known reading in the 1935 Introduction to Metaphysics. In the “Ister” commentary, Heidegger engaged both Sophocles and Hölderlin to work out the motif—so prominent in his later work—that human beings are primordially “at home” in Being, the sheltering source and origin of all beings. We also find a further development in his thinking in the 1950s and 1960s. In all, I propose that the “middle” Heidegger of the early 1940s offers the most satisfying phenomenological account of being human.
4. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Jennifer Mensch Between Sense and Thought: Synthesis in Kant’s Transcendental Deductions
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Focusing on the account of synthesis in Kant’s Transcendental Deduction allows us to see a greater degree of compatibility between the two editions of theCritique of Pure Reason than is sometimes thought. The first Deduction shows that while it emphasizes an account of empirical synthesis it also includes a more properly transcendental account of the synthetic unity required for cognition. The second edition simply focuses on this feature of synthesis to the exclusion of the empirical. The result: a complete account of synthesis with the A-edition starting “bottom up” from sense and the B-edition working “top-down” from thought.
5. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Jason M. Wirth Nietzsche’s Joy: On Laughter’s Truth
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This essay is devoted to an examination of the relationship between truth and laughter in the works of Nietzsche. My central text shall be the much malignedbook four of Zarathustra, with special attention paid to the braying of the ass. Laughter has been traditionally considered irrelevent to serious philosophical content and, at best, a stylistic quirk. I argue that this stems from a basic predjudice that is constitutive of a large part of the Western tradition, namely, the confusion of working hard (a sine qua non for philosophy) with taking oneself seriously. I then analyze laughter in Nietzsche’s works as the voice of truth itself. Laughter is the affirmation of a register of truth as the other beginning that has been lost in every thing that begins. Such an analysis involves a discussion of the nature of both truth and laughter. In so doing, I also distinguish Nietzschean laughter from three representative and seminal accounts of laughter provided by Hobbes, Bergson, and Kant.
6. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Jean-Luc Nancy Consolation, Desolation
7. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Pleshette Dearmitt, Kas Saghafi Letter from the Editors
8. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Nicholas Royle Not Now
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This essay takes up the phrase “not now” as a way of trying to explore various aspects of Derrida’s work especially in the contexts of temporality, apocalypse, mourning and spectrality. It focuses on a range of Derrida’s texts, including Of Grammatology, “Ousia and Grammē,” the “Envois” in The Post Card, “No Apocalypse, Not Now,” “The Time is Out of Joint,” and Demeure: Fiction and Testimony. Attention is also given to the strange workings of “not now” in children’s literature (in particular David McKee’s Not Now, Bernard) and Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
9. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Rodolphe Gasché Thinking, Without Wonder
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Unlike all the major thinkers in the phenomenological tradition, but contemporary French philosophers as well, who are indebted to this tradition, Jacques Derrida, it seems, has never explicitly taken up the venerable question of philosophy’s origin in wonder. Is one to conclude from this that Derrida’s philosophy is a philosophy without wonder? Yet, what would it mean to philosophize without wonder? Or, by contrast, is Derrida’s philosophical thought engaged in multiplying wonder with the result that there is in his thought more wonder than one thinks?
10. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Jacques Derrida A Europe of Hope
11. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Leonard Lawlor “For the Creation Waits with Eager Longing for the Revelation”: From the Deconstruction of Metaphysics to the Deconstruction of Christianity in Derrida
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Blindness has been a pervasive theme throughout Derrida’s career. But Derrida uses the word “blindness” only once in the title of one his works. This text is, ofcourse, Memoirs of the Blind, Mémoires d’aveugle, an essay he wrote for the catalogue for an exhibition he organized at the Louvre in 1990. I argue that Memoirs of the Blind is more than just a phase in Derrida’s deconstruction of the metaphysics of presence. Instead, it opens a larger, more ambitious project that we can call “the deconstruction of Christianity.” The article ends with a consideration of a new form of vitalism.
12. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Gil Anidjar Traité de Tous les Noms (What Is Called Naming)
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What’s in a name after Derrida? What’s in a name after all? What is a name such that it always already remains, after all is said and done? And who or what is itthat one calls name, names, or by name? Is it possible (for anyone or anything) not to have a name of one’s own? Or to have another? The same as another? Is it possible to call and recall, in the name of memory and remembrance, indifference or convention, one name for another, one name for the other? Can the name be, as it were, avoided? Could anyone respond responsibly yet decline or resist, not so much that (or because) names wound, nor to protect oneself from being called names, but instead neither to call nor respond to the name, as it were, to the very same name one is called? To protest against the name, to refuse the name to the point of abandoning this and that name? To invent oneself beyond the name, beyond all names, in the name of the name? “For in order to live oneself truly,” Derrida writes, “it is necessary to elude the law of the name, the familial law made for survival and constantly recalling me to death.” What is called naming? One could say that the name is, to life, at once insult and injury. Or that calling names—mourning.
13. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Geoffrey Bennington The Fall of Sovereignty
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Reflecting on the fall or failure of sovereignty, this essay considers Derrida’s recent work under the heading of auto-immunity, and develops some consequences of that work, first of all in the political sphere (especially around democracy), but also some more general consequences around conceptuality itself.
14. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Thomas Dutoit Dare He Die, Dear Reader: Obligasequence, Obliquence, Oblivisequence, Oblicksequence, Ébloubélierséquence
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The epigraph from Adieu. À Emmanuel Levinas for this issue is here throughout the linchpin, the Triebfeder or the spring, the feather of impulse, of drive or of desire, out of which this paper attempts to formulate the relation, “in Derrida,” of desire and obligation, sexual pleasure and moral law, Emmanuel Levinas and Immanuel Kant, the letters b + l (and thus the words and things called éblouissement [dazzlement], obligation, oblivion, obliquity, bells and cloches, Mallarmean alarms), mourning and melancholy, but and butt, rams (béliers) and rebellion, rebellion and oblivion, good conscience and good unconsciousness, and, ultimately, non-reading and reading.
15. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Simon Critchley Derrida: The Reader
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In this paper, I address the issue of Derrida’s influence on philosophy by focusing on the nature of deconstructive reading as double reading, and tracing thisto the specific reception of Heidegger’s thesis on the history of being. After reviewing some of the dubious and mistaken polemics against Derrida, I go on to describe what I see as the ethical and political richness of Derrida’s work, focusing in particular on the theme of democracy to come.
16. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Peggy Kamuf From Now On
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In the wake of Derrida’s disappearance, this essay asks the question of how to take responsibility, now, for the world one is left to bear. It retraces the path Derrida followed in thinking the event of a coming world and isolates a number of concepts that assumed prominence in his late work: sovereignty, unconditionality, possibility, ipseity. Drawing on the essay “The Reason of the Strongest” in Rogues, it discerns an important distinction made between sovereignty and unconditionality, and situates Derrida’s work as an explicit rethinking of the concept of possibility. It argues that this work offers significant leverage, conceptually and practically, on the legacy of sovereignty as the right of the strongest.
17. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Kas Saghafi The Ghost of Jacques Derrida
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This essay examines the phrase—“here, now, yes, believe me, I believe in ghosts”—a phrase uttered by Derrida in a fi lmed interview. It takes up Derrida’s avowalof belief in ghosts, not simply to explain the signifi cance of “ghosts,” simulacra, doubles, hence images, in Derrida’s work and to show their relation to death and mourning, or to merely draw an analogy between the structure of doubles or simulacra and what we may call “synthetic” images, but also to attend to the alliance between the image, the ghostly, and belief.
18. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Marian Hobson Hostilities and Hostages (to Fortune): On Some Part of Derrida’s Reception
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This piece asks a simple question, one simply obvious after the New York Times obituary of Jacques Derrida: how is it, why is it, that his work has been attacked in act and in words? And why more violently than the other great contemporaries of that period, of whom only Kristeva is still alive: Deleuze, Foucault, Lyotard, Lacan? It tries out various possibilities: envy, power struggles among various intellectual groupings of the same generation, the location of philosophy in the present tree of knowledge, to conclude that the particularizing feature of his work which sparked such aggressivity may be his use of language.
19. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
David Farrell Krell One, Two, Four—Yet Where Is the Third? A Note on Derrida’s Geschlecht Series
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Derrida’s Geschlecht series, along with the books Of Spirit and Aporias, constitutes his most sustained close-reading of Heidegger. Three essays of the four-partGeschlecht series have been published: the first, second, and fourth, these together comprising some 130 book pages. The third Geschlecht exists only as a thirty-three-page typescript prepared sometime before March 1985 and distributed to the speakers at a colloquium in Chicago organized by John Sallis. These thirty-three pages are among the 100 to 130 pages that Derrida by his own account devoted to Heidegger’s Trakl essay of 1953 (“Die Sprache im Gedicht”); however provisional and fragmentary, the typescript tells us much about the themes that “magnetize” the entire Geschlecht series.
20. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Michael Naas Lifelines
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“Prière à desceller d’une ligne de vie”: This is Jacques Derrida’s shortest published work—a one-line poem published back in 1986. In this essay I attempt to read this one-line poem through several texts of Derrida from the same period, including “Shibboleth” and “How to Avoid Speaking: Denials.” The essay is an attempt to bear witness to the extraordinary life and work of Derrida through a reading of this single line about life and work, living speech and the dead letter, life and living on, the destiny inscribed in a lifeline and the future of a lifeline in prayer.