Philosophy Today

Volume 61, Issue 4, Fall 2017

Julia Ng
Pages 1013-1022

Now, Hamacher

Death is ironic; as the archi-semiotician and first historian, death fixes object and meaning in a semiotic complex, separates non-sensuous meaning from bare physical existence, but thereby exposes meaning to the capriciousness of interpretation and tradition. The pause, however, conserves that which does not happen in repose, yet does not interrupt history, and lets history emerge in a movement in which all determination of meaning is suspended. This essay is written in memory of Werner Hamacher, whose life in writing shaped language around its distance and delay from the fixity of sound and sense, which, as he argued, are the subliminal conditions to every communication, presentation, and form in general: formative limits that separate and conjoin that which is and the surplus of un-actuality and incompletion that accompanies each instant of our intentional lives.