Volume 26, Issue 2, Spring 2022
A Strange Proximity: On the Notion of Walten in Derrida and Heidegger
This article juxtaposes Derrida’s last seminar, The Beast and the Sovereign (volume 2) with Heidegger’s The Event (from 1940/41) in order to question Derrida’s reading of the notion of Walten in Heidegger’s texts in relation to the themes of sovereignty and death. It draws out different senses of Walten depending on whether Heidegger thinks Greek φύσις or the other beginning and it points out the importance of constancy for the notion of Walten. In each case Walten shatters in relation to death or to the notions of the “beingless” and “expropriation” that Heidegger introduces at the beginning of the 40s. At the same time, there emerges a strange proximity between an originary differencing Heidegger thinks in relation to the notions of “the beingless” and “expropriation” on the one hand, and Derrida’s notion of différance on the other hand (an originary differencing that, in Derrida’s reading of Heidegger, institutes a “sovereignty of last instance”) as well as a strange proximity in the circular character of both Heidegger’s and Derrida’s writings that has to do with how death informs their writing.