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Philosophy Today


published on August 8, 2019

Rona Cohen

Jean-Luc Nancy and the Extension of the Mind

This essay explores Jean-Luc Nancy’s philosophical return to Cartesian philosophy, specifically to Descartes’s preoccupation with the relation of mind and body, as a fertile ground from which to develop an ontology of the body in (1992). It explores Nancy’s reasons for revisiting the Cartesian thinking framework, which on the face of it, is of little value to an ontology of the body. I argue that Descartes’s impasse in accounting for both mind/body dualism and their union constitutes Nancy’s point of departure in constructing an ontology of the body in , thereby transforming Descartes’s impasse into a productive aporia, in the Derridean sense of the term. To fully understand the significance of the notion of “relation” in Nancy’s’ philosophy, I turn to his reading of Lacan’s famous aphorism “there is no sexual relation” and explore its ontological implications.

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