Philosophy Today

Volume 68, Issue 2, Spring 2024

Sophie Nordmann
Pages 401-414

The Challenge of a “Paradoxology”
Hermann Goldschmidt and Vladimir Jankélévitch

This article takes as its starting point the central place given to contradiction by Hermann Goldschmidt in his book Contradiction Set Free, and it compares his approach with that of the philosopher Vladimir Jankélévitch. At the same time as Goldschmidt, Jankélévitch also assigned a central role to contradiction in thought, so much so that he often referred to his own philosophical method as “paradoxology.” For him, as for Goldschmidt, paradox is the driving force behind thought that is always on the move. This article presents the main features of Jankélévitch’s paradoxology and illustrates it with two themes: forgiveness and Jewish identity. By highlighting this proximity between Goldschmidt’s approach and that of Jankélévitch, I suggest that they are both part of a more general movement in continental philosophy in the second half of the twentieth century, one of whose main challenges was to rethink philosophical rationality in depth.