Volume 21, 2021
From Witnessing to Testimony
Entre parole et histoire
Le témoin dans la philosophie de Jean-Luc Marion
Witnessing is an increasingly important theme in the work of Jean-Luc Marion. According to Marion, the witness can be considered an appropriate figure to define the first person, the “I,” without reducing it to subjectivism and without envisaging the intersubjective tie as binary (dual or dialogic), inasmuch as the testimony refers instead to a ternary relation. The present analysis investigates the difference Marion identifies between the religious witness and what seems to be, according to common sense, the regular witness. While in the latter case, the subject is completely foreign to the event to which s/he testifies, in the case of the religious witness, the commitment is total. We will tackle this difference by showing that the fact of testifying always implies a connection with effectivity, which reveals itself through the profound commitment characterizing the witness’s life, up to the point of death. This becomes obvious when considering the role played by the witness’s confessing speech, which establishes an unsurpassable ternary relationship between the witness, the object of the testimony, and the one to whom it is addressed, by deploying an absolute form of the social bond.