Volume 1, 2018
Aesthetics and Philosophies of Art
Constantinos V. Proimos
Immanence and the Tragic Scission
Reiner Schürmann’s Phenomenology of Ultimates
In this paper I plan to draw on Reiner Schürmann’s book Broken Hegemonies posthumously published, in 1996, after his death. I shall examine the role that Schürmann attributes to tragic denial of the law for the generation of law in general. Schürmann’s model for tragic denial is the Greek tragedy. In many instances, besides the study under consideration, Schürmann finds recourse to Agamemnon, Oedipus, Antigone and other tragic heroes in order to delineate the hero’s mortal dilemma in front of two intersecting and conflicting laws. In front of the tragic scission the hero is obliged to select without avoiding committing hubris and to a certain extent blindly and not after rational or moral deliberation. Agamemnon’s destitution of paternal duty makes him a sovereign leader of the Hellenic fleet. The story is used by Schürmann in order to model the function of all laws. Combining the late Ludwig Wittgenstein and Jean Francois Lyotard, Schürmann defines the situation of conflicting laws as a contradiction or a differend out of which the law emerges as such. Schürmann employs the same model to phenomenologically explain the emergence of all ultimate foundations of experience: he apparently uses his own precept to read Heidegger from the end towards the beginning and thus employs Heidegger’s term Ereignis, appropriation, as the original strategy of being, controlling its appearance and withdrawal in terms of ultimate foundations. Schürmann refers to hegemonic phantasms in order to describe the transmutations by which a referent is declared sovereign by philosophers. Such transmutations depend upon but also describe our tragic condition, namely that always one but in contrast to itself being which we confusedly summon and fantasize upon. Drawing from a close reading of some of Schurmann’s seminal texts, I shall characterize Schürmann’s thinking as immanent and will inquire in the role of singulars therein.