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The Heritage of Kants Work in Recent French Philosophy April 4: Lacoue-Labarthe.

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Presentation on theme: "The Heritage of Kants Work in Recent French Philosophy April 4: Lacoue-Labarthe."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Heritage of Kants Work in Recent French Philosophy April 4: Lacoue-Labarthe

2 Introduction Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe Born 1940 Friendship with Jean-Luc Nancy, both since end sixties lecturers at the University of Strasbourg Involved with theater (translation, set up) Died 2007 Most important works – original publication in French / English translation The Subject of Philosophy (1979/1993) Typography. Mimesis, Philosophy, Politics (1986/1989) Poetry as Experience (1986/1999) Heidegger, Art and Politics. The fiction of the political (1988/1990) Sublime Truth, in J.-F. Courtine et al., Of the Sublime. Presence in Question (1988/1993) Musica Ficta: Figures of Wagner (1991/1994) Heidegger and the Politics of Poetry (2002/2007) With Jean-Luc Nancy: The Literary Absolute. The Theory of Literature in German Romanticism (1978/1988) The Nazi Myth (1991/1990) Retreating the Political (1983/1997)

3 Mimesis The discussion about mimesis starts with its translation: imitation, (re)presentation, performance, art 1.Plato: imitation (copy), which necessarily fails – as knowledge 2.Aristotle, Poetics: performative expression that provides insight, that is more philosophical than history, because the plot (muthos) reports the general structure of human life The plot needs fiction Aristotle, Physics: hè technè mimeitai tèn phusin; in a second statement completion is added: technè imitates phusis and completes what phusis cannot accomplish Technè and mimesis coincide, in their relationship with phusis If mimesis imitates nature as a productive process, it is productive itself Mimesis = poièsis (making, creating) LL distinguishes: Restricted mimesis: imitation, copy, representation General mimesis: creation, making, pro-ducing, presentation

4 Mimetology Consequences for relation: Existing – new: no creation ex nihilo, for phusis is already upcoming itself Natural – artificial: no naturalism nor constructivism Original – repeating: original supplementarity: the origin presupposes the supplement of mimesis, in which it is no longer original => representation impossible Own/proper/pure – alien/improper/impure: the law of mimesis is impropriété Identity – difference: the one different in itself (Heraclitus), difference more original Revealing – hiding: because mimesis gives shape to the revealed object, there is always something not revealed as well; truth is not transparancy This is in line with Heidegger Criticism of metaphysics = onto-typology (analogous to Heideggers onto-theology) Being/alètheia replaced by mimesis Ontological difference replaced by original supplementarity No recourse to Eigentlichkeit (authenticity)

5 Identity The subject is based on mimesis: identification Bildung, Gestalt, façonner, plattein, fingere, prägen, tupein: typography, figural ontology No preexisting subject, but an inherent impropriety, not being yourself, insuffisance, orientation on different role models The subject desists, the Gestalt cannot keep up its standing, unless there is fixation The problem of the political is identification (on a collective scale) Germany: die verspätete Nation, the nation coming late 1.Double bind: the only model worth imitating is the old Greece – do not imitate it, for it already served others as a model (the Romans, France etc.) Solution: imitate the other Greece: the mystical, archaic, extatic, dionysian Greece (Nietzsche) The introduction of a new mythology (Hegel, Schelling, Hölderlin) – Nietzsche: the myth of the future – Heidegger: mythology more fundamental than historical science Wagner: Gesamtkunstwerk as religion (the bond of the community) 2.Paradox: imitation of Greece as the work of art made without a model, by genius: Germany destroyed itself by this impossible tension Nazism = national-aestheticism: the fixation of the Gestalt; Goebbels: we politicians, giving form to the people, as artists, create the solid and full image of the people, eliminate what is sick

6 Sublime Truth 1 LL mentions Lyotards formula for the sublime: the presentation (of this) that there is the nonpresentable Two quotes from Kants 3rd Critique, in both: nothing is more sublime than: 1.The Biblical passage proclaiming the prohibition of making images (Mozes) 2.The inscription on the temple of Isis: I am all that is, that was, and that will be, and my veil no mortal has removed (Isis) In 1 presentation is thought on the basis of figure, form, image, that is, delimitation and unlimitation; in 2 on the basis of unveiling LL will elaborate the thesis – and oppose this thesis to Lyotard – that the sublime should be thought according to 2 (= Heideggerian), for 1 belongs to metaphysics (as understood by Heidegger)

7 Sublime Truth 2 LL calls genius the sublime artist or the artist of the sublime This is in conformity with Longinus Lyotard reads Kant as keeping genius (the origin of beautiful art) and the sublime apart Kant: genius = the faculty for the presentation of aesthetic ideas these ideas of (productive) imagination are distinguished from ideas of reason productive imagination is very powerful in creating another nature out of the material the real nature gives it for an aesthetic idea no concept or language can be adequate it gives a multitude, an immeasurable field of related representations; sensible forms which permit one to think much more than one can express in a determinate concept Heidegger, Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics (1929) Kant: the two stems of human cognition, namely sensibility and understanding and their common but to us unknown root: (the schematism of) transcendental imagination Heidegger reads Kant as acknowledging that this ground of metaphysics is an abyss This could explain why LL focuses on the aesthetic ideas of productive imagination (= on genius) as the basis of a philosophy of difference in the 3 rd Critique, and as the basis of the sublime

8 Sublime Truth 3 Heidegger: aesthetics is the metaphysical approach of art, this is especially proven by the application of the form-matter scheme This scheme is delimiting (LL also uses the term closure) Heidegger: metaphysics ~ technology The first step toward this form-matter scheme is in Plato: the appearance of things is fixed in their eidos (idea) => aesthetics/metaphysics is eidetic = delimiting, closing But primary, before eidos, there must be appearing, phainesthai as such Heidegger understands beauty (das Schöne) as the appearing (scheinen) of truth Heidegger about Hegels the end of art thesis: Art indeed no longer great when it is no longer constitutive for the historical existence of a people But Hegels thesis is determined by his metaphysical (eidetic) aesthetics, therefore the decision about his thesis depends on the question whether metaphysics can be overcome Hegels aesthetics: beauty is the adequate proportion of sensible form and spiritual content, the sublime is the still inadequate version of this proportion: the eidetic form-matter scheme A new age, inaugurated by art, is still possible if we succeed in overcoming metaphysics – if not, Hegels thesis will appear to be correct

9 Sublime Truth 4 Heideggers ambiguous judgment about Kant: 1.Kant thinks beauty on the basis of form, the form-matter scheme: the eidetic presentation => Kant = aesthetics (metaphysics); Kant will fall under the same fate as Hegel 2.A. Kant takes beauty to be favor, free satisfaction, for a disinterested person: this is close to the idea of letting the object appear purely as it is; therefore Heidegger defends Kant against Schopenhauer and Nietzsche who deny the possibility of disinterestedness => in Kant there is nearly a non-eidetic conception of beauty, a break with metaphysics B. Kant connects beauty to the historical destination of humanity (as Schiller has shown more clearly) LL:What could be a non-eidetic presentation of being? = What could be at play in presentation that would not be of the order of the eidos, the aspect or the view?

10 Sublime Truth 5 The two quotes about the sublime: Mozes is a prescriptive utterance, Isis is a constative utterance Isis: the truth of phusis is not presentable; ~ Heraclitus: phusis likes to hide itself This statement presents that there is the nonpresentable (~ Lyotard on the sublime) Tells the truth about truth as the play of revealing and hiding: I reveal the truth = that truth cannot be revealed; the paradox The truth is sublime This is in conformity with Heidegger (The Origin of the Work of Art): truth is in its essence un-truth, for Lichtung (clearing) is Verbergung (concealment) Two ways of concealment: 1.Verstellen (deplacement): the one being slides in front of the other being => it gives itself different from what it is: concealment of what it is (of the quidditas of being) 2.Versagen (refusal): being gives itself no further than the minimal beginning of the clearing: concealment of that it is (of the quodditas of being) Isis corresponds with 2: here the finitude, which is at the same time the condition of possibility of appearing as such

11 Sublime Truth 6 Heidegger calls that something appears / that something is the Ereignis (event) This event, the event of truth, is ungeheuer (uncanny) (also: the Ungeheure), it shocks (Stoss) us out of the common, out of the familiar, it is an estrangement, derangement (Verrückung) LL: this is the lexicon of the sublime (even if Heidegger does not use the word sublime) The what of the appearance, the eidos (the eidetic) of being, always becomes a figure (in Heidegger: Gestalt) But the work of art is also a that: the opening of the fact that there is being, the presenting, Scheinen, phainesthai as such, in relation to which the figure is secondary In the aesthetical tradition the sublime was often qualified negatively: not-yet-beauty, failing form, etc. The un- of ungeheuer (the uncommon) does not mean that there is a negative presentation The concealment or retreat which is part – or even condition of possibility – of this appearing is not something negative The sublime is not the presentation of the fact that there is the nonpresentable, but of the fact that there is presentation, that there is something (and not nothing): an affirmative conception of the sublime

12 Sublime Truth 7 Heidegger registers the event of appearing under beauty, he never mentions the sublime Why Heidegger remained silent on the sublime – LL assumes the following reasons: The concept only arose in later Greek culture (with Latin, jewish, and christian influences): the era of metaphysics had already started It did not arise in philosophy, but in rhetoric It is thought on the basis of beauty => conceptually the sublime does not offer something different (Like beauty) it is thought on the basis of the metaphysical opposition: sensible suprasensible LL: Heideggers nonmetaphysical thinking of beauty corresponds with what generally was intended with the concept of the sublime In the history of philosophy a concept of beauty more original than Platos interpretation of beauty on the basis of eidos has been preserved better in the concept of the sublime For instance Longinus mentions 5 sources of the sublime, showing a tension between technè, methodos on the one hand and natural talent, phusis on the other hand Longinus actually acknowledges the original supplementarity in the relation between technè and phusis (the relation of mimesis): the gift of nature is nothing if one does not take the right decision, only technè can reveal phusis Mimesis is the condition of possibility of knowing that there is being (and not nothing) The truth of great art: it presents, retreating from presentation, that there is being, that something is present

13 Hölderlin Heidegger: In Hölderlins poetry, the domain of art and beauty, and all metaphysics in which both can only have their place, is transgressed for the first time (GA 52, 63) In his many works on Hölderlin LL focuses not so much on Hölderlins poems, as Heidegger did, but on Hölderlins comments on tragedy Hölderlins definition of tragedy: the boundless union of god and man purifies itself through boundless separation This separation between the divine and the human: the categorical reversal; presented in the play by the caesura: the counter-rythmic interruption This reversal forces human beings more decidedly down to earth, leaves us only the conditions of space and time, the law of finitude The lesson of tragedy is Kantian – Hölderlin: Kant is the Mozes of our nation Earthly finitude ~ Hölderlins principle of sobriety: his more literal/sober/prosaic language in his later work, calling a cat a cat Heidegger misses this: his remythologization of Hölderlins poetry, a revolting mythical- theological confiscation, holding on to a connection between the gods and the community, even if this is in the modality of waiting for the gods Hölderlin was a republican, knew that a national appropriation or identification is impossible, said goodbye to the stereotypes of sacralization, to the cult of heroes

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