Wednesday, July 17, 2013
In NDPR, Joe Hughes reviews Ian James's The New French Philosophy.
He begins with a discussion of Malabou's first book, The Future of Hegel (1996). In this text, Malabou extracts the concept of plasticity from a passing comment in the "Preface" of the Phenomenology on the difference between speculative and logical propositions (§64) and slowly transforms it until it becomes something like the basic motor of the dialectic itself. As James puts it, Malabou tries to show that plasticity is "the key principle of the entire Hegelian system insofar as it governs both the temporal movement and the by turns dissolving and synthesizing force of dialectics itself". The concept reappears, two books later, in Le Change Heidegger: Du fantastique en philosophie (2004). Again, James lucidly describes the way in which Malabou, by tracing Heidegger's different uses of Wandeln, Wandlungen and Verwandlungen, rediscovers the logic of plasticity, but now on the territory of what Heidegger, in Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, called the productive imagination. As James glosses the argument, what we discover by following Heidegger's changes is: "Being presents itself to thought not in the clarity and exactitude of concepts or conceptual determination, but rather in the plasticity of images and phantasms".
I appreciate the Hughes’ review of the James book. Unfortunately, the only one of those authors I know well is Nancy, and the review does not tell us much about what Hughes thinks of him. Certainly the immanentism is something Nancy shares with the rest. But the centralization of that in a notion of “the One” is not something found in Nancy. Hughes writes, “As James puts it, Laruelle tries to think a One that ‘is undivided, absolutely autonomous and, of itself, entirely indifferent and resistant to conceptual transcendence and understanding.’” On the contrary, Nancy stresses that it is the distance, gap, or spacing of things that unites.
I've been following Peter Adamson's podcasts on the history of philosophy, and it seems like some subjects just keep reappearing through the epochs. "The One" being a notable example. It seems to be one of the ensnarements of metaphysics.
Nancy sees the connection between "the One" and oppression as necessary. I am only beginning to see the linkage of his major texts. BEING SINGULAR PLURAL and THE EXPERIENCE OF FREEDOM offer a thorough-going political philosophy. I can only assume that the reason Americans ignore him is because one cannot understand him in a context of exploitation.
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