Saturday, June 15, 2013

In LARB, N. Katherine Hayles reviews Mark C. Taylor's Rewiring the Real.
“Nothing” here, as in House of Leaves, denotes not a mere absence but a powerful presence that, in Heidegger’s neologism, “nihilates.” Nothing in this sense, Heidegger argues, marks the limits of the thinkable — a limit that serves as the condition of possibility for thinking anything at all. Taylor relates this limit to the constitution of self-consciousness, when “the subject turns back on itself by becoming an object to itself.” “As such, the structure of self-relation constitutive of self-conscious subjectivity presupposes the activity of self-representation,” and this in turn implies, as with all representations, a point where representation fails. This limit, according to the Heideggerian logic Taylor evokes, is also that which makes representation possible. All that can be said of it is that it consists of what cannot be represented, which is to say, the nothing.
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