Vol. 28, No. 1 (Spring 2024)

Who Comes After the Subject?
The Reevaluation of Subjectivity in Contemporary Continental Philosophy,
Part One
Guest Editors: Lisa Kampen, Lucas Gronouwe, and Luca Tripaldelli

SUSANNA LINDBERG, Composition for Voices: Jean-Luc Nancy’s Musical Subject

abstract

This article presents Jean-Luc Nancy’s ideas of music in relation to being singular plural. Nancy elaborates on the themes of sharing of voices and of resonance in several texts, and he relates resonance specifically to sound, voice, and music. Although in other contexts Nancy thinks that the question of the subject belongs to the past, he maintains the question of the subject in the context of sonority. We will see that this subject is not only the subject of sensation but more precisely the musical subject. Finally, we will see how musical themes help him deconstruct the idea of community on individual, dialogic, and collective levels. Nancy opposes his idea of musical community to the total musical community that characterizes Romanticism. In the end, he objects to all forms of formatting in genres and invites to open, active, and inventive forms of listening all sounds that resonate in the world.

EDDO EVINK, Word, Sense, Freedom: Patočka and Nancy on the Way Beyond Onto-Theology

abstract

This article compares two currents of thought that are in search of a philosophy beyond onto-theology: the differential ontology of Jean-Luc Nancy and the asubjective hermeneutical phenomenology of Jan Patočka. Both claim that the demise of traditional metaphysics culminates in a new understanding of the “world.” Their reflections on the primacy of the world, on freedom, and on meaning which exceeds rational understanding show remarkable similarities. The discussion of their differences results in a few critical remarks concerning ideas of Nancy.

THOMAS TELIOS, The Common Being: An Outline

abstract

In this article, I revisit Karl Marx’s claim in his Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, that the subject in its “individual existence is at the same time a social being.” I redefine what has been translated as “social being” as “common being” in order to extrapolate an understanding of subjectivity that is a socio-ontological and collectively structured collectivity. In doing so, I demonstrate (1) that this common being is a collection of different socio-ontological traits; (2) that in order for this common being to be approximated we must take into account all modes of subjectivity production that intersect in what will appear as the subject; and (3) that the Other is the constitutive parameter of the common being on which the subject depends. Finally, I revisit three exemplary modes of practice—namely critique, solidarity, and utopia—and show that conceiving of the subject as a common being renders critique constellational, solidarity overdetermined, and utopia a koinotopia.

MARION BERNARD, From Edmund Husserl to Audre Lorde: The Path to a Critical Phenomenology of Oppression

abstract

What corresponds, in contemporary feminist and decolonial usage, to the demand to “return to experience,” or rather “to the lived experiences” of oppression—a distant echo of Husserl’s call to return to the things themselves? Beauvoir and Fanon appear to have laid the first foundations of a critical phenomenology of oppression—or of a phenomenologization of social critique. Later, Young and Ahmed took up a similar approach, reading history and politics in bodies, and habitus and structures in intimate experience—an approach that is now discussed in the United States under the label of “Critical Phenomenology.” But is this still, really, phenomenology in the strong sense? This article contributes to an understanding of the path taken by the field of Critical Phenomenology from Husserl to Lorde, and of the shifts that can be observed both in the field and in the method that it presupposes. Finally it undertakes to clarify the horizon of this field, which is essentially concerned with the defence of a life that is both deeply corporeal and open to a total meaning.

 

REGULAR ARTICLES

GRÉGORI JEAN, Les quatre points cardinaux du champ phénoménologique français contemporain

abstract

After a period of relative exhaustion, French phenomenology has experienced a powerful revival in the last ten years, with the emergence of a “cosmological” paradigm in phenomenology. While this situation is obviously to be welcomed, it also presents contemporary phenomenologists with the challenge of acquiring a compass that will enable them to find their bearings in this rapidly reconfiguring philosophical landscape, and according to principles that still partly elude those who are committed to them. In so doing, the aim of this study is twofold: firstly, to put forward a series of hypotheses as to the way in which it is being structured—and thus to elaborate a typology of contemporary French phenomenologies; and secondly, to attempt to determine the stakes and also the presuppositions of this new philosophical “deal” which, perhaps, remains transitory and, as such, rich in a future that, for the time being, it is only possible to presage.

DREW M. DALTON, Speculative Phenomenology: Reexamining the Relation Between Phenomenology and Speculative Realism

abstract

Much has been made of the so-called “speculative turn” in contemporary philosophy. For some, this turn marks the “end of phenomenology” and the dawn of a new empiricism in European philosophy. For others, it amounts to nothing more than a renewal of the straw-person accusation of psychologism against phenomenology. In truth, it is neither. Instead, this article argues that while at times mutually critical of one another, speculative materialism and phenomenology are best understood as parallel projects with shared trajectories and aims, common concerns, and even comparable methods. The benefit of reading these two apparently divergent camps as parallel projects is that it allows phenomenology to understand the diversity of its own history anew and, in light of this, to draw from speculative realism as a resource for rethinking its objectives and methods in its pursuit of a robust post-Kantian realism.

JOSHUA LIVINGSTONE, Defending Philosophy: Plato, Heidegger, and Meno’s Paradox

abstract

Asserting that all inquiry is either superfluous or futile, Meno’s paradox threatens the very heart of philosophy. In response, philosophers have tended to refute the account of inquiry that the paradox presupposes, i.e., inquiry as a means of acquiring knowledge, and to promote an alternative view. While this strategy can be effective in refuting Meno, it can also take philosophy in some uncomfortable directions. This, I argue, is the case for both Plato and Heidegger, whose accounts of the nature of inquiry lead either into conditions of excessive constraint or excessive openness.

SAMUEL DING, The Dignity of Truth: Arendt on Lying and Truth-Telling in Politics

abstract

In “History of the Lie: Prolegomena,” Derrida criticizes Arendt’s commitment to the “great resiliency” of factual truth against all lies in her essay “Truth and Politics,” claiming that she reintroduces a teleological account of history that clashes with her anti-totalitarian and anti-systematic thinking. By focussing on her understanding of truth-telling as action, this article shows that Arendt does not turn truth into a permanently stable ground for politics. Instead, Arendt’s theory of self-deception constitutes a lie capable of ending all truth. Set in opposition to the nihilism of self-deception, Arendt understands truth-telling as an exemplary act that preserves the possibility of truthfulness and future actions.

MILAN BERNARD, Révéler une autre domination acosmique : La critique arendtienne du libéralisme

abstract

Hannah Arendt is famous for her influential and innovative analysis of totalitarianism. However, her thinking on political systems and ideologies is far from limited to this theorization. Arendt also criticizes modern liberalism and its ideological framework. Indeed, Arendt’s thought reveals many of the political consequences of worldlessness, the loss of the world in contemporary times, particularly in terms of a sense of disempowerment and the advent of a technical vision of politics. This article looks at the political effects of worldlessness, exploring the emerging opposition between liberal post-politics and conservative hyper-politics. This critique of Arendt’s thought can help us better understand the issues and questions raised by liberalism.