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Philosophy and Literary Theory Series Editor: Hugh J.

Silverman

This series provides full-scale, in-depth assessments of important issues in the context of philsophy and literary theory, as they inscribe themselves in the developing archive of textual studies. It highlights studies that take a philosophical or theoretical position with respect to literature, literary study, and the practice of criticism. The individual volumes focus on semiotics, hermeneutics, post-phenomenology, deconstruction, postmodernism, feminism, cultural criticism, and other new developments in the philosophico-literary debate.

Stephen Barker

Autoesthetics: Strategies of the Self After

Nietzsche

Robert Bernasconi Veronique M. Foti Sabine I. Golz Richard Kearney

Heidegger in Question: The Art of Existing* Heidegger and the Poets: Poiesis/Sophia/Techne* Nietzsche/Derrida/Kafka/Bachmann Imagination

The Split Scene of Reading:

Poetics of Modernity: Toward a Hermeneutic Toward the Postmodern*

Jean-Francois Lyotard

Jean-Francois Lyotard and Eberhard Gruber and Christianity Louis Marin Michael Naas Jean-Luc Nancy Cross-Readings

The Hyphen: Between Judaism

Turning: From Persuasion to Philosophy: A Reading of Homer s Iliad The Gravity of Thought Filming and Judgment: Between Heidegger and Adorno* *Available in Paperback

Wilhelm S. Wurzer

Poetics of Modernity
Toward a Hermeneutic Imagination

Richard Kearney

i Humanity
Books
an imprint of Prometheus Books 59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, New York

Published 1999 by Humanity Books, an imprint of Prometheus Books Poetics of Modernity: Toward a Hermeneutic Imagination. Copyright © 1995 Richard Kearney. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Inquiries should be addressed to Humanity Books, 59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, New York 14228-2197. VOICE: 716-691-0133, ext. 207. FAX: 716-564-2711. 03 02 01 00 99 6 5 4 3 2

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Kearney, Richard. Poetics of modernity : toward a hermeneutic imagination / Richard Kearney. p. cm. — (Philosophy and literary theory) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 1-57392-610-8 1. Values. 2. Poetry. 3. Philosophy, European. I. Title. II. Series. BD232.K39 1995 121\8—dc20 94-18237 CIP Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper

For Paul Ricoeur, Emmanuel Levinas, and Stanislas Breton

Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction PART ONE: CONFRONTATIONS WITH TRADITION 1. Surplus Being: The Kantian Legacy 2. The Poetics of Authorship: Kierkegaard's Dilemma 3. Heidegger's Poetics of the Possible 4. Heidegger's Gods PART TWO: HERMENEUTIC DEVELOPMENTS 5. Ideology and Utopia: The Social Imaginary (Ricoeur I) 6. Hermeneutics of Myth and Tradition (Ricoeur II) 7. The Narrative Imagination: Between Poetics and Ethics (Ricoeur III)
PART THREE: C U R R E N T DEBATES

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2 18 35 50

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8. Levinas and the Ethics of Imagining 9. Ethics and the Right to Resist: Patocka's Testimony 10. Myth and Sacrificial Scapegoats: On Rene Girard

108 118 136

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11. Derrida's Ethical Return 12. Derrida's Ethics of Dialogue
PART FOUR: AESTHETIC APPLICATIONS

148 168

13. Myths of Utopia and Ideology: From Yeats to Joyce 14. Postmodern Mirrors of Fiction: Rushdie, Wolfe, and Kundera 15. Painting and Postmodernity Postscript Notes Index

180 185 194 203 211 249

Acknowledgments
I am grateful to my colleagues and students at University College Dublin and Boston College for their comments and assistance in the preparation of this manuscript, in particular Dermot Moran, Richard Cobb-Stevens, Mara Rainwater and Mark Dooley. I would also like to thank the journals and collections which published earlier versions of the studies in this volume, as acknowledged in the final note to each chapter. Above all, my appreciation goes to my wife, Anne, and daughters, Simone and Sarah, for their love and support.

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Introduction

This volume addresses a presiding anxiety of our time—that of value. For centuries, questions of value went under three broad headings—the Good (ethics), Art (aesthetics), and God (religion). Contemporary traumas of conscience have, however, provoked a growing persuasion that value is becoming ever more equivocal, elusive, even absent. The death of God. The end of art. The crisis of morality. These are recurrent motifs of our times which, whether one subscribes to them or not, many philosophers have sought to acknowledge. The subjects discussed in this volume are variations of such acknowledgment in continental thought, from Kant and Kierkegaard to Heidegger and Derrida. Heidegger speaks of modernity as an epoch "too late for the gods and too early for Being." This sentiment of living in a time of lack or mutation is developed by Hannah Arendt, who argues that a special appeal to thought arises in the "odd in-between period" that inserts itself into historical time— an "interval altogether determined by things which are no longer and by things which are not yet."1 Some choose to call this a postmodern moment of undecidability, others a paradigm shift from Old Masters of authority (First Cause, Supreme Being, Absolute Spirit) to alternative sites of authorship (humanist self or post-humanist other). But what matters is not so much the labels as the recognition that dilemmas of authority betray anxieties of value. Nietzsche knew this when he announced that God is dead, commenting that the value of value must itself be called into question. And these anxieties also find voice in the endless vacillations before the trinity of options Kierkegaard identified for our "present age"—the aesthetic, the ethical, and the religious. The studies in the first part of this volume look at various philosophical responses to this trinity of options. Although Kierkegaard's own choice is an anguished "leap of faith," most of my studies focus on the tension between the other axes of the modern trinity—ethics and poetics. By "ethics" I understand the basic responsibility of self for other that Western philosophy registers in both its Greek and Judeo-Christian origins. Aristotle offered one of the first systematic accounts of this relation in the Nicomachean
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Ethics under the heading of phronesis—a term designating a practical wisdom which deliberates about actions and ends in a context where human selves discover an ethos binding them to others in a community, tradition, or polls. Ethos is the "dwelling" alongside others in which the self finds itself as it cultivates value. Ethics in this broad sense can be distinguished from morality, or Moralitat, in the strict sense of formal rules or prescriptions.2 Ethics is that fundamental way of being-toward-others that goes by the name of solidarity, social justice, or "substitution" (Levinas). It is a precondition of morality, not an effect. The meaning of "poetics" also finds a mooring in original Greek usage. Herodotus attributed the term to authors like Hesiod and Homer, who were the first to "make" (poiein) Greek culture by making stories of the birth of gods, giving them names, honors, arts, and outward forms. Chaos became cosmos through the art of poiesis. Plato relates poiesis to both artistic and divine creation and recognizes it as having an intellectual as well as a manual dimension. And, if he does take the side of philosophical logos against poiesis in the Tenth Book of the Republic, he acknowledges in other texts that poiesis can indeed be a form of divine "inspiration" or "enthusiasm" (entheos meaning "full of the god").3 Poiesis, Plato concedes, can provide vision for what is otherwise invisible. It creates existing things from non-existing things. "By its original meaning, poetry means simply creation, and creation, as you know, can take very various forms. Any action which is the cause of a thing emerging from nonexistence to existence might be called poetry, and all the processes in all the crafts are kinds of poetry."4 Aristotle, for his part, introduces a more systematic and hands-on definition of poiesis. In Book Six of the Nicomachean Ethics he speaks of it as an activity which aims at an end distinct from itself. He contrasts it to praxis, understood as an act which contains its end within itself. Poiesis is the production of something conceived with a view to the idea or image of the product that the producer has in advance. Poetic things, ta poioumena, are those things shaped or formed by human acts. When Aristotle comes to dividing knowledge into the "theoretical," the "practical," and the "poetical," he includes in the last category all those activities of production that result in some end which remains when the action is over—the art work produced by the artist, the text produced by the philosopher, the constitution produced by the lawmaker, the ship produced by the shipwright, and so on. 5 For the Greeks, in short, poiesis can cover any productive activity having an end or value beyond itself. My use of the term poetics in this volume also draws from a more contemporary usage, particularly that of hermeneutic thinkers like Paul Ricoeur and Martin Heidegger. Ricoeur employs the term to refer to creative processes of "semantic innovation"—myth, metaphor, symbol, dream, narrative, fiction, in addition to Utopian and ideological productions of the "social imaginary."

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Heidegger gives poetics a more allusive ontological reference, as in the following passage from "Poetically Man Dwells . . . ": "Poetry, as the authentic gauging of the dimension of dwelling, is the primal form of building. Poetry first of all admits man's dwelling into its very nature, its presencing being. . . . The poetic is the basic capacity for human dwelling. But man is capable of poetry at any time only to the degree to which his being is appropriate to that which itself has a liking [mogen] for man and therefore needs his presence."6 Once again, we find poetics being understood in the broad sense of a productive act beholden to something beyond itself. For Heidegger that something, which "needs our presence," is nothing other than the event of being itself (das Ereignis). The various modes of artistic production, from architecture to sculpture, are part of this poetics of presencing—of which "poesy," or what normally goes by the name of poetry and verse, is simply one instance. What all poetic events of being share is participation in the saying of being, a saying which goes beyond mere verbal expression to include many other kinds of language and naming (e.g., building, dwelling, painting). This distinction between poetics, in the ontological sense of language which houses being, and "poesy" as a specialized profession of versifying, is decisive for our deliberations. Heidegger spells out his version of it in "The Origin of the Work of Art": Poetry [Dichten] is thought of here in so broad a sense . . . that we must leave open whether art, in all its modes from architecture to poesy, exhausts the nature of poetry. . . . Language is not poetry because it is the primal poesy; rather, poesy takes place in language because language preserves the original nature of poetry. Building and plastic creation . . . always happen already, and happen only, in the Open of saying and naming. It is the Open that pervades and guides them. But for this very reason they remain their own ways and modes in which truth orders itself into work. They are an ever special poetizing within the clearing of what is. . . . Art, as the setting-into-work of truth, is poetry.7 Poetics, in this generous sense, includes the threefold function of cultivating (colere), constructing (aedificare), and letting dwell by unfolding something into the fullness of its being (producere). As such, it draws close to the original Greek sense of ethos, meaning "dwelling" or "habitation". My use of "poetics" endeavors, in short, to link the most ancient understanding of this term with its more modern hermeneutic formulations. This includes an appreciation of how poetics transgresses the narrow limits of the cognitive. It has the capacity, as Plato intimated in his more giddy moments, to go beyond a strictly speculative knowledge. Poetic license, I am suggesting accordingly, extends over every significant expression of productive imagination where significance is accorded a sense beyond the immediately graspable and calculable. "Poetics," as one recent commentator put it, "demands a sense

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that there is something radically irrepresentable to its object, something that prevents the object from being exhaustively represented in discourse by means of a concept, something that would . . . suspend the possibility of determinate judgement. We would then find ourselves in the ethical and aesthetic domains barred from the cognitive" (understood as the domination of the object by means of knowledge). 8 But to move beyond the cognitive, in the sense of strict theoretical knowledge, is not to refuse all forms of understanding. As Aristotle recognized, the forms of understanding proper to ethical action {praxis) and poetical production (poiesis) are quite different from the exact modes of cognition proper to theoria. They are more approximative, provisional, tentative, more informed by the hit-and-miss, trial-and-error contexts of lived experience and example. Might it not be said, indeed, that in their common surpassing of theoretical reason, poetics and ethics forge a certain alliance? Ricoeur locates the origin of such an alliance in the narrative function of imagination: a function he closely associates with phronesis. Ethics deliberates on the relation between virtue and the pursuit of happiness. Now, it is a function of poetics, in its narrative and dramatic forms, to propose to imagination various figures that constitute so many "thought experiments by which we learn to link together the ethical aspects of human conduct and happiness and misfortune. By means of poetry we learn how reversals of fortune result from this or that conduct, as this is constructed by the plot in the narrative."9 Our familiarity (or habit as Aristotle would say) with the types of plot received from our culture enables us to learn to relate virtues with happiness and unhappiness. These exemplary lessons of poetics are no doubt what Aristotle meant by the "universals" that distinguish poetical imagination from a historical understanding confined to mere facts. Our ethical identity as a person or community is in great part dependent on our ability to tell our story and to learn from the stories of others. This is surely why Plato resorts to mythic narratives in the Phaedo to speak of the final judgment, why Aristotle cites the story of Achilles to exemplify the otherwise abstract category of courage, and why Christian thinkers cite the examples of Christ or St. Francis to say what they mean by caritas. The practical wisdom (phronesis) of ethics would be impossible without the narrative plots of poetics. This ethical vocation of narrative pertains not only to virtues but to crimes. The narrative imagination, as Ricoeur reminds us, bears an endless debt to the untold stories of past victims. For there are crimes that cannot be forgotten, "victims whose suffering cries less for vengeance than for narration. The will not to forget alone can prevent these crimes from ever occurring again."10 Is there not a strong sense, then, in which the relation between ethics and poetics can be read as one of convergence rather than conflict? If it is true that

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modernity has tended to separate them out, particularly in romantic and modernist theory, it is useful to recall that this was not always the case and need not always remain so. Returning to the Greek distinction between poiesis and praxis, we note that even though Aristotle subordinates the former to the latter he does so not in the form of a simple opposition but as a complementary dialectic. Ethical action {praxis) is actually construed as the final cause or end (ou heneka) of poetical production {poiesis). Praxis is not only its own end—it is also the final goal of poiesis. Poiesis always has some further end in view, it is "relative and for someone," it is production for the sake of something—e.g., praxis.u But praxis is not just the finality of poiesis; it also requires poiesis in order to show itself and be recognized as ethical action. If it is true that ethical action is determined by the situation which calls for it, it is equally true that the situation does not have its meaning in advance of the action, but is only shown to be the situation that it was retrospectively in the light of the action. This retrospective characterization of ethical action arises, as Hannah Arendt observes, in the production of a story about it—a storytelling that is itself a form of poiesis.12 Ethical doing, in short, needs poetical making in order to be effectively communicated and cultivated within an intersubjective community. That is why, according to a certain Greek tradition, the poetical is ultimately what determines what is holy and what unholy, what great and what small, what courageous and what cowardly.13 If poiesis is indeed that which shows and brings forth what is meaningful in action, it remains answerable to action as its ultimate goal. Left to its own devices the productive function of poiesis might contrive to reduce the world to the image of its producer. If this were to transpire we would have no answer to Heisenberg's fear that "man might become a lord of the earth," who "everywhere encounters only himself."14 If, however, poetics recognizes its bond to ethics and acknowledges its origin and end in the world of action, then, far from being a threat to responsibility, poiesis becomes its guarantor. This I believe is what Ricoeur intends when he argues in Time and Narrative that the configuring act of poetics, carried out by productive imagination in the text, is one which presupposes the prefiguring act of our everyday temporal experience and culminates in the refiguring act whereby textual narratives return us to a world of action. When the story is over we reenter our lifeworlds transformed, however imperceptibly.15 The crucial ethical import of this return journey from narrative to action is the central theme of my seventh chapter, "Narrative Imagination." A final word on the convergent relation between ethics and poetics, considered adversaries in so much of modern thought since Kant divorced aesthetic taste from ethical considerations and made the former a matter of subjective feeling or consciousness. Kierkegaard offered a powerful critique of the destructive consequences of aesthetic subjectivism from the point of view of an ethical

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(and religious) perspective. But, by merely reversing the poetical/ethical opposition in the form of an either/or, he did little to overcome it. One would have to wait for a hermeneutic model of poetics—that is, a non-subjectivist understanding of aesthetics—before a rapprochement with ethics could recommence. The hermeneutic model of imagination, which overcomes subjective selfcenteredness so as to understand oneself-as-another, has obvious ethical implications. The hermeneutic capacity to go beyond oneself toward others is described by Gadamer as the prerequisite of "all human solidarity and the viability of society."16 More specifically, it entails an ethical engagement to enter into dialogical interaction with others, whose freedom is safeguarded by a certain poetic playfulness (of question and answer) that refuses to reduce otherness to my subjective will. The hermeneutic imagination thus combines the powers of ethics and poetics in the formation of an intersubjective culture (Bildung) where, suspending the will to dominate, we exist one-for-the-other. The paradigm for such hermeneutic imagination is the poetic text that invites us to enter into its otherness and recognize ourselves in it, putting ourselves into question, losing ourselves in order to find ourselves. Poetics thus serves ethics by enabling each of us to be beyond ourself, to be with the other and to come back to ourself as if to another.17 To imagine the other is to imagine differently. It is, in itself, an ethical gesture of welcoming what is different (dia-legein). In this sense, hermeneutic imagination can be said to open a special space in which poetics and ethics may convene. The studies in this volume seek to think through the hermeneutic relationship of poetics and ethics—a relationship that has informed most of my published work, from Poetique du Possible (1984) to The Wake of Imagination (1988) and Poetics of Imagining (1991). Here I attempt further to address this issue through hermeneutic "conversations" with different continental philosophers (Parts I—III) and some concluding "applications" to literature and painting (Part IV). My hermeneutic wager is that each new question added to the dialogue between poetics and ethics may amplify the "conversation that we are." Let me say, finally, that the following studies can be read as consecutive chapters or as individual essays in their own right. The unifying thread running through the volume, from the detailed readings of Kant, Kierkegaard, and Heidegger in the opening section to the concluding fragments on fiction, is the recurring motif of hermeneutic imagination. To be sure, this motif is at its most visible in the second section, where the extensive readings of Ricoeur's hermeneutics, and especially of "narrative imagination," reveal my own philosophical allegiances, as will be obvious to the reader. But the continuity of theme is also evidenced in the third section of the book, where the encounters with Levinas and Derrida in particular amplify and accentuate the whole ethics/poetics debate. Moreover, the fact that every thinker discussed in this book (after Kant) has been formed or informed by one or more of the great

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"phenomenologists"—Hegel, Husserl, and Heidegger—provides multiple affinities of idiom and theme. But the most affiliating element of all remains, I believe, the "matter" of thought itself—that which invites each of these philosophers to think in the first place and continues to invite each of us readers to rethink their thinking here.

Part One

CONFRONTATIONS WITH TRADITION

1 Surplus Being: The Kantian Legacy
Kant's Copernican Revolution ushers in a modern view of being. The subjectivity of the subject becomes, in Kant's words, the condition of the objectivity of the object. A consequence of this reversal is that the subjectivity of the transcendental imagination, as analyzed in the first edition of the Critique of Pure Reason, is hailed as the common source of both our sensible and our intelligible knowledge of things. The ontological implications of this position are concisely stated in Kant's bold maxim that "being is not a real predicate." My opening chapter offers a critical reading of this Kantian thesis and explores its legacy in subsequent phenomenological interpretations by Brentano, Husserl, and, most especially, Heidegger. The announcement of being's "unreality" is central to the humanist turn in philosophy. Henceforth, fundamental questions of value gravitate less around external reality than around inward conditions of human consciousness. This anthropocentric reduction is epitomized in a semantic shift in two operative terms of modern thought—"transcendental" and "subjectivity." After the humanist turn, "transcendental" sheds its traditional reference to a real order of value "out there" and refers instead to an inner order of human experience, understanding, or imagination. Likewise, "subjectivity" undergoes a reversal of meaning from its old metaphysical connotation, as that which underlies the solidity of things {hypokeimenon/subjectum), to its modern connotation of immanent human activity. This changing of the guards of being radically informs our understanding of value—poetical, ethical, and religious. Most decisively with Kant, and after him with German Idealism and phenomenology, the notion of value becomes a human production. It is increasingly attributed to finite rather than divine minds. As I argue in the final part of this chapter, Kant's declaration of the unreality of being is by no means unrelated to his equally revolutionary claim 2

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that transcendental imagination is the sine qua non of all knowledge. In the last hermeneutic analysis—inspired by Heidegger's reading of Kant in The Basic Problems of Phenomenology and the Kantbuch—being becomes an affair of our finite "temporalizing" imagination. Poetics thus emerges as leading pretender to the throne of being. Man becomes the maker of all things; at least for a time. And in this interregnum called modernity, running from "the disappearance of God to the reappearance of Being," ultimate questions of value become virtually indistinguishable from the question of what it means to be human. This in-between time was to become a critical concern of hermeneutic imagination. I. BEING AS UNREALITY Kant's thesis is most dramatically developed in a section of the Critique of Pure Reason (hereafter CPR) entitled "Transcendental Logic." It arises in the context of his rejection of the ontological proof for the existence of God. For Kant—and for most post-Kantian philosophy, including Hegel—the problem of being in general is intimately bound up with the problem of defining God's essence and existence. One might even argue that this legacy extends to Sartre's "atheistic" consideration of the matter in the concluding chapter of Being and Nothingness. But where does the legacy begin? The discussion of the ontological proof dates back to Anselm in the eleventh century, gaining common currency in the scholastic debates of the Middle Ages. The proof is characterized by the attempt to infer God's existence from the concept of his existence. Though it underwent several significant formulations—from Anselm's original presentation in Proslogium seu Alloquium de Dei Existentia through Bonaventure and Aquinas (who rejected it) to Duns Scotus and eventually Descartes—the proof can be broadly stated as follows: 1) major premise—God, by his concept, is the most perfect being; 2) minor premise—existence belongs to the concept of the most perfect being; 3) conclusion—therefore God exists. What does this mean? First, it means that the determination of God as the most perfect of all beings derives from the idea of his existence. As ens perfectissimum God possesses every positive attribute in a perfect manner. It is inconceivable, therefore, insofar as we conceive God as perfect, that he should lack the attribute of existence. What is more, God's essence (what he is) can have no meaning whatsoever unless he is, i.e., exists in the first place. God's existence follows necessarily from our concept of his essence. We cannot think of God according to his essence without thinking of him as existing. Kant does not dispute the primary claim that God is the most perfect being; nor, indeed, the subsequent claim that God exists. What he does contest is the connection between the two claims—the argument that existence belongs to the concept of the most perfect being. Here we encounter Kant's central thesis

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that "being is not a real predicate." Being is understood by Kant to mean existence. What he states is not simply that existence does not belong to the concept of the most perfect being (as Aquinas maintained in his famous objection), but that existence does not belong, in any sense, to a conceptual determination. In a difficult and dense passage (CPR B 626f)> Kant offers a detailed exposition of this thesis. Being, he asserts, is not a predicate of anything. It is rather "the position of a thing or of certain determinations in themselves." Being is not a predicate but position. By predicate Kant means something that is asserted in a judgment. Assertion is the relating of something to something or the combining of the two. Existence (or being) is added to the concept rather than precontained within it. Existence supervenes upon our concept; it is not a predicate extrapolated from our concept. So, when Kant says that being is not a real predicate he means that it is not already part and parcel of the real content of a thing. Being comes to things from without. It is a radical exteriority. Where exactly it comes from is a question to which I will return below. But first we must ascertain, or clarify, what precisely Kant means by "reality." What he does not mean is the external world, as in epistemological realism. Nor does he mean actuality (being or existence). Reality, for Kant, means quite literally thingness {Sachheit). Reality is the determination of a thing— what Heidegger will call the thingness of the thing. It is what belongs to the res. When Kant speaks about the omnitudo realitatis, he is referring not to the totality of things as they actually are but to the totality of all possible things. He is thinking of the whole of all real-thing-contents as possibilities—or what the Scholastics called essences. Realitas is for Kant what possibilitas is for Leibniz. More simply put, realities are the what-contents of possible entities regardless of whether they exist or not. The reality of something is distinct from its being or existence. To summarize the comparative history of this idea, one could say that the Kantian concept of reality finds equivalents not only in the medieval concept of the res or the Leibnizian concept of possibilitas', but in the Platonic concept of eidos. We here find ourselves before a fundamental Kantian distinction—that between reality and actuality. If reality refers to the what-content (res) of something, actuality refers to its existence—that the something exists. This distinction is reflected in Kant's claim that the two terms belong to quite different categories of understanding. Reality refers to quality; actuality (or existence) refers to modality. By quality Kant designates whether a predicate is ascribed to a subject or not—whether a predicate is affirmed or denied of a subject. Reality is the property of affirmative judgment. One can say, accordingly, that every predicate is a real predicate to the degree that reality is the affirmative predicate possessing real thing-content. The logic of Kant's statement, that being is not a real predicate, is that being is not a predicate of anything whatsoever. That something exists (its being-actuality-existence) is not part of what that something is

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(its reality-essence-content). Only God, in Aquinas' terms, is an entity whose existence is at one with his essence, whose reality and actuality are identical. But for a modern philosopher of finite beings such ontological correspondences seem unavailable. So much for reality as a category of quality. What of actuality as a category of modality? For Kant, modality refers to an attitude of the knowing subject toward what is being judged. The complementary of actuality is not negation (which is the complementary of affirmation in the category of quality) but the alternative modalities of "possibility" or "necessity." Actuality does not refer to the real content of something; it defines a certain modality in contrast to others (possibility or necessity). That is why to speak of imaginary entities as "possible" is in no way to deny their reality—that is, their real contents as Sachheit, whatness, quidditas. It is simply to deny their "actuality." It is a way of saying, to take Husserl's famous example in Ideas, that even if a centaur does not exist, its possible existence as a fictional entity has as much "real content" as an actually existing entity.1 Reality is concerned with the thing's essence (the what) rather than with the thing's existence (that it exists). This is why existence is not a real predicate. Kant grants, accordingly, that philosophers may legitimately refer to God as ens realissimum—or as Kant puts it, allerrealstes Wesen—because he is considered the being with the greatest possible real contents. God is the being who lacks no real determination. But this judgment about God's qualitative determination makes no assertion, in Kant's view, about his actual, possible, or necessary modality. The quality of being, of God as of every being, is different from the modality of being. Is this not a key point of modern philosophy? Does Kant's quality/modality distinction not anticipate, and in some respects vindicate, Husserl's claim that the phenomenologically "reduced" world—resulting from the bracketing of existential judgment concerning the actuality of things and the resultant free variation in imagination of its essential structures—yields intuitive access to the real truth of things? The phenomenological attitude, as outlined by Husserl, could thus be said to deal with the quality of things rather than with their modality; it suspends the existential question regarding the actual being of things in order to describe their essential (real) contents. Kant's own most explicit formulation of this distinction is found in his famous maxim, "A hundred actual thalers contain not the least bit more than a hundred possible thalers" {CPR, B 627). This ostensibly untenable assertion is simply another manner of illustrating Kant's basic argument that existence is not the same thing as reality; that being is not a real predicate in the sense that it is not a determination of the concept of a thing relating to its real content. In other words, while a hundred possible and a hundred actual thalers are radically distinct in virtue of their existence, they are completely the same

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in virtue of their reality. They share the same what-content. The thalers in my dream have exactly the same reality as the thalers in my hand. As Kant explains: When therefore I think of a thing, by whatever and by however many predicates I please (even in an exhaustive determination of it), nevertheless my proceeding further to think that this thing is [exists] makes not the least addition to the thing [to its whatness as res}. For otherwise, what would exist would be not exactly the same but more than I had thought in the concept, and I could not say that the exact object of my concept exists. (CPR, B 628) What applies here to thalers applies equally to God. In neither case is existence to be considered as a real predicate. To put it in another way, the real content of the thaler or of God remains the same, regardless of whether it actually exists or not. Being is always more than reality. Existence is always other than essence. The that is always irreducible to the what. Kant's thesis that being is not a real predicate thus prefigures Heidegger's notion of the "ontological difference." Being is surplus being—that which is not a being.
II. BEING AS POSITION

Kant's claim that being is not a real predicate leads to a related claim that being is position. "The concept of position," says Kant, "is one and the same as that of being in general." But there are problems here. If being is not a real predicate then how can it be positively determined? And yet to say of something that it exists, is, or has being amounts to positing that thing. Thus we find the logic of Kant's thinking issuing in the following equation: Being = existence = actuality = position. What kind of position or positing is Kant talking about here? It seems that he is referring to an existential synthesis (A is A) rather than a predicative synthesis (A is B). Existential positing is not the same as predication; it is not concerned with the real characteristics of something. To posit the existence of something one is obliged to go outside of the conceptual representation of the real-contents of that thing. Whereas predicative synthesis is preoccupied with these real-contents, it is only the existential synthesis which relates whatness to an actual object. Existential synthesis adds the actual being of the object to the real-contents of the concept. This is why existence is "absolute position." It adds something new to the predicative content of a thing. What is this something new? The actuality of being. Kant explains: "Nothing more is posited in an existent than in something merely possible (for in this case we are speaking of its predicates); but more is posited by an existent than by something merely possible, for this (existent) also goes to the absolute position of the thing itself."2 Once again, being is disclosed as surplus being. To return to Kant's distinction between quality and modality, we could say that the difference between the reality and the existence of something is that between what is posited and how it is posited. The "what" question yields the

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answer that actual and possible things (e.g., thalers) possess exactly the same what-content. The "how" question, however, demonstrates that to say that something is posited as actual is to say that something more is posited than if it were posited as only possible. Once again we must ask what this "more" means. Kant's arguments seem to indicate that it is the relation of the existent object to its concept, the rapport between the how and the what of something. The relevance of all this to the question of the ontological argument is clear. Since existence in general is not a real predicate it does not belong to the concept of that thing. If I think the concept I cannot thereby attribute existence to what is thought in the concept, unless, that is, I presuppose the actuality of the thing as part of the concept. But then I am talking not of a proof but of a tautology. By thus exposing the weakness of the minor premise in the ontological argument—that existence belongs to the concept of God—Kant believes he has exposed the ontological argument per se. While Aquinas also contested the ontological argument that God's actual existence could be derived from our concept of his existence, he did so not because he doubted that God's existence was a real predicate of his essence but because he doubted the capacity of the finite human mind to know or understand this.3 Kant's refutation is far more radical and raises fundamental questions about the entire modern understanding of the terms reality and existence. The single most dramatic consequence of the Kantian thesis was undoubtedly that being was now seen as position, that is, the productive attitude of the human subject toward the mode of being of the object. Being is reduced to the meaning and value of being and is equated with our understanding of being—based for Kant and the German Idealists in "productive imagination."4
III. BEING AS PERCEPTION

Kant's thesis that being is position was followed by two distinct interpretations. On the one hand, we find the empiricist reading of position as sensible apprehension. On the other, we encounter the idealist and phenomenological versions of being as meaningful appearance to consciousness. What both these versions share is the modern notion of being as perception (in the broadest sense). What separates them, however, is their radically different understanding of what is meant by perception. Empiricists understood perception as a psychological rapport between representation and sensation. They found some support for this view in Kant's claim in the first part of the Critique of Pure Reason, entitled "Transcendental Aesthetic," that sensible intuition through space and time is a precondition of subjective knowledge. They interpreted Kant's statement that "perception is the sole characteristic of actuality" (CPR, B 273) to mean that to be is to be perceived. The Kantian equation of being with absolute position was taken as

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stating that what exists as actual is what is perceivable by our senses. According to this view, the "being" that is added to our knowledge of the real predicates of an object (e.g., to its color, size, shape, and other what-contents) is not some transcendent ontological substance but a psychological attitude of perception. The phenomenological reading of Kant's equation of being and position extended the understanding of perception beyond the empirical. Like empiricism, phenomenology holds that the being of something is inseparable from our attitude to the relation between that thing's representational content and the object referred to by the representation. Unlike empiricism, however, phenomenology sees this relation as one of intentional constitution or production rather than of empirical correspondence between particulars. Franz Brentano represents a significant transition between empiricism and phenomenology. In the opening sentences of Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkt (1874), he writes: "My standpoint in psychology is empirical: experience alone is my teacher. But I share with others the conviction that a certain ideal intuition [ideale Anschauung] can be combined with such a standpoint." Moreover, this ideal intuition meant, for Brentano, that certain fundamental insights into the being of things could be achieved at one stroke and without any induction {Vom Ursprung der sittlicher Erkenntnis, 1889). Brentano's explicit departure from Mill's rejection of a priori knowledge clearly indicates his redefinition of our perception of being to include dimensions of experience ruled out by traditional empiricism. This was to prove the launching pad for Husserl's reformulation of perception in Logical Investigations (1900—01) in terms of a "categorial intuition" of a thing's being, a perception surpassing the empirical limits of sensible intuition and embracing an activity of constitution. 5 Brentano's role should not be underestimated. In his Vienna lectures and later writings, he replaced the term empirical psychology with that of descriptive psychology. He even coined the resonant term Psychognosie to convey his conviction that the human perception of being—which it is the aim of philosophy to explain—cannot be based on the methods of the natural sciences but requires a new descriptive/intuitive/phenomenological science. Brentano thus remains faithful to Kant's definition of being as position or perception, but he reformulates this to entail a dynamic relation between the perceiving subject and the object perceived. In Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint he refers to this relation as intentionality—no hearing without something heard, no believing without something believed, no hoping without something hoped, no striving without something striven for, no joy without something we feel joyous about. In other words, the what of something (what Kant called "reality") is now considered ontologically inseparable from the how of its perception (what Kant called "position")—perception now being understood as the intentional relation between perceiving consciousness and the thing perceived. In this manner, the phenomenon of perception is defined as an intentional

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act of consciousness. The real and actual, separated by Kant under the distinct notions of quality and modality, are conjoined by Brentano under the category of intentionality. The aim of Brentano's new psychology—which set the agenda for Husserl's phenomenology—was to provide a rigorous scientific understanding of truth as self-evident. Such a category of evidence would, he hoped, counteract the relativism of his age as advanced by utilitarianism, historicism, and positivism. While granting the empiricist rejection of innate ideas, Brentano clung to the notion of an "ideal intuition" that would amplify the model of perception beyond the sensible apprehension of particulars to the intentional intuition of being. Being as reality intentionally perceived by a real consciousness, provides a solid basis for scientific truth. Husserl shared Brentano's conviction that the categories of intentionality and ideal intuition furnish criteria for scientific rigor. He goes further than Brentano, however, in admitting fictional entities into the arsenal of ideal intuition. Indeed, Husserl breaks more radically with empiricism than his mentor in declaring fiction to be "the life of phenomenology as of all eidetical science . . . the source whence the knowledge of "eternal truths" draws its sustenance."6 He is referring here, of course, to the practice of "imaginative variation" whereby consciousness prescinds from the particular fact of something to its universal essence—the latter being defined as the invariant structure produced through the free variation of all its possible modes of being (i.e., as projected by fantasy or fiction). Husserl agrees with the Kantian thesis that being is not a real predicate to the extent that the categorial intuition—outlined in Investigation 6 of Logical Investigations—is described as an intentional positing of being, irrespective of whether its properties exist actually or possibly. The being of the thing is not reducible to the nature or sum of its predicates. Its existence is irreducible to its reality. To put it in another way, being is the act of positing a thing's essence (its reality as quality) in whatever modality it determines (actual or possible). From the point of view of categorial intuition, the empirical status of an object is irrelevant. Fiction is as important, if not more important, than fact when it comes to something's intentional being qua phenomenon. In his discussion of categorial intuition in Investigation 6, Husserl alludes to Kant's maxim that being is not a real predicate (§43). He acknowledges that Kant was actually equating being with existence (or position). But Husserl remarks that Kant's thesis can only be applied to the copula (this is white) insofar as it designates the "belonging" of some essential property—real or imaginary—to an object. In its existential or predicative senses, the "is" grasped by the categorial intuition is not itself part of what the object actually is. It is not like the color white or any other empirically observable property of volume or texture. The "is" is not tangible in such a basic manner. And yet it

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makes no sense without the support of the senses. We should think of sense here in the original connotation of aisthesis—a phenomenological experience of meaning that precedes the dualistic opposition between sensation and understanding. The aesthetic appreciation of painting or poetry provides a useful analogy. Being, however, unlike aesthetic beauty, is not bound to the whatness of the object. Or, to be more exact, the "is" itself tells us not what a thing is but that it is—and that such and such properties belong to it. The categorial intuition can operate, accordingly, in the absence or presence of the object insofar as it designates the belonging of something (the color white) to something (the chalk). What we intuit categorially is not the whiteness but the belonging, not the color white—as in sensuous intuition—but the being-colored. Categorial intuition reaches beyond and beneath the confines of sensuous intuition. When we say that something before us is white, therefore, we are intuiting not just the property white but the presencing of this property of sense that surpasses the simple perception of particular features and aims at the total ontological identity of the object (whether this object be actually or imaginatively present to us). Categorial intuition is what enables us to see this thing as such and such. Seeing this becomes seeing as. Perception becomes interpretation.
IV. BEING AS INTERPRETATION

Categorial intuition goes beyond sensory intuition in two main senses, therefore: first, insofar as it surpasses empirical particulars in order to grasp ontological identity; second, in that it extends the model of perception to include a grasp of the ontological difference between the objective status of the thing perceived and the non-objective status of the presentation of this thing. "The appearing of things does not itself appear to us," as Husserl acknowledges. "We live through it."7 This "living through" is what categorial intuition is all about. We can only grasp the being of something to the extent that we grasp its sensible particulars in the light of the surplus sense of its presentation. Indeed, one could not perceive the former without the latter. The empirically present particulars and the ontological presentation itself are not related discontinuously as phenomenon to noumenon but continuously as one part of the same phenomenon (entityISeiende) to another (being/Sein). Art and imagination can play a key role here. They can liberate intuition from direct dependence on particular sensible instances and enable us to freely vary the modes of presentation. We are thus better able to focus on the identity of a thing's "being" and the non-empirical manner of its appearing. The "being" of something is disclosed as that which, in its non-presentation, allows what is presented to be presented. The categorial surplus does not itself appear as an object—only as the self-effacing condition of presentation.8 It cannot be "objectified," only "lived through." This living through acknowledges consciousness as a hidden operation (Vollzug)

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or work {Leistung) of creation (Bildung). Phenomenological intuition is an event of creative vision. 9 Moreover, the disclosure of the workings {Leistungen) of this creativity in our everyday lives and history involves, as Husserl asserts on several occasions in the Krisis (1939), an ethical responsibility. Reason and sense can only be preserved as historical projects and practices if thinkers observe their ethical vocation to this ongoing poetics of human experience. It is here that Husserl offers a phenomenological basis for a contemporary dialogue between ethics and poetics. To return to the question of ontological surplus, Husserl himself comes close to a recognition of this ontological difference between modes of appearing when he observes that "a fundamental and essential difference [Unterschied] arises between being as consciousness and being as r e a l i t y . . . a principal difference between modes of givenness." 10 What Husserl failed to spell out sufficiently, however, both in this passage and in the passage on categorial intuition in Investigation 6 is the radically ontological nature of this difference. While Husserl represents an advance on Kant in that he develops the difference between beingas-perception and reality into the difference between being-as-consciousness and reality, he still shares with Kant the tendency to reduce both being and reality to the tenets of transcendental idealism. Husserl's phenomenology still remains subject-centered. Though he overcomes the metaphysical dualism of phenomenon and noumenon he still remains a captive of the Copernican Revolution. In Being and Time and subsequent works, Martin Heidegger set out to redress this balance by pushing the Kantian and Husserlian intimations of the difference between being and reality in a more "fundamental" hermeneutic direction. In §83 of Being and Time (significantly the final section of the work) he expands on Husserl's position (in Ideas §42), adverting—in quotation marks— to the difference {Unterschied) between "consciousness" and "thing". In §63 he spells out what he calls the "primary ontological difference between existence and reality" in terms of the difference between Dasein (as temporal horizon of being) and Vorhandenheit (as objects present at hand). As is known, a great part of Heidegger's remaining philosophy, written after the famous "turn," was devoted to a relentless exploration of the ontological difference between being and beings. What began as Kant's distinction between being and reality in the first Critique becomes in Being and Time Heidegger's difference between the manner of being of Dasein (existence) and the manner of being of those beings which are "objectively" present to Dasein (reality). The Copernican Revolution comes full circle. Western philosophy prepares for a new beginning {ein anderer Anfang). For Heidegger, Husserl's most significant contribution to this new beginning lies in his treatment of categorial intuition. 11 It is here that Heidegger locates the crucial transition from an essentialist to an existential-hermeneutic

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phenomenology. The decisive claims made by Husserl were 1) that the essence of a thing is the intentional relationship between that thing and consciousness; 2) that this intentional relationship of noesislnoema entails a radically extended (phenomenological) model of perception; 3) that such a model embraces a categorial intuition of being; 4) that since this categorial intuition is not restricted to empirical facts but reaches to more fundamental dimensions of the thing's being, it involves, in the short or long term, an ontological interpretation. We can thus trace the lines of development from Kant's thesis that being is position to Husserl's thesis that being is intuition to Heidegger's thesis that being is interpretation (i.e., the meaning of being). V. BEING AS DASEIN The most concise and comprehensive formulation of this trajectory in modern philosophy is to be found in Heidegger's own hermeneutic reading of the Kantian thesis in The Basic Problems of Phenomenology?2 This is how Heidegger formulates the ontological significance of Kant's definition: That is real which belongs to a res, to a thing in the sense of a Sache, to its inherent or essential content, its whatness. To the thing "house" belong its foundation, wall, roof, door, size, extension, color—real predicates or determinations, real determinations of the thing "house," regardless of whether it is actually existent, or not. Now Kant says, the actuality of something actual, the existence of the existent, is not a real predicate. A hundred thalers do not differ in their what-contents whether they be a hundred possible or a hundred actual thalers. Actuality does not affect the what, the reality, but the how of the being, whether possible or actual. Nevertheless, we still say that the house exists or, in our terminology, is extant. We ascribe to this thing something like existence. The question arises, What sort of determination then is existence and actuality? Negatively, Kant says that actuality is not a real determination. . . . The meaning of this negative proposition is that actuality, existence, is not itself anything actual or existent; being is not itself a being, (p. 43) If such be Kant's via negativa to a definition of being, his tentative formula of a via affirmativa, as we saw above, is that being is identifiable with "position in general." Moreover, this concept of position is, in turn, identifiable with perception. Citing Kant's formula that the "perception [which supplies the material to the concepts]. . . . is the sole character of actuality" (CPR, B 272-73), Heidegger comments that it is perception which intrinsically reaches the actuality or existence of things—but perception in a special sense. He interprets Kant as follows: The specific character of absolute position, as Kant defines it, reveals itself as perception. Actuality, possibility, necessity—which can be called predicates only in an improper sense—are not real-synthetic; they are, as Kant

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says, "merely subjective." They "add to the concept of a thing [of something real] . . . the faculty of knowledge [CPR, B 286]. The predicate of actuality adds perception to the concept of a thing. Kant thus says in short: actuality, existence, equals absolute position equals perception, (p. 46) Accordingly, to say with Kant that existence is something added to the perception of a thing's whatness (e.g., the real predicates of the whatness of a house being its doors, roof, color, size) is to say that what is added is not another real predicate. This something existential refers back to the human subject: it is nothing other than perception understood, in the large sense, as the basis of all intuitive knowledge. But surely, as Heidegger objects, it is monstrous to talk of a house with a "perception" added to it. And worse again to talk of real predicates furnished with the subjective/cognitive property of "absolute position." Since Kant himself fails to provide any clarification on this key matter, Heidegger does him the hermeneutic honor of explaining what he, Kant, really meant to say—or at least should have said. In Heidegger's view, Kant's concept of existence as perception can only make sense in terms of a phenomenological understanding of perception: What alone can he mean? Plainly, only one thing, to say that the perception that belongs to the subject as its manner of comportment is added to the thing means the following: The subject brings itself perceivingly to the thing in a relation that is aware of and takes up this thing "in and for itself." The thing is posited in the relationship of cognition. In this perception the existent, the extant thing at hand, gives itself in its own self. The real exhibits itself as an actual entity, (p. 47) What Kant was unable to unravel, in short, was the precise phenomenological nature of this perception. His critical terminology of a priori, a posteriori, subject, and object was still inadequate to a proper understanding of the way in which the "perceiving" and the "perceived" correspond in the phenomenon of the thing's being as "perceivedness." What Kant lacked was the phenomenological category of intentionality developed by Brentano and Husserl. Equipped with this phenomenological armature, Heidegger offers the following re-reading of Kant's thesis: Perceiving as intentional falls so little into a subjective sphere that, as soon as we wish to talk about such a sphere, perceiving immediately transcends it. Perceivedness belongs perhaps to the Dasein's intentional comportment; that is to say, it is not subjective and also it is not objective, even though we must always continue to maintain that the perceived being, the extant entity, as perceived has the character of perceivedness. This perceivedness is a remarkable and enigmatic structure, belonging in a certain sense to the object, to the perceived, and yet not itself anything objective, and belonging to the Dasein and its intentional existence and yet not itself anything subjective. (p. 69) The puzzle can only be resolved by moving beyond the Kantian categories

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of subject/object and embracing a radical phenomenology of Dasein. 13 Kant was still largely captive to the "natural attitude"; and the methods of positive science were clearly insufficient for a proper phenomenological understanding because they asked about specific kinds of being (psychology inquired after psychical being, physics after physical being) but not after the being of things qua being. What Kant lacked was a phenomenological ontology of human Dasein. Without this, it was impossible for him to grasp that the question of the being of beings is inextricably related to the question of existence understood hermeneutically as Dasein. 14 What Kant's thesis—"being is not a real predicate"—wants to say is that being (Sein) is not a being (Seiende). But statements like "being is position in general" remain unclear and ambiguous. Lacking the conceptual apparatus of hermeneutic phenomenology, Kant was unable to redefine "perception" as the intentional projection of Dasein toward things. He thus failed to fully explain why Dasein is not one more thing amongst things— a real predicate among others, precontained within the thingness of things. Ultimately at issue here is the ontological difference between being (existence as Dasein) and beings (essences with real predicates). Heidegger concludes accordingly that "the task is now to pursue the structure of Dasein's comportments and to ask above all how it is grounded ontologically in the basic constitution of the Dasein."15
VI. BEING AS IMAGINATION

The closest Kant got to anticipating the phenomenological disclosure of Dasein was with his analysis of transcendental imagination. In the conclusion to Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, written about the same period as Being and Time and published just two years after it in 1929, Heidegger concedes that what Kant and the German Idealists called transcendental imagination is in fact a prefiguration of Dasein. He is quite circumspect about this equation, pointing out that Kant was to dramatically revise his radical claims for imagination in the second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason, and that those German Idealists who came after him—Schelling, Fichte, and Jacobi in particular—proved incapable of extrapolating the full ontological implications of this initial discovery. Heidegger's reading of Kant's theory of imagination is as controversial and as contested as his reading of Kant's thesis of being.16 Heidegger equates the temporalizing/projective powers of Dasein with those of what Kant called "productive imagination." Furthermore, he identifies this reading of the Kantian imagination, carried out in his Kantbuch, as a key component of the originally planned Part Two of Being and Time (to have been entitled "A Phenomenological Destruction of the History of Ontology under the Guidance of the Problematic of Temporality"). In short, to claim that the modern understanding of being implies an understanding of Dasein is to claim, by association, that it is implicitly connected with imagination. Such a reading

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of being in terms of Dasein/imagination is, for Heidegger, a cogent example of the hermeneutic destruction of Western metaphysics—the disclosure of the formative workings of temporality behind the ostensibly timeless concepts of Being, understood as pure presence. (This is what Derrida will later refer to as the "deconstruction of presence"). To disclose being as time, it now transpires, is to disclose it as poiesis—as an event of productive imagination. Since I have dealt with Heidegger's reading of the Kantian imagination as a prehguration of Dasein in some detail elsewhere,17 I will summarize here five key characteristics: 1. Transcendental imagination is, by Kant's own admission, the "common root" of the two stems of knowledge: sensation and understanding. It underlies and undermines the dualist edifice of traditional metaphysics, which divides knowledge into binary opposites of sensible and intelligible. Imagination is the common "productive" source presupposed by both epistemological poles. Kant points the way beyond the metaphysical habit of reducing one element of knowledge to another by rooting both—the schemas of sensible intuition and the categories of understanding—in the pre-predicative apprehensions of pure imagination. The next stop for a post-dualist epistemology is an ontology of Dasein. 2. Imagination is part of the "unthought" {ungedacht) dimension of existence which escapes the objectifying classifications of metaphysical thought. Like Dasein (its other name), transcendental imagination belongs to the prereflective and usually ignored realm of everyday lived experience. To the extent that this imagination remains unacknowledged by speculative metaphysics, it is difficult for Kant to articulate his initial insight. But it is at least implicit in certain passages from the first Critique, such as the claim that imagination is a "blind but indispensable faculty of the mind of which we are scarcely ever aware" or "an act concealed in the depths of the human soul. . . whose actual modes of activity nature is hardly likely ever to allow us to discover or have open to our gaze." 3. The transcendental "I think" which founds the unity of all knowledge in apperception is itself dependent upon a prior synthesis of imagination. Once again, the unity of all knowledge presupposes the poetic—that is, productive/formative/projective—powers of imagination. Kant concedes as much, albeit without recognizing its full deconstructive consequences. In a passage from section three of the Transcendental Deduction in the first Critique, he writes: "The principle of the necessary unity of the pure (productive) synthesis of imagination, prior to apperception, is the ground of possibility of all knowledge"; or again, "Synthesis is the result of imagination without which we would have no knowledge whatsoever." This means that the transcendental deduction of categories, which grounds reliable knowledge,

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presupposes the prior synthesizing power of imagination. This power of imagination is the Siamese twin of what we have been calling "surplus being." 4. Imagination is the foundationless foundation of our "knowledge of all things." It is the blind spot of truth which enables us to see things as identifiable objects without itself being seen. It is the invisible source of our vision: that which makes a world possible by making a world. Imagination is Dasein understood as being-in-the-world, hermeneutically prefiguring and transfiguring one's world horizon as that toward which one projects one's possibilities. But if it is indeed that which founds and forms our world (as Sartre also recognizes in L'imaginaire18), it remains itself without foundation. "Imagination cannot itself be derived from any other faculty," Heidegger insists. It is poiesis without why—or, as Schelling would put it, imagination is a power at once human and divine for it is nothing less than the "unconscious poetry of being."19 It is because of this enigma of foundationless foundation that Kant felt compelled to rewrite the first edition of the Critique of Pure Reason six years after its publication in 1781, deleting most of the controversial claims for imagination. The second edition of 1787 no longer sought to see metaphysics as a work of poetics, as a dualist edifice suspended over the bottomless pit of imagination. "Kant saw the unknown," as Heidegger graphically remarked. "He had to draw back."20 5. Imagination is the frontierless zone where time and being meet. Kant had argued in the first part of the Critique of Pure Reason, entitled appropriately the "Transcendental Aesthetic," that time involves a schematizing of our sensible experience, which first enables us to perceive the world as a series of "objects." But the temporal schemas are not themselves objects nor even representations of objects. "Schemata are transcendental determinations of time"—and not just the empirical time of objective measurement (what Heidegger calls clocktime), but the deeper "primordial time" which is the very horizon, and first name, of being itself. Primordial time is not reducible to images but it is, nonetheless, retraceable to the hidden workings of the productive imagination. At the most fundamental level of being, "imagination," "transcendental self," and "primordial time" are inextricable allies. Precisely because it is one with time itself, the transcendental self appears "unchanging and abiding" from the point of view of empirical or chronological time. Moreover, primordial time itself is, as suggested, intimately linked with the transcendental self of imagination, which is internally temporalized, being forever projected and produced as an ecstatic unity of past, present, and future. This poetic productivity of imagination "appears" timeless precisely because it precedes the chronology of linear time, prefiguring the future in terms of memory and refiguring the past in terms of anticipation. This dense Heideggerian analysis might be put in the following shorthand—no Sein without Dasein; no Dasein without time; and no

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time without imagination. Once again, the hermeneutic circle leading from metaphysics to poetics seems inescapable. To recap the import of these five points, we might say that Kant's most significant contribution was his acknowledgment that the metaphysical concept of being as timeless presence ultimately rests upon the schematizing and temporalizing powers of productive imagination. Thus understood, imagination becomes another name for Dasein—or surplus being. Imagination is finite like Dasein in that its "aesthetic" function of time, as the "formal a priori condition of all experience," makes it essentially receptive to experience, and therefore temporally situated. And it is productive like Dasein in its free and spontaneous activity of projecting (entwerfen) and understanding (verstehen) its existential possibilities. In this receptive/productive role of poiesis, imagination reveals itself to be the prefiguration par excellence of Dasein. Dasein, like its pseudonym, imagination, is a poetics of the possible. It is the very origin of the creative unreality of being. It is, however, no mere reduction to human subjectivity. There is, for Heidegger, always the belief that poetics leads beyond the limits of modern subjectivism and humanism. Perhaps this was what Heidegger had in mind in Poetry, Language, Thought, when he wrote that "poetic images are imaginings in a distinctive sense: not mere fancies and illusions but imaginings that are visible inclusions of the alien in the sight of the familiar. . . . By such sights the god surprises us. In this strangeness he declares his unfaltering nearness."21 We have come a long way from the ontological proof—and are well on the way toward a poetics of hermeneutic imagination. The relationship between poetics and ethics will be analyzed in Chapter 3. The relationship between poetics and God will be further explored in Chapter 4. 22

2
The Poetics of Authorship: Kierkegaard's Dilemma
Soren Kierkegaard was characteristically modern in relating his age's crisis of authority to his personal crisis of authorship. Traditionally, authority was associated with a Supreme Being or Divine Maker. It was not until the arrival of philosophical modernity, after the Copernican Revolutions of Descartes and Kant, that authors began to seek a source (auctor) of meaning and value within the human self. Existentialism was considered by many to be a typical expression of this triumph of subjectivity. But it was not just a matter for philosophy. In the correlative fields of art and literature, the divine author of nature was replaced by the humanist author of fiction; even religion went through sea changes with efforts by the likes of Feuerbach, Schelling, and Hegel to identify human and divine value. In short, the real auctor of auctoritas was increasingly denominated as a mind at once finite and infinite in its powers. This equation deeply informed the thinking of romantic poetics, epitomized in Samuel Coleridge's description of imagination as the "repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation—the infinite I AM." It amounted to a reformulation of the German Idealist concept of transcendental imagination as the manifestation of the divine in humanity. Kierkegaard, one of the founding figures of modern existentialism, was predictably exercised by this dilemma of authority and authorship. Nowhere did it become more apparent than in his dramatic debate on the paradox of the God-Man in 1848. As political revolutions swept through Europe establishing modern secular states in place of traditional empires, Kierkegaard was engaged in a traumatic inner dialogue between self and soul, interrogating the role of the prophetic author in the modern age. If he, Soren Kierkegaard, was called to "speak out" about the meaning of revelation for modernity, who was calling him to do so? On whose authority? In whose name? More disturbingly still, how could one speak of the authority of the God-Man without presuming 18

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oneself to be some kind of man-god? How distinguish between Imitatio Christi and self-apotheosis? Between sanctity and sacrilege? Between religious martyrdom and poetic megalomania? These obsessive questions of value criteria tormented Kierkegaard after his quasi-mystical experience during Easter Week of 1848. They compelled him to face the dilemma of whether the very notion of the God-Man—the intersection of the timeless with time—was a supreme fiction of humanity or the greatest scandal of divinity? Might not the poetical imagination's "passion for the possible," so vividly commented on by Kierkegaard in Repetition? not overreach itself to the point where the human author saw divine authority as one of its own possibilities? This was, I believe, Kierkegaard's most disturbing existential drama. It dominated his influential works in the aftermath of his 1848 experience, in particular his preface to the appropriately titled On Authority and Revelation and The Point of View for My Work as an Author. Here I examine the way this dilemma took the form of a dramatic conflict, in Kierkegaard's work, between the three main stages of existence—the aesthetic, the ethical, and the religious.
I. T H E PARADOX OF ATONEMENT

I take the story from the beginning. In Holy Week of 1848, Kierkegaard experienced a "conversion," occasioned by his newfound conviction that "all his sins had been forgiven." But this revelation of divine pardon also entailed a serious problem. If Christ's death and resurrection now revealed itself as a forgiveness of sins, it also implied that the "abyss" separating us from God might now be miraculously surmounted. In other words, Christ's atonement for sin could also be construed as the possibility of an at-one-ment between the divine and the human (a double meaning also operative in the Danish term, Fors<j>ning). The possibility of an identification between man and God— or more exactly between man and the incarnate God-Man (Christ)—became a terrifying temptation. Kierkegaard's response to this temptation had deep implications for his whole attitude to poetics (the role of authorship/pseudonomy) and religion (the role of divine revelation). I confine my analysis to Journal entries registered after the 1848 conversion and to four main works written in explicit or implicit reaction to this "conversion": 1) Sickness unto Death (written in 1848 and published in 1849— henceforth referred to as SD); 2) Training in Christianity (written largely during the same period and originally intended as a companion work to SD. To be published in a single volume entitled The Collected Works of the Consummation, it eventually appeared separately in 1850—henceforth referred to as TC);2 3) The Point of View (written in 1848 but withheld from publication during Kierkegaard's lifetime—it was published four years after his death—henceforth referred to as PV); and 4) the final, lengthy "Preface" to On Authority and

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Revelation (also written in 1848 and also withheld from publication—henceforth referred to as OAR), My concern is to explore how these works and Journal entries, composed in the wake of the Easter conversion, reflect Kierkegaard's struggle with the pivotal concept of the God-Man. My guiding hermeneutic question is basically this: How did Kierkegaard avoid the temptation to translate the God of scriptural authority into a poetic fiction of human authorship? Kierkegaard expressed his immediate response to the Easter experience in a succinct Journal entry at the time: "I must speak." This statement suggests that Kierkegaard was resolving to adopt an authorial standpoint of "privileged communication." Having experienced what he believed to be a direct communication from God concerning the forgiveness of sins, it seemed appropriate at last to abandon his aesthetic practice of pseudonymity—or "indirect communication"—which had largely prevailed up to his Easter conversion, and to speak out directly in his own voice and with his own signature. But Kierkegaard actually revoked his original decision to engage in direct communication in the four works mentioned above (where he attempts to come to terms with the implications of his Easter conversion as a liberation from the melancholy of sin). In SD and TC he resorted to the pseudonym of Anti-Climacus and ultimately chose to withhold publication of both PKand OAR (with its crucial 1848 Preface). So the question arises as to why Kierkegaard should have changed his mind so radically and opted instead to return to the ploys of indirect communication, or indeed to no communication at all by withholding publication? Kierkegaard's conversion resulted from a sudden, ecstatic realization that "Christ's death had released man from sin." But he quickly became aware of the ambiguity inherent in this Christian mystery of Atonement. While Atonement signified the human self's dependency on God for the remission of sins, it could also be taken to mean that in being absolved from sin the human self might somehow transcend its finite nature and become one with its Redeemer in miraculous union. The term Atonement is used in both these senses in Kierkegaard's two major works on the theme of the God-Man (SD and TC). In one passage in Training in Christianity, for example, Anti-Climacus uses Atonement as a synonym for God-Man—in the sense of an at-one-ment of God and man. 3 But no sooner has he done so than he checks himself and denounces the perfidious danger of construing this concept as a Hegelian mediation between the Divine and the human that would presume to erase the essential "contradictoriness" of such a synthesis. Elsewhere, in the same work, the author uses atonement in the lower-case to refer quite innocently to the absolution of man's sins, which Christ accomplished by his death on the cross.4 Similarly, in Sickness unto Death we find Anti-Climacus remarking upon the deep ambiguity of Atonement as a dialectical "negation of the negation of sin," which he quickly quali-

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fies with the following caveat: "But Christianity . . . keeps watch to see that the deep gulf of qualitative distinction between God and man may be firmly fixed, as it is in the paradox and in faith lest God and man, still more dreadfully than ever occurred in paganism, might in a way (philosophies poetice, etc), coalesce into one . . . in the System."5 "The System" is a term of Idealist philosophy and poetics. Kierkegaard repudiates it because of its facile attempt to equate God and man in an absolute synthesis that ignores the irresolvable contradiction inherent in the Christian paradox of the God-Man. Only a keen awareness of our human finitude, Kierkegaard argues, can safeguard the irreducible "qualitative difference" between the Divine and the human. The problem is that Christianity itself appears, in yet another paradox, to threaten this very precaution of sin-awareness by introducing the doctrine of the Atonement. "The Paradox results from the doctrine of the Atonement," writes Kierkegaard. "First Christianity goes ahead and establishes sin so securely as a position that the human understanding can never comprehend it; and then it is the same Christian doctrine which in turn undertakes to do away with this position so completely that the human understanding never can understand it." He goes on to compare Idealist poetics and Christian Revelation: Speculation, which chatters itself away from the paradoxes, lops a little bit off at both ends, and so it goes easier: it does not make sin so entirely positive—and in spite of this it cannot get it through its head that sin should be entirely forgotten. But Christianity, which is the first discoverer of the paradoxes, is in this case also as paradoxical as possible; it works directly against itself when it establishes sin so securely as a position that it seems a perfect impossibility to do away with it again—and yet it is precisely Christianity which, by the atonement, would do away with it so completely that it is as though drowned in the sea.6 However differently Kierkegaard would like to make them, the Hegelian concept of the Absolute and the Christian doctrine of Absolution here seem perilously close. This conceptual proximity is compounded by the embarrassing fact, noted above, that the same Danish term, Forstyning, was employed to render both the Christian notion of Atonement and the Hegelian notion of Synthesis! The most common term for this synthesizing power in the German Idealist philosophy familiar to Kierkegaard was imagination (Phantasie). Here again, Kierkegaard's attitude is deeply ambivalent. On the one hand, imagination is recognized as the Promethean faculty of "hope" for it was Prometheus, as Kierkegaard reminds us in SD, who stole fire from the gods and bestowed it upon mortals. On the other hand, it is precisely the Promethean imagination's attempt to transcend the real divisions and limits of human experience that ultimately leads to despair. While imagination seeks to become an "experimental God" through a poetical process of "self-duplication," it actually ends up as

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"no self." In presuming to be divine, the poetical imagination never gets beyond the "empty contentless I." "In the whole dialectic in which the self acts there is nothing firm," Kierkegaard warns. "This ruler is a King without a country, he rules over nothing."7 That is why hope is described as the "dubious gift" of Prometheus. Precluding "self-limitation," it drives the self to be "demoniacally stronger than it is."8 Imagination tempts us, like Prometheus and Adam, to ignore all ethical limits in favor of poetical possibility. If ethics represents boundaries of law, limitation, and differentiation, the romantic poetics of Promethean imagination defies such boundaries. For imagination all things are possible and permissible; it acknowledges "no power above itself." Consequently, imagination leads us to the "most shocking of all blasphemies": the coalescing of God and man "in one and the same thing." Kierkegaard reminds us in SD that "only God himself can do this," every human attempt to do so being no more than "dubious imagination."9 It is surely no coincidence that Kierkegaard's critique of the poetical imagination (epitomized by Romantic Idealism) is contained largely in SD and TQ both written in 1848, the year of his God-Man temptation. It is certainly difficult to read Kierkegaard's denunciation of imagination as an "abstraction which claims kinship with God" or a confusion of human with divine "invention," without thinking of Kierkegaard's own dubious imaginings after his Easter conversion.10 If we do away with our ethical experience of finite limits, we run the risk of elevating human imagination to such a height that it becomes indistinguishable from God, as in the System of Absolute Idealism. One of the most insidious consequences of such an Idealist equation Kierkegaard fears, is the capitulation of the real category of the individual to the abstract category of the species. To preserve the category of the individual is to remain mindful of our sinfulness, which means our finite separateness as temporal beings who can never assume equality with the eternal being of God. "The category of sin is the category of the individual," Anti-Climacus reminds his readers in Sickness unto Death. By contrast, "Speculation preaches the doctrine of the preponderance of the generation over the individual . . . being a sinner is merely subsumed under the Concept which tells us: think and then thou art the whole of humanity." Hence the importance of the Christian notion of fallibility: Christianity begins with the doctrine of sin—that which splits men into individuals and holds every individual fast as a sinner—and therefore with the individual. It is Christianity, to be sure, which has taught us about the God-Man, about the likeness. . . but Christianity is a great hater of wanton and impertinent forwardness. By the help of the doctrine of sin and the individual sinner, God and Christ have been secured once and for all . . . against the nation, the people, the crowd, etc. 11

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One of the most pernicious temptations for Christians is to forget that the incarnation of Christ was a singular event in history and to replace it with the universal fiction of history as a cumulative merging of God and humanity. Such an historicist fantasy, Kierkegaard believes, is a perversion of the Christian doctrine of kinship. Only as individuals do we have the right to claim kinship with God, not by identifying ourselves with Christ but by humbly imitating him {Imitatio Christi) in fear and trembling, forever mindful of our own fallen finitude, our own mortality and guilt. Humankind makes itself into an idol whenever "men have forgotten sin . . . and allowed the fallen race to become once and for all good again in Christ. And so in turn they have saddled God with an abstraction . . . which presumes to claim Kinship with Him." But this, contends Kierkegaard, "is a false pretext which only makes them insolent. For if the individual is to feel himself akin to God (and that is the doctrine of Christianity), the whole weight of this falls upon him in fear and trembling and he must discover the possibility of offense."12 The authentic doctrine of kinship is travestied by those speculative romantics who seek to mediate doubt into some dialectic of transcendental imagination. Kinship can only legitimately be understood, insists Kierkegaard, as a moment of belief lived in "subjective inwardness"; it is the preserve of the "solitary one," perpetually vigilant of the unmediated possibility of the offense. "One's relationship to Christ," insists Kierkegaard, "is not either to doubt or to believe, but either to be offended or to believe." Idealism is often no more than a revamped paganism to the extent that it elevates "man"—i.e., the universal category of Mankind—until he becomes identical with the Divine, whereas Christianity, by contrast, lowers the Divine into man (the singular category of one individual) until it becomes the unique event of the Incarnate Christ. Accordingly, anyone who attempts to reduce divine value to some illusory identification with human existence is, says Kierkegaard, "ipso facto a heathen." Kierkegaard insists on this point: "The God-Man is not the unity of God and mankind. Such terminology exhibits the profundity of optical illusion. The God-Man is the unity of God and the individual man. That the human race is or should be akin to God is ancient paganism: but that an individual man is God is Christianity, and this individual man is the 'God-Man/" 13 Romantic fiction is not, however, the only attempt to abolish the offense, deifying the historical category of humankind. In Training in Christianity, Kierkegaard holds that the institutionalized system of objective Christianity— what he calls Christendom—also commits such a grievous indiscretion. The triumphalist self-assurance of modern Christendom results from the fact that "it has done away with Christianity and tried to make us believe that Christendom is Christ (the God-Man)." Christendom therefore "represents the annihilation of God by its deification of the established order. . . . Under the

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pretence of serving and worshipping, men serve and worship their own device, in self-complacent joy at being themselves the inventors."14 The fact that its "sermons end with hurrah rather than Amen" is taken by Kierkegaard to mean that Christendom has dispensed with the offense, saying to itself instead "in a hushed voice that it is itself'divine."15 By introducing triumph within the temporal-historical order, thereby essaying to reduce the paradox of Christ the God-Man to the imaginary contrivance of a universal Man-God, Christendom abolishes Christianity. Against this triumphant church of self-congratulation, Kierkegaard champions the militant church of struggle, contestation, vigilance, and transcendence. "What Christ said about his kingdom being not of this world was not said with special reference to those times when He uttered this saying," writes Kierkegaard. "It is an eternally valid utterance about the relation of Christ's kingdom to this world and so it is valid for every age. As soon as Christ's kingdom comes to terms with the world, Christianity is abolished."16 The error of those moderns who endorse an established Christendom is that "they have quite forgotten that Christ's life on earth is sacred history, which must not be confounded with the history of the human race. They have entirely forgotten that the God-Man is essentially heterogeneous from every other individual man and the race as a whole." That is why "the triumphant church means the homogeneity of the God-Man. Then Christ is no more the GodMan, but only a distinguished man whose life is homogeneous with the development of the race . . . The day when Christianity and the world become friends, Christianity is done away with."17 Thus Kierkegaard dismisses "Peter's Congregation" (by which he means not only the Catholic Church in Rome but also the established Lutheran Church in his native Copenhagen) as an "impatient anticipation of Eternity." Christianity can never, and should never, become a congregation, for such a collectivization of believers into the universal category of a "crowd" subsumes the unmediated and "offensive" paradoxes of time into premature constructs of totality. The believer is thus prevented from answering his true vocation to become an individual before God. 18 Only God has the power to unite the eternal and the temporal in the unique event of the Incarnation. Any attempt by human beings to do likewise is illusion, and blashphemy to boot.
II. T H E PROBLEM OF AUTHORSHIP

But, what if God himself were to remove the "offense" by revealing that our sins are forgiven? What if God were to reveal himself to us, not through the mediation of a universal concept or crowd or congregation but in our own singularity as unique individuals, absolving us from sin and calling us to imitate his ways? Once the barrier of sin is removed by the grace of Atonement, what remains to prevent us from becoming one with the God-Man in Imitatio ChristP.

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Kierkegaard's "I must speak" response to his Easter conversion appeared to indicate an option for direct communication. We would expect him consequently to write and speak in his own name, henceforth suspending his former pseudonyms of indirect communication. This expectation would seem vindicated by Kierkegaard's essay "On the Difference between a Genius and an Apostle," also an 1848 work and also included in the main text of the unpublished On Authority and Revelation}** Here Kierkegaard defines the Apostle as an individual who is willing to obey the Divine call to spread the Word by engaging in direct communication; the Genius is characterized by fantasy, subterfuge, doubt, and equivocation, poetical qualities which express themselves in his mode of indirect communication. In a Journal entry Kierkegaard argues that apostleship is a means of imitating the paradigm of the God-Man (proclaiming directly Christ's seemingly direct message of God-made-man) not by inflating one's individual humanity until it becomes Divine but by allowing the Divine to somehow reveal itself in one's prophetic witness. The true life of the apostolic individual "is its apotheosis, which does not mean that this empty contentless / steals, as it were, out of this finitude, in order to become volatilized and diffused in its heavenward emigration, but rather that the Divine inhabits and tolerates the finite."20 As Kierkegaard points out in De Omnibus Dubitandum EsU when the apostle communicates directly he would appear to be emulating Christ's own directness when he declared himself a God-Man with the words, "I am the Truth" (combining the individual I who is finite and historical with the Truth which is infinite and eternal).21 Elsewhere in his Journal, Kierkegaard argues that this direct mode of address employed by the God-Man, Jesus, represents a radical shift from the exclusively "indirect address" of the disincarnate God of Judaism— "Christianity alone is direct address."22 In contrast to Judaism, or indeed Arianism and Deism, which tend to underscore the intangible and elusive transcendence of God (Gott ist Gott), Kierkegaard here proclaims the paradox of Christ as a synthesis of the historical and the eternal (Gott ist Mensch).23 A logical consequence of this train of thought is that the apostle who resolves to speak out directly may also participate in this paradoxical mystery of synthesis by passing through a purgative process of atonement that qualifies him for a special kind of union with God. Kierkegaard is careful, nonetheless, to distinguish this legitimate possibility of union with God from the illegitimate "merging in God" which pantheism promoted. "According to Christian doctrine man is not to merge in God through a pantheistic fading away or in the divine ocean through the blotting out of all individual characteristics, but in an intensified consciousness a person must render account for every careless word he has uttered, and even if grace blots out sin, the union with God still takes place in the personality clarified through this whole process."24 However, Kierkegaard himself ultimately reneged on this apostolic mode of

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direct address. He not only withheld his own signature from the two major works on the theme of the God-Man {SD and TC), he actually used these 1848 works to embark on a full-scale repudiation of direct address as a presumptuous mediation of the Divine and the human! This authorial presumption of direct communication Kierkegaard now equates, not surprisingly, with the primary aberration of Christendom: In the first ages of Christendom . . . the error with regard to the God-Man took one or another of two forms: either that of eliminating the qualification God (Ebionitism), or that of eliminating the qualification man (Gnosticism). In the modern age on the whole . . . the error is a different one and far more dangerous. By force of lecturing they have transformed the GodMan into that speculative unity of God and man sub specie aeterni, manifested, that is to say, in the nullpresent medium of pure being, whereas in truth the God-Man is the unity of God and an individual man in an actual historical situation; or else they have simply done away with Christ, cast Him out and taken possession of His teaching, almost regarding Him at last as one does an anonymous author—the doctrine is the principal thing, is the whole thing. Hence it is that they vainly conceive of Christianity simply as direct communication, far more direct in its simplicity than the profound dicta of the professor.25 Kierkegaard's revision of his Easter decision to adopt the authorial mode of direct communication must, I believe, be understood as an act of self-censorship. Indeed, Kierkegaard's sustained debunking, in these pseudonymous works, of any gesture to unite the Divine and the human—with the exception of Jesus Christ—would seem to betray a repressed inner fantasy in Kierkegaard to do just that. The Dane doth protest too much! He is constantly putting himself in check, like a man standing on top of a tower who holds himself back for fear that some demonic impulse in him might hurl him to destruction. To recap: Several days after his 1848 Pascal conversion Kierkegaard recorded the following entry in his Journal: "My whole nature is changed. My concealment and reserve are broken—I am free to speak. Great God grant me grace."26 With his melancholy dissipated, his sins absolved, and the veto against "realizing the universal" lifted, the way seemed at last clear for "direct communication." But this hopeful horizon soon clouded over and doubts returned. "I do believe," muses Kierkegaard, "in the forgiveness of sin, but I interpret this, as before, to mean that I must bear my punishment of remaining in this painful prison of reserve all my life, in a more profound sense of being separated from the company of other men."27 One moment, then, the Knight of Faith dons his evangelical armor and prepares for the fray of direct confrontation; the next, he charily retires into the closet of pseudonymity. Gregor Malantschuk interprets Kierkegaard's dramatic vacillations at this time as an indication that his melancholy, which until then stood in the way of his

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accepting the forgiveness of sins, is only partially overcome by the Easter conversion; and that this accounts for the enigmatic fact that Kierkegaard, despite his initial determination to speak directly, returns in the published writings of this year to the indirect strategy of pseudonyms. He contends that The Point of View for My Work as an Author (also written in 1848) was withheld from publication because Kierkegaard considered its confessional disclosures too direct.28 In yet another Journal entry of this time, Kierkegaard offers an informative view of his post-Pascal dilemma, whether to speak out or remain silent. On the one hand, Kierkegaard resolves to publish SD, TCy and PV simultaneously and in his own name, so that "with the power of a single blow" he might "cast [himself] into the arms of God." On the other hand, such a decision strikes him as symptomatic of a. "demoniacal" and "pompous desire to exalt myself."29 The peremptory impulse to "speak out" is, consequently, revoked by a counter-decision to "remain silent." In this same entry he goes on to concede that although Training in Christianity is very important to him "personally," it doesn't necessarily follow that he should "make it public" and, thereby, succumb to a "prophetic" compulsion in himself to "reform and awaken the whole world, instead of one's own self. . . forcing myself almost demoniacally to be stronger than I am."30 Faced with this dilemma, Kierkegaard strikes a compromise: He will indeed communicate by making public his works (at least two of them immediately), but he will do so indirectly under the new pseudonym of Anti-Climacus. He adopts the ploy of acknowledging himself, Soren Kierkegaard, as editor of both TC and SD while crediting his new pseudonym, Anti-Climacus, as author of these separately published works. In another Journal entry, Kierkegaard expands on the significance of this strategy: Sickness unto Death has appeared under a pseudonym and to that extent there is an end to the unhappy torture of putting too great a strain upon myself by undertaking the task which is too great for me: of wishing to publish the whole thing at once and including the part about my work as an author, and at the same time in desperation putting a match to established Christendom. Now it matters less when the other books appear (and the thing about my authorship shall not appear at all) for there is no longer any question of the power of a single blow. Now I shall rest and remain quieter.31 The pseudonym of Anti-Climacus is new not only in name but in conception. Up to this point, Kierkegaard used pseudonyms who, by his own admission, were less Christian than he adjudged himself to be. Now he opts for a pseudonym designed to be more Christian than himself. Why? I think the motivation is primarily ethical: a determination to acknowledge a limit to his personal fantasy of the God-Man as a possibility for himself in his own lifetime. Anti-Climacus

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might be seen as a poetical persona who, being higher than Kierkegaard, exemplifies the desire for martyrdom and messianic atonement which Kierkegaard deems too elevated a role for him personally, as a living, historical, ethical being. "I would place myself higher than Johannes Climacus," Kierkegaard admits accordingly, "but lower than Anti-Climacus."32 So, he proceeds to define Anti-Climacus as an "extraordinary Christian such as there has never been,' setting his paradigm of apostleship at the safe distance of an unattainable ideal. The dialectical transition from Climacus to Anti-Climacus means that "there is something lower (the aesthetic) which is pseudonymous and something higher, which is also pseudonymous because my personality does not correspond to it."33 In other words, pseudonymity becomes the preserve not just of the inferior aesthetic stage but also of the superior religious stage, both of which, it is now felt, need to be resisted by the ethical phase of real experience, lest Kierkegaard fall into self-idolatry. This question of the relationship between the pseudonymous personae— aesthetic and religious—and Kierkegaard's ethical personality is crucial here. For example, Kierkegaard expresses an ambiguous attitude to his new pseudonym when he confesses that while TC "is very important to me personally" it does "not correspond to my personality." He concludes this protean deliberation on his authorship as both self and other, identical yet different, by endorsing the publication of TC and SD under the pseudonym of Anti-Climacus (as alternative to the extremes of direct communication and silence) and by reversing his decision to publish The Point of View with the tell-tale caveat: "No, nothing about my personality as an author"34 To ascertain the reasons for this ambivalence, we need only glance at the opening passages of the withheld The Point of View for My Work as an Author: In my career as an author a point has been reached where it is permissible to do what I feel a strong impulse to do and so regard as my duty—namely to explain once and for all as directly and frankly as possible what is what: what I as an author declare myself to be. The moment is now appropriate. . . . There is a time to be silent and a time to speak.35 It is evident that Kierkegaard finally judged this work to be altogether too frank for his own good; that is, too much of a self-glorification of his own personality as an author, to the point where it might risk idolatrous identification with the "I am Truth" revelation of the God-Man. Hence the cautionary sidestep of self-rebuke recorded in his Journal: "Humility is exactly what I need."36 Without humility, the will to power of his own personality risked elevating the real self to the point of fusion with the ideal self. Confusion of personality and persona is a recipe for self-apotheosis. Discretion is thus prescribed as an ethical antidote to the temptations of direct communication. This point merits elaboration. The subtitle for The Point of View was A Direct Communication, and Kierkegaard's original intention in writing this work

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was to bring the story of his indirect pseudonyms to some sort of dialectical mediation, to a point where his true, if hitherto concealed, vocation as an apostolic author might finally be revealed in the Aufhebung of a "new immediacy." He intended this "new immediacy" as a sacred "repetition" achieved by an "ideal Christian," who might miraculously overcome the apparently irreconcilable viewpoints of the pseudonyms and speak out directly on authority received directly from God! 37 If, however, one cannot claim the privilege of such a revealed authority, which alone could vindicate one's attempt to reconcile the divisions in oneself (between finite and infinite, human and divine), then direct communication must be rejected. It must be denounced as indulgent self-promotion of one's own personality qua genius. Kierkegaard's final decision not to publish The Point of Viewy precisely because of its directness, means he experienced a deep uncertainty about the "religious" nature of his Easter revelation. As he makes clear in his Journal: "What is indirect is to place dialectical contrasts together— and then not one word concerning [the author's] personal understanding— what is more indulgent in the direct communication is that there is in the communication a craving to be personally understood." 38 In short, having divided himself from himself through the poetical use of pseudonyms, Kierkegaard seems to have struck upon the equally poetical solution of the category of the "author" in The Point of View as a possibility of attaining a new, higher, and dialectically reconciled self. This ideal synthesis of his divided selves (real and pseudonymous) qua author is clearly expressed in the following Journal passage: If anything should be said about my work as an author, it could be done in such a way that a third person is formed, the author; who would be a synthesis of myself and the pseudonym, and he would speak directly about it. Then only an introduction would be needed in which this author would be introduced, and then he should say everything in the first person. The introduction would point out that the whole authorship was a unity; but I would not be the pseudonym nor the pseudonym I: therefore, this "author" would be a synthesis of the pseudonym and me. 39 However, this ideal of a dialectically reappropriated self seems, in the final analysis, to have represented too much of a temptation to apotheosize the self by presuming to absolve himself from his own divided nature—that is, to deny his fundamental fallenness, registered in ethical and religious experience, by having recourse to yet another poetical persona. The risk was that a poetics of authorship would again undermine the authority of God and the Good. It would, it was feared, elevate the author to the quasi-divine position of synthesis between the finite and the infinite. It would, in short, subsume the real man (Kierkegaard) into an ideal God-Man. Hence Kierkegaard's decision to say nothing about his personality as an author, refusing to publish The Point of View.

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What Kierkegaard appears to have most feared at this time was, finally, his own "strong impulse" to portray himself as an extra-ordinar ius—a sacred martyr elected by God as prophet for his age. Kierkegaard describes the extraordinarius as that unique individual who rises above the common ranks {extra-ordinem) of the crowd, striving to become, through imitation of Christ, one with the God-Man. The extraordinarius follows the dialectic of the salvator mundi by identifying with Christ, whom he feels "especially chosen" to "imitate" {efterfolge) in terms of a sacred "likeness" (ligheden). In several passages in The Point of View, Kierkegaard wrote that he himself had been singled out by God as a redemptive martyr who must speak out in order to challenge and ultimately reform the crowd: The thought goes very far back in my recollection that in every generation there are two or three who are sacrificed for the others, are led by frightful sufferings to discover what redounds to the good of others. So it was that. . . I understood myself as singled out for such a fate.40 . . . I have been conscious of being under instruction, and that from the very first. The process is this: a poetic and philosophic nature is put aside in order to become a Christian. . . . It is Governance that has educated me.41 . . . By obliging a man to take notice I achieve the aim of obliging him to judge. . . . Compelling people to take notice and to judge is the characteristic of genuine martyrdom. A genuine martyr never used his might but strove by the aid of impotence. He compelled people to take notice. God knows, they took notice—they put him to death. But with that he was content. 42 Such passages are even more revealing when we recall Kierkegaard's belief, expressed in several Journal entries, that he would die, like Christ before him, in his mid-thirties, and when we remember, furthermore, that 1848, the year in which these passages from PV were written, was the thirty-fifth year of Kierkegaard's life. The following Journal extracts are highly revealing in this regard: As a result of all my inner suffering, my own superiority and the treatment I have suffered, I was brought to the point at which it almost seemed that I myself was a providence to arrange an awakening.43 . . . C h r i s t . . . as GodMan did not outlive his thirty-fourth year. If being a Christian in the strictest sense of the word is to be endured from childhood up and is continued strictly without developing into any kind of deception, such a man can hardly live to more than thirty-four.44 Kierkegaard's desire to cast himself in the role of an extraordinarius who emulates the martyred Christ is also evidenced on several occasions in Training in Christianity (which he did decide to publish). But there is a fundamental difference between the "viewpoints" adopted in this published work and the unpublished Point of View. Here the author reverts to the practice of indirect communication as the only authentic mode of apostolic address. Not only does

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Kierkegaard sign the work with the pseudonym of the "ideal Christian," AntiClimacus, but he reminds us throughout that Christ himself deployed the mode of indirect address for most of his life. Thus, while at one level Kierkegaard's return to the pseudonymous constraints of indirect address can be interpreted as a way of humbly distancing himself from the immediacy of apostolic witness, at another level it can be read in the contrary sense as yet another ingenious poetical ploy to reidentify himself with the vocation of the God-Man (by redeploying Christ's own indirect mode of communication). Unlike his contemporaries in speculative Christendom, who had reduced Christianity to the "inoffensive" formulae of direct communication, Kierkegaard maintains throughout TC that directness is impossible for the true God-Man, who must go "incognito." Even when Christ seemed to speak directly, Kierkegaard now contends (revising his earlier conviction that Christ and the apostles did speak out directly), his listeners perceived it indirectly. How could they have done otherwise, confronted as they were with the living and "offensive" contradiction of God as Man? In addition, this inevitability of "indirection" was nothing less than an authorial strategy employed by the Messiah to allow his contemporaries the ultimate choice of faith or offense.45 That Kierkegaard saw himself using this same method of indirection in his pseudonym of Anti-Climacus as a "reduplication" of himself—or what he termed a "communication by double reflection"—is certainly suggested by the following passage from TC: Whenever it is the case that the teacher [the lower-case "t" indicates that the author is speaking of himself] is essentially involved in the teaching there is a reduplication, the communication is far from being the direct. . . communication of a professor [the author here seems to be alluding to Hegel]; being reduplicated in the teacher by the fact that he exists in what he teaches, it is in manifold ways a discriminating art. And now when the Teacher [the upper case "T" here indicates that the author is speaking of Christ] who is inseparable from and more essential than, the teaching, is also paradox, all direct communication is impossible.46 These reflections touch the core of Kierkegaard's poetics of pseudonymity. In refuting the Idealist path to the God-Man as a blasphemous attempt to mediate paradox in direct communication, Kierkegaard hits upon an opposite way of identifying with the God-Man by actually recreating paradox in and through indirect communication. At certain points in TC one suspects that the identity of Kierkegaard's own pseudonym momentarily converges with that of Christ: Christ would fain have been recognizable directly for the extraordinary figure he was, but that the contemporary age by reason of its blindness and iniquity would not understand him . . . He is love and yet every instant He exists he must crucify as it were all human compassion and solicitude—for He can only be the object of faith. But everything that goes by the name of

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human sympathy has to do with direct recognizability so this is what it comes to . . . responsibility.47 It is very probable that Kierkegaard is here comparing Christ's maieutic assumption of an "indirect incognito," vis-a-vis his disciples, with his own similar attitude to Regina, his fiancee. Like Christ's disciples, Regina reacted with too much "spontaneity," "sympathy," and "immediateness" to the extraordinarius before her (Kierkegaard himself). And so, finding himself in an exposed position of "direct recognizableness" vis-a-vis Regina, Kierkegaard felt convinced that a preemptive "divine veto" had been levied on his marriage. He felt it incumbent upon him, accordingly, to communicate to her only indirectly, as Christ had done, thus presenting his beloved with the possibility of the offense. He broke off the engagement and transformed himself from passionate suitor to dispassionate ascetic. If Regina withstood the "trial" of indirection and continued to have "faith" in him, she would prove her love for him (rather than for some aesthetic projection of her own imagination). 48 This tortuous dialectic of the extraordinarius incognito, which epitomizes Kierkegaard's ambiguous attitude to the category of the God-Man, is even more explicit in On Authority and Revelation, a work begun in 1846 and revised after the Easter conversion of 1848, with the author interpolating a third explanatory preface and appending a postscript. It is most revealing that the theme of this work—which focuses on the clash between a self-proclaimed prophet-martyr named Adler, who claims to have direct revelation from God, and the counter-claims of church authority—should have so dramatically commanded Kierkegaard's attention just after his own ostensible "revelation." In the 1848 preface to this work, Kierkegaard speaks in an unprecedented fashion of Christianity's power to solve the problems of the age (to resolve the contradictions of historical time which he had hitherto strenuously denied). He goes so far as to impute to Christianity the ability to explain the indecipherable riddle of our existence as a paradoxical tension between timelessness and time. Not only does Kierkegaard come close here to an Idealist equation of God's logos with human logic—affirming the possibility of a uniquely Christian understanding which could resolve paradoxes—he moves even closer to such blasphemous equation in his talk of the martyrdom of the extraordinarius: "And this sacrifice is the sacrifice of obedience, the obedient man who offers himself as a sacrifice is the martyr; for not everyone who is put to death is a martyr."49 This strange melange of Pelagian presumption and anti-Pelagian obedience characterizes Kierkegaard's treatment of Adler and finds an interesting elaboration in the following passage from this work: When the individual is the true extraordinarius and really has a new starting point, when he understands his life's pressing difficulties in the discrimen between the universal [a term used ambiguously in this work to refer to both the crowd and the authority of the orthodox church] and the individu-

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ally extraordinem, he must be unconditionally recognized for the fact that he is willing to make sacrifices. . . . As a son is bound by filial piety, so shall or ought the individual be bound by piety towards the universal.50 This definition of the individual's obedience and responsibility as filial bond with the father recalls the biblical paradigms of Job, Abraham, and of course the Christian Son of God. But one cannot dispense with the suspicion that it also refers to more contemporary versions of "filial response" to a divine call— the response of Adler and Kierkegaard himself.51 It is probable that for Kierkegaard Adler serves as alter-ego, an external embodiment of many of his own covert desires and fantasies. As Frederik Sontag has observed: "Along comes Adler, openly claiming what Kierkegaard had hitherto said must be kept in secret and all the while Soren Kierkegaard has been gaining momentum toward revealing himself directly. Kierkegaard has stressed inwardness and indirection: Adler is direct and outer, just at that time when Soren Kierkegaard seems to be tending in this direction himself"52 Adler, like the Kierkegaard of the 1848 conversion, believed himself to be the chosen recipient of a revelation. In similar fashion, Adler's own initial reaction was, "I must speak." Unlike Kierkegaard, however, Adler did communicate directly, thereby disputing the universal authority of the Church in the name of his individual revelation. Although betraying at times a certain empathy with Adler's "apostolic" resolve to communicate directly, Kierkegaard finally denounces him as a "confused genius," whose "outcry" flouted the revelation of tradition. Kierkegaard concludes that Adler should have "remained silent."53 If an "extraordinary" individual does receive a revelation he is obliged to acknowledge in fear and trembling his immense responsibility, suppressing any personal compulsion to communicate it directly. In what seems like a subtle form of self-chastisement, Kierkegaard adds that Adler should have deliberated more upon the precise significance of his revelation and resisted—as Kierkegaard himself did in suppressing The Point of View—his own "strong impulse" to speak out prematurely in defiance of authority. Only after such scrupulous reflection might the extraordinarius ultimately find himself in a position to determine whether he is a "mere confused genius" or a genuine apostle existing on a "qualitatively higher and transcendent level."54 This Adler did not do; and Kierkegaard leaves us in no doubt that he considers Adler a misguided man who confounded religious inspiration with aesthetic projection. The suspicion is that this is precisely how Kierkegaard ultimately considered his own position after the 1848 enthusiasm. Despite the tone of juridical severity, Kierkegaard's overall assessment of the Adler case is profoundly confused on several key issues: 1) as to his own position in relation to Adler; 2) as to both of their positions in relation to apostolic authority; and 3) as to the relation of such authority to the category of the God-Man. Concerning the first, Kierkegaard condemns Adler for "actually

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reaching the point of identifying himself with Christ," and yet he is perfectly aware that this is one of the logical conclusions of his own impulses at this time. Concerning the second, Kierkegaard categorically denies that either he or Adler had "any authority" as putative recipients of revelation, and yet he not only proceeds (albeit with disclaimers) to invoke the authority of the orthodox church against Adler, but he even contradicts himself in his reasons for such a denunciation of Adler—on the one hand, saying Adler was a confused genius, incapable of critical reflection, and on the other, that "he was ensnared in too much reflection."^ Finally, concerning the third confusion, Kierkegaard proclaims at one moment that only Christ, as the one true God-Man, could exist on a "qualitatively different" plane to man, while at another he holds that the apostle also exists on a qualitatively different plane to the genius. 56 In short, Kierkegaard's confusion about Adler is an accurate, if refracted, mirroring of his confusion about himself.
IV. CONCLUSION

The entire "communication" dilemma which arose in the wake of the Easter conversion (whether to speak directly, indirectly, or remain silent) is a central point of contention in On Authority and Revelation. In some passages we find Kierkegaard saying he must speak out in a direct assault on Christendom; in others, we see him revoking this position, endorsing a return to indirect communication or, indeed, to silent self-denial before the authority of the "fundamental principles themselves."57 The ultimate significance of Kierkegaard's dialectically shifting attitude to Adler—like most of his attitudes expressed in 1848—remains equivocal. My hypothesis is that Adler served as a corrective to his own urge to become one with the God-Man in sacrificial martyrdom. Adler was indubitably one of those extraordinary i who actually rose so far above the ordinariness of the crowd that he perceived himself as identical with the God-Man. His aesthetic ambition to play the role of salvator mundi led to idolatrous conflation with the messianic role of Christ. Perhaps Kierkegaard, beholding the presumption of this selfproclaimed martyr, vacillated in fear and trembling, with the whisper of an ancient prayer upon his lips—"There but for the grace of God go I"?58 Having glimpsed his own ambition in the mirror of Adler, Kierkegaard restores his threefold priority of life-stages. He subjects the aesthetic self of Promethean apotheosis to the demands of an ethical and religious self committed to some authority beyond the self. But the question remains: Does Kierkegaard really believe his own belief? Is the struggle between authorship and authority, between poetics and religion, ever fully resolved? Such a question, I suggest, remains a riddle of hermeneutic imagination.59

3
Heidegger's Poetics of the Possible
In the introduction to Being and Time (1927), Martin Heidegger announces his project of "overcoming" metaphysics. One of the aims of this hermeneutic project is to open up a more fundamental relation to being by dismantling the traditional priority of actuality over possibility. From the point of view of a post-metaphysical ontology—of which Being and Time is a primary example— the possible is to be considered "higher" than the actual.1 But what precisely does Heidegger mean by the possible? And to what extent can a reinterpretation of the traditional meaning of this term contribute to the task of going beyond metaphysics in favor of a new poetics of being? More specifically, how might such a hermeneutic move help to observe Holderlin's call to "dwell poetically on this earth"? The "possible" is not an unequivocal notion in Heidegger's philosophy. His understanding of this term alters and develops in tandem with the overall movement of his thought. Thus, borrowing the distinction between Heidegger I and II (outlined by W.J. Richardson in Heidegger: From Phenomenology to Thought and approved by Heidegger in an introduction to this work), I would say that the "turning" {Kehre) from the early to the late Heidegger in the thirties is evinced in a parallel "turn" in his thinking of the possible. This turning takes the form of a movement from an understanding of the possible as a mode of human Dasein (Heidegger I) to an understanding of the possible as a mode of Being itself (Heidegger II). The existential analytic of Being and Time will serve to represent the position of the first Heidegger, while the "Letter on Humanism" will represent his later, more "poetical" thinking.
HEIDEGGER I AND THE POSSIBLE

The possible is one of the operative, if largely overlooked, terms of the hermeneutic analysis of Being and Time. Heidegger's understanding of this notion may be 35

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seen as threefold: 1) Moglichkeit (possibility); 2) Seinkonnen (potentiality-tobe); 3) Ermoglichen (to render possible). Each expresses a specific aspect of Dasein as a being-in-the-world, and I read Dasein here as a synonym for those temporalizing and synthesizing functions of the "transcendental imagination," following Heidegger's reading in Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics discussed in my opening chapter. Dasein is another word for productive imagination— refigured in the light of hermeneutic ontology. It traces the path of a poetics of possibility, which the later Heidegger will attempt to refocus in the light of a poetic thinking of Being as Being (Sein als Sein). But I am running ahead of myself. First, I must follow Heidegger's threefold thinking on the possible in the hermeneutic context of a "preparatory analytic of Dasein."

1. MOGLICHKEIT (POSSIBILITY) In Being and Time Heidegger argues that human being is neither a wordless subject nor an object among others but a being-in-the-world. Hermeneutically considered, being is no longer reducible to a simple presence—whether this be the Idealist notion of a subject present to itself or the realist notion of an object give to us in substantive presence. Heidegger maintains that hermeneutic phenomenology enables us to consider our being as a possibility rather than a simple actuality. Why? Because it discloses our being as a Dasein which exists beyond itself, forever projecting itself into the temporal horizons of past and future. As temporalizing projection (what Kant called productive imagination), I discover myself as being in time: a Dasein continually moving beyond my actual givenness toward my presently absent possibilities. But if Dasein is its possibilities, as Heidegger claims, this means that it is a being that is always interpreting itself in the light of its possibilities. Its very structure is that of hermeneutic imagination. Hermeneutic phenomenology enables us to make this interpretative structure more explicit and invites us to overcome the traditional metaphysical priority of presence over possibility. Authentic existence, argues Heidegger, is that which inteprets itself as possibility rather than as presence.2 This manner of interpretation goes against the mainstream of metaphysics. Aristotle accorded an absolute privilege to act (entelecheia) vis-a-vis potency (dunamis); and medieval thought designated the Divine Being as a pure and eternal Actus over and above all transitory and material potential Hence Aquinas' definition of God in the Summa: Deus est actus purus non habens aliquid de potentialitate.4 Even Leibniz, who appeared to vindicate the possible in some measure, finished by reducing it to mere represented possibilitas in the mind of a God perfectly actualized in his own Being. By contrast, Heidegger sees the possible (das Mbgliche) as the transcendental horizon of Dasein, understood as a temporalizing-schematizing projection in

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the mold of Kant's transcendental imagination. But Heidegger extends Kant's category of temporality beyond individual history {Geschichtlicheit) to include the history of humankind (Geschichte). In both instances, we are concerned with an openness to time which extends the present toward the possible worlds of past and future. Time is an "ex-static" horizon of possibilities into which I step when I step outside of (ex-stasis) my actual existence. Heidegger argues that because traditional metaphysics treated the human subject solely in terms of the presence of its being (Seiende), it ignored the very Being (Sein) of this being-present. This Being of being reveals itself as the non-present possibility of Dasein. Heidegger can thus conclude that Being-there (Da-Sein) is my existence as possibility.5 And so, in contrast to classical metaphysics, which since Aristotle viewed time as an addition of punctual moments, Heidegger proposes a more "fundamental" ontology that will reveal time as a horizon of possibilities which grounds the present, as an absence which possibilizes our being-present.6 By redefining our way of being-in-the-world (in der-Welt-sein) as possibility, Heidegger intends to "overcome" the standard metaphysical definitions of existence in terms of presence: ousia> existentia> substantial res cogitans, Gegenstand, Gegenwartigung, Vorhandenheit, etc. 7 Heidegger does not suggest that human existence is only possibility. More exactly, he describes it as both actuality and possibility, stressing the fact that the latter is the site of the former. I am a being-there who has been "thrown" into existence and who can do nothing to alter this fact. The very "meaning" (Bedeutung) of my thrownness (Geworfenheit) and facticity (Faktizitat) as a being who actually exists can only be interpreted from the more fundamental perspective of possibility. In other words, my interpretation of myself as "thrown" (geworfen) into this world is only meaningful on the basis of my understanding of myself as a being who is always "projected" (ent-werfen) toward the world as possibility. This does not mean we inhabit two worlds. There is only one world which, like Dasein, is both actual and possible, both present and future. The possible is the horizon of the world, and the world is the horizon of Dasein. Possibility is that world-horizon toward which (woraufhin) I direct myself in the temporalizing transcendence which alone gives meaning and value to my actual world.8 If Heidegger maintains that an understanding of Moglichkeit is the ground of our existence, he does not deny that such understanding may sometimes be inauthentic. Possibility is inauthentic when it is interpreted as a state of objectifiable givenness (Seiende als Vorhandenheit) rather than as the "Being" of our beingpresent. All "logical," "factical", "existential," or "ontical" possibilities, as Heidegger reminds us in Being and Time, are inauthentic insofar as they interpret the possible on the basis of presence, thereby masking its authentic role as the condition of presence.9 In short, possibility is authentic when it is understood

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as an expression of the Sein of our existence and inauthentic when it is understood as an expression of our existence as Seiende, i.e., as an entity of ontic givenness.10 Heidegger goes further. He states that our inauthentic possibilities only have "meaning" to the extent that they are recognized as utlimately "grounded" in our authentic {eigentlich) possibilities, i.e., those possibilities that are acknowledged as ownmost {eigenst) modalities of our being-in-the-world. I begin to exist authentically, therefore, as soon as I unveil the hermeneutic horizon of possibilities which gives my life-world significance. This horizon is normally covered over by the anonymous "They" (Das Man), which compels past and future to conform to the straitjacket of an insular present. The "They" hides the possible because it threatens to expose the mediocrity and inertia of daily life. The "They" protects its subscribers from the responsibility of having to choose their current manner of existence from a host of possibilities. It isolates the immediate from the unsettling dimensions of past and future. It assures us that all is well and could not be otherwise. The discovery of the possible, which alone renders our lives authentic, shatters this myth of anonymous assurance and compels each individual to face up to their responsibility. The disclosure of the temporalizing horizon of possibility that grounds our existence makes us respond to the past which shapes us and the future which calls us. This hermeneutic disclosure fills us with anguish (Angst): we realize that our sovereign limiting possibility is the possibility of death. Death is our ultimate possibility. It is the fundamental project which founds all other projects. Heidegger concludes that the horizon of our world—be it the Umwelt of serviceable and referential objects (Dienlichkeit and Verweisungsganzheii) or the Mitwelt of interrelating subjects (Miteinandersein) — is finite. The horizon of our existence is a hermeneutic imagining which leads to an open future. But the openness of the future is not infinite; it terminates in death, the end of all our possibilities. Heidegger defines us, accordingly, as temporalizing beings always transcending the present toward the possibility of the future, and ultimately toward our most future possibility, death. Death is the possibility which it is impossible to go beyond. I am free to the extent that I experience my life as possibility; I am only authentically free, however, when I experience my death as my ultimate possibility, the impossibility of further possibility, the end of my time. This is a task of hermeneutic imagination. To acknowledge death as the supreme project of my existence is to discover that the world is always "mine" insofar as it is a horizon of possibilities limited by my death. Death represents the finitude of my temporalization; it cannot belong to another. In order to live my "being toward death" authentically I must live it as my own, as an individual over and against the collective "They." In authentically experiencing death as my supreme project, I experience the possibility of the impossibility (Unmoglichkeit) of my existence, the possibility of being-no-longer-able-to-be (das Moglichkeit der Nicht-mehr-Dasein-konnens)}1

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Death is the end {Umwillenl Umzu) of all my possibilities. This hermeneutic task sketched out by Heidegger, confronts the self with the limit of its own possibility in death; but, at this point of the analysis, it appears to slip back into transcendental solipsism rather than opening the self toward an ethics of responsibility to one's fellow humans. This is a crucial lacuna. Nevertheless, it is clear that Moglichkeit cannot be understood as the represented possibilitas or immanent potentia of some being considered as presence. Moglichkeit in Being and Time represents a post-metaphysical understanding of the possible that shatters the notion of being as solid and substantial selfpresence, exposing it to the temporalizing projects of transcendental imagination. I am a being who is always transcending myself toward my possibility because I am a being who marks time. Metaphysics hid the truth of being in hiding this fundamental liaison between being and time.

2. SEINKONNEN In addition to Moglichkeit, outlined above, Heidegger employs two other key terms in Being and Time to express his interpretation of the possible—Seinkonnen, translated by Macquarrie and Robinson as "potentiality-for-being," and Ermoglichen, or the power of rendering possible, of possibilizing. Potentiality-for-being {Seinkonnen) signifies Dasein's ability to project in the first place. It is the sine qua non of every projection of possibility. And every projection is a projection of the possible to the extent that it is a surpassing of the present. We can only project ourselves because we have the potentiality to do so, i.e., to he our possibilities. Seinkonnen means that we are able to reach out toward the possible. To say, as Heidegger does, that Dasein exists as possibility is to presuppose that Dasein can exist as potentiality-for-being. To be able to project what is able to be, I must first be a being who is able to be.12 More exactly, our comprehension or realization of possibilities issues from our potentiality-to-be comprehension, or realization. Seinkonnenf like Moglichkeit, may be either authentic or inau then tic.13 Whereas, for example, Moglichkeiten can refer to both the "possibilities" of things (cultural, technical, linguistic, or perceptual objects) and of human existence, Seinkonnen is attributable to human existence alone. 14 If Moglichkeiten are the temporal projects of Dasein, Seinkonnen is Dasein's prerequisite power of temporalization. Thus, while the "possibilities" of Dasein may be said to be variable, its potentiality-to-be is constant. We may, for instance, consciously project many possibilities that we simply don't have the potentiality to be—for example, the possibility of being a bird that flies or a god that does not die. Contrariwise, even though we are invariably potentiality-for-being-toward-death we are not always aware of this as our sovereign project. It is on the basis of this distinction between two modes of living the possible that Heidegger speaks of a

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conscience (Gewissen) that calls each of us to choose, from among the possibilities of our horizon, the singular possibility of interpreting ourself as a potentiality-for-being-toward-death.15 As Heidegger puts it: "Being-toward-death is the anticipation of a potentiality-for-being of that entity whose kind of Being is anticipation itself. . . . Death is Dasein's ownmost possibility [Moglichkeit]; and being toward this possibility discloses to Dasein its ownmost potentialityfor-being [Seinkonnen eigenst]."16 To interpret death as sovereign possibility is to recognize Dasein as our potentiaiity-for-Being-in-its-totality (Ganzseinkonnen). This interpretation of our being in its totality presupposes that we acknowledge ourselves as temporal exstases stretched between past and future. To recognize our Ganzseinkonnen thus is to gainsay the prefabricated opinions of the crowd {Das Man), which focus on only one part of ourselves in reducing us to what we are exclusively now in the present, or to the illusion of a permanent undying "presence."17 To recognize our Ganzseinkonnen is to simultaneously recognize our Selbstseinkonnen, that potentiality-for-being-one's-self denied us by the crowd.18 All the other potentialities-for-being, such as the potentiality to be someone who works, speaks, or feels anguished, guilty, composed, are ultimately derivative of our ownmost potentiality-for-being-toward-death, which is at once our Ganzseinkonnen and our Selbstseinkonnen. Death is the potentiality-to-be one's whole self, which in turn totalizes and individualizes all other Seinkonnen.19 Heidegger concludes: "The certain possibility of death discloses Dasein as a possibility, but does so only in such a way that, in anticipating this possibility, Dasein possibilizes [ermoglicht] this possibility [Moglichkeiten] for itself as its ownmost potentialityfor-being [Seinkonnen]"7**

3. ERMOGLICHEN The last quotation underlies the difference between Moglichkeit, Seinkonnen, and the third key term for the possible in BT—ermoglichen. In this and other passages, the verb ermoglichen, meaning to "make or render possible," is used to designate the most fundamental existential activity of Dasein. Understood as a refiguration of transcendental imagination, this is the activity by which Dasein deploys itself as possibility. However, at several junctures during the concluding chapters of BT, Heidegger seems to suggest that the subject of the verb ermoglichen may be other than Dasein itself. This enigmatic switch of subject is scarcely perceptible but is, nonetheless, of profound importance for the subsequent development of Heidegger's thought. In section 65, for example, Heidegger defines the "meaning" [Sinn) of Dasein as "that onto which" (Woraufhin) Dasein projects itself, a Woraufhin which for its part "renders possible" {ermoglicht) all of Dasein's projects. I cite in German, as this dual meaning is lost in translation: "Das

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Woraufhin eines Entwurfs freilegen, besagt, das erschliessen, was das Entworfene ermoglicht."21 This sentence is ambiguous in that das Entworfene (what is projected) may be understood as subject or object of the verb ermoglicht. If it is subject, the Woraufhin (that onto which Dasein projects itself) is nothing other than the projection of Dasein itself. In this case, the "rendering possible" of Dasein constitutes a self-projecting, solipsistic circle. If das Entworfene is object of the verb, however, it would seem that the Woraufhin which "renders possible" Dasein's projection is something radically other than this projection itself. Macquarrie and Robinson offer the following translation of this crucial passage: "To lay bare the 'upon-which' of a projection, amounts to disclosing that which makes possible what has been projected." The translators' ostensible choice of the second of the meanings is in line with my suggestion that the general movement of Heidegger's treatment of the possible in BT is progressively away from a metaphysical interpretation, which would see the possible as an immanent dimension of beings (potentia or possibilitas) toward a post-metaphysical or "poetical" hermeneutics that recognizes possibility as emerging from Being itself (Sein), which renders beings possible in the first place. The sentences following Heidegger's enigmatic phrase appear to confirm this reading: "What has been projected is the Being of Dasein, and it is disclosed in what constitutes that Being as an authentic potentiality-for-Being-as-a-whole. That upon which [Woraufhin] the Being which has been disclosed and is thus constituted has been projected is that which makes possible this constitution of Being as care."22 Section 71 contains an equally puzzling passage, in which Heidegger suggests that the fact that "temporality . . . is rendered possible by the 'Being* of Dasein [die Zeitlichkeit. . . das Sein des Daseins ermoglicht] can only be genuinely understood on the basis of an understanding of the meaning of Being in general [Sinn des Seins uberhaupt] ."23 Is there not here the suggestion that the "Being of Dasein" (Being underlined by Heidegger himself) that "renders possible" temporality refers ultimately to "Being in general," which, as we know from Heidegger's later writings, is irreducible to Dasein? As Heidegger puts it elsewhere, "Whereas Being in general may be [west] without Dasein, Dasein may never be without Being."24 Heidegger corroborates this suggestion in section 76, when he mentions "the quiet power of the possible" (die stille Krafte des Moglichen), which "renders possible" both our history and our interpretation of history.25 He identifies this quiet power of the possible with the futural "toward-which" of all our temporal projections. Moreover, in the concluding sentences of Being and Time, this circular manner of referring possibility to temporality and temporality to possibility confirms my hypothesis that it is ultimately Being itself that "renders possible" the projections of Dasein: "The existential-ontological constitution of Dasein's totality is grounded in temporality. Hence the ecstatical projection of Being must be made possible [ermoglicht] by some primordial way in which

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ecstatical temporality temporalizes. How is this mode of the temporaHzing of temporality to be interpreted? Is there a way which leads from primordial time to the meaning of Being} Does time itself manifest itself as the horizon of Being?"26 The final suggestion would seem to be that it is Being which "renders possible" (ermoglicht) time. Or more exactly, it is Being itself which "renders possible" the temporality of Dasein as a potentiality-for-being that projects its own possibilities. But within the compass of Being and Time this reading remains no more than a suggestion; the overall perspective of this work appears to be based more on Dasein—on the Being of human existence—than on Being itself (Sein als Sein). To summarize this analysis of the possible in Being and Time: If our understanding of Moglichkeit referred us to Seinkonnen, so our understanding of Seinkonnen led to ermoglichen, This movement from a nominal to a verbal notion of the possible reflects the progressive movement in Heidegger's thought, away from being as a being-present (Seiende als Anivesenheit) who lives its possibilities only secondarily and accidentially, toward being as a Dasein whose temporaHzing "renders possible" Being {Sein) and, more remarkable still, is "rendered possible" by it. With his original analysis of the possible in Being and Time, Heidegger has already taken a decisive step beyond a metaphysics of presence. Before concluding this part of my analysis, I must refer briefly to Heidegger's allusions to "the possible" in two texts written between Being and Time and "Letter on Humanism". Nietzsches Wort: "Gott ist Tot" (a resume of lectures given between 1936 and 1940) contains a curious passage where Heidegger observes that for Nietzsche "the essence of art is the creation of possibilities for the will, on the basis of which the will to power liberates itself for itself for the first time."27 Art reveals the essence of all willing to be a perpetual selfcreation, which goes beyond our given nature by appropriating other "possible" experiences. Apropos of this reading, Heidegger cites the following sentence from Nietzsche's Will to Power (Aphorism 796): "The world, like a work of art, gives birth to itself." Art, Heidegger comments, is primarily a value for Nietzsche, the willing of more power: "A perspectival direction towards possibilities . . . which are given only through a penetrating forward look that belongs to the essence of the will to power."28 It seems that here, as in Being and Time, Heidegger interprets the notion of possibility as a horizontal projection of Dasein. The work of art constitutes a world of the possible. It unfolds as a horizon of valorizing human projection. We recognize that just as the "worldhood of the world," in chapter 3 of BT, was understood on the basis of "readinessto-hand" {Zuhandenheit as the totality of the referential valorization, Verweisung, of Dasein's projects), so also art as conceived by Nietzsche is a world of unfettered human valorizing. In art the "meaning" of the will to power is revealed as a valorizing projection of human imagination toward the possible. In a similar vein Heidegger interprets the notion of possibility in the third

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part of Kant und das Problem der Metaphysik (1929). 29 Here he defines possibility as the auto-affective horizon of temporality grounded in the "transcendental imagination." With Kant the possible emerges, for the first time in the history of metaphysics, as the field of temporality. The possible is the temporal horizon of human imagination, which, as we saw in the preceding chapter, permits the unity of understanding and sensibility.30 For Kant, in the first edition of The Critique of Pure Reason, as for Heidegger in Being and Time, the possible is that anticipative-projective structure {Vor-habe, Vor-stellung, Vorbildung) that grounds human temporality. When Kant says that the human self is a being who temporalizes by "imaginatively" transcending the present toward the possible (i.e., the non-present horizon of the past and future), he is anticipating Heidegger's claim that Dasein gives itself a world by projecting itself temporally toward a transcendental horizon of possibility. Moreover, as noted above, Heidegger fully acknowledges Kant's insight into the temporalizing nature of the transcendental imagination as precursor to his own understanding of Dasein. 31 Kant's attempt to think being in terms of time, presence in terms of possibility, was one of the earliest challenges to the traditional metaphysical claim that Being be understood as substance rather than temporality. But as Heidegger goes to great lengths to point out, Kant was so perturbed by the implications of this challenge that he suppressed his analysis of imagination as the temporalizing pass-over from presence to possibility in the second edition of the Critique.32 Not until the publication of Being and Time some hundred and forty years later would this omission be redressed. We must bear in mind, nonetheless, that we are dealing here with Heidegger's interpretation of Kant's theory of imagination. Indeed, Heidegger himself is the first to concede this hermeneutic character of retrieval.33 Heidegger I (Heidegger before the "turning") thus leads us to think being less as permanent subsistence and more as transcendental imagination's horizon of possibility. But even if Heidegger I raises our understanding of Being from presence (Vorhandenheit) to possibility (Mbglichkeii), he does so largely within the perspective of transcendental subjectivity. In short, his analysis of the possible emerges from his original disclosure of Dasein as temporalizing imagination rather than from a disclosure of Being as Being (Sein als Sein). This second disclosure was to be the prerogative of Heidegger II.
HEIDEGGER II AND THE POSSIBLE

During the thirties there occurred the famous turning {Kehre) in Heidegger's thought. This turning is clearly manifest in his approach to the notion of the possible. Now the possible is thought in terms of Being itself rather than of the Being of Dasein or transcendental imagination. As Heidegger makes quite clear in his introduction to Richardson's commentary, however, there is no question here of a philosophical volte-face. The thought of Heidegger II is to

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be understood as a deepening of, rather than a deviation from, Heidegger I. Both say the same thing but from different perspectives. The possible which is thought about in each instance remains the same, the only difference being that in Heidegger II it is approached from the perspective of Being as Being rather than Being as being-there. This point will become clearer when I show how the later Heidegger's reading of Vermogen already exists in germinal form in the early Heidegger's notion of ermoglichen. The turning in Heidegger's thought on the possible is best expressed in the following passage from "Letter on Humanism" (1947): Being as the element is the "quiet power" of the loving potency [Vermogens], i.e. of the possible [des Moglichen]. Our words "possible" and "possibility" are, under the domination of "logic" and "metaphysics," taken only in contrast to "actuality," i.e. they are conceived with reference to a determined— viz. the metaphysical—interpretation of Being as actus and potentia, the distinction of which is identified with that of existentia and essentia. When I speak of the "quiet power of the possible," I do not mean the possible of a merely represented possibilitasy nor the potentia as essentia of an actus of the existentia, but Being itself, which in its loving potency [das Mogend] possibilizes [vermag] thought and thus also the essence of man, which means in turn his relationship to Being. To possibilize [vermogen] something is to sustain it in its essence, to retain it in its element.34 The repetition of the portentous phrase from Being and Time—"the quiet power of the possible"—in highlighted form, signals Heidegger's intention to rehearse and develop its original meaning. As I observed in my analysis of ermoglichen above, the notion of "possibilizing" was frequently used ambiguously to refer to either of two different subjects—Being as human being (Dasein) or Being as Being (Sein als Sein).55 Here in the "Letter on Humanism" Heidegger replaces ermoglichen by Vermogeny thereby unambiguously identifying the fundamental power of possibilizing with Being itself. Whereas ermoglichen could be either authentic or inauthentic, Vermogen is always authentic. To put it in another way: Vermogen (which I translate as "possibilization" or "possibilizing," since Heidegger uses it as both verb and noun) is to be correctly understood as the exclusively authentic essence of ermoglichen (to render possible). It is ermoglichen viewed from the point of view of Being in general {Sein Uberhaupt) rather than of human being in particular. As Heidegger explains, "It is on the strength of this loving potency or possibilization of love [Das Vermogen des Mogens] that something is possibilized [vermag] in its authentic [eigentlich] being. This possibilization [Vermogen] is the authentic 'possible [das eigentlich 'mogliche'], that whose essence rests on loving [Mogen]."36 Vermogen is thus identified with Being itself to the extent that it possibilizes what is most proper (eigenst) and authentic (eigentlich) for human being, that is, thought. Correlatively, thought is that which cares for Being, shows care

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(Sorge) for what is most proper to it. Heidegger exploits here the hidden resources of the term Vermogen, notably its root, mogen, meaning to love. To care for Being is consequently to love it in taking care of its essence as it manifests itself in all things: "Thought is . . . to concern oneself about the essence of a 'thing' or a 'person,' that means to like or to love them."37 Possibilization is, quite simply, the love of Being; and love of Being is to be understood as both a subjective and objective genitive, both as Dasein's love for Being and Being's love for Dasein. Thus we say that thinking is Dasein's most proper and authentic possibility (eigenst und eigentlich Moglich). Thinking is that which is possibilized by the "loving possibilization" of Being itself so that it may, in turn, lovingly possibilize (vermag) the coming to be (wesen) of all beings. Being possibilizes thought, which in turn possibilizes the Being of things. This ontological reciprocity is ingeniously captured by the untranslatable accusative/nominative duplexity of the German das: "Aus diesem Mogen vermag das Sein das Denken." Lohner's translation of this sentence as "Being is capable of thought" is incorrect because onesided, for it is not merely a question of Being being capable of thought, but also of Being making thought capable of Being, that is, of thinking Being. Within a space of ten lines Lohner uses three different terms to translate Vermogen ("potency," "to be capable of," and "to command"), without the slightest indication to the reader that we are in all cases concerned with the same term. My alternative rendition of Vermogen as possibilizing (meaning both "to possibilize" and "possibilization") seeks to capture its complex double role as noun and verb. Accordingly, I render "Aus diesem Mogen vermag das Sein das Denken" as "Being possibilizes thought, which possibilizes Being." This version is confirmed in the sentences which immediately follow: "Jenes ermoglicht dieses. Das Sein als Vermogend-Mogende ist das 'Mog-liche'"—"The one renders the other possible. Being as the loving-possibilizing is the '/wjr-ible.'" There are three crucial points to be made about this telling statement (the entire second sentence of which Lohner omits to translate!). The first is that the juxtaposing of ermoglichen (Heidegger Ys term) with Vermogen (Heidegger II's term) shows how both refer to the same truth of the possible without denying the difference of their respective perspectives (that is, ermoglichen as seen from the perspective of Dasein, Vermogen as seen from the perspective of Being). In this movement from the ermoglichen of Heidegger I to the Vermogen of Heidegger II, the ambiguity remarked above is shown to be—in its essence— the very truth of Being itself as a reciprocity of loving and thinking. The second point concerns the use of Vermogend-Mogende to describe Being. This grammatical usage means that Being is at one and the same time a possibilizing and a loving: it loves because it possibilizes and possibilizes because it loves. Thirdly, the direct equation of Being with das Mog-liche shows that the root

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of both loving (Mogend) and possibilizing (Vermogend) is the same, namely, Mog). It is impossible to render this two-in-one meaning of Mog-liche in English. But by translating Mog-liche as "posse-\b\e" I hope at least to communicate one of the fundamental meanings, that is, Being as posse: to be possible, being-possible, possibilizing. Lohner's omission of this pivotal sentence makes Heidegger's revolutionary identification of Being as Vermogen incomprehensible to the English reader. In this cardinal yet much neglected passage from the "Letter on Humanism," Heidegger describes Being as a "loving possibilization," thereby revealing the implicit truth of the three preceding notions of the possible—possibility {Moglichkeit), potentiality-for-being (Seinkonnen), and making possible {ermoglichen)—to be nothing less than the possibilizing (Vermogen) of Being itself. Possibilizing is Being to the extent that is possibilizes (vermag) beings out of love for their essence. But there is another more literal meaning to the term Vermogen which might be immediately obvious to the German reader and which cannot be ignored in this context. Curious as it may seem, the current meaning of Vermogen is "power" or "property." Used as a verb it can signify to have power or influence on persons or things. Though this alternative meaning appears in stark contrast to Heidegger's etymological rendition as a "loving possibilizing," it is by no means accidental. Several critics, notably Emmanuel Levinas and Martin Buber, have criticized Heidegger's notion of Being as an anonymous totality which reduces beings to the measure of its self-identical power.38 Moreover, one of Lohner's three alternative translations for Vermogen was, as noted, "to command." His version runs as follows: "When I speak of the 'quiet power' [Kraft] of the 'possible' [I mean] . . . Being itself, which in its loving potency [Vermogen] commands [vermag] thought and thus also the essence of man, which means in turn his relationship to Being." Heidegger's choice of Kraft, or "force," as virtual synonym of Vermogen, could be seen as further endorsing the "power" signification of this term. It is not my intention, however, to assess the validity of the interpretation of Being as power. Suffice it to say that the identification of Being with Vermogen can mean that Being is either a "loving-possibilizing" or a "power" which appropriates and commands, or even both at once. Indeed, it is just such an identity of being as both possibility and power—which appropriates (ereignen) that which is most appropriate (eignet) and authentically proper {eigentlich eigenst) to beings—that emerges in Heidegger II's ultimate term for Being: Das Er-eignis. Vermogen and Ereignis may both be translated as "appropriation."39 In Zeit und Sein (the projected third part of Sein und Zeit, which was rethought by Heidegger II and withheld from publication until 1969), the author renders the enigmatic esti gar einai of Parmenides as "the possibility of Being."40 The esti here, Heidegger suggests, it to be understood as Es Gibt, the giving of Being. The giving of Being is also, identically and simultaneously, a giving of time, and is not therefore to be confused with the metaphysical notion

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of Being as permanent presence. The reaffirmation of the identity of Being and time in this important late text shows how Heidegger II remains in direct continuity with Heidegger I's initial exhortation in Being and Time to think Being in terms of a temporality which absences (into future and past) even as it presences (in the actual moment), rather than in terms of simple, substantified presence.41 As the giving of Being, esti is to be understood as that which "is capable of Being"—the "power" or "possibility" of Being. The French translation as pouvoir-etre captures this double sense with felicitous ease. Being is thus identified as the "possibility of Being" in the sense of "that which can be." It is this very designation of Being as possibility of Being which leads directly to Heidegger's celebrated definition of Being as Ereignis in the same work. To acknowledge the Ereignis, or event of being, as the possibilizing of being is to poetically dwell on this earth by letting things be what they can be. In a closely related text, The End of Philosophy, Heidegger affirms that "the end of philosophy is the place in which the whole of philosophy's history is gathered in its most ultimate possibility."42 He goes on to suggest that this "ultimate possibility" is also the "first possibility" from which all genuine thought originates. It is, in other words, an eschatological possibility that holds sway beyond Dasein's power of determination, "a possibility whose contour remains obscure, whose coming remains uncertain."43 It would seem that this ultimate possibility is nothing other than the Ereignis of Being itself, the "appropriation" of thought by Being, whose final coming remains beyond our choice or control. Is this not what Heidegger is thinking of in the Der Spiegel interview when he declared that "Only a god can save us now"? Exactly what kind of god Heidegger is speaking of, and how it relates to the question of ethics, is the subject of my next chapter. CONCLUSION Heidegger's complex thinking on the "possible" represents a radical departure from traditional metaphysical theories. Whereas such theories tended to regard the possible as a lack of presence or a mental re-presentation of presence, Heidegger proclaims it to be that which gives—possibilizes—all presence. No longer considered merely as a representational possibilitas of the subjective mind, or a potentia of objective reality, the possible {Das Mbglich) emerges as a "loving power" that possibilizes all presence, represented or real. The possible, in short, is Being itself insofar as it gives and appropriates, provoking human imagination into a making/saying that enables us to poetically dwell on this earth. Where this identification of Being and the possible remained implicit in Heidegger I, it becomes clear in Heidegger II. A crucial aspect of the development of Heidegger's thought on the possible is the degree to which his thinking fulfills the hermeneutic program of "overcoming" metaphysics. This fulfillment is witnessed to a lesser degree in Heidegger I's threefold treatment of the pos-

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sible {Moglichkeit, Seinkonnen, and ermoglichen) than in Heidegger IV s identification of the possible with Being itself as Vermogen—and its cognates, Estiy Es Gibt, and Ereignis, But it is fair to say that in both Heideggers the possible is thought of in a post-metaphysical fashion; that is, no longer as an accidental characteristic of the presence of beings but rather as that temporality which is Being itself in its absencing-presencing, giving-withholding, loving-appropriating. May we not logically assume, then, that the hermeneutic task of overcoming metaphysics is the task of thinking Being as possibility rather than as presence? If such be the case, Heidegger's turn {Kehre) to a poetics of dwelling in his later thought is quite appropriate. For poetic dwelling, as Heidegger explains in his meditations on Holderlin and Rilke in Poetry, Language, Thought, is a relinquishing of our metaphysical will to possess being as presence or representation, thereby releasing it into its own proper element as a concealmentunconcealment—a-letheia. This is what Heidegger calls Gelassenheit: a. way of allowing things to be in their being. In the case of Dasein or transcendental imagination, this means letting the human being be in its possibilities as possibilities, as projection and reception of possibilities, as poetic namer and dweller. In "The Origin of the Work of Art," Heidegger puts it thus: "Projective saying is poetry—the saying of. . . the place of all nearness and remoteness of the gods. Poetry is the saying of the unconcealedness of what is."44 Poetics is to be understood accordingly as an imaginative caretaking of being, a guarding over the house of being (which is language understood in the broadest sense) by preserving what has been said and creating what has not yet been said: This "not yet said" is the "possible," the "unfamiliar," the "alien," the "extraordinary." "Genuinely poetic projection, "writes Heidegger," is the opening up or disclosure of that into which human being as historical being is already cast. . . . It is its world, which prevails in virtue of the relation of human being to the unconcealedness of being."45 It is a task, in short, for hermeneutic imagination. This conception of poetics as a hermeneutic guardianship of being is opposed by Heidegger to the modern metaphysics of subjectivity. It acknowledges that language, as the house of being, is the "master of man" who first speaks to man; and that it is only when one has listened that poetry issues in speech: "The responding in which man authentically listens to the appeal of language is that which speaks in the element of poetry."46 In contrast to the romantic cult of subjective genius, such a hermeneutic poetics privileges metaphors of dwelling on earth, building with care, loving the possible, drawing from the well. The last metaphor recurs again and again. "All creation is a drawing, as of water from a spring," says Heidegger. "Modern subjectivism, to be sure, immediately misinterprets creation, taking it as the self-sovereign subject's performance of genius."47 A poetics of the possible lets truth originate by "setting-it-into-work," by

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giving shape, figure, and voice to its possibilities, by giving it words in which to dwell. Poetics in this generous hermeneutic sense far exceeds the specialist profession of poetry, which Heidegger terms "poesy," and embraces—as noted in the Introduction—all those activities from sculpture to building where human beings transfigure their world according to the "power of the loving possible." This is surely what Heidegger means when he speaks of poetics as a "distinctive type of building," inviting us to dwell in "that which has a liking/ loving for man and therefore needs his presence" (was selber den Menschen mag und darum sein Wesen braucht).48 Here again, fittingly, it is the mogen root verb of Vermogen which defines the privileged poetic relationship between Dasein and being. It is here also that a poetics of dwelling becomes one with a freedom of possibility. "To dwell, to be at peace," concludes Heidegger, "means to remain at peace within the free, the preserve, the free preserve that safeguards each thing in its nature." 49 Whether such a poetics of dwelling, guided by hermeneutic imagination, can provide the basis and motivation of an ethics of dwelling remains to be seen. 50

4
Heidegger's Gods
G O D OF T H E POETS, PROPHETS, OR PHILOSOPHERS?

What did Heidegger mean when he declared in his interview with Der Spiegel (1976) that "only a god can save us now" (nur ein Gott kann uns retten)? What god was he referring to? The God of the Bible? The god of metaphysics? The god of poetry? I contend that the deity invoked by Heidegger is almost certainly of the last kind—the god of the "sacred" initially experienced by Greek mythology and commemorated by such modern poets as Holderlin and Rilke. Heidegger is concerned here with that dimension of the world's "fourfold" (Geviert) occupied by poetical divinities—alongside "mortals," "sky," and "earth"—rather than with the god of the philosophers or the God of Abraham, Isaac, and the prophets. In what follows I offer an account of Heidegger's treatment of each of these gods before concluding with a critique of Heidegger's poetical god and a suggestion that it needs to be supplemented by an ethical one. In this chapter, once again, the relationship between poetics, ethics, and religion (Kierkegaard's trinity of values) is a recurring preoccupation.

1. GOD OF REVELATION I begin with Heidegger's account of the God of biblical Revelation. In one of his earliest publications on this subject, "Phenomenology and Theology," delivered as a lecture in Tubingen in March 1927 (the year Being and Time was published), Heidegger makes the point that theology presupposes the givens of biblical Revelation: the positive of the Old and new Testaments. To this extent theology may be termed a "positive science," unlike phenomenology, which presupposes nothing but its own questions. Thus, for example, while phenomenology approaches the experience of angst as an existential mood of nothingness, vacillation, unhomeliness, or questioning, theology approaches it as an expression of Original Sin and the Fall. Or again, where phenomenology asks 50

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the fundamental philosophical question, "Why is there something rather than nothing?" theology already has the answer: "Because God created the world." This is why in a later text, An Introduction to Metaphysics (1953), Heidegger will actually claim that the idea of a "Christian philosophy" is a "round square and a misunderstanding."1 This is not because he rejects Christianity or biblical Revelation per se; indeed, he sees them as entirely legitimate and appropriate subjects for inquiry by a different discipline—theology. It is only for the philosophical, or more specifically phenomenological, attitude that the "God of Revelation" is unthinkable and consequently an irrelevance. The biblical God is a matter of faith not philosophy.' St. Paul was right to call the mystery of the Judeo-Christian message a "folly for philosophers." For the philosopher, the question of being cannot be answered by faith's claim that God created the world. On this point, Heidegger and Kierkegaard find themselves in agreement (albeit from different sides). Heidegger could hardly be less ambiguous on the matter: "Theology is a positive science and as such is absolutely different from philosophy. . . . The occurrence of revelation, which is passed down to faith and which accordingly occurs through faithfulness itself, discloses itself only to faith. . . . Theology has a meaning and a value only if it functions as an ingredient of faith, of this particular kind of historical occurrence."2 Heidegger returns to this crucial point long after the famous Turn, though the reference to theology as a "positive science" is more or less abandoned. Speaking to students at the University of Zurich in November 1951, Heidegger makes the following autobiographical allusion, as reported by Jean Beaufret: "Some of you will know that I come from theology and still have for it an old affection and even a certain understanding. If, however, I was to undertake a work of theology, which I have often been inclined to do, the word Being would not occur once. Faith has no need for the thinking of Being." Why? "Because Being and God are not the same thing." Which means, for Heidegger, one should not try to "think of God by means of Being." Heidegger commends Luther's awareness of this, although he is prepared to concede that "the experience of God and his manifestation—insofar as it is part of a meeting with man—occurs in a dimension of Being. However, this must not be taken to mean that Being could serve as a possible predicate of God." Here, he insists, "we are in need of radically new distinctions."3 Heidegger did not expand in that particular discussion on what such distinctions might be, but in several later exchanges he returned to the subject with candor. In an interview with H. Noack in 1953, for instance, Heidegger stated that "nothing can occur in [philosophical] thinking which could serve to prepare or confirm that which occurs by way of faith or grace."4 In another informal exchange, this time at the Protestant Academy of Hofgeismar in December 1953, Heidegger made a further confession: "If I was summoned by faith, I'd close down my workshop. . . . Philosophy deals only with that thought

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which man can procure from his own means: as soon as it is summoned by Revelation, philosophy ceases." He concluded with this advice: "Theologians generally have too little confidence in their own terrain and quarrel too much with philosophy. . . . Theologians should remain in the exclusive domain of Revelation. . . . The Christian experience is something so different that there is no need for it to enter into competition with philosophy. When theology claims that philosophy is Tolly' the mysterious nature of Revelation is much better preserved.. . . Philosophical thinking always remains exposed to the questionability of Being; whereas faith, on the contrary, remains a matter of trust." Trust, furthermore, implies an attitude of expectancy with regard to the coming—or second coming—of the Savior. Such an attitude, as Heidegger notes in his 1921 lectures on Augustine and neo-Platonism, is radically different from the mythological attitude to time. Where Christianity sees history as a commitment to preparing for the coming of the Kingdom, ontological and mythological thinking prefer to allow things to be as they are, Gelassenheit. Or, as Heidegger observes in the "Letter on Humanism," the Christian is not primarily a being of this world but a "child of God," who hears the call of the Father in Christ— a call beyond this transitory world toward a Kingdom yet to come. 5 Heidegger, it would appear, had no axe to grind with the God of Revelation. Indeed, as we shall see below, he goes to pains on occasion to defend this God from the God of metaphysics, which takes the mystery out of Revelation by trying to reduce the God of Abraham to logical categories of objectifying presence—what he would call representational thinking. Heidegger's main concern in making these "radical new distinctions" is not with biblical considerations per se but with establishing the line of demarcation between: 1) biblical considerations of God as proper subject of theology; 2) metaphysical concepts of God as first cause or entity; and 3) poetical versions of "god" as postmetaphysical advent. This last kind of god—the god of the poets, the god of a phenomenology of the sacred, the god of the fourfold—is clearly the one that interests Heidegger. This is the only god Heidegger believes "can save us."

2. GOD OF METAPHYSICS In his essay "The Onto-theological Constitution of Metaphysics," published in Identity and Difference (1957), Heidegger elaborates on his critique of the metaphysical concept of God as theos, or the highest being which grounds. Instead of attending to the "sacred" manifestation of the gods as part of the event of Being, as the poets and pre-Socratics had done, metaphysical thinking even from its earliest days with Plato and Aristotle contrived to reduce the ontological play of Sein to a single divine "being" (Seiend)—albeit the most supreme and self-sufficient of all beings. The metaphysical versions of this objectifying of Sein s sacred happening ranged from Plato's Agathon and Aris-

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totle's Telos to the scholastic concept of God as ens perfectissimum or ens causa sui. These versions shared a common impulse to reify the enigmatic play of the sacred, in which gods and mortals conferred and interacted. Poetic play was reduced to a first or final cause, which served as the founding principle of a speculative system logically explaining how things come to be and pass away. Heidegger reserves strong words for this God of the philosophers: "The cause as causa sui. This is the right name for the god of philosophy. Man can neither pray nor sacrifice to this god. Before the causa suiy man can neither fall to his knees in awe nor can he play music and dance before this god." Heidegger adds this challenging remark: "The god-less thinking which must abandon the god of philosophy, god as causa sui, is thus perhaps closer to the divine God. Here this means only: god-less thinking is more open to Him than onto-theologic would like to admit."6 In a later text, the first volume of Nietzsche (1962), Heidegger is adamant that Nietzsche's destruction of the god of metaphysics does not necessitate a repudiation of all gods. On the contrary, it may be read as an effort to undo the onto-theo-logical blindfolds of Western metaphysics, so that "the gods may come towards mankind."7 The great barrier to such an advent of the gods is not, as is commonly thought, atheism but the metaphysical obsession with providing proofs for God's existence. Kierkegaard once argued that anyone who tries to prove God's existence by means of a logical syllogism is ipso facto a heathen; and Heidegger echoes this conviction: "A proof for the existence of God—notwithstanding its construction with all the means of a rigorous formal logic—proves nothing, because a God whose existence must first of all be proved is, in the final analysis, a God with very little divinity and whose proof results ultimately in blasphemy."8 The error of metaphysics, according to Heidegger, has been to reduce the mystery of the divine—as experienced in different but powerful ways by both poets of the sacred and Prophets of the Bible—to the idea of an absolute, supreme entity. But the question of whether God exists or not is not a matter for metaphysics at all. Heidegger is unyielding on this point in his meeting with R. Scherer in 1947. Metaphysics, he says, "cannot itself affirm whether such a god is really a god, independently of the religious experience of the Word of God. . . . God is a given of religious experience not of philosophy."9 The gods revealed to us by the Prophets of the Bible or by the poets of Greece are irreducible to the logical categories of metaphysics, though they are by no means necessarily the same gods. Since 1 will say more about the difference between these gods in later sections, I conclude this summary of Heidegger's critique of the God of metaphysics with a declaration from his Winter Semester Lectures of 1950-51, where he draws a sharp distinction between the Aristotelian and Lutheran approaches to the divine. It is evident where Heidegger's own sympathies lie, in spite of his scholastic formation in a Catholic seminary.

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"Christian theology," he says, "as opposed to onto-theology, speaks on the basis of a faith in Revelation. The Catholic theory of creation has tended to go against this by rationalizing Revelation. And so doing, it often refers to Aristotle. This not only leads to falsehoods but is quite unnecessary. It is even a degradation of the authentically religious content of theology. Revelation has no need of Aristotle; and we must also be very wary of interpreting Greek philosophy in scholastic (Christian) terms."10 What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If ontotheology is bad for theology it is also bad for ontology. If theology is to be safeguarded from metaphysical reductions by returning to the prophets of Revelation, ontology, with its genuinely phenomenological experience of the sacred, is to be safeguarded from such reductions by attending to the originary words of the preSocratics and poets. It is this originary poetics of the sacred which Heidegger advocates in his "Letter on Humanism" as the indispensable groundwork of all experience of God, be it understood theologically or metaphysically. It constitutes a "fundamental ontology" of the sacred that is presupposed by metaphysics and theology and that, perhaps, also points beyond both. Before we talk about proving or disproving the existence of God, Heidegger suggests, we first need to know what our existential experience of God actually is. Hence the logic behind the following controversial statement: "Only from the truth of Being can the essence of the holy be thought. Only from the essence of the holy can the essence of divinity be thought. Only in the light of the essence of divinity can it be thought and said what the word 'God* is to signify. Or must we not first be able to understand and hear these words carefully if we as men, i.e., as existing beings, are to have the privilege of experiencing a relation of God to man?" At which point Heidegger proceeds to ask the leading question, "How, then, is the man of the present epoch ever to be able to ask seriously and firmly whether God approaches or withdraws when man omits the primary step of thinking deeply in the one dimension where this question can be asked: that is, the dimension of the holy, which . . . remains closed unless the openness of Being is cleared and in its clearing is close to man?" He hazards this quasi-religious guess: "Perhaps the distinction of this age consists in the fact that the dimension of grace has been closed. Perhaps this is its unique disgrace." But whatever the response to this rhetorical "perhaps," Heidegger is clear that the suspension of metaphysical concerns about the existence or nonexistence of God in no way implies a declaration for or against theism. A phenomenology of the sacred, he insists, "can no more be theistic than it can be atheistic."11 It is not a matter of proving the existence of a First Cause but of naming the holy—a role, above all, for the poets.

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I come now to the third category of god in Heidegger's thinking, the god of poetics. This is neither God as cause, nor God as creator, but God as sacred. This is the god "who surprises us" in the very midst of the visible. It is a god of phenomenological experience manifest in different ways in different religions—as Mircea Eliade has shown in his richly comparative phenomenologies of religion—but which never claims to provide proofs concerning the "true" existence of one particular god rather than another. Here "Christ and Apollo are brothers."12 The sense of the sacred registered in a Greek temple or Celtic burial mound is just as real as that registered in a Jewish synagogue, Muslim mosque, or Christian cathedral. All faiths are fair game here. To be more exact, all faiths are suspended qua faith in order to allow for a non-confessional experience of the sacred qua sacred. The respective claims of metaphysics and Revelation to isolate one exclusive concept of the divine are passed over in favor of a poetic openness to the phenomenological play of gods and mortals. Perhaps it was the poets, after all, who invented the practice of phenomenological bracketing, at least regarding the existence of God. For the poets, God is "without why." Theological dogmas and metaphysical syllogisms are equally irrelevant. I suspect this is what Gabriel Marcel had in mind when he declared that "Heidegger is a Greek."13 Or what lies behind Paul Ricoeur's observation that "Heidegger systematically eluded a confrontation with Hebrew thought. . . which remains the absolute stranger to Greek discourse."l4 It is quite certain that when Heidegger thinks of the Logos that governs the world he has Heraclitus rather than St. John in mind. In An Introduction to Metaphysics, he boldly states that Christianity was responsible for the misinterpretation of Heraclitus by viewing his doctrine of the Logos as a mere forerunner of the prologue to John's gospel, where it is identified with Christ. He pours scorn on the widespread interpretation of the Greeks as "not yet full-grown Christian theologians."15 It is also certain that when he declares that "the sacred is the being of nature," it is the gods of Greek mythology, tragedy, and art he has in mind. 16 The "word" that names the holy dimension of Being is that of Greek poetics. Commenting on three examples of such naming in "The Origin of the Work of Art" (1935-36)—the creation of a statue, a temple, and a tragic drama— Heidegger says: "To dedicate means to consecrate, in the sense that in setting up the work the holy is opened up as holy and the god is invoked into the openness of the presence. Praise belongs to dedication as doing honor to the dignity and splendor of the god. Dignity and splendor are not properties beside and behind which the god, too, stands as something distinct, but it is rather in the dignity, in the splendor that the god is present. In the reflected glory of this splendor there glows, that is, there lightens itself, what we called the word."17 Here, in all its pagan resplendence, is the god of Greek mythos, the god of originary aesthetic experience, which Heidegger claims is the first

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kind of phenomenology. Here poetry is indeed a "naming of the holy"—an integral part of a larger cosmic poiesis, where the gods showed themselves, appeared, were phenomenologically present. Heidegger has no illusions, however, about the past tense of this essentially Greek experience. While he does see the great poets of modernity—Holderlin in particular—as guarding over the Greek memory, it is precisely as memory. Poetry still retains, of course, its vocation of naming the holy, but with this crucial difference: it now recognizes that the holy is absent, that the gods have fled, that the names are lacking. Modernity experiences the gods as absence or missingness (Fehl Gottes). If Heidegger can still claim in his essay on Holderlin that "the word is the advent of the sacred," it is an advent that signals a presence in and through absence, that can only come when we fully experience the modern condition of homelessness, of loss, of lacking the place in which to poetically dwell.18 Heidegger gives this account of homelessness in the section "European Nihilism" of his second Nietzsche volume: When the unconcealment of Being as such stays away [bleibt aus] everything salutary disappears among beings. With the disappearance of the salutary the open space of the holy is occluded. This occlusion of the holy darkens any radiance of the divine. And this darkening seals and conceals the missingness of God. The dark absence leaves all beings stranded, not at home; while that which is, as the objective in the limitless act of objectification (i.e. technology), appears to be in certain possession and familar everywhere and in every respect. The unhomliness of what is as such (or beings) brings to light the homelessness of historical man within the totality of beings. . . . 19 A key question for our modern technological society is, therefore, whether an openness can be created which would allow the gods to return? Can the earth be made hale and whole again, made "salutary" and "saving" by being made fit for poetic dwelling once more? Can the poets resume their vocation of naming the holy so that "Being may be once again capable of god"?20 In such "destitute times," as Heidegger asks in a remarkable essay on Rilke, "what are poets for?" In the same essay he offers one of his most dramatic accounts of the role poets can play in preparing for the advent/return of the gods by answering the nihilistic challenge of technology, that is, the systematic and relentless self-assertion of the modern will-to-power. The danger, he says, "consists in the threat that assaults man's nature in his relation to Being itself, and not in accidental perils. This danger is the danger. It conceals itself in the abyss that underlies all beings. To see this danger and point it out, there must be mortals who reach sooner into the abyss."21 These mortals are, of course, the poets. The only way the poets can hope to make the holy present again is, accordingly, by first recognizing its absence. In other words, the holy can only be named again by acknowledging that it has become nameless, surrounded by

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danger. This is what Holderlin means by his enigmatic formula, "Where there is danger, there grows also what saves." To be a poet in destitute times is to be attentive, in one's song, to the traces of the flown gods. This is why, apparently, in the time of the world's night the poet names the holy. And it is why, again in Holderlin's words, the world's night is a "holy night." The poets, as the most mortal of all mortals, far surpass the "daring" of technological man's will-to-power and self-assertion by facing into the abyss and outfacing the destitution of modernity. In this scnsty the daring of the poet who names the holy in the midst of the unholy might be described as postmodern. But what is to be done? as Lenin might have asked Heidegger on reading the above account. Where or how do we find the poetical god that will save us? Who is this god? What is its name? On this matter of the god's identity, Heidegger is characteristically vague. Probably the closest he comes to addressing the issue is in rehearsing Holderlin's view that the names of Dionysius and Herakles, no less than the name of Christ who historically displaced them in the Christian West, are lacking today. If the arrival of Christ ushered in the end of the daylight of the gods, when he departed from this world so too did his "brother gods," Dionysius and Herakles. Ever since the disparition of these "three fraternal gods," the world's twilight has been declining into night. When Holderlin and Heidegger conclude that our modern age is epitomized by the "missingness of god" they do not mean that Christians or other religious denominations have ceased to believe in their god. They mean there no longer exists any god who "visibly" or "phenomenologically" presents itself to us, bringing together human beings and things and gathering them into a historical world where mortals may poetically dwell. With the flight of the gods the "light and splendor" of the sacred has disappeared from the world. The answer, if there is any, does not reside in the attempt to revive the departed gods or invent new ones. That is not what poetics means here. It means rather an openness to the fourfold play of Being, a vigilance toward the god that is not yet here. It is this receptivity toward the gap of being that signals the possibility of the light of the divine shining again in what is. It represents a readiness to open ourselves to the clearing of the sacred, to listen to names for the nameless god. But how can the god speak its name to us or show itself if we, mortals, have not created a space for this god beforehand? Here Heidegger's poetics seem incapable of allowing the possibility that humans might undertake some political or ethical action in order to prepare the space for God's advent. Such preparation is not something that can be willed or produced by mortals; it is given to us as part of the destiny of Being. Heidegger's quietism on this matter is inseparable from his pessimism, a deep and incorrigible sense of impending apocalypse. That is why it is the poet meditating on the abyss rather than the person of action who best prepares for the advent of

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God. But this poetical role is purely passive in Heidegger's scenario, a matter of bearing patient witness to the traces of the fugitive gods, to the omnipresent lack of sacred names in our present, technological era of will-to-power. Modernity, after all, is for Heidegger a matter of sitting it out in a waiting room, of enduring an in-between time "too late for the gods and too early for Being." Ours not to reason why, or act accordingly to improve our world. To paraphrase Angelus Silesius, Heidegger's favorite mystic, "The god is without why: it blooms because it blooms." What, then, does it mean to poetically dwell? It means to let things be in their being. Such being, it seems, can get better only if it first gets worse. That is why to "think deeply is to err dangerously," and why the greatest danger harbors the greatest salvation. Whatever the implications of such an apocalyptic poetics for a pliable attitude to political evils like fascism and war—and in Heidegger's case they are serious—its implications for the question of God are those of noncommittal quietism, an endless waiting for Godot. Heidegger says as much: "I do not deny God. I state his absence. My philosophy is a waiting for God. Here is the problem of our world."22 At this point we find ourselves at the core of Heidegger's fatalistic attitude, as expressed in this Der Spiegel statement—a statement that also serves as an apologia pro sua vita. Let me restate the phrase in question, this time in its full context: "Philosophy cannot produce an immediate effect which would change the present state of the world. This is not only true for philosophy but for all specifically human endeavors. Only a God can save us now. The only possibility remaining to us in thought and in poetry is to remain available for the manifestation of this God or for the absence of this God in our decline."23 But is this enough? I hold that it is not, and that Heidegger's poetics of disponibilite needs to be supplemented with an ethic of justice.

Postscript: Eschatology and Poetic Dwelling
Here I will explore the critical rapport between Heideggerean poetics and an eschatology of justice. Both approaches demand a reversal of the metaphysical priority of actuality over possibility. But Heidegger's ontological poetics lack the ethical commitment that a genuine eschatological understanding of "the possible" requires. For Heidegger, as already noted, the history of Western metaphysics is the history of ontotheology. It is, in other words, an epoch where being manifests itself as the highest divine entity (theos) and the most general grounding entity {on). The list of ontotheological formulations of being as substantified presence include: the Platonic concept of eidos as timeless and immutable oneness; the Aristotelian concept of telos as self-thinking thought; the Augustinian concept of divine being as self-loving love (amor quo deus se ipsum amat); the

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Thomistic/scholastic concept of permanent subsistence {ipsum esse subsistens)\ the Cartesian and Spinozist concept of the res cogitans as a self-sufficient substance echoing the divine self-causing cause {ens causa sui); and the rationalist concepts of objectivity (Gegenwdrtigung), representation (Reprdsentanz), and presence (Vorhandenheit). Heidegger's project of overcoming metaphysics poses a challenge (as we saw in Chapter 3) to the traditional ontotheological priority of actuality over possibility. The implication of this for an alternative—that is, post-metaphysical—understanding of God is radical. At its most basic, it implies that God is no longer to be thought of as some atemporal, static esse but rather as a temporalizing, enabling posse. The God of ontotheology was devoid of possibility. As summum ens, ultima ratio, or prima causa essendi God was precisely that being which needed no other being to fulfill it. Thomas Aquinas was quite explicit on this point, as noted, writing in the Summa (I pars. Q. 3-4) that "Deus est actus purus non habens aliquid de potentialitate." Heidegger's impassioned claim that before such a God of ontotheology one cannot pray or dance is especially relevant in this context. 24 Heidegger was reluctant to explore the ultimate consequences of overcoming the metaphysics of presence (esse) for a different thinking about God. His primary concern was always with Being, not God. "With the existential determination of the essence of man (in relation to the truth of Being) nothing," he insists in "Letter on Humanism," "has been decided about the 'existence' or 'non-existence,' nor about the possibility or impossibility of God."25 And so it remains. Heidegger's chosen preoccupation is with ontology rather than theology. Here I sketch out some implications of an eschatological thinking about God as posse in critical analogy with Heidegger's post-metaphysical concept of Vermbgen. First, it could be argued that the eschatological notion of posse better enables us to understand God according to the original scriptural notion of kenosis. Recalling Heidegger's own suggestive etymological linkage, in "Letter on Humanism," between the German terms vermogen (to possibilize) and mogen (to love), it would appear at least conceivable that the eschatological notion of God as possibilization approximates more accurately to the biblical notion of divine kenosis (self-emptying love) than to the metaphysical concept of a selfsufficient love. If divine love is that which grants the promise of a kingdom, is it not more appropriate to interpret this as possibilizing a kingdom to come on earth—giving itself to human beings as a possibility to be freely and creatively realized—rather than something already realized independently of human poiesisi Is the eschatological kingdom not more true to its word as dialogical call than as monological given? Indeed, is not such a view of things the only way to surmount the age-old ontotheological antinomy between divine omnipotence and human freedom? To understand God as posse, which I render as "May-Be," is to appreciate that we are entirely free to realize, or not to realize, the kingdom possibilized by God. God's love is kenosis precisely because it is the gift of that which is most proper and precious to Christ—his life with the

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Father—in order to liberate his creatures by possibilizing a divine kingdom in "a new heaven and a new earth." This might also be related, incidentally, to Nicholas of Cusa's claim that the conception of God as Posse Ipsum or Possest is prior to all standard metaphysical notions of God as esse.26 Second, the eschatological interpretation of God as posse offers us a way out of the traditional antinomy concerning the incompatibility of God's goodness with the existence of evil. The historical scandal of theodicies and theocracies may be overcome if we acknowledge the posse as an ongoing dialogue between a divine love that possibilizes itself out of itself, and a human praxis that strives to realize this possibilizing love. In this context, evil can be understood as a consequence of the absence of such dialogue (in a revised form of the privatio boni argument). The evil in our world is, in this view, not due to God but to humans, to the extent that we refuse to realize the divine posse in our everyday existence. Evil would be seen to result from our unchecked expression of the will to dominate and possess {libido dominandi), from our closure to the gift of other possibilities of being from beyond ourselves. The eschatological God of the Bible would be redescribed not as an Emperor of the World but as a "voice crying in the wilderness," a voice that cannot be spoken until we hear it and speak for it. Third, the eschatological concept of posse enables us to surmount another antinomy in the metaphysical understanding of God, namely, that he exists for himself and for others {per se et per alio) as a love of self and of others. Aristotle had no illusions about the ontotheological implications of the definition of God as Unmoved Mover. This meant that the Divine as pure actuality could motivate others to desire but could not itself desire others. The Divine qua self-thinking-thought is utterly without potentiality {dunamis) and so has no motivation in itself to seek actualization outside itself. God is pure selfsufficient act. Anselm reiterates this ontotheological view when he defines God as aseitas—a se esse, a being unto himself. Aquinas is working from a similar metaphysical framework when he concedes that "Necesse est quod deus primo et principaliter suam bonitatem et seipsum amet." It was from just such a definition of God as self-loving love, moreover, that arose the substantialist notion of the Trinity as a commercium or nexis amoris, in which Father, Son, and Spirit exult in their self-regarding "common possession" of each other. A far cry from the voice crying in the wilderness! The polar opposite of kenosis. To understand God as kenotic posse is to see his love as a vulnerable and generous desire to be made fully incarnate in the eschatological kingdom—a kingdom possibilized by God but only realizable if and when we, human creatures, choose to respond to the divine call in word and action. Is this not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and the Prophets, whom Pascal contrasts with the God of the philosophers? Is this not a God before whom we could dance and pray like David in the Bible? Is this not the God who reveals himself, as Levinas claims, in the naked and vulnerable face of the widow, orphan, or famine victim—a God who created man because "on est mieux a deux't Or whom Kierkegaard signalled when he wrote that "Jesus Christ, even though he was one with the Father and the Spirit, still felt the need to love and be loved by

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man"? He added, "If one denies this, one can spiritualize God to the abstract point where he becomes cruelty itself." The eschatological God announced in the Old and New Testaments can now be recognized as a deus adventurus rather than a deus absconditus—as a God who is not but may be. Here is a God, in short, who transcends all metaphysical conceptualization of a self-accomplished and self-adequate esse. This God is a posse whose kingdom may yet come and whose will may yet be done. And so we come to the fourth point raised by an eschatology of the possible—the relation of divine revelation to history. It is here that the ethical question comes to the fore. Traditional metaphysics could not convincingly account for the fact that God was at once timeless and temporal, transcendent of history and manifest in the world. In contradistinction to ontotheology, which tended to define God as a nunc aeternum outside of historical time, the post-metaphysical concept of posse suggests how God (as transcendent possibility) can give himself to human beings (as enacters of this possibility) through the adventure of history. The divine posse remains other not because it possesses an esse over and above the phenomenological-poetical being of our world; its otherness takes the form of a radical transcendence which depends for its actualization on the historical actions of prophecy, covenant, and commitment. The divine posse is not an "other being" but an "otherwise than being." As Emmanuel Levinas observes: Man is indispensable to God's plan or, to be more exact, man is nothing other than the divine plans within being. Man can do what he must do; he can master the hostile forces of history by helping to bring about a messianic reign, a reign of justice foretold by the prophets. The waiting for the Messiah marks the very duration of time. 27 The God of transcendence revealed in the Bible is not the God of ontology but the God of eschatology. To rethink God in critical analogy with the Heideggerean concept of Vermogen is therefore to recognize new options for appreciating the religious belief in a God who may be at the end, and as the end of history. It opens a way to understanding God not as a topos of being but as a utopos other than being. While Heidegger does not explore these options, he does make it clear that any theological interpretation of his own deconstructions of metaphysics must observe an analogy of proper proportionality. This means that instead of grafting God directly onto being, or rather a deconstructive rethinking of being, we must observe the hermeneutic difference between the presuppositions of religious faith, on the one hand, and the philosophical questioning of Being, on the other. The analogy of proper proportionality recommended by Heidegger reads as follows: Dasein is to Sein what the religious questioner is to God. So that what we are exploring here is not—if we take Heidegger seriously—an identification of God and Being as Vermogen/Posse but rather a properly proportionate analogy between two post-metaphysical concept of the possible: one applied to Being, the other applied to God. Such an analogy inevitably carries differences as well as similarities.28

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If Being as Vermogen discloses itself to Dasein as a wonder that things exist (thaumazein), a care for Being (Sorge), and a questioning of Being (Seinsfrage), the eschatological posse reveals itself to believers as a call to faith and to ethical action. Heidegger's notion of Vermogen as a "possibilizing love" that cares for (sorgen) and watches over {wahren) the topos of Being is, I have been suggesting, closely analogous to the eschatological notion of possibilizing love as kenotic caritas. However, the Heideggerrean love of Being is very much a guarding over beings in their topological/poetical being-there as things of the world; whereas the eschatological love of God is strictly (or at least scripturally) speaking not "of this world." As Heidegger explains in the "Letter on Humanism," "Etwas vermogen bedeutet hier: es in seinem wesen wahren." Indeed, even when we are dealing with the guarding over of what Heidegger calls a sacred place—a temple, shrine, cathedral, holy ground—we are, from an ontological point of view, dealing with one of the fourfold divisions of Being (gods, mortals, sky, and earth) and not with the revelation of divine kenosis. The latter implies an act of faith which reads the sacred in terms of eschatological revelation. So it would seem fair to say that Heidegger's poetical/phenomenological disclosure of the sacred serves as necessary but not sufficient condition for the eschatological revelation of God. A phenomenology of sacred rituals or symbols—as developed by Mircea Eliade for example—can teach us about the ways in which the divine manifests itself through the poetical horizons of our being-in-the-world. The eschatological posse, by contrast, while revealing itself phenomenologically through sacred places, rituals, and symbols, remains radically transcendent. For a phenomenology of the sacred, as we saw, Christ and Apollo are brothers. It is only if we adopt a hermeneutic of faith that we privilege one of these (e.g., the privileging of Christ in the Christian hermeneutic) as a unique incarnation of the eschatological posse. In this example, the God of Christian faith is not identical with a poetics of the sacred, which is by definition polytheistic. Although the Christian God does, of course, reveal itself through icons of incarnation—ranging from the Prophets and Christ to the saints, holy scripture, and other images of religious art—it does so in a way that bears witness to a radical distance between the divine Other as vertical possibilization and Being as a finite horizontal possibilization (Vermogen). This significant disparity between the infinite otherness of eschatological divinity and the finite being-there of the phenomenological sacred is keenly preserved by the analogy of proper proportionality, which enables us to compare and contrast these two orders of possibilization. The difference is ultimately a matter of belief. Let me tease out, finally, some ethical consequences of this difference. As that which may be, the eschatological posse is also that which should be. It carries an ethical summons. To put it another way, while the ontological posse expresses itself as a Seinkonnen (or capacity to be), the eschatological posse reveals itself as a Seinsollen (or duty to be). It is this ethical exigency of the divine posse which Dostoyevsky alludes to when he declares that if God is dead, all is permitted. From the point of view of a poetics of Vermogen, all is

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permitted. Left to itself, poetic imagination knows no censorship. But this does not mean that the poetics of Being is immoral. It simply means that it is a-moral, or, if one prefers, non-moral. Heidegger's poetical ontology attempts to surpass the metaphysical framework that, since Plato, identified Being and the Good. Unlike Platonism, which defined the highest idea as agathon, or Thomism, which declared that ens et bonum convertuntur, Heidegger affirms that the questioning of Being is a strictly phenomenological activity that describes beings as they appear, as phainomena—without judging whether they should or should not appear. Poetical ontology, Heidegger insists, is phenomenological description, not ethical prescription. He is equally reticent with respect to theology, making no claims about which manifestations of the holy are true or false, revealed or invented, theocentric or anthropocentric. This does not mean that Heidegger is either anti-ethical or anti-religious. It simply means recognizing the gap separating a poetical phenomenology of finite Being from an ethico-religious concern with that which transcends the phenomenological horizon of Dasein's historicity. Heidegger is not concerned with God's existence or inexistence but with his phenomenological absence or presence. He does not deny the possibility of a transcendent deity; he merely acknowledges that such questions of eschatological value surpass the finite limits of phenomenological ontology. This is in keeping with Heidegger's admission to Herman Noack that the divine which he invokes in the "Letter on Humanism" is the divine of poetic experience (e.g., of Holderlin and Rilke) rather than of the God of biblical revelation.29 Where Heidegger and the poets speak of the contemporary "lack" of gods as a phenomenological event in the history of Being, an eschatology of the possible might read this absence as a lack of human fidelity to the ethical exigencies of the New and Old Testaments, that is, as a failure to realize the divine posse of social justice. Eschatologically viewed, the promised return of God is not only something which may happen but something believers have an ethical duty to bring about in this world through their historical actions. Heidegger's ontological approach to the return of the divine bears no connotations of ethical exigency. It is a warten rather than an erwarten, a will-less waiting rather than an urgent expectancy for the coming of a kingdom that impells us to action. The ontological Vermogen, unlike the eschatological posse, does not depend on human intervention for its advent or return. The Ereignis of Being can be independently of human action because it is, by Heidegger's own admission, a "decree of Being itself." But the eschaton of God, by contrast, may be realized in history only if humans respond to the ethical call of the posse. Whereas Being and God can both be analogously described in terms of Heidegger's poetics of the "loving possible" (vermogend-mogende), there are crucial differences to be observed. The most important of these may be expressed thus: The eschatological view of the possible departs from the poetical in viewing mortals as beings who transcend Being toward what is other than Being, toward the eschatological possibility of a kingdom yet to come. One is tempted to conclude nonetheless that whatever kingdom comes (if it comes) should be one in which we can poetically dwell. In such a kingdom

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the values of God and Being would no longer be viewed as incompatible. Surely an eschatology of divine justice (if it exists), demands that ethics and poetics be reconciled? Such a demand is the proper task of hermeneutic imagination, a task for which, by all accounts, Heidegger himself was not adequately prepared.30

Part Two HERMENEUTIC DEVELOPMENTS

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Ideology and Utopia: The Social Imaginary (Ricoeur I)
My first four chapters analyzed the contemporary crisis of value—poetical, ethical, religious—from what might be described as a fundamental hermeneutic. The questions raised by Kant, Kierkegaard, and Heidegger on the relation between imagination and value generally arose within an ontological or eschatological perspective. But often overlooked in such a fundamental inquiry is what might be loosely called the social perspective. I am thinking particularly here of Ricoeur's concept of the social imaginary, which comprises the interplay of ideals, images, ideologies, and Utopias informing our cultural and political unconscious. Here we are concerned with ways in which a poetics of imagination operates in our everyday lives, often anonymously, to produce collective narratives— stories we tell ourselves in order to explain ourselves to ourselves and to others. These narratives exceed the individual limits of transcendental imagination extending into the realm of a social imaginary with both ideological and Utopian dimensions. A vexed question for interpreters of the social imaginary is the question of ideology. Much of critical theory—from Marx and Engels to Althusser and Barthes—identifies ideology as false consciousness. In order to disclose our social reality it is first deemed necessary to expose the fantasies of our ideological imagination. One of the first steps in such disclosure is to demystify the ways in which ideology alienates human consciousness by attributing the origin of value to some imaginary absolute outside of the human. For humanity to return to itself and rediscover its own powers of making (poiesis) it must first debunk the pseudo-world of fetish images. The standard equation of ideology with false consciousness was not always the case, however. The first recorded use of the term ideologic was by Destutt

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de Tracy at the end of the eighteenth century—and then he defined it as the "science of the genesis of ideas." But the initial claim of ideology to provide a scientific foundation for social law was soon dismissed. Ideologue became a word of abuse for those engaged in lofty abstractions rather than facing up to the truths of reality. Napoleon set his seal on this derogatory connotation when he denounced as ideologues all who opposed his ambitions by letting idealist principles take priority over the exigencies of la politique reelle} It was this negative sense of ideology as abstract unreality or illusion which was later taken up by philosophers. Hegel invoked it summarily in his Philosophy of History \ Marx went on to analyze its workings and implications in a now famous passage of The German Ideology, where he speaks of a camera obscura that reverses the proper rapport between the real and the imaginary. I shall return to this analysis below. The main point to be made at this stage is that it was the negative definition of ideology as false consciousness that dominated most subsequent theories. Lenin, it is true, used it in the more positive sense of a propaganda weapon, but, so defined, the question of truth was considered irrelevant. What mattered was its efficacity as an instrument of class warfare. Most other modern critics of ideology—Mannheim, Aron, Althusser, Geertz, and Ricoeur—tend to take it for granted that scientific truth is alien to ideology. To describe something as ideological is generally to describe it as false, or at least epistemologically neutral. Of course, once the epistemological question is bracketed, it is possible to conceive of ideology as serving a symbolic function in society. It may then be analyzed as illustrating the social imaginary of a culture, its myths, ideals, and rhetorics. But it is no longer considered a science of social truth in the sense originally proposed by de Tracy. In fact, ideology has come to mean the very opposite of science. And, not surprisingly, this opposition has often been superimposed—especially since Marx— on the Enlightenment opposition between reason and imagination. Where scientific reason dealt with truth, the role of the social imaginary was frequently dismissed as ideological mystification. Many rationalists, following Feuerbach, believed that the image of human perfection was projected into a transcendental realm called the Divine, thus alienating humanity from itself. The task of science was to unmask this ideological imaginary and return humanity to itself. Science, in short, promised to convert false consciousness into true consciousness, to transform the imaginary into the real and the rational. In this chapter, I will examine: 1) the way in which the critique of the social imaginary evolves as a critique of ideology in the wake of the Enlightenment and 2) the way in which a new movement in contemporary hermeneutics, most cogently represented by Paul Ricoeur in his Lectures on Ideology and Utopia (1985), has challenged the reduction of the social imaginary to ideological distortion and argued for an affirmation of its Utopian potentials.2

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I. THE HERMENEUTICS OF SUSPICION

Most critiques of the ideological imaginary have focused on its negative role as a purveyor of falsehood. Ricoeur labeled this approach a hermeneutics of suspicion: a practice of interpreting (hermeneuein) discourse as "masked." Above all, this suspicion was directed to the specifically religious imaginary, considered by Marx and others as the most extreme example of human subservience and the most primordial expression of ideology. The hermeneutic strategy of removing the mask to uncover repressed meanings was developed in the nineteenth century by the "three masters of suspicion"—Marx, Nietzsche, and (later) Freud. He developed a hermeneutics of false consciousness, which discerned the hidden connection between ideology and the historical phenomenon of class domination. Marx interpreted religion, in particular, as a coded imaginary of submission, where the myth of a supernatural paradise becomes the opium of the people, totally concealing its own socioeconomic motivation. In this respect, Marx's denunciation of the religious character of the great money fetish in the first book of Capital constitutes one of the central planks of his critique of ideology (to which I shall return). Nietzsche advanced a genealogical hermeneutics of the will, which interpreted the religious imaginary as a distortion whose intention is to replace a strong will-to-power with passivity, resentment, and self-abnegation. Dismissing religion as "Platonism for the people," Nietzsche endeavored to expose religious cults of otherworldly transcendence as no more than disguised negations of life. Freud championed a genetic hermeneutics of desire. Religion, he held, is an imaginary substitute for lost primitive or infantile objects. It represents an "obsessional neurosis" whereby human desire is repressed through a complex of unconscious, self-concealing mechanisms. Thus, in Moses and Monotheism and Totem and Taboo, Freud explained the origin of the religious imaginary as a symbolic compensation for prohibited pleasures. Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud share the suspicion that religious ideology remains ignorant of itself as a production of false values. It is a "myth" in the sense that it inverts the real and the imaginary, compensating for historical injustice with some ahistorical and otherworldly justice—which, according to Marx, is no more than a fantasy projection. "The critique of religion," Marx replied accordingly, expresses "the categorical refusal of all relations where man finds himself degraded, imprisoned or abandoned."3 I readily acknowledge the legitimacy of such a hermeneutics of suspicion. There is always a need to unmask the ideological content of the religious imaginary. Indeed, this critique is an indispensable component of modern culture in general and of modern theology in particular. As Ricoeur accurately observes in "The Critique of Religion" (1973): The reading of ideology as a symptom of the phenomenon of domination

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will be the durable contribution of Marxism beyond its political applications. From this point of view Marx does not belong solely to the Communists. Marxism, let it not be forgotten, appeared in Germany in the middle of the last century at the heart of the departments of Protestant theology. It is, therefore, an event of Western culture, and I would even say, of Western theology.4 In this connection, it is also appropriate to recall that one of the most influential attempts to "demythologize" the religious imaginary was in fact sponsored by a Protestant theologian, Rudolf Bultmann (in the Theology of the New Testament* and elsewhere). Bultmann held that Christianity must be emancipated from those "mythic" accretions whereby Christ became idolized as the sacrificial Kyrios of a savior cult—a cult modeled on fantastical heroes of Hellenic, Gnostic, or Babylonian mystery-rites. Bultmann levels his demythologizing against the mystification of Christian spirituality. He casts a suspicious glance at all efforts to reduce the genuine scandal of Cross and Resurrection to an ideological system wherein the newness of the Christian message is ignored or betrayed. Moreover, Bultmann systematically exposes how the Living Word of the Gospels frequently degenerated into cultic images—for example, the attempt to express the eschatological kingdom as a cosmological cult of heaven and hell; or the attempt to reduce the historical working of the spirit through the church to an idol of triumphalist power. To demythologize Christianity is, for Bultmann, to dissolve these false scandals so as to let the true scandal of the Word made flesh speak to us anew.6 The common task of such critical hermeneutics, atheistic or theistic, is to debunk ideological inversions of the original relationship between the real and the imaginary; it aims to unmask the true meaning behind the mythologized meaning. Such a critique is clearly necessary. But I would go further than the masters of suspicion in arguing that this critique must itself be subject to critique. This extension of the hermeneutic critique makes it possible to recognize, in the symbolizing activity of myth and ideology, the possibility of another, more positive function obscured by the negative, falsifying function. The hermeneutics of suspicion may in this way be preserved and also supplemented by a hermeneutics of affirmation. Before exploring such a hermeneutics of affirmation, I propose to examine in more detail how the ideological imaginary actually works.
II. THE CRITIQUE OF IDEOLOGY

There are three principal functions of the ideological imaginary: integration, dissimulation, and domination. 7

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INTEGRATION Ideology expresses a social group's need for a communal set of images whereby it can represent itself to itself and to others. It is an essential aspect of the social imaginary, which enables any particular society to identify itself. Each society invokes a tradition of mythic idealizations through which it may be aligned with a stable, predictable, and repeatable order of meanings. The process of ideological self-imagination frequently assumes the form of a mythic reiteration of the founding act of the community. It seeks to redeem society from the crises of the present by justifying actions in terms of some sanctified past, some sacred beginning. 8 We could cite here the role played by the Aeneas myth in Roman society or the cosmogony myths in Greek society, or, indeed, the Celtic myths of Cuchulain and the Fianna in Irish society. Where an ancient past is lacking, a more recent past will suffice—the Declaration of Independence for the United States, the October Revolution for the former Soviet Union, and so on. Ideology serves to relate the social imaginary of a historical community to some inaugural act that founded it and can be repeated over time in order to preserve a sense of social integration. The role of ideology, explains Ricoeur, "is not only to diffuse the conviction beyond the circle of founding fathers, so as to make it the creed of the entire group; its role is also to perpetuate the initial energy beyond the period of effervescence. It is into this gap, characteristic of all situations apres coup, that the images and interpretations intervene. A founding act can be revived and reactualized only in an interpretation which models it retroactively, through a representation of itself."9 It is arguable, moreover, that no social group could exist without this indirect relation to its own inaugural event. "The ideological phenomenon thus begins very early; for domestication by memory is accompanied not only by consensus, but also by convention and rationalization (in the Freudian sense).... At this point, ideology... continues to be mobilizing only insofar as it is justificatory."10 The ideological recollection of foundational images has the purpose, therefore, of both integrating and justifying a social order. While this can accompany a cultural or national revival, it can also give rise to a "stagnation of politics," a situation where each power rehearses an anterior power: "Every prince wants to be Caesar, every Caesar wants to be Alexander, every Alexander wants to Hellenise an Oriental despot."11 Either way, ideology entails a process of schematization and ritualization that stereotypes social action and permits a social group to recollect itself through rhetorical maxims and idealized self-images. In this sense, Durkheim identifies ideology as the inner mechanism of the "national spirit,"12 a notion pursued by Althusser, who sees it as the political vacuum of conservative nation-states turned in upon their own fetishized images (or what Lacanian psychoanalysis, from which Althusser drew, would call the narcissistic imaginary of the "mirror-phase").13

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If the schematic "rationalizations of ideology" bring about social integration, they do so paradoxically, at a "pre-rational" level. The ideology of foundational myths operates behind our backs, as it were, rather than appearing as a transparent theme. We think from ideology rather than about it. Moreover, it is precisely because the codes of the ideological imaginary function in this oblique manner that the practice of distortion and dissimulation can occur. This is the epistemological reason for Marx's denouncing ideology as the falsifying projection of "an inverted image of our own position in society." Ideology is by its nature an "uncritical instance" and thus easily susceptible to deceit, alienation, and, by extension, intolerance. All too frequently, ideology functions in a reactionary or at least socially conservative fashion. "It signifies that what is new can only be accommodated in terms of the typical, itself stemming from the sedimentation of social experience."14 Consequently, the future—as opening up that which is unassimilable and unprecedented vis-a-vis the pre-existing imaginary—is often translated back into the established "types" of the past. This accounts for the fact that many social groups display traits of ideological orthodoxy that render them intolerant toward what is marginal, different, or alien. Pluralism and permissiveness are the betes noires of social orthodoxy. They represent the intolerable. The phenomenon of the intolerable arises when the experience of radical novelty threatens the possibility of the social group's recognizing itself in a retrospective reference to its hallowed traditions. (I shall return to this question of tradition in my next chapter.) But it can also function in a dissimulating capacity to the extent that it conceals the gap between what is and what ought to be—that is, between our currently lived reality and the ideal world of our traditional self-images.15 By masking the gulf that separates contemporary historical experience from mythic memory, ideology often justifies the status quo by presuming that nothing has changed. Self-dissimulation expresses itself as a resistance to change—as a closure to new possibilities of self-imagination. While it is virtually impossible for a social consciousness to endure otherwise than through some kind of interpretive detour via ideological codes, there is always the danger of reducing the challenge of the new to the acceptable limits of an established heritage of meaning. With this in mind, I proceed to analyze how the ideological functions of integration and dissimulation may become joint allies of domination. DOMINATION This function of the ideological imaginary raises the vexed question of the hierarchical organization of society—the question of authority. As Max Weber and later Jiirgen Habermas observed, social systems tend to legitimize themselves through an ideology that justifies their right to secure and retain power.

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The process of legitimation is inherently problematic, however, insofar as there exists a disparity between the nation-state's ideological claim to authority and the answering belief of the public. Ideology thus entails a surplus-value of claim over response, of power over freedom. Put in another way, if a system's claim to authority were fully consented to by those whom it governs, there would be no urgent need for the persuasive/coercive strategies of ideology. Ideology operates, accordingly, as a "surplus-value" symptomatic of a discrepancy between the legitimizing "ought" of normative codes, on the one hand, and the "is" of lived social existence, on the other. It is because there is no transparent coincidence between the claim to authority and the response to this claim that ideology is deemed necessary to preserve the semblance of a united social consensus. Ideology assures what Weber termed the "charismatic" function of the social imaginary. It is a direct consequence of modernity, for it seeks to fill the gap left by the diminution of tradition. Ideology attempts to compensate for the modern "disenchantment" of society. This analysis of domination is comparable to Marx's celebrated critique of ideology. 16 Marx, as mentioned above, identified the ideological function of domination as a distorting inversion of the true relation of things. In The German Ideology he wrote that "if in all ideology men and their circumstances appear upside down as in a camera obscura, this phenomenon arises just as much from their historical life-process as the inversion of objects on the retina does from their physical life-process." Marx developed Feuerbach's suggestion that religion is ideology par excellence. By projecting a heavenly other-world beyond the historical world, religion inverts the true relation between the imaginary and the real—superstructure and infrastructure—and makes man stand on his head. This inversion represents, for Marx, the fundamental form and content of all ideological systems, ranging from the ancient mythological cosmogonies to the metaphysical idealisms of Plato, Descartes, and even Hegel. Ideology is thus considered the agency of false consciousness insofar as it gives priority to the imaginary over the material, to superstructural theory over infrastructural praxis. Marx's critique of ideology is a hermeneutic of suspicion that proposes to invert the inversion—to liberate us from our false idealizations so that we may repossess ourselves as we are in reality. In this respect it is an "archeological" interpretation that relocates the origin (arche) of meaning in the material forces and relations of production. Marxist critique serves the useful purpose of negating the negative function of ideology. It unmasks illusory representations that serve the interests of the dominant class by keeping the dominated class servile. Any genuine commitment to religion must be prepared to expose itself to the risk of this purgative hermeneutic. A critique of religion nourished by Feuerbach, Marx, and the masters of suspicion "pertains to the mature faith of modern man."17 A genuine theistic hermeneutic would do well, therefore, to appropriate to itself the

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demystification of religion as a "mask of fear, a mask of domination, a mask of hate." A Marxist critique of ideology could thus be endorsed as "a view through which any kind of mediation of faith must pass. . . . To smash the idols is also to let [authentic] symbols speak."18 The Marxist critique of the religious imaginary has serious shortcomings, however. Marx's equation of the form of ideology with a specifically religious content, and his equation of the latter with the sole function of inversion and domination, lead to a reductive understanding of the religious imaginary. While it is true that a religious imaginary can serve the interests of class domination, it can also serve other interests—for example, the interest in emancipation. (I shall return to this point in my discussion of the hermeneutics of affirmation.) Even within the critical perspective of a hermeneutics of suspicion, Marx's exclusive equation of ideology with the distorting practice of religious inversion is too limited. Ideology is a broader and more extensive phenomenon than Marx realized. With the demise of religion as the dominant superstructure of society, other discourses come to serve as the ideological means of justifying and integrating new orders of domination. In the modern era, science frequently fulfills the role of ideological legitimation even though it was, ironically, science that claimed to overcome ideology. While indebted to Marx, therefore, for exposing a specifically religious version of ideological inversion, we should supplement this critique with a further critique of the claim of scientific reason itself to have discovered some postideological vantage point of total knowledge. The positivist claim to non-ideological rationality is both naive and deceptive. In fact, one could argue, taking a cue from the Frankfurt School, that such a claim itself constitutes a new form of ideology, for it justifies a new social order dominated by principles of disinterested objectivism that mask a system of technological manipulation. Even Marxist societies, founded largely on the critique of ideology, often lay claim to a scientific materialism that becomes an ideology of domination in its own right. The critique of ideology must itself be exposed to critique otherwise the rule of positivist reason can degenerate into an uncritical dogmatism that conceals its own ideological legitimation. In short, the unchallenged cult of science can also become an opium of the people in the modern technological era (insofar as it justifies the dominant interests of a particular social system). To the extent, therefore, that Marxism after Marx dogmatically invokes the model of scientific materialism to legitimize the official doctrine of the party and, by extension, of the ruling group within the party, it performs the role of ideological domination denounced by Marx himself. Whence it follows that the critical potential of Marxism can be realized only if the use of Marx's work is "completely disassociated from the exercise of power and authority, and from judgments of orthodoxy."19 This can occur only when Marxism extends its

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critique of the religious ideology of domination to its own tendency to replace this with an scientific ideology of domination. Ricoeur sums up his critique of Marx's critique: "That religion . . . reverses the relation of heaven and earth, signifies that it is no longer religion, that is, the insertion of the Word in the world, but rather the inverted image of life. Then it is nothing more than the (narrow) ideology denounced by Marx. But the same thing can happen, and undoubtedly does happen, to science and technology, as soon as their claim to scientificity masks their justificatory function with regard to the military-industrial system"20—that is, the system practiced by both advanced capitalism and bureaucratic socialism. Ideology, understood in the broad sense of social self-representation, is an unsurpassable phenomenon of socio-historical existence. Social reality, as LeviStrauss and Castoriadis have shown, always presupposes some sort of symbolic constitution, and it frequently includes an "interpretation in images and representations of the social bond itself."21 It is impossible, therefore, to discover some ideologically free zone from which to speak in any absolute scientific manner about ideology. Ideology is an indispensable dimension of the hermeneutic circle in which our historically situated imagination is obliged to operate. Hence, while reaffirming the need for a perpetual critique of the deforming function of ideology, we must reject the assumption that we can totally abolish ideology (understood in the general sense of a symbolic constitution and interpretation of the social bond). 22 The best response to ideological imagination is not pure negation but a hermeneutic imagination capable of critical discrimination. This critical hermeneutic would be able to operate "within" the social imaginary, while refusing any absolute standpoint of knowledge (Hegelian or positivist). Even the most scientific critique works within the limits of hermeneutic imagination.
III. TOWARD A HERMENEUTICS OF AFFIRMATION

Ideology is indeed a creation of false consciousness. But it is not only that. Once the work of suspicion has taken place, once the archeological unveiling of the concealed meaning behind the apparent meaning has removed the masks of falsehood, there remains another task. This supplementary practice of interpretation is what Ricoeur terms a "hermeneutics of affirmation." Such a hermeneutics seeks to discriminate between falsifying and emancipating modes of symbolization. Having smashed the idols of false consciousness, it labors to identify genuine symbols of liberation. This is the second function of the hermeneutic imagination. Symbolizations of Utopia pertain to the futurai dimension of our social imaginary. The hermeneutics of affirmation focuses not on the origin (arcbe) behind such symbols but on the end {utopos) in front of them—that is, on the horizon of aspiration opened up by symbols. In this way, it is possible to rescue social symbolizations from the distorting strategies of reactionary domination.

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The social imaginary can thus be divested of its mystifying function and reinterpreted in terms of a genuine symbolic anticipation of liberty, truth, or justice. To extend an archeological hermeneutics of suspicion into such Utopian hermeneutics of hope is to offer the possibility of redeeming symbols from the ideological abuses of doctrinal prejudice, racist nationalism, class oppression, or totalitarian domination; and to do so in the name of a Utopian project of freedom that excludes no creed, community, class, or individual. Utopian symbols differ from most archeological symbols in that they tend to be inclusive rather than exclusive modes of representation; they free us from the narrow security of reactionary conservativism.23 It is true, of course, that most cultural myths of a social imaginary entail both possibilities of interpretation (utopian and archeological)—a point I shall take up again in my next chapter. The distinction between archeological and Utopian interpretations of symbols, between the regressive movement toward an archaic past and the progressive movement toward the production of new meanings, has important epistemological implications. The archeological tends to treat symbolic expressions as illusory representations of some reality that pre-exists representation. Freud argued that dream symbols should be deciphered in order to disclose the anterior reality of infantile desire or trauma. Nietzsche denounced metaphysical metaphors of the suprasensible as resentful deformations of an anterior will to power. Marx criticized the religious phenomena of ideology and fetishism as strategic inversions of the anteriority of the material conditions of production over the superstructural interpretation of these conditions. According to these three masters of suspicion, as noted above, symbolization operates as an effacement of some original reality. Consequently, their respective programs of critique aimed to demystify symbolic representations in order to uncover the cause (arche) of the representation. In short, archeological hermeneutics interprets the symbol in terms of a causal reference to some predetermining reality hidden behind the symbol. Utopian hermeneutics also recognizes that symbols operate according to a double intentionality—that the ostensible reference of the symbol contains within itself a hidden reference to some meaning or value that is not immediately given. 24 But the Utopian interpretation discerns in symbols a reference that is not exhaustively determined by anterior causes. This Utopian reference is a "second order" signification, wherein a symbol can refer not just to some reality before the representation but some future horizon of value: some "surplus" meaning that transcends the limits of ideology. Here value is in front of the symbol, not behind it; it is disclosed as a posterior horizon of possibilities. This is what Ricoeur means when he refers to the "symbol giving rise to thought." In a dialogue entitled "Myth as Bearer of Possible Worlds" (1978), he elaborates on the Utopian projection of symbols:

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Hermeneutics is concerned with the permanent spirit of language . . . not as some decorative excess or effusion of subjectivity, but as the creative capacity of language to open up new worlds. Poetic and mythic symbols (for example) do not just express nostalgia for some forgotten world. They constitute a disclosure of unprecedented worlds, an opening onto other possible meanings which transcend the established limits of our actual world . . . and [function as] a recreation of language.25 I will say more on this question of myth interpretation in the next chapter.
IV. TOWARD A CRITICAL HERMENEUTICS

The critical moment of demythologization is not to be confused with desymbolization. Instead of reducing symbols to some putatively "literal" content, hermeneutic imagination exposes the perversion of symbols in order to recover their genuine value. To the extent, therefore, that certain social symbols play the role of ideological domination, they have already abandoned their "exploratory" role as disclosures of possible worlds. One could even say that the abuse of the social imaginary usually occurs when such symbols are interpreted as literal facts rather than figurative intentions—for example, when a particular nation argues that it and it alone possesses absolute truth. This leads to sectarian triumphalism. Here we witness ideology at its worst—ideology that misrepresents an imaginary project as literal possession. It occurs when a church declares that it is the kingdom; or when a state declares that it is Utopia (the sole possessor of freedom or equality). This is the language of religious wars and cold wars: the language of ideological closure. The critical function of hermeneutic imagination is not to suggest that we can, or should, dispense with the social imaginary, but rather that we can and should debunk the alienations of the social imaginary in order to restore its genuinely Utopian projects of liberty.26 I have already observed how ideology expresses a disparity between symbolic representations and reality. But this disparity need not always entail an alienating inversion of the true relations of things. It may also express a fundamental, if congealed, aspiration toward Utopian images of universal justice, peace, and beauty—images that, as Herbert Marcuse and Ernst Bloch have pointed out, endorse the categorical imperative of hermeneutic imagination: things as they are must change. We could cite here the eschatological image of the Last Days or the creation of a City on the Hill in which we may poetically dwell. Not all Utopian imaginings are, of course, liberating. All too often they have served the millennial ambitions of megalomaniacs. But abuses do not make for good law. Here again the question of ethical critique is all-important for a poetics of the social imaginary. Such critique would enable us to show, for example, that the Utopian imaginary is authentic when it serves to explode ideologies that dissimulate present injustice. Differently stated, the social im-

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aginary is liberating to the degree that its Utopian forward look critically reappropriates its archeological backward look, in such a way that history itself may be creatively transformed.27 Here it is a question of the social imaginary taking the form of a projection whereby a community expresses aspirations for a better world. If one can say, therefore, that without the backward look a culture is deprived of its memory, without the forward look it is deprived of its dreams. At best, hermeneutic imagination functions as creative interplay between the claims of ideology and Utopia. Ricoeur spells out the implications of this interplay: Every society possesses . . . a socio-political imaginaire—that is, an ensemble of symbolic discourses that can function as a rupture or a reaffirmation. As reaffirmation, the imaginaire operates as an "ideology" which can positively repeat and represent the founding discourse of a society, what I call its "foundational symbols," thus preserving its sense of identity. After all, cultures create themselves by telling stories of their past. The danger is, of course, that this reaffirmation can be perverted, usually by monopolistic elites, into a mystificatory discourse which serves to uncritically vindicate or justify the established political powers. In such instances, the symbols of a community become fixed and fetishized; they serve as lies. Over against this, there exists the imaginaire of rupture, a discourse of "Utopia" which remains critical of the powers that be out of fidelity to an "elsewhere," to a society that is not-yet.28 But this Utopian discourse is not always positive either. For besides the authentic Utopia in critical rupture there can also exist a dangerously schizophrenic Utopian discourse which projects a static future cut off from the present and the past, a mere alibi for the consolidation of the repressive powers that be. . . . In short, ideology as a symbolic confirmation of the past, and Utopia as a symbolic opening towards the future, are complementary; if cut off from each other, they can lead to forms of political pathology. 29 V. C O N C L U S I O N The social imaginary vacillates in the gap between memory and projection. Insofar as we remain aware of this gap, it can remind us that society's selfrepresentation is an open-ended process. The gap is an indispensable and unsurpassable horizon of our finite hermeneutic imagination. To deny its existence would be absurd, even ethically dangerous: Ideologies are gaps or discordances in relation to the real course of things, but the death of ideologies would be the most sterile of lucidities; for a social group without ideology and Utopia would be without a plan, without a distance from itself, without a self-representation. It would be a society without a global project, consigned to a history fragmented into events which are all equal and insignificant.30

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If, however, the gap between the historical and the ideal becomes too rigid, the ideological function of the social imaginary regresses to sterile conservatism or an escapism that denies reality altogether. In both instances, ideology functions as alienation and precludes the possibility of authentic historical action. Ideology can be considered retrievable, therefore, only when it knows itself to be ideology—a figurative-symbolic representation rather than a literal fact— and only when it ensures that the ideal is kept in close and creative relationship with the real, thereby motivating social action. Action is impossible when the disparity between the real and the ideal precludes the adaptation of our hermeneutic imagination to a historical reality constantly in flux. In the final analysis, critical hermeneutics provides a satisfactory basis for a dialectical rapport between imagination and reason. The model of the hermeneutic circle (outlined by the phenomenological hermeneutics of Heidegger, Gadamer, and Ricoeur) can be extended to include both our belonging to the traditional representations of history and our critical distance from them. The phenomenon of belonging involves the recognition that our understanding always presupposes a historically situated pre-understanding; it rules out the possibility of reaching some non-ideological vantage point where scientific reason could assume absolute knowledge beyond the limits of historical imagination. All objective knowledge about our position in a social class, historical epoch, or cultural tradition presupposes a relation of prior belonging, from which we can never totally extricate ourselves. The claim to total knowledge is no more than an illusion—another example of inauthentic ideology. "Before any critical distance, we belong to a history, to a class, to a nation, to a culture, to one or several traditions. In accepting this belonging, which precedes and supports us, we accept the very first role of ideology—the mediating function of the image or self representation"*1 Of course, it is precisely because of this belonging that we are also subject to the alienating possibilities of the ideological imaginary—dissimulation and domination. Hence the need for the second hermeneutic function, critical "distantiation." Critical distance, as Ricoeur ingeniously shows, is itself integral to the hermeneutic circle. This is so because the gap between the present, which is real, and the future or past, which are often ideal, provides the possibility of historical distantiation. Historical distancing implies self-distancing, a distancing of the subject from itself, which allows for a critical reinterpretation of self-imagining. The historical phenomenon of critical self-imagining may be compared with the textual model of interpretation. Both concern a mediation of the subject through the distancing detour of signs and images: The mediation by texts has an exemplary value. To understand a saying is first to confront it as something said, to receive it in its textual form detached from its author; this distancing is intimately part of any reading whereby the matter of the text is rendered near only in and through a distance. This

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hermeneutics of the text. . . contains crucial indications for a just reception of the critique of ideology. . . . Distantiation, dialectically opposed to belonging, is the condition of possibility of the critique of ideology, not outside or against hermeneutics, but within hermeneutics.32 The dialectic of belonging and distancing allows for the possibility of hermeneutic imagination's passing from prejudice to critical self-reappraisal, from ideology to Utopia. In this dialectical passage, hermeneutic imagination can detach itself partially from its anchorage in historical pre-understanding (representations of tradition), but it cannot do so in any absolute sense. The notion of a disinterested, free-floating consciousness is a fallacy. Scientific reason, to which critique often aspires, is obliged to remain incomplete, for it is always hermeneutically founded in the unsurpassable condition of historical pre-understanding. Distantiation never dissolves belonging. A positive feature of this limitation is, of course, the refusal of totalitarian knowledge. What we need is a hermeneutic imagination of nontotalization, which disabuses us of the twin extremes of dogmatic detachment and dogmatic attachment. This requires a proper balance between ideology and Utopia. Philosophical examples of this would be Habermas's reinterpretation of the socialist tradition as motivated by a Utopian goal of unrestricted communication, or Ricoeur's reinterpretation of the Judeo-Christian promise as eschatological project of universal liberty. Both readings involve a critique of ideology that distances us from historical prejudice while acknowledging our continued belonging to a specific historical interest—the interest in liberation. To completely renounce our hermeneutic bond to historical traditions is to relapse into the illusion of absolute knowledge. There is no shortcut out of ideology that does not lead back into ideology. When reason pretends to surmount all ideological mediation it simply becomes a new ideological function in its own right. The critique of ideology is a task that "must always be begun, but which in principle can never be completed."33

6
Hermeneutics of Myth and Tradition (Ricoeur II)
One of the most pressing tasks facing our culture, says Ricoeur, is to ensure a creative relationship between tradition and the historical future.1 I will now examine 1) what precisely Ricoeur means by tradition and 2) how tradition may be positively related to history through a critical hermeneutics of myth. Taking myth as the primordial expression of the collective social imaginary, I investigate its often neglected resources for a "poetics of the possible." Once again we confront the poetics/ethics relationship. In many respects, this chapter may be read as a sequel to Chapter 5, rehearsing the dialectic of the social imaginary in terms of a more specific application—to tradition and myth.
HERMENEUTICS OF TRADITION

In the third volume of Time and Narrative, entitled Narrated Time, Ricoeur offers a comprehensive account of key concepts of tradition. The analysis is concentrated in the seventh chapter, "Toward a Hermeneutics of Historical Consciousness." Having renounced the Hegelian claim to a "totalizing mediation" of history in the form of Absolute Knowledge, Ricoeur proposes this alternative: An open-ended mediation, incomplete and imperfect, made up of a network of perspectives split between the expectancy of the future, the reception of the past, and the living experience of the present—but without the Aufhebung into a totality where the reason of history and its effectiveness would coincide.2 Only by acknowledging this split character of history may we surmise the possibility of a "plural unity" emerging from these divergent perspectives. The open play of perspectives, extending between past and future, requires us to revise the accepted view of tradition as a fait accompli. Tradition is now to be understood as an ongoing dialectic between our being-affected by the past and our imaginative projection of history yet to-be-made {la visee de Vhistoire a faire). 80

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The futural project of history runs into trouble as soon as it slips its mooring in past experience. History loses direction when cut adrift from all that preceded it. Arthur Rimbaud was no doubt announcing the modernist manifesto when he proclaimed, in his Lettre du Voyant, written in the revolutionary year of the Paris Commune 1871, "Libre aux nouveaux d'execrer les ancetres." But such a view, applied literally to the realm of history and pushed to extremes, runs the risk of schismatic negation. "If it is true," writes Ricoeur, that the belief in des temps nouveaux contributed to the shrinking of our experiential space, even to the point of banishing the past to the shades of oblivion—the obscurantism of the Middle Ages!—whereas our horizon of expectancy tended to withdraw into a future ever more vague and indistinct, we may ask ourselves if the tension between expectancy and experience was not already beginning to be threatened the very day that it was acknowledged.3 Ricoeur recommends that we resist this slide toward schism. What form should such resistance take? First, we should realize that the project of the future cancels itself out as soon as it loses its foothold in the "field of experience" (past and present), for it thereby finds itself incapable of formulating a path toward its ideals. Ricoeur counsels, accordingly, that our dreams must remain determinate (and therefore finite) if they are to become historically realizable. Otherwise they forfeit their capacity to solicit responsible political commitment. In order to prevent the future from dissolving into fantasy, Ricoeur counsels that we bring it closer to the present by means of intermediary projects within the scope of social action. Invoking what he terms a "post-Hegelian Kantian" model, Ricoeur advances three conditions which the Utopian imagination of expectancy must observe: 1) it must project a hope for all of humanity and not just one privileged community or nation; 2) this humanity is only worthy of the name to the extent that it possesses a history; and 3) in order to possess a history, humanity must be the subject of history in the sense of a "collective singular" (un singulier collectif).4 Warning against the contemporary diminution of the experiential space of tradition, Ricoeur resists the tendency to dismiss tradition as something complete in itself, impervious to change. On the contrary, he urges us to rediscover tradition as an ongoing history, thereby reanimating its still unaccomplished potentialities. "Against the adage which claims that the future is in all respects open and contingent and the past univocally closed and necessary," writes Ricoeur, "we must make our expectancies more determinate and our experience more indeterminate."5 Only when future imaginings are rendered determinate in this way can we retroactively reveal the past as a "living tradition." Critical reflection on the project of "making history" thus calls for an interrogation of our relation to tradition—broadly understood as our "being affected by history" {Wirkungsgeschichtlichkeit in Gadamer's phrase). At this decisive point in his argument Ricoeur calls for a "step back from the future toward

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the past." In keeping with Marx's dictum that man makes history according to circumstances which he has inherited, Ricoeur declares that we are only the agents of history to the degree that we are also its patients. To exist in history means that "to act is to suffer and to suffer is to act." The countless victims of history who are acted upon by forces beyond their control epitomize this condition of suffering—in both senses of the term. But this is only the extreme case. Even those we consider the active initiators of history also suffer history to the extent that their actions, however calculated, almost invariably produce certain non-intended consequences. (This was admirably demonstrated by Sartre in his descriptions of "inverted praxis" in the first book of the Critique of Practical Reason, e.g., the counterproductive effects of imported gold from the American colonies on the Spanish economy in the seventeenth century, or of mountain deforestation on the Chinese harvests.) However, to avoid the pitfall of fatalism, Ricoeur points to the necessity of always interpreting our "being-affected-by-the-past" in positive dialectical tension with our horizon of expectancy. Once this tension is lost sight of we easily succumb to a sterile antithesis between a reactionary apologism of the past and a naive affirmation of progress. Ricoeur posits a third way, beyond this either/or. To respect the demands of historical continuity and discontinuity, we must preserve the idea of a consciousness perduring through history while at the same time heeding the "decentering of the thinking subject" carried out by the hermeneutics of suspicion. The ethical demand to remember the past does not oblige us to rehabilitate the idealist model of a sovereign mind commanding a total recapitulation of historical meaning. What does need to be retained, however, is the idea of tradition itself. But retention is only permissible on the basis of a critical reinterpretation of this idea. Here Ricoeur distinguishes among three different categories of historical memory: 1) traditionality, 2) traditions, and 3) Tradition (with a capital "T"). Ricoeur describes traditionality in the first and second volumes of Time and Narrative as a dialectic between "sedimentation and innovation." Here he relates the category to the realm of fictional narrative (what he calls mimesis 2), but in the third volume of Time and Narrative Ricoeur amplifies the range of reference. He argues that traditionality is to be understood in the general sense of a formal style which transmits the heritages of the past. This means extending the discussion from mimesis 2 to mimesis 3, that is, to the rapport between narrative and the historical time of action and suffering that we, readers and receivers of tradition, inhabit. In this enlarged context, traditionality is defined as a temporaiizing of history by means of a dialectic between the effects of history upon us (which we passively suffer) and our response to history (which we actively operate). Traditionality, in other words, is the precondition for transmitting actual historical meaning.

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Ricoeur claims that this dialectical category enables us to obviate certain erroneous attitudes to the past. First, it refuses to accept that the past can be abolished in the manner of a schismatic utopianism or Nietzschean "active forgetting" (an attitude which dissolves history into an arbitrary multiplicity of incommensurable perspectives). But the dialectic of traditionality equally resists the idealist temptation to synchronize past and present, thereby reducing the diversity of history to the identity of contemporaneous understanding (the error of Hegel and romanticism). Avoiding both extremes, the model of traditionality proposes a fusion of horizons (a la Gadamer). It suggests how we may have access to history without imposing our present imagination onto the past. The past is thus opened up as an historical horizon which is at once detached from our present horizon and included in it. "It is in projecting an historical horizon," notes Ricoeur, "that we experience, in its tension with the horizon of the present, the effect of the past on us . . . This effect [efficience] of history on us is something which, as it were, takes effect without us. The fusion of horizons is that which we labor toward. And here the labor of history and the labor of the historian come to each other's aid."6 Traditionality means, in short, that "the temporal distance which separates us from the past is not a dead interval but a generative transmission of meaning."7 The second category outlined by Ricoeur, is that of traditions. Whereas traditionality is a formal concept, the second category functions as a material concept of the contents of tradition. The transition from form to content is necessitated by the activity of interpretation itself. Interpretation reveals that tradition is essentially linguistic (langagiere) and so cannot be divorced from the transmission of acquired meanings which precede us. Moreover, the identification of traditions with language is to be understood not just in the sense of natural languages (French, Greek, English, etc.) but in the sense of things already said by those who existed in history before we arrived on the scene. This takes into account the complex set of social and cultural circumstances which each one of us presupposes as a speaking and listening being. It gives voice to hermeneutic imagination. Ricoeur insists that the linguistic character of historical meaning is central to the entire argument of Time and Narrative. The first relation of narrative to action, mimesis 7, discloses the primordial capacity of human action to be symbolically mediated. The second, mimesis 2, operating in the structural emplotment of fiction and historiography, reveals how imitated action functions in terms of a text. The third mode of mimesis—the effects that historical meaning has on our present acting and suffering—is shown to coincide in large part with the transmission of meaning via the textual mediations of the past. Moreover, this parallel between a hermeneutics of history and a hermeneutics of texts is corroborated by Ricoeur's demonstration that historiography, as a knowledge by means of traces, depends largely on texts that give to the past

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the status of documentary witness. Our consciousness of being, exposed to the effectiveness of history, finds its complement in our interpretative response to the texts which communicate the past to us. All comprehension of historical tradition entails historical traditions of comprehension. Ricoeur sums up: As soon as one takes traditions to refer to those things said in the past and transmitted to us through a chain of interpretations and reinterpretations, we must add a material dialectic of contents to the formal dialectic of temporal distance [i.e., traditionality]; the past puts us into question before we put it into question. In this struggle for the recognition of meaning, the text and the reader are each in their turn familiarized and defamiliarized.8 Drawing thus from the Gadamer/Collingwood model of question-response, Ricoeur relates the essence of traditions to the fact that the past interrogates and responds to us to the degree that we interrogate and respond to it. Traditions are proposals of meaning that call for our interpretative response. Ricoeur defines the third category of the historical past as Tradition with a capital "T" (La Tradition). This last move from traditions to Tradition is motivated by the observation that every proposal of meaning is also a claim to truth. Gadamer's famous defense of Tradition, as Ricoeur reminds us, stemmed largely from the conviction that our historical consciousness of the past refers to some truth (i.e., is not purely arbitrary or subjective). Gadamer argued that this claim to historical truth does not come from us alone but is a voice from the past that we seek to reappropriate. The Gadamerian defense of Tradition-Authority-Prejudgment presupposes that we are carried by the meanings of the past before we find ourselves in a position to judge them. Put in other terms, we are spoken to before we speak; we are posited in tradition before we posit tradition; we are situated before we are free to criticize this situation. Whence Gadamer's conclusion that the Enlightenment claim to neutral, ahistorical judgment, residing above all prejudice, is itself a prejudice. Hermeneutic imagination is auditory imagination: it listens to the truth-claims of memory. Ricoeur suggests that the opposition between Gadamerian Tradition and Habermasian critique is not insurmountable. The hermeneutic of tradition, he points out, already contains within itself the possibility of a critique of the historical imaginary. As soon as we acknowledge that tradition is not some monolith of homogeneous dogma but an ongoing dialectic made up of different rival traditions, internal crises, interruptions, revisions, and schisms; as soon as we acknowledge this, we discover that there exists an essential dimension of distance at the very heart of tradition which actually invites critical interpretation. On this issue critical hermeneutics differs radically from romantic hermeneutics. It refuses the idea that we understand the past by reproducing in the present some original production of meaning, as if the temporal distantiation of meaning could be magically wished away. A critical hermeneutics of tradi-

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tion insists on the necessity to discriminate between true and false interpretations of history. This raises the crucial question of legitimation. To resolve this problem, Habermas had declared it necessary to move beyond the "interest in communication," exemplified by the hermeneutic sciences, to the "interest in emancipation," exemplified by the critical social sciences. Since the social imaginary of tradition is by its nature subject to ideological distortion, Habermas appealed to an ahistorical ideal of undistorted communication. The danger here, however, is that this criterion of legitimacy may be deferred to an indefinite future without any grounds in history. One could, of course, appeal to a transcendental reflection in order to provide universal norms of validation. But this move runs the risk of enclosing us in a monological transcendental deduction a la Kant. Without a dialogical dimension rooted in history, the critical moment of transcendental self-reflection cannot provide adequate grounds for the ideal of undistorted communication. In short, the validation of universal norms must itself be rooted in a historical dialectic between a determinate horizon of expectancy and a specific space of experience. Ricoeur's argument runs as follows: It is on this return journey of the question of foundation to the question of historical effectiveness that the hermeneutics of tradition makes itself heard again. To avoid the endless flight of a perfectly a-historical truth, we must try to discern signs of this truth in the anticipations of agreement operative in every successful communication, in every communication where we actually experience a certain reciprocity of intention and recognition. In other words, the transcendence of the idea of truth, which is a dialogical idea from the outset, must be perceived as already at work in the practice of communication. Thus reinstated in our horizon of expectancy, the dialogical idea is compelled to rejoin the buried anticipations of tradition itself. So understood, the pure transcendental standpoint may legitimately assume the negative status of a limit-idea with regard to both our determinate expectancies and our hypostasized traditions. But, short of being divorced from the effectiveness of history, this limit-idea must also become a regulative idea which directs the concrete dialectic between the horizon of expectancy and the space of experience.9 Ricoeur recommends, accordingly, that we interpret tradition's pretension to truth in the non-absolutist sense of a presumption of truth. This means that we respect truth-claims of tradition until such time as a better argument prevails. The "presumption of truth" refers to our basic attitude of credit or trust in the propositions of meaning legacied by the past—a primary response which precedes the critical moment of distantiation and reminds us that we are not the originators of truth but already belong to a context of "presumed truth." Ricoeur believes that this model bridges the gap between the finitude

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of hermeneutic imagination (stressed by Heidegger and Gadamer) and the validity of the ideal undistorted communication (championed by Habermas). In like manner, Ricoeur proposes to mediate between Gadamer's "backward look" of inherited pre-understanding and Habermas's "forward look" of communicative action. Ricoeur inserts Habermas's critique of ideology into the heart of the hermeneutics of tradition, thereby opening the latter to a novel project; but he insists that such a project requires a fundamental respect for tradition if it is to safeguard itself against the danger of arbitrary or ahistorical voluntarism—that is, a future project completely divorced from the historical heritage of the past. Ricoeur's conclusion to his assessment of the GadamerHabermas debate in "Hermeneutics and the Critique of Ideology" (1973) is most instructive: How can [Habermas's] interest in emancipation remain anything other than a pious vow, save by embodying it in the reawakening of communicative action itself? And upon what will you concretely support the reawakening of communicative action, if not the creative renewal of cultural heritage?10 Here we are compelled to acknowledge an intimate link between the reawakening of political responsibility and the reactivation of traditional sources of communicative action. The apparently insurmountable opposition between a hermeneutic and a critical consciousness is thus overcome. Where the hermeneutic consciousness (in Gadamer's sense) invokes a common understanding that precedes us, the critical consciousness reinterprets it in terms of a regulative idea—the ideal of unrestricted and unconstrained communication. But this antithesis disappears if one espouses a critical hermeneutics that realizes that critical theory cannot "speak from" the basis of a transcendental subject (which it has denounced), and so must presuppose some kind of historical memory. For critical theory a historical memory would not be that of romanticism (as it was for Gadamer) but rather of the Enlightenment (and its prefigurations), understood as a project of emancipation. In this way, critique as a project of freedom nourishes itself from a historical heritage that finds its modern impetus in the Aufkldrung but that actually dates back much further to include some of the oldest mythic narratives of liberty. As Ricoeur puts it: Critique is also a tradition. I would even say that it plunges into the most impressive tradition, that of liberating acts, of the Exodus and the Resurrection. Perhaps there would be no more interest in emancipation, no more anticipation of freedom, if the Exodus and the Resurrection were effaced from the memory of mankind. . . . If this is so then nothing is more deceptive than the alleged antinomy between a [hermeneutic] ontology of prior understanding and a [critical] eschatology of freedom. . . . As if it were necessary to choose between reminiscence and hope! In theological terms, eschatology is nothing without the recitation of acts of deliverance from the

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past. . . . It is the task of philosophical reflection to eliminate deceptive antinomies which would oppose the interest in the reinterpretation of cultural heritages received from the past, and the interest in the futuristic projections of a liberated humanity.11 Tradition, Ricoeur concludes, must be understood in the dynamic perspective of our being-affected-by-the-past, which in turn is related to our historical horizon of expectancy. In this larger dialectic between tradition and expectation we rediscover suppressed potentialities of past meaning which give flesh to the ideal of undistorted communication. Indeed, it is only in terms of such an interplay between memory and anticipation that the ideal image of a reconciled humanity can be invested with an effective history.12 But Ricoeur rounds off his analysis with a warning signal. This indispensable interplay between past and future is becoming increasingly threatened in our time. As our horizon of expectation becomes ever more distant, our inherited space of experience becomes more restricted. The growing discrepancy between expectation and tradition lies at the root of our crisis of modernity. "The entire present is in crisis," notes Ricoeur, "when expectancy takes refuge in Utopia and tradition congeals into a dead residue."13 Our contemporary task is to confront this crisis and prevent the tension between expectation and tradition from further degenerating into schism. This task—which Ricoeur does not hesitate to describe as an "ethical duty"14— is twofold. On the one hand, we must bring the expectancies for the future closer to the present by a strategic praxis sensitive to the concrete steps that need to be taken toward realizing what is "desirable and reasonable." On the other, we must try to halt the shrinking of our experiential space by liberating the still untapped potentialities of inherited meaning. "All initiative on the historical plane," Ricoeur concludes, "consists in the perpetual transaction between these two tasks."15 Such transaction is a role for hermeneutic imagination. I would add this critical comment, however, to Ricoeur's perceptive analysis. Is there not a sense in which the crisis of modernity also has a positive value, insofar as the gap between past and future that it opens up serves to heighten our consciousness of the problem of historical meaning? Would Ricoeur himself have devoted so much attention to the question of narrative continuity and transmission if the crucial link between tradition and historical expectation was unproblematically assured? Just as the cultural crisis of modernity has given rise to a proliferation of new literary forms, from Virginia Woolf and Joyce to Beckett and Borges, has this same crisis not given rise to a new urgency of philosophical questioning about the nature of historical truth—of which Time and Narrative is itself an exemplary witness? I am reminded here of Hannah Arendt's observation in her preface to Between Past and Future: The call to thought makes itself heard in that strange in-between period which sometimes inserts itself into historical time when not only the later

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historians but actors and witnesses, the living themselves, become conscious of an interval in time which is entirely determined by things which are no longer and are not yet. History has often shown that it is such intervals which may contain the moment of truth.16 Ricoeur's hermeneutic analysis of tradition and expectation is written from just such an interval.
II. HERMENEUTICS OF MYTH

I will now examine how the dialectic between tradition and history has often found expression in the mediational role of myth. By taking myth as a specific instance of the dialectic I hope to make the argument more concrete. The function of myth was analyzed by Ricoeur in his first hermeneutical work, The Symbolism of Evil (1960); and is defined in the general sense of a foundational narrative whereby a community relates itself to itself and to others. By means of a reference to the origins of its history, the mythic narrative seeks to account for how a particular culture or community came to be. Most civilizations have their own cosmogenies or "creation myths." These, as Ricoeur points out in The Symbolism of Evil, are usually supplemented by "anthropological myths" (e.g., myths of Adam and Prometheus), which tell the story of the genesis of human value. In this respect myth is closely bound up with tradition as a recollection, transmission, and reinterpretation of past values. Such is the function of "mythopoetic imagination." But myth also contains another crucial dimension: a poetical anticipation of the future. It is here that a critical hermeneutics of myth can help to relate tradition to the ongoing project of history understood as history-making, that is, as a positive activity of social poiesis. Hermeneutic imagination discriminates between positive and negative functions of myth. Myth can thus be salvaged as a constructive mediation between tradition and history, maintaining both elements in a relationship of creative tension. Thus salvaged, myth may legitimately fulfill its dual potential of creation and critique: the hermeneutic disclosure of possible worlds which are suppressed in our present reality and whose very otherness provides alternatives to the established order. By projecting other modes of understanding, albeit on an imaginary plane, myth can function as a salutary indictment of the status quo. The project of modernity, as we saw above, has frequently been predicated upon a rupture with the past. In contemporary movements of science, philosophy, and theology, we find repeated calls for a demythologization of tradition. The critical demand to demystify and debunk is, of course, an indispensable corrective to the conservative apotheosis of Tradition as monolith of Truth. But it has, on occasion, been pushed to extremes. The need to continually reevaluate one's cultural imaginary raises the central question of myth as narrative. Narrative imagination, understood as the

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human endeavor to make sense of history by telling a story, relates to tradition in two ways. By creatively reinterpreting the myths of the past, narrative can release new and hitherto concealed possibilities of understanding one's history. And by critically scrutinizing the past, it can, in Walter Benjamin's words, wrest tradition from the conformism that always threatens to overpower it.17 To properly attend to this dual capacity of narrative is, therefore, to resist the facile opposition between the "eternal values" of tradition, on the one hand, and the free inventiveness of critical imagination, on the other. Every narrative interpretation, as Alasdair Maclntyre reminds us, whether it involves a literary or a political reading of history, "takes place within the context of some traditional mode of thought, transcending through criticism and invention the limitations of what had hitherto been reasoned in that tradition. . . . Traditions when vital embody continuities of conflict."18 This implies that the contemporary act of rereading and retelling tradition can actually disclose uncompleted and disrupted narratives which open up unprecedented possibilities of imagining—and by extension, acting. No text exists in a vacuum, in splendid isolation from social and historical value-contexts. Tradition itself is not some seamless monument existing beyond time and space. It is a narrative construct requiring ongoing interpretation. To examine one's culture, consequently, is also to examine one's conscience—in the sense of critically discriminating between value-interpretations. Most critics of myth have focused on its function of mystification. This approach has been examined in some detail in my preceding chapter under the heading "hermeneutics of suspicion." Suffice it to recall here that critical hermeneutics interprets myth as a masked discourse concealing hidden meaning behind apparent meaning, and the task it sets itself is to remove the mask.19 In the remainder of this chapter I mention some consequences of this approach for a contemporary understanding of myth. According to a hermeneutics of suspicion, myths are not innocent, as romantic ethnology would have us believe. They become authentic or inauthentic according to the "interests" they serve. These interests, as Habermas recognized in Knowledge and Human Interests, can be those, broadly, of emancipation or domination. Hence religious myths of a kingdom may be interpreted either as an opiate of the oppressed or an antidote to such oppression. Likewise, national myths can be used to liberate a community or to incarcerate that community in tribal bigotry. The founding myths of most nation-states call for critical discrimination between authentic and inauthentic uses (see Chapters 10 and 13 below). A hermeneutic evaluation of myth involves not just epistemological considerations but ethical ones. Here hermeneutics can be complemented by the critique of concealed interests advanced by Habermas and the Frankfurt School. 20 This does not require us to crudely deconstruct figurative myths into literal

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facts. It calls rather for a critical distinction between what Ricoeur refers to as the explicatory function of doctrinaire myths, which justifies the status quo in a dogmatic or irrational manner, and a genuinely exploratory function, which puts the status quo into question and opens us to an ethical poetics, to possible worlds of justice. What is required is a hermeneutic dialectic between the claims of logos and mythos. Without the constant vigilance of logos mythos remains susceptible to all kinds of perversion. (One need only consider, for instance, the way fascist movements unscrupulously exploited Germanic or Roman myths.) The hermeneutic critique of mythos is indispensable because ideological representations are neither good nor bad in themselves but become so by virtue of their ongoing reinterpretation by each generation. That is why the hermeneutic imagination cannot afford to approach myths in a naive or uncritical manner: We are no longer primitive beings living at the immediate level of myth. Myth for us is always mediated and opaque and . . . several of its recurrent forms have become deviant and dangerous, e.g., the myth of absolute power (fascism). We are no longer justified in speaking of "myth in general." We must critically assess the content of each myth and the basic intentions which animate it. Modern man can neither get rid of myth nor take it at its face value. Myth will always be with us, but we must always approach it critically.21 The movement from the poetical to the ethical critique of myth signals a convergence of imagination and reason. It is only when mythos and logos conjoin in a common project of universal liberation that we can properly speak of authentic symbols. Whenever a particular myth is considered the founding act of one community to the exclusion of all others, the possibility of corruption inevitably arises. Ricoeur argues accordingly: The potential of any authentic myth goes beyond the limits of any single community. The mythos of a community is the bearer of a meaning which extends beyond its own particular frontiers; it is the bearer of other possible worlds. . . . Nothing travels or circulates as widely and effectively as myth. Whence it follows that even though myths originate in particular cultures, they are also capable of emigrating and developing in cultural parameters. . . . Only those myths are genuine which can be reinterpreted in terms of liberation, as both a personal and collective phenomenon. We should perhaps sharpen this critical criterion to include only those myths which have as their horizon the liberation of mankind as a whole. Liberation cannot be exclusive. . . . In genuine reason {logos) as well as in genuine myth {mythos), we find a concern for the universal emancipation of man. 22
III. CONCLUSION

The critical task of hermeneutics is not to reduce great myths of tradition to one-dimensional tracts. It entails the scrupulous disentangling of enabling in-

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terests from disabling ones operative within mythologies. This necessary act of demythologizing should not be confused with "demythizing," which leads to a positivistic impoverishment of our culture.23 The crisis of modernity is characterized, in part at least, by the separation of myth and history: a divorce exemplified in what Weber called the desacralization (Entzauberung) of tradition. This offers a certain critical distance. It means that we are no longer subject to the illusion that myth "explains" reality. We are far less prone today to believe that myth provides a true account of history. Indeed, it is arguable that it is the very demythologization of myth that permits us to rediscover its genuine, emancipatory function. Or to put it another way: having eliminated the abuse of myth as explanation of how things are, we are free to appreciate its role as exploration of how things might be. We begin to recognize that the value of myth resides in its ability to contain more meaning than a narrow history of facts. Ricoeur calls this "saving myth" by demythologizing it. To save myth is to safeguard it as a poetics of the possible.24 What is needed, I submit, is a hermeneutic dialectic between a critical logos and a creative mythos. Without the vigilance of hermeneutic imagination, myth remains susceptible to all kinds of misuse.25 Every mythology implies a conflict of interpretations, which raises important ethical stakes. It is our ethical responsibility to ensure that mythos is always conjoined with logos to prevent narratives of tradition from glorifying one specific community to the exclusion of all others. For tradition to be ethical, it must be inclusive. Ethical logos shares with poetic mythos the desire for freedom—our freedom to imagine others and others' freedom to imagine us. In maintaining a poetical fidelity to the great (and small) myths of tradition, we retain a questioning attitude. Without fidelity we become disinterested spectators of a cultural void; without questioning we become slaves to prejudice. If myth is to remain true to its promise it must pass through the detour of critical enlightenment. To belong authentically to the myths of tradition is also to be elsewhere. For hermeneutic imagination to be inside tradition is to be simultaneously outside. To imagine ourselves as we truly are is to imagine ourselves otherwise.26

7
The Narrative Imagination: Between Poetics and Ethics (Ricoeur III)
Does narrative imagination still have a role to play in contemporary culture? At a time when practices of storytelling are increasingly challenged by technologies of information and simulation, can we sustain the notion of an imagination that is both creative and responsible? Can we continue to determine which images are genuine and which fake, which enabling and which disabling? Moreover, does it make any sense to go on talking about a poetics of narrative imagination? Or to ask what rapport, if any, such a poetics might have with ethics? These questions merit serious philosophical consideration. And I will argue that they receive this in the framework of a critical hermeneutics predicated on the view that narrative discourse involves someone narrating something to someone about something. More specifically, I will examine here what I hold to be three central tasks of narrative imagination: 1) to realize our debt to the historical past; 2) to cultivate a notion of self-identity; and 3) to persuade and evaluate our actions. All three, I submit, lead ultimately to the decisive hermeneutic threshold where a poetics of narrative converses with an ethics of responsibility.1 Before exploring these issues, it is worth noting that narrative imagination is no stranger to controversy in contemporary philosophical debate. The function of narrative imagination has been put in question by several current theories. This challenge finds one of its most cogent, if ambivalent, expressions in an essay by Walter Benjamin entitled "The Storyteller: Reflections on the Work of Nicolai Leskov" (1936). Here Benjamin observes the imminent threat to narrative in our age of mass media and mechanical reproduction. The shared experience of traditional communities, based on the oral transmission of stories, myths, legends, and tales from generation to genera92

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tion, is being replaced, Benjamin argues, by the anonymous and instantaneous transmission of information. This mutation of narrative signals the end of inherited culture, with its aura of continuity, authenticity, depth, and wisdom, and the emergence of an electronically interconnected communications network. Benjamin has mixed feelings about this mutation. While bemoaning its consumerist aspects, he concedes not only its inevitability but even its potential for a new universalism transcending traditional localisms. In short, Benjamin's account of the demise of storytelling is double-edged.2 Other accounts of narrative imagination have been less equivocal. Positivist historians like Carl Hempel resist the idea of narrative imagination having any role in the retelling of history—the argument being that such narrative interference jeopardizes the historiographer's scientific claim to generalizable objective laws.3 The structuralists, for their part, are no less critical of the hermeneutic claims of narrative. Levi-Strauss, for example, reads the Oedipus story as a structural iteration of recurring mythemes (e.g., overrating and underrating of blood relations) that are fundamentally counter-narrative. He reveals a deep structure beneath the narrative functions of plot, character, and denouement. 4 Lacan reads the narratives of the analysand as a structural rebus that discloses unconscious desires that the narrator herself knows nothing of in the telling of her story.5 Foucault goes further, denouncing narrativist approaches to history as so many ideological strategies of power and knowledge: strategies that need to be demystified by a structural archeology capable of exposing the binary classifications dividing society into convenient oppositions—sane and insane, healthy and sick, normal and eccentric, permissible and perverse.6 Even Roland Barthes, who devotes an extensive study to the Structural Analysis of Narratives^ concludes by denying narrative any relation to a human person who speaks or to any reality outside of the text itself. Barthes approves the structuralist motto "in narrative no one speaks." The text becomes, in other words, an asylum of signifiers where language dispenses with reference to author, addressee, or reality and ends up relating only to itself. What takes place in a text, says Barthes, "is from the referential (reality) point of view literally nothing* 'what happens' is language alone, the adventure of language, the unceasing celebration of its coming. . . monologue (posterior to dialogue)."7 Structuralist and post-structuralist critiques often carry the suspicion that narrative is a totalizing function that suppresses difference, desire, and otherness.8 Stories, in short, are considered myths with mystificatory beginnings and illusory endings. These negative verdicts on narrative imagination are neither unconditional nor uncontestable. Most of them, I believe, are informed by a basic contradiction. Structuralist and positivistic repudiations of narrative almost invariably presuppose the function they repudiate. Thus Foucault seeks to validate his

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archeology of power/knowledge by providing us with genealogies bristling with narrative examples—the hermaphrodite Herculine Barbin who defies the male/ female divide; the regicidal Damiens whose tale of torture confounds the distinction between criminal and hero; the "parrhesiast" (truth-telling) Creusa, mother of Ion, whose complaint before her rapist, Apollo, subverts the accredited norms of right and wrong; Artaud and Nietzsche, whose madness flouts the categories of sane/insane; the parricidal Pierre Riviere whose killing of his parents explodes received taboos. In all these instances, Foucault offers dramatic narratives (historical and fictional) to enforce his anti-narrative methodology. One could make a similar point about Levi-Strauss's deployment of myths (e.g., Oedipus Rex in "The Structural Analysis of Myth" or the shamanistic tale of the blocked cave in "The Effectiveness of Symbols") to prioritize the timeless structures of pensee sauvage over the diachronic functions of narrative emplotment. One might also cite here Ahhusser's narrative reconstruction of the relationship of Marxist history to prehistory (on a par with the epistemological revolutions of Thales, Copernicus, and Freud) to exemplify his anti-narrative model of coupures epistemologiques. Once again, we encounter the paradox of narrative being invoked to reject narrative. Moreover, the fact that most of these structuralist maitres have been the subject of controversial autobiographies (Barthes and Althusser) or biographies (Foucault, Lacan) betrays, I believe, the central importance of their own narrative case-histories.9 French structuralists have been notoriously preoccupied by the place they occupy in intellectual history. Proponents of the absence of the author, they have been conspicuous by their authorial presence: Foucault's bald head gazing from the cover of Le Nouvel Observateur under the caption "L'Homme est mort!"; Lacan's performative extravaganzas on television; Barthes' media-friendly musings on the demise of the authorial narrator. These Parisian Cassandras of the end of narrative have been among the most adept practitioners of its art. Performative contradiction is not, however, the strongest argument against critics of narrative imagination. More convincing still, I contend, are the arguments for the narrative function of imagination offered by several contemporary thinkers. These range from continental philosophers like Ricoeur and Arendt to North American thinkers such as Taylor, Maclntyre, Nussbaum, Said, White, Carr, and Benhabib.10 Here we find acknowledgment of the indispensable role played by narrative in history, self-identity, and ethical evaluation. I confine most of my comments below to the hermeneutic analysis of these three narrative functions outlined by Paul Ricoeur.

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I. NARRATIVE AND HISTORY

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A key power of narrative imagination is to "provide ourselves with a figure of something." So doing, we can make present what is absent.11 Translated into the idiom of historical time, we are dealing here with the capacity to liberate ourselves from the blind amnesia of the "now" by projecting futures and retrieving pasts. Projection is an emancipatory function of narrative imagination, retrieval a testimonial function. Both resist the contemporary tendency to reduce history to a "depthless present" of "Preference."12 In the third volume of Time and Narrative, Ricoeur analyses the "testimonial" role of imagination in historical retrieval. A poetics of narrative, he maintains, must include a sense of ethical responsibility to "the debt we owe the dead."13 We would not be able to respond to the summons of historical memory were it not for the mediating/schematizing function of imagination, which provides us with "figures" for events that happened but are suppressed from memory. The responsibility here is twofold. On the one hand, narrative imagination provides us with figural reconstructions of the past that enable us to see and hear things long since gone. On the other, it stands-in-for, by standing-for, these things as events that actually happened. Here we encounter the right of the past, as it once was, to incite and rectify our narrative retellings of history. We recall our debt to those who have lived, suffered, and died. We remind ourselves, for example, that gas ovens and gulags did exist, that Nagasaki and Cambodia were bombed, that political crimes and injustices have been inflicted on innocent people over the centuries. These were not simulations. They actually happened. The ostensible paradox here isy of course, that it should be imagination that responds to the ethical summons to respect the "reality of the past." It is poetics that comes to the service of ethics as a means of recalling our debt to those who suffered and died (and are often forgotten). Narrative imagination serves in this way to recall the neglected "others" of history. For "it is always through some transfer from Same to Other, in empathy and imagination, that the Other that is foreign is brought closer."14 This process of transfer, however, is by no means obvious. In addition to narrative reenactment—which reappropriates the past as present under the category of the Same—historical imagination has a duty to the otherness of the past by way of expressing the past precisely as past, that is, as something that is no more. We are dealing here with a dual fidelity to the past as sameness and difference. The hermeneutic act of transfer by analogy seeks to address this paradox. It enables us to transport ourselves into alien or eclipsed moments, refiguring them as similar to our present experience (failing which we would not be able to recognize them), while simultaneously acknowledging their dissimilarity as distinct and distant. In short, the narrative reappropriation of the past operates according to a double responsibility: to the past as present,

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and to the past as past. (It would be interesting here to see how retellings of the Holocaust such as Schindlers List or Shoah fulfill, or fail to fulfill, this double obligation.) To the extent that it remains ethically responsible to historical memory, imagination refuses to allow reconstruction to become a reduction of the other to the self; it resists absorbing difference into sameness.15 So when we talk of narrative imagination providing us with "analogies" of the past as-itactually was, we do well to appreciate that the analogous "as" is a two-way trope of absence/presence. This point merits development. Narratives of the past comprise an interweaving of fiction and history. Once we recognize that historical narrative entails a refiguring of the past, we can admit that the telling of history involves the deployment of certain literary practices—plot, composition, character, point-of-view, and so on. This is why the same text can be at once a great work of history and a great work of fiction. It can tell us about the way things actually happened in the past at the same time that it makes us see, feel, and live the past as if we were there. Moreover, this "fiction-effect" of history can often enhance, rather than diminish, the task of standing-for. One thinks, for example, of Michelet's version of the French Revolution, a historical narrative whose literary qualities, in certain respects, are almost comparable to Tolstoy's War and Peace. Otherwise put, fiction can serve history, and this service entails ethical as well as poetical dimensions. The deployment of novelistic techniques by historians to place some past event or personage vividly before the reader's mind was already recognized by Aristotle in the Rhetoric, under the title of lexis or "locution"—a way of making things visible as if they were present. The danger is, of course, that the figural "as if" might collapse into a literal belief, so that we would no longer merely "see-as" but make the mistake of believing we are actually seeing. This "hallucination of presence" (easily conducive to dogmatism and fundamentalism) calls for ethical vigilance by historians in order to sustain a proper dialectical balance between empathetic belief and critical disbelief. But freedom from illusion is not the only ethical responsibility of narrative. Equally important is the responsibility to refigure certain events of deep ethical intensity that conventional historiography might be tempted to overlook in favor of a so-called objective explanation of things. In a case like the Holocaust, it would seem that the practice of "neutralization" is quite inappropriate. The biblical watchword Zakhor, "Remember!" is more ethically fitting in such circumstances. This is something Primo Levi, a survivor of the camps, makes hauntingly evident in his resolve to tell the story as it happened in the most vivid fashion imaginable. The recourse to narrative tropes and devices to achieve this impact is motivated throughout by an ethical imperative: People must never be allowed to forget lest it happen again. Or as Levi himself put it

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in his conclusion to Si c'est un homme: "The need to recount to 'others,' to make the 'others' participate, acquired in us before and after our liberation the vehemence of an immediate impulse. . . and it was in response to such a need that I wrote my book."16 In such cases, "rememoration" takes on an ethical character quite distinct from the triumphalist commemoration of history's great and powerful. Where the latter tends to legitimate ideologies of conquest, the former moves in the opposite direction, namely, toward a felt reliving of past suffering or horror as if we (readers/listeners/spectators) had actually been there. The distinction is important. The cause of the tremendum horrendum needs narrative imagination to plead its case lest it slip irrevocably into oblivion. The horrible must strike us as horrible. "Horror attaches to events that must never be forgotten," writes Ricoeur. "It constitutes the ultimate ethical motivation for the history of victims. The victims of Auschwitz are, par excellence, the representatives in our memory of all history's victims. Victimization is the other side of history that no cunning of reason can ever justify and that, instead, reveals the scandal of every theodicy of history."17 In such instances, the refigurative powers of narrative imagination prevent historiography from neutralizing injustice or, quite simply, from explaining things away. And this ethical task of preserving the specificity of past suffering from sanitizing homogenization applies not only to positivist historians but also to the ontodicies of certain philosophers—I am thinking particularly here of Hegel's Ruse of Reason or Heidegger's musings on the Destiny of techne (which put gas chambers and combine-harvesters into the same category).18 The ethical role of imagination in remembering the horrible is tied to a specific function of individuation: namely, the need to respect the uniquely unique character of certain historical events. Dachau, Hiroshima, the Gulag, Mai Lai, Bloody Sunday, the Killing Fields, Sabra and Chatilla, Tienehmien Square: such historical horrors of our century cannot be explained away as cogs in some dialectical wheel, as epiphenomena of the Zeitgeist. Yet it is just this relativizing tendency that our current culture of simulation evinces when it reduces narrative imagination to a play of imitation devoid of historical reference. Frederic Jameson decries this tendency to eclipse the historically unique as a "postmodern cult of the depthless present."19 But other commentators, Baudrillard and Lyotard among them, seem at times to celebrate this liquidation of reference. Lyotard claims narrative forms of imagination betray the "irrepresentable" nature of the postmodern sublime, while Baudrillard hails the postmodern condition of "irreference" where even the reality of war is reduced to a TV game of spectacle and simulation. 20 We can no longer distinguish, some postmodernists hold, between what is real and unreal in the representation of things. And one is tempted to conclude that it is a short step from Baudrillard's kind of thinking here to the claims of revisionist

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historians like Faurisson or David Irving that the gas chambers never existed (or Nolte's claim that the Holocaust is not a unique event but merely one of a variety of similar events). In any case, what the postmodern cult of irrepresentability and irreference appears to put in question is the power of narrative imagination to retrieve historically real events for our ethical consideration in the here and now. Against such a position, I would reply: The more narrative singularizes historical memories, the more we strive to understand them; and the more we understand them the better able we should be, in the long run, to explain them (rather than simply suffer them as emotional trauma). It is not a question of opposing "subjective" imagination to "objective" explanation. It is a question of appreciating that explanation without imagination is ultimately inhuman, just as imagination without hope of explanation runs the risk of blind irrationalism. The refigurative act of standing-for the past provides us with a "figure" to experience and think about, to both feel and reflect upon. "Fiction gives eyes to the horrified narrator," as Ricoeur puts it. "Eyes to see and to weep. The present state of literature on the Holocaust provides ample proof of this . . . one counts the cadavers or one tells the story of the victims."21 If history-telling, therefore, forfeits this testimonial vocation, it risks becoming a spectacle of exotica or a repository of dead fact. Neither option is acceptable. "There are crimes that must not be forgotten, victims whose suffering cries less for vengeance than for narration," Ricoeur reminds us. "The will not to forget alone can prevent these crimes from ever occurring again. ^ This ethical task of memory is not simply an individual responsibility. It is also a collective one. Here, it seems, the ethical debt to social memory joins forces with the poetical power to narrate. And we recall that the two modes of narrative—fiction and history—share a common origin in epic, which has the characteristic of preserving memories on the communal scale of societies. Placed in the service of the not-to-be-forgotten, this poetic power permits us to live up to the ethical task of collective anamnesis. The ethical rapport of narrative to history may be summarized, accordingly, under the following aspects: 1) a testimonial capacity to bear witness to the reality of the past (with its often untold suffering); 2) an analogizing capacity to make present those who are absent and "other" than ourselves; and 3) a Utopian capacity to project future possibilities where justice might at last prevail.23
II. NARRATIVE AND SELF-IDENTITY

The very notion of selfhood (individual and social) is challenged by discourses where human subjects are increasingly defined as "desiring machines" or "effects of signifiers." The best answer to this crisis of identity is not, how-

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ever, to revive some substantialist notion of the person as essence, cogito, or ego. We must look here again, I suggest, to the resources of narrative. The most fitting response to the question "Who is the author or agent?" is to tell the story of a life. Why? Because the enduring identity of a person, presupposed by the designation of a proper name, is provided by the narrative conviction that it is the same subject who perdures through its diverse acts and words between birth and death. The story told tells about the action of the "who": and the identity of this "who" is a narrative identity. It is what Ricoeur terms an "ipse-self" The narrative self involves an ongoing process of self-constancy and selfrectification that requires imagination to synthesize the different horizons of past, present, and future. (This was something already recognized by Heidegger in his hermeneutic reading of Kant's transcendental imagination in the Kantbuch of 1929.24) The narrative concept of self thus offers a dynamic notion of identity (ipse) that includes mutability and change within the cohesion of one lifetime (what Dilthey referred to as the Zusammenhang des Lebens). This means, for instance, that the identity of human subjects is deemed a constant task of reinterpretation in the light of new and old stories we tell about ourselves. The subject becomes, to borrow a Proustian formula, both reader and writer of its own life. Selfhood is a "cloth woven of stories told."25 The narrative model of self-identity has been developed by a number of contemporary thinkers, from Ricoeur and Maclntyre to Taylor and Benhabib. These advance the rudimentary argument that Enlightenment models of the disembodied cogitoy no less than the traditional models of a substance-like self {idem), fail to appreciate the fundamental processes of socialization— processes through which a person acquires a self-identity capable of projecting a narrative into the world in which it is both an author and an actor.26 Moreover, the narrative model of identity suggests that the age-old virtue of selfknowledge, first promoted by Socrates and Seneca, involves not some self-enclosed ego but a hermeneutically examined life freed from naive archaisms and dogmatisms. The subject of self-knowledge is, in other words, one clarified by the cathartic effect of narratives conveyed by culture. Self-constancy is the property of a subject instructed by the "figures" of a culture it has critically applied to itself.27 This critical application of a self's cultural figures to itself is a necessary moment in the hermeneutics of identity. Why? Because storytelling can also be a breeding ground of illusions, distortions, and ideological falsehoods. In configuring heterogeneous elements of our experience, narrative emplotment can serve as a cover-up. Narrative concordance can mask discordance, its drive for order and unity displacing difference. Indeed, as Lyotard among others reminds us, even emancipatory narratives can degenerate into oppressive grand narratives. The question of power interests cannot, therefore, be divorced from

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the hermeneutic analysis of narrative. We are constantly in need of a "hermeneutics of suspicion" (inspired by Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche) to be applied to the deceptive proclivities of narrative. Here I concur with Edward Said, who observes in "Permission to Narrate" (1984), and again in Culture and Imperialism (1993), how narratives frequently operate as representations of power: representations that must be challenged by "counter-narratives" in order that their abusive tendencies be exposed and, ideally, reversed. But these so-called counter-narratives, Said recognizes, are themselves forms of narrative—alternative stories to the official story, emergent stories of marginal or truncated histories, indirect stories of irony and subversion.28 Such unofficial narratives brush history against the grain. They put the dominant power in question. A similar argument obtains at the level of individual identity. Here the process of narrative self-critique takes the form of a cathartic clarification whereby the self comes to "know itself" by retelling itself. This may occur, for example, when a person commits herself to working the bits and pieces of unintelligible or suppressed experience into a narrative that acknowledges a certain self-constancy through change. This model of analytic working-through (Durckarbeitung) applies to both individual case-histories and to collective stories of communities. For, just as psychoanalysis shows how the story of a life comes to be composed through a series of rectifications applied to preceding narratives, the history of a society proceeds from the critical corrections new historians bring to their predecessors' accounts (mythical and historiographical). Thus do communities come to know themselves in the stories they tell about themselves. Take the classic case of biblical Israel: It is in the perpetual recounting of its own foundational narratives (Genesis, Exodus, Kings, etc.) that the historical community bearing its name is formed. Exemplifying the hermeneutic circle of narrative identity, Israel draws its self-image from the reinterpretation of those texts it has itself created. For communal identity, no less than for personal identity, stories proceed from stories. To sum up this second stage of our argument, I would say that for narrative identity to be ethically responsible it must ensure that self-constancy is always informed by self-questioning. This requires that narrative identity never forgets its origins in narrative imagination. A critical fluidity and openness pertains to narrative identity as long as we recognize that it is always something made and remade. Hence, a society that willingly reconstitutes itself through a corrective process of ongoing narrative is as impervious to selfrighteousness as it is to fundamentalism. Any temptation to collective solipsism is resisted by the imaginative tendency of narrative to freely vary worlds foreign to itself. At its best, narrative imagination remains open to the possibility of its own self-deconstruction. Sometimes it is when narrative splits itself into "little narratives" (petits recits), sundered narratives, even anti-

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narratives attesting the impossibility of grand narrative, that it remains most faithful to otherness. It is, moreover, this same propulsion of narrative beyond itself toward otherness that entails the corollary movement toward ethical commitment. Citing the well-known example of a subject's capacity to keep its promises over time, Ricoeur affirms that narrative identity is only equivalent to "true self-constancy" in the moment of decision: a moment that makes "ethical responsibility the highest factor in self-constancy."29 Thus, to return to our example of biblical Israel, we might say that it is the Jewish community's ability to reimagine itself through its own narratives that provides it with both the coherent identity of a historical people and the ethical resource to imagine the narratives of others (e.g., the Palestinians) who oppose them. The ethical moment of decision might be seen accordingly as an expression of the Hebraic constancy of narrative memory—the memory of the age-old demand to liberate the imprisoned, to care for "the famished, the widowed, and the orphaned," to welcome the stranger as the other-than-self. There is a hermeneutic circle here. But there are limits to this selfinterpretation that prevent it from degenerating into a vicious circle. First, there is the "decision" mentioned above, which, though profoundly informed and galvanized by narrative, ultimately cuts across the narrative circuit and stakes a claim for action as we move from text to life-world. Second, there is a moment of responsibility to the other, who, although heard and witnessed via narratives, is nonetheless irreducible to these narratives in the final analysis. Levinas describes this as an ethical obligation to the face of the other, while Lyotard and Adorno speak of this limit-marking alterity in terms of a willingness to surpass narrative in deference to the "sublime." Either way, there is a recognition that narrative imagination may indeed have full poetic license within the imaginary, but that it encounters limits to its own free play when confronted with the irreducible otherness of the other. Narrative imagination is ethical because it is answerable to something beyond itself, so that even where it knows no censure (within the text), it knows responsibility (to the other beyond the text).
III. NARRATIVE AND PERSUASION

The idea that narrative is ethically vacuous is further belied by its evaluative dimension of persuasion. Most narratives convey something of the Rilkean summons: Change your life! This phenomenon of persuasion has wide-ranging implications for our understanding of the rapport between ethics and poetics (e.g., rhetoric, tropology, textual exegesis, reader reception). Narrative persuasion involves some element of ethical solicitation, however tacit or tangential. I am not talking of a morality of rule, which would be antipathetic to poetic liberty. I support Ricoeur's maxim that "the imaginary knows no censorship"

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and repudiate the intrusion of moralizing dogmatism into the free space of creativity. In my view, Rushdie had full poetic license to imagine whatever he wanted in The Satanic Verses, as did Kazantzakis in The Last Temptation of Christ or the Marquis de Sade in L'economie du boudoir. What I am talking about here is not a moralism of abstract rules but an ethics of experience (concerned with cultural paradigms of suffering and action, happiness and dignity). As Aristotle first acknowledged, poetics teaches us essential truths about human experience (unlike history, which is confined to facts), and these essential truths are intimately related to the pursuit of possibilities of happiness or unhappiness—that is, the desire for the good life guided by practical wisdom (phronesiss). The fictional narrator presents us with a variety of ethical possibilities that the reader is then free to choose from, discarding some, embracing others. The narrator proposes; the reader disposes. But the pact of trust and exchange struck by narrator and reader always carries some evaluative charge. "The strategy of persuasion undertaken by the narrator," writes Ricoeur, is aimed at giving the reader a vision of the world that is never ethically neutral, but that rather implicitly or explicitly induces a new evaluation of the world and of the reader as well. In this sense, narrative already belongs to the ethical field in virtue of its claim—inseparable from its narration—to ethical justice. Still it belongs to the reader, now an agent, an intitiator of action, to choose among the multiple proposals of ethical justice brought forth by the reading.30 A further word on this: It is because ethical phronesis implies just thinking and a desire for the good that Aristotle considers it has a significant role in poetic mimesis. There is no "imitation of an action" that does not give rise to approbation or reprobation relative to a scale of goodness. And so we may ask what would remain of the cathartic pity and fear that Aristotle taught us to link to unmerited misfortune, "if aesthetic pleasure were to be totally dissociated from any sympathy or antipathy for the character's ethical quality."31 Even when narrative fiction subverts the established system of virtue—as is, happily, often the case—it is still engaged, however implicitly, in a process of evaluation. "Poetics does not stop borrowing from ethics, even when it advocates the suspension of all ethical judgement or its ironic inversion. The very project of ethical neutrality presupposes the original ethical quality of action."32 We may say, then, that poetic narratives not only excite emotions of pity and fear, they also teach us something about happiness and unhappiness—that is, the good life. What we learn in the narrative "imitation of action" we may incorporate in our return journey from text to action. This combination of emotion and learning in fiction is what prompts Ricoeur to identify narrative understanding with phronetic understanding. In a study entitled "Life in Quest of Narrative," he writes:

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Aristotle did not hesitate to say that every well-told story teaches us something; moreover, he said that the story reveals universal aspects of the human condition and that, in this respect, poetry was more philosophical than history, which is too dependent on the anecdotal aspect of life. Whatever may be said about this relation between poetry and history, it is certain that tragedy, epic and comedy, to cite only those genres known to Aristotle, develop a sort of understanding that can be termed narrative understanding and which is much closer to the practical wisdom of moral judgment than to science, or more generally, to the theoretical use of reason.33 The validity of this observation can be seen in the simple fact that while ethics often speaks generally of the relation between virtue and the pursuit of happiness, fiction fleshes it out with experiential images and examples—that is, with particular stories. To understand what courage means, we tell the story of Achilles; to understand what wisdom means, we tell the story of Socrates; to understand what cantos means, we tell the story of St. Francis of Assisi. It is the function of poetry in its narrative and dramatic form, to propose to the imagination and to its mediation various figures that constitute so many thought experiments by which we learn to link together the ethical aspects of human conduct and happiness and misfortune. By means of poetry we learn how reversals of fortune result from this or that conduct, as this is constructed by the plot in the narrative. It is due to the familiarity we have with the types of plot received from our culture that we learn to relate virtues, or rather forms of excellence, with happiness or unhappiness.34 These "lessons" of narrative imagination constitute the "universals" of which Aristotle spoke, but they are universals of a more approximate (and context-sensitive) kind than those of theoretical thought. We may speak of narrative understanding, then, in the sense Aristotle gave to phronesis, by contrast with the abstract logic of pure theoria.
IV. CONCLUSION

I summarize the relation between poetic narrative and ethical phronesis sketched above under three basic headings: 1) vision, 2) initiative, and 3) empathy. 1. Narrative imagination plays a pivotal role in providing us with ethical vision in that it enables us to see essential connections between our actions and their ends qua good and evil. If it is true, as Ricoeur emphasizes in his chapters on "narrative identity" in Oneself as Another, that fiction serves as an "irnmense laboratory" for experimenting with an "endless number of imaginative variations," then these experiments are also "explorations in the realm of good and evil."35 Ethical judgment is not abolished in fiction; it is opened to increasingly extended horizons of vision. To put it another way, narrative invites ethical judgment to submit itself to the imaginative variations proper to fiction.36 This expansion of ethical vision exceeds the conventional moralities of rule and duty.

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2. Narrative imagination also serves ethical initiative. To see our being-inthe-world in terms of larger possibilities of vision often empowers us to undertake action, that is, to better identify our goals and motives and so inaugurate a new beginning. "With the help of narrative beginnings which our reading has made familiar to us . . . we stabilize the real beginnings formed by the initiatives we take. . . . Literature helps us in a sense to fix the outline of these provisional ends."37 In other words, the more we learn about narrative emplotment in fiction the more we learn how to plot our own lives (i.e., how to combine and configure the heterogeneous elements of our temporality and identity). Because fiction enables us to better perceive the connection between agent, action, and goal in concentrated form, it prepares us to become better readers and authors of our own lives.38 This involves a certain schematization of the network of goals and means whereby we are free to try out various courses of action and play with practical possibilities. Moreover, we can say that this projective function of imagination actually generates action by furnishing us with a clearing in which "motives may be compared and measured, even if they are as heterogeneous as desires and ethical commands." It is, then, ultimately in narrative imagination that I am most at liberty to test my ethical capabilities.39 This emancipation of ethical initiative applies, once more, not only to individual life but to history in the larger sense. Ethical intervention in history occurs in that moment of initiative "when the weight of history that has already been made is deposited, suspended and interrupted and when the dream of history yet to be made is transposed into a responsible decision."40 In this way, the power of initiative proposed by narrative imagination synthesizes our dual fidelities to past and future, tradition and expectation, ideology and Utopia. 3. Finally, narrative imagination serves ethical phronesis in its power to empathize. In addition to its capacity to envision a new project, evaluate its motivations, and initiate a viable course of action, narrative enables us to identify with others. We noted this at the outset of our discussion, but we may now spell out its specifically ethical implications. Imagination provides us with an "intersubjectivity of freedom" without which we would not be inclined to commit ourselves to other persons. There is neither love nor hate, care nor concern, without an "imaginary transfer of my 'here' into your 'there.'"41 I believe this last point challenges a certain postmodern assumption that poetics has no truck with ethics. Such an assumption can issue in an aesthetic of "deliberate irresponsibility," as has been said of Foucault, or in one of undecidable "indifference," as has been suggested of Derrida.42 But whether these charges are fair or not, they do betray a loitering anxiety that postmodern poetics, left to itself, can be a feckless game. What I am claiming here is that narrative imagination provides us with both a poetics and an ethics of responsibility in that it propels us beyond self-

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reference to a relation with others (via analogy/empathy/apperception). This extension of the circle of selfhood involves an "enlarged mentality" capable of imagining the self in the place of the other. Hannah Arendt considers this mentality to be essential to genuine ethical judgment, and I believe she is right. "The power of judgment rests on a potential agreement with others," she writes, and the thinking process which is active in judging something is not, like the thought process of pure reasoning, a dialogue between me and myself, but finds itself always . . . in an anticipated communication with others with whom I know I must finally come to some agreement. From this potential agreement judgment derives its specific validity. . . . It needs the special presence of others "in whose place" it must think, whose perspectives it must take into consideration, and without whom it never has the opportunity to operate at all.43 This argument finds support in Proust's claim that narrative imagination, most conspicuously at work in literature and art, is the form of human relation nearest to genuine altruism. It is a claim reiterated by Martha Nussbaum in Love's Knowledge when she argues for an ethic of imaginative perception inspired by art: When we examine our own lives, we have so many obstacles to correct vision, so many motives to blindness and stupidity. The "vulgar heat" of jealousy and personal interest comes between us and the living perception of each particular. A novel, just because it is not our life, places us in a moral position that is favourable for perception and it shows us what it would be like to take up that position in life. We find here love without possessiveness, attention without bias, involvement without panic.44 The point, once again, is not to conflate art and life, imagination and reality, text and action, but to see how, guarding their distinctive character, they can interweave and complement each other. I am not arguing that poetics and ethics are exactly the same, only that they can, at propitious moments, be mutually supplementary. Poetic imagining has the capacity to make us better human beings. Ethical action has the power to solicit imaginative empathy with others. The "representative" mode of imagination—where I represent myself as another—may serve to liberate us from narcissistic interests without liquidating our identity. "The more people's standpoints I have present in my mind while I am pondering a given issue, and the better I can imagine how I would think and feel if I were in their place, the stronger will be my capacity for representative thinking."45 Ethical judgment, it appears, entails a basic act of sympathy whereby the self flows from itself toward the other in a free variation of imagination. Qua dialogue which opens us to foreign worlds—enabling us to tell and listen to other stories—narrative imagination functions as precondi-

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tion for the "representative" subject. It transfigures the self-regarding self into a self-for-another, the moi into a soi. I conclude, therefore, that—current pronouncements on the end of narrative notwithstanding—our postmodern society of spectacle and simulation has more need than ever of narrative imagination. Without it, we would be deprived of the power to refigure historical memory and to transform selfidentity into an ethical mode of selfhood. Narrative imagination is not, I grant, always on the side of the angels; but as I hope to have shown, it does possess a singular capacity to commit us to a dimension of otherness beyond ourselves—a commitment that, in the moment of decision, invites the self to imagine itself as another and to imagine the other as other. Were we devoid of such narrative imagining, we would be devoid not only of poetic freedom but also, in the long run, of ethical judgment. That is why I ultimately hold that the good life is a life recounted.46

Part Three

CURRENT DEBATES

8
Levinas and the Ethics of Imagining
La litterature est l'aventure unique d'une transcendance enjambant tous les horizons du monde. . . . La litterature rappeiie l'essence humaine du nomadisme. Le nomadisme n'est-il pas la source d'un sens, apparaissant dans une lumiere que ne renvoie aucun marbre, mais le visage de 1'homme . . . l'authenticite de l'art doit annoncer un ordre de justice. —Emmanuel Levinas, Sur Maurice Blanchot Several of my chapters have disclosed a need to supplement forms of poetics (ontological, mythological, ideological, aesthetic) with an ethics of responsibility. In this respect, the ethical philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, deriving from the same phenomenological background as Heidegger and Ricoeur, would seem to be of paramount relevance. More specifically, I ask here how an ethics of poetics may contribute to understanding the task of hermeneutic imagination as it addresses our postmodern crisis of the image. I Kierkegaard attributed the crisis of the "present age" to the fact that human subjects were lacking passionate commitment to thinking. Today, more than a century later, one is tempted to add that we are also lacking passionate commitment to imagining. We live in a "Civilization of Images" where human subjects are deemed less and less responsible for the working of their own imaginations. The citizens of contemporary society increasingly find themselves surrounded by simulated images produced, or reproduced, by mass-media technologies operating outside their ken or control. Even artists, as Roland Barthes argues, are becoming "copyists" rather than "creators" of images! In all this, the dominant role of imaging becomes parody. The image ceases to refer to some original event—in the world or consciousness—and becomes instead a simulacrum: an image of an image of an image. In our societe de spectacle the imaginary circulates in an endless play of imitation, where each 108

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image becomes a replay of another which precedes it. The idea of an "authentic" or "unique" imagination becomes redundant. I have analyzed this so-called postmodern dilemma of the image as parody/ pastiche/simulation in some detail elsewhere.1 Here I inquire whether the work of Emmanuel Levinas, one of the foremost ethical thinkers in continental philosophy, has anything to teach us about the ethical implications of this dilemma in contemporary poetics. In his 1972 essay "Ideologic et idealisme," Levinas offers an apocalyptic account of our society of simulation, where Sameness reigns supreme: The contemporary world—of science, technology, leisure—sees itself as trapped . . . not because everything is now permitted, and thanks to technology possible, but because everything is the same. The unknown immediately becomes familiar, the new normal. Nothing is new under the sun. The crisis written of in Ecclesiastesy is not one of sin but of boredom. Everything becomes immersed and immured in the Same . . . . everywhere the machinations of melodrama, rhetoric and play accuse and denounce. Vanity of vanities: the echo of our own voices, taken as response to the few prayers which remain to us, everywhere fallen back onto our own feet as after the exstacies of drugs. Except for the other whom, in all this boredom, we cannot let down. 2 Levinas suggests that the best response to the collective solipsism of Western culture is the assumption of ethical responsibility for the other. Responsibility breaks through the circular game of mirrors, which perpetrates the reign of sameness through blank parody, and stakes a claim for otherness. But how can such ethical responsibility resist the ideology of the simulacrum pervading our social imaginary? How, if at all, can we retrieve some ethical dimension of poiesis from the faceless Civilization of Images that informs our experience? II There are a number of texts where Levinas analyzes the aesthetic imagination, notably "La realite et son ombre," Sur Maurice Blanchot, "La transcendance des mots" (on the writing of Michel Leiris), "Agnon/Poesie et resurrection," "Paul Celan/De l'etre a 1'autre," and "L'autre dans Proust."3 In "La realite et son ombre," written largely in response to Heidegger's ontological poetics of dwelling, Levinas warns us against becoming engulfed in a "spellbinding world of images and shadows"—where enigma and equivocation rule and realities are evaded.4 He reminds us of the ethical motivation behind monotheism's proscription of idolatrous images of death.5 But he does not go so far as to suggest that the artistic imagination should be censored for ethical or religious reasons. He is calling for a mode of critical interpretation capable of retrieving art as "a relation with the other."6 And he commends the practice

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of such reflective hermeneutics in avant-garde writing as a critical defense against "artistic idolatry." "By means of such intellectualism," he writes, "the artist refuses to be an artist only; not because he wishes to defend a thesis or a cause but because he needs to interpret his own myths."7 Levinas repeatedly endorses such critical self-interpretation. In Noms propres he praises Agnon for his invocation of a certain "Hebraic saying" which "unravels the ultimate solidity beneath the plasticity of forms that western ontology teaches."8 He contrasts the captivating power of "imaginary presence" to Agnon's poetry of "ressurrection," which goes beyond the idolatrous tendency of images and opens us to the "irrepresentable as an endless fission of all that has dared to tie itself into a substrate."9 So also, in his texts on Celan and Proust, Levinas endeavors to develop a similar ethics of writing and reading, based on the simple observation that the writing of these two authors clears a path "toward the other."10 This entails, in Celan's case, a body of poetry which opens up an alterity exceeding the imagination of the author himself. Celan, he claims, is a poet who "concedes to the other . . . the time of the other."11 But what, we may ask, is the motivation of Levinas's critique of poetic imagination? Some answer, I suggest, may be found in his contrast between the "face" and the "image" in Totalite et infini.n Here again, we find Levinas deeply suspicious of the enchanting power of images once they cease to answer to the other. The face is the way in which the other, as nomad, surpasses every image I have of him/her. It is irreducible to a series of qualities that might be formed into some noematic representation, correlative to a noetic intention. Or, as Levinas puts it, "The face of the other destroys and surpasses at every moment the plastic image that it leaves behind. . . ."13 The face transcends every intentional consciousness. It expresses rather than represents. So Levinas describes it as that which I receive from the other rather than that which I project upon him. Face-to-face conversation becomes the ethical model of relation par excellence, for it is here that the other comes to me in all his/her irreducible exteriority, that is, in a manner that cannot be measured or represented in terms of my own interior fantasms. Is Levinas not therefore privileging conversation over imagination as the proper mode of openness to the other? Is he not, indeed, condemning imagination out of hand as a subjective intentionality that reduces alterity to its own remembered or anticipated fantasies? Or, worse, as that perverse agency of oneway voyeurism, epitomized by the figure of Gyges, whose ring enabled him to see but never be seen by others? While this is partly the case, it is not the whole story. Levinas's suspicion of images is not directed against the poetic power of imagination per se but against the use of such power to incarcerate the self in a blind alley of self-reflecting mirrors. In other words, the exercise of a poetic imagination

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open to conversation with the other (as Levinas claims is the case with Leiris, Celan, Jabes, and Blanchot, among others) is already one that allows the face to exceed the plastic form of the image representing it. Such poetic imagination responds to the surprises and demands of the other. It never presumes to fashion an image adequate to the other's irrecuperable transcendence. An ethical imagination, consequently, would permit "the eye to see through the mask, an eye which does not shine but speaks."14 It would safeguard the saying of the face against the subterfuges of the said. That is why, in Levinas's words, the face is that transcendence of the other which "breaks through its own plastic image."15 It is also why an ethical poetics responds to the face with the question, "Who?" (disclosing the alterity of the other person) rather than the question, "What?" (reducing alterity to an impersonal system of substances, structures, or signs). Moreover, poetic responsibility to the other refuses the consumerist status of imaging as imitation without depth or reference. It challenges the claim by certain postmodern commentators, like Baudrillard, that we are condemned to a culture of "simulation" without origin or end, sublimely "irreferent" to the other.16 Faced with the postmodern crisis of endless self-mirroring, wherein the face of the other is dissolved into a mask of fantasies, ethical language bears witness to the infinity of the other. It is this infinity which testifies to "my responsibility, to an existence already obligated to the other, beyond the play of mirrors."'7 Over and against all the fashionable talk about the "end of man," a poetics of responsibility remains committed to human conversation, to the possibility of imagination's recovering its hermeneutic power to speak one-for-the-other and to listen to the powerless cry of the stranger, the widow, and the orphan—a cry which, in demanding that I speak to the unseen other (le tiers), is already a demand for justice.18 For Levinas, not surprisingly, the best poetry is unfinished poetry. Like Celan's, whose exposure of nothingness within is in fact a recognition of otherness without. A poetry which is always an "interrupted breath" (une souffle coupie, as in Atemwende) because haunted by the recognition that its own saying can never be said, completed, closed off. In this respect, Celan remains for Levinas the "nomadic" poet, who gave voice to those who have no voice, who—like Beckett—was devoted to the failure of complete communication, to the impossibility of ending, to the refusal to bring saying to a full stop. A poetics answerable to the other, therefore, resists the temptation to mask the face behind an anonymous game of vertiginous repetition.19 It insists that language always expresses more than any plastic representation can suggest. Ethics is there to remind poetics that the other can never be captured in the lures of the imaginary. No matter how pervasive the persuasion that there is nothing beyond the image but other images, the ethical ear of hermeneutic imagination refuses to be taken in.

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III If a certain reading of Levinas's opposition of face to image in Totalite et infini leads us to believe that ethics is opposed to any poetic functioning of imagination, a reconsideration of this argument, in the light of Levinas's texts on Celan, Proust, Blanchot, and others, redresses the balance. Here it becomes clear that it is not the speaking power of imagination that Levinas objects to, only its power to fetishize or idolize images in self-referential play. Bearing this distinction in mind, it seems that Levinas does suggest the possibility of an ethical reading of the contemporary crisis of poetics. I return, therefore, to my original question of how to form an alliance between an ethics of responsibility and a poetics of imagination. Although Levinas never addresses this task directly, there are suggestive hints in certain texts. Before examining these, however, I would like to take an example not mentioned by Levinas himself but relevant to this problematic. I refer to the attempt by Claude Lanzmann, in Shoah, to portray the Holocaust in cinematic images. In this practical endeavor to combine an ethics of responsibility with a poetics of imagination, Lanzmann seeks to present the irrepresentable in and through the audiovisual medium of film. He is trying to recount what cannot be recounted, to demonstrate the impossibility of reproducing the event of the Holocaust in some kind of linear narrative while reminding us of the unforgettable—though usually forgotten—character of the event. Lanzmann refuses to portray Auschwitz in terms of spectacle or sensation. He shows no images of burnt bodies or SS kommondants. He resists the temptation to imitate the inimitable in terms of dramatic reproduction or documentary newsreel. We do not see the victims—for that, Lanzmann believes, would reduce them to "objects" of genocide. What we do see are the faces of survivors, bearing witness to the impossibility of representing in images that which they witnessed at first hand. It is the use of cinema to express the unimaginableness of the Holocaust that succeeds in reminding us we have forgotten how unimaginable it was, and that we must not be allowed to forget this forgetfulness. Lanzmann's via negativa combines ethical and poetical moves. It uses images against themselves to suggest what they fail to capture (by virtue of their failure to do so). Shoah provokes what it cannot evoke. To Adorno's question, whether poetry can be written after Auschwitz, it answers that it cannot, but that we cannot stop trying. In that sense we may describe it as a poetics committed to an ethic of responsibility. As a former disciple of Levinas, Jean-Francois Lyotard, observes: To represent "Auschwitz" in images, in words, is a way of forgetting it. I'm not just thinking here of B movies and soap opera series and pulp novels or testimonies. I'm also thinking of those representations which can and could best make us not forget by virtue of their exactness or severity. Even such efforts represent what should remain unrepresentable in order not to be forgot-

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ten precisely as forgotten. Claude Lanzmann's film, Shoah, is perhaps a singular exception. Not only because he resists the use of representation in images and music, but also because he hardly offers a single testimony where the unrepresentable character of the extermination is not indicated, even momentarily, by an alteration of voice, a tightening of throat, a tear, a sob, the disparition of a witness out of frame, an upset in the tone of the narrative, some uncontrolled gesture. So that we know that the witnesses are surely lying, or "playing a role" or hiding something, however impassive they may appear.20 We are concerned here with self-negating imagination—one might even be tempted to add, self-deconstructing imagination. For at issue is a functioning of images which debunks its own claim to representational presence. We confront a series of cinematic signifiers which refuse to be tied to a "transcendental signified." Intentions without fulfillment, as phenomenology would put it, visees a vide. The poetic refusal of intuitive closure, completeness, certainty approximates to an ethical form of deconstruction—a proposition that becomes even more compelling in light of Levinas's account of deconstructive thinking in "Ideologic et Idealisme" as "signifiers playing in a game of signs without signifieds . . . a conceptual disillusionment with the possibility of positing sense, with Husserl's 'doxic thesis,' a denunciation of the rigor of logical forms as repressive, an obsession with the inexpressible, the ineffable, the un-said sought after in the mis-said, in the lapsus. . . . " Are these not the very conditions of Lanzmann's Shoah? Or at least of Lyotard's reading of it? One is tempted to respond in the affirmative. But then we read Levinas's own concluding remark on such deconstructive discourse and take pause. "Such," writes Levinas, "is the painful rupture of modern discourse, exemplified by its most sincere representatives, but already trading on the false coin of primary truths and fashionable cant."21 Although Levinas does not mention any post-structuralist thinkers by name, it is difficult not to associate such as description with philosophers like Lyotard, Foucault, and Barthes. But the important issue here is not who's who in Levinas's allusions but how Levinas himself is to retrieve an ethical poetics from a deconstructive discourse on imagination. How, in other words, is he going to distinguish between the "painful rupture of modern discourse" as ethical irrepresentability, on the one hand, and as mere fashionable cant, on the other? Some hint of a solution appears in a passage in Totalite et infini, which speaks of a primary mode of expression where the signifier as face transcends all signifying systems and allows the other to express itself. Such language of proximity, which precedes linguistic signs, is actually an ethical language of the face as "original expression," as the "first word—you shall not kill."22 This is a language which explodes the "neutral mediations of the image" and imposes itself on us in a manner irreducible to the form of its manifestation.23 But to admit as much is surely to admit that the face has nothing really to

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fear from mediating, or mediated, images as long as we who respond to such images respond to the underlying language of the face that speaks through them? The face is only threatened, is it not, by images that would have us believe that the language of poetics can definitively divorce itself from the language of ethics? If this be the case, Levinas's ultimate position would appear to be that poetic imagining is fine as long as it remains answerable to an ethics of alterity. Answerability could itself be seen as compatible with, and complementary to, a certain gesture of deconstruction. I refer here to the dismantling of modern claims (idealist or existentialist) that the transcendental ego or imagination remains the origin of all value. The deconstruction of such subjectivist claims might indeed serve an ethics of alterity. (I return to this hypothesis in my discussion of Derrida, below.) Levinas appears to suggest as much in certain passages which acknowledge an ethical motivation behind anti-humanist critiques of the "self." The following admission from "Un Dieu homme?" is a case in point: "The contemporary anti-humanism which denies the primacy of being enjoyed by the person taken as an end in itself has perhaps opened a space for the [ethical] notion of subjectivity as substitution . . . the infinite patience, passivity and passion of the self [soi] whereby being empties itself of its own being."24 Viewed in this way the debunking of the humanist subject, construed as self-identical sameness [idem], can be seen as releasing a different kind of self, an ethical subject which like Ricoeur's ipse is open to alterity and transcendence. Such an ethical subject, Levinas insists, remains alert to the eschatological order of creation still to come, announced in Genesis 2:3, in which, Levinas insists, "everyone has a part to play."25 The deconstruction of the humanist self in the name of eschatological poetics is only ethical, for Levinas, however, to the extent that it acknowledges that "responsibility as response is the primary saying; and that transcendence is communication which implies, beyond the simple exchange of signs, a 'gift,' an 'open house/" 2 6 IV This would certainly seem to be Levinas's thinking in his readings of Proust, Celan, Blanchot, and Agnon. It is time to have a closer look at some of these. In one essay in Sur Maurice Blanchot, "The Servant and the Master" (published in 1966), Levinas praises Blanchot's writing for its "moral elevation, an aristocracy of thought." What he means is a cold neutrality in Blanchot's language which expresses the inexpressible—that experience of desastre which he identifies with our contemporary culture of absence and death. "Objectivizing consciousness is replaced by a sense of being that is detached from cosmological existence, from any fixed reference to a star (dis-aster), a being that strains toward obliteration in an inaccessible nonlanguage."27 What fascinates Levinas here is Blanchot's use of images as ciphers of infinity, gestures of interminable

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waiting that can never be fulfilled. Blanchot's words operate as intentional signifiers of a self which undoes its own self-centeredness, exceeds its own ontological ipseity, out of concern for something other, something beyond the said or the sayable, the imaged or the imaginable—what Levinas describes as a "first concern for justice."28 Indeed, one is tempted to add that what distinguishes deconstructive writing as "moral elevation" from "fashionable cant" {bavardage a la mode) is just that: concern for justice. Levinas makes a similar case for ethical poetics in his readings of Proust and Leiris. He interprets the Proustian author's endless quest for the lost self as an encounter with the "enigma of the other." The fact that Marcel never fulfills his desire for Albertine does not mean he does not love her. On the contrary, "to the extent that Marcel struggles with her presence as absence in the narrative, this struggle is love, in that it is directed not by being-toward-death but by the death of the Other, not by Dasein, but by the responsibility for the Other's death which creates his infinitely answerable 'I.'"29 The Proustian drama of solitude and incommunicability is not about the retrieval of some ideal state of self-presence. It is about an ethical relation with the other that remains forever other. Levinas reads the Proustian imagination less as a quest for lost being than "as the relational space in which I am hostage to the other."30 "Moral elevation" of a parallel kind is to be found in the writing of the avant-garde author Michel Leiris. Here again the linguistic imagination is never allowed to slip away into empty imitations but is constantly recalled to critical vigilance. Images ceaselessly undermine their own mesmerizing power, generating a movement of nomadic transcendence toward the other. They become genuine speech, which for Levinas means a "moment of critique" that shatters the imaginaire of self-sufficiency and opens us to a relation with someone. 31 As Levinas puts it, "this need to enter into a relation with someone, in spite of or over and above the peace and harmony derived from the successful creation of beauty, is what we call the necessity of critique."32 At this point Levinas contrasts writing that approximates to vision—where form is wedded to content in a way that appeases it—and writing that approximates to sound, where "the perceptible quality overflows so that form can no longer contain its content."33 The necessity of critique is met by the latter kind, epitomized by Leiris's own texts. Here a rent is produced in our imaginary mold; words are uttered which "surpass what is given." The ethical imagination of a writer like Leiris is acoustic rather than representational. Leiris's writing is praised accordingly as a textuality of verbal sound that privileges "the living word, destined to be heard, in contrast to the word that is an image and already a picturesque sign."34 Leiris invents a literature of bifurcations {bifurs) and erasures (biffures), writing which resists the idolatry of total meaning. Levinas explains: "Bifurcations—since sensations, words and memories continually turn a train of thought from the path it seemed to be

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taking toward some unexpected direction; erasures—since the univocal meaning of each element is continually altered."35 Leiris reminds us that responsible art is in the first instance an act of speech, where we hear, and respond to, the words of the other. But these words of transcendence can only assume a presence among us as trace of the other, precisely because they refuse to become flesh. Levinas spells out what he means by such an ethical ascesis of words: The use of the word wrenches experience out of its aesthetic self-sufficiency, the "here" where it has quietly been lying. Invoking experience turns it into a creature. It is in this sense that I have been able to say elsewhere that criticism, which is the word of a living being speaking to a living being, brings the image in which art revels back to the fully real being. The language of criticism takes us out of our dreams, in which artistic language plays an integral part. . . . Books call up books—but this proliferation of writings halts or culminates at the moment when the living word is installed.36 V Leiris thus serves for Levinas—along with Proust, Blanchot, Agnon, and Celan— as a poet who responds to the fetishizing power of images by producing counterimages, word-images which disclose how being for the other, in and through language, is the first event of existence. One is compelled to infer that it is just such a poetics of the "living word" that Levinas would recommend as antidote to the proliferation of mirror-images and mirror-texts that characterizes contemporary culture. The best answer to the parodic imagination is an auditory imagination critical of its own images and attuned to what exceeds them. But avant-garde literature is not the only poetical medium to testify to the ethical. The critique of our Civilization of Images does not, as thinkers from Adorno and Marcuse to Steiner and Henri imply, require a retreat from the glare of popular culture to the inaccessible reaches of high art.37 Levinas also acknowledges the possibility of media images bearing ethical testimony in his remarks on the TV news coverage of a dying Colombian girl buried up to her neck in mud after a avalanche in 1986. 38 Viewers can respond to such an image in a purely sensational or voyeuristic fashion. But they can equally respond to it as a naked face crying out in destitution. The choice of response is ours, but it is never ethically neutral. It is a response, one way or another, to the ethical cry of another. Even the decision to be sadistic in viewing such suffering—a decision to refuse to respond to the ethical cry—is itself a response to the other, albeit negative. Before we are condemned to be free, we are condemned to be responsible. Recognizing the ethical charge of media images is, I submit, a crucial step toward a hermeneutics of postmodern imagination. It is regrettable that Levinas himself never explicitly pursued this path, and that, furthermore, he adopts an elitist attitude to poetics in his almost exclusive attention to avant-garde writ-

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ing. The closest he comes, perhaps, is when he acknowledges in "L'idee de la culture" (1983) that contemporary culture in the broad sense can serve the "irruption of the human in the barbarism of being." "Culture is not a surpassing or neutralization of transcendence," he goes on. "Rather it is an ethical responsibility and obligation toward the other, a relationship to transcendence as transcendence. One could call it love. Culture is obliged to the face of the human other, which is not a given of experience and does not come from this world."39 What Levinas manifestly fails to address, however, is the right of art as art to explore a realm of imagination that, in Ricoeur's phrase, "knows no censorship."40 Even if one is prepared to admit that aesthetic images are derived from the primary expression of the face and remain, in the end of the day, answerable to the face, one still reserves the right of art to suspend judgment, however provisionally, while it explores and experiments in a free play of imagination. Levinas does not fully appreciate that if the ultimate origin and end of art is ethics, the rest belongs to poetics. Without this alibi, however temporary, poetics would cease to play freely, would cease to imagine how the impossible might become possible, how things might be if all was permissible. Deprived of such leeway, we are ultimately left with Lenin's maxim that "art is the hammer of the benevolent propagandist" or Sartre's that "words are loaded pistols."41 Polemics notwithstanding, such slogans are the death of art. Free play of imagining is indispensable not only for poetics but also, in a curious sense, for ethics itself. This Levinas failed to see. If ethics is left entirely to itself, or allowed to dictate to poetics at every turn, it risks degenerating into cheerless moralism. Ethics needs poetics to be reminded that its responsibility to the other includes the possibility of play, liberty, and pleasure; just as poetics needs ethics to be reminded that play, liberty, and pleasure are never self-sufficient but originate in, and aim toward, an experience of the other-than-self. That is where ethics and poetics meet—in those words which the self receives from the other and returns to the other: the hermeneutic act of being-for-one-another.

9
Ethics and the Right to Resist: Patockas Testimony
Think of Jan Patocka: Is it not symptomatic that the best known victim of the "struggle for human rights" in our country was also our most important philosopher? —Vaclav Havel in "Six Asides about Culture"

Throughout his philosophical life, Jan Patocka was a witness to an "ethics of transcendence." By this, I do not mean he was a theologian or apologist. In fact, when it came to confessional allegience, Patocka was of an agnostic disposition. An ethics of transcendence meant resisting every attempt, in ideas as well as in practice, to reduce meaning to a closed system. By this Patocka understood every experience of rupture or surpassing which opened up a horizon of freedom. For this reason, his thinking often took the form of a hermeneutics of suspicion with regard to the systematization of sense—be it in the guise of positivism in philosophy, totalitarianism in politics, or technocracy in science (what he referred to as "the folly of autonomous technical rationality"). Critical resistance to all forms of reductionism expressed itself in the author's adoption of a dissident stance in his native Czechoslovakia, leading ultimately to his death in Prague at the hands of the secret police in March 1977. I will show how such an ethical attitude marks Patocka's writings, from his early works on hermeneutic phenomenology to his later texts on politics. My investigation is guided by a particular question: How did Jan Patocka, founder of the Charta 77 movement and guiding inspiration for Havel's "velvet revolution" in 1989, use philosophy to make sense of the struggle for human rights in a totalitarian regime? I begin with two of the later manifestoes for Charta 77, which Patocka saw 118

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as testimonies to a "solidarity of the shaken." He is writing here primarily for his own Czech community, victim of successive occupations in a single generation. He speaks of a moral freedom that can survive in the face of a regime which deprives one of basic liberties as well as basic illusions. There are even passages where Patocka seems to echo the apocalyptic tone of Comenius, his predecessor and compatriot from the seventeenth century, who became the voice of conscience for his people during the Thirty Years' War. For Patocka, the experience of destitution under a totalitarian system disestablishes the normal life-world, and this very disestablishment sometimes provokes a breakthrough to the possibility of a new ethical community—"the community of the shaken"—beyond the reign of Das Man. In a sort of apocalyptic purgation, we thus find ourselves dispossessed, detached from our habitual consolations. We are thrown back on ourselves, on that innermost part of being where we stand irrevocably free and responsible. This ontological exposure is at the same time on ethical freedom, claims Patocka in his text "What We Can and Cannot Expect from Charta 77 "] It is the hope of the movement, writes Patocka, that citizens deprived of comforts and illusions may learn to act as "free persons, self-motivated and responsible." He proceeds to explain that "what we expect from Charta 77 is that it will introduce a new, ideal orientation into our lives . . . a new orientation to basic human rights, to the moral dimension of political and private life." In a second text, "The Obligation to Resist Injustice,"2 Patocka elaborates on this position, arguing that the motivation of the human rights movement presupposes the recognition of a difference between "the socio-political sphere of state power" and what he calls "the moral sphere." State power operates at the level of "techno-science"—or more exactly, a "metaphysics of science and technology," which prevents people from acknowledging deeper or alternative truths. Patocka describes the modern reign of die Technik in the following passage, ostensibly indebted to his philosophical mentors, Husserl and Heidegger: It is a paradoxical fact that the metaphysics of mechanism is closely linked with an unsuspected growth of human power but that this growth, instead of making man more content, more at peace, instead of becoming merely the means of a stronger life, has led to most extensive historical and social cataclysms. Only a metaphysics of mechanism made possible the typical social phenomena of modern times, specifically modern capitalism, growing out of an equally extreme objective stance toward human affairs, subjecting human conditions to an equally law-like calculus and working directly with a mechanical model of human relations.3 Capitalist and communist ideologies are, for Patocka (as for Heidegger), expressions of the same metaphysics of mechanism. The rival world systems share a common subordination of all ethical preoccupations to techno-scientific ones. And the only resistance to such an omnipresent metaphysics is found

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not in the ideologies of parties, or the technologies of science, but in the moral experience of an "interior human conviction." But if such conviction is to be anything more than private conscience or subjective sentiment, we need to be convinced of the "unconditional validity of principles which are, in that sense, sacred, valid for all humans and at all times, and capable of setting out humanity's goals."4 The most crucial consideration for Patocka is that ethical principles be above manipulation by the calculative interests of strategy or circumstance. That is why a morality is needed that is neither instrumental nor technological in essence.5 What Charta 77 requires, claims Patocka, is an ethics that is not merely "tactical and situational but absolute."6 But what does Patocka mean by this appeal to an absolute? He means, first and foremost, that an ethics of resistance cannot be sustained by a relativist theory of values. He is adamant on this point. "No society," he writes, "no matter how well-equipped it may be technologically, can function without a moral foundation. . . . The point of morality is to assure not the functioning of a society but the humanity of humans." Hence the basic maxim of Charta 77: "Humans do not invent morality arbitrarily, to suit their needs, wishes, inclinations and aspirations. Quite the contrary, it is morality that defines what being human means."7 Patocka's uncompromising insistence on a moral definition of humanity amid totalitarian abuse recalls a similar plea by Hannah Arendt in her assessment of Nazism in Eichmann in Jerusalem} Both authors are determined to affirm the priority of "the sovereignty of moral sentiment" over the sovereignty of the state.9 Both agree that there is no reason of state, or of society as a whole, that is not subject to certain universal moral principles, upon which all fundamental human rights are based. The entire Charta 77 movement depends for its validity on this conviction. And this conviction, in turn, depends on the "awareness that there is a higher authority, binding on individuals in virtue of their conscience."10 This entails a commitment—by governments as well as citizens— always to subordinate "politics to justice" (not vice versa) and to do so out of "a respect for humans and for the common good that makes us human, a respect present in every individual."11 There is, I believe, a conflict in Patocka's thinking here. On the one hand, he is speaking the language of universal human rights as advanced by the European Enlightenment, and more particularly Kantian moral absolutism. On the other hand, he is signalling the existence of some "higher authority" from which our everyday moral judgments originate. But what is this higher authority? And how does it square with Patocka's debt to Kant and Heidegger? What is the source of the "interior moral conviction" Patocka invokes with such passion? How do we have access to it, if at all? Is it the same "metaphysical assurance" his disciple, Vaclav Havel, was to cite in support of his plea for an "existential revolution of the human subject"?12 If so, how is it founded, justified or assessed?

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A number of corollary problems flow from this line of questioning; problems which, I believe, Patocka himself never fully addressed. First, there is the supposition, affirmed rather than argued for, that the ethical Idea of the Good is the ultimate project of all human action. Why, one might ask, is this project necessarily more ultimate than, say, the epistemological project of Truth or the purely phenomenological project of Being? To say that the ultimacy of the ethical is, in the first and last analysis, determinated by ethical criteria—as Patocka appears to do—is to beg the question and fall back into circular reasoning. In addition, Patocka does not seem adequately to demonstrate how the transcendence of the Good connects with the "other" as the one to whom ethical responsibility is oriented. Is the other simply a moral limit on my projection of a good life? Or the one who demands I struggle for justice (as Levinas would claim)? Or one who enters more substantially into the very constitution of my own good? Patocka alludes to all three versions of alterity, but does not appear to make the requisite hermeneutic discriminations to clarify his position. But are we perhaps asking too much of Patocka? Are we looking for answers in the wrong place? It must be admitted that Patocka never attempted a systematic work on ethics. His Charta 77 texts, where questions of moral responsibility take centre stage, were written as immediate responses to immediate circumstances. And yet, I want to claim that Patocka's reflections on ethics are more than ad hoc reactions. I want to argue that they stem from a consistent, if largely implicit, position in Patocka's philosophical thinking on the "negative" experience of transcendence. This position is evinced in both his hermeneutic phenomenology of imagination and what he calls "negative Platonism". I shall examine each of these in turn with a view to showing how Patocka's dialectic of transcendence subverts the pretense of ideology and solicits an ethics of rights.
I. HERMENEUTICS OF IMAGINATION

In several key passages of his philosophical texts and journals, Patocka identifies the primary ethical impulse with the human power to distance itself from reality. It is this power of distancing and negating which, he implies, enables us to transcend the given order of things toward a higher order of values. The following entry from his postwar journal, dated 8 June 1947, is a case in point: The problem of ethics, the problem of essential meaning of human being is to be sought in the ultimate kernel of human life. This kernel concerns the donation of intentional meaning which unfolds into the world without actually being reducible to it. It implies a transcendence beyond all reality. We understand this transcendence through the experience of separation, of distancing ourselves, taking our distance. The ethical life is our first practical contact with the negativity inherent in our very essence.

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This kernel of negativity is another name, as Patocka's phenomenological analysis will show, for imagination. From its historical inception, human imagining is informed by ethical impulses. The very first form of imaginative expression—mythology—stages a dramatic struggle between good and evil. Commenting on the foundational myths of Genesis, Oedipus, and Gilgamesh (formative narratives of Western poetics), Patocka notes how they each manifest a basic experience of rupture with the given world: a rupture motivated by a concern for the good, for some ideal beyond the actual order of things. Although this primary scruple was transformed by the metaphysics of Plato and Aristotle into speculative systems, Patocka holds that the human desire to give meaning and value to the world by transfiguring it into narrative (mythos) remains a constant of human existence. The poetic impulse to recreate oneself in creating a world is to be found not only in artistic and literary works (which Patocka analyzes in numerous studies) but in the most everyday expressions of imagination. Every human being, insists Patocka, taking a cue from Kant and Heidegger, possesses a transcendental imagination which serves as precondition of both freedom and creativity. Moreover, this imagination, above all else, emancipates us from the determinist cycle of needs and opens a path of transcendence. In a passage reminiscent of Heidegger's hermeneutic analysis in Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, Patocka offers the following account of productive imagination (produktive Einbildungskrafi): Imagination does not simply recombine sense contents but out of its own resources creates something like a synthetic scene which makes it possible to unify them and place them in perspective. We do believe, that is, that a creative imagination, just as pure intuition, can have no positive content not derived from experience, but it does contain a certain "negative plus," the transcending of all given content. . . . With the help of pure imagination we seek to analyze what experience presents as fused and to put together and synthesize what it presents as separate—thus with its help we, too, are always "beyond the limits" of objective and sensory syntheses.13 Patoc ka goes on to invoke the Kantian concept of entia imaginaria. Though they cannot be identified with the "Ideas" themselves, they nonetheless serve as "traces of the working of the Ideas."14 In other words, imagination is the tracing of transcendence. The Idea of the Good could not make itself manifest within our finite experience without the testimony of such imaginary traces. Consequently, if imagination appears to refer to a realm of non-being, considered from the standpoint of empirical experience, it succeeds in breaking through the closed horizon of objective entities and pointing to the Idea of the good. Without this transcending power of imagination there would be no such thing as moral freedom. Freedom presupposes the everyday activity of imagination, which Patocka defines as "the human creation of newness, as the source of all our efforts to detach ourselves from the fallenness to which we are condemned as prisoners of the given".15

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Elaborating on the hermeneutic interpretation of imagination offered by Heidegger in the Kantbuch, Patocka identifies the creative power to negate the given world of objects as the sine qua non of all human liberty. It is, in other words, a negation with positive ontological implications. It is the nihilating power of transcendence. Patocka calls it variously "deobjectification," "dissociation," and "derealization" (borrowing perhaps from Sartre's analysis of neantisation in LHmaginaire?), he has this to say about it: [It is] the power from which we derive all our ability to struggle against "sheer reality," the reality that would impose itself on us as an absolute, inevitable, and invincible law. This is the source of power of memory and recollection as a relation to what is no more, the power of making present what is not directly given and what does not present itself, the power of fantasy, or combination, of a synthesis of what, outside of us, had never been joined together. Here the capacity of negation breaks forth in all its forms, from a mere acknowledgment of what is not and what contradicts itself to the thrust to break up what exists, to desecrate what considers itself sacrosanct, to condemn the actual in the name of that for which we long and which is not?6 Where Patocka departs radically from Kant, Heidegger, and Sartre, however, is in attributing a moral characteristic to this "derealizing" power of imagination. To negate the real is to affirm the ideal—and that includes above all the Platonic Idea of the Good. The otherness of Platonic ideas would be condemned to a kind of non-existence, says Patocka, if the productive imagination did not make them somehow accessible to our experience. In other words, the Idea of the good would remain absent and abstract were it not for the imagination's hermeneutic capacity to make it figuratively present in the mode of "as if." At this point in his analysis, Patocka anticipates several of the points made by Ricoeur on hermeneutic imagination's power of making ethical principles alive for human agents.17 Indeed, Ricoeur acknowledges a deep debt to Patocka as a fellow phenomenologist concerned with ethical questions of this nature. But this ethical role of imagining is not confined to aesthetics. It operates on a daily basis in our ordinary lived experience, what Patocka, following Husserl, calls our Lebenswelt. The given world is transformed into a "lived world" by virtue of the fact that we interpret our actions (pragmata) according to our orientation toward the Ideal—that in view of which we act, the goal (ou heneka) of our comportments. It is precisely such a teleological horizon of possibilities, projected by hermeneutic imagination, which permits us to understand ourselves and our world. It is the precondition of Verstehen, as Heidegger made clear in Being and Time. And it is precisely because we possess this basic interpretive power of projection that we can go beyond our given situation in the direction of a non-thetic goal which links together our actions in terms of their realizable or unrealizable character.18

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Without such imaginative projections we would not have a livable world. It is by means of such projections that the objects around us become charged with value, become tools (Zeuge) for human labor, artifacts of creativity. Human existence reproduces itself by reinterpreting itself in terms of a world ready-athand {zuhanden) for its projects and plans. Here we come in contact with a primordial poetics, which replaces a purely instinctual relation to things with a cultural relationship of mediated interests.19 It is because existence is imagination and imagination is transcendence that we inhabit a world for-us, a world where we can "poetically dwell." It is because our existence is poiesis that we are responsible for it. Poetics implies ethics. The lynchpin connecting the two is imagination. There are many similarities between this analysis and Heidegger's equation of Dasein and transcendental imagination in the Kantbuch. But, where Patocka parts company with Heidegger is in identifying the ultimate hermeneutic project of human action with the ethical Idea of the Good. "We can clearly see," says Patocka, that the life-world is first and foremost "a world of good and evil, because the good is nothing other than this way of naming the 'why,' the ou heneka which ultimately guides all our structures." Patocka pushes the phenomenological reduction back to what he considers the most primordial layer of human experience—good and evil. Our being-in-the-world is above all an ethical mode of being. The contrast with Heidegger on this point is crucial and striking. "The life-world is the world of good and evil," concludes Patocka, "and its subjectivity is that of the drama between good and evil, the good and evil of an essentially finite being who can only live on the basis of his non-thematic projections—knowing all the while that our projections are always shadowed by the extreme possibility of never more being able to project (i.e., death)."22 The ethical horizon of our existence does not therefore present itself to us in specific perceptions—as one object among others. It exists as a Bild or schema of interpretation, which offers "what is absent at the level of our sensible perception in the form of a quasi-presence." Given the fact that for Patocka the ethical Idea of the Good is the sovereign horizon of all our hermeneutic horizons, it can only become apparent to us in the paradoxical guise of imaginative intuition, that is, as "presence in non-presence, the actual in the nonactual, the familiar in the alien."24 The so-called absolute invoked by Patocka seems, on this account, to be evanescent and elusive indeed, surely no basis for a foundational ethics or metaphysics. But perhaps that is just how Patocka intends it, as we shall now see.
I. NEGATIVE ONTOLOGY

The most basic human experience of absence, strangeness, or separation is, according to Patocka, death. The experience of death, by anticipation or by

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analogy, prises us free from the quotidien chain of events and enables us to surpass the given world of objects. But one has reason to suspect that this act of surpassing is less an edict of the destiny of Being (Heidegger) than a movement of transcendence toward the Ideas of the Good (Socrates). The Good, for Platonism, is the origin and end of all transcendence. On this issue Patocka seems to part company with the mainstream movement of phenomenology and to approach the more ethical position of thinkers like Socrates—or his own Czech predecessors, Comenius and Masaryk. This position Patocka calls "negative Platonism." The greatest task of Europe today, Patocka argues, is not the ontological thought of Being but the ethical "care of the eternal." Where Heidegger speaks of Dasein preoccupying itself with the question of finite Being, Patocka speaks of the "soul" criss-crossing between the infinite and the finite, eternity and time. 25 Where Aristotle speaks of being as a horizontal movement of potency becoming act, Patocka follows the Platonic idiom of transcendence toward the Idea. Europe, we are told, first emerged as a vision of the ideal—the mathematical ideal for nature and the ideal of justice for human life. The greatest danger for Europe today is that one of its own progeny — technology—should reduce this movement of transcendence to a purely horizontal and mechanical system. Only the ethical care of the soul can resist this pervasive subordination of the other to the same, of the different to the one-dimensional. It is out of concern to preserve transcendence as a surpassing of the natural world toward the Idea of the Good that Patocka privileges a certain reading of Plato over the speculative abstractions of Hegel, German Idealism, and other versions of systematic metaphysics. In his pivotal essay "Negative Platonism," Patocka explicates the Socratic origins of the idea of transcendence. The decisive overture, he claims, is to be traced back to the Greek experience of chorisrnos, or separation. Chorisrnos designates a rupture without reparation or reconciliation. "It is a gap that does not separate two realms coordinated or linked by something third that would embrace them both and so serve as the foundation of both their coordination and their separation. Chorisrnos is a separateness, a distinctness an sich, and absolute one, for itself."26 Patocka's reading of Platonic chorisrnos replaces the traditional notion of transcendence ("another continent somewhere beyond a separating ocean") with an ethical notion of freedom. His unorthodox reading runs thus: The mystery of the chorisrnos is like the experience of freedom, an experience of a distance with respect to real things, of a meaning independent of the objective and the sensory which we reach by inverting the original, "natural" orientation of life, an experience of a rebirth, of a second birth, intrinsic to all spiritual life, familiar to the religious, to the initiates of the arts, and, not least, to philosophers. 27

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Patocka is fighting not only for the soul of freedom but for the soul of philosophy—the two being intrinsically linked together. Freedom and the very idea of philosophy are beholden to each other, both testifying to that basic experience of transcendence which Platonism identified as the surpassing of entities in the name of the Idea. "For philosophy, the experience of freedom is what saves it from becoming dispersed among finite knowledge, objective, particular," writes Patocka. If the Idea is shorthand for the chorismos, and chorismos is the symbol of freedom, we can say that "philosophy stands and falls with the conception of the Idea." The great temptation of Western metaphysics has, of course, been to conceive of the Idea as a speculative abstraction; hence the perverse reduction of the Idea to an "object" among objects, a reduction which precludes liberty. Thus transcendence becomes equated with the thing toward which we transcend rather than the act of transcending itself. To put it in scholastic terms, the quo cognoscitur is reduced to the quod cognoscitur. This is the error of "positive Platonism." Patocka's "negative" ontology, by contrast, recommends that the Idea itself be gone beyond (qua "positive" metaphysical object) so as to prevent it becoming a fetish which compromises liberty. Patofcka's iconoclastic resolve is evident throughout his analysis of negative Platonism: "In a strict sense of the word, Idea, the absolute object, cannot be put on the same level with freedom; rather, we need to transcend the Idea itself, to reach beyond it, to strip it of its presentational, objective, iconic character."28 In other words, where positive Platonism sees the Idea as an absolute object, "Form as such," negative Platonism holds that "more basic than the seen, than the Form, is what enables us to see." The latter reinterprets the Idea as an act of transcendence (separation/ liberation) enabling us to see "something more than what is contained in the given, in what is presented as such."29 Patocka defines this negative reading of the power of the Idea as a process of "dissociation from mere givenness and presence"; or again, as the "power of liberation from the purely objective and given." It is "what makes it possible for us to see more than we observe. It is precisely what brings it about that in the same observed we see ever the new; it is what makes us beings who transform themselves and their surroundings, that which makes us historical."30 Patocka's analysis here is original in several respects, but it is not without comparison with certain ideas of his phenomenological colleagues. I am thinking particularly of the Heideggerean and Derridean critiques of the "metaphysics of presence;" or Levinas's engimatic description of the "Idea of the infinite," where the content surpasses any idea we can have of it. But, while PatoCka differs from the project of Destruktion by virtue of his emphasis on the social and ethical dimensions of the Good, he differs from Levinas in declining to appeal to the biblical tradition of revelation and faith. Indeed, his insistence on "negative" hermeneutics may itself be seen as a scruple to avoid any possi-

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bility of confounding a philosophy of the Good with a positive theology. He manages to obviate the trap of what Heidegger called "ontotheology" and its attendant forgetfulness of existential Transzcendenz. In summary, Patocka understands "negative Platonism" as a way of seeing that which is never contained in what is seen, that which cannot be made present as an object before us, that which is never, literally, there. The Idea serves as a sort of limit idea—almost a Kantian regulative idea—negating all attempts to reduce it to immanence: "The Idea pronounces its No as it asserts its transcendence." 31 The role of negation here serves as both a hermeneutics of suspicion and affirmation. On the one hand, "the Idea appears to us at first as non-being, as long as we take finite and objective existents as the criterion and sole possible mode of being"; on the other, its primary impetus of transcendence bears witness to the freedom of existence. "Human freedom is but the obverse of the transcendence of the Idea," writes Patocka in a telling passage. "The Idea is incapable of being seized and ineffable, an external mystery, precisely because no reality expresses it, none resembles it, every one being less than adequate to it." 32 Platonism can be interpreted accordingly as birthplace of two opposing movements in Western philosophy: 1) a "positive" Platonism which construes the Idea as speculative possession and foundation of all subsequent objectification of experience, including that of technology, and 2) a "negative" Platonism which "de-realizes" and "de-objectifizes" our given grasp of things and converts our immersion in the world into an act of free transcendence. This is the ability—shared by poetical imagination an ethical separation—to "struggle against the 'sheer reality' that would impose itself on us as an absolute, inevitable and invincible law." 33 In other words, and ethical absolute that absolves and absents itself from possession (qua foundation/presence/representation) challenges the doctrine of a foundational absolute (positive Platonism) that imposes a necessary rule of things. Understood in this sense, an ethical absolute is that which prevents the possibility of absolutism. It is difficult not to interpret Patocka's allusion here to the prospect of imposed rule as informed by his own experience of totalitarianism—Nazi and Stalinist. This remains a subtext, to be sure, but it does give singular urgency to the author's mention of the experience of loss, nothingness, separation, and struggle as a via negativa leading beyond the totality of objects to a higher horizon of value. In this context we begin to appreciate just how much is at stake for Patocka in the choice between positive and negative Platonism. While the former leads to the excesses of naturalism, technologism, and even totalitarianism, the latter sees the Idea as a call to serve fellow humans rather than to master them. "It shows that man's calling is not to rule but to serve," explains Patocka in a typically enigmatic avowal. "It shows that there is something higher than man,

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something to which human existence is indissolubly bound and without which the most basic wellsprings of our historical life dry up."34 He does not specify what that "something higher" might be, but it is clear from the tenor of his argument that it is not a pretext for facile anti-humanism but a meaning that safeguards basic universal standards of ethical struggle. This something higher, whatever it is, is on the side of the good. Negative Platonism is disclosed accordingly as both a very poor and a very rich philosophy. It is poor insofar as it renounces the traditional claim to be the key to all doors of knowledge; it abandons the pretence of scientific or metaphysical systems to explain all things to all peoples. But negative Platonism is rich in that it aims at an experience of freedom irreducible to the objective empirical order (while recognizing the legitimacy of the latter within its limits). The force of negative Platonism is above all ethical. In preserving the promise of a philosophy purified of standard metaphysical (and by implication techno-scientific) pretensions, it opens a path of thought leading toward a higher order of value that in no way denies the existential contigency of human life. Patocka sums up this philosophy of open-ended struggle and vigilance as follows: It cannot lean on anything on earth or in heaven . . . [but] it preserves for humans the possibility of trusting in a truth that is not relative and mundane, even though it cannot be formulated positively, in terms of contents. It shows how much truth there is in man's perennial metaphysical struggle for something elevated above the natural and the traditional, the struggle for the eternal and the supratemporal, in the struggle, taken up ever again, against a relativism of values and norms—even while agreeing with the idea of a basic historicity of man and of the relativity of his orientation in his context, of his science and practice, his images of life and the world.35
II. CONCLUDING REMARKS

In replacing Heidegger's ontological "care for being" with an ethical "care of eternity," Patocka does not, I believe, sufficiently persuade us why the ethical character of the soul must necessarily be construed in terms of the "timeless." Why not, for instance, in terms of the preciousness of time, as Sartre, Camus, and Merleau-Ponty argued? Similarly, we might ask why the ethical notion of self-transcendence must be explained in relation to "something higher" rather than by appeal to other humans as such? Was Patocka's view of human history so vitiated by his own experience of Nazi and Soviet totalitarianism that any surviving notion of the Good necessitated an appeal to something beyond history? Whatever the reasons, I feel obliged to conclude that Patocka's bold attempts to graft a distinctly modern morality of rights (the universal attribution of moral personality) onto an ahistorical or essential moment of existence (Platonic separation/chorismos) appear at best conflictual, at worst contradictory.

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His recourse to a confection of Kantian and Platonic universalism seems ultimately more a matter of (understandable) urgency than of argument. These reservations notwithstanding, Patocka offers powerful witness to the intellectual struggle for justice in our time. His blend of Socratic transcendence and hermeneutic imagination seeks to obviate the twin dangers of metaphysical dogmatism and scientific positivism. The final end of ethical transcendence, which for Patocka motivates our being-toward-the-good, is a timeless alterity that remains as unattainable as it is inalienable. It does not require a return to some antique Platonism. There is no adequate speculative answer to the question of the Good. Neither traditional metaphysics nor Enlightenment rationalism provides a solution. Escaping the limits of foundational and technological reason, the quest for the Good springs from an act of perpetual transcendence charged with uncertainty, suffering, and conflict (polemos). The hermeneutic imagination, Patocka concludes, is a matter of spiritual struggle, which refuses the tyranny of things as they are out of commitment to the Idea that things can be other than they are. To the fundamental yet unresolved question, Toward what does transcendence transcend? Patocka replies—the Idea. And to the corollary question, What is the Idea? he replies that he does not know what it is in itself, but he does know that the endless struggle against the injustices of history would have no basis without it. The life and death of Patocka serve as testimony to this unerring ethical conviction.

Postscript: Ethics of Sacrifice
In his 1973 Varna Lecture entitled "The Dangers of Technicization in Science according to E. Husserl and the Essence of Technology as Danger according to M. Heidegger," Patocka speaks of the experience of sacrifice as a means of breaking through the anonymity of technical life. The positivistic attitude masks moral freedom and responsibility behind a veneer of impersonal mechanistic functioning. It reduces the life of being to an undifferentiated time-space, a one-dimensional technological system. By contrast the sacrifice of someone for a value higher than him/herself reverses the purely horizontal movement of history, understood in terms of a linear scientific causality, and makes an appeal to a dimension of verticality. Sacrifice opens up a path to transcendence— a path at once ethical and poetical in character. What the technological attitude sought to conceal is brought back into view by the sacrifice of the dissident martyr or victim (the Czech word for sacrifice also means victim). For sacrifice, be it secular or sacred, operates according to a logic that refuses to conform to the common measure of calculating reason. The sacrificial subject is one who turns his/her back on the calculus of means and ends in order "to care for the soul," as Patocka puts it. This means going beyond the quotidien cycle of needs and satisfactions governed by the technological

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attitude to things. Sacrifice points past the mere totality of beings, so defined, to a hidden experience of Being. In sacrificing history it rediscovers the "grace" of history—that which may save history. Patocka names this vertical dimension of grace "the divine." But he does not, to my knowledge, go so far as to identify this divine event of saving with a personal savior god. If there is a certain Heideggerean pathos in some of Patocka's pronouncements on the matter, recalling his German mentor's phrase in the Der Spiegel interview about a divine saving power (see Chapter 4), there is a deeply agnostic skepticism which tempers it. This critical note is evident, for instance, in Patocka's reference to a demythologized experience of sacrifice appropriate to our modern condition. Here Patocka marks a telling distinction between ethics and theology proper. What interests him primarily is the way sacrifice can lead to a moral caring for the soul, bringing us face-to-face with our mortality, our finitude, our beingtoward-death. And while such sentiments appear again to echo Heidegger, it is worth remarking that Patocka speaks not of the "care of being" but of the "care of eternity." This difference of terminology may appear to be of slight importance, but I believe it marks a significant departure from Heidegger insofar as it subordinates the ontological concern for being to an ethical concern for the soul. While there is no suggestion here (as, say, in Levinas) that these two concerns are incompatible, the difference of emphasis does have far-reaching implications. The experience of sacrifice introduces conflict into the Gelassenheit of Seinsdenken; it signals the ongoing struggle for the good. For Patocka sacrifice means resistance rather than resignation, protest rather than a "piety of thinking" (a la Heidegger) or a "social consensus through scapegoating (a la Rene Girard). The sacrificial subject is the rebel par excellence, someone forever committed to the retrieval and renewal of the good in the midst of danger. This is what Patocka means when he states that "to be means to be in absolute uniqueness, exposed to a total threat."36 The threat of no-longer-being is not, however, identical with nihilism. To "acclaim finitude is not the same as to proclaim nothingness."37 It is rather a challenge to overcome our finitude by owning it. Human existence, as Patocka writes, is not only capable of "preserving itself in abandoning itself, but of transforming itself in self-surrender." Here the ostensibly negative power of self-surrender takes on the more affirmative connotations of self-transcendence for the sake of something higher. As Patocka insists, marking himself off from Nietzschean vitalism, life succeeds in "proclaiming itself to be the highest power but as a powerlessness which yields itself to the power of the higher, primordial meaning."38 This primordial meaning is not, as might first appear, an ontological power but an ethical one. Patocka is unambiguous on this score, and in one particular passage, no doubt informed by his own experience of moral resistance to fascism and Stalinism, he identifies this higher meaning with the moral transcendence of the other. The transition from a Heideggerean version of fundamental ontology to a more ethically sensitive position close to Ricoeur, Marcel, or even Levinas, would seem clear. On the subject of sacrificial self-surrender, Patocka has this to say: "An existing being can only surrender itself, dedicate

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itself, to another. The strength of the transubstantiation of life is the strength of a new love, a love yielding itself unconditionally to another."39 Moreover, this kind of sacrificial love is far more than empathy between two isolated egos; it goes beyond the egoisme a deux of romantic intimacy. It is, in Patocka's words, "free, open, universal." "True and final love" is not "love as sympathy, as fellow feeling for a destiny of the same suffering, but of the same glory, of the same victory—the victory over self-destructive self-centeredness."40 This basically amounts to a temporal relation of transcendence whereby the self rediscovers itself as another, finding itself by first losing itself for the sake of the other. It reveals that the "basic relations to the world" are, in the final analysis, "movements through which we encounter the other, our neighbor."41 The world is not for us as a theatrical scene is for a spectator or an objective scenario for a speculative consciousness. The world is a place of lived ethical relationships in which I find myself already committed, beholden, called upon—and yet free to respond morally or otherwise. In finding myself in and through the other I also find the other in and through myself. Patocka phrases this dialectical paradox of moral saving-through-sacrifice as follows: "Thus ultimately, in winning oneself the winning of the other in oneself and of oneself in the other takes place as well, as a condition of the ultimate, self-transcending movement of acclaiming our finitude."42 Patocka's analysis of sacrifice approximates here to the dialectical condition of what I have been calling "hermeneutic imagination." Patocka returns to this crucial paradox later in the same essay. Again we see him struggling with the tension between a commitment to reciprocal neighborly love (as outlined in the golden rule of the Gospels or Kant's Categorical Imperative) and an equally compelling commitment to the apparent asymmetry of sacrificial love, where the other is given priority over the self. Without any mention of Levinas, Patocka touches here on the radical ethical implications of the experience of "infinity" as that alterity which surpasses me in height and depth. Through the sacrificial experience of "giving and devoting myself" to otherness I gain an awareness of infinity: "I demonstrate my not-being-finite by giving up my finite being, wholly giving it to the other who returns to me his being, in which mine is contained."43 Deeper than fundamental ontology, it would seem, resides this more fundamental ethical vocation of sacrificial struggle. "At the center of the world," claims Patocka, "the point is to reach from a merely given life to the emergence of a true life . . . as life universal, giving birth to all in all, evoking life in the other, a self-transcendence toward the other and with him again to infinity."44 The axial point of ethics is this act of transcendence from self to other. In his Varna Lecture of 1973, Patocka traces the sacrificial experience back to mythico-religious origins, identifying it as an act of self-abnegation in the name of some higher power whose favor one seeks. But Patocka insists that this willed act of gain through loss has nothing to do with the contemporary submission of human beings to an anonymous technological power. Whereas mythico-religious sacrifice acknowledges an essential difference between the human and the divine, technological submission denies such a dimension of alterity and reduces all things to the system of the Same. Technology submits qualitative

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differences to purely quantitative calculations; that is why Patocka refuses to attribute any genuine sacrificial status to it. "In a sacrifice," he writes, the idea of a difference of order is contained in the true sense of the word. A religious sacrifice presupposes a difference of order between divine and nondivine being. A sacrifice for something or for someone presupposes the idea of a difference of order between human being and the being of things. . . . A person does not sacrifice something that is indifferent to him, something that does not concern him: a genuine sacrifice is always a sacrifice either in an absolute sense or in the sense of sacrificing that which intensifies our being, rendering it rich, content-full, fulfilled.45 Our technological age contrives by various means to suppress the ethical/ poetical experience of sacrifice. It seeks domination by reducing human beings to utilizable resources. The two world wars of our century are for Patocka symptoms of such technological domination, though, ironically, many of the victims of these wars were themselves motivated by the highest sacrificial intentions—the will to give one's life for the sake of a higher cause—call it freedom, god, or the motherland under threat. Often these victims were manipulated by politicians and generals, whose aims were those of technical domination of the planet. But this does not diminish the intrinsic difference between the logic of Technik and that of sacrifice. No one wants to die for technology; and technology knows that. That is why even the most technically minded militarists will insist that their wars are being fought in the name of God, fatherland, or Freedom rather than gold, energy, or oil. This brings us to one of the most insidious contradictions of the modern age. Technology can only attain global domination by means of military and industrial conflict, but this presupposes that people are willing to sacrifice their lives in war for a higher good. Mythico-religious motivations are exploited for purely technical ends and deprived of their original moral character. The very people who die for a moral end are used as means toward a non-moral end. Hence the paradox of modernity—that technology needs sacrifice but must ignore its moral existence. Or, as Patocka explains: "Speaking of sacrifice points to an entirely different understanding of being than the one exclusively attested by the technological age." Why? Because "sacrifices represent a persistent presence of something that does not appear in the calculations of the technological world . . . sacrificial victims, wherever they appear, relate to us as beings who essentially care about the mode of their being."46 Such care is above all ethical, and in these and other passages, where Patocka invokes the higher meaning attested to by sacrificial victims, he surely has compatriot Czech martyrs, Jan Hus and Jan Palach in mind. (Though the meaning of sacrifice is, for Patocka, of universal rather than exclusively national import.) Sacrificial victims challenge a technological or totalitarian system by testifying to the existence of transcendent values which are, by definition, non-objectifiable, non-utilizable, and non-calculable. The fact that sacrifice continues to play a role in our technological age is a sign that change and transformation are not impossible. The conclusion of the Varna Lecture on the dangers of Technik is exemplary in this regard:

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Those who sacrifice themselves do not. . . ignore certain concrete historical social goals, they have another focus. In giving themselves for something, they dedicate themselves to that of which it cannot be said that it is something, or something objective. The sacrifice becomes meaningful as the making explicit of the authentic relation between the essential core of man and the ground of understanding which makes him human. . . . Out of just this situation stems the need for man to take the part of this ground and to commit himself for it, thereby, however, first winning his humanity in the true sense of the word . . . becoming a force [which] might be transformed into a saving one through sacrifice."47 It is perhaps curious that Patocka, having refrained from explicit theological analogies throughout his analysis of sacrifice, should appear to privilege a Christian model in his conclusion. He does insist, nonetheless, that he is concerned only with a radically "demythologized" Christianity: Christianity differs from those religions which conceived of the divine always as a power and a force, and of a sacrifice as the activity which places this power under an obligation. Christianity . . . placed at the center a radical sacrifice and rested its cause on the maturity of the human being. The divine in the sense of the suprahuman, the suprahuman in the sense of turning away from ordinary everydayness, rests precisely in the radicalness of the sacrifice. Perhaps it is in this sense that we need to seek the fully ripened form of demythologized Christianity.48 A demythologized notion of Christian sacrifice is hailed by Patocka as an effective means of overcoming the reign of Technik> both in the form of a technological "ego" that reduces the world to its own will-to-power and in the form of a technological ethos which reduces the movement of history to a reservoir of disposable production and consumption. But while Patocka himself neglects to explain or expand on the theological implications of demythologized Christian sacrifice, it is clear that such a version is fundamentally critical and ethical in character. It is not altogether unprecedented. One is reminded, perhaps most obviously, of Bultmann and Girard with their anti-mythological reading of Christian sacrifice (see Chapter 10); or of Ricoeur when he speaks of breaking the "idols" of Christianity so that its authentic "symbols" can speak; or, even, of Merleau-Ponty when he claims in Signs that "there is a sort of impotence of God without us, and Christ attests that God would not be fully God without becoming fully man. . . . Transcendence no longer hangs over man; he becomes, strangely, its privileged bearer." It is in this last sense of refusing to identify the divine with some metaphysical entity, presiding over our collective misery in a distant otherworld, that Patocka identifies a genuinely Christian understanding of sacrifice as "not a sacrifice for something or for someone, even though in a sense it is a sacrifice for everything and for all." "In a certain essential sense," he adds with full awareness of the paradox involved, "it is a sacrifice for nothing, if thereby we mean that which is no existing particular."49 Here "nothing" is used not in the sense of nihilism but in the sense advanced by negative theology and the great mystics; and also by modern authors like

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Samuel Beckett, who love to rehearse the persuasion that "nothing is more real than nothing." Nothing is, in short, another word for transcendence—the key theme of Patocka's ethical attitude. True to his critical principles, Patocka resists all attempts to romanticize the phenomenon of sacrifice. The abuses of sacrifice are legion, he acknowledges, from the blood-letting rites of paganism and "mythologized" Christianity; to the subordination of individuals to amoral forces of violence, as in the wars for technological domination; to the anonymous apocalypse of Being. Patocka's insistence on critical discrimination between moral and immoral uses of sacrifice is also evident in his scarcely disguised critique of the Heideggerean notion of heroic sacrifice. While Patocka frequently confirms Heidegger's idea of existential transcendence as a surpassing of the inauthentic fallenness of everyday life, he differs from his fellow phenomenologist in stating that authentic Dasein remains at all times responsible before the ethical needs of the other— whether this take the form of health care, justice, civic rights, or well-being.50 Heroic sacrifice is answerable to the moral needs of the other. The leap into the void must be made with an eye to justice. The movement of transcendence towards must always be a transcendence toward the other. Authenticity of self cannot be bought at the expense of the other. It is in emphasizing the irreducible role of ethical responsibility that Patocka most clearly demarcates his philosophy from Heidegger's. In the experience of breakthrough—which Patocka names as the third and ultimate movement of existence—the human subject finds itself in an intersubjective encounter with another who transcends it. As the Czech commentator of Patocka, Ilja Srubar, has stated: It is in understanding the fundamental role which sociality plays in the fulfillment of existence that Patocka distinguishes himself from Heidegger. Sociality is not introduced here in terms of a polarity between the fallenness of being-with (Mitsein) and the creative Volk of authentic history; rather it is a constant co-founding moment of the "in view of which" of Dasein, but also always of the being of the other. It is only on the basis of such a possibility of being that philosophy can intercede as a path, as a practical mode of lighting up Being, and not only as the question of Being but as the question of being with others.51 This scrupulous concern for the social justice of fellow humans is a distinguishing feature of Patocka's thought, which draws not only from the tradition of Christian sacrifice but also from the teaching of Socrates. Patocka's ethics of sacrifice is shadowed throughout by the lived experience of historical tragedy. I have mentioned on several occasions how his personal suffering at the hands of a totalitarian security force informed his remarks on the need for resistance. Privation, imprisonment, the failure of the Prague Spring, official censure (only eight years in his entire philosophical career were spent free of censorship): these conditions combined to provoke a certain apocalyptic tone in Patocka's thinking. This might account, for instance, for his critique of the rationalist humanism of two of his most formative mentors, Masaryk and Husserl. While he endorsed their attack on the positivist character of modern

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science, he displayed a marked suspicion of their faith in rational progress. Patocka dismissed such optimism as a naive legacy of the Enlightenment. In an early essay "Titanism" (1936), he reproaches Masaryk for an uncritical belief in the inherent rationality of history, suggesting that it reduces the meaning of human being to the objective order of nature. As Erazim Kohak observes, "Any attempt to find a clue to human meaning in the objective order of either history or nature was equally suspect" for Patocka.52 If Patocka supported Husserl's view that the European crisis resulted from the domination of existence by ungrounded technical reason (he defines Nazism as an unholy alliance between a rationalism of means and an irrationalism of ends), he renounces the Husserlian project of a scientific philosophy guided by teleological reasoning. In contrast to both Husserl and Masaryk, Patocka insists on a basic tension between the moral order of transcendence and the natural order of immanence. Advancing a quasi-Kantian position on this issue, he claims that the good is not to be found within the order of objective knowledge, nor within the "reign of the earth." The philosophy of the good instigates a radical rupture with the everyday order of giveness. If it is true that in some late texts Patocka does acknowledge a certain moral meaning in the sky and the earth, it is on the understanding of these as "sacred" dimensions of difference rather than as continuous ingredients of the given world. 53 Subjectivism and objectivism are for Patocka two extreme versions of the modern reduction of transcendence to a secular order of things—a reduction which he identifies with what Masaryk denounced as Titanism and which Patocka attributes respectively to 1) vitalism as the deification of nature, 2) Marxism as the deification of history, and 3) a certain Nietzschean existentialism which deifies the individual. But while sharing Masaryk's critique of modern Titanism, Patocka rejects his faith in scientific reason and orthodox theology. Patocka's sense of the sacred is closer to the sacrificial victim than to a triumphant God. It is more in sympathy with the struggle of the "shaken ones" than with some messianic kingdom. In what might be described as an ethically inflected anti-Titanism, Patocka promotes an alliance between the victims of history, the rebels of imagination, and the thinkers of transcendence in the form of an ethical "community of shaken ones." Here his existential approach appears to replace Nietzsche with Kierkegaard. This allegiance is particularly evident in a series of passages where he speaks of the necessity to break through the closed cycles of history in the direction of a higher act of transcendence. Where he takes his leave of Kierkegaard, however, is in refusing the notion of a leap of faith beyond ethics. Unlike Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, Patocka believes there is no going beyond good and evil. If there is an error in existentialism, it is surely the subordination of the ethical to the irrationality of the absurd. To renounce all hope in an ethics of transcendence leads not only to existential subjectivism but, worse, to fascism.54

10 Myth and Sacrificial Scapegoats: On Rene Girard
Human societies are founded upon myths of sacrifice. The myths comprise a social imaginary which operates according to a mechanism of scapegoating generally concealed from human consciousness. This sacrificial mechanism provides communities with their sense of collective identity—with the basic sense of who is included and who excluded. But the price to be paid is the destruction of an innocent outsider: the immolation of the "other" on the altar of the "same." So argues Rene Girard in a number of controversial publications, ranging from Violence and the Sacred (1972), to Things Hidden since the Foundation of the World (1978), and The Scapegoat (1982). The overriding aim of these works is to provide a critique of sacrificial scapegoating as it functions in such diverse areas as literature, law, religion, politics, and the anthropology of myth. Girard is another of those contemporary continental thinkers who seeks to make the functioning of mythopoetics (in this instance the social imaginary of sacrifice) answerable to ethics. His way of doing this is by subjecting it to a hermeneutics of suspicion, disclosing concealed meaning behind apparent meaning. Girard's analysis develops as follows. Most communities are based on the ritual sacrifice of a scapegoat. The initial consensus required for harmonious social coexistence between otherwise competitive humans is made possible by a collective act of projection whereby some victimized outsider becomes the carrier of all the violence, guilt, and aggression that sets one neighbor against another. The sacrificial victimization of the scapegoat serves to engender a sense of solidarity within the tribe, now reunited in a common act of persecution. Once the sacrifice is completed and harmony is restored to the social imaginary, communities often forget their hatred for the scapegoat and even come 136

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to revere the initial victim—for it was, after all, that victim's ritual oblation that saved them from themselves in the first place, that is, from their internecine rivalry. The scapegoat thus becomes, in retrospect, a founding symbol for the community. Hence the paradox that "the people's shudder of admiration before the great criminal is addressed to the individual who takes upon himself the stigma of the lawmaker or the prophet."1 Hence also the deification of sacrificial victims like Prometheus, Orpheus, Osiris, Christ, Romulus, Cuchulain, and so on. Such mythic figures, though often reviled by their original contempories, become hallowed over time until they are eventually remembered, through the founding myths of collective imagination, as savior gods who restored society from chaos to order: miraculous heroes who transmuted conflict into law. What the readers of such myths conveniently forget, however, is the intolerable truth that the sacrificial saviors were originally victims of collective acts of blood-letting. Sacrificial myths are not confined to primitive times. They continue, says Girard, to operate today, even though the mechanisms for scapegoating have become more sophisticated and subterranean. Girard goes so far as to claim that no modern society is entirely free from this scapegoating tendency—shot through as every society is with a mimetic rivalry and strife for scarce resources, periodically resolved by making common cause against an identifiable "enemy." Thus may be explained the recurring phenomena of racism, antisemitism, witch-hunting, apartheid, and the ostracization of non-conformist minorities. And thus also may be understood, at least in part, the continued role of sacrificial scapegoating in strategies of "terrorism," from the Baader-Meinhof Gang to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Irish Republican Army.2 Each involves a belief in the myth of the evil enemy who is poisoning the wells, corrupting the body politic, undermining security, destroying the economy, contaminating our moral fabric. Each, in short, constitutes an ideological act of demonizing some common "threat" through a collective act of projection onto the social imaginary (often with the help of the popular media). But that is precisely the problem of scapegoating myths. We can only pretend to believe in the lie because it is we who are lying to ourselves! Hence the ultimately self-defeating character of all such myths and the resulting necessity for their renewal and reenactment. The need for the scapegoat never ends, says Girard, until we renounce our desire to always desire what the other has and transcend the rivalry which gives rise to scapegoating in the first place. A genuinely peaceful society would expose the sacrificial mechanism and enter the light of "true fraternity"—without scapegoats, without illusions, without myths. It would free itself from the social imaginary of "mimetic rivalry," fed by cycles of bloodletting, committing itself to a transcendence beyond time. Like Ricoeur, Girard recommends that myths of the social imaginary be

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subjected to a critical hermeneutics of suspicion. Like Levinas, he recommends that the critique be guided by an ethics of transcendence. But does Girard go too far in his denunciation of myth?
I. How SCAPEGOAT MYTHS WORK

The question I put to Girard here is, Are all myths of the social imaginary necessarily sacrificial? Are there not some myths (foundational or otherwise) which are not based on the need to project false accusations onto scapegoats, subsequently disguising the fact that we are doing so, but express a contrary, creative impulse to imagine other possibilities of existence which challenge the status quo? Or to put it in terms of Ricoeur's hermeneutic discussed above, might some myths not serve a Utopian function of symbolic innovation rather than an ideological function of dissimulation and domination? And if this be so, might we not accuse Girard's blanket condemnation of all myth as scapegoating as itself an exercise in scapegoating—an attempt to project hidden sacrificial motives onto the unconscious poetics of myth? Such is my critical hypothesis. In ,a chapter of The Scapegoat entitled "What Is Myth?" Girard enumerates four essential characteristics of written and oral narratives of collective persecution: 1) a social or cultural crisis ("generalized indifferentiation"), 2) a crime considered to be the cause of this crisis, 3) a culprit accused not because of direct involvement in the crime but because of some association with it (des signes victimaires)> and finally 4) a violence frequently assigned a sacred character.3 The basic aim of persecution texts is to attribute responsibility for the social crisis to a culprit (victim) and then to restore social order (differentiation) by expelling the alleged culprit from the body politic. Girard treats as myth any narrative which contains these sacrificial characteristics. Every text which tells of sacrificial violence against a victim while seeking to cover up its own persecution mechanism qualifies as such. Moreover, Girard goes so far as to declare that sacrificial myths refer not just to unconscious desires to persecute but to real events. We are not dealing here with symbolic or imaginary feats of violence but with narratives rooted in historical facts: "All myths are rooted in real acts of violence."4 He strongly repudiates any suggestion that sacrificial myths are reducible to some "intertextual" play of linguistic relations. Myths do not relate to structures of mind—as Levi-Strauss and the structuralists claim— they relate to events of historical victimization.5 They are less matters of fantasy than of flesh and blood. Girard begins his analysis by focusing on the "exemplary myth" of Oedipus, which "contains all of the persecution stereotypes."6 Moving from this explicit myth of persecution to other less evident—but no less effective—examples, Girard proposes to show that all myths are rooted, in the first and last analysis, in actual persecutions of actual scapegoats. He offers the following paradigmatic reading of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex:

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Thebes is ravaged by plague: the first stereotype of persecution. Oedipus is responsible because he has killed his father and married his mother: the second stereotype of persecution. In order to put an end to the epidemic, the Oracle announces, the guilty criminal must be found and hunted out. The persecutionary intent is evident. Parricide and incest serve openly as intermediaries between the individual and the collective; these crimes are so undifferentiated that their influence contaminates the entire society. In the text by Sophocles, one notes that the undifferentiated (i.e. the disordered) is equatable with the contamined. This brings in the third stereotype: the signs or stigmata of victimization. First there is infirmity, Oedipus limps. The hero moreover has arrived in Thebes unknown to all, an outsider in fact if not in essence. Finally, he is the king's son and the king himself—the legitimate heir of Laios. Like all other mythic characters, Oedipus manages to accumulate both the marginality of the outside and the inside. Similar to Ulysses at the end of the Odyssey, he is sometimes a mendicant stranger, sometimes an omnipotent monarch . . . . The infirmity of Oedipus, his wounded childhood, his status of outsider, of stranger, of king, make him a veritable conglomerate of victim-signs.7 Comparing the Oedipus myth to the medieval documents of Guillaume de Machaut on the persecution of the Jews, Girard notes that both texts bear traces of "persecutions drawn up from the perspective of naive persecutors."8 In the Oedipus myth, as in Guillaume de Machaut or the witch trials of the Inquisition, Girard finds "mythological accusations of parricide, incest and the physical or moral corruption of the community."9 Likewise, he finds in the historical narratives of persecution that the annihilation of the "guilty one" arises in circumstances of acute social crisis and is carried out by a paranoid mob. Girard argues that myths are not neutral, as structuralist or neo-positivist schools would have us believe. They should not be treated as quaint antiquities, or worse, as privileged expressions of some exotic pensee sauvage. Every social imaginary, ancient or modern, is founded on an actual cult of sacrifice. That is Girard's uncompromising claim. And the only difference between "ancient" and "advanced" cultures is that the operation of the sacrificial mythology is more explicit in the former. In primitive myths, explains Girard, the stereotypes are more complete and conspicuous than in the Guillaume text. How is one to pretend that they are somehow thrown together by accident, or by some gratuitous act of poetic imagination or fantasy, utterly removed from the mentality and reality of persecution? And yet that is precisely what our research experts are asking us to believe, and they consider my arguments extravagant when I claim the contrary.10 Girard makes no apologies and no exceptions. He throws down the gauntlet to the romantic nostalgia of modern ethnologists, who think of myths as imaginary tales referring to nothing outside of their own linguistic structures. The "mythicality" of myth, retorts Girard, "is not some kind of vaporous literary

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perfume but a persecutor's interpretation of persecution."11 If myths are indeed fictional in some respect, it is in their formal capacity to camouflage the genesis of sacrificial signs in historical acts of persecution. For Girard the symbolic aspects of myth are no more than representations of sacrificial events. The romantic approach to myth, which Girard vehemently opposes, seeks to deny this causal reference to reality. One of the signal effects of romantic poetics, writes Girard, is to see mythological monsters as creations ex nihilo, pure inventions. Thus we find imagination being hailed as an absolute power to conceive forms that have no existence in nature. "But a true investigation of mythological monsters tells a different story."12 Girard argues that mythological monsters are always combinations of elements borrowed from real forms. The Minotaur, for example, is a mixture of man and bull. Identifying the monstrous as an expression of ^differentiation and chaos, Girard demonstrates how monsters bear signs of persecution stereotypes—especially those of physical and moral deformity (equated in myth) and of the "stranger" responsible for the crisis in the community. By portraying the Minotaur as a criminal product of bestiality, the persecutors contrived to project the moral culpability for a particular crisis onto some outsider whose physical infirmity suggested an affinity with the monstrous. 13 The imaginary character of myth makes the "guilty one" consubstantial with the crime. The monstrous character of the "criminal," and the direct causal connection between his monstrosity and the collective crisis itself, appears so immediate at the level of fantasy that one scarcely notices the accusatory process behind it. "We assume that we are secure in mythic illusion because we only see it as so much fancy. . . . The most effective and definitive alibi remains that abstract disbelief which denies the reality of violence reflected by the myth."14 This is why Girard is so vigorous in his repudiation of those who persist in construing mythological monsters as fabulous poetic creations. It is in order to expose the victimizing motivation behind myth that Girard proposed his own hermeneutic of suspicion—the theory of the scapegoat. It is worth noting that society's fascination with the "monstrous criminal" is observed by many modern writers. It is not only Homer or Sophocles who register the human obsession with monstrosity. One only has to think of Robert Musil's reflections on the homicidal Moosbrugger in Man without Qualities, or Dostoyevsky's portrait of Stavrogin in The Possessed, to appreciate how perduring this curious feature of the human psyche is. Dostoyevsky, to focus on just one example, certainly anticipates Girard's reading of the monstrous criminal as scapegoat: Loathing and self-loathing, inspired by the very real evils of the world, fuel a projection of evil outward, a polarization between self and world, where all the evil is now seen to reside. This justifies terror, violence and destruction against the world; indeed, it seems to call for it. . . . We don't want to see ourselves as part of the evil; we want to raise ourselves above it, away

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from the blame for it. The outward projection of the terrorist is the most violent manifestation of this common motive. 15 Commenting on the sacrificial strategy of separation, Julia Kristeva stcs the contemporary movements of utopianism and terrorism as opposite sides of the same scapegoating process. What is occurring is a division of the social imaginary into an impure society and a pure counter-society by means of sacrificial purgation. "As with any society," writes Kristeva, "the counter-society is based on the expulsion of an excluded element, a scapegoat charged with the evil of which the community duly constituted can then purge itself; a purge which will finally exonerate that community from any future criticism. Modern (protest) movements have often reiterated this logic, locating the guilty one—in order to fend off criticism—in the foreign, in capital alone, in the other religion, in the other sex."16 These observations, along with those of Ricoeur that I cite in Chapters 5 and 6, remind us that the central functions of mythopoetics—good and bad—are not confined to antiquity. They live on and need to be addressed by a critical hermeneutics, capable of showing how poetics is answerable to ethics. Girard's work represents a significant, if polemical, contribution to such a hermeneutics, but it is not without its problems. Particular difficulties arise in his analysis of the monstrous. By describing his own theory of the scapegoat as the "Ariadne's thread" guiding us through the labyrinth of myth, Girard appears to imply that mythic monsters are themselves some kind of monstrosity, menacing Minotaurs of the mind that need to be expelled. The frequent slippage from the nominal form {mythical monster) to the adjectival (monstrous myth) betrays a tendency in Girard to scapegoat myth itself. On such a reading, Girard is treating myth as a textual monster to be expurgated by his own demythologizing critique. Myth comes to function, thus, as a new scapegoat, carrying the moral charge of culpability for our cultural and social crises. If Girard rebukes ethnology for masking myth's scapegoating function, might Girard not be accused of scapegoating the mythic function itself? If such be the case, it would no doubt be an unconscious motivation in Girard's hermeneutic. But this cannot serve as excuse by Girard's own standards. As he clearly states, to seek recourse in the unconscious as alibi is to lapse into something "even more mythical than myth itself." Girard is, as we have seen, quite adept in detecting such unconscious motivation in Sophocles, Guillaume de Machaut, and other authors of persecution narratives. Indeed, at one point he even suggests that those most practiced in the art of denouncing others' motives are often practitioners of a similar strategy. "I have spoken of naive persecutors," writes Girard, "and I might well have spoken of unconscious ones. . . . Being imprisoned in a system permits us to speak of a persecutionary unconscious, and the proof of its existence is that even those

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most able to discover others' scapegoats in our day—and God knows we've all become past masters in the art—are the last to discover their own."17 Might this not apply to Girard? Might the expert inquisitor of the scapegoating imaginary not also be prisoner of such a system, captive of a new and more sophisticated labyrinth of suspicion? Or to repeat our formula from Chapter 5, Is not the critique of the ideological imaginary itself subject to critique?
II. DISCRIMINATING MYTHS?

Let me tease out some implications of this line of argument. It is, I think, quite legitimate for Girard to criticize the neo-romantic character of ethnology for its "innocent" reading of mythopoetics. It also seems legitimate to call for a more ethical mode of critique. But to go from this to claiming that the fictional and formal components of myth are reducible to a one-to-one correspondence with real historical persecutions is surely debatable. Is it really reasonable to conclude that the imaginary character of myth plays no function other than that of ideological masking? Is it really tenable, on the basis of such a global proposition, to assert that there is no way of discriminating between the imaginative power which invented the Oedipus myth, on the one hand, and that which fabricated antisemitic myths of persecution, on the other?18 It is surely the case that perverse uses of imagination contributed to the myths of antisemitism (or antipaganism in the age of witch-hunting): distortions which resulted in sacrificial pogroms and executions. But can one infer from that that every mythic use of imagination is necessarily persecutive? Girard seems obliged to respond in the affirmative, given his premise that every myth is a narrative of real victimization. Because of this premise even the Oedipus myth must be read as an act of persecution by other means (i.e., as a literarypoetical disguise for sacrificial violence). Each myth, no matter how ostensibly innocuous, is susceptible to this reading. "When the imagination of persecutors is operative," affirms Girard, taking no hostages in the field of myths or monsters, "one should only heed those words which correspond to: 1) the real circumstances of their genesis, 2) the characteristic traits of their habitual victims, and 3) the consequences which normally flow from them, namely collective violence." He adds, with particular reference to the Oedipus myth, that since it is "certainly a text of persecution, it is as a text of persecution that it should be treated."19 Girard is caught in a vicious circle here. Oedipus Rex is to be interpreted as a text of persecution, and it is a text of persecution because it is to be interpreted as such. There would seem to be no way out. Even those myths which do not openly display "signs of victimization" are assigned sacrificial motivations. As Girard formulates his no-lose logic: "Far from contradicting our thesis . . . those myths that are entirely lacking in the stereotypes of victimization are those which provide its most emphatic confirmation."20 Non-guilty myths are also guilty. Exceptions also prove the rule!

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In other writings, such as Things Hidden since the Foundation of the World, there are passages where Girard transgresses his own proposition that all myths derive from acts of violence and hide their own sacrificial content. Girard allows, for instance, that certain "biblical myths" (the phrase is his), like those of Cain, Joseph, and the Prophets, though founded on acts of persecution, serve nonetheless to undo the sacrificial mechanism by demonstrating the innocence of the scapegoated victims. Abel is one example. Joseph and the servant of Yahweh in 2 Isaiah are others.21 Of the "biblical myth" of Joseph, Girard explains that instead of "colluding with the accusation as most myths do, and above all, of course, the Oedipus myth, the story of Joseph exposes its falsehood," 22 as does, at a more exemplary level, the Christ story. Here Girard seems to be acknowledging a distinction between the majority of myths, which collude with the sacrificial imaginary, and certain biblical myths which subvert this imaginary. What Girard deems especially positive about biblical myths is their character of ethical judgment: the fact that they condemn human culture for sacrificing victims for the sake of Caesarian consensus. The supposed "neutrality" of ethnological myths stands rebuked. Girard approves. Girard does not shirk the role of Christian apologist on this issue. He considers the Scriptures to be the ultimate antidote to the sacrificial mythology of culture. The Crucifixion is, for Girard, the most decisive exposure of the innocence of the scapegoat. Biblical myths are thus assessed from the viewpoint of a specifically Christian hermeneutic, which stands in polar opposition to the pagan mythology of persecution. The New Testament, argues Girard, is to be understood accordingly as a "prolongation of the Jewish Bible, constituting the most perfect expression of a process which the Old Testament had not yet brought to completion." 23 But if Girard is prepared to make an exception for biblical myths, why not also for some non-biblical myths? Is it not possible to read the myths of Oedipus, Prometheus, Philoctetes, or Iphigenia—to cite notable Greek narratives of victimization—as, in part at least, accounts of the sacrifice of innocent scapegoats? (Is Prometheus not specifically referred to as pharmakos, meaning scapegoat?) Or is it that the Greek, or for that matter modern, readers of such myths are unable to decipher the sacrificial mechanism at work, without the ethical guidance of Revelation? It may well be that the innocence of persecuted victims is more explicit and more ethically observed in the biblical texts. But is this sufficient reason for denying any recognition of innocence whatsoever in the Greek myths? Is Girard seriously prepared to condemn all non-biblical myths—Greek, Celtic, African, Indian, or Asian—as no more than devious strategies of persecution? Is it possible to sustain such a radical discontinuity between biblical and non-biblical cultures? In adamantly observing such a discontinuity, Girard is, I submit, again open to the charge of purificatory exclusion: the very function of sacrificial scapegoating

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he seeks to expose. Girard's appeal to some uncontaminated Judeo-Christian ethos, purged of sacrificial motivation and mimetic conflict, is itself, arguably, a search for a new consensus—the consensus of mystical Christian union against its demonized "other" (the non-Christian community). The conclusion to Things Hidden since the Foundation of the Wo rid would seem to give grounds for this suspicion of sacrificial exclusion. "To the prisoners of violent imitation who move always toward closure, the faithful followers of non-violent imitation rise up . . . and walk the road to the Kingdom."24 Only those who follow Christ, Girard appears to imply, fully succeed in overcoming the mechanisms of mimetic desire and scapegoating. The secular and the sacred, ethnology and Christology, human culture and God's kingdom, appear to be set in terminal combat for the soul of civilization.
III. CONCLUDING—BEYOND SCAPEGOATING

In The Scapegoat, it is true, Girard goes some way to dispell this impression of Christian apologetics, the fervor of which is almost unrivalled in modern continental thought since Kierkegaard. No doubt aware of the danger of militant zeal, the author declares his hypothesis to be purely "structural." At times he almost seems to be claiming the objective authority of an empirical science. But here again the charge of circular thinking resurfaces. Girard asserts, for instance, that "we are only permitted to postulate the genesis of texts in a real persecution when the nature and configuration of persecution stereotypes suggests it"; several sentences later he adds, "as soon as one postulates this genesis . . . the darkness vanishes, all the motifs become perfectly clear and there is no longer any serious objection to be posed."25 But if this "structural" hermeneutic is, indeed, the method observed by Girard, one might ask why he is the only one to have seen the sacrificial truth of myth? Girard himself offers a partial reply when he states that "we know, but we don't know that we know." This is patently unsatisfactory, for it does not explain how Girard knows whereas the rest of us don't (until we read him and are enlightened). The implication seems to be that most minds remain captive to a social imaginary based on non-biblical myths, which have managed to hide their own sacrificial origins. Such minds include, naturally, Girard's many critics, but not Girard. Girard claims the role of victim for himself, beset by persecuting critics bent on punishing the brazen prophet for his exposure of our sacrificial unconscious. "My critics," he writes in tones reminiscent of the embattled Kierkegaard in The Point of View, "consider [my thesis] as the ultimate monster bred by the contemporary mind. Most of the objections leveled against me are based on this error. I myself have actually encouraged this misunderstanding in only slowly distancing myself from the impasses into which the contemporary understanding has fallen."26 Is Girard not presenting himself here as a new scapegoat—a wronged victim

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whose self-exposure might lay bare the unconscious mechanism of persecution at work in the anti-Girardian bias of his critics? Is he not playing the same role of "saving martyr" for our intellectual generation which Kierkegaard was tempted to play for his, and Christian martyrs played for theirs? Girard would no doubt deny this. And it is almost certain that he has no conscious intention of such role playing. But here, once again, might it not be a case of an unconscious "mythopoetic" interest betraying itself, in spite of itself? Girard's final justification of his thesis is a straightforward appeal to common sense. Just as a tree is to be known by its fruit, so too his theory should be judged by its explanatory effectiveness.27 While classicists, anthropologists, and linguists persist in interpreting mythologies in terms of their "external envelope," Girard resolves to unmask the "cultural schizophrenia" at work in modernity's attempt to celebrate myths as primitive fabulations divorced from reality. The most effective way to disclose the origin of myths is to go beyond their purely formal and linguistic imaginary to the real social crisis from which they first emerged. While Levi-Strauss and his neo-primitivist colleagues acknowledge the power of myth to resolve problems of chaos and conflict (indifferentiation) in terms of a new order (differentiation), they confine such resolutions to purely logical or rhetorical systems with no causal relation to actual happenings. They absolutely refuse, objects Girard, to refer the crisisresolution of myth to "real social conditions," that is, to its historical "reference to reality."28 Because of this refusal to countenance the fact that myth has "dirty hands" (by virtue of its intrinsic scapegoating mechanism), the ethnological account remains ineffective. Once again, however, we must ask what exactly are Girard's criteria for the "efficacity of explanation" that legitimizes his own interpretation and illegitimizes those of his opponents. We find ourselves back in the circle of petitio principii. Let me rehearse, by way of summary, the four main criteria cited by Girard to justify his sacrificial thesis. First, there is the realist criterion, which states that it is sufficient to suppose a real event of victimization behind each mythic monster (outsider, cripple, blind man, plague-carrier, exile, outcast, accused) to bring the hidden motivations of myth to self-evidence. Second, there is the formal criterion, which argues that the recurring configuration of persecution stereotypes points to the necessary existence of a real sacrifice of innocent victims. Third, there is the pragmatic criterion—the scapegoat hypothesis "works" in that it offers the most effective explanation of our social imaginary. And fourth, albeit understated in much of Girard's writing, there is the fideist criterion, which claims that it is the Judeo-Christian Revelation of things "hidden since the foundation of the world" which definitively exposes the sacrificial motives of our founding mythologies. Girard uses these four criteria more or less at random and never essays to place them in an order of priority. In that respect his own hermeneutic

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presuppositions remain largely unexamined and unjustified. Girard would no doubt protest that he is not in the business of methodological hermeneutics, that he uses these criteria in an intuitive fashion which readers will recognize for themselves. But that is not to resolve the problem of criteria; it simply displaces it onto the reader. The reader, no less than the author, is obliged to make a hermeneutic wager about the validity of the scapegoat thesis. Which of the four criteria—or which combination of these—is ultimately invoked depends on the decision of each reader. This central problem of criteria is accompanied by others. Must myth always be treated as something ethically and epistemologically suspect? Is it really nothing more than a mendacious, self-masking representation of persecution? Might it not be possible for an alternative critical hermeneutic (along the lines proposed in Chapters 5 and 6) to distinguish between different functions of myth— those that liberate and those that incarcerate, those that reflect sacrificial persecution and those that project quite opposite ways of being-in-the-world (including ways in which "sacrifice" itself might serve to emancipate, as Patocka argues in Chapter 9, rather than simply immolate and destroy)? Is it not necessary, in short, to supplement a hermeneutics of suspicion—of which the Girardian critique is a cogent example—with a hermeneutics of affirmation? This brings us back to the question of ideology and Utopia. In reducing myth to an ideological function of falsification, Girard reads only half the story. If he is justified in rebuking the structuralist claim that myths are autonomous linguistic texts, devoid of reference to anything beyond themselves, he is not justified, I believe, in claiming that the only reference is one which re-presents a causally anterior reality, that is, the reality of persecution. As I argue elsewhere (Chapters 5 and 6 above and 13 below), myths can also carry a Utopian reference, to a second order of meaning that does not yet exist, a specifically mythopoetic order that is figurative rather than literal. Such Utopian reference deploys the symbolizing power of myth to innovate and augment meaning. It epitomizes a poetics that escapes the causal chain of fact and directs us toward new and as yet unexperienced horizons of sense. This second order reference opens up an "eschatological" perspective on myth, which discloses a "surplus" of being: a surplus that exists not behind myth but in front of it. Or, to juggle with Girard's own terms, we might say that a hermeneutics of Utopian affirmation refers not just to "things hidden since the foundation of the world" but to things which call for the transformation of the world. Such a hermeneutics would not deny the necessity for critical unmasking of the abuses of myth, as Girard and the "masters of suspicion" have done. It would take demythologizing as precondition for a remythologizing of the symbolic power of myth to project new possibilities of being. It would, in short, take the ethical step of acknowledging that all poetics—including mythopoetics—contains possibilities for good as well as evil.

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And so we find ourselves back with our claim that Girard turns myth into the scapegoat of his own system of explanation by demonizing its very essence. There are times, as noted above, when Girard himself comes close to conceding as much. Is the following admission from The Scapegoat not evidence of its author's readiness to turn his critique against himself? In order to fathom the enormity of the mystery, one must interrogate oneself. Each one of us is obliged to ask where he stands in relation to scapegoats. Personally I seem unable to recognize it in myself, and I am sure, dear reader, you will respond likewise. We have, you and I, only legitimate enmities. And yet the world is brimming with scapegoats. The lie of persecution is even more rife and duplicitous today (albeit less tragic) than in the days of Guillaume de Machaut. 29 Is this not where poetics answers ethics? Is this not the necessary moment of doubt where ethical critique is reminded of its own dubiousness if pushed to doctrinaire extremes? The moment when poetics serves ethics by recalling the limits of human judgment and the unavoidable play of interpretations which attends every application of justice? Girard the inquisitor redeems himself by turning the mirror back on himself, by proving capable of imagining that even his ethical critique is not above the law, that ethics too is answerable to ethics. 30

11
Derrida's Ethical Return
I have analyzed a number of continental thinkers whose work marks a dialectic between ethics and poetics. Some privileged the ethical over the poetical (Levinas, Girard, Kierkegaard); some sought a dialogue between the two (Ricoeur, Patocka); another gave primacy to poetics over ethics (Heidegger). It would appear, at first blush, that Derrida belongs to the third category, developing Heidegger's Destruktion into a thoroughgoing poetics of deconstruction. But appearances are deceptive and I will argue that Derrida's work does manifest concern with ethical issues, particularly in his later writings. I offer here an exegesis of Derrida's thinking on the ethical, reserving most of my critical comments for the following chapter, "Derrida's Ethics of Dialogue."
I. ETHICS AND DECONSTRUCTION

A recurring obsession with otherness has been a central feature of Derrida's work since the early sixties. This originally took the form of an epistemological contrast between a metaphysics of presence and all that escapes or subverts it—what Derrida calls alterity. Derrida's two early deconstructive commentaries on Husserl—Introduction to the Origin of Geometry (1962) and Speech and Phenomena (1967)—and subsequent collections such as Writing and Difference (1967), Of Grammatology (1967), Dissemination (1972), and Margins of Philosophy (1972), all represent this epistemological version of deconstruction. But a certain shift seems to occur in Derrida's writing after 1972, marked by a more pronounced emphasis on the question of ethical responsibility. It is not my intention here to locate this shift in terms of some event in Derrida's personal biography (such as the important break with the Tel Quel group in 1972) but to follow its implications in Derrida's own thinking. I should also make clear from the outset that I am not claiming that Derrida underwent a Pauline conversion to a particular moral system of rights and wrongs. When I speak of ethics I do so not in this sense of morality but in the general sense outlined in my introduction, and hinted at by Derrida himself when he talks about the "singular responsibility without which there would be no morality, law or politics."1 148

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If I were to phrase this shift in terms of Derrida's relation to two influential contemporaries, I would say that his later writing supplements a Heideggerean resolve to deconstruct metaphysics with a Levinasian attention to the ethical demands of the other. Or, to put it in the terms of the present work, Derrida's later writings could be seen as a chiasmus of exchange between Heidegger's poetics and Levinas's ethics. The dimension of alterity is now seen as a trace of the irreducible other as well as an undecidable surplus of Sein over Seiendes. But, if it can be shown that Derrida supplements Heidegger with Levinas in this way, such a turn should be construed less as a rupture than a re-turn: a hermeneutic reworking of the same in other terms. Here Derrida remains faithful to the key Heideggerean trope of the Kehre—the winding twist on a mountain path—which brings what was tacitly there to closer attention. What Derrida sees after his "turn" on the sinuous path of thought is, however, different from what Heidegger saw—or at least represents a different way of seeing. Where Heidegger reads the Es Gibt of Being as poetical presence in absence, unconcealment in concealment, Derrida reads it as (among other things) une trace de Vautre. It is all a question, ultimately, of who or what—in the Es Gibt—does the giving, and how we inquire into the manner of such giving: ethically or epistemologically. While Derrida himself would no doubt reject the pre-critical manner in which this question is posed, he does seem to offer some hint of response in a note to his 1986 lecture at Hebrew University of Jerusalem entitled "Comment ne pas Parler." "The thinking of the gift opens the space where being and time give themselves and give rise to thinking," he writes. He adds that questions relating to this matter are those which "expressly orient all the texts which I have published since 1972 or thereabouts."2 The key question, it would seem, is the other who gives; and it is surely significant that Derrida's Jerusalem lecture is published in a collection of essays bearing the subtitle Inventions de Vautre. Derrida is aware of a crucial ethical dilemma underlying this whole question: Is it the other who gives who invents me or is it I who invent the other who gives? "Invention of the other," as Derrida puts it, "is it the absolute initiative for which the other is responsible and accountable? Or is it rather the other that I imagine as a retention of my psyche, my soul, my mirror image?"3 It is not that Derrida wishes to break with a Heideggerean poetics of questioning. On the contrary, Derrida's note on "the thinking of the gift" is part of a commentary on Heidegger's famous maxim from Zeit und Sein: "Es gibt Zeit. Es gibt Sein." What is different about Derrida's thinking here, and in other texts after 1972, is that another dimension—the ethical—is added to the ontological and epistemological concerns dominating his early writings. This ethical inflection is witnessed in numerous later essays dealing with a variety of themes:

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1. religion {Schibboleth, 1986; Of an Apocalyptic Tone, 1984; Circonfession, 1991); 2. education (the texts on GREPH and the College International de Philosophic in Du droit a la philosophic, 1990); 3. law ("Force of Law: 'The Mystical Foundation of Authority/" 1990; the analysis of the American Declaration of Independence in Otobiographies, 1984); 4. politics (Le dernier mot du racism] Admiration de Nelson Mandela-, "No Apocalypse, Not Now" in Psyche, 1981; or "Art against Apartheid" in Critical Inquiry, 1986, where he claims that deconstruction can take the form of "active interventions that transform contexts"). While Derrida never abandons Heideggerean poetics—and especially the project of deconstructing metaphysics—these later texts testify to a determination to reread the deconstructive turn in the light of an ethical re-turn, or, if you prefer, to reread Heidegger in the light of Levinas. Other commentators have already made claims for the compatibility of deconstruction and ethics. These range from Robert Bernasconfs "Deconstruction and the Possibility of Ethics" and Simon Critchley's The Ethics of Deconstruction: Derrida and Levinas, to Christopher Norris's "On the Ethics of Deconstruction."4 The following passage from Norris offers a concise sample of the argument: Deconstruction has been wrongly understood by those who regard it as a species of out-and-out hermeneutic licence, a justification for indulging all manner of interpretative games. . . . Derrida cannot be understood as simply going along with this anti-enlightenment drift in the discourse of post-structuralism. . . . Only by pressing the aporias (of textual readings of phenomenology, structuralism, metaphysics, etc.) to the limits of conceptual explanation can philosophy begin to perceive what lies beyond. And this—as Derrida argues—will take us into the domain of ethics, rather than epistemology. . . . There is an ethical dimension to Derrida's writings which has yet to be made good by most of his commentators. . . . For Derrida, as for Levinas, there is an ethical injunction to challenge philosophy on terms which offer the maximum resistance to its powers of recuperative grasp. And this challenge can only be sustained through a close and reasoned engagement with the texts where philosophy stakes its claims to truth.5
II. ETHICS AND ONTOLOGY

I discussed the ethics of deconstruction with Derrida in a dialogue in 1981 (published as "Deconstruction and the Other").6 When I put the charge of moral nihilism, he answered that "deconstruction is not an enclosure in nothingness but an openness toward the other."7 In response to my related accusation that "deconstruction is so obsessed with the play of difference that it ultimately ends up indifferent to everything," Derrida strenuously rejected my caricature of deconstruction as a "gratuitous chess game with a combination of signs closed up in language as in a cave."8 He went on to insist that deconstruction

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seeks not to abandon ethics but to resituate and reinscribe its key concepts of self and other; and, so doing, to "reevaluate the indispensable notion of responsibility."9 The ethical implications of deconstruction are not, Derrida makes plain, something injected into his writing after a sudden conversion in the early seventies. They were there from the outset, albeit somewhat masked by Derrida's initial emphasis on questions of epistemology and metaphysics. But they were there nonetheless and were especially evident in his early studies on Jewish authors like Levinas and Jabes in Writing and Difference (1967). In these writings, however, Derrida is of the view that the language of ethics is intrinsically compromised by the language of ontology (or what the later Heidegger called poetics). An ethics of alterity and infinity, as promoted by someone like Levinas, cannot be removed, he believes, from an ontology of totality and violence. The language of ethics and the language of ontology pre-condition each other. Or, as Derrida puts it, "pure non-violence, like pure violence, is a contradictory concept."10 This is not to say that non-violence must always be preceded by violence, only that it cannot lay claim to some immaculately conceived "origin" entirely free from violence. There is no such thing as an original peace, any more than there is an original violence. There is always a "double origin," as Derrida terms it in his essay on Jabes, for peace (like war) cannot be located in a specific spatio-temporal moment, prior or posterior to another, and recuperable in terms of memory, representation, or transcendental analysis. Derrida's deconstructive logic of both/and/neither/nor would here seem to be undermining Levinas's statement, in Totality and Infinity (1961), that just as peace precedes war, the ethical relation precedes the language of ontology. Over and against Levinas, Derrida is asserting that "peace is made only in a certain silence which is determined and protected by the violence of speech."11 Levinas cannot shake off the Heideggerean ghost. "No ethics in Levinas's sense," writes Derrida, "can be opened without the thought of Being."12 In short, if the ethical relation presupposes language, and if language is the ontological/poetical medium of comprehension (which for Levinas belongs to the violent "play of the same," hostile to the transcendence of the face), then ethics is always already implicated in violence, though never of course pure violence. 13 Whence Derrida's controversial conclusion: "One never escapes the economy of war."14 While this line of argument displays Derrida's deconstructive approach to the logocentric structure of moral dualism, it does not mean that he is any less sympathetic to Levinas's ethics of alterity. His disagreement with Levinas, it seems, is on epistemological rather than ethical grounds. This appears quite obvious in our 1981 dialogue, when he acknowledges that "deconstruction is, in itself, a positive response to an alterity which necessarily calls, summons or motivates it. Deconstruction is therefore vocation—a response to a call."15 This call is pre-philosophical in that it cannot, as Derrida puts it, be "detected with

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the aid of a philosophical lamp."16 But it is not pre-ethical, if we are to take Levinas's understanding of ethics as a "preconceptual experience of provocation by the other." Indeed, the following statement by Derrida in our dialogue might well have been penned by Levinas himself: "The other precedes philosophy and necessarily invokes and provokes the subject before any genuine questioning can begin. It is in this rapport with the other that affirmation expresses itself."17 But if we are to believe Derrida's claim that deconstruction is not a matter of amoral indifference and negation, surely we are entitled to ask what, if anything, it affirms. It is here that we may usefully examine some of Derrida's statements on the role of responsibility to the other in education, politics, and religion. The deconstruction of logocentric metaphysics takes on less academic proportions when it is applied to the more engage critiques of what Derrida terms "phallogocentrism," a principle which informs many of our institutions. Citing a number of examples from psychoanalysis, feminism and the literary avant-garde, Derrida speaks of a "mutation" which cannot be thematically objectified but which is "bringing about such a radical change in our understanding of the world that a return to the former logocentric philosophies of mastery, possession, totalization or certitude may soon be unthinkable."18 Though he remains skeptical of the fashionable liberal notion of progress, especially with respect to liberation movements (including the women's movement), he is prepared to recognize the "enormous deconstructive import of the feminine as an uprooting of our phallogocentric culture."19 It is hard to deny some element of ethical evaluation behind such a recognition, even if Derrida would be loathe in this context to apply the traditional moral dualism of good and evil.
III. ETHICS AND LITERATURE

A similar resolve to undermine logocentric sameness in the name of the "other" informs Derrida's writing about writing. We find ourselves here confronted with "poetics" in the stricter sense of literary language. But for Derrida, as for Heidegger, writing/language/text is also used in a "generalized" sense to become virtually synonymous with ontology—Sein als Text. Derrida launches a campaign against the traditional dualism separating philosophy and literature, and recommends instead a "crossing over of each into the other giving rise to something else, some other site."20 He cites the apocalyptic impact of catachresis as a deconstructive form of rhetoric that signals "another kind of writing"—a writing which stakes out the faults and deviations of language and may even mark a "monstrous mutation," where otherness can break through the "normative precedents" of logocentrism. Such poetic attentiveness to disclosures of alterity is surely an ethical form of vigilance. How else are we to understand the admission that "deconstruction is always deeply concerned with the 'other'

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of language"; or that "the critique of logocentrism is above all else the search for the 'other' and the 'other of language' "?21 It is in the discussion of writing (poetics in the specific sense) that Derrida's concern for an ethics of alterity first appears, even though, as we shall see, this concern becomes more explicit in his later writings on education, law, and religion. Writing is ethical for Derrida to the extent that a literary text remains structurally open to the other. The signature of the author always requires the countersignature of the reader. The relay of signatures discloses how authorial subjects of text are already beholden to each other. The author always inscribes himself in relation to the other, and this basic question of literary answerability (of reader to author and vice versa) entails the corollary question of ethical responsibility. Derrida puts this in the quasi-biblical terms of "mutual indebtment" or "covenant" {alliance), whereby each of the correspondents, author and reader, inherits responsibility for the life/death of the other. The reader, for example, can live on after the death of the author, "in memory of the other, bearing the mourning of the other."22 But the text also calls for ethical vigilance in determining for us the specific singularity of each reading: a singularity which respects the alterity of the text as law, as something beyond the mere whim or fancy of interpretation.23 The literary text, Derrida admits, raises a fundamental "ethical and political" question insofar as it inscribes a law which says, Tu dois, and thus necessitates a response, a summons, a yes.24 Whether the yes be that of Zarathustra, Molly Bloom, or a prophet in the desert, it is a response to a voice that calls to be heard and answered. But, because this law of answerability belongs to writing, it is always informed by an element of humility and humor. Or, to follow the argument of Derrida's disciple in literary deconstruction, Hillis-Miller, an "ethics of reading" results from the fact that deconstruction exposes the text as site of aporetic conflict between incommensurable readings, thereby placing the reader in the situation of having to respond with an interpretation even though he/she can no longer know in advance what a "true" interpretation is.25 In soliciting an ethical response to otherness, the literary text enables us to question the prevailing dogmas about what is ethical.26 In this sense, literary poetics puts the dominant language of moral and political institutions into question. It reminds us that all moral principles are impure in some fundamental sense, never totally adequate or absolute, never wholly certain about what is absolute good or absolute evil.27 This in turn raises the question of judgment. Can we set ourselves up as final arbiters if, as an ethics of reading teaches us, every ethic of good and evil remains inherently undecidable?28 Can an ethics of action sustain the ambiguity of this "non-ethical ethical opening of the ethical," which Derrida identifies with the poetical responsibility of the reader?29 Derrida holds fast to the ethical "effects" of textual deconstruction. The traces of otherness in the text—which Derrida's analyses of "translation," "signature,"

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"gift," "debt," and "promise" disclose—signal an operation of differance with inherently ethical implications. Differance is another word for that otherness of the text which we respond to when we say yes—yes to a gift which precedes our choice of meanings, just as language was first received by the first mortal before it was ever spoken or written. The act of writing or reading is a reminder that language is always already given, shot through with the trace of another who has already been there or promises to come. Once again, Derrida employs a quasi-religious terminology; and while he states there is no necessity to equate this gift of language with a god, he does say that god is one of the names for this poetical event. 30 The reader or recipient of language is never a unique originator of language, any more than the author is. There is no pure origin of language—or by extension of law or society. Language is a web of traces where the subject (writer or reader) is always beholden to another who has given, called, promised, demanded. Poetics is ethical because it is a site of intertextual alliance which foregrounds the disclosure of alterity.
IV. ETHICS AND LAW

If Derrida first discloses the ethics of alterity in his deconstructive poetics of writing, he pursues it in his later commentaries on law and religion. Derrida comes to the question of law via the question of foundation. What, he asks, is the legitimating origin (or original legitimation) of our laws? Whether one is inquiring about the founding principle of a university, state, or constitution, the problem of legitimation is the same. It can be stated as follows: The foundation of a law is always outside the law thus founded. The principle of foundation cannot found itself. As Derrida puts it in his analysis of the foundation of the U.S. Constitution in Otobiographies, the origin of every state is in some sense illegitimate. It arises from a coup de force (which is also a poetical act of inscription or writing). The foundation of any and every law is marked by an originary contamination. The claim that the first inscription of law is intermingled with illegitimacy can itself be seen as a certain ethic of impurity—that is, an ethic which refuses all purist claims to some founding unitary absolute. It is just such an ethic that Derrida explores in his controversial text, "Force of Law: The 'Mystical Foundation of Authority.'"31 Here Derrida offers a strenuous response to the charge that deconstruction is unethical. The incompatibility of deconstruction and justice, he retorts, is only apparent. To support his contention he cites a number of his own texts, which he argues have been informed by an ethical concern for justice. These include the texts devoted to Levinas and the relation of violence and metaphysics; to Hegel and the philosophy of right (in Glas); to the origin of law in Kafka's Vor dem Gesetz (Devant la loi); and to the legitimating power of constitutions (in O to biographies and Admiration de Nelson

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Mandela). He adds that most of his other writings also testify to an underlying concern for justice: "It goes without saying that the discourses on double affirmation, the gift beyond exchange and distribution, the undecidable, the incommensurable or the incalculable, or on singularity, difference and heterogeneity are also, through and through, at least obliquely discourses on justice."32 Derrida states that his purpose in "Force of Law" is to problematize the whole question of legitimation and, by extension, evaluation.33 His main claim is that while deconstruction appears not to address the problem of justice, it has in fact been doing just that all along—albeit indirectly, because it is impossible to speak directly about justice, to thematize and objectivize it without betraying it. But how is one to speak of an ethical authority of law? If the search for an original grounding of law is groundless, if, indeed, the very opposition between foundation and anti-foundation is to be set aside as an unhelpful metaphysical dualism, how does one avoid the conclusion that the origin of law is in fact "mystical"?34 Derrida uses the term mystical to name the "aporia or abyss opened up by the deconstructability of law." But, while he is prepared to concede that law is deconstructable—to the extent that it claims to be founded on something, for example, conventions, rules, norms, or nature itself—this is not so of justice. Justice is beyond such considerations, for Derrida. Justice is deconstruction and deconstruction is justice.35 Why? Because justice is the experience of aporia, of the impossible, of the undecidable. Moreover, says Derrida, a desire for justice whose structure would not be such an experience of aporia would have no chance to be what it is, namely, a "call for justice." How are we to distinguish concretely, then, between law and justice? Law, in contrast to justice, can be accounted for in terms of a good rule applied to a particular case (what Kant calls determinant judgment). Justice, on the other hand, is incalculable by definition for it entails moments in which the decision between just and unjust cannot be insured by a rule.36 Justice involves singularity. It concerns the "other as other" in a unique situation, irreducible to principles of duty, rights, or objective law. In fact, what Derrida calls justice is very close to what Levinas calls ethics, as appears evident from his claim that "to address oneself to the other in the language of the other is, it seems, the condition of all possible justice."37 Derrida returns to this Levinasian connection later in the essay. To accept such a claim is to acknowledge that "deconstruction calls for an increase in responsibility."38 Increased responsibility may well involve a momentary suspension, or even transgression, of the traditional definitions of responsibility according to the criteria of human law. Indeed, Derrida refers to it as an impossible responsibility to the extent that it is never fulfilled or fulfillable. "In the end," he writes, "where will deconstruction find its force, its movement or its motivation, if not in this always unsatisfied appeal, beyond the

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given determination of what we call, in determined contexts, justice, the possibility of justice?"39 Where the responsibility demanded by justice is infinite, incalculable, inimical to rules and symmetry, that of law is statutory and stabilizable, a matter of legality and right calculable within a system of regulated codes. 40 At this point, Derrida explicitly invokes Levinas's ethical definition of justice in support of his own deconstructive approach. Such a definition is particularly relevant because of the "heterogeneous relation to others, to the faces of otherness that govern me, whose infinity I cannot thematize and whose hostage I remain."41 Commenting on a section of Levinas's Totality and Infinity entitled "Truth and Justice," Derrida approvingly cites the equation of justice and ethics: "the relation to others, that is to say, justice." He identifies the proximity of such ethics to the Hebrew definition of sanctity as "the demand of the other," which is a "practically infinite right" whose asymmetry transcends the "concept of man" with its rules of calculated proportions.42 As soon as rules are operative, as they must be in constitutions and institutions, justice becomes law. The difficulty about this position is, of course, that ethical demands of justice often require us to have recourse to law. The infinite demand of the other is almost invariably translated, at some point, into the legal system of anonymous exchange, impartial distribution, and equal symmetry.43 Incalculable justice requires us to calculate. Derrida admits as much. 44 But, even in those legal instances where the singular, case of the "other" is to be applied to the universalizable code of the "same," there remains a crucial trace of justice. This Derrida identifies with the "undecidable." He writes: The undecidable is not merely the oscillation or tension between two decisions, it is the experience of that which, though heterogeneous, foreign to the order of the calculable and the rule, is still obliged . . . to give itself up to the impossible decision, while taking account of law and rules. A decision that didn't go through the ordeal of the undecidable would not be a free decision, it would only be the programmable application or unfolding of a calculable process. It might be legal; it would not be just.45 The fact is that no decision is ever totally pure, wholly present to itself. No decision is unconditionally decidable. There is never an absolute legal decision since an element of incalculable singularity always enters in. Nor is there ever an absolutely just decision, since some element of rule determination is always operative, if only as memory or anticipation. All decisions are to some degree impure. The undecidable and decidable are inextricably linked to each other. They make up what Lyotard calls a diffe'rend.46 The undecidable character of justice is, consequently, that which deconstructs from within any presumption of certainty when it comes to the criteriology of legal decision. This is not to claim that legal judgments cannot be made; it

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simply allows for that moment of suspense whenever a rule is being applied to a singular event. Such allowance is a matter of justice—an acknowledgment of otherness in sameness, of the extralegal in the legal. Derrida states his position in the following post-Kantian definition of the "idea of justice" as primordial indebtedness to the other: "The deconstruction of all presumption of all determinant certitude of a present justice, itself operates on the basis of an infinite 'idea of justice,' infinite because it is irreducible, irreducible because owed to the other, owed to the other, before any contract, because it has come, the other's coming as the singularity that is always other."47 What Derrida is suggesting in this cryptic passage is that justice is the idea of a gift without exchange, of a relation to the other that is utterly irreducible to the normal rules of circulation, gratitude, recognition, or symmetry. That is why it appears to imply a certain kind of "madness" or "mystique"—other names, perhaps misnomers, for deconstruction. Derrida locates this ethical relation (or non-relation) of deconstruction at a pre-reflective level, where decisions are made in the name of justice. But such a level must be understood as prior to the emergence of academic, theoretical disciplines like law or morality. "Deconstruction is mad about this kind of justice," insists Derrida with aphoristic aptness. It is "mad about the desire for justice." He adds, "This kind of justice which isn't law, is the very movement of deconstruction at work in law and the history of law, in political history and history itself, before it even presents itself as the discourse that the academy or modern culture labels 'deconstructionism'."48 Precedents for this idea of justice, Derrida concedes, are multiple. The "type" ranges from the messianic demand for a kingdom in the Jewish-ChristianIslamic tradition to the Kantian regulative idea and the eschato-teleology of the Hegelian-Marxist revolution. While Derrida acknowledges these instances, he remains cautious. Noting the ethical motivation of such ideals of justice (that which "keeps us moving"), he notes a conflict between the fact that such ideals involve a period of waiting and the fact that justice itself—no matter how unpresentable and undecidable—is something that cannot wait. Derrida appreciates the urgency of ethics. Against those who charge deconstruction with indifference and inaction, he insists that "a just decision is always required immediately, right away."49 Justice rends time and defies dialectics. It is a finite moment of precipitous urgency interrupting all cognitive deliberations that precede it. "The instant of decision is a madness," writes Derrida in a phrase borrowed from Kierkegaard's reflections in Either/Or. It acts "in the night of non-knowledge and non-rule."50 All cognitive systems of truth are thus considered secondary to the demands of decision. But, where Kierkegaard saw the ultimate decision leading beyond ethics to religion, Derrida remains closer to Levinas's notion that the ethical rapport with otherness is itself an act of holy madness, or "sanctity." There is no beyond ethics.

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It is just here, at the crucial moment of decision, that ethical justice parts company with legal truth. As Derrida puts it—rephrasing Levinas's famous claim in Totality and Infinity that "truth presupposes justice": "La justice, y a que 9a de vrai."51 If Derrida does not subscribe to Kierkegaard's subordination of ethics to religion, however, he does not reject the interest of religion in justice. Indeed, as a sort of link between Kierkegaard and Levinas he rehearses Walter Benjamin's view that justice without law—justice which respects the singularity of each situation over and above the requirements of universal reason—is another word for God. 52 This is the God of Judaic scripture, who "forbids all murder" and reveals that the worth of man is the "yet to come [avenir] of justice," that "what is sacred in his life is not his life (as vitalism or biologism hold) but the justice of his life."53 The demand for justice is a "mission to name," received by Jews from God. It is the "possibility of giving, inscribing, calling and recalling the name."54 It is this very demand for justice which, in Derrida's view, the Final Solution tried to eliminate.
V. ETHICS AND POLITICS

I might summarize Derrida's argument by saying that the demand to name the unnamable, to decide the undecidable, resides at the very heart of the deconstructive idea of justice. Nowhere is it more manifest than in the fact that justice demands to be done immediately and yet is never reducible to a fully present moment, to a moment of full presence. Political dogmatism, or ideology, is the result of worshipping the law for its own sake, revering it as adequate to each singular decision. But there is a temptation also for messianic Marxists (like Benjamin), who are so eager to make the "mystical" idea of justice immediately present that they often ignore the finite historical conditions in which justice, as ethical responsibility, is a task which always remains to be done. 55 A similar danger lurks, it must be said, in the apocalyptic gestures of a thinker like Heidegger, whose determination to deconstruct traditional Western metaphysics at all costs runs the risk of neglecting the ethical responsibility to the singular demands for justice made in each historical moment. 56 When Derrida reproaches Benjamin and Heidegger in this manner, one cannot help feeling he is also issuing a discreet warning to himself: There but for the grace of God go I! Justice is something which is always politically demanded but never accomplished. That is why the demand that justice be done now, and the recognition that justice is always still to be done (a-venir) are two sides of the same undecidable coin. Taking the example of the declaration of the Rights of Man, Derrida fully endorses the political struggle for concrete historical freedoms ("nothing seems less outdated than the classical emancipatory ideal")57; but he equally appreciates that such struggles in the here and now of history are never fully realized. Politicization is interminable, concludes Derrida, even if it can-

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not, and should not, be total. Each specific advance in politicization obliges me to reconsider, and reinterpret "the very foundations of law such as they had previously been calculated or delimited."58 The endless refounding and reforming of our legal/political institutions is an indispensable process, spurred by the irremissible demand that justice remains to be done. "There is an avenir for justice, and there is no justice except to the degree that some event is possible which, as event, exceeds calculation, rules, programs, anticipations, and so forth. Justice as the experience of absolute alterity is unpresentable, but it is the chance of the event and the condition of history."59 Derrida is prepared to accept, however, that there is good and bad eschatology. In our 1981 dialogue, he concedes that "all genuine questioning is summoned by a certain type of eschatology, though it is impossible to define this eschatology in philosophical terms.,,6° He is even prepared to admit that "the style of [deconstructive] questioning as an exodus and dissemination in the desert might produce certain prophetic resonances."61 Derrida's rather surprising allusion here to prophetic eschatology is tentative, hypothetical even skeptical. He is not, by all accounts, embracing a theological affirmation of revealed biblical truths. But he is saying something. Perhaps he is taking about a "rhetoric" of prophetic discourse that is shared, as he puts it, by "several other contemporary thinkers" (Levinas? De Man? Bloom? Hartman? Lyotard?). Perhaps he is referring to a "search for hope without hope" which might be considered by some to assume a "prophetic allure."62 What follows from this rather portentous observation is that deconstruction, as a rhetoric of quasi-prophetic exodus, can be related to a "politics of the emigre or exile."63 This involves a defense of the homeless or nomadic subject against the absolutist ideologies which victimize and scapegoat the "alien." It is, in Levinas's ethical terms, a defense of "infinity" against "totality." Or, as Derrida puts it, more cryptically but no less cogently—"Nazism was not born in the desert."64
VI. ETHICS AND RELIGION

Such an ethics of exodus is historically allied with the Jewish tradition, with its fascination for writing, exegesis, and eschatology. All are present, obliquely or openly, in Derrida's deconstructive approach. Moreover, Derrida's allegience to this tradition is also manifest in his recurring treatment of the theme of circumcision—a wound-word always open to, addressed to, answerable to the other. Commenting on the line from the Jewish poet Paul Celan—Diesem/ beschneide das Wort—Derrida writes: "This word to be circumcised, to be circumcised for someone, on someone, this word which must therefore be given, and given once circumcised, to be understood as an open word. As a wound, you say. Yes and no. Open first as a door, open to the stranger, the other, the neighbor, the host or whoever. Doubtless to someone in the shape of an absolute

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future who will come, or more precisely who would come because this avenir, which is a-venir, is a coming which must not be certified or calculated. . . ."65 Not surprisingly, this theme of circumcision as Jewish mark of dedication to the irreducible other reappears as a central motif in Derrida's autobiographical sketch, Circonfession.eG But Derrida's fascination with the ethico-eschatological implications of revelation are not confined to his Jewish heritage. He also acknowledges the influence of this theme in the Christian scriptures, and especially the Gospel of John, which he analyses in detail in his conclusion to Dun ton apocalyptique adopte naguere en philosophic67 Derrida devotes much attention here to the key terms of prophetic eschatology—viens and a-venir. He explores how a summons by and on behalf of the other can take the apocalyptic guise of a monstrous mutation in history. Eschatology is terratology—a double-edged coming of pain and parousia, of monstrosity and messianism, of otherness as host and as hostage. This anticipates Derrida's reading of the shibboleth as a threshold watched by two guardians of the Jewish Law—Elijah and Kafka—a threshold at once separating us from the other and summoning us to the other, at once amputation and advent. "Just here," Derrida writes, "the monster, or Elijah, the host or other stands before the door . . . as before the law. Think of Vor dem Gesetz, Before the Law, of Kafka; but also of all those in Judaism who associate the door with the law."68 In most of the texts published prior to the eighties, Derrida remained highly reserved about his attitude to the Jewish ethos of exodus. Even when, in our 1981 dialogue, he acknowledged that the "Jew-as-other" serves as a figure of alterity in his deconstruction of Greek metaphysics, it was only in terms of the following proviso: "The paradox is that I have never actually invoked the Jewish tradition in any 'rooted' or direct manner. Though I was born a Jew, I do not live or think within a living Jewish tradition. So that if there is a Judaic dimension to my thinking which may from time to time have spoken in or through me, this has never assumed the form of an explicit fidelity or debt to that culture."69 The fact is, of course, that Derrida goes on to discuss the Judaic themes of prophecy, ethics, and alterity in quite a telling fashion; and in a series of texts published since 1972 this interest in the scriptural ethics of otherness becomes more and more explicit, from The "Force of Law," Schibboleth, De Vesprit and Dun ton apocalyptique, already cited, to texts such as Feu la cendre (1987), Devant la loi (1984), Des tours de Babel: Sur Walter Benjamin (1985); and perhaps most significantly, the quasi-religious texts, "Comment ne pas parler" (1986) and Circonfession (1991). In "Comment ne pas parler," Derrida raises the following leading questions about the Jewish-Arab otherness which ghosts his writing. "What of negative theology and its ghosts in a tradition of thought which would be neither Greek nor Christian? In other words, what of Jewish and Arab thinking on this issue?"

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He goes on: "In everything I will say a certain absence, a desert space will perhaps enable this question to resonate . . . a place of resonance about which there will be nothing said, or almost nothing." 70 But Derrida is not content to let the matter rest there. He moves from this allegience of the unspoken to a more articulate, and one might say confessional, statement: In spite of this silence, or in truth because of it, I may perhaps be permitted to reread this lecture as the most "autobiographical" discourse I have yet risked . . . If one day I should tell my story, nothing in the narrative could even begin to speak of what really matters if it did not begin with this fact: I have never yet been able, due to lack of competence and self-authority, to speak of that which my birth should have given me most intimately: Jew and Arab. . . . In short, how not to speak of oneself? But also: How to do so without becoming an invention of the other? Or inventing the other?71 The text where this theme of Vinvention de Vautre assumes most candid form is Circonfession—a confessional text which explores the biographical overlaps between the author's early life in North Africa and that of St. Augustine. It also plays on the Jewish initiatory rite of circumcision. As might be expected, such an exercise in avowal has much to say about the role of the other in both religious and ethical experience, but I will confine my remarks to one or two passages. The eschatological connotations of circumcision emerge in a discussion of the term escare. Derrida refers to both its Anglo-Saxon etymology of "scar" and its more contemporary allusion to the explosive eclat of avant-garde writing. Speaking as both Jew and avant-garde author, Derrida pursues the "eschatology of circumcision" as follows: "[It is] the violence of breaking open carried out by the avant-garde, which beyond all the old usages of this password they've never forgiven me, being an eschatologist, the most advanced, the last avantgarde which counts. . . ."72 Derrida notes the ancient alliance between the religious role of eschatology and Elijah, the last of the Prophets and Derrida's own guide and guardian through the rite of circumcision, a rite wherein the biblical alliance is each time renewed and repeated.73
VII. ETHICS AND ESCHATOLOGY

If Derrida does betray a predilection for a certain eschatological tradition, he is careful to resist the suggestion that deconstruction is another form for "negative theology."74 Differance, he insists, is not another proper name of God (nor indeed an improper or "negative" one), for that would give it the role of a transcendental signifier: It would reduce the irrepressible play of otherness to a metaphysical presence, a betrayal of the interminable dissemination of words— responding to the call of the other, the viens of alterity—by fixing the play of signification to a First or Last Word. This important reservation about negative theology notwithstanding, Derrida acknowledges the possibility of displacing

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the onto-theological fetish of God in favor of a God beyond God. 75 This acknowledgment is laconically stated but never explored. It is regrettable, moreover, that Derrida does not recognize a more explicit lineage of continuity between his own deconstructive approach and such protodeconstruction thinkers as Maimonides and Al-Ghazali in Jewish/Arabian tradition or Eriugena, Cusanus, and Eckhart (and even Kierkegaard) in Christian tradition. 76 With few exceptions, Derrida's response to early and medieval movements of "negative" monotheistic thinking is one of virtual silence. Whenever Derrida does make passing reference to the Judeo-Christian tradition, he tends to draw a sharp distinction between the Judeo and the Christian. With the exception of some generous remarks on Eckhart in "Comment ne pas Parler," Derrida generally links the Christian conception of the divine to a metaphysics of presence, in contrast with his positive assessment of its Judaic counterpart. Thus we find him in Glas, for instance, seeming to endorse Moses Mendelson's claim that the "God of Judaism does not manifest himself, he is not truth for the Jews, total presence or parousia."77 One finds further, discreet references to this in Dissemination, when he hints at an indirect approach to the question of the divine through a "language that precedes my presence to myself, with Torah, Kabbalah and rabbinical exegesis."78 These latter are writings which, in Derrida's view, mark out the empty space of the god who is not, a space of what might be described, paradoxically, as a sort of atheistic theism (what he refers to in Of Grammatology as a "hint at the glimmer of beyond closure"79). Derrida's atheism might thus be described as strategic. The target of his deconstruction is the god of pure presence—the god of orthodox ontotheology—rather than the god who escapes such presence. What Derrida appears to ignore, however, is the degree to which there are instances of such unorthodox godhead within the Christian and Islamic traditions.80 Derrida might well reply, in fairness, that his main concern is not theology but philosophy—and that means, in relation to the god question, the metaphysical conceptions of the highest Being as full presence. Derrida renounces all metaphysical efforts to reduce the otherness of the other to a First Cause {arche) or Supreme Goal (telos). The otherness of the other, theologically or psychologically conceived, eludes the limits of memory and anticipation. That is why an ethics of alterity is impelled by the recognition that the other exceeds both primary narcissism and the project of immortality (which seek to capture differance in a fetish of arrested fulfillment). Put differently, ethics observes how the otherness of the other both pre-exists and post-exists me. It provokes the contamination of the same by the non-same, of presence by nonpresence, of identity by difference. Otherness cannot be philosophically defined or named; it can only be confessed. As Derrida puts it in Circonfession, in response to his mother's question whether he believes in God:

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My religion about which no one understands anything . . . she [my mother] should know that the endurance of God in my life goes under other names— so much so that I'm taken quite understandably for an atheist—the omnipresence in me of what I call God in my absolved language, absolutely private, being neither an eyewitness nor a voice that does other than make me talk in order to say nothing, nor a transcendental law, nor an immanent schechina: that feminine figure of a Yahweh who remains so strange yet so familiar, being none of these things but rather the secret from which I am excluded. . . .81 Such a God is what Derrida calls "the other in me"—or "atheist God"— who is "infinitely smaller and larger than me."82 But one of the things an ethics of eschatology must guard against is mistaking deconstruction for a new religion or, more tempting still, for a new prophecy substituting itself for the last (true) prophet, Elijah. "I am some One," writes Derrida, "whom the One God never ceases to de-circumcise, in other words, someone who resolutely bleeds into dispersal, salus in sanguine, all those who can no longer sleep from it, who pretend to be waiting for me there where I have already come, like the truest of false prophets, those who want to deport their obsession with Elijah, their attraction repulsion, drawn and projected into the periphery of a phase, into the periphrases of my signature."83 This is Derrida at his most paradoxical—tantalizingly obscure, engagingly noncommittal, elliptical. But one thing which does come across is the realization that the God he is addressing is not the God of metaphysics but the ethical other of dispossession, discretion, disparition. In one of his most overtly confessional statements, Derrida takes up again the analogy with his Carthaginian predecessor and addresses his "hidden god." "You who are not graspable under this name or that," he exclaims, "it is you the hidden god more than one, capable each time of receiving my prayer, you are the destination of my prayer, you know everything before me, you are the unconscious god—we never seem to miss each other—you are the measure they cannot take, and that is why they ask who it is that I still address from the depths of my solitude; you are a mortal god, that is why I write, why I write to you my god . . . to save you from your own immortality."84 Derrida's lower-case god differs from the upper-case God of metaphysics in being the destination of direct address, an other who calls and receives. It is also the god of Talmudic repute, who set aside the Seventh Day of Creation as a space—gap, desert, void—for endless invention, for the labor of inscription and reinscription to be carried out by mortals. This would seem to be what Derrida has in mind when he cites Augustine's phrase in Confessions about the "Seventh Day which has no evening and no sunset."85 Or when he speaks of "the violence of the void by means of which God earths himself to death in me."86 Derrida identifies this violence with a form of writing whose estrangement respects the alien precisely by alienating us from it and refuses the facility of

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immediate possession, the certainty of decidability. "All of this," he says, "turns around nothing, around a Nothing where God recalls himself to me, its my only memory, the condition of all my fidelities, the name of God, amidst the ashes of Elijah, one evening of rest which never arrives."87 The author thus declares himself an alien of all languages (like Kafka and Benjamin?) because beholden to a language (Hebrew?) he neither speaks nor understands. Whence his special obsession with words, letters, writings, poetics—with a kind of scripture which can be awaited because it has not yet come, a language recalled as still to come, a memoire a venir88 Derrida refuses to take occupancy in the land of Hebrew yet continues to express fidelity to the "remains of Judaism": the hope of the last of the Prophets, Elijah, the remaindered resurrection symbolized by that sabbath without evening, that eschatology without end. This lingering commitment to Judaism is informed by Derrida's ethic of reserve and vigilance. "One has to get up early," he writes, at the dawn of the day without evening, because finally but finally who else am I in truth, who am I if I don't live what I inhabit and where I take place, Ich bleibe also Jude, that is to say today in what remains of Judaism in the world, Europe and the other, and in this remains I am only someone to whom so little remains that deep down, already dead like the son beside the widow, I await the resurrection of Elijah, and to have addressed the interminably preliminary question of knowing how they, the Jews and others, can interpret the "circonfession," the fact that I am here living what remains of Judaism.89 To this autobiographical avowal Derrida appends the following note of hesitation and humility: "We are so few and so divided, you know, I am still waiting before I make the next step and add another word, the name from which I hope resurrection."90
VIII. CONCLUSION

This reading of Derrida's texts suggests that deconstruction's obsession with alterity is compatible with an ethics of "increased responsibility." Indeed, it might even be said that it serves as some kind of philosophical condition of it. For to safeguard the other from all logocentric strategies to objectify and reify is to guard the other as an irreducible locus of address and response—arguably the sine qua non of all ethical discourse. This is surely why Derrida is so adamant in his claim that deconstruction is "no centralizing power of mastery and domination" but "an openness toward the other,"91 a claim reinforced by the key statement that "the critique of logocentrism is above all the search for the other',"92 an attempt to "reevaluate the indispensable notion of'responsibility.'"93 The fact that responsibility is used here in inverted commas is a token of Derrida's resolve to reevaluate the operative concepts of ethics. Presupposed by this is, of course, a reevaluation of the players who summon and respond—the

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ethical subject and the ethical other. This is why Derrida challenges all metaphysical attempts to reduce subject and other to categories of "mastery, possession, totalization and certitude."94 It is also why he discerns in the poetics of writing—and especially avant-garde writing—the possibility of suspending our natural attitude to self and other and reinserting them in other ways. Deconstruction, in this respect, might be seen as a more interrogative mode of writing, a way of rendering the traditional question of reference more problematic. It even asks, as Derrida admits, whether our term "reference" is entirely adequate for designating the other. This should not be taken to mean, as many suggest, that deconstruction is confined to a prison house of language with no reference to anything outside it. The very question of inside and outside is put in question by deconstruction. But this need not entail, as might first appear, an abandonment of responsibility to the otherness of the other. On the contrary, it demands it. "The other," writes Derrida, "which is beyond language and summons language, is perhaps not a 'referent* in the normal sense which linguists have attached to this term."95 He insists, however, that to distance ourselves thus from the habitual structures of reference, thereby complicating our logocentric assumptions about it, "does not amount to saying that there is nothing beyond language."96 The ethics of responsibility to the other demands that there is. Hence the head-on retort to those who charge him with nihilism—"Deconstruction is not an enclosure in nothingness, but an openness toward the other."97 Since, moreover, it takes two to play the ethical game of responsibility, deconstruction is committed to a reinscription not only of the "other" but also of the "subject." Here I return to a recurring theme of my investigations. Over and against all suspicions that deconstruction obliterates the human subject, Derrida replies that, far from seeking to "destroy the subject," he seeks only to "resituate" it in terms more vigilant and responsive to the other.98 Whether it be a question of the "other" who summons or the "subject" who responds, the quotation marks signal an ethical reservation that neither be mistaken for referential objects (or transcendental signifieds). The fact that subject and other are reevaluated in the name of an ethics of eschatology means that the responsibility they bear to one another is limitless. Here we are concerned with an almost impossible responsibility, without the slightest hint of closure or reprieve. I began this discussion by situating Derrida in relation to two of his contemporaries, Heidegger and Levinas. This influence is clearly not a question of either/or but rather—as one would expect from deconstruction—both/and/neither/ nor. That is to say, Heideggerean destruction and Levinasian ethics remain dual aspects of Derrida's thinking, which mutually contaminate and "supplement" each other. The working hypothesis of my reading has been, however, that while Derrida tends to lean toward a more Heideggerean position in the texts up to 1972 (as in the famous critique of Levinas in "Violence and Meta-

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physics") he appears to favor a more Levinasian position in the post-1972 texts. I repeat that I am not claiming that he chooses between Heidegger and Levinas; only that in the later texts the mutual contamination of both seems to approximate more to the language of ethics than of ontology (however "destructive"). In the 1981 dialogue, Derrida was already marking a distance when he stated that his rapport with Heidegger was also a "non-rapport," evident in their divergent "understanding of language."99 The contrast here is clear. Whereas Heidegger hailed Greek and German as the exclusive languages of Being, Derrida insists that the language of Western culture—as indeed of all cultures—is inhabited by its other. The deconstruction of Western logocentrism is thus propelled from within by the fact that "Europe has always registered the impact of heterogeneous, non-European influences."100 Because it is ghosted by, and answerable to its other, it is constantly compelled to put itself into question, to interrogate its own Eurocentric claim to master and possess the universe of meaning. In short, the impulse of Western metaphysics to deconstruct itself is ultimately a gesture of responsibility to its other. Derrida's claim that the remainder of Judaism perdures as a heterogeneous element, "threatening and unsettling the assured 'identities' of Western philosophy," is another way of acknowledging this responsibility. That is why the contamination of the Greek Logos by its other is something reviled by Heidegger but championed by Derrida. "The surreptitious deconstruction of the Greek Logos is at work from the very origin of our Western culture," argues Derrida. "Already the translation of Greek concepts into other languages—Latin, Arabic, German, French, English, etc.—or indeed the translation of Hebraic or Arabic ideas and structures into metaphysical terms, produces 'fissures' in the presumed 'solidity' of Greek philosophy by introducing alien and conflicting elements."101 Derrida is here manifestly at odds with Heidegger's poetics and in tune with a Levinasian ethics of alterity. But such a statement is not the kind of thing to be found in Derrida's writings up to the eighties. Indeed, as he concedes in the 1981 dialogue, the "ethical" or "Judaic" element of Levinas's thought remained for his early texts "a discreet rather than decisive reference."102 That said, it is undeniable that it comes more and more to the fore after the "ethical re-turn" of such thinking in the seventies and eighties. It even takes the form of a critical confrontation with Heidegger in De Vesprit (1987), where Derrida points out that Heidegger's recourse to the Graeco-Germanic concept of Geist during the fatal 1933-35 period—and most ominously in the 1933 Rektoratsrede celebrating Hitler—bespeaks an ethical blindness. Moreover, the conspicuous omission of any reference to the Hebrew word for spirit, ruah, lends further credence to the suspicion that Heidegger wanted no outside influences to infect what he saw as the authentic language of Being. Derrida's suggestion is that Heidegger's philosophical "forgetting" of ruah cannot be totally

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divorced from the historical repression of the Jews during the Third Reich. And here, it seems, Derrida is adverting to the intimate implication of ethics in questions of textual discourse. The simple fact is that the language of poetics is always about a rapport, or non-rapport, with the other. Or, as he puts it in Schibbolethy another contemporaneous text much concerned with matters of the ruah, the inalienable task of naming is to convoke the other, "to speak of the other, and to the other, to speak."103 This is one of the central motifs of Paul Celan's poetry, analyzed in Schibboleth. And it is not lost on Derrida. He is aware that it was this same Jewish poet who visited Heidegger in his mountain retreat in Todtnauberg after the war to hear a word of apology for the great error. Heidegger did not utter the "hoped for" word, and Celan registered his disappointment in a poem entitled, simply, Todtnauberg. But if Celan did not go as far as Adorno in declaring a moratorium on poetry after Auschwitz, he did leave his meeting with Heidegger more persuaded than ever that no poetics of dwelling can be divorced from an ethics of responsibility. On the basis of these passages—though Derrida never makes a clear statement on the matter—it would appear reasonable to conclude that Celan's persuasion is not far removed from Derrida's. One might even claim that deconstruction is one particular effort, successful or otherwise, to combine a poetics of language with an ethics of otherness. As soon as we speak, or listen, we are indebted to the other, bespoken to the other, summoned by the other, answerable to the other. This is, I believe, one of the morals of the story of deconstruction—language is ethics. Not ethics as a system of moral directives or dogmas, to be sure, but as an obsession with the irreducible other. How else are we to make sense of Derrida's increasing concern with the ethical effects of language, not only in Judaism, law, and avant-garde writing, but also in such everyday practices as educational reform, apartheid, nuclear threat, or, quite simply, the act of human conversation? No matter how oblique and obscure Derrida becomes, one is never allowed to forget that he has never forgotten the other. This is surely what he means when he claims that "deconstruction is justice." There are those who would quarrel with Derrida's claim. In my next chapter, I consider the hermeneutic reasons for this quarrel.

12
Derrida's Ethics of Dialogue
If ethics is a dilemma for Derrida, surely an ethics of dialogue is a double dilemma. After all, is not the name of Derrida synonymous with a deconstruction of the phenomenological and hermeneutic claims for dialogue, reversing the traditional priority of speech over writing? And if it is possible to speak of Derrida's ethical return—as I have done on the basis of an extrapolation from latent concerns within his major writings on deconstruction there is still the issue of logical consistency. For example, are there not arguments in some of his "master texts" which contradict his later ethical claims? How is an ethics of dialogue possible if one has already questioned such basic hermeneutic notions as the subject, context, communication, and reference? I take each of these in turn before looking at Derrida's own defense. I First, there is the critical hermeneutic issue of dismantling the subject. Is it possible to sustain the hermeneutic notion of an ethically responsible subject (in dialogue with others) given the scorched-earth policy of the early Derrida? It must be recalled that deconstruction—at least in its initial formulations— criticizes not only the epistemological subject but all other conceivable figures of subjectivity. Having radicalized Heidegger's attack on the conscious, willing, representing subject, Derrida concludes that "what holds for consciousness holds here for subjective existence in general."1 But, if one dispenses in this fashion with any "proper" of man—subjective or objective—it is difficult to see how anti-totalitarian appeals to human rights can be validated: a difficulty experienced by Derrida himself after his wrongful arrest in Czechoslovakia on drug-possession charges, and, as we shall see below, after his experience of violent misinterpretation by Searle in the Limited Inc. exchange. If there is no "proper" Jacques Derrida, on what grounds can he claim his "own" rights have been infringed or his "own" thought misrepresented? Some cynically minded 168

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critics might extend this performative contradiction to Derrida's practice of authorial copyright, as they did to Roland Barthes after his famous declaration of the "death of the author." Either way, it is surely no accident that several of Derrida's publications, after these alleged misunderstandings of his position on the "subject," have laid great stress on the question of personal identity, marking, and naming—in particular, Circonfission, with its play on confession and circumcision discussed above, and the 1988 Afterword to Limited Inc., discussed below. The bottom line remains: Without a hermeneutic subject who hears, claims, and responds in its own right, I do not see how Derrida can speak of an ethics of dialogue. Second, there is the problem of context. This too is central to the hermeneutic possibility of an ethics of dialogue. For dialogue requires not only subjects who speak to each other but also a context in which (or about which) they speak. The later Derrida does claim that deconstruction can transform contexts (with ethical/political consequences), but here again we are compelled to ask what exactly context means. A reading of the early Derrida would suggest it means the field of intertextuality that "grounds" a text—a field that produces specific "stratifications" in the text, based on particular genealogies and logics of sense and non-sense. Such a claim calls for a "prudent, slow, differentiated" reading that characterizes deconstruction. 2 It is hard to say, however, in view of this and similar claims, how one could transform a context or lift a text from its field. This is particularly so in the case of deconstructive genealogies, which appear to dispossess a priori the subject of its specific, historical context of utterance and, by implication, of ethical responsibility for such utterance. On the other hand, if one is to grant an extra-textual possibility of context, one must ask how deconstruction can make the critical purchase necessary to transform it. Political antagonisms, for example, cannot simply be reduced to the logical aporias upon which deconstruction focuses. And, as Peter Dews remarks in Logics of Disintegration, "In this context, it is worth observing that when Derrida, during the 1980's, begins to make more explicit statements of social and cultural criticism, he tends to revert to a conventionally Heideggerean account of technology and bureaucracy, although he had formerly undermined the possibility of an appeal to the experience of being, upon which Heidegger himself relies."3 Third, there is the hermeneutic problem of textual solipsism. Although the later Derrida protests that deconstruction is not sealed off from the outer world of action and does not close us up in "language as in a cave,"4 one has difficulty squaring this with certain statements in his early work. One might cite here his bald claim in Speech and Phenomena (1967) that there is no such thing as perception;5 or his claim in Dissemination (1972) that "there is nothing outside of the text," since "generalized graphics has always already begun, is always grafted onto a prior writing";6 or again, his denial in Positions (1972)

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of any material reference exceeding metaphysical discourse.7 But, even granting Derrida the benefit of the doubt in relation to textual solipsism, and accepting his claims concerning the problematics of any inside/outside opposition, one is still left with his description of writing in Of Grammatology (1967) as "all that gives rise to inscription in general":8 a description which, given his equation of inscription with all that is, seems to elevate writing to the status of an allenglobing absolute and the very precondition of history.9 The attendant implication that grammatology can serve as a principle of general textual explanation, with all its vastness of scope, runs the risk of exhausting, or rendering useless, writing as an overworked hermeneutic model. It also appears to reduce the viability of an ethics of dialogue. Fourth, there is the hermeneutic dilemma posed by Derrida's apocalyptic stance. His linking of the irruption of alterity, for example, with "monstrous mutations" provoking "another kind of writing"10 raises serious questions for ethics. If the monstrosity of otherness is characterized by its polysemic and heterological nature—which transgresses the laws of logocentric identity—then it can mean several things: in fact, almost anything regarded as radically "abnormal." But are we not then obliged to deem equally ethical such different manifestations of the monstrous as physical torture, political barbarism, mystical insanity, or aesthetic sublimity? Insofar as they are all instances of alterity that disrupt our experience of sameness/presence/identity/homology, are they all equally valid as ethical challenges to logocentrism? Surely not. Even though Derrida does not address this issue directly, he does go some way to acknowledging the implications of this line of reasoning when he paraphrases Edmund Burke's phrase about "eternal vigilance"; or when he grants, in his treatment of both Nietzsche and Searle, that each writer bears responsibility for subsequent interpretations of his own writings. For an ethics of dialogue to work it cannot be a matter of anything goes. Even apocalyptic visions of the monstrous have hermeneutic limits. Fifth, there is the charge of obscurantism. An ethics of dialogue entails a hermeneutics of communication. One must seek to say what one means to the other and to understand what the other means to say. This would seem to require at least a minimal commitment to a logic of mutual understanding. If it is true that the otherness of the other sometimes takes the form of a monstrous mutation (or catachresis) in the order of discourse, it could not summon us to an ethical response if it did not make any sense to us at all. Derrida would appear to be conceding a somewhat analogous point when he reminds Levinas, in "Violence and Metaphysics," that if otherness were to remain absolutely other it would never be able to manifest itself to any human subject in the phenomenological order of experience. To put it another way, if otherness were to remain absolutely external to the finite conditions of context, personal identity, biography, and language, it could not be even be said to exist, never

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mind be able to summon us in ethical dialogue. Invoking ethical otherness from a no-place of mystical undecidability would appear to obliterate the possibility of personal and historical particularity as required by any meaningful ethics of responsibility. For an ethical subject to respond, an ethical other must first have addressed the subject in a language the subject can hear and (at least minimally) understand. Without such a basic hermeneutic model of intersubjective communication, it is hard to see how ethical judgment could be possible. As Hannah Arendt observes in "The Crisis of Culture," ethical judgment, like all judgment, rests upon "an anticipated communication with others with whom I know I must finally come to some agreement."11 Surely this possibility of agreement presupposes a specifically hermeneutic understanding of language— "someone saying something to someone about something" (in Ricoeur's phrase)? It is just such agreement that Derrida appears to rule out when he warns against the "remoralization of deconstruction" as promoting the "consensus of a new dogmatic slumber."12 He renounces the temptation to submit deconstruction to the moral pressures of "good conscience" and "consensual euphoria," preferring instead to leave unanswered such questions as What is the ethicity of ethics? The morality of morality? Why? Because deconstruction demands that such questions must remain "without a general and rule-governed response, without a response other than that which is linked specifically each time, to the occurrence of a decision without rules and without will in the course of a new test of the undecidable."13 Such a demand for endless undecidability would appear to undermine the hermeneutic possibility of agreement or consensus. And while some seek to defend Derrida here on the grounds that he is offering a quasi-transcendental analysis of the "undeconstructible condition of deconstruction"—an "ultraethics" or "protoethics" or "ethics of ethics"—one is still faced with the commonsense objection that some ethical issues do command consensus (genocide is wrong, torturing children is evil). Agreement on certain ethical values does not necessarily lead to dogmatic slumber or consensual euphoria. Derrida's "double readings" are all very well, but sometimes ethical decisions require straight talking, verbal agreement, and unequivocal action. II In the absence of basic hermeneutic conditions of communication, it is difficult to make sense of Derrida's claims: 1) to be personally responsible for the particular context of each address he makes to particular audiences; or 2) to adopt a "straightforward" language so as to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings. Indeed, Derrida's "own" admission, discussed below, of the need for logocentric language due to "changed circumstances" (his experience of wrongful arrest in Prague or wrongful reading by Searle) would appear to accept that the context of the author's own/proper biography does count, perhaps indispensably, as a

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basis for ethical responsibility. This point is surely confirmed by Derrida's decision to publish his own biographical text, Circonfessions, with intimate journal entries and family photographs of a most unmonstrous and confessional author. Maybe deconstruction is, after all, "only one textual interpretation among others"14—and one that needs to be supplemented by a more straightforward and decidable hermeneutic of dialogue. Such a concession appears, however, incompatible with Derrida's rejection of the hermeneutic model of discourse— "someone saying something to someone about something." All these objections to Derrida's claim to an ethics of dialogue come together, it could be said, in his controversial exchange with Gadamer in the Goethe Institute of Paris in 1981. 15 By the general agreement of all present, Derrida and Gadamer included, this was a non-dialogue. The reasons for this are telling. Derrida's deconstruction and Gadamer's hermeneutics were incapable of finding either common ground or common understanding (in spite of Gadamer's boldest efforts). The most obvious reason for this, identified by Derrida himself in his reply to Gadamer—"Three Questions to Hans-Georg Gadamer"—was that the latter presuppose the willingness of each partner in conversation to be open to what the other had to say. This Derrida equates with the Kantian idea of "good will" and, by implication, with an outmoded metaphysical model of understanding. Derrida makes it clear that he himself does not presuppose such good will; and the highly elusive character of his response demonstrates that he has no desire to interact with Gadamer's point of view. This, let it be noted, despite Gadamer's conciliatory claims that hermeneutics and deconstruction share three basic concerns: 1) to overcome the metaphysical ideal of exact determinability and repeatability of meaning; 2) to acknowledge the internal connection between speaking and writing; and 3) to affirm the independence of textual meaning from authorial intention and the penetration of self-understanding by otherness (the existence of difference, deferral, and distance within thought—or as Gadamer puts it, self-understanding as a "constant being-other").16 In his review essay "Hermeneutics and Deconstruction: Gadamer and Derrida in Dialogue," Fred Dallmayr goes so far as to accuse Derrida of "indifference to ethics." He cites Derrida's refusal of the risk of dialogue and his "neglect" of the hermeneutic dimension of human activity, in which judgment and decision-making are essential.17 Dallmayr might have gone further and charged Derrida with a will to overpower Gadamer through deliberate misunderstanding.18 But, for all Derrida's insistence on the inevitable presence of "misunderstanding" in all discourse, he too wants to be heard and understood, does he not? Why would he write otherwise? Or put his signature to his writings? Or protest when others misunderstand him? Derrida does all of these. And it is arguably on the last count—of protesting against others' misunderstanding of his thought—that he is most vulnerable.

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The exchange with John Searle published in Limited Inc. (1988) is the clearest case in point, and he appears to implicitly acknowledge as much in his Afterword to the text ("Toward an Ethic of Discussion") and in a subsequent text, "The Politics of Friendship," also published in 1988. 19 In these texts (in addition to those cited earlier), Derrida returns to this point with telling insistence. Even though he never adverts directly to a revision of his stance in the Gadamer exchange, it is impossible not to read between the lines. I argue that Derrida is either contradicting his 1981 position (that a philosophy of "dialogue" is impossible) or, at very least, is substantially revising it with a view to making it compatible with an "ethic of discussion." I take each of these texts in turn.

Ill
In "The Politics of Friendship," Derrida takes up the issue of direct address. First delivered in the form of a presentation to the APA Symposium on Law and Society in 1988, this paper ponders the ethical and political implications of responding to a specific audience of specific persons in a specific context. The hermeneutic situation of conversation raises the vexed issue of friendship, polity, and politeness. One of Derrida's opening claims in the address is that "You [the audience he is addressing] hold me personally responsible for the simple fact that I am speaking. . . . And by holding me personally responsible you are, in a rigorous sense, implying some knowledge of what 'person* and 'responsibility* mean."20 Here, more explicitly than hitherto, Derrida is extrapolating an ethic of responsibility from the discursive structure of address and response. Responsibility, he argues, contains within itself the condition of a response to, and from, the other. Even at a basic, pragmatic level, Derrida admits to his audience that "to speak to you when you are assembled to listen to me, then to discuss with me, in short to respond to me, I have already responded to an invitation, and consequently, I am in the process of addressing myself to you who are beginning to respond to me."21 The tone and tenor of Derrida's argumentation here are decidely Levinasian, nowhere more so than when he adverts to an ethic of responsibility prior to the autonomy of subjective freedom because beholden to the summons of the other. This is what Levinas calls the difficile liberte of the subject, understood as hostage or substitution. "We are already caught, surprised in a certain responsibility," writes Derrida, the most ineluctable of responsibilities—as if it were possible to conceive of a responsibility without freedom. We are invested with an undeniable responsibility at the moment we begin to signify something. . . . This responsibility assigns us our freedom without leaving it with us, if one could put it that way. And we see it coming from the Other. It is assigned to us by the Other, from the Other, before any hope of reappropriation permits us to assume this responsibility in the space of what could be called autonomy.

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The experience, Derrida adds, "is even the one in which the Other appears as such, that is, appears without appearing."22 But that which comes before autonomy is also that which surpasses it. It is not just before the present moment of self-identity or self-founding, it is also after it, ahead of it, beyond it. The paradoxical phenomenon of the trace of the Other that precedes and exceeds me is what Levinas refers to as "posterior anteriority." Derrida acknowledges as much when he says that the responsibility that is friendship is never given in the present: "It belongs to the experience of waiting, of promise, or of commitment." 23 He goes further, claiming that "its discourse is that of prayer and at issue there is that which responsibility opens to the future."24 Taking his distance from the Kantian morality of the autonomous, self-legislating subject, Derrida delineates three distinct modes of ethical answerability: 1) to "answer for" {repondre de) oneself, for someone, for an action, for one's words, etc.; 2) to "answer before" {repondre devani) another, a community of others, a tribunal, etc; and 3), most originally and unconditionally, to "answer to" {repondre a) an other who has always already summoned me. The three modes of answerability imply each other, comprising that play of request, prayer, question, appeal, greeting, and vigilance that makes up the ethics of friendship, without which, according to Derrida, all law and obligation is ultimately meaningless. They mark the condition of possibility of all ethics. "Responsibility always supposes the Other in the relation to oneself; it preserves the sense of this asymmetrical 'anteriority' even within the seemingly most inward and solitary autonomy of reserve . . . of the moral conscience jealous of its independence—another word for freedom. This asymmetrical anteriority also marks temporalization as a structure of responsibility."23 Still in conformity with Levinas's thinking on the complex role of the "third" {le tiers) in the operation of law, universal rights, and morality, Derrida goes on to affirm that answerability to the singular transcendent other is often accompanied by an attendant answerability to the third person—the third whose arrival institutes principles of generality, equality, and common measure before the law. Nor does Derrida deny the complexity involved in this coexistence of singularity and universality—of what he terms the Judeo-Christian model of transcendence/heterology/infinity, on the one hand, and the Graeco-Roman model of reciprocity/homology/concord, on the other. Both are present in the ethical exercise of friendship. This co-implication, writes Derrida, "far from dissolving the antagonism and breaking through the aporia, aggravates them instead—at the very heart of friendship."26 Instead of seeing the aporia as a way of deconstructing an ethics/politics of friendship, Derrida appears to invoke it as its very precondition.

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Derrida develops this ethics of response/responsibility in the Afterword to Limited Inc., where he reviews some of the ethical consequences of his exchange with Searle on questions of speech, context, and proper names. What is most striking about the Afterword is Derrida's ongoing concern to extend an ethic of responsibility from writing, which his early texts concentrated on, to the more direct mode of address involved in dialogue and discussion—speech. (On the face of it, this return to speech would appear to contradict the critique of phonocentrism in his earlier texts.) By drafting his response to Searle in the form of a letter to a concerned critic, Derrida acknowledges that he is attenuating one of the essential predicaments of all writing and speech—that of context and destination. Thus delimiting both context (a letter about the Searle exchange in response to specific questions) and destination (a specific address to a critic called Gerald Graff), Derrida is hoping to reduce the level of violence, equivocation, and misunderstanding intrinsic to language; he hopes to "make legible the (philosophical, ethical, political) axiomatics hidden beneath the code of academic discussion."27 Derrida is quite clear here about his option for a direct—dialogical—mode of address. "In addressing my answers to you, in the first place and as directly as possible," he confesses to his addressee, "in entrusting myself to the contextual limits determined by your questions, I shall reduce just a little the violence and ambiguity. For that is what we want, isn't it, to reduce them if possible."28 Derrida's change of heart and address in this letter is, by his own admission, a result of the unacceptable aggression and misunderstanding encountered in his exchange with Searle. He concedes that his own practice of "dual writing" in the initial exchange with Searle entailed levels of violence and difficulty he now wishes to "avoid" as much as possible. How? By resolving to adopt a very "straightforward" form of discussion—that is, the direct (non-dual) address of dialogue. In the Afterword Derrida registers what must be his most unequivocal answer to date to those who charge that his notion of textual undecidability is incompatible with ethical decision. Vehemently denying that he ever spoke of a "complete play of undecidability"—an idea, he says, that has been "greatly overestimated . . . in the United States"—he goes so far as to claim that his deconstructive notion ofjeu Is in fact a denial of either complete undecidability or complete decidability in language. "In accordance with what is only ostensibly a paradox," he insists, "this particular undecidable (which is irreducible to the laws of dialects or calculation) opens the field of decision or of decidability. It calls for decision in the order of ethical-political responsibility."29 In fact, Derrida goes further still in stating that it is the "necessary condition" of ethical responsibility. For, he explains, a decision can only come into being in a space that exceeds the calculable

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program that would destroy all responsibility by transforming it into a programmable effect of determinate causes. There can be no moral or political responsibility without this trial and this passage by way of the undecidable. For even if a decision seems to take only a second and not to be preceded by any deliberation, it is structured by this experience and experiment of the undecidable.30 Furthermore, the underlying ethical motivation for this claim is acknowledged by Derrida himself in no uncertain terms: "If I insist on this point from now on, it is, I repeat, because this discussion is, will be, and ought to be at bottom an ethical-political one."31 I am not aware of any passage where Derrida makes such a direct appeal to a moral "ought," and it is surely significant that he does so in a letter of direct address made in response to his own surprise at the level of violent misreading inflicted by Searle upon his (Derrida's) initial reading of Searle. As Derrida openly concedes, "the context having changed" (since his violent reception by Searle), he is now prepared to confront the problem of an ethic of discussion head-on, even if this means resorting to "a very classical, 'straightforward' form of discussion."32 This is not to say that Derrida renounces the basic strategies of deconstruction and grammatology as applied, particularly, to the whole question of ecriture. He is simply redressing the balance of his previous claims by adding that if the context of speech is never pure (i.e., is always open to some degree of "contamination" by undecidability and iterability), the play of undecidability and iterability is never pure either (but is always open to some degree of "contamination" by context and singularity). "Let us not forget that 'iterability' does not signify simply, as Searle seems to think, repeatability of the same, but rather alterability of this same idealized in the singularity of the event, for instance, in this or that speech act. It entails the necessity of thinking at once both the rule and the event, concept and singularity."33 It is this motto of "at once" that marks the specificity of Derrida's insistence on an ethic of responsibility. If it is wrong, on the one hand, to "complicate things for the pleasure of complicating," it is equally wrong to insist on a pure simplicity where there is none. To do so, says Derrida, is to ignore the mixed and problematic character of all relations—written or spoken—between human beings; and this means, by extension, to refuse to respond to that dimension of otherness which invariably characterizes any dialogue between self and other. The Enlightenment cult of a single idea is, Derrida argues, a danger which an ethics of discussion must be especially alert to. While one "ought" at times, for the sake of clarity of communication, seek to reduce the level of violence and ambiguity in language, this does not mean abandoning due recognition for the complexity of certain notions, philosophical or political. "Those who wish to simplify at all costs and who raise a hue and cry about obscurity," cautions Derrida, "because they do not recognize the unclarity of

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their good old Aufklarung, are in my eyes dangerous dogmatists and tedious obscurantists. No less dangerous (for instance, in politics) are those who wish to purify at all costs."34 V It is in response to this particular danger that Derrida defends a scrupulous use of deconstruction against certain tendencies toward purist, doctrinaire, or reductionist modes of thinking. But he is careful to insist that if such deconstruction "troubles all exclusion or simple opposition," it should not capitulate to confusion, vague approximations, or indistinction. On the contrary, it should lead to an extreme complication, multiplication, explication of "precise and rigorous distinctions."35 Derrida's quarrel with Searle and other speechact theorists is that, in acknowledging only one particular morality of discourse, they "relegate to the margins other conditions no less essential to ethics in general, or of a law that would not answer to Western concepts of ethics, right, or politics. Such conditions, which may be ^-ethical with respect to any given ethics, are not therefore anti-ethical in general. They can even open or recall the opening of another ethics, another right, another 'declaration of rights,' transformation of constitutions, etc."36 It is arguable that this line of reasoning has pertinent implications for any contemporary debate on values. Such debate is rightly obliged to observe the need for some general ethic of rights, on the one hand, and the need to respond to the specificity of singular events (or non-Western value systems), on the other. Can debates on international law, universal rights, or a New World Order, for instance, afford to dispense with such ethical scruples of differentiation? Derrida does not, alas, develop the hermeneutic implications of this question. His task in the Limited Inc. Afterword is, by his own admission, not to set a new agenda or advance a blueprint for a model of ethics. It is, unusually for Derrida, a far more modest one: "Not to close the discussion, but to give it a fresh start."37 Derrida might have saved himself, and his readers, some valuable time, however, if he had begun by listening more attentively to some of his hermeneutic partners in dialogue—starting with Gadamer. While supremely gifted in deconstructive intelligence, Derrida has shown himself, in this instance, to be singularly lacking in hermeneutic imagination.38

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AESTHETIC APPLICATIONS

13 Myths of Utopia and Ideology: From Yeats to Joyce
Myth has played a crucial and often controversial role in modern writing. The nature of this role differs considerably from literature to literature, and from author to author within each literature. Confining my remarks here to the particular context of modern Irish writing, I will suggest that Yeats and Joyce offer two opposing hermeneutics of myth. Simply stated, where Yeats and the Literary Revivalists tended to emphasize the ideological function of myth, Joyce and other Irish modernists, such as Beckett and Stephens, were more concerned with .its Utopian function. The meaning of the terms ideology and Utopia in what follows conforms to the usage established by Mannheim in Ideology and Utopia and Ricoeur in Lectures on Ideology and Utopia} Since I have discussed this usage in Chapter 5, suffice it to say that, while ideology serves to integrate and legitimize a given sense of identity, Utopia often serves to subvert it. Where ideology leads to collective consensus or closure, Utopia is by definition oppositional—it is that surplus of symbolic desire which propels us to imagine otherwise, refusing the rhetoric of orthodoxy. That is why "there can be no Utopia, but only Utopian expressions that constantly shatter the present achievements and compromises of society and point to that which is not yet experienced in the human project of fulfillment and creation."2 Yeats and the advocates of the Celtic Revival looked to mythology for stories of continuity that history refused them. They invoked the heroic figures of Fionn, Cuchulain, and Cathleen ni Houlihan, on the assumption that their timeless ancestry might heal the scars of temporal division—the bloody quarrels between Planter and Gael, Protestant and Catholic, colonizer and colonized. They often used Celtic myth as an ideological thesaurus capable of repatriating a divided Ireland to its pristine integrity. 180

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The founders of the new Irish state placed a bronze statue of Cuchulain in the Dublin General Post Office, at the very spot where Pearse and other 1916 signatories proclaimed the Republic "in the name of Mother Ireland summoning her children to her flag." When Yeats asked if his mythological play, The Countess Cathleen, had sent out "certain men the English shot," he meant it. But if the Irish revivalists believed that an integral national mythology could provide the ideological basis of cultural and political unity, Joyce took a different view. The author of Ulysses (hereafter U) and Finnegans Wake (hereafter FW) treats myth as an agency for iconoclasm rather than conformism, of difference rather than integration, of subversion rather than restoration. In these works we find some of the pivotal characters of Celtic mythology—Finn, Anna, Cathleen ni Houlihan—recast as figures of license and laughter. No longer the bearers of a single sacred identity, they become instead "Bringerfs] of Plurabilities" (FW 104.02), new heroes to challenge old tyrants, or old heroes to challenge new tyrants. Resisting the revivalist tendency to reinstate the Irish race in its supposedly predestined place, Joyce transmuted myth into a Utopian playground of possibilities, a means of emancipating historical consciousness from the domination of an ideological past. Replaying the myths of Mother Ireland in the personae of the Shan Van Vocht milkwoman, the Old Gummy Granny, the sow that eats her farrow, or the Grandmere des Grammaires, Joyce injects a shot of strangeness into his country's most sacrosanct self-images. Unlike the ideological deployment of myth to repossess what is most familiar to the national psyche, Joyce's Utopian use of myth retells the familiar in the ears of the foreign. In Joyce's writing Celtic myths collide, converge, or cohabit with Greek, biblical, and Babylonian myths. And from this reconstructive interplay, a new place, a no-place, is opened up: the u-topos of alternative, hitherto impossible, possibilities. In short, where ideological myths congeal history, Utopian myths open it to a multiplicity of futures. It is in this precise sense that Joyce's rewriting of traditional mythologies may be said to be Utopian. Joyce demythologizes in order to remythologize. He reinscribes ideological myths as Utopian ones. There is ample evidence of this in his two major works, which I will now briefly examine, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. Joyce had little patience with the revivalist dream of a unitary mythology. He scorned the idea of a native literary tradition (Anglo-Irish or Gaelic) and was particularly dismissive of the Celtic Twilight's attempt to sanctify some sort of pure Irish mythology. As Yeats records in his account of their meeting in Dublin in 1902: "He began to explain all his objections to everything I had ever done. Why had I concerned myself with politics, with folklore . . . and so on? . . . These things were (for Joyce) all the sign of the cooling of the iron, of the fading out of inspiration" (JJH 102). Joyce was even less charitable when he characterized Yeats and Gogarty as the "black-legs of literature" {Letters II,

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187). And the revivalism of Douglas Hyde and the Gaelic League he found equally unattractive. Joyce probably agreed with the young artist in Stephen Hero who remarked indignantly to his nationalist classmate, Madden: "It seems to me you do not care what banality a man expresses so long as he expresses it in Irish" (SH 54). Unlike most of his literary compatriots, Joyce did not champion the cause of revivalist mythology. Stephen Dedalus seems to have been rehearsing Joyce's own sentiments when he declared in A Portrait that he would no longer serve that in which he no longer believed, whether it call itself home, fatherland, or church: "You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets" (P 203). The terms are, curiously, almost an exact paraphrase of those advanced by Padraig Pearse when he wrote: "Patriotism is at once a faith and a service . . . and it is not sufficient to say 'I believe' unless one can say also 'I serve/" 3 Joyce's refusal of this kind of revivalist patriotism is also evident in his devastating parodies, in the "Cyclops" episode of Ulysses* of the Fenian myths of Owen Roe, Proud Spain, Dark Rosaleen, and Earl Gerard's Steed. For Joyce, these mythic figures had degenerated into ideological cliches and dogmas at the hands of the revivalists. He would no doubt have sympathized with Stephen, who in conversation with Bloom in "Eumaeus" says that Ireland "must be important because it belongs to me" (U 16.1164-65). The Irish nationalist ideology, he maintained, was but a pale afterthought of Europe. Even the 1916 Rising and subsequent establishment of the Irish Free State failed to impress Joyce, as he made plain in refusing to carry an Irish passport. In short, Joyce resisted the various efforts of the Irish Revival, both literary and political, to reread history in terms of a continuous tradition. As Seamus Deane has observed: "Yeats created an Anglo-Irish tradition out of Swift, Burke, Berkeley, Goldsmith. Pearse created a heroic revolutionary tradition out of Tone, Emmet, Mitchel, Lalor. Joyce created a tradition of repudiation. What was a principle of continuity to others was a principle of betrayal to Stephen Dedalus."4 Instead of ideological revival, Joyce chose Utopian revolt. He preferred to deconstruct rather than reconstruct the myth of a Unity of Culture. He disclosed the linguistic poetics of myth as mythos, a configuration of endless differences, or "concordance of discordance" as Ricoeur defines it in Time and Narrative? In Finnegans Wake myth takes the form of a chronicle of human babbling. It is, in the author's words, a "collideorscape" of "camparative accoustomology" (JFW 143.28, 598.23-24) which attests, by a play on language, as lapsus, to the "fallen" character of myth. Joyce's language might be described accordingly as lapsarian, built on lapses of pen and tongue, embodied in the mythic figures of falling: Humpty Dumpty who fell off the wall, Old Tim Finnegan who fell off the ladder, and of course Adam and Eve who fell out of paradise. But the transgression of the first parents was a felix culpa, not only because it ulti-

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mately enabled the Word to become flesh in the Incarnation but also because it enabled the Word to disseminate, that is, to enter into histoire (in the dual sense of history and story). The Wake reminds us that Adam was the one who invented naming and that Eve, the instigator of the fall of language, is the "Grandmere des Grammaires" {FW 256.20). But modern European man, puffed up by his own sense of cultural purity or racial superiority, prefers to ignore the multilinguistic genesis of our Western mythologies; he does not want to think that "his grandson's grandson's grandson's grandson will stammer up in Peruvian" {FW 252.36-253.01) or that "his grandmother's grandmother coughed Russky with suchky husky accent [which] . . . means I once was otherwise" {FW 253.03-05). As the Wake makes plain, Joyce gave no quarter to ethnocentric imperialism. He abhorred its smug illusion of cultural homogeneity and its refusal to accept that each mythology is composed of "diversed tonguesed . . . antagonisms." Behind the myths of national consensus (English or Irish) Joyce exposed a cultural conflict expressive of the underlying polyvalence of language itself. Writing thus became for Joyce a sort of linguistic psychoanalysis of the repressed poetics of mythology. In the Wake he proposes to "psoakoonaloose" {FW 522.34) the multi-voiced unconscious of myth, to trace the original sin of the Word back to its fall from univocal meaning into a medley of different languages (Bakhtin's "heteroglossia"). The mythic fall into multiple meaning gave rise to what Joyce calls the "law of the jungerl" {FW 268.n3)—a verbal play on the triple connotation of jungle (the aboriginal contingency modernity seeks to suppress), Jung (an explorer of the unconscious through symbol and myth), and young girl (Anna Livia's daughter, Issy, promises to reveal the formula of the creation myth in the night lessons episode). By composing a language that discloses this unconscious "law of the jungerl," Joyce dismantles the conventional notion of meaning as transparent representation of some mental intention. Against this representational model, the Joycean text shows, some fifty years before Lacan and the poststructuralists, how myth is: 1) structured like the unconscious and 2) operates according to a complex logic that allows for at least "two thinks at a time" {FW 583.07). Joyce thought of this as the logic of night-time consciousness, in contrast to the daytime consciousness of formal logic based on laws of identity and non-contradiction. By exposing the unconscious structure of myth as an interplay of "intermisunderstanding minds" {FW 118.25)—where /becomes other—Joyce defied the classic realist view of narrative as a one-dimensional communication of fixed predetermined meaning. Consequently, his mischievous definition of the Wake as a "crumb of trektalk" {FW 172.30) and "quashed quotatoes, messes of mottage" {FW 183-22-23) should not be read as a biographical allusion to Nora Joyce's cuisine but as a comment on the pluralizing structures of language itself. Indeed, Joyce's text provides an excellent illustration of Bakhtin's notion of the dialogic imagination

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as carnivalesque rupturing and dispersal of the official norms of discourse. Rejecting the traditional approach to myth as an ideological meta-narrative that totalizes meanings into a single unifying story (the Official Story of Official History), Joyce celebrates the Utopian potential of myth as innovation of meanings. Finnegans Wake thus testifies to the fall of the patriarchal Logos into the babel of history. It is a "mamafesta" which retells how Anna (the Celtic mother goddess who reconciles the father Manaanan and the son Aengus) and Eve (the mythic temptress who challenged patriarchal self-sufficiency) inaugurated the history of human creation and procreation. Anna and Eve become identified in Joyce's remythologizing with the suppressed poetics of language. Joyce seems to be saying that it is only by attending to this other Utopian language— which sabotages "wideawake language, cutanddry grammar and goahead plot" {Letters III, 146)—that we become aware of the polyphonic legacy of "woman's reason." As Joyce admitted in a revealing note to his Paris friend Valery Larbaud, "Ithaque est tres etrange, Penelope le dernier cri" {Letters I, 169). If Molly has the last word, it is because the First Word of patriarchal myth has come to grief on the dry rocks of "mathematical catechism" {SL 27&—Joyce's description of the "Ithaca" breakdown of all-male communication). Perhaps this is approximating what Derrida calls the non-lieu of alterity opened up by the deconstruction of language—a u-topos which knows that no-place is enough. By playing the Greek foundation myth of Ulysses and the biblical foundation myth of Genesis off against each other, Joyce is disclosing a non-foundational role for myth as emancipatory play of endless metamorphosis.6 Joyce differs principally from Yeats and the revivalists in his belief that the dualistic opposition between myth and history can be overcome. Yeats conceived of myth as a sacramental refuge from history, a Great Tradition of timeless archetypes, restoring the dream of a lost Unity of Culture. Joyce redefines myth as something to be interrogated and creatively explored so as to open up new possibilities of historical meaning. For Yeats myth offers the promise of cultural identity based on the retrieval of tradition. For Joyce it opens a poetics of cultural difference, of being always otherwise. Cathleen ni Houlihan, the matriarch of national unity, is supplanted by Molly Bloom and Anna Livia, "Bringer[s] of Plurabilities." Ideology is supplanted by Utopia.7

14 Postmodern Mirrors of Fiction: Rushdie, Wolfe, and Kundera
We inhabit a culture where it is increasingly difficult to distinguish between image and reality. Which comes first—the fictional or the real? the copy or the original? the imitation or the world imitated? Can we be sure any longer? Is our society of media communications incarcerating us in a labyrinth of wallto-wall mirrors where reality dissolves into an endless play of images? If it is true, as observed in Chapter 8, that images are being registered less as productions of creative minds than as ephemeral reproductions of mass media, then the notion of an inventive human imagination may well become redundant.1 Symptomatic of this postmodern crisis of the image is the rise of kitsch—a curious phenomenon witnessed not only in the extraordinary attraction of Disneyland fakes or Warholesque advertising fads, but also in recent statistics showing that large numbers of American college students reschedule their lectures in order to keep up with the latest TV soaps (the sophistication of the pleasure being inversely proportional to the simplification of the image). Here parody appears to lose its critical edge and indulge in self-regarding artifice. "The Kitsch-man's need for kitsch," as Kundera explains, "is the need to gaze into the mirror of the beautifying lie and be moved to tears of gratification at one's own reflection." The novel form provides arresting perspectives on this situation. Recent writings by three contemporary novelists—Salman Rusdhie, Tom Wolfe, and Milan Kundera—show particular concern with our growing inability to discriminate between what is real and what is fictional. The fact, moreover, that their writing became the subject of widespread media debate, on an international scale, is also a revealing feature of the postmodern syndrome. 185

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On February 15, 1989, the Indian-born novelist Salman Rushdie made a simple statement, reaffirming the distinction between fiction and reality. His statement was provoked by the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, who had just condemned his novel, The Satanic Verses, urging Muslims to execute the novelist for his blasphemous account of Mohammed. Riots erupted in Muslim communities in Pakistan, Kashmir, Saudi Arabia, India, Bangladesh, and Britain, as news spread rapidly through the global communications channels. There were book burnings, threats of terrorist revenge, the severing of diplomatic relations between several Western nations and Iran, as well as numerous deaths (thirteen died in one Bombay riot alone). President Mitterand of France— ostensible host nation of Western liberties—issued a statement in Cabinet, with broad support from the European community, denouncing the death threat against Rushdie as "absolute evil." What lay behind this tumultuous saga? What caused such impassioned exchanges between leaders of the Islamic and non-Islamic worlds? How was it that The Satanic Verses—this "most talked about least-read novel," as one commentator put it—could provoke a virtual cultural war between Western and Middle-Eastern nations? Surely it had something to do with the essential distinction between fiction and reality, between the imaginary account of something and that something itself—or, in this specific instance, between a narrative parody of the Prophet of Islam and the Prophet himself? The right to freedom of expression was the often cited cause, with the executive of one major American bookchain declaring the 1st Amendment of the Constitution to be "held in hostage." But underlying this was, arguably, an even more basic and equally inalienable right: the poetic right to imagine. The deeply disturbing implications of Rushdie's forced "disappearance" were first recognized, not surprisingly, by writers: Harold Pinter led a march to Downing Street in London, demanding immediate action in Rushdie's defense; and in the United States, John Junterman of the National Writers' Union joined Norman Mailer, Susan Sontag, and others in describing the threat to Rushdie as an "attack on our freedom of imagination." At stake was the liberty of human story-telling to resist fundamentalist attempts (of whatever persuasion) to reduce fiction to fact. Is this not what the novelist Nadine Gordimer implied when she asked: "Has ever a book been the pretext for such frenzy? Surely Islam cannot be threatened by the fantasy of a novel?" One of the main alerts sounded by the Rushdie Affair—as it was soon christened in the international media—is the danger of mistaking the figurative for the factual, of taking fiction literally. And in a strange, almost uncanny way, Rushdie himself seems to have anticipated this very danger in his own novel. The events which followed the publication of The Satanic Verses often read as grotesque imitations of events narrated in the fiction itself. For example, the act of terrorism (a plane bombing) with which the novel opens is precisely the kind of

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revenge killing likely to be contemplated by Khomeini's more fanatical disciples. In another phantasmagoric sequence in the novel, we read of a fictional scribe called Salman mis-transcribing the words spoken to him by the Prophet Mahound— a crime, as Mahound makes brutually plain, punishable by death: "Your blasphemy cannot be forgiven." How unsettling to observe that just several months after the publication of this fictional exchange between scribe and prophet, an Imam of the Islamic clergy would repeat the very words of Rushdie's imaginary character, Mahound, and place a $5 million bounty on the author's head. Fiction repeating itself, indeed—but this time not as farce but as tragedy. Perhaps the most uncanny instance of reality imitating Rushdie's fiction is, however, the way one of the characters in the novel actually mimics the threat of the Ayatollah—before it was even issued: "If I was God, I'd cut the imagination out of people." We may be thankful to Salman Rushdie, and authors like him, that imagination is still intact. If Roland Barthes' prognostication of the "disappearance of the author" in our postmodern mass-media culture has been bizarrely realized in a literal sense (through Rushdie's going into hiding), it has been disproved in another sense—the imagination of the novelist lives on in spite of everything. There is, however, one question we in the West might ask ourselves, amid all our justifiable indignation about fundamentalist threats to the freedom of imagination. Is our own postmodern Civilization of the Image—where imitations are becoming more important than the realities they supposedly represent, where pseudo-events are replacing actual events, simulacra being substituted for lived experiences—not itself increasingly susceptible to a kind of confusion between fiction and fact? And is this incapacity to distinguish hermeneutically between image and reality not, paradoxically, where a postmodernist West and fundamentalist East may eventually meet? Joint gravediggers of the hermeneutic imagination? O n February 13, 1989, the American novelist Tom Wolfe made the cover of Time magazine—still alive and with no bounty on his head. For well over a year, his novel, Bonfire of the Vanities, had topped the bestseller lists in North America and Britain. Newsweek had hailed it, on its publication, as "human comedy on a skyscraper scale and at a taxi-metre price"—an idiom of mediaspeak ironically parroting the very language Wolfe himself parodies in his own writing. (Former bestsellers of his had headline titles such as From Bauhaus to our House and Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers). Another revealingly frenetic review, this time in the New Haven Register, hyped Wolfe as "our best meteorologist of hip," going on to celebrate the aesthetic buzz to be had from Wolfe's mirror-imaging of America's contemporary self-destruction: "It is a monstrous pleasure to watch this world burn. . . . Wolfe's conflagration sweeps away New York in a great tragicomic circus."

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If we are to go by the media response, millions of Americans—and particularly those of the Yuppie generation—had been rushing out to read this story of their own potential destruction, whether it applies to the Second Fall of Wall Street or the Apocalypse Now of racial conflict in America's inner cities. Most of these readers were compulsively consuming a highly unflattering narrative of their own "gross fat country, with obscene heaps of wealth and its even more obscene obsession with creature comforts" (as Wolfe describes it in the novel). They were plainly enthralled with this tale of the rise and fall of one Sherman McCoy, young Master of the Universe in Wall Street with a perfect wife and child in Park Avenue and a dazzling mistress—with high couture and even higher cheekbones—in a downtown apartment. Few, it seems, could resist peering into Wolfe's mirror play of parody, especially when the fiction was so indistinguishable from fact—exemplifying a new genre called "faction" or "new journalism." Wolfe himself was among the first to promote the conflation of novel-writing and journalism. Such, after all, was our common postmodern lot: to inhabit the same cultural labyrinth of wall-towall looking glasses. Why deny that the gap between real and imaginary, news reporting and fiction-writing, high art and media artifice, has virtually disappeared? Andy Warhol knew it. Most of the new breed of Hollywood directors know it. Why should the poets try to stem the invincible floodtide of postmodernity—the collapse of the modernist opposition between mass culture and art? The Time feature said it all. The hip headline, "Master of the Universe" hailed Wolfe with the very term he had coined for his own Wall Street bondselling caricature, Sherman McCoy. A phrase which, one presumes, was intended in the novel as parody (attributed to McCoy) is now repeated in the Time lead as eulogy. By parodying the parody, mirroring the mirror, the image has been doubly inverted—and so reverts to its "original" meaning. "Master of the Universe" is what the "real" McCoy might have whispered to himself about himself as he set out to conquer the bond industry. But who is the real McCoy: a fictional character? a living person? the author himself? Such hermeneutic questions deconstruct into undecidability. The Time feature on Wolfe is, however, revealing in more than its title. Introducing Wolfe as both journalist and novelist, it announces his quasi-prophetic role as someone who "looks back at a decade of greed and foresees a cooling of the national lust for money and license." Moreover, Time had managed to go one better than its Newsweek rival in actually interviewing Wolfe. If you thought the Sherman McCoy of the original novel was the real thing, you were mistaken. This is it, the article suggests—the author himself, in person, reclining vainly and self-regardingly in white designer suit on a luxury settee in his Park Avenue apartment. Who needs to read the novel, therefore, and all those book reviews which told us what to think of it, when we now have the

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narrator himself, in flesh and blood (as the full color photo testifies), to reveal all. What does he have to say? Some curious things. Wolfe begins by rehearsing the "end of modernity" thesis. Those sacrosanct dreams of the modern "social imaginary"—called alternatively ideology and Utopia—are now dead and gone. Wolfe states: "In many ways we have fulfilled the dream of the old Utopian societies of the mid-19th century." One aspect of this dream-become-reality syndrome is the tremendous affluence America has known since the sixties; the other side of this prosperity is, Wolfe concedes, money fever—"the vanity that is the undoing of all the characters in Bonfire" So here we are, the privileged readers of the inner thoughts of Tom Wolfe, author of Bonfire of the Vanities, poised in wait for a flash of moral revelation. But instead of a plea that things must change, late capitalism clean up its act, the racial antagonism of America's inner cities subside, Wolfe simply observes: "I for one would not want to change this country." The author offers no reason for this quietistic attitude. But later in the interview one encounters an extraordinary admission, which, it seems, is key to the conundrum of postmodern poetics: How do we change a Civilization of Images by means of images? How do we hold a mirror up to a circular wall of mirrors and expect to reveal something new? How, in short, might we use our imaginations to recollect or project other ways of existing in this world? Citing a fellow American novelist of our time, Wolfe confesses: "Philip Roth said that we live in an age in which the imagination of the novelist is helpless before what he knows he will read in tomorrow's newspapers. And it's true! No one can dream up the things that pop up in the papers every day." Wolfe proffers the following example from his own experience: "At one point I was a little worried about having my main character, Sherman McCoy, losing 6 million for his firm in about 15 minutes. I thought, 'Well, this is fiction, I'll go ahead and do it.' My typewriter had hardly stopped moving before I picked up the New York Times, and there on page one was an account of a young investment banker, about the same age as my character, 38, who lost 250 million for his firm in a week. I felt like Alice in Wonderland, running as hard as I can to stay in the same place." One wonders how the real investment banker, reported in the New York Times, felt as he read—if he did—Wolfe's account of McCoy's misfortune. Who came first, he must have pondered, him or me? A postmodern Alice puzzling at the relationship between image and reality as she beholds the reflection in the looking glass. Perhaps the puzzlement—be it Alice's, the "real" McCoy's, or Wolfe's—is at least a beginning, a stirring of unease about the conflation of imagination and reality, itself betraying the need for an alternative poetics. The English translation of Milan Kundera's reflections on contemporary writing

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and culture, entitled The Art of the Novel, was published in the winter of 1988. Several of the essays had already appeared in translation in The New York Review of Books, causing a stir. They struck a chord of controversy with a new generation of North American readers, many of whom were familiar with his popular philosophical novels (in particular The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which had been made into a film the same year). There could be little doubt that Kundera's writings were responding to a malaise in contemporary American culture—as they had earlier done in European culture. Kundera's verdict on the fate of poetic imagination in our postmodern world of communications is not optimistic. The following extracts are typical of his mordant irony: "The unification of the planet's history, that humanist dream which God has spitefully allowed to come true, has been accompanied by a process of dizzying reduction. . . . Man is caught in a veritable whirlpool of reduction, where Husserl's 'world of life' is fatally obscured and being is forgottten. . . . Like all of culture, the novel is more and more in the hands of the mass media; as agents of the unification of the planet's history, the media amplify and channel the reduction process; they distribute throughout the world the same amplifications and stereotypes easily acceptable by the greatest number, by all mankind." This common "spirit of the mass media," camouflaged by political diversity, is the "spirit of our time," affirms Kundera. He opposes this to "the spirit of the novel," which he defines as the "spirit of complexity" reminding readers that things are not as simple as they seem. Another term that Kundera assigns to the postmodern imaginary of media culture is—as mentioned—kitsch. Kitsch is defined as the "translation of the stupidity of received ideas [idees regues] into the language of beauty and feeling." It represents, for Kundera, one of the most pervasive and perverse symptoms of the death of modernity—exemplifying some of its most uncanny "terminal paradoxes." Kitsch re-presents beauty as what looks good, experience as sentimentality, universal culture as the lowest-common-denominator of sameness, truth as mass-media opinion. Invoking Hermann Broch's apocalyptic vision of a forthcoming "tide of kitsch," Kundera fears for what he sees as the global dominion of a fake mass-media culture, epitomized by an absence of hermeneutic imagination. If fiction is, as Kundera argues, that echo of Gods' laughter which attended the birth of the modern "wisdom of uncertainty," the threat to fiction spells the demise of this wisdom. Modernity in its present terminal condition is a modernity which has betrayed its own best images, reducing the poetic imagination of individual beings to the collectivist imaginary of pre-programmed mass communications. The following is Kundera's version of the "end of modernity" thesis: The irresistible flood of received ideas, programmed into computers, propagated by the mass media, threaten soon to become a force that will crush all original and individual thought and thus will smother the very essence of

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the European culture of the Modern Era. . . . however heroically the modern novel may struggle against the tide of kitsch, it ends up being overwhelmed by it. The word "Kitsch" describes the attitude of those who want to please the greatest number, at any cost. To please, one must confirm what everyone wants to hear, put oneself at the service of received ideas. . . . Given the imperative necessity to please and thereby to gain the attention of the greatest number, the aesthetic of the mass media is inevitably that of kitsch; and as the mass media come to embrace and to infiltrate more and more our life, kitsch becomes our everyday aesthetic and moral code. 2 Kundera notes, accordingly, that while modernism originally meant a revolt against confirmist images, its current terminal phase represents an alarming reverse of its initial project. Today, Kundera observes, "modernity is fused with the enormous vitality of the mass media"—to such a degree that to be modern means a relentless struggle to be up-to-date, au courant with everything just as it happens, to conform to the very imperatives of conformity itself. "Modernity has put on kitsch's clothing," surmises Kundera ruefully. The consequences of this fashion-ware of images are considerable. Above all, the threat to imagination manifests itself in a threat to the spirit of laughter and poiesis. The terminal phase of modernity—now turned against its own best intentions—is typified by the reign of a new breed of persons, whom Kundera (borrowing a phrase from Rabelais) calls the age'lastes, those cheerless masters of sameness who take their own kitsch imaginary so seriously they have forgotten that the art of fiction is a legacy of God's laughter. Increasingly threatened with oblivion, warns Kundera, is "the art that created the fascinating imaginative realm where no one owns the truth and everyone has the right to be understood." Kundera affirms that this "imaginative realm of tolerance" was born with modern Europe and is the "very image of Europe." He stubbornly wagers that this "dream of a Europe," so many times betrayed, will remain strong enough to unite us all in a "fraternity that stretches far beyond the little European continent."3 There is an ethical cri de coeur in Kundera's plea for the survival of poetical imagination. He knows—as do Rushdie and Wolfe—that the imaginative world of the novel is both fragile and perishable. But the very acknowledgment of this terminal threat to fiction is surely, and ultimately, a refusal to allow the story to end, and therefore a commitment to the ongoing recreation of imagining.

Postscript: Beckett's Word Made Image
One of the first signatories of the International Writers' Petition in defense of Rushdie, issued on March 1, 1989, was Samuel Beckett. What both authors shared was a tireless concern about the life and death of imagination. From early novels, such as Watt and the Trilogy, which fictionalized the

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seeming impossibility of writing fiction, to his apocalyptic Endgame* where hope in the survival of poetical imagining is represented by a child-figure glimpsed through a window as it idles playfully in the distance, Beckett mused upon the implications of the "end of fiction." The ever-diminishing prose fragments were further testimony to this author's obsessional worry that we may soon be assisting at the wake of imagination. The collections of short fictions ("Residua," as Beckett liked to call them), published mainly since the sixties, speak for themselves—"No's Knife," "Enough," "Pas," "Imagination Dead Imagine," "Stirrings Still." While a spark of renewed faith in the power of fiction seemed to ignite in the opening line of his short text, "Company" (1980)— "A voice reaches someone in the dark. To imagine"—the final word of the text, "alone," appeared to extinguish again the hoped-for communication through images. It is in this context of cultural termination that the decision by Beckett in the spring of 1988 (one year before his death) to publish a piece of fiction in French entitled "L'image" assumes special significance. Amid all the postmodern talk about the end of the novel, here was the obituarist of fiction par excellence offering his public a prose text on the act of imagining. "L'image" is a short piece of prose (scarcely 1,000 words) in which the author imagines the formation of an image. It tells the story of how all stories began— a tongue turning dust into mud and then turning mud into music. It is a narrative about flesh becoming word, earth becoming imagination, releasing a flurry of intertextual allusions it refuses to name. The reader is invited to imagine what this act of image-making is about. Is it Yahweh forming Adam from dust? Is it Enosh, the first idolator, shaping his golem from clay mixed with spittle? Is it Christ making blind eyes see with mud moistened by his own tongue? Is it Pygmalion or Dedalus—from Greek legend—fashioning human figures from stone that would later enthrall them? Or, is "L'image" some sort of postscript to Beckett's own writings about the end of fiction? It could be read as a tantalizing, if belated, rejoinder to the central paradox of his earlier text, Imagination Dead Imagine—namely, to imagine imagination dead is still to imagine! Beckett himself gives nothing away. The text is not about something, it is the something itself. No symbols where none intended. Unlike his early fiction, which self-consciously alludes to its own condition of writing with cross-references to characters in other texts ("All those Murphys, Molloys and Malones who wouldn't let me stop writing. . . ."), "L'image" is unashamedly itself, without self-erasure or self-recrimination. It is just what it says: an image provoking the reader to imagine the act of imagining itself. A reminder that in the beginning was the image. A tongue breathing into earth, moistening the matter of words, kissing life into a handful of dust. Forming, shaping, uttering an image. Poiesis. Yetsirah. Phantasia. As we read "L'image" we can almost overhear the Beckettian imagination whispering to itself the words of his unnamable narrator—"I can't go on, I'll go on." Even at the wake of imagination, there are "stirrings still."

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Beckett's writings describe the wounded condition of imagination in a civilization of media images without ever identifying the media themselves. (The nearest we get is non-specific references to electronic variations of light and noise, as in "Imagination Dead Imagination" or "Breath.") But Beckett's shunning of explicit media images—in both his work and life—cannot escape the paradox that this Nobel Prize-winning author was repeatedly, almost obsessively, a subject of media speculation. In our societe du spectacle—as other fiction-writers like Salinger, Pynchon, and most tragically Rushdie, have also discovered—no imagination is safe. There is no escape from the labyrinth of reproducible images, even to the point where the disappearing act itself attracts the greatest attention. Hence the irony that Beckett himself would surely have appreciated: if the camera-shy Dubliner stubbornly refused to say a word to the world media when he lived, the world media were to have the last word when he died. Days after his demise, his image fronted major newspapers in the Western world. One had to turn inside to read his final words.

15
Painting and Postmodernity

Painting is elusive. It does not lend itself as easily to hermeneutic reading as, say, fiction, drama, or poetry. And yet something is being said in painting too. It merits its own poetics of the visible. Each painted work—like every artifact—arises within a time and place, within a specific historical tradition of memory and projection. The notion of creation ex nihilo does not belong in any human art. It is the prerogative of theology. Human poiesis always occurs within a context of particular experiences and expectations. Its u-topias emerge from some topology they then transform. Cezanne's Mont St. Victoire is a case in point. And so, too, in more contemporary context, is the head series of Louis le Brocquy. How is the head series by le Brocquy to be "read"? In terms of what cultural ideology, tradition, or movement are we to interpret his multiple tracings of Yeats, Joyce, Beckett, Lorca, Shakespeare, Strindberg, or Bacon? One could argue, of course, that it is a mistake to read le Brocquy's work in anything other than formal and aesthetic terms. But that is to ignore the hermeneutic impact of his paintings, both as interaction between work and viewer and as a reworking of various traditions, pressures, and influences. To reduce le Brocquy's paintings to paint is to refuse to read them. In that event, one sees but one does not see as. The work is reduced to a bundle of empirical impressions— devoid of structure, context, meaning. Le Brocquy's comments on his own paintings refuse such reduction. He does not fear to relate his work to the wider circumstances of cultural history. He grants the hermeneutic invitation to dialogue. While he always speaks tentatively—as befits an artist who has chosen the language of paint rather than of words—he nonetheless speaks. In what follows I record something of my own reading of le Brocquy's paintings and his comments on them. Beginning with a phenomenological description of his head series, I look at some of the broader implications of his work as 194

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cipher of contemporary culture. Against the conventional interpretations of le Brocquy as either a revivalist in search of some antique Celtic spirit or a modernist obsessed with notions of subjective genius and originality, I will be suggesting his work may be more accurately assessed within a postmodernist hermeneutic of "undecidability." I will be comparing le Brocquy's head series with various postmodern concepts of painting—Lyotard's concept of the "figural," Derrida's concept of "parergon," Foucault's concept of "similitude," and, finally, Warhol's motif of "pop icon." I Le Brocquy's heads are faces that cannot escape themselves. Insomniac. Dividing into multiple selves. Upsetting the composure of self-identity. Only given cohesion by the look of the other—by each one of us who stands before these faces. Vigilant. Undecided.

Source: Six Studies Toward an Image of Samuel Beckett. 1980. Courtesy of Louis le Brocquy.

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Who is looking and who is looked at? Is not our own sense of selfhood put into question by these painted faces? Suspending our disbelief—our secure knowledge that these are only fictional tracings—do we not enter into a mirror play? Do we not discover our own vulnerability staring back at us from the canvas? The wounded eyes at once an accusation and a plea. Coming forward from their mask in entreaty. Withdrawing again in ambiguity. Hesitancy. Emergence and immergence. Paintings of ambivalence. Exposure of depth on surface. Janus disclosed, looking in two directions at once. Inwards toward the self; outwards toward the other. The self that knows that self is not enough. The self that knows that it is obsessed by others. The self that admits: Je est un autre. Self in hermeneutic dialogue. The paintings speak for themselves. The artist has disappeared so that these faces can appear. Generosity of creation. Emptying oneself so that the creatures can come into being, with a life of their own. Kenosis. But once he has created, the artist has as much reason as another to speak about his work. Another kind of generosity this: postnatal, perhaps even posthumous. This is what le Brocquy has written of his paintings of ambivalence: Such a concept of a disseminated consciousness surpassing personality would, I imagine, produce an ambiguity involving a dislocation of our conception of time (within which comings and goings, beginning and end, are normally regarded) and transforming this "normal" view by the addition of a contrary sense of simultaneity or timelessness. In my own small world of painting, I have learned that emergence and immergence are ambivalent: that one implies the other and that the state or matrix in which they co-exist apparently dissolves the sense of time, producing a characteristic stillness? This dismantling of historical time is a central feature of postmodern art. The modernist belief in each art work as a leap into the new, its rejection of past paradigms in the name of something absolutely original, is being challenged. The idea of the avant-garde as artistic equivalent to the onward march of history has had its day. The modern cult of inevitable progress is being replaced by the postmodern notion of history as collage: different styles and images drawn from both past and present. Might we not see here the seeds of a postmodern imagination capable of sustaining hermeneutic dialogue with its other in the face of the anonymous Civilization of Images? II Jean-Francois Lyotard argues in The Postmodern Condition that postmodernity is not something which comes after modernity. Such periodization of history in terms of distinct, sequential, and causally related epochs is modernist par excellence. The postmodern, by contrast, is not a period that breaks with

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modernism but an alien time and space that precedes and constitutes modernism and, therefore, always contains the possibility of radical mutation within modernism itself. Such mutation is the task of the avant-garde. The postmodern functions in three main ways in painting. First, it allows the "figural" to appear as that which visually marks the invisible, the unpresentable, as that which allows the heterogeneous to erupt into a present plane of vision, testifying to a strange time and space at the heart of the here and now. Lyotard calls this interruption of our normal temporality of representation "postmodern anachronism," and, borrowing from Kant's Third Critique* he defines its impact on us as the "sublime effect." The sublime, in short, is a mixture of pleasure and pain resulting from the failure of the will to synthesize or objectivize its subject in recognizable intuition. It is when the mind "cannot synthesize and intuitively present the form because it is too big to be comprehended in one instant, it discovers that it can conceive of something like the infinite."2 Second, the postmodern function safeguards the indeterminateness of all judgment against the historicist temptation to construe time in linear terms of grand narratives with a determinable beginning, middle, and end. The postmodern bears witness to traces of temporal difference and otherness incommensurable with our normal concepts or representations of time. Lyotard calls this incompatibility of viewpoints "dissensus"—and sees it as cogently expressed in the "figures" of painting and visual art. Dissensus or "differend" is a permanent refusal of "closure"—understood as an easy (consensual) fit between representation and represented. Postmodern works defy mimetic representation. These include a cinematic work like Lanzmann's Shoah, where the horror of the Holocaust is shown to be irrepresentable, as I noted earlier (Chapter 8). The "sublime" and the "horrible" are two examples of postmodern incommensurability. Third, the postmodern function testifies to the "immemorial." This is another term for the avant-garde's task of anamnesis—the task of not forgetting what is irrepresentable in determine images. It evokes an alternative—anachronistic—temporality where that which is unrepresentable in normal memory will not be forgotten. Anachronistic temporality is crucial to the paradox of postmodernity as outlined by Lyotard.3 Ill Le Brocquy's head series is postmodern in all these senses. It makes for a curious blending of old and new, ancient and avant-garde, the immemorial and the unimaginable. At one level, it appears to depict some of the most enigmatic minds of twentieth-century culture—Yeats, Joyce, Beckett, Picasso, Lorca. Yet, even as it does so, it is looking back (as le Brocquy himself informs us) to the antique sculpted heads of Celto-Ligurian Entremont and Romanesque Clonfert.4 The end of Western art is thus superimposed on its beginnings.

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Linear chronology is deconstructed into an ambiguous coexistence of different time-frames. But this superimposition of present on past (and vice versa) takes the form of an endless archaeology. The excavated heads surface as portraits of the artist as anachronistic man, multiple "rememorees," as Joyce put it in Finnegans Wake. This multiple vision is not something invented by le Brocquy. It is discovered within the poetical consciousness of those he portrays. In Beckett's work he discovers that "going is confounded with coming, backwards with forwards." In Yeats he perceives a system of reincarnation where the present implies the past: a motif captured in the image of the winding stair at Thoor Ballylee, "climbed and descended repeatedly." In Joyce he finds the convergence of dayconsciousness and night-consciousness, of the modern-day Finnegan and the mythological Fionn Macool—"the continual presence of the historic past, the indivisibility of birth and funeral, spanning the apparent chasm between past and present."5 Le Brocquy's invocation of a timeless past, which haunts many of his compatriot artists, has nothing to do with revivalism. On the contrary, any claim of triumphalistic nationalism is subverted. These faces are not self-possessed. They are not sure of themselves. They are searchingly insecure, shifting, restive. Yeats, Joyce, Beckett return to us as aliens, exiles, refugees, nomads. They represent that unsettling blend of the familiar and foreign which Joyce declared to be the mark of the Irish writer in English. Their faces, like their works and their culture, are unashamedly undecidable. They resist the reductive frame of a single image. Disseminating faces that cannot be pinned down, that explode representation, initiating a derive of images that are, in principle, endless. If the origin of cultural identity is being explored, it is as a fallout of traces—a diaspora that cannot be retraced to a homeland. The very notion of identity deconstructs itself before our eyes. These faces are interrogation marks. Le Brocquy's postmodern balancing of old and new is also manifest in the iconic nature of his paintings. While these faces ostensibly recall the sacramental status of ancient Byzantine icons, there is another contemporary allusion at work: to the mass-produced icons of photography. Le Brocquy himself stated that his multiple studies toward an image remain an unending task. For this reason: "To attempt today a portrait, a single static image of a great artist like Joyce, seems to me futile as well as impertinent. Long conditioned by photography, the cinema and psychology . . . we now perceive the human individual as faceted, kinetic." Le Brocquy suggests, furthermore, that this multiplication of the image into an indefinite series without beginning or end is essentially counter-Renaissance. It introduces a vision that is "cyclic rather than linear, repetitive yet simultaneous and, above all, inconclusive,,"6 Once again the painted head as trace or mark of undecidability.

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IV The idiom of "marks" and "marking" recurs throughout Derrida's analysis of painting. In Truth in Painting (1979), he explores the practice of demarking and demarcating the inside from the outside by using a frame or "parergon." The parergon refers to all that surrounds a painting (les entours ou les abords de loeuvre), in short, whatever marks it out as an identifiable work: signature, frame, museum, gallery, art commentary, art market, etc. But the more Derrida reflects on what "enframes" a work as unique, original, authentic, irreproducible— the more he realizes that it is open to undecidable vacillations and contaminations. For the work to rely on what is beside the point (les a bords or a cotes) to make the point is to allow what is dehors to determine what is dedans. That which is excluded by the frame, its entours, is as central to the identification of the work as what is included within it. The work thus becomes "undecidable," as in le Brocquy's head series, whose admission of the influence of photographic and cinematic methods of reproduction challenges the modernist cult of painting as something formally abstract, autonomous, self-contained, uncontaminated by traces of alterity. Thus applying Derrida's analysis of the parergon to le Brocquy's head series, we find a common fascination with cinematography and psychoanalysis (Freud for Derrida, Jung for le Brocquy). This is not surprising when we consider that both disciplines represent a technique of multiple meaning that subverts the established notion of the subject as a sovereign excluding all parisitage, all doubling, all impurities of derivation, all dependencies on something other than the self-image given in privileged instancy. Eisenstein called this process of doubling montage, Freud the Unheimliche, Jung "synchronicity." Another curious analogy between Derrida's and le Brocquy's reflections on painting is the central role attributed to "blindness." Le Brocquy's series of the bespectacled, semi-blind Joyce recalls, on several counts, Derrida's reflections on the rapport between vision and absence of vision, in his 1990 exposition of selected paintings in the Louvre, Memoires d'aveugle. Here Derrida remarks on a number of blindness-related motifs, which also feature in le Brocquy's "Studies towards an Image of James Joyce": the attentiveness of the blind to polyphonous voices and the ability to see what normal eyes can't see—a characteristic typifying the various artists selected by Derrida but also various prophetic seers of biblical and Greek tradition (Toby, Isaac, Jacob, St. Paul, Oedipus, Tiresias). Invisibility or loss of sight as condition of vision is a recurring obsession. As Derrida puts it in this virtually untranslatable phrase: "Ce qui passe et se passe, sans passe, sans passer, de I'une a l'autre . . . sur ce 'sans' qui n'est pas une manque, la science n'a rien a dire."7 Le Brocquy seems to be making a similar point when he confesses, apropos the blind Joyce series, that they were painted in a moment of loss and incapacity, when his right hand was momentarily paralyzed and therefore unable to

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control what surfaced onto the visible canvas before him. The Joyce heads "emerged under his hands, not because of them"; they were, in the painter's words, "discovered" rather than "invented," re-marked rather than fabricated.8 The identity of the subject—be it the maimed artist-painter or the blind artistpainted—was disclosed accordingly as a "disseminated consciousness surpassing individual personality," an invisible world where the very distinction between "inside" and "outside" disappeared.9 A recurring feature of painting, for le Brocquy as for Derrida, is its tracing and retracing of otherness. This is why it calls for a special kind of hermeneutic imagination, capable of listening to a language not audible to the normal ear, of seeing traces not visible to the normal eye. It is surely this abnormal hermeneutic that le Brocquy has in mind when he says that "in the context of our everyday lives, painting must be regarded as an entirely different form of awareness. For an essential quality of art is its alienation, its otherness . . . curiously dislocated."10 One is reminded of Derrida's fascination with the phrase scribbled by Antonin Artaud on one of his drawings—"Dessein a regarder de traviole!" V Le Brocquy's head series may thus be viewed in accordance with the general postmodern tendency to deconstruct the Renaissance legacy of representation, a legacy which deeply informs the conventions of modern poetics. To borrow a distinction from Michel Foucault, we could say that le Brocquy's multiseries replaces the Renaissance notion of resemblance with the more contemporary model of similitude.11 Resemblance presupposes a "primary reference" of image to reality: the image as "copy" which faithfully imitates its original. Similitude, by contrast, subverts the idea of representational reference, with its hierarchy of origin and imitation: here the image is set loose from any privileged model, reproducing itself in a series of lateral repetitions. Similitude "circulates the simulacrum as the indefinite and reversible relation of the similar to the similar." Applying this postmodern hermeneutic of similitude to the Andy Warhol serigraphs of media images, Michel Foucault observes how we witness a dissolution of the idea of a unique model or original: "By means of similitude relayed indefinitely along the length of a series, the image itself, along with the name it bears, loses its identity. Campbell, Campbell, Campbell, Campbell."12 Clearly there is no direct analogy between Warhol's serigraphs of commodity images like Campbell Soup cans or Marilyn Monroe faces and le Brocquy's multiple series of artists' heads. Le Brocquy is concerned with a hermeneutic of the sublime, exploring the unpresentable surplus of traces; whereas Warhol is playing with the idea that technologically reproducible images can be pressured into significance by simultaneous repetition and surface imitation. But comparison is not entirely impertinent at the level of form. Both le Brocquy and Warhol are responding to the postmodern discovery (in structuralist and

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post-structuralist theories of language) that signs do not refer to objects in any fixed or determinate manner. Using familiar images, such as Marilyn Monroe or Joyce, in such a way that the viewer is compelled to question the rapport between the images and their originals, le Brocquy and Warhol are undermining our inherited assumptions about representation. By reproducing an almost random series of copies, these artists decompose the Renaissance and indeed Romantic cult of an authentic original. To put it another way, the relationship between image and reality, copy and model, is rendered undecidable. Disinherited of our certainties and dispossessed of our convenient assumptions about perception, we viewers of such serial images no longer look in the same way. We are exposed to otherness. We see otherwise. We espouse another kind of hermeneutic imagination. Neither religious icons nor photographic reproductions, le Brocquy's multifaceted faces keep vigil. They cannot be fixed, defined, explained. Condemned to silence. Look at those eyes. Sleepless. Their looking cannot end. They cannot close. And they will not let us alone, close ourselves off, shut down for the night. They appeal to us to keep our eyes open, too, to keep on looking, to keep watch. Each of le Brocquy's faces echoes the poetical vow of Beckett's unnameable narrator: "I can't go on, I'll go on." 13

Postscript: Whose Poetics? Which Ethics?

I began my introduction by outlining an answer to the first of these questions—and I hope that the hermeneutic detours through various modern formulations of the poetical, from Kierkegaard and Heidegger to Derrida and Ricoeur, will have helped to consolidate the initial understanding. Several of the trajectories that hermeneutic imagination steers in the poetics of modernity have been charted in these studies, though it remains for the reader to assess the cartography and evaluate its directions. The second question received a partial response in studies 7 to 12, where I sought to show how hermeneutic imagination negotiates a passage from morality to ethics. But more needs to be said. The basic point is that whereas morality takes the formal route of imperatives, rules, and duties, ethics opens onto the more experimental path of phronesis, combining right desire with just thinking in the common pursuit of "virtue" {arete). The latter model enjoys the advantage of overcoming the main dualisms of traditional morality—duty versus desire, law versus inclination, form versus content, maxim versus motivation, individual versus history, and, not least, reason versus imagination. In study 7 I noted how Ricoeur (interpreting Aristotle) defined the narrative power of hermeneutic imagination in terms of a "phronetic understanding." Ethical imagination deploys narrative to make sense of our lived experience and provide motives and models for our actions. It mobilizes us to actualize the good to the extent that it engages our desires. This is nowhere more evident than in the capacity of narrative to furnish us with goals for behavior, guided throughout by an attentiveness to particular historical contexts and examples. In explicitly dealing with the affective realm of happiness and pain, ethical imagination deliberates on the historical question of human suffering and action. It issues in a form of deliberative desire capable of reconciling the "legal" demand for rights with the more eudaemonistic aim of realizing the good life in our concrete lives. Ethical imagination thus serves an essential ethical function in 203

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translating law into the felt language of flesh and blood. It brings universals down to the earth of singularity. It makes the absent Other present to me through the emphatic and testimonial powers of narrative, thereby enlarging my point of view to embrace as many others as possible. The formalism of a timeless transcendental ego is surpassed in recognition of our debt to the historical past and our promises of a historical future. In short, hermeneutic imagination is ethical in that it transmutes the self into a self-for-another. One of the ways in which ethical/phronetic imagination opens us to otherness is by putting our certitudes into parentheses in favor of a more provisional, approximate, trial-and-error mode of judgment. Theoretical dogma gives way to experimental openness. But where does such an ethics of narrative imagination find the criteria for its judgments? And what kind of judgments can we reasonably expect it to make if it is not to fall into mere relativism or contextualism? It would seem that the discussion of ethical value in the foregoing studies of this volume provides our model of narrative phronesis with three supplementary points of reference: logos, agape, and poiesis. The first—logos—furnishes phronetic imagination with guidelines of universal human reason as laid down, for example, by the Enlightenment. We are dealing here, for the most part, with the rationalist belief in the inherent rational purposiveness of human nature and history. According to this view, logos/ ratio/reason is a universal property of human beings at all times and in all places, regardless of culture, class, color, or creed. The principle of purposiveness is to bring human experience under the rule of the universal. The ultimate purpose of nature, as Kant makes plain in the Critique of Practical Reason, is the human being who finds its own final purpose in itself, a factor that defines autonomous moral personhood. "Rational nature exists as an end in itself," states Kant in the second section of the Groundwork. But the legacy of modern rationalism goes further than standard Kantianism. It embraces the secular optimism of the French philosophes, certain strains of Hegelian-Marxist humanism, and the prevalent belief of modern liberalism—dating from the nineteenth century and finding canonical expression in the ninth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica—that humanity is engaged in a rational progress toward ever greater moral enlightenment. (A view criticized by, among others, Alasdair Maclntyre in Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry.)1 But this legacy also extends, one could argue, as far as Habermas's ongoing commitment to the "project of Enlightenment"—particularly in the sense of an "ideal speech situation" of free and equal participants. It even informs John Rawls's procedural conception of justice, in which contractualism and individualism conjoin to free justice from teleological models of the good. For Rawls, the effect of the formalist character of the contract is to neutralize the diversity of goods to the benefit of the rule of distribution: a move that involves the bracketing of inclinations and interests as in the Kantian principle of universalization. But precisely be-

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cause of their formalist character, such rationalist theories of justice often have difficulty explaining how human beings came to enter a contract in the first place. Here we are confronted with a decision theory operating under uncertainty, and Rawls is compelled to resort to the fictional hypothesis of a "veil of ignorance." The social contract can only draw its legitimacy from a fiction,2 as, in the final analysis, is also the case for the regulative fiction of Habermas's "ideal speech situation." To put it another way, the rationalist theory of moral justice is ultimately obliged to resort to the devices of narrative imagination to explain both its own origins (the initial foundation of the social contract) and its ends (the final goal of undistorted communication). The second main source of ethical value-judgments in the Western tradition is agape. This is largely derived from the monotheistic legacy of Judaism-Christianity-Islam, which has for centuries advanced the principle of sacrificing one's self-interest for the sake of the Other. (Two standard scriptural references to agape are 1 John and 1 Corinthians). The influence of this religious legacy of agape/caritas on modern ethical philosophies—outside of church teaching per se—is considerable, extending from Renaissance humanism to such modern fideists as Kierkegaard, Pascal, and Levinas. What these latter apologists have in common is a basic wager on faith over reason. Pascal's wager on the God of Abraham over the formal syllogisms of Cartesian rationalism is, arguably, one of the more dramatic instances (le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait pas), closely followed by Kierkegaard's teleological suspension of orthodox moral reasoning in Fear and Trembling. But it is perhaps Levinas, more than any other contemporary thinker, who has placed the demands of the infinite Other most emphatically at the core of ethical debate. Through the face of the other person the trace of God reveals itself as an irreducible summons to ethical obligation. For what reason? For no reason—contractual, procedural, material, or formal—that human "nature" can comprehend. The Other summons because it summons, just as the rose blooms, for the mystic, because it blooms. Religion has its reasons that reason cannot understand. It \sy as Saint Paul and Tertullian put it, a form of holy foolishness. Or to put it in Levinas's own terms, obligation is placed upon us by the disarmed and disarming proximity of the Other before we contruct a theoretical system to justify or explain this obligation. After the summons, the religious moment of caritas may indeed seek to articulate its experience in philosophical terms—the famous principle of fides querens intellectum. But in the first instance, it is a question of credo quia absurdum. Revelation precedes reason. The difficulty here again is, How is one motivated to act? Why bother responding to the Other? Indeed, how are we to recognize the Other as another who summons me to goodness in the first place? Here again we are compelled to reply: One is motivated to act for the Other over and against the self because one has heard/read/seen the parables and lives of Abraham and his

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descendants, Jesus and his disciples, Saint Francis and the marytrs and the saints. In other words, we act ethically—inside or outside religion—not only because the infinite Other demands it but also because our hermeneutic imagination provides us with examples and stories of what it is like to be another, to give one's life and love for another, to exist for the Other. It is not enough for us to be summoned by a voice in the night; we also need to interpret what the voice is saying and who is saying it. That is the difference, presumably, between Jonah and Jim Jones, Abraham and Peter Suttcliff, Jesus and Eichmann. If the biblical here I am is one part of the ethical response, the hermeneutic who do you say that I am?, is the other. And the answer to the latter question is to tell one's story. Ethical judgment, even in the context of religious revelation, cannot dispense with the critical and narrative services of hermeneutic imagination. For just as what Ricoeur calls "phronetic understanding" is indispensable for bringing the demands of universal rules into the context of particular examples, so, too, it makes biblical caritas more available to humans. Phronesis needs to supplement agape no less than logos. As John Caputo puts it in his critique of Levinas: Pure obligation is impossible. . . . Aristotle said that agents act in order to let good things happen. . . . One acts under the hermeneia that good things happen. Otherwise who would ever do i t ? . . . In obligation we are supposed to twist free of agency and become a patient; the I is supposed to make itself a hostage of the Other. That at least is the way it is put by Levinas, who is fond of absolute transcendence and invisibility. . . . The problem with Levinas is that he has made ethics into a holy of holies, an inviolable inner sanctum, pure and uncontaminated. The problem, as Lyotard says, is that he is too monotheistic, insufficiently pagan—or Dionysio-heteromorphic. He talks as though there is a game of all games, one true game from On High, which assimilates all the other games, and that everything else is a graven image. But I myself subscribe to the (un)principle of contamination and find the distinction between the sacred and the profane one more grand recit? This brings us to a third major source of our hermeneutic value-judgments— poiesis. Many advocates of a "poetics of justice" embrace a postmodern pluralism in their suspicion of both rationalist and revealed value systems. This radical pluralism derives most evidently from Nietzsche's aesthetics of perspectivism (embraced by Foucault and the post-structuralists);4 but also from Kant's Third Critique, and most particularly his model of aesthetic judgment. This is true of Lyotard and Derrida, no less than of Caputo. Derrida tackles the problem head-on in his essays on justice and law, as we saw in studies 11 and 12, declaring that "deconstruction is justice." Why? Because decisions of responsibility arise in moments of undecidability prior to both the universal formulations of law and the rational maxims of the "good will." Such moments involve a

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risk surpassing the limits of reason and determinate judgment. In short, ethical responsibility requires us to deconstruct the "good conscience" of rationalist moralities: good conscience as subjective certainty is incompatible with the absolute risk that every promise, every engagement, and every responsible decision— if there are such—must run. To protect the decision or the responsibility by knowledge, by some theoretical assurance, or by the certainty of being right, or being on the side of science, of consciousness or of reason, is to transform this experience into the deployment of a program, into a technical application of a rule or a norm, or into the subsumption of a determined case. * This deconstructive moment of undecidability is "poetical" to the extent that it is, like the blossoming rose, "without why." It is a moment of poetic play, which heightens the response and responsibility of each one of us faced with the irreducible singularity and alterity of each ethical instance—an instance prior to ulterior courts of appeal based on universal-legal reason. But this moment is also poetic to the extent that it exposes the ethical subject to the risk of an open play of possibilities preexisting any determinate judgment. Here the Nietzschean-Heideggerean legacy of poetics is complemented by the aesthetic model of "reflective judgment" in Kant. This is particularly the case for a thinker like Lyotard, who seeks to conjoin an ethics of justice with a poetics of radical indeterminacy in works like Just Gaming and The Dijferend. The basic appeal here is to a postmodern reading of Part I of Kant's Third Critique. Aesthetic judgments of taste, unlike determinate judgments, preserve a radical sense of the particularity and situatedness of every point of view. They are free from conformity to abstract or universal concepts. As Kant insists, "the aesthetical idea may be called an inexponible representation of the imagination in its free play."6 Second, through an enlargement of our awareness via imagination and taste (defined as the sensus communis aestheticus), reflective judgments provide ethics with a capacity to publicly communicate with others and "compare our judgments with others by putting ourselves in the place of any other man"7—a point also informing the ethical theories of Arendt and Ricoeur, as I showed in study 7. In this manner, a poetics of the sublime comes to serve an ethics of responsibility. Speaking specifically of an ethical "responsibility of listening, of lending oneself to obligation," Lyotard suggests once again how close a poetics of judgment comes to a hermeneutics of imagination: We do not have a rule for justice. To be just is not a matter of conforming to laws. . . . Those that conform the most can be perfectly unjust and those that conform the least, perfectly just. Both obtain. Caught up in a pragmatic situation of obligation, we have no rules of conduct. And to be just is to venture to formulate a hypothesis on what is to be done, and that is

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where one gets back to this idea of (aesthetic) "Idea." One regulates oneself upon the imagining of effects, upon a sort of finality. It is the imagining of the effects of what one will decide that will guide the judgment. It is the end, thus, the idea of the effect, that commands, that functions as "cause".8 And so we return to our starting point—the abiding need for hermeneutic imagination to provide narratives, images, myths, examples, ideas, goals, for the proper functioning of ethical judgment. While appeals to universal logos, religious caritas, or aesthetic poiesis remain constant and often indispensable references for the orientation of "phronetic understanding," they are not, singly or collectively, sufficient in themselves. Without the narrative powers of hermeneutic imagination to furnish us with vision, initiative, and empathy—as outlined in study 7—ethical judgment would ultimately remain empty and blind. Narrative imagination establishes us with a living sense of self-identity, an attentiveness to others (present or historical), and a motivation to act historically in pursuit of a good life. Devoid of the ability to schematize, singularize, and mobilize the desire for the good life with and for others in just institutions, we would be left with a morality of inoperably abstract rules. The key role of narrative imagination in an ethics of action has been acknowledged by several contemporary thinkers, from Arendt and Nussbaum to Maclntyre and Taylor. But it is undoubtedly Ricoeur who has pushed this argument to its most advanced stage, navigating a delicate passage between the great legacies of Kant and Aristotle in search of what he calls a little ethics. If stories told offer so many bases for moral judgment, is this not because this judgment needs the art of storytelling in order to schematize, as it were, its aim? Beyond the rules, norms, obligations and legislating that constitute what can be called morality, there is the aim of the true life, which [we], echoing Aristotle, place at the summit of the hierarchy of the levels of praxis. Now if this aim is to become a vision, it cannot help but be depicted in the narratives through which we try out different courses of action by playing, in the strong sense of the word, with competing possibilities. This allows us to speak of an "ethical imagination" which feeds off the narrative imagination. 9 This ethical imagination, finally, resists using narrative in a totalizing or ideoiogizing manner (as noted in study 5). It obviates the temptation of grand narrative by retrieving and projecting "fragmentary narratives" whose very incompleteness serves as a critical reminder of their own narrative origins. Refusing to do violence to the past or the future by reducing history to some principle of triumphalist identity, ethical imagination keeps narrative sensitive to local and situational judgment. It prevents the indeterminate differences of persons or cultures from being sacrificed to some grand principle of homogeneous identity. How? By appreciating that narrative is as much a function of the differential as it is of the examplary, as much a function of suspicion and dissidence as of

Postscript I 209 affirmation and synthesis. As such, the ethical role of hermeneutic imagination is to promote the enlargement of understanding without succumbing to the speculative illusions of pure reason. The "as" structure of hermeneutic imagination acknowledges both the similarity and the difference involved in every analogizing transfer from self to other. That is why it observes the ethical task of recognizing plurality in unity, discordance in concordance, the summons of singularity in and often against the universality of law. Hermeneutic imagination is ethical, in short, when it keeps narrative perpetually mindful that it is narrative—and, therefore, open to being other than it is.

Notes
INTRODUCTION 1. Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future (New York: Viking Press, 1961). 2. Aristotle was one of the first to establish a link between ethos and ethics (see Nicomachean Ethics, II, i, i, 1103a). On the distinction between ethics and morality (understood in the Kantian formal sense), see Paul Ricoeur, Du text a faction, Essais d'hermeneutique, 11 (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1986), p. 249: Ce que je mets en doute, c'est d'abord la necessite de moraliser de facon si totale et si univoque le concept de rason pratique. Kant, me semble-t-il, a hypostasie un seul aspect de notre experience pratique, a savoir le fait de l'oblieation morale, concu comme contrainte de Timperatif. II me semble que l'idee de conduite soumise a des regies presente bien d'autres facettes que celle du devoir. A cette egard, la notion aristotelicienne d'arete—de "vertu"-—me parait plus riche de signification que la stricte idee de soumission au devoir. Quelque chose de cette amplitude de sens est preserve dans la notion de norme ou de regie, a savoir l'idee d'un "modele-pour-agir," d'un programme meilleur ou preferable, d'une orientation qui donne sens. De ce point de vue, Tidee d'&hique est plus complexe que celle de moralite, si Ton entend par moralite la stricte conformite au devoir sans egard pour le desir. . . . Ce premier doute en suscite un second. L'idee que la raison soit par elle-meme pratique, c'est-a-dire commande en tant que raison sans egard pour le desir, me parait encore plus deplorable. Elle engage la morale dans une serie de dichotomies mortelles pour la notion meme d'action. . . . Forme contre contenu, loi pratique contre maxime, devoir contre desir, imperatif contre bonheur. Ici aussi, Aristote rendait mieux compte de la structure specifique de 1'order pratique, lorsqu'il forgeait la notion de desir deliberatif et joignait desir droit et pensee juste dans son concept de phronesis. This distinction between ethics and morality has been developed by a number of other contemporary thinkers including Emmanuel Levinas, Charles Taylor, and Julia Kristeva. The last offers this feminist framework for the discussion: "If a contemporary ethics amounts to not avoiding the embarrassing and inevitable problematics of the law but giving it flesh, language, jouissance—in that case its reformulation demands the contribution of women" (Kristeva, "Stabat Mater," in The Kristeva Reader, ed. Toril Moy [Oxford: Blackwell, 1986], p. 185). For a similar feminist rethinking of ethics, see Luce Irigaray, Ethics of Sexual Difference (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993). 3. Plato, Ion, 533e; Meno, 99d; Phaedrus 245 a; for Herodotus on role of poiesis in cosmogony see Book II, p. 53. 4. Plato, The Symposium, 205e. 5. Aristotle, Politics, 1254a, 13261; Ethics 6, civ.v. 6. Martin Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), pp. 2 2 7 - 2 8 . 7. Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 74. See also Veronique Foti, Heidegger and the Poets: Poiesis/Sophia/Techne (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press 211

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8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

16. 17.

International, 1992), where the author considers the disclosive and aletheic power of poetics (Dicthung) over and against the closure of technicity in calculabiiity and reductive explanation. Bill Readings, Introducing Lyotard (London: Routledge, 1991), p. 148. Paul Ricoeur, "Life in Quest of Narrative," in On Paul Ricoeur: Narrative a?id Interpretation, ed. D. Wood (London: Routledge, 1991), p. 23. Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, Vol. 3 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), p. 189. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, VI, ii, 1139a; see also Robert Bernasconi, "The Fate of the Distinction between Praxis and Poiesis," in Heidegger Studies, 2, 3: 116. Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958), p. 171. Heidegger, "The Origin of the Work of Art," in Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 43. Robert Bernasconi, "The Fate of the Distinction," p. 121. Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, p. 246: "The subject then appears as both the reader and writer of its own life . . . the story of a life continues to be refigured by all the truthful or fictive stories a subject tells about himself or herself. This refiguration makes this life itself a cloth woven of stories told." Perhaps this interplay of narrative and life also has something to do with Heidegger's asking if poiesis might not found anew "our vision of that which grants and our trust in it?" (Heidegger, Basic Writings [New York: Harper and Row, 1977], p. 308; see Bernasconi, "The Fate of the Distinction," p. 123). Perhaps Heidegger had this in mind when he suggested that "dwelling," as translation of the Greek ethos, is intimately linked to the recognition that "poetry is a letting dwell"? {Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 215). Hans-Georg Gadamer, Dialogue and Deconstruction: The Gadamer-Derrida Encounter, ed. D. Michelfelder and R. Palmer (New York: SUNY Press, 1989), pp. 9 0 - 9 3 . Ibid., pp. 57, 110.

CHAPTER 1. SURPLUS BEING: THE KANTIAN LEGACY 1. Edmund Husserl, Ideas, trans. W. R. Gibson (New York: Collier, 1962), §23. 2. "Der einzig mogliche Beweisgrund zu einer Demonstration des Daseins Gottes," Kant gesammelte Schriften, Vol. II (Berlin, 1969), pp. 77; "Beweisgrund," 80. 3. Heidegger, Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1964), p. 144. 4. Thomas Aquinas, Suma Theologiae, I, 2, 1 ad 2. 5. Franz Brentano, Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint, trans. A. Rancurello, D. Tirrell, and L. McAJaister (London: Routledge and Keegan Paul, 1973); Vom Ursprung der sittlicher Erkenntnis (Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 1955). Edmund Husserl, Logical Investigations, Vol. 2, trans. J. N. Findlay (Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press, 1970), Investigation 6, Chap. 6, pp. 7 7 3 - 7 9 . 6. Edmund Husserl, Ideas, §70, p. 201. 7. Husserl, Logical Investigations, Investigation 5, Chap. 1. 8. Husserl, Ideas, §111. On the role of art and fiction see §70. 9. Ibid., §122 and pp. 36, 242. 10. Ibid., §42. 11. For insightful commentaries on the complex subject of Husserl's phenomenology, see Jacques Taminiaux, "Heidegger and Husserl's Logical Investigations," in Dialectic and Difference (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press International, 1985),

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pp. 9 1 - 1 1 4 ; Richard Cobb-Stevens, "Categorial Intuition," in Husserl and Analytic Philosophy (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1990), pp. 148-52; Emmanuel Levinas, The Theory of Intuition in Husserl s Philosophy (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973), pp. 6 8 - 8 1 ; Jean-luc Marion, "Question de I'etre ou difference ontologique," in Reduction et donation: recherches sur Husserl, Heidegger et la phenomenologie (Paris: PUF, 1974), pp. 163-210; Jean Beaufret, "Husserl et Heidegger"; in Dialogues avec Heidegger (Paris: Edition de Minuit, 1974), pp. 126-30; and my Poetique du possible (Paris: Beauchesne, 1984), pp. 104-108, 12. Martin Heidegger, The Basic Problems of Phenomenology, trans. A. Hofstadter (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988), Chap. 1, § § 7 - 9 . This analysis is further developed in Heidegger, Kants These iiber das Sein (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1963). 13. "The perceivedness of something extant," explains Heidegger, "is not itself extant in this thing but belongs to the Dasein, which does not mean that it belongs to the subject and the subject's immanent sphere. Perceivedness belongs to perceptual intentional comportment. And this makes it possible that the extant should be encountered in its own self. . . . Perceiving takes from the extant its coveredness and releases it so that it can show itself in its own self" (Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 70). 14. Only with Husserl, and more explicitly with existential phenomenologists like Heidegger himself, would the equation of being-existence-position-perception be interpreted in terms of the dynamism of intentionality (directing oneself toward meaning) and transcendence (the "toward which" of the directedness). To put it in terms of scholastic ontology, phenomenology discloses intentionality as the ratio cognoscendi of transcendence, and transcendence as the ratio essendi of intentionality. The modern temptation of subjectivism is thus countered. 15. Heidegger, Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 59. Being and Time was Heidegger's own attempt—perhaps the most influential in this century—to respond to this task. Where the major thinkers of modern philosophy from Descartes and Kant to Husserl and Heidegger are in agreement, however, is that we can only understand the being of beings by reflecting on the being of our own existence. "For it is only on the basis of the exposition of the basic ontological constitution of the Dasein that we put ourselves in a position to understand adequately the phenomenon correlated with the idea of being, the understanding of being which lies at the basis of all comportment to beings and guides it. Only if we understand the basic ontological constitution of the Dasein can we make clear to ourselves how an understanding of being is possible in the Dasein" (Being and Time, p. 75). 16. On the controversy surrounding Heidegger's reading of Kant on imagination, see Calvin O. Schrag, "Heidegger and Cassirer on Kant," Kant Studien 58 (1967): 8 7 - 1 0 0 , and E. Cassirer's review of Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, in Kant: Disputed Questions (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1967), pp. 1 3 1 - 5 7 . 17. See my "Heidegger's Interpretation of the Kantian Imagination," in The Wake of Imagination (London: Hutchinson, 1988), pp. 1 8 9 - 9 6 . 18. See Jean-Paul Sartre, L'imaginaire, trans, as The Psychology of Imagination (New York: Philosophical Library, 1948). 19. See my discussion of Schelling's theory of imagination in The Wake of Pagination, pp. 1 7 8 - 8 0 . 20. See Heidegger, Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, p. 166. 21. Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought (New York: Harper and Row, 1959), p. 226. 22. Sections of this chapter were published in "Between Kant and Heidegger: The

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Modern Question of Being," in At the Heart of the Real, ed. Fran O'Rourke (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1992).

CHAPTER 2. THE POETICS OF AUTHORSHIP: KIERKEGAARD'S DILEMMA 1. Soren Kierkegaard, Repetition, ed. Hong and Hong (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983), p. 154. 2. See Kierkegaard, Journals and Papers, ed. Hong and Hong, 7 vols. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1 9 6 7 - 7 8 ) , IX A 390, and Training in Christianity (hereafter TC), trans. W. Lowrie (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1967) p. 123n. 3. TC, p. 109. 4. Ibid., p. 181. 5. Kierkegaard, Sickness unto Death (hereafter SD), trans. W. Lowrie (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1941), p. 230. 6. Ibid., p. 231. 7. Ibid., p. 202. 8. Kierkegaard's Journals, ed. A. Dru (New York: Oxford University Press 1938), 936. 9. SD, p. 248. 10. TC, pp. 2 0 6 - 0 7 , SD, p. 251. See also my extended analysis of these themes in "The Existential Imagination—Kierkegaard and Nietzsche," in The Wake of Imagination (London: Hutchinson, 1988), pp. 2 0 4 - 1 1 . 11. SD, pp. 2 5 0 - 5 2 . 12. Ibid., p. 251. 13. TC, p. 84. 14. Ibid., pp. 9 2 - 9 3 . 15. Ibid., pp. 88, 101, 109. 16. Ibid., p. 207. 17. Ibid., pp. 2 1 6 - 1 8 . 18. Ibid., pp. 2 1 8 - 1 9 . 19. Kierkegaard, On Authority and Revelation (hereafter OAR), trans. W. Lowrie (New York: Harper Torchbook, 1966), pp. 1 0 3 - 2 2 . 20. Journal entry, III A I; Journals and Papers, II, 1587. 21. See Gregor Malantschuk, Kierkegaard's Thought (hereafter Though!), trans. Hong and Hong (Princeton; Princeton University Press, 1974), p. 94. See also p. 119, where Gregor Malantschuk quotes the following passage from Kierkegaard's De Omnibus Dubitandum Est. "Christianity said it had come into the world by a new beginning and that this beginning was at once historical and eternal." It is possible that this work, also written in 1848, was withheld from publication because it was too direct. 22. Journal entry, A 184, Journals and Papers, I, 427. 23. See Malantschuk, Thought, pp. 94ff. 24. Journal entry, II A 248; Journals and Papers, IV. 25. TC, p. 123. 26. Journals and Papers, V, VIII, I A 640. 27. Journals 848; Journals, ed. Dru, May 1848. 28. Malantschuk, Thought, pp. 328ff. Malantschuk also adverts to the significance of the fact that Kierkegaard commenced a new piece of "devotional" writing, The Lilies of the Field, toward the end of 1848, where the Religiousness A virtues of

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humility, obedience, stillness, self-abnegation, guilt, and, above all, silence predominated once again. This work was written in Kierkegaard's own name, but the point seems to be that it was so signed precisely because it was sufficiently lowkey and modest to take the harm out of the signature. That is to say, the work was so unrelated in both tone and theme to the problematic of the God-Man as to render the whole question of direct or indirect address quite irrelevant. 29. Journals, ed. Dru, 936. 30. Ibid. See also, on this difficult phase of the authorship, Alasdair McKinnon and Neils Cappel0rn, "The Period of Composition of Kierkegaard's Published Works," Kierkegaardiana 9; and Malantschuk, Thought, pp. 3 5 4 - 5 5 . 31. Journals, ed. Dru, 942. 32. Journals and Papers, V, X A 517; see also, Journals, ed. Dru, 319, where Kierkegaard describes Climacus as "not yet a Christian" and Anti-Climacus as a "Christian to an extraordinary degree"—and himself as residing somewhere in the middle: "quite a simple Christian." 33. Climacus and Anti-Climacus, A Dialectical Discovery, written in 1848. See Malantschuk's assertion, Thought, p. 336, that Climacus' relation to Anti-Climacus in the realm of pseudonymity is analogous to that between actuality and ideality in the dialectic of existence. Also Journals, ed. Dru, 936. 34. Journals, ed. Dru, 936. 35. "The Point of View for My Work as an Author, "in The Point of View (hereafter PV), trans. W. Lowrie (London: Oxford University Press, 1936), p. 5. See also Kierkegaard's tortured vacillation between the direct and indirect points of view in TC, pp. 16, 17, 42. Here the author justifies the use of "indirection" by adducing the example of Christ himself; but he also recognizes the need for some kind of directness for both the God-Man and himself: "The whole of Christ's life on earth would have been mere play if he had been incognito to such a degree that he went through life totally unnoticed—and yet in its true sense, he was incognito," {TC, p. 16). 36. Journals, ed. Dru, 936. 37. See Kierkegaard, ed. J. Thompson (New York: Anchor, 1972), pp. 86, 2 2 1 - 2 3 . 38. Papers, X, III A 624; Journals and Papers, trans. Hong and Hong (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1969), p. 318. 39. Journals and Papers, V, X A 300. 40. PV, pp. 45—46, and again p. 59, where Kierkegaard writes that "The essentially religious author has but one fulcrum for his lever, namely, a religious syllogism. When one asks him on what he bases the claim that he is right and that it is truth he utters, his answer is—I prove it by the fact that I am derided." Nor should we forget that it was at this time (1848) that Kierkegaard's victimization by the Copenhagen newspaper, the Corsair, reached its most vitriolic pitch (see F. Sontag's Introduction to OAR, p. 37). Kierkegaard's explicit identification in these passages with the chosen martyr, and his oblique claim to divine authority (albeit chaperoned by the disclaimer, "I write without authority") by virtue of this chosen martyrdom, betrays a manifestly dangerous approximation to the martyrdom of the God-Man himself. 41. This could be taken to mean that although Kierkegaard's impulse to identify himself with the God-Man is suppressed in the "aesthetic" (poetic) and "ethical" (philosophical) stages, it ultimately found expression—however disguisedly—in the "religious" category of the martyr/extraordinarius. See PV, p. 69. 42. PV, p. 35.

216 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48.

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Journals, ed. Dru, 938. Ibid., 995. TC> pp. 1 2 9 - 3 3 . Ibid., pp. 1 2 3 - 2 5 . Ibid., pp. 1 2 7 - 2 8 . On the dangers of the aesthetic imagination as an agency of premature projections of the God-Man ideal—which Kierkegaard saw as a particular propensity of women, young men, and poetic temperaments, see my chapter on Kierkegaard and "The Existentialist Imagination," in The Wake of Imagination (London: Hutchinson, 1988), pp. 2 0 1 - 1 1 ; and my "Kierkegaard et la Dialectique de l'lmagination," in Kierkegaard, ed. Jean Brun, Obliques, Numero special (Paris: Editions Borderie, 1981) pp. 4 9 - 6 1 . On the relation of marriage and the premature synthesis of the "Universal," particularly as it pertains to Kierkegaard's relation to Regina, see Lowrie's note to TC, p. 137. Note also Kierkegaard's perspective on pseudonymity through the persona of Johannes Climacus: What is written therefore is in fact mine, but only insofar as I put into the mouth of the poetically actual individuality whom I produced . . . . For my relation is even more external than that of a p o e t . . . . For I am impersonal, or am personal in the second person, a souffleur who has poetically produced the authors, whose preface in turn is their own production, as are even their own names. So in the pseudonymous works there is not a single word which is mine, I have no opinion about these works . . . no knowledge of their meaning except as a reader . . . one single word of mine uttered personally in my own name would be an instance of presumptuous self-forgetfulness, and dialectically viewed it would incur with one word the guilt of annihilating the pseudonyms. (Concluding Unscientific Postscript, trans. David F. Swenson [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974]) OAR Third Preface, p. 23; and also Sontag's Introduction, p. 1 4 - 3 6 . Ibid., p. 39. That Kierkegaard's relationship to God the Father was in turn conditioned somewhat by his relationship to his own father is almost certain. In "The Fork in Kierkegaard" (in Kierkegaard, ed. J. Thompson, pp. 1 6 4 - 8 3 ) , John Updike provides several pertinent quotations from Kierkegaard's oeuvre, e.g., "The anxious dread with which my father filled my soul, his frightful melancholy, the many things which I cannot record—I got such a dread of Christianity, and yet I felt myself so strongly drawn to it" (p. 173). Updike concludes: "K. did not expect to live past the age of thirty-three (the age of Christ) and did expect his father, though fifty-seven years older, to outlive him (to be immortal). . . . We touch a central nerve in Kierkegaard—the identification of God with his father, whom he both loved and hated, who treated him cruelly and who loved him" (p. 173). See Sontag's Introduction to OAR, p. 24. Ibid., p. 9. Ibid., p. 112. Ibid., p. 176. See Kierkegaard's essay, "On the Difference between a Genius and an Apostle," written in 1848 and included in the main text of OAR, pp. 1 0 3 - 2 2 . In his Introduction to OAR, Sontag elucidates this vacillation by showing that Adler served both as a warning to Kierkegaard, who saw in him "the extremes to which independent subjectivity could go and so recoiled to bring the inner religious life back under Authority and Revelation" (p. xxxii), and alternatively, as a secret stimulus insofar as it may well have been Adler's outspoken example that per-

49. 50. 51.

52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57.

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suaded Kierkegaard to break his "vow of silence" in the final outburst of the last years. 58. See, for example, the following suggestive passages in OAR: A true extraordinarius stood alone and forsaken, pointed out in the pillory of the special individual, a true extraordinarius who was recognizable by the fact that he was. executed—well, it is a matter of course that after this he cannot very well go about with congratulations—but neither can he be mistaken for another." (p. 44) In the dreadful responsibility which the true extraordinarius has to face is included also the concern lest his example, when he assumes a position extra ordinem, may beguile other men who are weak, light-minded, unsteadfast and inquisitive to wish to become like him so that his example may become a snare, a temptation . . . for them. (p. 45) 59. This chapter is a much revised and extended version of "Kierkegaard's Concept of the God-Man," which appeared in Kierkegaardiana XIII (1984): pp. 1 0 5 - 2 2 . CHAPTER 3. HEIDEGGER'S POETICS OF THE POSSIBLE 1. Heidegger, Sein und Zeit (Tubingen: Max Verlag, 1927), trans. J. Macquarrie and E. Robinson (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1962). Henceforth the German shall be referred to as SZ and the English as BT. The statement concerning the primacy of possibility is to be found in BT p. 63; SZ p. 38. 2. BT sections 2 5 - 3 8 , especially 32. 3. Aristotle, Metaphysics, 9.8.1059. 4. Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, 3, a. 4, c. Thus, as the Supreme Being, God (Summum Ens) becomes an omnipresence (Omnipraesentia) in all beings insofar as he is the cause of their Being (causa essendi); STh> I, 8, a. 3. For a full development of Heidegger's critique of the scholastic notion of God as metaphysical presence, see his Identitat und Differenz (1957). For a comprehensive commentary see Bertrand Rioux, UEtre et la verite chez Heidegger et St. Thomas d'Aquin (Paris: PUF, 1963). We should also add that even though Aquinas and the transcendental Thomists of today—Rahner, Lonnergan—consider man as a being who transcends himself in quest of an always more absolute knowledge, they still continue to understand man primarily as a substance, whose being, even as it transcends itself, remains a permanently identical presence. Furthermore, even though such metaphysicians acknowledge a role for possibility or potency in their notion of knowledge as conative and transcending, they ultimately subordinate this possibility to the final presence which is achieved when the knower reaches what is known, i.e., Aristotle's Noesis Noeseos or the Thomist notion of absolute knowledge as an absolute identity and transparence of Being to itself. It is only with Descartes and the German Idealists that man is explicitly defined as a substance which is a "self-presence." It must be admitted that in points of detail, Heidegger's critique of the metaphysics of presence and substance leaves much to be desired. But the overall intention of his critique is clear enough. 5. S Z p p . 42f, 1 4 3 - 4 5 , 188, 248f, 259. 6. I do not wish to make any claims here for the unconditional validity of Heidegger's interpretation of Aristotle's notion of time in Book Five of the Physics. Nor is it sure that all subsequent theories of time follow this interpretation. Augustine's understanding of time, in Confessions, XI, would certainly seem to be an exception. 7. All of these metaphysical words for Being as presence share the common character of "permanent subsistence" (character des Standige verbleibts) such that the Being of a being is considered to be "that which it always is," i.e., its subsistence in

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permanence. This is why in BT truth is no longer defined in terms of Being as "permanent-subsistence" {das Vorhandene) but on the basis of the temporality of Dasein (i.e., as revelation and openness, Erschlosse?iheit). For good examples of Heidegger's discussion of the priority of Being as presence vis-a-vis Being as possibility in the history of metaphysics, see his Die Physis Bei Aristoteles (1958) and "Entwurf zur Geschichte des Seins als Metaphysik" {Nietzsche, Vol. II), pp. 4 5 8 - 8 0 . As a good secondary source see Ysabel de Andia's Presence et Eschatologie dans la Pensee de Heidegger (Lille: Editions Universitaires, 1975), particularly pp. 1 5 0 - 9 0 . 8. BTp. 27If. 9. SZ, existentiell possibilities, p. 267; factical possibilities, p. 264; logical possibilities, p. 143; ontical possibilities, p. 312. 10. BTp. 250. 11. To express this idea Heidegger calls death the ultimate end {UmwillenlUmzu and Wofiir) of all our possibilities; ibid., pp. 93f, 109, 467. 12. On rapport between Verstehen and Seinkonnen, see BT sections 58, 68a, 73. 13. On authentic and inauthentic "potentiality-for-Being" see SZ p. 2 3 3 - 3 5 , 2 6 7 - 3 0 2 . On three modes of inauthentic potentiality-for-Being see: SZ existentiell, p. 260; factical, p. 341; ontical, p. 260. 14. The only critics to have stressed the importance of this distinction are, to my knowledge, the translators themselves, Macquarrie and Robinson, in a note, BT p. 558. 15. SZ pp. 263, 268. 16. Ibid., p. 263. 17. Ibid., p. 2 6 7 - 6 8 . 18. Ibid., pp. 2 6 7 - 6 9 , 2 7 3 - 7 5 , 298, 312. 19. Ibid., p. 267. 20. Ibid., p. 264: "Die gewisse Moglichkeit des Todes erschlieftt das Dasein aber als Moglichkeit nur so, daft es vorlaufend zu ihr diese Moglichkeit als eigenstens Seinkonnen fur sich ermoglicht." 21. SZ p. 324; BTp. 271. 22. BTp. 371. 23. Ibid., section 71, p. 423. 24. See Was 1st Metaphysik (1943 edition): "Das Sein wohl west ohne das Seiende, niemals aber ein Seiendes ist ohne das Sein." Identitat und Differenz (1957) develops this notion of the ontological difference between Being and being (or man as the highest form of being) at great length. 25. BT p. 446; SZ p. 394. 26. BT p. 488; SZ p. 437. There is nearly always an ambiguity in this work as to whether Being refers to the Being of Dasein or Being itself (as Sein uberhaupt) or both at once! 27. See p. 85 in the English translation by William Lovitt, "The Word of Nietzsche," in the collection of Heidegger essays The Question Concerning Technology and other Essays (New York: Harper and Row, 1977). 28. Ibid., p. 85. 29. Translated by James Churchill as Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1962). 30. Ibid., pp. 120f., I4lf, I6lf. 31. Ibid., sections 34, 3 9 - 4 5 , in particular p. 251: "Kant's laying of the foundation of metaphysics, which for the first time subjects the internal possibility of the overtness of the Being of the essent to a decisive examination, must necessarily encounter time as the basic determination of finite transcendence, if, indeed, it is true that the comprehension of Being in Dasein spontaneously projects Being on time."

Notes to Pages 43-44 32. Ibid., p. 252:

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If the essence of transcendence is based on pure imagination, i.e., originally on time, then the idea of a "transcendental logic" becomes non-sensical, especially if, contrary to Kant's original intention, it is treated as an autonomous and absolute discipline. Kant must have had an intimation of this collapse of the primacy of logic in metaphysics when, speaking of the fundamental characteristics of Being, "possibility" (what-being) and "reality" (which Kant termed "existence"), he said: "So long as the definition of possibility, existence and necessity is sought solely in pure understanding, they cannot be explained save through an obvious tautology." And yet, in the second edition of the Critique did not Kant re-establish the supremacy of the understanding? And as a result did not metaphysics, with Hegel, come to be identified with "logic" more radically than ever oefore? 33. Heidegger himself makes this point in his conclusion to part 3, p. 207: It is true that in order to wrest from the actual words that which these words "intend to say," every interpretation must necessarily resort to violence. This violence, however, should not be confused with an action that is wholly arbitrary. The interpretation must be animated and guided by the power of an illuminative idea. Only through the power of this idea can an interpretation risk that which is always audacious, namely, entrusting itself to the secret elan of a work, in order by this elan to get through to the unsaid and attempt to find an expression for it. The directive idea itself is confirmed by its own power of illumination. In the light of this claim we can perhaps understand, if not necessarily agree with, Ernst Cassirer's description of Heidegger's interpretation as "a usurpation of the text rather than a commentary"—"Bemerkungen zu Heideggers Kant-Interpretation," Kant-Studien XXXVI, 1/2 (1931): 17. To further appreciate the singular nature of this reading we must recall Heidegger's aknowledgment in the preface to this book on Kant, that the entire study was originally intended as a section of the projected part 2 of BT, to be entitled "The Fundamental Characteristics of a Phenomenological Destruction of the History of Ontology under the Guidance of the Problematic of Temporality." 34. English translation by Edgar Lohner entitled "Letter on Humanism" and published in Phenomenology and Existentialism, ed. R. Zaner and D. Ihde (New York: Capricorn Books, 1973) pp. 1 4 7 - 8 1 . I have made one important alteration in the Lohner translation (p. 150) in rendering vermogen as "possibilizing" rather than "commanding." Literally, vermogen means to be able or to enable, i.e., to be or to make possible. Lohner's rendition as "command" as well as "potentiality" and "is capable of"—without an indication that it is the same word, vermogen, being translated—makes little sense out of the German original. As this is the most crucial text in my commentary I cite the original passage in its entirety: Das Denken ist—dies sagt: das Sein hat sich je geschicklich seines Wesens Angenommen. Sich einer "Sache" oder einer "Person" in ihrem Wesen annehmen, das heifit-sie lieben-sie Mogen. Dieses Mogen bedeutet, urspriinglicher gedacht: das Wesen schenken, Solches Mogen ist das eigentliche Wesen des Vermogens, dans nicht nur dieses oder jenes leisten, sondern etwas in seiner Her-kunft "wesen," das heisst sein lassen kann. Das Vermogen des Mogens ist es, "kraft" dessen etwas eigentlich zu sein vermag. Dieses Vermogen ist das eigentlich "Mogliche," jenes, dessen Wesen im Mogen beruht. Aus diesem Mogen vermag das Sein das Denken. Jenes ermoglicht dieses. Das Sein als das Vermogend-Mogende ist das "Mog-iiche." Das Sein als das Element is die "stille Kraft" des mogenden Vermogens, das heiBt des Moglichen. Unsere Worter " m o g l i c h " und

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"Moglichkeit" werden freilich unter der Herrschaft der "Logik" und "Metaphysik" nur gedacht im unterschied zu "Wirklichkeit," das heisst aus einer bestimmtender metaphysischen—Interpretation des Seins als actus und potentia, welche Unterscheidung identifiziert wird mit der von existentia und essentia, Wenn ich von der "stillen Kraft des Mogiichen" spreche, meine ich nicht das possibile einer nur vorgestellten possibilitas, nicht die potentia als essentia eines actus der existentia, sondern das Sein selbst, das mogend iiber das Denken und so Liber das Wesen des Menschen und das heifit tiber dessen Bezug zum Sein vermag. Etwas vermogen bedeutet hier: es in seinem Wesen wahren, in seinem Element einbehalten (Brief iiber den "Humanismus," Bern: Francke, 1954, p. 57). The identification of vermogen and wahren in this last sentence is very significant, for Heidegger sees wahren (to guard or care for) as the root meaning of Wahreit (truth). Thus we see how easily Heidegger was able to identify "possibilizing" as the "truth of Being" (and later as es gibt, esti, Ereignis). 35. In fact, the two Beings in question here refer to the same Being but differ in the way we think about this Being, i.e., as it reveals itself to man or as it is in itself. This duplicity in our thinking about Being is what Heidegger, in his later writings, referred to as the "Januscope" (the double-glance). 36. Here I offer my own translation. The original German reads, as above: "Das Vermogen des Mogens ist es 'Kraft' dessen etwas eigentlich zu sein vermag. Dieses Vermogen ist das eigentlich 'Mogliche, 5 jenes, dessem Wesen im Mogen beruht." For Lohner's inadequate translation, see p. 150. 37. The original reads, as above: "Das Denken ist. sich einer 'Sache' oder einer 'person' in Wesen annehmen, das heisst: sie lieben: sie mogen." For Lohner's translation see pp. 151-52. 38. See Emmanuel Levinas, Totalite et Infini (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1961), and Autrement qu'etre (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1974), and Martin Buber, Between Man and Man (trans. R. Smith, London: Fontana, 1947), pp. 199-220. 39. The standard English translation of Ereignis is "appropriation"; see Joan Stambaugh's translation of Zeit und Sein in On Time and Being (New York: Harper and Row, 1972), pp. 19-24. We must not overlook the significance of the fact that just as vermogen can refer to wealth or power in the sense of "property," Ereignis carries this sense of "appropriation" as "possession" or "property" (as its etymological rapport with Eigen-tum suggests). See Heidegger's play on this meaning in the following sentences from On Time and Being, for example, 22: "Being proves to be destiny's gift of presence, the gift granted by the giving of time. The gift of presence is the property of appropriating." (Presence here—"Anwesen"—is not to be confused with "presence" in its metaphysical determinations—ousia, substantial actualitas, Vorhandenheit, discussed earlier!) Or again, 23: "Because Being and Time are there only in appropriating [Ereignis], appropriating has the peculiar property of bringing man into his own [eigenst] as the being who perceives Being by standing within true [eigentlich] time. Thus appropriated, man belongs to appropriation." As Heidegger goes on to say, to the extent that man is appropriated and assimilated by Being he is to be considered its "belonging" as its property: that which is most proper to it. 40. See Staumbaugh's translation, p. 8. 41. This essential link between "possibility" on the one hand, and "Being-understoodas-time-which-absences-as-it-presences," on the other, is clearly manifest in the following passages from a letter which Heidegger wrote to a young student, Buchner, in 1950 (printed pp. 1 8 3 - 8 6 of Poetry, Language, Thought, trans. A. Hofstadter [New York: Harper and Row, 1971]):

Notes to Pages 47-51

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"Being is in no way identical with reality or with a precisely determined actuality (i.e., simple, substantified presence). Nor is Being in any way opposed to being-no-longer and being-not-yet; these two belong themselves to the essential nature of Being. Even metaphysics already had, to a certain extent, an intimation of this fact in its doctrine of the modalities—which, to be sure, has hardly been understood, according to which possibility belongs to Being just as much as do actuality and necessity. . . . The default of god and the divinitas is absence, but absence is not nothing; rather it is precisely the coming-into-presence [Anwesen], which must first be appropriated [ereignet], of the hidden fullness and wealth of what has been and what, thus gathered, is presencing [anwesende] of the divine in the world of the Greeks, in prophetic Judaism, in the preaching of Jesus. This no-longer is itself a not-yet or the veiled coming-appropriation [Ereignis] of its inexhaustible nature. Since Being is never the merely precisely actual, to guard Being is vigilance, watchfulness Tor the has-been and future destiny of Being . . . . The step back from the representational thinking of metaphysics . . . is necessarily part of thinking the thing, a thinking that thinks about the possible advent of world. I stress that this notion of Being as an absence which presences (Anwesen-Abwesende/ Abwesen-Anwesende) is not to be confused with the metaphysical notion of presence as something actual or actualized, as re-presentation or, in its highest form, as some eternal presence (Ipsum Esse Subsistens or Nunc Aeternum). This "overcoming" of the notion of presence as enduring substance in favor of a notion of "presencing" (Anwesen) as a possibilizing (Vermogen) which presences as it absences, is what I have tried to highlight. I have avoided using the presence-presencing contrast because in English this double use of the same term loses the sharp distinction of the German, where two different terms are always used, Vorhandenheit (qusia, substantia, actualitas, etc.), on the one hand, and Anwesen, on the other. The presence-possibility contrast expresses this difference very clearly, even in English. This text was originally presented for Jean Beaufret's Kierkegaard vivant (Paris: Gallimard, 1964), I64f. It appears as a complementary text to On Time and Being in Staumbaugh's translation, p. 54. On Time and Being, pp. 5 9 - 6 0 . Heidegger, "The Origin of the Work of Art," in Poetry, Language, Thought, trans. A. Hofstadter (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), p. 74. Heidegger, ". . . Poetically Man Dwells . . . ," in Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 226 (and p. 75). Ibid., p. 216. "Origin of the Work of Art," p. 76. "Poetically Man Dwells," p. 215. Heidegger, "Building, Dwelling, Thinking," in Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 149. Sections of my analysis were published in "Heidegger, le Possible et Dieu," in Heidegger et la question de Dieu, ed. R. Kearney and J. O'Leary (Paris: Grasset, 1980), pp. 125-67, and in "Heidegger and the Possible," Philosophical Studies XXVII (1980), pp. 176-95.

42.

43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50.

CHAPTER 4. HEIDEGGER'S GODS 1. Heidegger, An Introduction to Metaphysics, trans. R. Mannheim (New York: Anchor, 1961), p. 6. Heidegger was making this argument as early as 1925, when he delivered his lectures History of the Concept of Time: Prolegomena, at the University

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2.

3.

4. 5.

6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

of Marburg, which may be regarded as an early version of Being and Time (1927). See in particular his comment: "As long as phenomenology understands itself it will adhere to this course of research [into the categories] against any sort of prophetism within philosophy and against any inclination to provide guidelines for life. Philosophical research is and remains atheism, which is why philosophy can allow itself the 'arrogance of thinking'" (History of the Concept of Time, trans. T. Kisiel [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992], p. 80). Heidegger, "Phenomenology and Theology," in The Piety of Thinking: Essays by Martin Heidegger, trans. J.G. Hart and J.C. Maraldo (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976), pp. 7, 1 0 - 1 1 . Beaufret in la quinzaine litteraire 196 (1974): 3; see also the reported citations on this subject translated into French by Beaufret and Jean Greish in Heidegger et la question de Dieu, ed. Kearney and O'Leary (Paris: Grasset, 1980), pp. 3 3 4 - 3 6 . See Heidegger, The Piety of Thinking, p. 34; Kearney and O'Leary, Heidegger et la question de Dieu, p. 165. Richard Kearney and O'Leary, Heidegger et la question de Dieu, pp. 334-36. Martin Heidegger, "Letter on Humanism," trans. E. Lohner, in Phenomenology and Existentialism, ed. R. Zaner and D. Ihde (New York: Capricorn Books, 1973), pp. 147-81; see also Kearney and O'Leary, Heidegger et la question de Dieu, p. 317. Heidegger, Identity and Difference (New York: Harper and Row, 1960), p. 72. Heidegger, Nietzsche I, 1962, as quoted in Kearney and O'Leary, Heidegger et la question de Dieu, p. 331. Ibid., p. 331. Ibid., p. 332. Ibid., p. 333. Heidegger, "Letter on Humanism," pp. 172-73. See Francois Fedier, "Heidegger et Dieu," in Kearney and O'Leary, Heidegger et la question de Dieu, pp. 3 7 - 4 5 . See Heidegger, The Piety of Thinking, p. 193. Ricoeur, "Note Introductive," in Kearney and O'Leary, Heidegger et la question de Dieu, p. 17: Ce qui m'a souvent etonne chez Heidegger, c'est qu'il ait, semble-t-il, systematiquement elude la confrontation avec le bloc de la pensee hebraique. II Iui est parfois arrive de penser a partir de l'Evangile et de la theologie chretienne; mais toujours en evitant le massif hebraique, qui est I'etranger absolu par rapport au discours grec, il evite la pensee ethique avec ses dimensions de relation a l'autre et a la justice, dont a tant parle Levinas. II traite la pensee ethique, tres sommairement comme pensee de la valeur. . . et ne reconnait pas sa difference radicale avec la pensee ontologique. . . . La tache de repenser la tradition chretienne par un "pas en arriere" n exige-t-elle pas qu'on reconnaisse la dimension radicalement hebraique du christianisme, qui est d'abord enracine dans le judaisme et seulement apres dans la tradition grecque? Pourquoi reflechir seulement sur Holderlin et non pas sur les Psaumes, sur Jeremie?

15. Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics, p. 107. 16. See Heidegger, "Eriauterungen zu Holderlins Dichtung," 1951; quoted in Kearney and O'Leary, Heidegger et la question de Dieu, pp. 3 2 3 - 2 5 . 17. Heidegger, "The Origin of the Work of Art," in Poetry, Language, Thought (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), p. 44. 18. Heidegger, "Eriauterungen zu Holderlins Dichtung," p. 325. 19. Heidegger, Nietzsche II, quoted in Kearney and O'Leary, Heidegger et la question de Dieu, pp. 192-93.

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20. Heidegger, "The Time of the World Picture," in The Piety of Thinking. 21. Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 117. The following dense passage contains the core of his account: The essence of technology comes to the light of day only slowly. This day is the world's night, rearranged into merely technological day. This day is the shortest day. It threatens a single endless winter. Not only does protection now withhold itself from man but the inteeralness of the whole of what is remains now in darkness. The wholesome and sound withdraws. The world becomes without healing, unholy. Not only does the holy, as the track of the godhead, thereby remain concealed; even the track to the holy, the hale and whole, seems to be effaced. But that is not the end of the story, for Heidegger adds: "That is, unless there are still some mortals capable of seeing the threat of the unhealable, the unholy, as such. They would have to discern the danger that is assailing man" (p. 117). 22. Quoted in Partisan Review, 1948. 23. Heidegger, Der Spiegel, Interview, 31 May, 1976. 24. For details on this and subsequent references in the last section see my earlier version of this argument in "Heidegger, le possible et Dieu," and Beaufret and Greish, Heidegger et la question de Dieu, pp. 125-68. 25. Heidegger "Letter on Humanism," p. 172. 26. See Nicholas of Cusa, Trialogus de Possest, ed. R. Steiger (Hamburg: Felix Meiner Verlag, 1973). I am grateful to my colleague in University College Dublin, Dermot Moran, for bringing this text to my attention. See also "Nicholas of Cusa and the Power of the Possible" by P. J. Casarella, in American Catholic Philosophical Journal 64, 1 (1990): pp. 7 - 3 5 , where the author explores the striking and suggestive similarities between Cusanus and Heidegger on the notion of the possible as a sacred event of giving and loving—as a poetics of posse. 27. Levinas, "Judaism," in The Levinas Reader, ed. S. Hand (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989), p. 252. One of the first people to remark on the eclipse of the ethical dimension in Heidegger's thinking was Karl Jaspers. While Heidegger dismissed Jaspers' philosophy as a "moralising psychology of human existence," Jaspers accused Heidegger of excluding questions of concrete ethical responsibility and action from his grandiose ontology: "Does such a view of things contribute, by its very indeterminacy, to the spread of evil? Does not the seemingly grand sweep of such visions lead us to overlook the practical possibilities for action?" By cutting his thought "off from reality," Heidegger had, in Jaspers' view, perhaps helped to "prepare the victory of totalitarianism." As Hugo Ott puts it in his commentary on Jaspers' correspondence with Heidegger: "The only ethical category in which Heidegger was able to think or be understood—if indeed we can speak of ethics at all in his case—was that of 'obedience to Being.' The lines are clearly drawn in the Letter on Humanism (1946): anyone who sought like Heidegger, to thrust forward in thought into the truth of Being, that is, into the 'forest clearing' where Being is illuminated, had found the place where the hidden god is present, where no care about 'directions for the life of action' ever penetrates; and by the same token such a thinker is untouched by whatever affects the actions of men in a technological age. So he is untainted, unburdened by guilt" (Hugo Ott, Martin Heidegger: A Political Life, trans. A. Blunden [London: Basic Books 1993], pp. 3 4 - 3 5 ) . On the controversy surrounding Heidegger and ethics see also Charles Scott, The Question of Ethics: Nietzsche, Foucault, Heidegger (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994); and J. Caputo, Against Ethics (Bloomington, Indiana U.P., 1993).

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28. See my discussion of Heidegger's analogy between ontological and theological thinking in his Introduction to Metaphysics as one of: 1) "as if"; 2) critical alternative or visa-vis; and 3) proper proportionality (Kearney, "Heidegger, le possible et Dieu," pp. 125-68). See also George Kovaks, The Question of God in Heidegger's Phenomenology (Evanston: Nortwestern University Press, 1990). In contrast to my own critical reservations here, Kovacs concludes his extensive exposition by arguing that Heidegger's post-metaphysical thinking about Being leads to what he calls a "truly divine notion of God." 29. Heidegger, The Piety of Thinking. 30. An earlier version of this chapter was published in 1993 by the Warwick Centre for Philosophy and Literature, with a reply by Professor Martin Warner. My thanks to Professor David Wood, editor of the series, for permission to republish. Some of the arguments in the final part of this chapter were developed in more detail in my "Heidegger, le possible et Dieu."

CHAPTER 5. IDEOLOGY A N D UTOPIA: THE SOCIAL IMAGINARY (RICOEUR I) 1. Raymond Boudon, Lldiologie (Paris: Fayard, 1986), pp. 40£F. 2. Ricoeur, Lectures on Ideology and Utopia (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985); and Section III, "Ideologic, utopie et politique," of Du Texte a Taction: essais d'hermeneutique, //(Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1986), and especially "L'IdeoIogie et l'utopie: deux expressions de l'imaginaire social," pp. 3 7 9 - 9 3 . 3. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, On Religion (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1955), p. 50. 4. Ricoeur, "The Critique of Religion" (1973), in The Philosophy of Paul Ricoeur: An Anthology of His Worky ed. Charles Regan and David Stewart (Boston: Beacon, 1978), p. 215. 5. Rudolf Bultmann, The Theology of the New Testament (London: SCM Press, n.d.),

pp. 295ff.
6. In recent years demythologization has perhaps been most effectively developed by the French religious thinker Rene Girard, who holds that the most radical aim of Judeo-Christian revelation is to expose and overcome the mythic foundation of pagan religions in the ritual sacrifice of an innocent scapegoat. Imaginatively projecting the cause of all disharmony and evil onto some "externalized" innocent victim, society contrives to hide from itself the real cause of its internal crisis. True Christianity rejects the cultic mythologizing of the scapegoat, deployed by societies as an ideological means of securing social consensus. Only by demythologizing this ideological lie of sacrificial victimage—that is, by revealing the true innocence of the scapegoat Christ—can Christianity serve as a genuinely anti-mythic and anti-sacrificial religion. See Girard, Le bouc emissaire (Paris: Grasset, 1982), particularly the chapter "Qu'est-ce qu'un mythe?," pp. 3 6 - 3 7 . See also my article, "Rene' Girard et le mythe comme bouc emissaire," in Violence et verite (Paris: Grasset, 1984). 7. Ricoeur, "Science and Ideology" (1974), in Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences, ed. and trans. John B. Thompson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), pp. 2 2 2 - 4 6 . 8. Mircia Eliade, Myths, Dreams, and Mysteries (London: Fontana, 1 9 6 8 ) , p. 24: "Myth is thought to express the absolute truth because it narrates a sacred

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9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

16. 17.

history; that is, a trans-human revelation which took place in the holy time of the beginning. . . . By imitating the exemplary acts of mythic deities and heroes man detaches himself from profane time and magically re-enters the Great Time, the Sacred Time." Ricoeur, "Science and Ideology," p. 225. Ibid. Ibid., p. 229. Raymond Boudon, L'ideologie, p. 85ff. See Louis Althusser, "Freud and Lacan," in Lenin and Philosophy, and Other Essays, trans. B. Brewster (London: New Left Books, 1971). Ricoeur, "Science and Ideology," p. 227. I have applied this critique of ideology as it operates in Irish myth and religion in two lengthy studies: "Faith and Fatherland," The Crane Bag 8, 1 (1984): pp. 55-67, and "Myth and Motherland," Field Day (Deny) 5 (1984): pp. 6 1 - 8 3 , reprinted in Ireland's Field Day (London: Hutchinson, 1985). Boudon, L'ide'ologie, p. 85ff. Ricoeur, "The Critique of Religion," p. 219.

18. Ibid.
19. Ricoeur, "Science and Ideology," p. 236. 20. Ibid., p. 231. 21. Ibid. See Claude Levi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology (New York: Basic Books, 1963), and Cornelius Castoriadis, L'institution imaginaire de la societe (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1976). For a detailed critical commentary on Castoriadis's and Ricoeur's notion of ideology as a "social imaginary," see John B. Thompson, Studies in the Theory of Ideology (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985). 22. Boudon makes this point in L'ideologie, pp. 183ff. It is also Ricoeur's conclusion. The hermeneutics of suspicion runs the danger of assuming that it remains unscathed by the defects that it denounces. A totally non-ideological science could be only a nonhistorical science—that is, a form of total and timeless knowledge disengaged from historical interests and limits. And, for Ricoeur, this is impossible, as it is for Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and other exponents of the new, phenomenological finitude of understanding. All understanding of history—no matter how scientific—is itself historically conditioned and therefore incapable of ever escaping from ideology in any absolute manner. Moreover, the historical character of understanding accounts for the primacy of symbolic consciousness, that is, of mediated, indirect, and multilayered consciousness, over and above transparent scientific knowledge. Because human understanding operates in a hermeneutic circle, it cannot represent meaning in a timeless univocal fashion; it can represent meaning only through a temporalizing process of representation. This means that our understanding of present reality is mediated by a recollection of the past (wiederholen) and a projection of the future (ehtwerfen). Perhaps the central discovery of phenomenological hermeneutics has been the priority of the figurative over the literal; the recognition that there can be no access to reality except through the hermeneutic detour of our intentional and symbolizing representation. I shall return to this question later. Suffice it to cite Ricoeur's outline of the implications of this discovery for the relationship between ideology and our understanding of social reality. To quote a key passage from "Science and Ideology": If it is true that the images which a social group forms of itself are interpretations which belong immediately to the constitution of the social bond; if, in other words, the social bond is itself symbolic; then it is absolutely futile to

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seek to derive the images from something prior which would be reality, real activity, the process of real life, of which there would be secondary reflections and echoes- A non-ideological discourse on ideology here comes up against the impossibility of reaching a social reality prior to symbolization. This difficulty confirms me in the view that the phenomenon of inversion cannot be taken as the starting point for an account of ideology, but that the former must be conceived as a specification of a much more fundamental phenomenon which ertains to the representation of the social bond in the after-event of its symolic constitution. Travesty is a second episode of symbolization. Whence, in my opinion, the failure of any attempt to define a social reality which would be initially transparent and then obscured, and which could be grasped in its original transparence, short of the idealizing reflection. What seems to me much more fecund in Marx's work is the idea that the transparence is not behind us, at the origin, but in front of us, at the end of a historical process which is perhaps interminable. But then we must have the courage to conclude that the separation of science and ideology is itself a limiting idea, the limit of an internal work of differentiation, and that we do not currently have at our disposal a non-ideological notion of the genesis of ideology. . . . Such is the fundamental reason why social theory cannot entirely free itself from the ideological condition: it can neither carry out a total reflection, nor rise to a point of view capable of expressing the totality; and hence cannot abstract itself from ideological mediation into which the other members of the social group are subsumed. (pp. 2 3 7 - 3 9 ) 23. On the distinction between "archeological" and "eschatological" (and "ideological") aspects of hermeneutics, see Paul Ricoeur, "Existence and Hermeneutics," in The Conflict of Interpretations, ed. Don Ihde (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1974), pp. 2 2 - 2 4 . 24. On the analysis of symbol as a "double intentionality," see Paul Ricoeur, "The Hermeneutics of Symbols and Philosophical Reflection," in The Philosophy of Paul Ricoeur, pp. 36ff.; and The Symbolism of Evil, trans. Emerson Buchanan (New York: Harper and Row, 1967), Introduction and Postscript. 25. Ricoeur, in interview with Kearney, "The Symbol as Bearer of Possible Worlds," in The Crane Bag Book of Irish Studies, ed. Kearney and Hederman (Dublin: Blackwater Press, 1982), and republished in edited version in Kearney, Dialogues with Contemporary Continental Thinkers (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984). In this dialogue, Ricoeur distinguishes three modes of language: 1) ordinary language, as identified by much contemporary analytic philosophy (e.g., the late Wittgenstein and Austin); 2) scientific language, as practiced by the structuralist model of textual autonomy and codification; and 3) the symbolic language of myth, religion, and ideology privileged by phenomenological hermeneutics. Ricoeur argues that the third mode is indispensable. The philosophy of ordinary language recognizes the importance of communication, but often reduces meaning to a one-dimensional realm (as Marcuse recognized) by not taking sufficient account of language as a place of prejudice and dissimulation. The scientific language of structuralism, for its part, exposes the immanent arrangements of texts and textual codes, but virtually ignores the meaning created by these codes. A phenomenological hermeneutics, taking its inspiration from Husserl and Heidegger, addresses this central question of meaning. It acknowledges both the critical and creative functions of language, by disclosing how human self-understanding occurs in and through the mediating detour of signs, whereby we understand ourselves as projects of possibility. Ricoeur concludes that we need a hermeneutic approach to language, directed neither

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toward scientific verification nor ordinary communication but toward the disclosure of possible worlds. . . . The decisive feature of hermeneutics is the capacity of world-disclosure yielded by symbols and texts. Hermeneutics is not confined to the objective structural analysis of texts nor to the subjective existential analysis of the authors of texts; its primary concern is with the worlds which these authors and texts open up. It is by an understanding of the worlds, actual and possible, opened up by language that we may arrive at a better understanding of ourselves. 26. Insofar as religion is based on a divine revelation that can be transmitted only through history, it too belongs to a cultural and mythologizing heritage that requires critical interpretation. Because religious traditions involve historical mediation and distantiation, they participate to greater or lesser degrees in the ideological process. 27. Ricoeur, "Science and Ideology," p. 224. Ricoeur calls for a surpassing of the conventional polar opposition between ideology (mythos) and science {logos), by placing the critique of ideology within the framework of an interpretation "which knows itself to be historically situated but which strives to introduce as far as it can a factor of distantiation into the work that we constantly resume in order to re-interpret our cultural heritage." 28. Ricoeur, "The Creativity of Language," in Dialogues, ed. Kearney, pp. 2 9 - 3 0 .

29. Ibid.
30. 31. 32. 33. Ricoeur, "Science and Ideology," p. 241. Ibid., p. 243. Ibid., p. 244. Ibid., p. 245. There has been much written in recent times about the "end of ideology." Curiously, this sense of an ending has been registered by intellectuals of both left and right. While Daniel Bell and the neoconservatives have hailed the end of ideology as a victory for liberal Western humanism, neo-Marxists like Althusser and Jameson equate the demise of ideology with the disintegration of bourgeois humanism (see The End of Ideology Debate, ed. C. Waxman [New York: Simon and Shuster, 1968]). Althusser promoted a "science of socialism" as an "epistemological rupture" with the "ideological prehistory" of bourgeois thought (see Althusser, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses," in Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays, trans. B. Brewster [London: New Left Books, 1971]). Jameson developed this argument stating that in our postmodern context a new "map of knowledge" will have to replace the old humanist-inspired critique of ideology. "The luxury of the old-fashioned ideological critique," he notes, "the indignant moral denunciation of the other, becomes unavailable" ("Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism," in New Left Review 145, [1984]: 53-91). What these and other "prophets of extremity" often ignore, however, is that the end of ideology has as concomitant the end of value. In an era "after value," the critique of ideology would become irrelevant. Questions of better and worse, truth and falsity, justice and injustice would disappear. An ethics of hermeneutic imagination cannot accept such a conclusion. Earlier versions and sections of this chapter appeared in Phenomenology of the Truth Proper to Religion, ed. D. Guerriere (Albany: SUNY Press, 1990), pp. 126-45; Irish Philosophical Journal 2, 1 (1985): 3 7 - 5 5 ; and The Irish Theological Quarterly 52, 1 and 2 (1986): pp. 109-26.

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CHAPTER 6. HERMENEUTICS OF MYTH A N D TRADITION (RICOEUR II) 1. "Entretien avec Paul Ricoeur," Le Monde, Feb. 7, 1987. See also Ricoeur's discussion in Temps et recit III: Le temps raconte (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1985), Chap. 7; "LTdeologie et l'utopie," in Du texte a I action (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1986), pp. 3 7 9 - 9 3 ; and "The Creativity of Language: An Interview," in Dialogues with Contemporary Continental Thinkers: The Phenomenological Heritage, by Kearney (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984), pp. 2 9 - 3 1 . 2. 77?, p. 300; 77V, p. 207. My translations refer and correspond to pages in the original French edition of Temps et recit (hereafter 77?), cited above in note 1. A parallel reference is also provided for the now readily available English translation: Time and Narrative (hereafter 77V), Vol. 3, trans. K. McLaughlin and D. Pellauer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988). 3. 77?, p. 311 (my italics), and 77V, p. 215, where Ricoeur explains the paradox as follows: If the newness of the Neuzeit is only perceived in the light of the growing difference between (past) experience and (future) expectancy, in other words, if the belief in modernity rests on expectancies which become removed from all anterior experiences, then the tension between experience and expectancy could only be recognized when its point of rupture was already in view. The idea of progress which still related a better future to the past, rendered even closer by the acceleration of history, tends to give way to the idea of Utopia, as soon as humanity's hopes lose all reference to acquired experience and are projected into a future completely without precedent. With such Utopia, the tension becomes schism. 4. Ibid. Kant identified this common project with the constitution of "a civil society administering universal rights." Ricoeur grants this as a necessary condition of the historical rapprochement between Utopia and tradition. Without the "right to difference," the claim of universal history may be monopolized by one particular society or grouping of dominant societies, thereby degenerating into hegemonic oppression. On the other hand, the many examples of torture and tyranny still found in modern society remind us that social rights and the right to difference are not in themselves a sufficient condition for the realization of universal justice. One also requires the existence of a constitutional state (un etat de droit), where both individuals and collectivities (?ion-etatiques) remain the ultimate subjects of right. In this respect, Ricoeur observes, it is important to recall that the Kantian project of a "civil society administering universal rights" has not yet been achieved. This project remains for us a fitting guide in our efforts to give practical shape to our Utopian expectancies. 5. 77?, p. 313; 77V, pp. 216, 228. 6. 77?, p. 320; 77V, p. 221. 7. Ibid. Ricoeur stresses that before tradition is allowed to congeal into an inert deposit, it "is an activity which can only be comprehended dialectically in the exchange between the past which is interpreted and the present which interprets" (my italics). See also my "Myth and the Critique of Tradition," in Reconciling Memories, ed. A. Falconer (Dublin: Columbia Press, 1988) pp. 8 - 2 4 . 8. 77?, p. 322; 77V, p. 222. 9. 77?, p. 328; 77V, p. 226. 10. See Paul Ricoeur, "Hermeneutics and the Critique of Ideology," in Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences, ed. John B. Thompson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), pp. 6 3 - 1 0 0 . 11. Ibid. 12. 77?, p. 329; 77V, p. 228.

Notes to Pages 87-91 13. 77?, p. 339; 77V, p. 235. 14. 77?, p. 370; 77V, p. 258. 15. 77?, p. 339; 77V, p. 235.

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16. Arendt, Preface to Between Past and Future (London: Faber, 1961), p. 9. 17. Walter Benjamin, "Theses on the Philosophy of History," in Illuminations, ed. Arendt (London: Fontana, 1973), p. 57. Ricoeur makes a similar point in Time and Narrative, Vol. I, trans. K. McLaughlin and D. Pellauer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), pp. 6 8 - 7 0 : Let us understand by the term tradition not the inert transmission of some already dead deposit of material but the living transmission of an innovation always capable of being reactivated by a return to the most creative moments of poetic activity. . . . A tradition is constituted by the interplay of innovation and sedimentation. . . . Innovation remains a form of behavior governed by rules. The labor of imagination is not born from nothing. It is bound in one way or another to tradition's paradigms. But the range of solutions is vast. It is deployed between the two poles of servile application and calculated deviation, passing through every degree of "rule-governed deformation." The folklore, the myth and in general the traditional narrative stand closest to the first pole. But to the extent that we distance ourselves from traditional narrative, deviation becomes the rule. . . . It remains, however, that the possibility of deviation is inscribed in the relation between sedimented paradigms and actual works. Short of the extreme case of schism, it is just the opposite of servile application. Rulegoverned deformation constitutes the axis around which the various changes of paradigm through application are arranged. It is this variety of applications that confers a history on the productive imagination and that, in counterpoint to sedimentation, makes a narrative tradition possible. 18. Alasdair Maclntyre, After Virtue (London: Duckworth Press, 1981), p. 206. 19. Ricoeur, "The Critique of Religion," in 77;* Philosophy of Paul Ricoeur: An Anthology of His Work, ed. Charles E. Reagan and David Stewart (Boston: Beacon Press, 1978), p. 215. 20. For further discussion of this relationship between ideology and Utopia see Ricoeur, "Science and Ideology," in Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), pp. 222-47, as well as the Ricoeur texts cited in Note 1. See also Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1936); and Frederic Jameson, "The Dialectic of Utopia and Ideology," in The Political Unconscious (London: Methuen, 1981). 21. See Ricoeur, "Myth as the Bearer of Possible Worlds: An Interview," in my Dialogues with Contemporary Thinkers, pp. 3 6 - 4 5 . 22. Ibid. 23. On this distinction between the "explanatory" and "exploratory" functions of myth and the critical procedures of demythologization and demythization see Paul Ricoeur, The Symbolism of Evil, trans. Emerson Buchanan (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969); and "The Language of Faith," Union Seminary Quarterly Review 28 (1973): 2 1 3 24. See also Rudolf Bultmann, The Theology of the New Testament (London: SCM, 1952), pp. 295ff. See also Bultmann and Jaspers, Myth and Christianity (New York: Noonday Press, 1957); and Girard, "Qu'est-ce qu'un mythe," in Le bouc emissaire (Paris: Grasset, 1982). I have outlined a critique of Girard's position in "Rene Girard et le mythe come bouc emissaire," in Violence et verite, ed. P. Dumouchel (Paris: Grasset, 1985), pp. 35-49. For an application of the demythologizing project to the national myths of Irish culture and politics see my "Myth and Motherland," in Ireland's Field Day (London: Hutchinson, 1985), as well as my Transitions:

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Narratives in Contemporary Irish Culture (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1987), in particular Part 4, "Ideological Narratives." 24. See further discussion of this theme in Richard Kearney, Poetique du Possible (Paris: Beauchesne, 1984), pp. 190-99. 25. Paul Ricoeur, "Myth as the Bearer of Possible Worlds," in my Dialogues, pp. 3 9 42. See also Paul Ricoeur, "Science and Ideology," in Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences, p. 245. See also Ricoeur's discussion of the Habermas/Gadamer debate on the rapport between belonging and critical distance in "Hermeneutics and the Critique of Ideology," ibid., pp. 6 3 - 1 0 0 . Also of interest would be his more recent analyses in Lectures on Ideology and Utopia (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986); and Du texte a Vaction: essais d'hermeneutique, II (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1990), especially Part III, "Ideologic utopie et politique," pp. 281-406. 26. An earlier and shorter version of this chapter appeared as "Between Tradition and Utopia: The Hermeneutical Problem of Myth," in On Paul Ricoeur: Narrative and Interpretation, ed. D. Wood (London: Routledge, 1992). My thanks for permission to reprint parts of that paper. CHAPTER 7. THE NARRATIVE IMAGINATION: BETWEEN POETICS A N D ETHICS (RICOEUR III) 1. By narrative I understand the act of imitating action which Aristotle called mimesis and Ricoeur redefined as a mode of employment which synthesizes heterogenous elements; see Time and Narrative, Vol. 1 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1984). As such, narrative refers to all accounts, literary and historical, that tell stories involving a temporal concordance of discordance—ranging from myths, legends, and fairy tales to dramas, fiction, movie and television stories, etc., but not including, in the strict sense, music, lyric poetry, or painting. 2. Benjamin, "The Storyteller: Reflections on the Work of Nicolai Leskov" (1936), in Illuminations (New York: Schocken Books, 1969), pp. 8 3 - 1 0 9 . 3. See Paul Ricoeur's critique of Carl Hempel's positivist approach to historiography in Time and Narrative, Vol. 1, and "The Narrative Function," in Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981). 4. See Levi-Strauss's analysis of Oedipus Rex in "The Structural Analysis of Myth," and his commentary on the shamanistic story of the battle in the cave between the heroes and the monsters (analogous to the struggle in the blocked birth passage of the pregnant woman) in "The Effectiveness of Symbols," in Structural Anthropology (New York: Basic Books, 1963). 5. See Jacques Lacan's account of the Antigone story in Seminaire VII: L'ethique de la psychanalyse (1959-60) (Paris: Seuil, 1986). 6. See Michel Foucault's analysis in The Order of Things (New York: Pantheon, 1970), Discipline and Punish (London: Random House, 1979), The Birth of the Clinic (London: Random House, 1975), The History of Sexuality (London: Random House, 1980). For the most standard version of Foucault's "structuralist" method, see The Archaeology of Knowledge (New York: Pantheon, 1972). Foucault frequently deploys narrative and fiction in his writings, however, which creates a tension in his work between narrativist (genealogical) and anti-narrativist (archeological) methods, as mentioned below. See Hubert Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow. Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics (London: Harvester, 1982); and also James Miller on the role of fiction in Foucault's work, The Passion of Michel Foucault (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993), p. 211.

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7. Roland Barthes, "A Structural Analysis of Narratives," in Image, Music, Text (London: Fontana, 1977). 8. See here Jean-Francois Lyotard's critique of "grand narrative" in The Postmodern Condition (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1979). Lyotard challenges not only the grand narratives of Marxism, Christianity, and the Enlightenment but also the totalizing narratives of nationalism. "The Volk shuts itself up in the Heim and identifies itself through narratives attached to names, narratives that fail before the occurence and before the differends born from the occurrence" {The Differend, trans. G. Abbelle, [St. Paul: University of Minnesota Press, 1988], Para 218). See also his analysis of this question in Heidegger et les "Juifs" (Paris: Galilee, 1988) and Instructions paiennes (Paris: Galilee, 1977). Lyotard's critique of metanarratives may be summed up in the maxim "the only narrative which remains to be told is that of the impossibility of narrative" {Heidegger and "the Jews," trans. A. Michel and M. Roberts [St. Paul: University of Minnesota Press, 1990], p. 79). This deconstructive narrative takes the form for Lyotard of countless decentering "little narratives" (petits recits). The guide in this ethical and political use of narrative is no longer Knowledge or Theory but Aristotelian phronesis and Kant's reflective judgment: "After Aristotle and Kant, one believed it to be conceivable that the political requires phronesis more than episteme and that judgement is reflective rather than determinant" (Heidegger and the "Jews," p. 67). We shall be returning to this role of narrative as phronetic understanding in the third part of our study. But where we will argue for a continuity between aesthetic imagination and ethical phronesis, Lyotard stresses their difference: "imaginative nature must be sacrificed in the interests of practical reason" ("After the Sublime," in The Inhuman, trans. G. Bennington and R. Bowlby, [Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991], p. 137). For Lyotard the role of imagination and the subject in narrative reaches its limit in the sublime: "the 'regression' of imagination in sublime feeling strikes a blow at the very foundation of the 'subject'" {Lessons on the Analytics of the Sublime, trans. E. Rottenberg, [Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994], p. 144). The paradox here would seem to be that the call to end all grand narrative becomes a grand narrative in its own right. Bill Readings asks, "Is there a grand narrative of the failure of metanarratives?" and replies, "Yes, insofar as the rigour demanded by Lyotard's The Differend falls back into the conceptualization of the postmodern as the avant-gardism of a moment or a movement, of the minority as oppositional rather than heterogeneous. No, insofar as narrative is traced as a figure both constitutive and disruptive of discourse, rather than in simple opposition to representation. No, insofar as it is possible to bear witness to the different in a language that does not seek to exchange its figural narrativity for the consolations of the order, rationality or efficiency of discourse" (Bill Readings, Introducing Lyotard, [New York: Routledge, 1991], p. 85). The critical distinction between totalizing narratives and deconstructive narratives has a direct bearing on our discussion below. Suffice it to say at this point that, while I subscribe to Lyotard's critique of totalizing grand narratives, I believe that Lyotard does tend to practice a form of narrative periodization when he refers to St. Augustine as the first modern thinker of subjectivity or to Hegel and Marx as the ultimate modern thinkers. Likewise, if every work of modern art is "postmodern" at its inception, by what right can Lyotard oppose Proust to Joyce as modern to postmodern? Despite his claims to the contrary, it is difficult to dispel a lingering suspicion that even for Lyotard postmodernity does come after modernity. I am grateful to Tracy Stark at Boston College for our discussions on this subject.

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9. See J. Miller's biography of Foucault, The Passion of Michel Foucault, E. Roudinesco, Jaques Lacan (Paris: Fayard, 1993); the autobiographies by Althusser, The Future Lasts Forever (London: Chatto and Windus, 1993) and Barthes, Barthes by Barthes (New York: Hill and Wang, 1977). 10. In addition to Ricoeur's extensive work on narrative cited elsewhere in this study, see also Martha Nussbaum, Love's Knowledge: Essays on Philosophy and Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), Seyla Benhabib, Situating the Self (New York: Routledge, 1992), Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future (Middlesex: Penguin, 1977), Alasdair Maclntyre, After Virtue (Duckworth Press, 1981), Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989), David Carr, Time, Narrative, and History (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986), Hayden White, Metahistory (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973) and Homi Bhabba, Nation and Narration (London: Routledge, 1990). For useful secondary sources on Ricoeur's hermeneutic approach to narrative, see P. Kemp and D. Rasmussen cds., The Narrative Path: The Later Work of Paul Ricoeur (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1989), David Wood ed., On Paul Ricoeur: Narrative and Interpretation (London: Routledge, 1991), K. J. Vanhoozer, Biblical Narrative in the Philosophy of Paul Ricoeur (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), P. Kemp, "Ethique et narrativite" in Aquinas 24 (May-August, 1986), and Hayden White, "The Metaphysics of Narrativity: Time and Symbol in Ricoeur's Philosophy of History," in On Paul Ricoeur: Narrative and Interpretation* ed. D. Wood. 11. Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, Vol. 3 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), p. 184-85. 12. See my critique of this postmodern position of "irreference" in the conclusion to my Wake of Imagination (St. Paul: University of Minnesota Press, 1988) and Chapter 6 and "Afterwords" of my Poetics of Imagining (London: Routledge, 1991), pp. 170232. See also Jameson's critique in "Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism," New Left Review no. 145 (1984): 5 3 - 9 1 . For Baudrillard's own account of this sublime "irreference" of simulation, see Simulations (New York: Semiotext(e), 1983). For Lyotard's account of sublime "irrepresentability," see The Inhuman, trans. G. Bennington and R. Bowlby (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991), p. 136. 13. Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, Vol. 3, p. 185-86. 14. Ibid. 15. Ibid. 16. Primo Levi, Si c'est un homme (Paris: Julliard, 1987). For further discussion of this ethical role of narrative memory see my Poetics of Imagining (London: Routledge, 1991), pp. 2 2 0 - 2 8 , and Claude Lanzmann's review of Schindlers List, "Holocauste, la representation impossible," in Le Monde, February 1994. In addition to the fictional and cinematic narratives of the Holocaust, it would be useful to consider how other narratives of traumatic events in history are retold in contemporary novels or films—e.g., Oliver Stone's retelling of Vietnam in Platoon, Costa Gavras's retelling of the Chilean coup in Missing, Gerry Conlon's and Jim Sheridan's retelling of the Guildford four injustice in In the Name of the Father, and so on. Be it a question of documentary drama, fictional history, or historical fiction, in each case we are concerned with an interweaving of fiction and history. No matter how "empirical" and "objective" a historical account claims to be, there is no denying its reliance on narrative strategies of selection, heightening, arrangement, invented speeches, and reconstructed events, not to mention its need for coherence and connection. As Hayden White puts it, the historian "must choose the elements of the story he would tell. He makes his story by including some events and exclud-

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ing others, by stessing some and subordinating others. This process of exclusion, stress and subordination is carried out in the interest of constituting a story of a particular kind. That is to say, he 'emplots' his story" (Metahistory, p. 6). 17. Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, p. 187. 18. See Wolin, The Heidegger Controversy (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992). 19. See Jameson, "Postmodernism and Consumer Society," in Postmodern Culture, ed. H. Foster (London: Pluto Press, 1985). 20. See Jean Baudrillard, Simulations. 21. Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, Vol. 3, p. 188. 22. Ibid., p. 189. 23. For a development of these three functions of narrative imagination see the "Afterwords" to my Poetics of Imagining. 24. This function of narrative imagination relates broadly to the three temporal ecstasies of Heideggerean Dasein, which Heidegger himself traces back to the schematizing function of transcendental imagination in Kant's First Critique. For a more detailed commentary on Heidegger's reading of Kant's concept of transcendental imagination, see my Wake of Imagination, pp. 189-95. 25. Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, Vol. 3, p. 246. It is worth recalling here that the story of a society, no less than that of an individual life, is also perpetually refigured by the real and fictive stories it tells about itself. A society's self-image is also a "cloth woven of stories told." 26. See in particular Benhabib, Situating the 5>^f(Routledge, New York, 1992), p. 5f; but also the works of Taylor, Maclntyre, and Nussbaum cited in note 10. 27. Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, Vol. 3, pp. 2 4 7 - 4 9 . See also M. Nussbaum's insightful analysis of the role "literary imagination" plays in the development of ethical self-knowledge and judgment in Loves Knowledge, especially the following studies, "Flawed Crystals: James's The Golden Bowl and Literature as Moral Philosophy," "Finely Aware and Richly Responsible: Literature and the Moral Imagination," "Perceptive Equilibrium: Literary Theory and Ethical Theory," "Reading for Life," "Fictions of the Soul," and "Narrative Emotions." These studies, Nussbaum explains, argue for a conception of ethical understanding that involves emotional as well as intellectual activity and gives a certain type of priority to the perception of particular people and situations, rather than to abstract rules. They argue, further, that this ethical conception finds its most appropriate expression and statement in certain forms usually considered literary rather than philosophical—and that if we wish to take it seriously we must broaden our conception of moral philosophy in order to include these texts inside it. They attempt to articulate the relationship, within such a broader ethical inquiry, between literary and more abstractly theoretical elements" (p. ix). Nussbaum goes on to make the following statements: "the fresh imagination of particularity (provided by fiction) is an essential moral faculty" (p. 237); "allowing oneself to be in some sense passive and malleable, open to new and sometimes mysterious influences, is a part of the transaction and a part of its value. Reading novels . . . is a practice of falling in love. And it is in part because novels prepare the reader for love that they make the valuable contribution they do to society and to moral development" (p. 238); "Novels can be a school for the moral sentiments, distancing us from blinding personal passions and cultivating those that are more conducive to community. Proust goes so far as to say that the relation we have with a literary work is the only human relation characterized by genuine altruism, and also the only one in which, not caught up in the vertiginous kaleidoscope of jealousy, the reader can truly know the mind of

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another person. . . . there is a real issue here and I do not think we can fully understand the ethical contribution of the novel without pursuing it" (p. 240). Several of Nussbaum's arguments for an ethical imagination find support in other contemporary theories—e.g., Arthur Danto's idea of "transfigurative literature," Northrop Frye's notion of "educated imagination," Frank Lentriccia's concept of "art for life's sake," Irish Murdoch's claim that "art is the most educational thing we have," or Marshall Gregory's thesis of the "vicarious imagination" inspired by Sir Philip Sidney's "Apology" for ethical literature: "Narratives have the power to move us because they are empirical, which is the grounds of their vividness; because they provide deep companionship, which means that they are fulfilling. And what moves us, of course, also forms us. . . . History and literature both possess an immense power to educate. Since modernism's elevation of the notion of aesthetic purity and structuralism's elevation of the notion of linguistic indeterminateness, the educational power of both literature and history has nearly been forgotten, especially by critics and academics. Writers, however, continue to assert literature's and history's educational power" ("Selfhood Forged and Memory Enriched: Narrative's Empirical Appeal to the Vicarious Imagination" (forthcoming). 28. Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism (New York: Knopf, 1993); "Permission to Narrate," London Review of Books, February 29, 1984. Also on the role of narrative in nationalist movements, see Tony Judt's review essay, "The New Old Nationalism," New York Review of Books, Vol. 4 1 , no. 10, May 26, 1994, pp. 4 4 - 5 1 . 29. Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, Vol. 3, p. 249. 30. Ibid. 31. Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, Vol. 1 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), p. 59. 32. Ibid. 33. Ricoeur, "Life in Quest of Narrative," in On Paul Ricoeur: Narrative and Interpretation, ed. D. Wood, pp. 2 2 - 2 3 . 34. Ibid. One might explore links here between Ricoeur's version of a phronetic understanding of experience and Dewey's notion of "emotional thinking." Another useful parallel may be found in Bergson's analysis of the ethical role of narrative in The Two Sources of Morality and Religion, trans. R. A. Audra and C. Brereton (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1974). I am grateful to Mark Muldoon for bringing Bergson's ethical concept of narrative to my attention. 35. Ricoeur, Oneself as Another (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), pp. 159, 164. 36. Ibid., p. 164. 37. Ibid., p. 162. 38. Ibid., p. 159. 39. Ricoeur, "Imagination in Discourse and Action," in Du texte a Vaction: essais d'hermeneutique, //(Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1986), pp. 2 1 3 - 3 6 , in particular pp. 224-27. 40. Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, Vol. 3, pp. 208ff, 258, 370. Ricoeur acknowledges an ethical and political task for narrative imagination in insuring that "the tension between the horizon of expectation (future/utopia) and the space of experience be preserved without giving way to schism" (Time and Narrative, Vol. 3, p. 258). Here the narrative imagination takes on the role of a "social imagination" in both its ideological function of legitimation and its Utopian function of subversion. Both these sociopolitical axes presuppose a certain ethical vision of the good life— that is, the configuration of communal life by narrative imagination. See Kemp's

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excellent analysis of this question in "Ethique et narrativite," where he argues that the acceptance or rejection of ideologies and Utopias is only possible on the basis of this imaginative vision of the good life in society. If ethics is a vision rather than a rule, it consists of intuitive models for action and not of purely abstract maxims. By imagining and narrating wise forms of action and communication, it expresses the practical truth of human life. Kemp writes: "This imagination is not possible without narrative, because without emplotment there would be no sense in unfolding some models for action. Thus ethics must necessarily be the narrative configuration of the good life. Had this not from the start been configured by stories, it would not have been capable of being integrated either into the author's works or into those of the historian as that vision which would never affect the reader in an ethically neutral manner. It would have the same affect as a foreign body in the eye." This raises the vexed question of criteria for judging and adjudicating between rival narratives. The narrative configuration of ethics which is invoked to evaluate between stories is, Kemp concludes, to be found on a different level than that of the stories themselves. Nevertheless, he does not appeal to some "Archimedean point" or meta-narrative, admitting that the ethical evaluation of narratives can only be based on other narratives. But Kemp refuses to see this as a vicious (rather than a healthy hermeneutic) circle: "This does not necessarily mean that ethical criticism is arbitrary. The stories on which an ethics well rooted in life are founded are those whose guiding power remains throughout history, and which, in times of crisis, have demonstrated their ability to encourage people to stop thinking in terms of fixed ideas." Though Kemp does not, unfortunately, cite any examples of these "guiding" narratives, I take him to be referring to the abiding ethical stories of resistance, heroism, charity, and courage that inform the great traditions of ethical humanism and fraternity—the classical stories of Socrates and Seneca, the biblical stories of Moses, Jesus, St. Francis, the mythical stories of Antigone, Achilles, Iphigenia, etc. Each ethical culture, Western and non-Western, contains a series of recurring and paradigmatic narratives that each historical generation hermeneutically retrieves and retells in order to preserve and cultivate its sense of ethical memory, identity, and responsibility. For a development of these ideas see Kemp, "Toward a Narrative Ethics: A Bridge between Ethics and the Narrative Reflection of Ricoeur," in The Narrative Path: The Later Works of Paul Ricoeur, ed. Kemp and Rasmussen, pp. 4 5 - 6 5 . 41. Ricoeur, "Imagination and Discourse in Action," in Du texte a faction, p. 227. This empathic power of what we might, with T.S. Eliot, call "auditory imagination" is also adverted to by Gadamer when he speaks of a "learning through suffering" with the other when we recognize our own life limits and begin to listen to the other: "Anyone who listens is fundamentally open. Without such openness to one another there is no genuine human bond. . . . Openness to the other involves recognizing that I myself must accept some things that are against me, even though no one else forces me to do so" {Truth and Method, [New York: Crossroad], 1991, p. 361). For Gadamer the properly hermeneutic understanding is one that allows the other to really say something to us, to listen, and to respond. 42. See Miller, The Passion of Michel Foucault, p. 5, and my dialogue with Derrida entitled "Deconstruction and the Other" in my Dialogues with Contemporary Continental Thinkers (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1987). 43. Arendt, "The Crisis in Culture," in Between Past and Future, pp. 220-21. See also Jeremy Isaac's discussion of this theme in Arendt, Camus, and Modern Rebellion (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1992), pp. 167-70.

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44. Martha Nussbaum, Loves Knowledge, p. 162. See also my note 27 above. 45. Arendt, Between Past and Future, pp. 2 2 0 - 2 1 . 46. Ricoeur, "Life in Quest of Narrative," p. 31: "If it is true that fiction is only completed in life and that life can be understood only through the stories that we tell about it, then an examined life, in the sense of the word as we have borrowed it from Socrates, is a life recounted." This recounted good life entails both poetics and ethics, both the free play of fiction and the responsibility of ethics—or to put it in Yeatsian terms, both "perfection of the life and of the work." But this complementarity of narrative poetics and ethics is not a matter of identity; it is by guarding over each other's difference and distinctness that poetics and ethics best serve each other's mutual interests and aims.

CHAPTER 8. LEVINAS A N D THE ETHICS OF IMAGINING 1. See my Wake of Imagination (London: Hutchinson, 1987; St. Paul: University of Minnesota Press, 1988) and Poetics of Imagining (London: Routledge, 1991). The practice of parody is sometimes termed postmodern insofar as it subverts the modern view of imagining as an original invention of a unique human subject. The term postmodern first gained common currency in architecture in the mid-seventies, when it designated a shift away from the late-modernist international style of Corbusier and Mies Van der Rohe, with its emphasis on utopianism and novelty, toward a "radical eclecticism" of pseudo-historical forms. Its main proponents were Charles Jencks, Robert Venturi, and Charles Moore. But the term was quickly taken up by the philosophers. Here it became synonymous with those structuralist and more particularly post-structuralist currents of thought which disputed the modern belief in the primacy of the humanist imagination as a creative source of meaning. The idealist and existentialist arguments for the centrality of the autonomous imagination have, since the sixties, repeatedly run the gantlet of critical deconstruction. Indeed, so vehement has this dismantling process been that one sometimes wonders if it is still possible to speak legitimately of a postmodern imagination at all. Several contemporary critics dismiss the very notion of the imaginary as an ideological ruse of Western bourgeois humanism; as little more than an illusion or effect of the impersonal play of language, a ludic mirage of signs. 2. Levinas, "Ideologic et idealisme," in De Dieu qui vient a Tidee (Paris: Vrin, 1982), p. 31; trans, in The Levinas Reader, ed. S. Hand (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989). 3. Levinas, "La realite et son ombre," in Les Temps Modernes 38 (1948), trans, in The Levinas Reader, Sur Maurice Blanchot (Paris: Fata Morgana, 1975); "La Transcendence des mots" (on the writing of Michel Leiris) in Les Temps Modernes 44 (1949); "Agnon/Poesie et resurrection," "Paul Celan/De I'etre a 1'autre," and "L'autre dans Proust," in Noms propres (Paris: Fata Morgana, 1986). 4. Levinas, "La realite et son ombre," p. 117. 5. Ibid., p. 115. 6. Ibid., p. 117. 7. Ibid., p. 117. See M. P. Hederman's critique of Levinas' position on art and poetry, "De l'interdiction a l'ecoute," in Heidegger et la question de Dieu, ed. Kearney and O'Leary (Paris: Grasset, 1981), pp. 2 8 5 - 9 6 . 8. Levinas, Noms propres, p. 18. 9. Ibid., p. 21. 10. Ibid., p. 63.

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11. Ibid., p. 63. 12. Levinas, Totalite et infini (The Hague: Nijhof, 1961; trans. Duquesne University Press, 1969). 13. Ibid., p. 51. 14. Ibid., p. 38. 15. Ibid., p. 128. 16. Baudrillard, Simulations (New York: Semiotext(e), 1983). 17. Ibid., p. 158. 18. Ibid., p. 215. 19. Ibid., p. 270. 20. Lyotard, Heidegger et "les Juifs" (Paris: Galilee, 1988), p. 51. 21. Levinas, "Ideologic et idealisme," p. 31. 22. Levinas, Totalite et infini', pp. 157, 173. 23. Ibid., p. 174. 24. Levinas, "Un Dieu Homme?" in Levinas: Exercises de la patience (Paris: Obsidiane, no. I, 1980), p. 74. 25. Levinas, "Sur la mort de Ernst Bloch," in De Dieu qui vient a Tidee, p. 65n. 26. Levinas, "Ideologic et idealisme," p. 33. 27. The Levinas Reader, p. 150. 28. Ibid., p. 150. 29. Ibid., p. 160. 30. Ibid., p. 160. For a contrary reading of Proust on this issue see Martha Nussbaum, Love's Knowledge (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 2 6 1 - 8 5 . 3 1 . Emmanuel Levinas, "The Transcendence of Words," in The Levinas Reader, pp. 1 4 4 - 4 9 . 32. Ibid., p. 147. 33. Ibid., p. 147. 34. Ibid., p. 147. 35. Ibid., pp. 145-46. 36. Ibid., p. 148. 37. See in particular Herbert Marcuse, The Aesthetic Dimension (Boston: Beacon Press, 1988); George Steiner, Real Presences (London: Faber and Faber, 1989); Michel Henri, La Barbarie (Paris: Grasset, 1987). 38. Levinas, contribution to Cerisy Colloque on Levinas, Ausust 1987. 39. Levinas, "L'idee de la culture" (1983), reprinted in Entre nous (Paris: Grasset, 1991), pp. 207-08. 40. Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, Vol. 3 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988). 41. Sartre, Existentialism and Literature (New York: Citadel Press, 1972).

CHAPTER 9. ETHICS AND THE RIGHT TO RESIST: PATOCKA'S TESTIMONY 1. Jan Patocka, "What We Can Expect from Charta 77" (March 8, 1977), in Jan Patocka: Philosophy and Selected Writings, ed. Erazim Kohak (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), pp. 345-47. All references to Patocka's works in English are to this work, under the abbreviated title Jan Patocka. 2. Patocka, "The Obligation to Resist Injustice" (January 3, 1977), in Jan Patocka, pp. 3 4 0 - 4 3 . 3. Patocka, "The Natural World and Phenomenology," in Jan Patocka, p. 245. 4. Patocka, "The Obligation to Resist Injustice," p. 340.

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Ibid. Ibid. Ibid., p. 341. Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem (New York: Penguin, 1963), pp. 2 9 1 - 9 8 . Patocka, "The Obligation to Resist Injustice," p. 341. Ibid., p. 342. Ibid. See Vaclav Havel's concluding remarks on the "existential revolution," in Letters to Olga (New York: Penguin, 1989), and the following statement from "Plays and Politics," in Visions of Europe, ed. Kearney (Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1992), p. 129: "When I speak about the rehabilitation of the subject or about an 'existential revolution,' I really mean something more: the renaissance or revival of human responsibilities, of a relation between man and something mysterious which is more than man, some metaphysical assurance. When I speak of the re-establishment of the human subject, I do not have in mind 'Man' at the top of an existential pyramid, man who has no master and therefore can do as he pleases." 13. Patocka, "Negative Platonism: Reflections concerning the Rise, the Scope, and the Demise of Metaphysics—and Whether Philosophy can Survive It" (circa 1955), in Jan Patocka, p. 205. 14. Ibid., p. 204. 15. Ibid. 16. Ibid., pp. 199-200. 17. See, in particular, Ricoeur's Soi-meme comme un autre (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1989), Studies 6 and 7. See also Ricoeur's study, "Patocka, Philosopher of Resistance," in The Crane Bag 7, 1 (1983): pp. 116-19. 18. Jan Patocka, "Edmund Husserl's Philosophy of the Crisis of the Sciences and His Conception of a Phenomenology of the 'Life-World' " (Warsaw Lecture, 1971), in Jan Patocka, p. 235; henceforth referred to as "Edmund Husserl's Philosophy." 19. Jan Patocka, "The Movement of Human Existence: A Selection from Body, Community, Language, World (1968-1969)," in Jan Patocka, pp. 2 8 0 - 8 1 . 20. Ibid., p. 276. 21. Patocka, "Edmund Husserl's Philosophy," p. 235. 22. Ibid. 23. Patocka, "The Natural World and Phenomenology," in Jan Patocka, pp. 252fF. 24. Ibid. 25. Patocka, "Platon et l'Europe," in Essais heretiques, Jan Patocka, trans. Erika Abrams (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1987). 26. Patocka, "Negative Platonism," p. 198. 27. Ibid., p. 199. 28. Ibid. 29. Ibid. 30. Ibid. 31. Ibid., p. 202. 32. Ibid. 33. Ibid., p. 199. 34. Ibid., p. 205. 35. Ibid., pp. 2 0 6 - 0 7 . 36. Patocka, "The Natural World and Phenomenology," p. 267. 37. Ibid. 38. Ibid., p. 268.

5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

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39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44.

Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid., p. 263. Ibid.

45. Patocka, "The Dangers of Technicization in Science according to E. Husserl and the Essence of Technology as Danger according to M. Heidegger" (Varna Lecture, 1973), in Jan Patocka, p. 336. 46. Ibid., p. 337. 47. Ibid., p. 339. 48. Ibid. 49. Ibid., p. 338. 50. Patocka, "Cartesianism and Phenomenology" (1976), in Jan Patocka, p. 325. 51. See Ilja Srubar, "Phenomenologie asubjective, monde de la vie et humanisme," in Jan Patocka: philosophie, phenomenologie, politique, ed. E. Tassin and M. Richir (Grenoble: Millon, 1992), pp. 8 5 - 1 0 4 . Scrubar is referring here to an analysis of Patocka in Ketzerische Essays zur Philosophie des Geschichte (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1988), p. 172. 52. Erazim Kohdk, "A Philosophical Biography," in Jan Patocka, p. 26. 53. Ibid., p. 23. 54. Ibid., p. 105. An earlier version of this chapter was published as "La pensee ethique chez Patocka," in Jan Patocka: philosophie, phenomenologie, politique, pp. 202-19.

CHAPTER 10. MYTH A N D SACRIFICIAL SCAPEGOATS: O N RENE GIRARD 1. Derrida, "Force of Law: The 'Mystical Foundation of Authority'," in Cordoza Law Review, 5-6 (1990): pp. 919-1047, at 1025. 2. See my previous studies on this theme, "Terrorism et Sacrifice," in Esprit, numero sur Rene Girard (April 1979), pp. 2 6 - 4 4 ; "The IRA's Strategy of Failure," in The Crane Bag Book of Irish Studies, ed. Kearney and Hederman (Dublin: Blackwater Press, 1982), pp. 699-708; and "Myth and Martyrdom I and II," in Kearney, Transitions (Dublin: Wolfhound Press; Manchester: Manchester University Press; New York: St. Martins Press, 1987), pp. 2 0 9 - 3 7 . 3. Girard, Le bouc e?nissaire (Paris: Grasset, 1982) trans. The Scapegoat (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press; London: The Athlone Press, 1986), pp. 4 0 - 6 0 . All page references are to the French edition. See also Masso Yamaguchi, "Towards a Poetics of the Scapegoat," in Violence et verite, ed. P. Dumouchel and J.P. Dupuy (Paris: Grasset, 1985); trans, as Truth and Violence: On the work of Rene Girard (London: Athlone Press, 1988), pp. 179, 191. 4. Girard, Les choses cachees depuis la fondation du monde (Paris: Grasset, 1978); trans. as Things Hidden since the Foundation of the World (London: Athlone Press; Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987), p. 38. All page references are to the French edition. 5. Ibid., pp. 1 1 4 - 3 9 . 6. Girard, The Scapegoat, p. 38. 7. Ibid., pp. 3 8 - 3 9 . 8. Ibid., p. 40.

9. Ibid.

240 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30.

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Ibid. * Ibid., p. 41. Ibid., p. 51. Ibid., p. 52. Ibid., p. 57. See Taylor on Dostoyevski's The Devils, in Sources of the S^f (Cambridge: Harvard University Press), pp. 89 and 451-52. Julia Kristeva, "Women's Time," in The Kristeva Reader, ed. Toril Moi (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986), p. 202. Girard, The Scapegoat, p. 62. Ibid., p. 42. Ibid., pp. 4 2 - 4 3 . Ibid., p. 50. Ibid., pp. 1 6 8 - 8 1 . Ibid., p. 175. Ibid., p. 181. Girard, Things Hidden since the Foundation of the World, p. 453. Girard, The Scapegoat, p. 44. Ibid., p. 26. Ibid., p. 46. Ibid., p. 48. Ibid., p. 62. An earlier and shorter version of this chapter was published as "Le mythe comme bouc emissaire chez Girard," in Violence et verite, ed. P. Dumouchel and J-P. Dupuy (Paris: Grasset, 1985).

CHAPTER 11. DERRIDA'S ETHICAL RETURN 1. Derrida, interview with Francois Ewald in Le Magazine Litteraire 286 (1991): p. 29. 2. Derrida, "Comment ne pas Parler," in Psyche (Paris: Galilee, 1987), p. 587. 3. Ibid. 4. Bernasconi, "Deconstruction and the Possibility of Ethics," in Deconstruction and Philosophy, ed. J. Sailis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987); Simon Critchley, The Ethics of Deconstruction: Derrida and Levinas (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992); Chris Norris "On the Ethics of Deconstruction," in Derrida (London: Fontana Modern Masters, 1987). 5. Chris Norris, "On the Ethics of Deconstruction," p. 194. 6. Derrida in conversation with Kearney, "Deconstruction and the Other," in Dialogues with Contemporary Continental Thinkers, ed. Kearney (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984). 7. Ibid., p. 124. 8. Ibid. 9. Ibid., pp. 121, 125. 10. Derrida, "Violence and Metaphysics," in Writing and Difference (London: Routledge, 1978). 11. Derrida, Writing and Difference, p. 148. 12. Ibid., p. 127. 13. Ibid., p. 116.

Notes to Pages 151-158 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22.

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Ibid., p. 148. Derrida, "Deconstruction and the Other," p. 118. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid., p. 121. Ibid. Ibid., p. 122. Ibid., p. 123. See G. Bennington, "Derridabase," in Derrida (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1991), pp. 154-56. 23. Ibid., p. 175. 24. Ibid., pp. 181-82. 25. See Bill Readings' discussion of this point in Introducing Lyotard (London: Routledge, 1990), p. 37; and also S. Critchley, "The Ethics of Reading: Hillis Miller's Version," in The Ethics of Deconstruction, pp. 4 4 - 4 9 . 26. Bennington, "Derridabase," pp. 181-82. 27. Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977), pp. 4 4 2 - 4 3 . 28. Bennington, "Derridabase," p. 189. 29. Derrida, Of Grammatology, p.202. 30. Bennington, "Derridabase," p. 215. 31. Derrida, "Force of Law: The 'Mystical Foundation of AuthorityVDeconstruction and the Possibility of Justice/" Cordoza Law Review 2, 5-6 (1990): pp. 919-1047. 32. Ibid., p. 929. I am indebted to Drucilla Cornell for first bringing Derrida's thinking on law and ethics to my attention. 33. Ibid., p. 931. 34. Ibid., p. 943. 35. Ibid., p. 945. 36. Ibid., p. 947. 37. Ibid., p. 949. 38. Ibid. 39. Ibid., p. 957. 40. Ibid., p. 959. 41. Ibid. 42. Ibid. 43. Ibid., p. 961. 44. Ibid., p. 971. 45. Ibid., p. 963. 46. Lyotard, Le Differend (Paris: Minuit, 1983). 47. Derrida, "Force of Law," p. 965. 48. Ibid., p. 965. 49. Ibid., p. 967. 50. Ibid. 51. Ibid., p. 969. 52. Ibid., p. 1023. 53. Ibid., p. 1029. 54. Ibid., pp. 1 0 4 4 - 4 5 . 55. Ibid., p. 1045. 56. Ibid. 57. Ibid., p. 971.

242 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102. 103.

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Ibid. Ibid. Derrida, "Deconstruction and the Other," p. 119. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Derrida, De I'esprit: Heidegger et la question (Paris: Galilee, 1987), p. 179. Derrida, Schibboleth: Pour Paul Celan (Paris: Galilee, 1986). Derrida, Circonfession (Paris: Galilee, 1991). Derrida, Dun ton apocalyptique adopte naguere en philosophic (Paris, Galilee, 1983). Derrida, Schibboleth, p. 103. Derrida, "Deconstruction and the Other," p. 107. Derrida, "Comment ne pas parler," pp. 562-63. Ibid. Derrida, Circonfession, p. 92. Ibid. Ibid., pp. 78-79; also Derrida, Marges de la philosophic (Paris: Minuit, 1972), pp. 335-36, and Positions (Paris: Minuit, 1972), pp. 535-95. Derrida, Positions, pp. 560-61; De TEsprit, pp. 179-84. See Dermot Moran, "Destruction of the Destruction," in Art, Politics and Technology: Martin Heidegger, ed. Karsten Harries (New York: Crooms and Helm, 1993). Derrida, Glas (Paris: Galilee, 1974), p. 51. Derrida, Dissemination (London: Athlone Press, 1981), p. 378. Derrida, Of Grammatology, p. 25. See Kevin Hart, The Trespass of the Sign (forthcoming). Derrida, Circonfession, pp. 146-47. Ibid., p. 201. Ibid., p. 208. Ibid., p. 244. Ibid., p. 254. Ibid., p. 252. Ibid., p. 253. Ibid., p. 267. Ibid., p. 280. Ibid. Derrida, "Deconstruction and the Other," p. 125. Ibid., p. 123. Ibid., p. 121. Ibid. Ibid., p. 123. Ibid., p. 124. Ibid. Ibid., p. 125. Ibid., p. 110. Ibid., p. 116. Ibid., p. 117. Ibid., p. 108; see also Bennington, "Derridabase," pp. 279-87. Derrida, Schibboleth, p. 22. See my more detailed discussion of the ethical implications of this need for speech and dialogue in Chapter 12 below. Another es-

Notes to Pages 168-175

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sential text for Derrida's reading of ethical responsibility is Derrida, 'Donner la mort' in Vethique du don, Jacques Derrida et la pensee du don, ed. J. Robate and M. Wetzel (Paris: Metailie-Transition, 1992), pp. 11-108. Of particular interest is Derrida's interpretation of Patocka's ethics. Unfortunately, both Chapter 11 and Chapter 9 on Patocka were already completed before Derrida's text came to my attention. An earlier version of this study appeared in Working Through Derrida, ed. G. Madison (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1993), pp. 2 8 - 5 1 .

CHAPTER 12. DERRIDA'S ETHICS OF DIALOGUE Derrida, Margins of Philosophy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982). Derrida, Dissemination (London: Athlone Press, 1981), p. 33. Peter Dews, Logics of Disintegration (London: Routledge, 1987), p. 35. Derrida, "Deconstruction and the Other," in Dialogues with Contemporary Continental Thinkers, ed. Kearney (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984), p. 124. 5. Derrida, Speech and Phenomena (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973), pp. 103-04; "Structure, Sign and Play," in Writing and Difference (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978). 6. Derrida, Dissemination, p. 328. 7. Derrida, Positions (London: Athlone Press, 1981), pp. 7 3 - 7 4 . 8. Derrida, Of Grammatology (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976), p. 9. 9. Ibid., p. 27. 10. Derrida, "Deconstruction and the Other," p. 123. 11. Arendt, "The Crisis of Culture," Between Past and Future (Middlesex: Penguin, 1977), p. 220. 12. Derrida, "Passions: An Oblique Offering," in Derrida: A Critical Reader, ed. D. Wood (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992), p. 14. 13. Ibid., pp. 14-15. 14. Derrida, "Deconstruction and the Other," p. 125. 15. Derrida, Gadamer et a!., Dialogue and Deconstruction: The Gadamer-Derrida Encounter, ed. D. Michelfelder and R. Palmer (Albany: Suny Press, 1989). 16. Ibid., p. 7. 17. Fred Dallmayr,"Hermeneutics and Deconstruction: Gadamer and Derrida in Dialogue," in Dialogue and Deconstruction, pp. 9 3 - 1 0 2 . 18. See Gary Madison, "Gadamer/Derrida: The Hermeneutics of Irony and Power," in Dialogue and Deconstruction, pp. 192-99. 19. Derrida, "The Politics of Friendship," Journal of Philosophy 11 (1988). 20. Ibid., p. 634. 21. Ibid., p. 633. 22. Ibid., p. 634. 23. Ibid., p. 636. 24. Ibid. 25. Ibid., p. 639. 26. Ibid., p. 641. 27. Derrida, "Afterword: Towards an Ethic of Discussion," in Limited Inc. (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988), p. 113. 28. Ibid. 1. 2. 3. 4.

244 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38.

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Ibid., p. 116. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid., p. 113. Ibid., p. 119. Ibid. Ibid., p. 128. Ibid., p. 122. Ibid., p. 154. "It is imagination that is the decisive function of the scholar," writes Gadamer. "Imagination naturally has a hermeneutical function and serves the sense for what is questionable. It serves the ability to expose real, productive questions. . . . " ("The Universality of the Hermeneutical Problem," in Philosophical Hermeneutics [Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976], p. 12). This exposure of productive questions entails an openness to other dimensions of meaning, and in particular to the other who speaks or writes. "Anyone who listens is fundamentally open," writes Gadamer. "Without such openness to one another there is no genuine human bond. When two people understand each other, this does not mean that one person 'understands* the other. . . . Openness to the other, then, involves recognizing that I myself must accept some things that are against me, even though no one else forces me to do so" (Truth and Method [New York: Crossroad, 1991], p. 361). This function of hermeneutical imagination as answerability to the other in dialogue (in the sense of both responding to the other's questions and putting our own self into question) is surely a long way from the "consensual euphoria" or "metaphysics of will" repudiated by Derrida. I am indebted to Simon Critchly and Tim Mooney for several of the above references. An earlier version of this study appeared in Philosophy and Social Criticism, ed. D. Rasmussen, Boston College, issue 1, vol. 19, 1993.

CHAPTER 13. MYTHS OF UTOPIA A N D IDEOLOGY: FROM YEATS T O JOYCE 1. Mannheim, Ideology a?id Utopia (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1936); Ricoeur, Lectures on Ideology and Utopia (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986). 2. Tom Moylan, Demand the Impossible (London: Methuen, 1986). 3. Quoted by Seamus Deane, Celtic Revivals (London: Faber, 1985), p. 94. 4. Seamus Deane, "An Example of Tradition," The Crane Bag 3 (1979): 47. 5. Ricoeur, Time and Narrative (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984). 6. I am indebted to Colin MacCabe, James Joyce and the Revolution of the Word (London: Macmillan, 1979), for several of the Joyce references and quotations. 7. Several of my arguments have been developed in greater depth and detail in the following chapters of my book Transitions (Dublin: Wolfhound; Manchester: Manchester University Press; New York: St Martin's Press, 1988): "Joyce: Questioning Narratives," pp. 3 1 - 4 0 , "Joyce and Derrida," pp. 4 1 - 4 7 , and "Myth and the Critique of Ideology," pp. 269-84; and also in "Myths of Utopia and Ideology," James Joyce Quaterly 28, 4 (1991): pp. 8 7 3 - 7 9 .

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CHAPTER 14. POSTMODERN MIRRORS OF FICTION: RUSHDIE, WOLFE, A N D KUNDERA 1. I have explored this crisis in more detail in a number of studies, including "The Crisis of the Post-Modern Image," in Contemporary French Philosophy, ed. A. Phillips Griffiths (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), pp. 113-23, and The Wake of Imagination (London: Routledge; St. Paul: University of Minnesota Press, 1988). 2. Milan Kundera,"Jerusalem Address", in The Art of the Novel (New York: Harper and Row, 1988). 3. Kundera, Art of the Novel, p. 163. An earlier version of this Chapter appeared as "Rushdie, Kundera and Wolfe," The Irish Review 7 (1989): pp. 32-40. Sections were also published as "L'imagination menaced," in Lettre International 21 (1989): pp. 2 - 6 .

CHAPTER 15. PAINTING A N D POSTMODERNITY 1. Louis le Brocquy, "A Painter's Notes on Ambivalence," in The Crane Bag Book of Irish Studies (Dublin: Blackwater Press, 1982), pp. 151-52. 2. Lyotard, Peregrinations (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988), p. 40. 3. Lyotard, Discours, figures (Paris: Klincksieck, 1971); The Postmodern Condition (St. Paul: University of Minnesota Press, 1979). Introducing Lyotard by Reading (London: Routledge, 1991, pp. 3 - 5 3 . 4. le Brocquy, "A Painter's Notes," p. 152.

5. Ibid.
6. le Brocquy, "Notes on Painting and Awareness," in Painting and Poetry Symposium, Nice University, 1979; reprinted in Le Brocquy, ed. D. Walker (Dublin: Ward River, 1981). 7. Derrida, La Viriti en peinturelTruth in Painting, quoted by Gilbert Lascault, "Face aux Arts du Visible," in special Derrida issue of Le Magazine Litteraire 286 (1991): 60. 8. Le Brocquy, "Notes on Painting and Awareness," p. 139. 9. Ibid. See also my chapter "The Art of Otherness: A Study of Louis le Brocquy in Transitions: Narratives in Modern Irish Culture (Dublin: Wolfhound; Manchester: Manchester University Press; New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987), pp. 197-201, 308. 10. Le Brocquy, "Notes on Painting and Awareness," p. 135. 11. Michel Foucault, This Is not a Pipe (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983), p. 10. 12. Ibid., pp. 5 3 - 5 4 . 13. Some sections of this chapter were published as "Louis le Brocquy and Post-Modernism," The Irish Review 3 (1988): pp. 6 1 - 6 7 .

POSTSCRIPT: WHOSE POETICS? WHICH ETHICS? 1. Alasdair Maclntyre, Three Rival Versions of Moral Inquiry (London: Duckworth, 1990). This work develops the critique of modern liberal theory of value advanced in two of the author's former books, After Virtue and Whose Justice? Which Rationality?

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2. See Ricoeur's critical commentary on Rawls in Oneself as Another (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), pp. 230-39. 3. John Caputo, Against Ethics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1933), pp. 124-25. Besides Levinas, there are other modern thinkers who invoke the JudeoChristian notion of agape, among them Marcel, Buber, Rosenzweig, Dostoyevsky, and the later Scheler (who spoke of an ethics of the "heart"), but Caputo is largely silent on these. Caputo, it should be mentioned, is also critical of Heidegger's "originary ethics" founded upon an elitist Graeco-Germanic ontology of privileged poetic dwelling: Heidegger's critique of metaphysical ethics is undertaken in the name of a still more originary ethics which turns not to human choices but on Being's own nomos. His thought remains captive throughout to the deepest axiomatics of Western thought, of its love of radiant beauty and its intoxication with beautiful form, to its valorizing of aristos, arete, arche and its systematic exclusion of les juifs. The thought of aletheia does not represent a step back out of metaphysics but a great plunge forward into metaphysics' deepest longing for emergent beauty and gathering unity. Ens et pulcrhum et unum convertunter. The thought of aletheia gives rise to an aesthetics of Being that turns not on the subjective play of faculties but on Being's own radiant glow, a still higher hyperaesthetics, or "phainesthetics," of Being's shining glow, a 'national aesthetics" linking Hellas and Germania in a myth of Being's First and Other Beginnings. But if it is a certain higher aesthetics, it is not without its own anaesthesia, its own insensitivity to everyone who is ugly, homeless, nomadic, expelled, or excommunicated. . . . The thought of Being erases the victim in the name of Wesen, of das Wesen der Wahrheit und die Wahrheit des Wesens. . . . The happening of Being is the subject matter (die Sache) of its own poetics (denkendes Dichten), a. poetics not of suffering but of Being's own shining splendour, (pp. 160-61) Caputo himself promotes another kind of poetics (of distaster) as the basis of another kind of ethics (of obligation), a move inspired by the postmodern gestures of Derridean deconstruction and Lyotardian petits recits. To this end, Caputo comes close to endorsing an ethics of narrative imagination, debunking grand narratives in the name of little ones. Indeed it is only Caputo's ultimate, if equivocal, recourse to a radical hermeneutics of narrative that saves him from his own espousal of mystical tautology—for example, "obligations happen because they happen" (p. 245). A narrative ethics of obligation would be one attentive to the discarded, the orphaned, the forgotten, to all those contingent particulars excluded by the rule of the Same: The discourse on obligation is a treatise on proper names, on the affirmation of "someone." . . . By someone I mean the several possibilities of joy or sorrow, of pleasure or pain, of exultation or humiliation, attached to proper names, the memories attached to proper names. . . . I mean persons long ago, barely remembered now, their names barely legible on weather-beaten stones. The stuff of memory and stories. I also mean the ones who tell the old stories, who understand that they are themselves the stuff of true stories, who anticipate what they themselves will have become, (p. 245) 4. The "ethical point of view" developed by Foucault in Civilization and Madness and his later works is one that invokes Nietzschean perspectivism in its determination to go beyond the standard moralities of good and evil. Repudiating Kantian moralism and Habermasian discourse ethics as forms of Enlightenment blackmail, Foucault proposes a counterethics of aesthetic self-experimentation. Auto-sty lization, scripting of self, caring of self, these are the operative terms of Foucauit's final attempts in his

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College de France lectures in the early 1980s to forge a new equation between ethics and aesthetics. In many respects, Foucault is proposing here a variation on the Nietzschean-Heideggerean poetics of decision, freedom, and will, mixed with a dose of apocalyptic mysticism and a revised notion of Socratic parrhesia (truthtelling). But in the final analysis, Foucault identifies the "substance" of his aesthetic-ethics as neither phronesis, logos, agape or poeisis but as bios—the chaotic, prepersonai flux of life, which will not be governed and which explores without inhibition, at the limits of experience, the world of "bodies and pleasures" ("On the Genealogy of Ethics" in The Foucault Reader, ed. Paul Rabinow [New York: Pantheon, 1984], p. 348). The difficulty with Foucault's aesthetic-ethics is that it ultimately amounts to what James Miller has termed an "ethos of deliberate irresponsibility"—a nonethics where everything is permitted and "man needs what is most evil in him for what is best." See Miller, The Passion of Michel Foucault (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993), p. 346. For further critical commentary on Foucault's "ethics of self-care" see Miller, ibid., pp. 3 2 2 - 2 4 , 3 3 5 - 4 1 , 345-48, 3 5 7 - 5 9 , 377; and The Final Foucault, ed. James Bernauer and David Rasmussen (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1988), which includes Foucault's 1983 text, "L'ethique du souci de soi"). 5. Jacques Derrida, Aporias (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1993), p. 19. 6. Kant, Critique of Judgment (New York: Hafner Press, 1951), para 57. 7. Ibid., para 40. Another contemporary thinker to explore the ethical/political implications of Kant's Third Critique is Jacques Taminiaux. In his illuminating book Poetics, Speculation, Judgment: The Shadow of the Work of Art from Kant to Phenomenology (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993), Taminiaux contrasts "speculation," which subordinates art to metaphysical knowledge (in the tradition of Plato), with "judgment," which celebrates poetics as an appreciation of appearances, plurality, and communicability (in the tradition of Kant). The aesthetical reflective judgment of the Third Critique privileges art's concern with "the finite condition of human beings, their plurality, the phenomenal world that they inhabit together, sheding l i g h t . . . on the blind spots inherent in (metaphysical) pretensions to a totality" (p. vii). Although Kant proposes judgment in contradistinction to both theoretical and moral reason, it is possible to extrapolate the basis of a broader "poetical ethics" from his notion of sensus communis aestheticus as an acknowledgment that human beings are at the same time all alike and all different. Taminiaux identifies the emancipatory potential of Kant's aesthetic judgment as follows: It is because humans are all different that they have to be allowed, against despotism, freedom in their search for happiness. It is because such differentiation would result in a chaotic dissemination, if it were not accompanied by a sense of likeness, that it requires, as a counterpart, that everyone be subject to the same law. And finally it is because they are all both different and alike that they must talk, express their views, and be colegislators as a result of such expression. But how could a colegislation be possible at all, without the ability of every citizen to demonstrate what the third Critique called "reflective judgment," that is, the ability to think from the standpoint of everyone else. (pp. 14-15) Taminiaux endorses the view—shared with Arendt and Adorno—that Kant's aesthetic judgment is antitotalitarian in its refusal to subsume particulars under universal categories. It is not, of course, that aesthetic reflective judgment abandons the idea of universal value altogether, but that it sees it as something to be sought after, rather than as something given beforehand. That is why it affords a special

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place to the free play of imagination with understanding in order to arrive at a universality without constraining concepts. Aesthetic judgment sees through individual eyes yet lays claim to a certain "possible" universality (neither factual nor necessary) derived from one's ability to enlarge one's mind so as to share others' points of view. This is the import of Kant's remarks about the sensus communis as a power to judge, that, in reflecting takes account, in our own thought, of everyone else's way of representing something. . . . We are talking here not about the power of cognition, but about an enlarged way of thinking (in which the one who judges) overrides the private subjective conditions of his judgment. . . and reflects on his own judgment from a universal standpoint (transferring himself to the standpoint of others). {Critique of Judgment, pp. 160-61) Universality thus becomes a horizon of "possible" judgments we may share with others, a task still to be accomplished rather than a predetermined formula. As such, it presupposes the freedom of productive imagination to open up new forms of possible and unpredictable vision, to play with understanding until it brings it to the edge of establishing a new form or rule. But if imagination is what brings us to the limit of a new rule, it is also that which deconstructs itself when faced with the sublime and elevates itself beyond all limits. That is why, insists Taminiaux, Kant's aesthetic judgment (in contrast to determinate judgment) allows only for critique, and not for theory; to put it in more explicitly ethical terms: aesthetic judgment would have to conceive of the "idea" of justice as a task that is never finally accomplished, as a horizon of "possible" judgment that is always ahead of us. Justice conceived of poetically (judgment) rather than cognitively (speculation) is forever a matter of democratic debate and interpretation. (In addition to Jacques Taminiaux, I am indebted to several other colleagues at Boston College for their reflections on the Third Critique, in particular David Rasmussen, Tracy Stark, and Edi Puci). 8. J -P. Lyotard and J -L. Thebaud, Just Gaming (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1985), pp. 6 5 - 6 6 . 9. P. Ricoeur, Note to "The Self and Narrative Identity," Oneself as Another, p. 165.

Index
Abel, 143 Abraham, 33, 50, 52, 60, 205, 206 Achilles, xiv, 103 Adam, 22, 88, 182, 192 Adler, A. P., 3 2 - 3 5 Adorno, Theodore, 101, 111, 116, 167 Agnon, 110, 114, 116 Al-Ghazaii, 162 Althusser, Louis, 66y 67, 70, 94 Anselm, 3, 60 Aquinas, Thomas, 3, 4, 5, 7, 36, 59, 60 Arendt, Hannah, xi, xv, 87, 94, 105, 171, 208 Aristotle, xi, xii, xiv, xv, 36, 37, 52, 54, 60, 96, 102, 103, 122, 125, 203, 208 Aron, Raymond, 67 Artaud, Antoinin, 94, 200 Augustine, 51, 161, 163 Bacon, Francis, 194 Bakhtin, M. M., 183 Barthes, Roland, 66, 93, 94, 113, 169, 187 Baudrillard, Jean, 97, 111 Beaufret, Jean, 51 Beckett, Samuel, 87, 111, 134, 180, 1 9 1 - 9 4 , 197, 198, 201 Benhabib, Seyla, 94, 99 Benjamin, Walter, 89, 92, 93, 158, 160, 164 Berkeley, George, 182 Bernasconi, Robert, 150 Blanchot, Maurice, 108, 109, 111, 112, 114-16 Bloch, Ernst, 76 Bloom, Harold, 159 Bloom, Molly, 184 Bonaventure, 3 Borges, Jorge Luis, 87 Brentano, Franz, 2, 8, 13 Broch, Hermann, 190 Buber, Martin, 46 Bultmann, Rudolf, 69, 133 Burke, Edmund, 170, 182 Cain, 143 Camus, Albert, 128 Caputo, John, 206 Carr, David, 94 Castonadis, Cornelius, 74 Celan, Paul, 109-12, 114, 116, 159, 167 Cezanne, 194 Coleridge, Samuel, 18 Collingwood, R. G., 84 Comenius, 125 Copernicus, 94 Critchley, Simon, 150 Cuchulain, 70, 137, 180 Cusanus, 162 Dallmayr, Fred, 172 de Man, Paul, 159 de Machaut, Guillaume, 139, 141, 147 de Tracy, Destutt, 66y 67 Deane, Seamus, 182 Dedalus, Stephen, 182 Derrida, Jacques, xi, xvi, 15, 104, 114, 1 4 8 - 7 7 , 184, 195, 199, 200, 2 0 3 , 206 Descartes, Rene, 3, 72 Dews, Peter, 169 Diithey, Wilhelm, 99 Dionysius, 57 Dostoyevsky, F., 62, 140 Durkheim, Emile, 70

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INDEX Iphigenia, 143 Irving, David, 98 Isaac, 50, 60, 199 Jabes, Edmund, 111, 151 Jacob, 199 Jacobi, Friedrich, 14 Jameson, Frederic, 97 Job, 33 Joyce, James, 87, 1 8 0 - 8 4 , 194, 1 9 7 - 9 9 , 201 Joyce, Nora, 183 Jung, Carl, 183, 199 Junterman, John, 186 Kafka, Franz, 154, 160, 164 Kant, Immanuel, xi, xv-xvii, 2-17, 36, 37, 43, 66, 85, 99, 120, 122, 123, 131, 155, 197, 204, 206, 207, 208 Kazantzakis, Nikos, 101 Khomeini, Ayatollah, 186, 187 Kierkegaard, Soren, xi, xv, xvi, 1 8 - 3 4 , 50, 51, 5 3 , 6 0 , 66, 135, 144, 145, 148, 157, 158, 162, 2 0 3 , 205 Kohak, Erazim, 135 Kristeva, Julia, 141, 203 Kundera, Milan, 185, 189-91 Lacan, Jacques, 93, 94, 183 Lalor, James Fintan, 182 Lanzmann, Claude, 112, 113, 197 le Brocquy, Louis, 194-201 Leibniz, Gottfried, 4, 36 Leiris, Maurice, 109, 111, 115, 116 Lenin, N., 57, 67 Levi, Primo, 96, 97 Levi-Strauss, Claude, 74, 93, 94, 138, 145 Levinas, Emmanuel, xvi, 46, 60, 61, 101, 108-17, 121, 130, 131, 1 4 8 - 5 2 , 154, 156, 157, 158, 159, 165, 166, 170, 173, 174, 205 Livia, Anna, 183, 184 Lorca, Federico Garcia, 194, 197 Luther, Martin, 51, 159 Lyotard, Jean-Francois, 97, 99, 101, 112, 113, 156, 1 9 5 - 9 7 , 206, 2 0 7 Maclntyre, Alasdair, 89, 9 4 , 99, 2 0 4 , 208 Macool, Fionn, 180, 198

Eckhart, 162 Eichmann, A., 120 Eliade, Mircea, 55, 62 Elijah, 160, 161, 163 Emmet, Robert, 182 Engels, Friedrich, 66 Eriugena, John Scotus, 162 Eve, 182 Faurisson, Robert, 98 Feuerbach, Ludwig, 18, 67, 72 Fichte, Johann, 14 Foucault, Michel, 93, 104, 113, 195, 200, 206 Freud, Sigmund, 68, 75, 94, 100, 199 Gadamer, Hans-Georg, xiv, 78, 81, 83, 84, 86, 172, 177 Geertz, Clifford, 67 Girard, Rene, 130, 133, 1 3 6 - 1 4 8 Goldsmith, Oliver, 182 Graff, Gerald, 175 Gyges, 110 Habermas, Jiirgen, 71, 79, 85, 86, 89, 204, 205 Hartman, Geoffrey, 159 Havel, Vaclav, 118, 120 Hegel, G. W. F., xvii, 3, 18, 67, 72, 83, 97, 125, 154 Heidegger, Martin, xi, xii, xiii, xvi; and Kant, 2, 3, 4, 6; 1 1 - 1 7 , 3 5 - 6 4 , 66, 78, 86, 87, 99, 108, 109, 119, 120, 122-25, 1 2 7 - 3 0 , 134, 148, 151, 152, 158, 165, 167, 168, 207 Heisenberg, W., xv Hempel, Carl, 93 Henri, Michel, 116 Heraclitus, 55 Herakles, 57 Herodotus, xii Hesiod, xii Hillis-Miller, J., 153 Holderlin, Friedrich, 35, 48, 50, 56, 57, 63 Homer, xii, 140 Hus, Jan, 132 Husserl, Edmund, xvii, 2, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 113, 119, 129, 134, 135, 148 Hyde, Douglas, 182

Index Mahound, 187 Mailer, Norman, 186 Maimonides, Moses, 162 Malantschuk, Gregor, 26 Mandela, Nelson, 154 Mannheim, Karl, 67 Marcel, Gabriel, 55, 130 Marcuse, Herbert, 76, 116 Marquis, de Sade, 101 Marx, Karl, 6 6 - 6 9 , 7 1 - 7 5 , 82, 100, 204 Masaryk, Jan, 125, 134, 135 McCoy, Sherman, 188, 189 Mendelson, Moses, 162 Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, 128, 133 Michelet, J., 96 Mitchel, John, 182 Monroe, Marilyn, 200 Musil, Robert, 140 Napolean, 67 ni Houlihan, Cathleen, 180, 181, 184 Nicholas of Cusa, 60 Nietzsche, Friedrich, xi, 42, 53, 56, 6Sy 75, 94, 100, 135, 170, 206, 207 Noack, H., 51, 63 Nolte, Ernst, 98 Norris, Christopher, 150 Nussbaum, Martha, 94, 105, 208 Olsen, Regina, 32 Orpheus, 137 Osiris, 137 Palach, Jan, 132 Parmenides, 46 Pascal, Blaise, 26, 60, 205 Patocka, Jan, 1 1 8 - 3 5 , 148 Pearse, Padraig, 181, 182 Philoctetes, 143 Picasso, Pablo, 197 Pinter, Harold, 186 Plato, xii, xiii, xiv, 52, 63, 72, 122, 125 Prometheus, 21, 22, 88, 137, 143 Proust, Marcel, 105, 1 0 9 - 1 1 , 1 1 4 - 1 6 Rabelais, 191 Rawls, John, 204, 205 Richardson, W. J., 35, 44

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Ricoeur, Paul, xii, xiv-xvi, 55, 6 6 - 9 2 , 108, 114, 117, 123, 130, 137, 138, 141, 148, 171, 180, 182, 203, 206 Rilke, R. M., 48, 50, 56, 63 Rimbaud, Arthur, 81 Riviere, Pierre, 94 Romulus, 137 Roth, Philip, 189 Rushdie, Salman, 101, 1 8 5 - 8 7 , 191 Said, Edward, 94, 99 Sartre, Jean-Paul, 3, 16, 82, 123, 128 Schelling, F. W. J., 14, 16, 18 Scherer, R., 53 Searle, John, 168, 170, 171, 175-77 Seneca, 99 Shakespeare, William, 194 Silesius, Angelus, 58 Socrates, 99, 103, 125, 134 Sontag, Frederick, 33 Sontag, Susan, 186 Sophocles, 138, 140, 141 St. Francis of Assisi, 103 St. John, 55, 160 St. Paul, 51, 199 Steiner, George, 116 Stephens, James, 180 Strindberg, Auguste, 194 Srubar, Ilja, 134 Swift, Jonathan, 182 Taylor, Charles, 94, 99 Thales, 94 Tiresias, 199 Toby, 199 Tolstoy, Nickoloi, 96 Tone, Wolfe, 182 Ulysses, 139 Warhol, Andy, 200 Weber, Max, 71, 72, 91 White, Hayden, 94 Wolfe, Tom, 185, 1 8 7 - 8 9 , 191 Wolfe, Virginia, 87 Yeats, William B., 180, 181, 184, 194, 197, 198