Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe: Representation and the Loss of the Subject

Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe: Representation and the Loss of the Subject

Copyright Date: 2005
Published by: Fordham University Press
Pages: 316
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  • Book Info
    Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe: Representation and the Loss of the Subject
    Book Description:

    This is the first full-length book in English on the noted French philosopher Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe. Martis introduces the range of Lacoue-Labarthe's thinking, demonstrating the systematic nature of his philosophical project. Focusing in particular on the dynamic of the loss of the subject and its possible post-deconstructive recovery, he places Lacoue-Labarthe's achievements in the context of related philosophers, most importantly Nancy, Derrida, and Blanchot. John Martis, S.J. teaches at the United Faculty of Theology, Melbourne, Australia, as a member of Jesuit Theological College, where he is Professor of Philosophy and Academic Principal.

    eISBN: 978-0-8232-4829-2
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  4. 1 Representation and Subjectivity: The Kantian Bequest Onward
    (pp. 1-19)

    In approaching Lacoue-Labarthe’s work, it is perhaps best to begin broadly, if simply, since deeper waters will present themselves soon enough. I have mentioned that to talk about his texts is to talk about both representation and subjectivity, and this is where I commence. As bequeathed to modern philosophy, the problem of the relationship between representation and subjectivity begins with Kant, and with the problem, highlighted by Kant, of thepresentationof the subject—“subject,” here, in the sense of both “self” and “object of experience.”

    For Western philosophy in Kant’s wake, presentation of a subject—as such, and to...

  5. 2 Plato Pursued: Mimesis, Decision, and the Subject
    (pp. 20-39)

    Two recurrent themes form the backdrop to my exploration of Lacoue-Labarthe here. The first is subjectal loss—the loss of the subjectofphilosophy,inliterature and mimesis. The second, intertwined with the first, is in fact instrumental in stimulating the rigor with which the first develops. Broadly speaking, it can be named as therefusalof the subject to be lost or dismissed, that is, the return of the subject. This second theme, while continually reasserting itself, finally remains in fee to the first. Lacoue-Labarthe is concerned to explore how the return of the subject—or, more precisely, the...

  6. 3 Describing the Subject of Paradoxes and Echoes
    (pp. 40-68)

    I am now left with dual, and to some extent divergent, possibilities for advancing my exploration of Lacoue-Labarthe. On the one hand, it seems that “despite all,” some account of “resurgent” structural subjectivity might be extracted from Lacoue-Labarthe’s texts on subjectal loss, and perhaps it is worth exploring this theme of return. On the other hand, the qualifier “despite all” indicates that pursuit of this claim should perhaps take second place to my main task, which consists of eliciting, in Lacoue-Labarthe’s own terms, the content, intricacy, and reach of his treatment of the interface between representation and subjectivity. And, in...

  7. 4 Literature: Hints of the Hyperbological
    (pp. 69-94)

    My preliminaries now being over, the particular mode of access that I bring to Lacoue-Labarthe ought to have become clear. I hope, as it were, to “frame” Lacoue-Labarthe, but without framing him in the pejorative sense of the term. This is a delicate path to tread; interrogative frameworks, such as that provided by my question about persistent subjectal return, can easily extrapolate an author like Lacoue-Labarthe “beyond himself.” The danger is usually forestalled if one returns, as I do now, to considering the author on his own terms. In this chapter, I forsake, for the present, the ghost of the...

  8. 5 Subjectal Loss in Lacoue-Labarthe: The Recurrence of Hyperbology
    (pp. 95-127)

    I am ready now to probe the heart of Lacoue-Labarthe’s characteristically complex explorations of subjectal loss. Thehyperbologicalis the name and the concept that links the variety of his readings, and my preliminaries have been intended to lead carefully toward it, by eliciting, as it were, irrepressible occurrences of subjectal loss and gain wherever his analyses tread. In Chapter 2, I argued that his texts ought not to ignore the level on which a subject is always reinscribed. But this reinscription turned out, in Chapter 3, to be susceptible to a more profound dissipation, exemplified in the hesitation of...

  9. 6 The Political Subject Lost between Heidegger and Nietzsche
    (pp. 128-155)

    My study of Lacoue-Labarthe turns now toward the Lacoue-Labarthian political. In doing so, it turns also toward Heidegger, particularly the Heidegger of the 1930s. But I do not intend “yet another chapter” on Heidegger’s Nazism, that is, on the question of his personal politico-philosophical acquiescence with Nazism as such. That proviso is meant equally to forestall what might be anticipated interest for some readers and anticipated irritation for others. Much has been written on Heidegger and National Socialism in recent years, and a good deal has been discovered, some of it unfavorable to Heidegger. What follows here works, I suspect,...

  10. 7 Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy: Sublime Truth Perpetually Offered as Its Other
    (pp. 156-192)

    It is time to take stock of the journey with Lacoue-Labarthe that this book represents. I have attempted hitherto to trace a single “Ariadne’s thread”—hyperbology—through the intricate, often labyrinthine, paths of his pursuit of subjectal return and loss, from Plato to Heidegger. Some will no doubt find this project unattractively paradoxical, in danger as it is of becoming reductive of a writer whose own texts aim subtly and patiently at subverting essentiality. Others will happily use the thread to locate the paths in Lacoue-Labarthe that offer continuity toward a single destination; this approach need not deny that there...

  11. 8 Lacoue-Labarthe between Derrida and Blanchot: Movement as Marking the Subject-in-Loss
    (pp. 193-228)

    My exploration has now brought me to one of the most interesting and fruitful, if also somewhat vexed, issues to present itself to recent continental philosophy—the possibility of describing a new, nonclassical subjectivity cognizant of the insights of deconstruction. I began the present work with the hope of showing that a single motif—hyperbology—might be capable of organizing, without reducing, the unique, largely untapped, complex and yet rigorous contribution that Lacoue-Labarthe has made to continental philosophy, and particularly to the question of the loss of the subject, in these past thirty years. That demonstration is now practically complete....

  12. Notes
    (pp. 229-274)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 275-290)
  14. Index
    (pp. 291-296)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 297-299)