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The Moment: Time and Rupture in Modern Thought

Volume: 4
Copyright Date: 2001
Edition: 1
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    The Moment
    Book Description:

    Modern philosophical thought has a manifold tradition of emphasising ‘the moment’. ‘The moment’ demands questioning all-too-common notions of time, of past, present and future, uniqueness and repetition, rupture and continuity. This collection addresses the key questions posed by ‘the moment’, considering writers such as Nietzsche, Husserl, Benjamin and Badiou, and elucidates the connections between social theory, philosophy, literary theory and history that are opened up by this notion.

    eISBN: 978-1-84631-417-9
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Heidrun Friese
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    The ‘moment’,Momentum,movere, that which moves, that which irrefutably vanishes.Clin d’œil,en un clin d’œil, en un temps très court, an ‘infinitely short space of time’,Augenblick, the ‘blink of an eye’, glance, eye, the eyelid, a steady, unperceivable rhythm of opening and closing, the infinitely short interruption of seeing that only allows to see. And, at the same time, an opening glance, by which we are being seen, an open eye that lets the glance abide.

    The ‘moment’, this is a word which addresses particular relations to time and temporality; a word that questions the empty continuity...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Is it Time?
    (pp. 17-32)

    Is it time?⁴ It’sabouttime. Just a moment. Any moment now. But the moment or the time in the sense I shall be discussing it has a curious and difficult relation to time in general. In English, at least, it is difficult to separate questions about time in general in all its complexity (cosmological time, psychological time, the phenomenology of internal time consciousness and so on) from questions about the time, the time that might have come, the right time, the moment as appropriate moment, not the moment as justnowor aspresent, but as therightmoment,...

  6. CHAPTER 2 The Aporia of the Instant in Derrida’s Reading of Husserl
    (pp. 33-52)

    At a culminating point inSpeech and PhenomenaDerrida writes that phenomenology, whether it wishes so or not, knows so or not, is always a phenomenology of perception. The irony of this remark is not difficult to grasp: indeed, what is it that phenomenology deals with, if not that which appears to our senses as phenomenon? The trouble, however, is that perception as such is strictly speaking impossible since what appears to us as phenomenon, immanent to our consciousness, is not being ‘as such ’ which remains assigned to a transcendent realm; and indeed this is the fundamental problem for...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Existential Moments:
    (pp. 53-72)

    Within the philosophical and broader cultural discourse of modernism, ‘the moment’ occupies a position of elevated significance. This valorisation of the moment is by itself not new. Traditionally, a certain self-conscious, emphatic concern with the moment is predominantly associated with two contexts, both of which broadly speaking are religious ones: first, the context of conversion and, second, the context of eschatology, more specifically, the moment of vision. ‘On the day of the Lord I was taken by the Spirit and I heard behind me a voice loud as a trumpet’, we read at the beginning of the Revelation of St...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Augen-Blicke
    (pp. 73-90)

    What an astounding gesture – someone calls my name and I turn my head.

    This is a moment of an abrupt invocation to which I immediately respond; I respond without hesitation. I respond without will; I respond without having reflected about responding. I respond to the occurrence of a glance and a call – two moments maybe, which arise in one moment, are assembled to arise in the present. They are presenced as in a single stroke, in a single breath, in the same Now. I am exposed to this occurrence which takes me by chance. This call is the irruption of...

  9. CHAPTER 5 On Alain Badiou
    (pp. 91-112)

    I have two questions in this chapter: What is ethical experience for Badiou? What can be said of the subject who has this experience in his work? The hopefully significant consequences of these questions for our understanding of Badiou will emerge as we proceed. But first I need to explain what I mean by ethical experience and how such experience implies a conception of the subject. What, then, is ethical experience?

    Let me begin to answer this question by trying to pick out the formal structure of ethical experience or what, with Dieter Henrich, we can call the concept of...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Instants of Diminishing Representation: The Problem of Temporal Modalities
    (pp. 113-134)

    The exceptional moment has come to be recognised as a central theme of modern literature. The concept of ‘instant’ (Augenblick) has proven useful in this regard.¹ In order to explore it – as has become more and more clear – various works of classical and romantic modernity can be considered, so that beyond intellectual-historical or monographic insights, an understanding of its structure can be achieved.² A promising start can be made with a comparative analysis of representative instants, which helps provide an initial clarification of the semantic and symbolic complexity of this concept, for here the underlying problem of this theme, that...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Poetry and the Returns of Time: Goethe’s ‘Wachstum’ and ‘Immer und Überall’
    (pp. 135-160)

    Within poetry time cannot be given the slip. Not just because time is not one but endures as an array of differing possibilities and modalities, but also because time has the unceasing built into the continuity of its returns. (Return, here, has to be in the plural –returns– in order to mark the openings and ineliminable movements comprising time.) How is the plurality and the insistent nature of time to be signalled? Rather than signal it as though there could have been an act of differentiation in which the required distance from the object was envisaged as a possibility, the...

  12. CHAPTER 8 ‘NOW’: Walter Benjamin on Historical Time
    (pp. 161-196)

    What Walter Benjamin uncovers in his theses ‘On the Concept of History’ is the temporal structure of the political affect.¹ Historical time is founded upon political time directed towards happiness. Any theory of history – of historical cognition and of historical action – therefore will have to take this time of the affect as its starting point. The fact thatpathemata, affects, passions were already to a large extent discredited within political theory during Benjamin’s times must have been attributed by him to the disappearance of their genuine political dimension. Within prevailing historiography the political impulse was replaced by the rational calculation...

  13. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 197-198)
  14. Index
    (pp. 199-209)