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This Is Not Sufficient

This Is Not Sufficient: An Essay on Animality and Human Nature in Derrida

Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    This Is Not Sufficient
    Book Description:

    Derrida wrote extensively on "the question of the animal." In particular, he challenged Heidegger's, Husserl's, and other philosophers' work on the subject, questioning their phenomenological criteria for distinguishing humans from animals. Examining a range of Derrida's writings, including his most recent L'animal que donc je suis, as well as Aporias, Of Spirit, Rams, and Rogues, Leonard Lawlor reconstructs a portrait of Derrida's views on animality and their intimate connection to his thinking on ethics, names and singularity, sovereignty, and the notion of a common world.

    Derrida believed that humans and animals cannot be substantially separated, yet neither do they form a continuous species. Instead, in his "staggered analogy," Derrida asserts that all living beings are weak and therefore capable of suffering. This controversial claim both refuted the notion that humans and animals possess autonomy and contradicted the assumption that they possess the trait of machinery. However, it does offer the foundation for an argument-which Lawlor brilliantly and passionately defines in his book-in which humans are able to will this weakness into a kind of unconditional hospitality. Humans are not strong enough to keep themselves separate from animals. In other words, we are too weak to keep animals from entering into our sphere. Lawlor's argument is a bold approach to remedying "the problem of the worst," or the complete extermination of life, which is fast becoming a reality.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-51271-8
    Subjects: Philosophy, Zoology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
    (pp. IX-XIV)
    (pp. XV-XVIII)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    The text that you are about to read attempts to think with Derrida; indeed, it attempts to follow him.¹ We are going to follow Derrida not as an animal to be captured but as a friend who lays out a path for us, a friend who gives us an imperative, a friend who gives us an order. This order will unfold in three ways. First, we shall think along with Derrida in regard to one specific problem: the problem of the suffering of animals in today’s world. That animals suffer today is undeniable, which means that one can only deny...

  6. ONE War and Scapegoats
    (pp. 11-38)

    For Derrida, a today (or a date in general, an event) is never simple because repetition fundamentally determines all experience (A 44/ATIA 393). Derrida’s thought always revolves around a kind of duplicity between a transcendental structure, which is relatively unchanging, and the appearance of that structure as an event (see MDA 96/92). Therefore he can say, on the one hand, that what is happening today “is as old as man, as old as what he calls his world, his knowledge, his history and his technology” (A 45/ATIA 393). Yet, on the other hand, he can claim that the event is...

  7. TWO Animals Have No Hand
    (pp. 39-70)

    We now enter into some of Derrida’s most difficult and yet most powerful argumentation: his criticism of the phenomenological “as such,” without which, according to Heidegger, there is no understanding, not even the understanding of death. Before I turn to this argumentation, I’d like to summarize what I explored in chapter 1. I tried to set up the possibility of a more sufficient response to what Derrida calls a “war of the species.” In Derrida’s diagnosis of our today, this war is part of globalization, which is itself a form of war, a form of pacification of all opponents; it...

  8. THREE A More Sufficient Response?
    (pp. 71-114)

    I am seeking a more sufficient response to the violence that man wages against animals. A more sufficient response is required today because of the condition of globalization, which appears to be peace but is in fact war by other means. As Derrida says in Rogues, and I quoted this passage in chapter 1, “a new violence is being prepared and in truth has been unleashed for some time now, in a way that is more visibly suicidal … than ever” (V 215/156).¹ A more sufficient response, it seems to me, can be determined only by means of avoiding or...

  9. CONCLUSION The Generation of the Incorruptibles
    (pp. 115-120)

    “Freud and the Scene of Writing,” in which Derrida examines Freud’s magic writing pad, appeared for the first time in 1966, and it was collected in Writing and Difference which appeared in 1967, alongside of Voice and Phenomenon and Of Grammatology. At this time, other great books appeared. I have already mentioned Foucault’s Les mots et les choses (The Order of Things is the English-language title), which appeared in 1966. Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition was published in 1968. It is hard to deny that the philosophy publications of this epoch indicate that we have before us a kind of philosophical...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 121-150)
    (pp. 151-166)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 167-172)