New Parrhesia (Issue 6, 2009)


Cinema as a Democratic Emblem
Alain Badiou, translated by Alex Ling and Aurélien Mondon

The Desert Island and the Missing People
Vanessa Brito, translated by Justin Clemens

Althusser and the concept of the spontaneous philosophy of scientists
Pierre Macherey, translated by Robin Mackay

68 + 1: Lacan’s année érotique
Jean-Michel Rabaté


The Nihilistic Affirmation of Life: Biopower and Biopolitics in The Will to Knowledge
Keith Crome

In the Middle
Sean Gaston


Martin Hägglund, Radical Atheism: Derrida and the Time of Life
Danielle Sands

‘Without wanting to push the analysis further …’: Jean-Michel Rabaté and the Materialities of Theory
Pieter Vermeulen


3 thoughts on “New Parrhesia (Issue 6, 2009)

  1. Sorry about commenting on my own post, but the review of Hagglund’s book on Derrida is right on the money, I think, especially in its conclusion:

    “At work both in Hägglund’s book [and Brown’s review]—despite both in some ways being highly Derridean—is a concept of philosophy which remains narrow and untouched by Derrida’s writing. Despite endorsing Derrida’s rebuttal of sovereignty, Hägglund is either neglectful of or hostile towards the contamination of philosophy by other discourses and the ways in which this is examined and incorporated in varying ways throughout Derrida’s work. The effect, despite Hägglund’s expertise and clarity, is a rather fleshless Derrida and moreover, a limitation on the possibilities he inscribed for philosophy.”

    I think after some reflection I would say that the book is certainly an interesting contribution to the present philosophical discussion, but has little to offer in terms of interpretation of Derrida – why not just write a book about “radical atheism” period?

    • This may be interesting, or it may not, but there’s a brief ‘discussion’ — i.e. a rather convoluted question and a response — with Derrida here, in which he says:

      The true believers [of a religion] know that they must run the risk of being radical atheists — even Levinas is in a certain way an atheist, becasue he doesn’t understand God as an existent [maybe existing] being.

      I haven’t read Hägglund’s book, but Derrida’s comments make me wonder whether there’s not some kind of equivocation involved somewhere here between Faith, atheism, and critiques of onto-theology. Didn’t Barthes say, after all, that the atheist has as much faith as the devout catholic?

  2. Thanks for the link, Alexei – Hägglund’s point, if I recall correctly, had to do with a more radical rereading of Derrida’s ethical and political points as emphasizing finitude and a peculiar sort of temporality that disavows any sort of “religious interpretation” a la Caputo, a point that is very difficult to make without consistently misreading some of Derrida’s texts or ignoring a bunch of other texts, as the review points out.

    I think since it’s fashionable these days to present one’s reading of philosopher X as an ultimate reading, while openly hinting that it is, in fact, a gross misreading of philosopher X, Hägglund’s book is great in that capacity – the only problem I had with it was that it in fact claims to have discovered a whole new way of reading Derrida where generations of scholars did not see it – which is not an argument against the book, but again as the review rightly points out, there’s no real need to be a total jerk to other Derrida scholars in order to make your point, just make it and give us some evidence.

    As I wrote above, Hägglund should just get rid of Derrida completely and talk about his very original and interesting themes of finite temporality, death, atheism and so forth – this way people like myself won’t have the knee-jerk reactions to his misinterpretation of Derrida and will be able to enjoy the book.

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