The Beast & the Sovereign Volume 1 (The Seminars of Jacques Derrida)

The Beast & the Sovereign Volume 1 (The Seminars of Jacques Derrida)

Jacques Derrida

Language: English

Pages: 462

ISBN: 2:00258623

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

When he died in 2004, Jacques Derrida left behind a vast legacy of unpublished material, much of it in the form of written lectures. With The Beast and the Sovereign, Volume 1, the University of Chicago Press inaugurates an ambitious series, edited by Geoffrey Bennington and Peggy Kamuf, translating these important works into English.

The Beast and the Sovereign, Volume 1 launches the series with Derrida's exploration of the persistent association of bestiality or animality with sovereignty. In this seminar from 2001'2002, Derrida continues his deconstruction of the traditional determinations of the human. The beast and the sovereign are connected, he contends, because neither animals nor kings are subject to the law'the sovereign stands above it, while the beast falls outside the law from below. He then traces this association through an astonishing array of texts, including La Fontaine's fable 'The Wolf and the Lamb,' Hobbes's biblical sea monster in Leviathan, D. H. Lawrence's poem 'Snake,' Machiavelli's Prince with its elaborate comparison of princes and foxes, a historical account of Louis XIV attending an elephant autopsy, and Rousseau's evocation of werewolves in The Social Contract.

Deleuze, Lacan, and Agamben also come into critical play as Derrida focuses in on questions of force, right, justice, and philosophical interpretations of the limits between man and animal.















that can signify a turn-of-breath [Dichtung: das kann eine Atemwende bedeuten]. Who knows, perhaps [Wer weiss, vielleicht] poetry travels its path — which is also the path of art — for the sake of such a breath turning [um einer solchen Atemwende willen zurück]?24 What I should like to bring out, still privileging the thought that concerns us here, namely the thought of sovereignty and its majesty in the figure of present and self-present ipseity, sometimes present to itself in the form of the

stillest (die stillste Stunde), about his own sovereign hour which addressed him to tell him, almost in silence, murmuring, the story of what comes at its own time “on dove’s feet.” The reason of the strongest is always the best, As we shall shortly show. These are the first words, and the moral, as they say, of a fable, The Wolf and the Lamb, which is to occupy us for some time. Starting next week. In a sense the “Nous l’allons montrer tout à l’heure” can be translated by a “We’re going to

Psychoanalysis in Criminology,”13 in the course of a fifth section in which undertakes to oppose (and one can only follow him in this) the hypothesis that there are such things as “criminal instincts.” He wants to demonstrate that psychoanalysis, precisely, even if it comprises a “theory of instincts” or rather of drives (Triebe), rejects this assigning of innate (and therefore genetically predetermined) instincts toward criminality. What Lacan immediately implies with this distinction

transparency of the ego or of self to self. That would be the risk of the traditional interpretation of the Cartesian cogito, perhaps the risk of Descartes’ auto-interpretation, of his intellectual auto-biography, one never knows. Whence the Lacanian promotion of the cogito and the diagnosis of lying, trickery, misleading transparency at the heart of the cogito itself. “Hegel’s rigor,” he says. We should then have to follow the interpretation that Lacan proposes of the struggle between the

Deleuze writes: How would the concept of error account for this unity of bêtise and cruelty, of the grotesque and the terrifying, which doubles the way of the world? Cowardice, cruelty, baseness, bêtise are not simply bodily powers or facts of character or society, but structures of thought as such.29 Before coming back to this question of thought, of philosophy and the transcendental, I emphasize with a few quotations the essential importance that Deleuze appears to accord to the link between

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