The Implications of Immanence: Toward a New Concept of Life (Perspectives in Continental Philosophy)

The Implications of Immanence: Toward a New Concept of Life (Perspectives in Continental Philosophy)

Leonard Lawlor

Language: English

Pages: 192

ISBN: 0823226549

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The Implications of Immanence develops a philosophy of life in opposition to the notion of bio-power,which reduces the human to the question of power over what Giorgio Agamben terms bare life,mere biological existence. Breaking with all biologism or vitalism, Lawlor attends to the dispersion of death at the heart of life, in the minuscule hiatusthat divides the living present, separating lived experience from the living body and, crucially for phenomenology, inserting a blind spot into a visual field. Lawlor charts here a post-phenomenological French philosophy. What lies beyond phenomenologyis life-ism, the positive working out of the effects of the minuscule hiatusin a thinking that takes place on a plane of immanence,whose implications cannot be predicted. Life-ism means thinking life and death together, thinking death as dispersed throughout life. In carefully argued and extensively documented chapters, Lawlor sets out the surpassing of phenomenology and the advent of life-ism in Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, and Foucault, with careful attention to the writings by Husserl and Heidegger to which these thinkers refer. A philosophy of life has direct implications for present-day political and medical issues. The book takes its point of departure from the current genocide in Darfur and provides conceptual tools for intervening in such issues as the AIDS epidemic and life-support for the infirm. Indeed, the investigations contained in The Implications of Immanence are designed to help us emerge once and for all out of the epoch of bio-power.Lawlor's novel way of treating the concept of life is stimulating, original, and necessary for the social well being of our time.-Fred Evans, Duquesne UniversityThe Implications of Immanence continues the most promising, rigorous, and fruitful ongoing research project among scholars of twentieth-century philosophy. . . .A wonderful new book.-John Protevi, Louisiana State University

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its exhalation. We might go so far as to say that the relation between the title and the painting in Merleau-Ponty is that of a calligram: the lines emerge from depth and then they become words that still resemble the depth from which they came. Thus, recognizing the weaving of words into things, we Un e´ cart infime (Part II) ................. 16152$ $CH6 10-03-06 15:55:59 PS 83 PAGE 83 can interweave the two quotations Merleau-Ponty uses to frame part 4 of ‘‘Eye and Mind.’’ The first,

He then suddenly worries (if you ask me) that he has relapsed into the position of Phenomenology of Perception, placing a kind of tacit thought or cogito at the foundation of the body (VI 191 / 145). On the basis of certain famous working notes, we know that Merleau-Ponty was trying to avoid, in The Visible and the Invisible, anything like a tacit cogito. But then, after this worry, he feels obligated to re-examine his notion of the flesh. He says, ‘‘To begin with, we spoke summarily of a

shows, because literally there is nothing between the stones in the arch, that, in Merleau-Ponty, we do not have a positive principle (N 203 / 152). Indeed, at one point 114 The Implications of Immanence ................. 16152$ $CH9 10-03-06 15:56:06 PS PAGE 114 in the nature lectures he speaks of a ‘‘negative principle’’; at another, he speaks of a ‘‘finite principle’’ (N 208 / 156). Nature, in other words, is not ‘‘all-powerful’’ (N 208 / 156); we no longer have the God of large

really singular, our eyes would not be able to recognize them with any already acquired general representations; simply, these representations would be general and not singular. These forms would not work, and there could be no understanding—there could be no positing. A life would be both sub-representational and informal.57 Through Bichat, Foucault is able to conceive life as a zone in which there is the con140 The Implications of Immanence ................. 16152$ CH10 10-03-06 15:56:15

arche¯ that is not 143 ................. 16152$ CONL 10-03-06 15:55:15 PS PAGE 143 Christian, or pre-Christian. We do not know in what way the origin would be named; perhaps the name would be Greek, Jewish, perhaps even Islamic. But a deconstruction of Christianity would have to focus on Christianity’s catholicism (Romans 2:29). Not being restricted to ethnicity, not being restricted to a part, it crosses borders toward the whole (kata-holos); in fact, maybe Christianity concerns nothing

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