[This afternoon I was inspired to look up this post and thought I would share it with you all. The original comment thread is, in my opinion, also worth reading.]
Nancy’s often poignant disquisition on freedom is perhaps the most robustly philosophical aspect of his expansive speculative vision. It strives to divest philosophy of recalcitrant notions of freedom that have been informed by ideological requirements. It offers two crucial arguments, each of which attempts to collapse the thinking of freedom into the open immanence of the circulation of sense.
–B. C. Hutchens, Jean-Luc Nancy and the Future of Philosophy
This disquisition we’re talking about — you’re saying it’s both poignant and robustly philosophical, right? Am I with you here? One the one hand: often (but not always) poignant. On the other hand: robustly philosophical. In fact, it is, at least potentially, the most robustly philosophical aspect of his expansive speculative vision (you’ve got to hedge your bets — “perhaps” the most robustly philosophical aspect). The most robustly, presumably — so there are aspects of Nancy’s expansive speculative vision that are, shall we say, less “robustly philosophical.” Do they remain philosophical nonetheless? Might the modifier “most” go with the whole of “robustly philosophical,” opening up the possibility that there exist aspects of Nancy’s expansive speculative vision that would be neither robust nor “philosophical?” An interesting tension.
Can we even qualify philosophicality as “robust” and “non-robust,” “more” and “less” “robust”? Can we have an example of something else that is “robustly philosophical”? I’m just wondering how one achieves this robustness, particularly in the face of the recalcitrant notions with which it must grapple. Well, not grapple so much as divest. On behalf of philosophy, as it were as its executor or broker, Nancy divests philosophy of certain recalcitrant notions. Their crime? They’ve been informed by ideological requirements. See, this is where you lose me: “informed by”? What’s the big deal there? Perhaps if they’d been tailored to meet ideological requirements, I can see the problem — but “informed by,” that sounds like there’s still some give, some distance between these (let’s admit it for the sake of argument) recalcitrant notions and the ideological requirements.
Okay, so where does the poignance come in, again?
(Now I wish I’d marked the place where Nancy is accused of using sometimes “tortured” prose.)
[In case you don’t want to click over and read the old comments, here’s the one I’m proudest of.]
ANNUAL REPORT OF
Speculative Vision Co., Ltd.
SUBMITTED ON FORM 10-K
SPECULATIVE VISION CO., LTD. (hereafter “WE” or “THE COMPANY”) is an intellectual enterprise working in the open immanence of the circulation of sense.
In 2005, under the direction of J.-L. Nancy, the company plans to divest itself of substantially all its assets in the area of recalcitrant notions of freedom informed by ideological requirements. The resulting liquidity is expected to help us focus on our primary business of circulating sense.