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… writing… Maio 26, 2013

Posted by paulo jorge vieira in diário, teoria social.


Can we today any longer imagine a philosopher who doesn’t entertain an essential relationship to the question of style? Can we imagine a philosopher who didn’t write? Of course, one can say that Hegel wrote, or that Kant conceived of his system in writing, that both were great composers of written works. But is this the same thing as the philosopher as writer? Hence, the question of writing must be understood to be both more general and more particular (one could say ‘historical’) than the philosophical problem of representation as such, since the contemporary philosopher (or the one who professes to ‘do philosophy’ in its current form and institutional setting) is someone who must reflect on the formal, but also the material, conditions of his or her philosophical project as also a project of writing.

The above statements can be readily supported in the opening pages of the early (and perhaps most systematic) reflections on the relationship between philosophy and writing in, respectively, Difference et Repetition and De la Grammatologie. Deleuze writes: ‘Perhaps writing has a relation to silence altogether more threatening than that which it is supposed to entertain with death’ (Deleuze 1994, xxi); while Derrida writes: ‘Perhaps patient meditation and painstaking investigation on and around what is still provisionally called writing, far from falling short of a science of writing or of hastily dismissing it by some obscurantist reaction, letting it rather develop its positivity as far as possible, are the wanderings of a way of thinking that is faithful and attentive to the ineluctable world of the future which proclaims itself at present, beyond the closure of knowledge. The future can only be anticipated in the form of an absolute danger’ (Derrida 1974, 4).

“The Philosopher and the Writer: A Question of Style” by Gregg Lambert



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