Infinitely Demanding: Ethics of Commitment, Politics of Resistance (Radical Thinkers)

Infinitely Demanding: Ethics of Commitment, Politics of Resistance (Radical Thinkers)

Simon Critchley

Language: English

Pages: 176

ISBN: 1781680175

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The clearest, boldest and most systematic statement of Simon Critchley’s influential views on philosophy, ethics, and politics, Infinitely Demanding identifies a massive political disappointment at the heart of liberal democracy. Arguing that what is called for is an ethics of commitment that can inform a radical politics, Critchley considers the possibility of political subjectivity and action after Marx and Marxism, taking in the work of Kant, Levinas, Badiou and Lacan. Infinitely Demanding culminates in an argument for anarchism as an ethical practice and a remotivating means of political organization.

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of self­ formation where the subject, as it were, subjects itself to certain practices which processually aim at a certain telos, such as self­ mastery, happiness or, for Foucault himself: freedom. Responding to the demand of freedom, Foucault's late thought can be seen as the cultivation of forms of ethical subjectivity capable of resisting the normalizing power of the state and its disciplinary apparatus. 3 Compelling as it is, I do not see Foucault's approach to the ethical subj ect as

structurally ChristifDl? Yet, if Badiou's work might be structurally Christian, then Levinas's work can afortiori be described as structurally Judaic. If Christianity privileges the present where contact with the divine is mediated through the presence of the Son, Jesus Christ, then Judaism privileges the past expressed in the covenant with the Father on Sinai. What does it mean to be Jewish? For Levinas, being Jewish is afact about oneself that cannot be changed. It can either be acknowledged or

it is at the heart of me, as the excluded interior. We might think of the Thing as a traumatic imprint within the subj ect, the opaque underside of facticity that is at the heart of the subject yet foreign to it. More generally, it is interesting to note how well the ethics of psychoanalysis fits into the structure of ethical experience and ethical subjectivity that I have tried to describe in this book. One might say that psychoanalytic experience begins with the recogni­ tion of the demand of

work. In his 1 9 62 paper, 'Super-ego and Time' , Loewald basically attempts to think together the categories of Freud's picture of the psychic agencies (ego, super-ego and id) with Heidegger's modes of temporality, where the super-ego is futur­ aI, the id is the past and the ego is the present. 30 On this interpretation, the super-ego functions from the standpoint of a future ego that is ahead of the ego and which the ego cannot reach. Perhaps this illuminates the experience of failure or

inductively true. There is a point at which the rationality of moral argumentation gives way to moral recommendation, even exhor­ tation, an appeal to the individual reader from an individual writer. The central philosophical task in my approach to ethics is developing a theory of ethical subjectivity. A subject is the name for the way in which a self binds itself to some conception of the good and shapes its subjectivity in relation to that good. To be clear, I am not making the questionable

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