Jean-Luc Nancy and Jeff Fort

in The Banality of Heidegger

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print March 2017 | ISBN: 9780823275922
Published online September 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780823277056 | DOI:

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Perhaps rancor—in the sense of bitter disappointment and rage at unjust deception—is a more appropriate term than hatred for describing what infected the West from its beginnings, insofar as the latter promised itself completion and fulfillment. Such a completion then could only take the form of destruction, which Heidegger both dreaded and wished for. Such thinking gives rise to a form of despair that couples misery (Not, distress) with the need for an Other that harbors an absolute alterity through which a new and essential event may become possible. While this configuration may be highly questionable, it does not invalidate the thinking of alterity and multiplicity that was, perhaps ironically, inspired by Heidegger, in thinkers such as Sartre, Levinas, Foucault, Derrida, Lacan, Lyotard, and even Deleuze. Through such thinkers there may be seen a thought derived in part from Heidegger which in no way transmits the anti-Semitic configurations underpinning Heidegger’s fixation on the fulfillment of being. Indeed, they attest to a motif of Jewish alterity, which ironically can in turn be seen to have been made possible by Heidegger, albeit also despite him. But Heidegger also had a sense of another way, which can be seen in his evocation, in the Black Notebooks, of “grace”—which translates charis in Greek, and chen in Hebrew.

Keywords: alterity; distress; fulfillment of being; grace; Heidegger; rancor

Chapter.  1232 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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