The Politics of the Doppelgänger

Dimitris Vardoulakis

in The Doppelgänger

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780823232987
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235698 | DOI:

Series: Modern Language Initiative

The Politics of the             Doppelgänger

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This chapter examines the politics of the Doppelgänger, looking at the subject of history as understood by Walter Benjamin. It also looks into cosmopolitanism in Alasdair Gray's Poor Things. It notes that the finite and particular human activities that comprise the sphere of politics should not be confused with the political that enacts the excess proper to the Doppelgänger. The Doppelgänger counteracts the attempt to base the subject on a principle of infinity. The chapter claims that the political is the interruption of the relation between the infinite and the finite. Such an interruption is associated, first, with the enactment of judgment, as understood by Walter Benjamin's materialist historiography, and, second, with a notion of the cosmopolitical, with recourse to Alasdair Gray's Poor Things, with intermingled autonomy and automaticity. The political is an interruption of metaphysical self-reflection and hence a rupture of the politics of self-interest.

Keywords: cosmopolitan; Alasdair Gray; Poor Things; politics; interruption; Walter Benjamin; judgment

Chapter.  25206 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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