Responsibility beyond the Superego

Eric L. Santner

in On the Psychotheology of Everyday Life

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780226734873
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226734897 | DOI:
Responsibility beyond the Superego

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Following Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling's lead, Franz Rosenzweig links the paradoxical materiality of the Other—his or her non-thing-like Thingness—to the enigma of human freedom. That is, when we encounter the Other in his or her singularity, we encounter that which in the Other contracts from all predicative being (and the matrix of relations established through it) in the very act of contracting predicates. To return to the context of intersubjectivity, the contrast Rosenzweig proposes is one between relation and encounter: between love in the third person, love on the basis of our predicative being—our knowable “whatness” or “essence”—and revelatory love, love as eventful encounter with the Other in his or her death-driven singularity, the uncanny locus of human freedom. Rosenzweig's crucial insight is that the capacity for ethical encounter can be understood as an event belonging to the “psychotheology of everyday life.” This chapter examines the paradox of the superego as well as Rosenzweig's views on Judaism, redemption, and revelation.

Keywords: Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling; Franz Rosenzweig; Other; psychotheology; everyday life; superego; revelatory love; redemption; revelation; human freedom

Chapter.  18117 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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