Ways to Deal with Contingency Violence and Dialogue

Dialogue and Universalism 29 (3):9-21 (2019)
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Abstract

In this paper contingency is estimated as an essentially identifying trait of the world emerging from the radical upheavals of the late 18th century and the beginnings of the 19th century. If contingency is the mark of the world as world, the question arises how human beings should, or merely could deal with it. For the purpose of discussing this issue, the usual alternative of violence and dialogue is considered. Nevertheless, the intention is not merely to oppose violent to rational conduct. Taking recourse to two authors who had a particularly acute sense of contingency, Heinrich von Kleist and Paul Celan, the aim of this paper, on the one hand, is to discuss a concept of violence that is not merely instrumental, nor attributable to merely subjective intentions, but that has the significance of the principle of overcoming contingency by way of absolutely forcing order or absolutely renouncing to it. On the other hand, it involves discussing a concept of dialogue that is essentially different to what may be called the institution of Western dialogue, characterized by the disembodiment of the word, and therefore to suggest the concept of a radically embodied dialogue as a way to positively deal with contingency.

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