In this contribution, Balibar follows his seminal 1993 work applying the notion of the transindividual to Spinoza’s work, to produce a broader history of thinking the transindividual that brings both Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud into relation with Spinoza, devoting a section to each of these thinkers. Balibar positions the notion of the transindividual, here, as a solution to the opposing ontological errors of philosophical individualism that fails to attend to the social constitution of the individual, and the social organicism (...) that reduces the individual to the effect of larger forces. For Balibar, following Gilbert Simondon, the individual is to be understood as always already extending beyond themselves. (shrink)
The Spinoza party -- The Tractatus Theologico-Politicus: a democratic manifesto -- The Tractatus Politicus: a science of the state -- The Ethics: a political anthropology -- Politics and communication.
A collection of Essays over the last 20 years, exploring different dimensions of the philosophical debate on "subjecthood" and "subjectivity" in Modernity, as it was framed by the "Controversy on the subject" from the 1960's, and showing how it is now continued in a "controversy on the Universal.".
Major difficulties for readers of Foucault’s The Order of Things concern the historical function and the logical construction of the episteme. Our proposal is to link it with another notion, the ‘point of heresy’, less frequently addressed. This leads to asserting that irreconcilable dilemmas are in fact determined by the type of rationality governing the emergence of common objects of knowledge. It also introduces a possibility of ‘walking on two roads’: a dialogical adventure within rationality. Foucault is not content with (...) either accepting or rejecting the ‘transcendental’ question ‘What is Man?’: with the help of quasi-transcendental categories performing a ‘transdisciplinary’ function, he wants to reach the ‘heretical’ point where anthropology becomes historicity within the horizon of finitude. (shrink)
The paper argues that a specific "concept of the political" can be reconstructed in Arendt by bringing together elements coming from Origins of Totalitarianism, Part II , from The Human Condition and On Revolution , and from On Disobedience . These propositions produce a singular variety of "institutionalism", which involves a "groundless" politics of Human Rights , and also helps clarifying the thesis on the "banality of evil" in Eichmann in Jerusalem: the sovereign tautology "law is law" is the root (...) of voluntary servitude. To say that we have a choice between becoming Eichmanns or taking the risk of civil disobedience is too quick; and to suppose that a state where civil disobedience becomes recognized would be immune of the danger of totalitarian transformation is an illusion, but as an ideal type, these formulations may encapsulate what Arendt's "concept of the political" hints at. (shrink)
We are witnessing and participating in a new “Querelle of Universals” which has indissoluble political and philosophical characters. It ranges from the incorporation of anthropological differences into the very definition of the “human” to the contemporary attempts at rethinking the diversity of histories within mankind as a multiverse of translations rather than a failed unity. The essay discusses a series of typical aporias that are relevant to this querelle and proposes a concept of subjectivity which elaborates their productivity.
On emploie ici le terme « structuralisme » dans un sens large, incluant les œuvres de Lévi-Strauss et Barthes aussi bien que celles d'Althusser, de Lacan, de Foucault. J'y vois non pas un système ou une école de pensée, mais un mouvement, et j'y inclus également le « post-structuralisme » de Derrida et de Deleuze, en tant que « négation déterminée » de certains présupposés. Je soutiens que le structuralisme ne se caractérise pas par une position objectiviste, mais par la (...) relance de la tentative pour produire une « genèse » ou une « construction » du sujet au sein de structures transindividuelles, et donc pour y voir un système d'effets au lieu d'une cause originaire. Cette conversion d'un point de vue du sujet constituant au point de vue du sujet constitué explique l'importance des modèles linguistique, psychanalytique et anthropologique, ainsi que d'une certaine interprétation du marxisme comme théorie de l'imaginaire social chez les structuralistes. Quant au post-structuralisme, il déploie un mouvement de rectification, en présentant les limites de la subjectivité, qui impliquent la dissolution de la « normalité » et la mise à jour de la violence inhérente au processus de constitution, comme des « différences » pures qui engendrent l'activité et la passivité. Ce second mouvement contribue de façon décisive à conférer au structuralisme, non seulement une portée épistémologique, mais aussi une orientation éthique. (shrink)
The paper, which retains a hypothetical character, argues that Spinoza's propositions referring to God (or involving the use of the name ‘God’, essentially in the Ethics), can be read in a fruitful manner apart from any pre-established hypothesis concerning his own ‘theological preferences’, as definite descriptions of three ‘ideas of God’ which have the same logical status: one (akin to Jewish Monotheism) which identifies the idea of God with the idea of the Law, one (akin to a heretic ‘Socinian’ version (...) of Christianity) which identifies it with the idea of Human Love, and one (akin to a form of Cosmotheism, rather than ‘Pantheism’) which identifies it with Nature. Evidence of this analytic tripartition can be found in the letter of the texts themselves. If accepted (at least as a thought experiment), it would carry three interesting consequences: 1) to renew our understanding of the theory of the ‘three kinds of knowledge’, which have obvious affinities with the three possible ways of understanding the idea of God; 2) to emphasize the critical move associated by Spinoza with each of the three ideas of God (passing from an anthropomorphic legislator to an impersonal command, passing from an imaginary community of similarities to a practical community of singularities, and passing from a teleological and harmonious idea of nature to a causal, even conflictual, idea of its infinite power); 3) to locate the essential ethical and political questions associated with religion on the ‘vectors’ which lead from one idea to another, and represent themselves practical conatus: obedience, utility, order. It is also assumed that such a reading enhances the relevance of Spinoza's philosophy with respect to contemporary debates about religion and secularism. (shrink)
Abstract. This paper combines reflections on the current "state of war" in the Middle East with an epistemological discussion of the meaning and implications of the category "war" itself, in order to dissipate the confusions arising from the idea of a "War on Terror." The first part illustrates the insufficiency of the ideal type involved in dichotomies which are implicit in the naming and classifications of wars. They point nevertheless to a deeper problem which concerns the antinomic character of a (...) collective institution of violence. The second part discusses the extent to which, in spite of the historical transformations in the means and political objectives of wars, the contemporary confrontation still obeys the rules of warfare described by Clausewitz, particularly with respect to temporality ("friction"). The third part discusses "non-clausewitzian" aspects of the "new wars" defined by Martin Van Creveld and Mary Kaldor, while suggesting that they have left aside the most salient contradiction illustrated by the US interventions, which results from the combination of a claim to universal sovereignty and a reduction of war to generalized police operations. (shrink)
Borders are never purely local institutions, never reducible to a simple history of conflicts and agreements between neighboring groups and powers. Borders are already global, ways of dividing the world into regions and thus make possible place and a ‘mapping imaginary’. Borders are characterized by an intrinsic ambivalence that derives from their internal and external functions, as the basis of collective belonging and state control over mobility and territory. The construction of political space takes place through modes of translation between (...) inside and outside that the border signifies. (shrink)