Transcendental Auto-Immunity

.

.


.

.

In the 1935 Vienna Lecture, published in Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaften und die transzendentale Phänomenologie, Edmund Husserl diagnosed the European sciences and their Lebenswelt, ‘life-world,’ as being ridden by crisis; transcendental phenomenology sought to assume the proper philosophical responsibility. The war and its aftermath, the rise of Nazism, etc., were for Husserl signs of something fundamentally amiss in European civilization: a sickness the roots of which went well beyond the immediate circumstances of those terrible events. The heaping up of layers of forgetting of the origins of the sciences and transcendental phenomenology meant increased risk of estrangement, alienation, irrationality, inhumanity. As a result, the highest spiritual achievements of humankind risked appearing illegible. Encouraged by their successes, the natural sciences eventually further itself as the paradigm of true scientificity, truly an act of hubris. To which follows a structural blindness: it appeared for Husserl that despite increasing efficiency in gathering and manipulating data, there is an equally increasing incomprehensibility within the natural sciences themselves about what forms the base and purpose of those data and facts. As such warnings—from Husserl, Heidegger, Spengler, and so many others—were neglected, today the crisis of the sciences has grown tremendous, as if already unmanageable, and include, e.g., nuclear annihilation, generalized and globalized polluting of soil, water and air, mass extinction of species, climate changes, and scientific experiments which could produce strangelets and black holes. (Scientists at CERN claim that since their theories are correct the probability for producing strangelets and black holes is approximately nil; but is not the history of science full, precisely, of theories eventually proven false?)

For Husserl only a thorough process of Rückfragen could bring us back a jour with the sense and meaning of science and transcendental phenomenology, a fortiori revitalize our Lebenswelt, life-world: a rational and scientific culture such as that of Europe should not allow a critical split between science and life-world. Science and transcendental phenomenology could well do without Rückfragen, but our life-world would suffer. Such was thus the hypothesis from 1935, between the world wars.

Crisis, Krisis: from Greek, krinein, originally implied a pulling apart, a separating, a cutting or dividing. Crisis as Scheidung, thus: splitting, cutting apart. The sciences were seen as falling apart, resulting from too narrow and deficient forms of scientific rationality, as reflected in various forms of ‘objectivism,’ ‘naturalism,’ ‘logicism,’ ‘positivism,’ ‘fysicalism,’ etc.  Only a true philosophy could enable a re-establishment of the origin, thus healing the crisis.

But could the crisis of European culture, described by Husserl in 1935, better be described in 1965 as a transcendental auto-immunity? Jacques Derrida certainly evoked this possibility. Where Husserl evokes a temporary and normative frame, Derrida evokes something much more discomforting: a transcendental, thus “infinite,” catastrophe of an uncircumventable autoimmunity. However, not only is

Transcendental auto-immunity would thus scathe any phenomenology, but no less science in general in the degree to which science’s sine qua non is also one of semantic and conceptual exactitude, and one of commanding presence qua certitude and evidence itself. If science has transgressed beyond a certain phonocentrism, which is far from clear, provided one does not read phono too narrowly, science is still in the lure of a certain logocentrism to which certain sollicitationary measures apply.

Auto-immunity being transcendental signals its constitutive function. This transcendental would therefore counter Husserl’s project as much as it would that of science. Also, it would be irreducible—as would Husserl—to a specific, temporary and remediable crisis; it would be general and constitutive of phenomenalizing and conceptualization in general. Husserl was nevertheless the first to realize the systematic possibility of such a transcendental auto-immunity. In same lecture Husserl evokes the “inevitability of a transcendental pathology. As a sickness of reason.” Sadly, we have seen to many European intellectuals blindly confirming this credo. Surely Husserl wanted European science to get stronger.

Now let us read the greatest reader of Husserl:.

As I have done on other occasions, I just granted to this auto-immunitary schema a range without limit, one that goes far beyond the circumscribed biological processes by which an organism tends to destroy, in a quasi-spontaneous and more than suicidal fashion, some organ or other, one or another of its own immunitary protections.

Husserl’s Crisis: medical model employed from the outset. Gesundheit: ”..it becomes a question of what “sauver” means, in one of its senses, namely, the safe, the sound, the healthy, the unharmed or the immune (heilig), salvation (Rettung) itself, right up to and including the expression “to save the honor.” Husserl, Crisis, 270:

”Die europäischen Nationen sind krank, Europa selbst ist, sagt man, in einer Krisis.” 17

Before the irruption in spiritual Greece of the infinite telos of scientific and philosophical rationality there was a spekulative Wissen serving man and his life in the world (Weltleben). Then, here, Derrida says he wants to risk speaking, ”in the wake of Husserl, of a transcendental pathology and even a transcendental auto-immunity.” !!!!! 19

For Husserl this evil is objectivism, come by way of a “perpetual transformation in the form of a new [type of] historicity,” (H, Crisis, 277) “inscribed and prescribed the spiritual telos of European humanity, namely, the infinite idea (in the Kantian sense) of an infinite task as theoria, as theoretical attitude, and then as philosophical theoria.” (Derr.). This ideal of a “new sort of praxis” [Crisis, 283], namely, “universal scientific reason,” produces this amnesic evil called objectivism: “..as if by an irresistible internal secretion that is nothing other than finitude.” (D, 17) evil when one-sided and specialized, however necessary it is each regional science having its own rationality. Wherefore the task of pure rationality becomes arraisonnée, i.e., boarded and inspected, its identity verified by a division of labor and a model of some specific knowledge or rationality. 19-20

Husserl names the danger, an interior and intimate danger, an immanent danger or risk that philosophical reason made itself run, as if it wrongly gave itself reason—as if it wrongly considered itself right—to win out over itself [se donnait raison d’avoir raison d’elle-même], as if what it did were ill-suited to what it has to do, as if it did itself ill [se faisait mal] in winning itself over to winning out over itself, between the factual finiteness of its determined figures and the idea of its infinite task. For Husserl says he has been convinced that it is a mode of thought (Denkweise), that is, rational prejudices and presuppositions, that bear some of the responsibility for the sickness of Europe (mitschuldig wäre an der europäischen Erkrankung): 19

H inscribed this critique in the 30s flirt with irrationalist currents. First concern and ultimate target of Crisis. And the naïve rationalism that is implied, which marked the philosophy of the whole modern period from the Renaissance, implies all those sciences whose beginnings were already developed in antiquity. Most general title for this naiveté is: objectivism, taking the form of various naturalism, of the naturalization of the spirit. And, says Husserl, a higher stage of reflexivity is necessary. Something that not even Kant obtained. Crisis is no mere accident, Husserl knows it. produced by the very progress of the sciences, and by the products of ideal objects, “which, as if by themselves, by their iterability and their necessary technical structure, cover over or consign to forgetting their historical and subjective origin.” 19 and then NOTA BENE:

It is reason that throws reason into crisis, in an autonomous and quasi-auto-immunitary fashion. It could be shown that the ultimate “reason,” in the sense of cause or foundation, the raison d’être of this transcendental phenomenological auto-immunity, is located in the very structure of the present and of life, in the temporalization of what Husserl called the Living Present (die lebendige Gegenwart). The Living Present is produced only by altering and dissimulating itself. I don’t have the time, precisely, to pursue this path here, but I would like to note its necessity whenever the question of the becoming [devenir] and thus of the time of reason appears inseparable from the enormous question, the old and completely new question, of life (bios or zoé), which is at the very heart of the question of being, of presence and of beings, and thus of the question of “being and time,” of Sein und Zeit—a question accentuated this time on the side of life rather than death, if this still makes, as I am tempted to believe it does, something of a difference. 19

Second direction, 19-20: Derr about the becoming of plural logics and rationalities, and a certain to-come of reason, resisting the teleological unity of reason. And what here resists resembles what in the Kantian antinomies resisted the architectonic design. Things that with H and K “limits or ne19utralizes the event.” Such is teleologism: inhibits, suspends, even contradicts “the eventfulness of what comes, beginning with the scientific event, the techno-scientific invention that “finds” what it seeks, that finds itself finding, and thus is possible as such, only when invention is im-possible, that is, when it is not programmed by a structure of expectation and anticipation that annuls it by making it possible and thus foreseeable.” D

this teleology not only general and universal; also able to constitute what orients a determined configuration: paradigm with Kuhn, episteme with Foucault; …“along with so many other supposed infrastructures of techno-scientific discovery.” D then about telos as what annuls and neutralizes the unforeseeable and incalculable irruption, the singular and exceptional alterity of what [ce qui] comes, or indeed who [qui] comes, that without which, or the one without whom, nothing happens or arrives any more.” Thus also a question of the horizon and of any horizontal seeing-come in general. 20

the reactionary lures according to Husserl, when things turn to Aufklärerei, a word which goes back to Hegel. To deny that he (Husserl) is not out for a rehabilitation of rationalism and Enlightenment he uses Ehrenrettung: rehabilitation, apology, or defense, salvaging or rescuing of honor. H doesn’t want to save the honor of that rationalism, Ehrenrettung des Rationalismus; Heidegger’s interpretation of retten: to save, immunize, but also to economize, save, spare, or liberate, to make free and open up the openness of freedom. In einem verirrenden Rationalismus wurzelt. 21

Third direction: for Husserl the crisis is ambiguous, rationalist and irrationalist, it is to be overcome; failing only in appearance and “indicates only the apparent failure of rationalism.” (D) (H: deutlich werden als das scheinbare Scheitern des Rationalismus; Crisis 299) Such is Hs conclusion. And so one needs to endure a certain “heroism of reason.” …”undoing the appearance, doing away with this nothing that the appearance is.”  Der Grund des Versagens lies not in rationalism’s essence but (H): solely in its being rendered superficial (Veräusserlichung [Crisis 299])” 22 It is its entanglement in [as in a coccon] naturalism and objectivism; in seiner Versponnenheit in “Naturalismus” und “Objektivismus.” 299

The metaphor of the cocoon, that “objectivizes animalizes, indeed naturalizes a non-natural movement: reason spontaneously envelops itself in the web and threads that itself weaves, after having itself secreted them¾like a silkworm. The threads of this web come at one to reveal and veil the unveiling of truth. This reason resembles the physis of a silkworm, which, from the inside, on its own, produces and objectivizes (22) …

… on the outside the veil of naturalism and objectivism in which it will shut itself up for a time. Up until the point when the heroism of reason makes it appear, resuscitates it, and lets it be reborn. Like a phoenix, now, coming into the light.” 23 Then Husserl, a few lines later:

…the phoenix of a new life-inwardness and spiritualization as the pledge of a great and distant future for man: for the spirit alone is immortal. (C 299)

saving us from night and death, where we could ask whether the “heroism of reason indeed stems, in an immanent fashion, from reason: and whether faith in reason remains, through and through, something rational¾something reasoned and reasonable.” For Husserl it is a yes, but Derrida here seems to be willing to problematize such an affirmation. For H the European crisis of existence has two escapes: either escape from reason and estrangement from its rational sense of life, or rebirth of a reason [Heroismus der Vernunft] that “overcomes naturalism once and for all.” (H, C 299) 23

For H as for Kant theoretical reason is practical reason through and through; a prescriptive and normative task. And Kant marks the inflexible subordination of theoretical to practical reason, since otherwise a conflict (Widerstreit) of reason with itself would arise. 23

Fourth direction: n and obj critical perversions, then, relative what links the ideality of the ideal object to exactitude, and thus to a certain type of calculability. Vs. rigor. 24

I will not develop here, for lack of time and because I have treated this elsewhere, the logico-mathematical question of undecidables and Gödel’s theorem of 1931, which I tried long ago to trace in Husserl’s thought of the transcendental historicity of, for example, geometry. 24

D situates the “possibility of an incalculable that is neither irrational nor dubitable. I am simply noting that a rational and rigorous incalculability presented itself as such in the greatest tradition of rationalist idealism.” 25

And thus the rationality of the rational was never really limited to the ratio, to the account, an account to be settled or an account given. At once universal and exceptional. Kant’s “sublime,” this incalculable dignity remains “the indispensable axiomatic, in the so-called globalization that is under way, of the discourses and international institutions concerning human rights and other modern performatives.” 25

Logos as proportion, the logos of an analogy: 25

“act as if (als ob) your maxims had to serve at the same time as a universal law (for all rational beings) (Groundwork, 106), and this is on the other hand only possible by analogy (nach der Analogie) with a kingdom of nature where this kingdom is considered as a machine (als Machine), that is, subject to the constraints of calculable laws. 26

Fifth direction: unconditionality, in German translated from Greek, remains the ultimate resource and absolute principle of reason; at the same time it remains what binds practical reason to the theoretical reason it subordinates. Philosophy in its archontic function because, for H, philosophy seeks unconditional truths; the idea of the truth of science “wants to be unconditional truth.” [Sie will unbedingte Wahrheit sein.] (C 278) Attesting to the fact that unconditionality is the truth of truth. And in Critique K says that the hierarchy is irreversible because what is at stake is the very Interesse of reason, the interest of theoretical reason thus being conditioned. 26

Now after these five directions, lending to another hearing of the phrase “saving the honor of reason,” the “question of the event, of the coming and of the to-come, that is, the future, of the event.” 27

Elisabeth Weber, Lacan, Koyré, etc., to be developed…

What does the hypothesis say as soon as we inscribe it simultaneously in geodeconstruction and homodeconstruction, keeping in mind, undoubtedly, that also the human version of deconstruction is nature’s own? Already in his early texts, Derrida makes explicit and complex references to a viral lexicon, consisting of terms such as contamination, dissemination, grafting, auto-affection, auto-immunity, etc. There is thus a linking of deconstruction to matters of the textuality of the total destruction of manifold nuclear missiles. A broader application made, then. A gradual revelation.

Nietzsche/Rousseau. Why then help deconstruction out? Is this not already biased? Why this addition? Or this implication?

Codes get différanceialized in spacetime. Perhaps even spacetime curvature is an other instance of différance? The code for the Newtonian space and time gets “misread”?

Elisabeth Weber’s “Elijah’s Futures” reads Heidegger, Lacan, and Koyré into Derrida, and reveals a secret and strange complicity, however distant an affinity, between the two deserts of modern science and mysticism. Two arid discourses.

With modern science came the destruction of man; link up to Agamben’s camp discourse. Then mine here on.

This hypothesis, however, is not necessary. Since it no longer has a hypothetical character. Its referent is de facto in the very making. It is slower than a nuclear war.

And Derrida’s contending that all of his work is work on the viral.

The sciencescape is worrisome. And the political motivations of the so-called world wars are a prerequisite of our current nature war; recent ecohistory would not be imaginable without the political will to destabilize the emerging of a technically possible united world culture. Capitalism is the economical fuel that stirs the sciences and the technologies to such extents of cruel warfare against nature — be it conscious or unconscious.

Deconstruction inventive? But in that case, not in the horizon of the reception. “…the whole environment of reception that by definition ought never to be ready to welcome an authentic innovation.” (217) This hypothesis would add that “an invention ought to produce a disordering mechanism. “A strange return of a desire for invention.” …”to invent the world.” …”lift the apparent contradiction that might exist between deconstruction and invention.”

(“Psyche: Inventions of the Other,” 218)

“Deconstruction is inventive or it is nothing at all; it does not settle for methodical procedures, it opens up a passageway, it marches ahead and marks a trail; its writing is not only performative, it produces rules¾other conventions¾for new performativities andnever installs itself in the theoretical assurance of a simple opposition between performative and constative.” 218

The “originary contamination” of the mundane and the transcendental, the originary contamination that constantly menaces the phenomenological enterprise (PG vii; also 30). Already there in 1954 we see the Derridean thematic spring forth, the well of deconstruction: originary contamination. The question was explicit aimed to Husserl: the possibility of a dialectics of the Absolute (in the two senses of the genitive), of “an absolute dialectics of nondialectics and dialectics” (PG 17), but only by way of a new definition of intentionality, in the strongly anti-Kantian idea of “transcendental experience,” the originary unity and the common root of passivity and activity, of genesis and structure(as articulated more mature in “‘Genesis and Structure’ in Phenomenology.” The problem is that the product of transcendental genesis(ideality(escapes its own genesis or “neutralizes” it, so that the only solution is dialectics as the identity of identity and alterity or as the continuity of continuity and discontinuity (PG 8).  “Does such a diealectics of genesis and structure have in fact something to do with a “contamination” of facticity and transcendentality? Or, should we not rather pay attention to the rhythm, to the scansion of the dialectical way of thinking, which cannot “immediately” produce the sought for identity, which does not merely inscribe the differential moment into identity, but also shows in a violent and tragic manner that unity can appear only while being split?” (Modern physics?) The “irreducible deficiency” of Husserl’s philosophy of genesis then a result of it not being dialectical enough. Accounting for the fact that in the Avertissement Derrida acknowledges that it was not without remorse his withdrawal from phenomenology and dialectics, whose trace can be found in a 1966 passage on Artaud, e.g., where is said that dialectic, but outside of a conventional Hegelianism, can be understood as “the indefinite movement of finitude, of the unity of life and death, of difference, of originary repetition, that is to say the origin of tragedy as the absence of simple origin” (ET, 248/364)  As Husserl was unable to focus the “dialectical complicity” (PG 7) of the originiary, that the constituted to be the Absolute must be prior to constitution itself in an essential self-différance: Husserl thereby refused to see that “philosophy originates from an existence whose finitude appears to itself” (PG 41). Husserl “reduces human finitude to an accident of history, to an ‘essence of man’ “ and “understands temporality on the ground of a potential or actual eternity in which man had been able or could be able to participate” (PG 41). It is perhaps not surprising that Derrida ends quoting Husserl’s very last words: “Right now, when I am at the end of the line and when everything is finished for me, I know that I have to begin all over again” (PG 283). Here Derrida reads the necessity of a new beginning, of an inversion of intentional analysis where the starting point can no longer be the constituted but rather the constitutive act itself(the failure then of Husserl’s philosophy seen in a definitely Heideggerian light.

Things to be analysed:

A philosophy in mourning, I said, either because the world would be on the verge of losing reason, indeed of losing itself as world, or else because reason itself, reason as such, would be on the verge of being threatening; it would be a power, it would have the power to threaten itself, to lose the meaning and humanity of the world. To lose itself all by itself, to go down on its own, to auto-immunize itself, as I would prefer to say in order to designate this strange illogical logic by which a living being can spontaneously destroy, in an autonomous fashion, the very thing within it that is supposed to protect it against the other, to immunize it against the aggressive intrusion of the other. By speaking in this way of auto-immunity, by determining in so ambiguous a fashion the threat, the danger, the default or the failure, the running aground and the grounding, but also the salvation, the rescue, the safeguarding, health or security, as so many diabolically auto-immunitary assurances, virtually capable not only of destroying themselves in suicidal fashion, but of turning a certain death drive against the autos itself, against the ipseity that any suicide worthy of its name still presupposes, I am trying to suggest in passing that I would like to situate the question of life and of the living being, of life and of death, of life-death, at the heart of my remarks.


[immune as protection against the other; what about allocracy then?]

Dominique Janicaud, Powers of the Rational:

To grasp the Incalculable within the general order of calculation: this is, here, no magical operation but the revelation of what is eventful in the epoch.2

And at the end of the book, as a next-to-last word:

The incalculable is there, but we ought not exempt ourselves from counting—counting with it, though not on it—from measuring ourselves against time, always our adversary. . . . There is no need to invoke our certain death. Finitude is inscribed in the very structure of life, in the fragile destiny of the planet as well as of all other beings. (PR, 261) 10

Then section 1. Teleology and Architectonic: The Neutralization of the Event

Then Derr, in ”The ”World” of the Enlightenment To Come (Exception, Calculation, Sovereignty”:

(And he in fact liked this word share, and precisely concerning reason; toward the end of his Powers of the Rational, in speaking about what he called “the future as such,” he added after a colon: “its partage,” its sharing out).

WETC, in Research in Phenomenology, 33, Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands 2003. Its departure Edmund Husserl’s 1935-36 text The Crisis of European Sciences, trying to carve out a new conception of reason, from Kant on, his #coming of the age of reason or rationality. Challenging the very concepts of sovereignty and identity. Only such a renewal, such a renewed thinking of reason or of what is reasonable can help us diagnose, analyze, and help treat some of the aporias posed by a whole host of contemporary issues, from cloning to the erosion of the nation-state to globalization and terrorism.

Derr: “A terribly ambiguous hypothesis came at the time, as any good hypothèsis [in Greek] must, to place itself beneath [se mettre dessous]. A hypothesis imposed itself beneath what I had just heard myself say. The idiomatic phrasing of its credo or rallying call could be squeezed into six words: “to save the honor of reason.” Someone in me whispered to me: “Perhaps it would be a matter of saving the honor of reason.” “Perhaps on that day, in the daylight of today, in the light of the enlighten… 10

… ment of this day, it would be a matter of saving the honor of reason.” Perhaps it would even be necessary. It would be a matter of here means it would be necessary. Slipping in under every word, the hypothesis opened an abyss beneath each of my steps.” 11

reor means I believe, I think, I calculate, and ratio: reason or calculation, account and proportion…

Whether armed or disarmed, the great question of reason would already begin to unfurl its sails for a geo-political voyage across Europe and its languages, across Europe and the rest of the world. Is reason (logos or ratio) first of all a Mediterranean thing? Would it have made it safely to port, with Athens or Rome in view, so as to remain until the end of time tied to its maritime shores? Would it have never really lifted anchor or been set adrift? Would it have never broken away, in a decisive or critical fashion, from its birthplaces, its geography and its genealogy?

The honor of reason—is that reason? Is honor reasonable or rational through and through? The very form of this question can be applied analogically to everything that evaluates, affirms, or prescribes reason: to prefer reason, is that rational, or, and this is something else, reasonable? The value of reason, the desire for reason, the dignity of reason—are these rational? Do these have to do wholly with reason? What authorizes one to inscribe again or already under the authority of reason a particular interest of reason (Interesse der Vernunft), this interest of reason, this interest in reason, this interest for a reason that, as Kant reminds us, is at once practical, speculative, and architectonic, though first of all architectonic?3 For Kant declares, and this will be important for what follows, “human reason is by nature architectonic.”4 That is what motivates Kant in the antinomies to privilege the moment of the thesis over against an antithesis that threatens the systemic edifice and thus disturbs the architectonic desire or interest, most often so as to take into account, antithetically, themes that should be important to us today, namely, divisibility, eventfulness, and conditionality.

Reasons passes for being disinterested… then what is still interested?

If this architectonic vocation of reason is indeed systemic and unifying, what risks threatening it today are not only the figures of the antithesis in the antinomies of the transcendental dialectic. It is also the just as rational necessity, rational, that is, from the point of view of a history and of a development or becoming [devenir] of the sciences, to take into account plural rationalities. Each of these has its own ontological “region,” its own necessity, style, axiomatics, institutions, community, and historicity. These plural rationalities thus resist, in the name of their very rationality, any architectonic organization. They do so through their distinct historicity, through the figures and configurations that inform them, however they might be named or interpreted by means of such categories as paradigm, themata, episteme, the supposed epistemological break, and so on; and they do so through all the diVerences between mathematics, the natural or life sciences, the human sciences, the social sciences or the humanities, physics as well as biology, law and political economy, politology, psychology, psychoanalysis, and literary theory, along with all the techniques and institutional communities that are inseparable from their knowledge. Such an architectonic organization would do these violence by bending their untranslatable heterogeneity, one that is without analogy, and inscribing them in the unity of a “world” that Kant spoke of as a “regulative idea of reason,” one for which the unification of experience that totalizes it requires an “as if” (als ob). It is as if all the modal, rhetorical, logical, or phenomenological trajectories of the “as,” the “as such,” and the “as if” (phenomenality, fiction, analogy, logos of proportion, simulacrum and simulation, art and techné, technique and artifact) converged upon and confronted one another here so as to provoke or defy this architectonic desire, this unifying and appropriating order of reason. A reason that is essentially |. Is it not then in the name of these heterogeneous rationalities, in the name of their specificity and their future, their history, and their “enlightenment,” that we must call into question the masterly and mastering authority of architectonics and thus of a certain “world,” that is, the unity of the regulative idea of the world that authorizes that world in advance? Which presupposes, there- fore, a veritable genealogy of the world, of the concept of world, in the discourses concerning mondialisation [worldwide-ization] or, what should be something else altogether, globalization or Globalisierung.

… the expression “to save the honor of reason” speaks not only of the respectful saving [salut] and honoring of reason. Salut is also the security, the assurance, or honorable rescue [sauvetage] of reason. Its indemnity or its immunity.

…might suggest the imminent failure, the announcement of a loss—where reason risks losing or getting lost, where reason is lost, for example, in madness, through some aberration or mental illness, or where consciousness, conscience, or science, that is, responsible lucidity in general, is lost, or where reason has become a lost cause. Wherever reason gets lost, wherever it is lost or losing, we would say to ourselves, let’s save its honor.

… only two ends, two eschatologies, two ways of going aground [échouer]: between running aground [échouement] [accident, and event sent to bottom (fond)] and grounding [échouage] [intentionally, freely, deliberately, in a calculable and calculated, autonomous manner, also resembling an event].

… the proximity between figures of reason and those of the bottom or the ground, the foundation, the groundwork, the principle of sufficient reason, the principium rationis, the nihil est sine ratione as Satz vom Grund, the Satz vom zureichenden Grunde of the Leibnizian Theodicy and its reinterpretative repetition by Heidegger. … Grund opens the Abgrund … giving an account [rendre-compte]—logon didonai or principium reddendae rationis—are threatened by or drawn into the abyss, indeed by more than one abyss

… which we would wish to salute one last time, with the eschatological melancholy of a philosophy in mourning. When nothing more can be saved, one tries to save honor in defeat. 14-15

…. The important warnings Husserl issued in 1935-36, between the two so-called world wars, between two globalizations or worldwide-izations [mondialisation] of war?

[world wars replaced by “nature wars”] … a wholly other end of war that we are perhaps living at this very moment, an end of war, the end of the very concept of war, of the European concept, the juridical concept, of war (of every war: international war, civil war, and even, as Schmitt would call it, “partisan war,” which, whether in a form called terrorist or not, would still be fought, in the end, within the horizon of a nation- state to be combatted, liberated, or founded)

… beyond a philosophical crisis that would be, to recall a title of Husserl, a crisis of European humanity. [This is what Derrida asks us to do.] 16

Are we going through a time that can in fact be gone through, hoping to go through it so as one day to get beyond it in the course of a critical, dangerous, but provisional or periodic, passage, one that we would thus have the right to call a crisis? 16

..to think something other than crisis. “Perhaps we are enduring a tremor at once more and less serious, something other, in any case, than a crisis of reason, beyond a crisis of science or of conscience, beyond a crisis of Europe, beyond a philosophical crisis that would be, to recall a title of Husserl, a crisis of European humanity.” 16

[but globalization is not all about politics and economics, etc.; it is no less a scientific and technological issue: “…that the concepts of international law, nation-state sovereignty, or sovereignty in general, tremble from this same tremor that is so confusedly called “globalization” [mondialisation].”] 16

Derr then develops the question in five directions:

As I have done on other occasions, I just granted to this auto-immunitary schema a range without limit, one that goes far beyond the circumscribed biological processes by which an organism tends to destroy, in a quasi-spontaneous and more than suicidal fashion, some organ or other, one or another of its own immunitary protections. 16

In his Vienna Lecture, 1935 from Crisis, Husserl evokes the ”inevitability of a transcendental pathology. As a sickness of reason.” medical model employed from the outset. Gesundheit: ”..it becomes a question of what “sauver” means, in one of its senses, namely, the safe, the sound, the healthy, the unharmed or the immune (heilig), salvation (Rettung) itself, right up to and including the expression “to save the honor.” Husserl, Crisis, 270: ”Die europäischen Nationen sind krank, Europa selbst ist, sagt man, in einer Krisis.” 17

Before the irruption in spiritual Greece of the infinite telos of scientific and philosophical rationality there was a spekulative Wissen serving man and his life in the world (Weltleben). Then, here, Derrida says he wants to risk speaking, ”in the wake of Husserl, of a transcendental pathology and even a transcendental auto-immunity.” !!!!! 19

For Husserl this evil is objectivism, come by way of a “perpetual transformation in the form of a new [type of] historicity,” (H, Crisis, 277) “inscribed and prescribed the spiritual telos of European humanity, namely, the infinite idea (in the Kantian sense) of an infinite task as theoria, as theoretical attitude, and then as philosophical theoria.” (Derr.). This ideal of a “new sort of praxis” [Crisis, 283], namely, “universal scientific reason,” produces this amnesic evil called objectivism: “..as if by an irresistible internal secretion that is nothing other than finitude.” (D, 17) evil when one-sided and specialized, however necessary it is each regional science having its own rationality. Wherefore the task of pure rationality becomes arraisonnée, i.e., boarded and inspected, its identity verified by a division of labor and a model of some specific knowledge or rationality. 19-20

Husserl names the danger, an interior and intimate danger, an immanent danger or risk that philosophical reason made itself run, as if it wrongly gave itself reason—as if it wrongly considered itself right—to win out over itself [se donnait raison d’avoir raison d’elle-même], as if what it did were ill-suited to what it has to do, as if it did itself ill [se faisait mal] in winning itself over to winning out over itself, between the factual finiteness of its determined figures and the idea of its infinite task. For Husserl says he has been convinced that it is a mode of thought (Denkweise), that is, rational prejudices and presuppositions, that bear some of the responsibility for the sickness of Europe (mitschuldig wäre an der europäischen Erkrankung): 19

H inscribed this critique in the 30s flirt with irrationalist currents. First concern and ultimate target of Crisis. And the naïve rationalism that is implied, which marked the philosophy of the whole modern period from the Renaissance, implies all those sciences whose beginnings were already developed in antiquity. Most general title for this naiveté is: objectivism, taking the form of various naturalism, of the naturalization of the spirit. And, says Husserl, a higher stage of reflexivity is necessary. Something that not even Kant obtained. Crisis is no mere accident, Husserl knows it. produced by the very progress of the sciences, and by the products of ideal objects, “which, as if by themselves, by their iterability and their necessary technical structure, cover over or consign to forgetting their historical and subjective origin.” 19 and then NOTA BENE:

It is reason that throws reason into crisis, in an autonomous and quasi-auto-immunitary fashion. It could be shown that the ultimate “reason,” in the sense of cause or foundation, the raison d’être of this transcendental phenomenological auto-immunity, is located in the very structure of the present and of life, in the temporalization of what Husserl called the Living Present (die lebendige Gegenwart). The Living Present is produced only by altering and dissimulating itself. I don’t have the time, precisely, to pursue this path here, but I would like to note its necessity whenever the question of the becoming [devenir] and thus of the time of reason appears inseparable from the enormous question, the old and completely new question, of life (bios or zoé), which is at the very heart of the question of being, of presence and of beings, and thus of the question of “being and time,” of Sein und Zeit—a question accentuated this time on the side of life rather than death, if this still makes, as I am tempted to believe it does, something of a difference. 19

Second direction, 19-20: Derr about the becoming of plural logics and rationalities, and a certain to-come of reason, resisting the teleological unity of reason. And what here resists resembles what in the Kantian antinomies resisted the architectonic design. Things that with H and K “limits or ne19utralizes the event.” Such is teleologism: inhibits, suspends, even contradicts “the eventfulness of what comes, beginning with the scientific event, the techno-scientific invention that “finds” what it seeks, that finds itself finding, and thus is possible as such, only when invention is im-possible, that is, when it is not programmed by a structure of expectation and anticipation that annuls it by making it possible and thus foreseeable.” D

this teleology not only general and universal; also able to constitute what orients a determined configuration: paradigm with Kuhn, episteme with Foucault; …“along with so many other supposed infrastructures of techno-scientific discovery.” D then about telos as what annuls and neutralizes the unforeseeable and incalculable irruption, the singular and exceptional alterity of what [ce qui] comes, or indeed who [qui] comes, that without which, or the one without whom, nothing happens or arrives any more.” Thus also a question of the horizon and of any horizontal seeing-come in general. 20

the reactionary lures according to Husserl, when things turn to Aufklärerei, a word which goes back to Hegel. To deny that he (Husserl) is not out for a rehabilitation of rationalism and Enlightenment he uses Ehrenrettung: rehabilitation, apology, or defense, salvaging or rescuing of honor. H doesn’t want to save the honor of that rationalism, Ehrenrettung des Rationalismus; Heidegger’s interpretation of retten: to save, immunize, but also to economize, save, spare, or liberate, to make free and open up the openness of freedom. In einem verirrenden Rationalismus wurzelt. 21

Third direction: for Husserl the crisis is ambiguous, rationalist and irrationalist, it is to be overcome; failing only in appearance and “indicates only the apparent failure of rationalism.” (D) (H: deutlich werden als das scheinbare Scheitern des Rationalismus; Crisis 299) Such is Hs conclusion. And so one needs to endure a certain “heroism of reason.” …”undoing the appearance, doing away with this nothing that the appearance is.”  Der Grund des Versagens lies not in rationalism’s essence but (H): solely in its being rendered superficial (Veräusserlichung [Crisis 299])” 22 It is its entanglement in [as in a coccon] naturalism and objectivism; in seiner Versponnenheit in “Naturalismus” und “Objektivismus.” 299

The metaphor of the cocoon, that “objectivizes animalizes, indeed naturalizes a non-natural movement: reason spontaneously envelops itself in the web and threads that itself weaves, after having itself secreted them¾like a silkworm. The threads of this web come at one to reveal and veil the unveiling of truth. This reason resembles the physis of a silkworm, which, from the inside, on its own, produces and objectivizes (22) …

… on the outside the veil of naturalism and objectivism in which it will shut itself up for a time. Up until the point when the heroism of reason makes it appear, resuscitates it, and lets it be reborn. Like a phoenix, now, coming into the light.” 23 Then Husserl, a few lines later:

…the phoenix of a new life-inwardness and spiritualization as the pledge of a great and distant future for man: for the spirit alone is immortal. (C 299)

saving us from night and death, where we could ask whether the “heroism of reason indeed stems, in an immanent fashion, from reason: and whether faith in reason remains, through and through, something rational¾something reasoned and reasonable.” For Husserl it is a yes, but Derrida here seems to be willing to problematize such an affirmation. For H the European crisis of existence has two escapes: either escape from reason and estrangement from its rational sense of life, or rebirth of a reason [Heroismus der Vernunft] that “overcomes naturalism once and for all.” (H, C 299) 23

For H as for Kant theoretical reason is practical reason through and through; a prescriptive and normative task. And Kant marks the inflexible subordination of theoretical to practical reason, since otherwise a conflict (Widerstreit) of reason with itself would arise. 23

Fourth direction: n and obj critical perversions, then, relative what links the ideality of the ideal object to exactitude, and thus to a certain type of calculability. Vs. rigor. 24

I will not develop here, for lack of time and because I have treated this elsewhere, the logico-mathematical question of undecidables and Gödel’s theorem of 1931, which I tried long ago to trace in Husserl’s thought of the transcendental historicity of, for example, geometry. 24

D situates the “possibility of an incalculable that is neither irrational nor dubitable. I am simply noting that a rational and rigorous incalculability presented itself as such in the greatest tradition of rationalist idealism.” 25

And thus the rationality of the rational was never really limited to the ratio, to the account, an account to be settled or an account given. At once universal and exceptional. Kant’s “sublime,” this incalculable dignity remains “the indispensable axiomatic, in the so-called globalization that is under way, of the discourses and international institutions concerning human rights and other modern performatives.” 25

Logos as proportion, the logos of an analogy: 25

“act as if (als ob) your maxims had to serve at the same time as a universal law (for all rational beings) (Groundwork, 106), and this is on the other hand only possible by analogy (nach der Analogie) with a kingdom of nature where this kingdom is considered as a machine (als Machine), that is, subject to the constraints of calculable laws. 26

Fifth direction: unconditionality, in German translated from Greek, remains the ultimate resource and absolute principle of reason; at the same time it remains what binds practical reason to the theoretical reason it subordinates. Philosophy in its archontic function because, for H, philosophy seeks unconditional truths; the idea of the truth of science “wants to be unconditional truth.” [Sie will unbedingte Wahrheit sein.] (C 278) Attesting to the fact that unconditionality is the truth of truth. And in Critique K says that the hierarchy is irreversible because what is at stake is the very Interesse of reason, the interest of theoretical reason thus being conditioned. 26

Now after these five directions, lending to another hearing of the phrase “saving the honor of reason,” the “question of the event, of the coming and of the to-come, that is, the future, of the event.” 27

Thus: did K and H ask about: “what arrives or happens by reason and to reason, according to this coming, according to this verbal noun that links such notions as event, advent, future, and mutation to a vocabulary of the coming, a verbal noun twice inscribed—in a phrase that is rather untranslatably French—in the title of our conference, “la raison et son avenir, le devenir des rationalités” [reason and its to-come, the becoming of rationalities].” 27

There where … one no longer sees it coming, not horizontally: without prospect or horizon. Venir, avenir, devenir. But what then about revenir?

D. separate the unconditional from anything of the systematics ordered by transcendental idealism and teleology, thus to grant it to an other reason (“the classical reason of what presents itself or announces its presentation according to the eidos, the idea, the ideal, the regulative idea or, something else that here amounts to the same, the telos.”). 27

Hypothesis [in Greek] will have signified before all else the base or basis, the infrastructure posed beneath or at the bottom of a foundation. As such, it will have been a figure for the bottom or the basement, the groundwork or the foundation, and thus the principle of a thing, the reason of an institution, the raison d’être of a science or a reasoning, of a logos or a logic, of a theory, rationalization, or ratiocination. It will have also done this as the subject, substance, or supposition of a discourse, as a proposition, design, or resolution, but most often as a condition. The rationality of reason is forever destined, and universally so, for every possible future and development, every possible to- come and becoming, to contend between, on the one hand, all these figures and conditions of the hypothetical and, on the other hand, the absolute sovereignty of the anhypothetical, of the unconditional or absolute principle, a principle that I qualify as sovereign so as at once to give one of the notes, and not just a political note, of my words today, but also so as to recall in advance, having already had to cite it, whether I wanted to or not, a moment within the canonical text of Plato’s Republic that I would be tempted to consider quasi-inaugural. It is the moment when, for the first time, in Greek, the question is posed, when the demand, rather, is made, in Greek, a demand that just… 28

…might be, still today, here and now, at once our postulation and our common, inflexible, and demanding interrogation. It is the question of or demand for knowledge as power, for truth and for capacity (dynamis, Vermögen), namely, for the power to know, for power-knowledge, for the power of knowledge, for knowledge as power. We must let this question resonate right up to us, here and now, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, this question about dynamis, about a force and a power but also about the possible and its limits, about the possible and the impossible, about a sovereign “I can” and an “I cannot,” about the potential and the virtual; we must let this question resonate whenever what is at stake is the calculable and the incalculable in ethical, juridical, and political reason, to be sure, but also, inseparably, in the technical reason of what is called a bit too quickly today the techno-sciences, bio-politics, and so on. 29

…first of all an interrogation into the cause of science Concerning Plato’s Republic’s theme of the power of knowing: …”and truth (aitian d’epistémés ousan kai alétheias) insofar as they are known. Now, this cause, namely, that which gives us the capacity, the force, the power, the potential (dynamis) of knowing and that thus gives truth (alétheia) to the things to be known, is, we must not forget, an idea of the good (idea tou agathou).” 29

…the mathematical (which itself, from the inside, will have ordered the line and its logos) 29

It is a question of a power more powerful than power, conveyed in a sovereign superlative that undercuts in an exceptional fashion the analogy and hierarchy it nonetheless imposes. That is the essence without essence of sovereignty. Besides basileus and kurion, the words Plato uses are those that will have named sovereignty in the whole complicated, rich, and differential history of the political onto-theology of sovereignty in the West. It is the super-powerful origin of a reason that gives reason or proves right [donne raison], that wins out over [a raison de] everything, that knows everything and lets everything be known, that produces becoming or genesis but does not itself become, remaining withdrawn in an exemplary, hyperbolic fashion from becoming or from genesis. It engenders like a generative principle of life, like a father, but it is not itself subject to history. 30

Radicalism: But I will insist on the word presbeia, quite rightly translated by majesté. For presbeia is the honor and dignity attached to the ancientness or seniority of what precedes and comes first, the honor and dignity attached to age, to birthright, but also to the principate, to the precedence of what or who has the privilege of the predecessor or forebear, of the ancestor, the father or grandfather—and thus of that which begins and commands, of the arché, if you will. Presbeion, I also note, since honor has from very beginning held the place of honor here, is also the honor conferred upon the oldest, the dignity that distinguishes the archaic or the archontic, the firstborn in a filiation, in what is called in testamentary law not the principium but, still in Roman law, the praecipuum, from praecipuus (the right accorded to the first heir, from caput and from capital, yet again). 31

Basileus, and the Greek family of kurion and arché — the connection (Bodin)

The question underlying all said in this text: ”Can one think an original prosthesis of the sun?” 32

And Husserl: Though the development (or the becoming of in�infinite ideals and tasks) weakened in antiquity, it was nevertheless not lost. Let us make the leap to the so-called modern period. With a burning enthusiasm the infinite task of a mathematical knowledge of nature and of knowledge of the world in general is taken up. The immense successes in the knowledge of nature are now supposed to be shared by the knowledge of the spirit (der Geisteserkenntnis zuteil werden). Reason has demonstrated its force in relation to nature (Die Vernunft hat ihre Kraft in der Natur erwiesen). [Crisis, 294]

Husserl then continues by citing Descartes to support what he has just advanced.

“Just as the sun is the one all-illuminating and warming sun, so reason is also the one reason” (Descartes). (Crisis, 294)

Then section II. To Arrive¾at the Ends of the State [Arriver¾aux fins de lEtat] (and of War, and of World War) 32

…Ds hypothesis: the irreducible inseparability between the exigency of sovereignty in general and the unconditional exigency of the unconditioned (anhypothéton, unbedingt, inconditionné). Thus calculative reason (ratio, intellect, understanding) would ally and submit itself to a principle of unconditionality that “tends to exceed the calculation it funds.” 32

its resistance appears absolute; Bodin, Rousseau, Schmitt thinks sovereignty as “unconditional, absolute, and especially, as a result, indivisible.” 33 Science too is sovereignty these days.

…Can and must we separate them, nonetheless, in the name of reason¾and event, of the arrival, venue, or the coming, venir, that is inscribed in the to-come, à-venir, as well as the be-coming, de-venir, of reason? The two poles of rationality is thus unconditionality and sovereignty. Says D. a postulation this, as D underlines¾to avoid the princely and powerful authority of the principle, the arché and presbeia; and also rather than axiomatic in order to avoid a comparative and thus calculable scale of values and evaluations.

Then to think a separation unthinkable to logos¾or “at least to legein interpreted as gathering or as gathering of the self, as the collecting of oneself.” Then immediately follows:

Is this possible when the thought of the world to come and, �first of all, of what is called man’s terra firma is undergoing terror, the fears and tremblings of an earthquake whose every jolt is in some way overdetermined and de�ned by forces in want of sovereignty [en mal de souveraineté]—sovereignty in general but, more visibly, more decipherably, indivisible nation-state sovereignty. Can we not and

must we not distinguish, even when this appears impossible, between, on the one hand, the compulsion or auto-positioning of sovereignty (which is nothing less than that of ipseity itself, of the selfsame of the oneself (meisme, from metipsissimus), an ipseity that includes within itself, as the etymology would also confi�rm, the androcentric positioning of power in the master or head of the household, the sovereign mastery of the lord or seigneur, of the father or husband, the power of the same, of ipse as the selfsame self ) and, on the other hand, this postulation of unconditionality, which can be found in the critical exigency as well as in the (forgive the expression) deconstructive exigency of reason? In the name of reason? For deconstruction, if something of the sort exists, would remain above all, in my view, an unconditional rationalism … 33

… that never renounces—and precisely in the name of the Enlightenment to come, in the space to be opened up of a democracy to come—suspending in an argued, deliberated, rational fashion, all conditions, hypotheses, conventions, and presuppositions, and criticizing unconditionally all conditionalities, including those that still found the critical idea, namely, those of the krinein, of the krisis, of the binary or dialectical decision or judgment. 34

undertaking of deconstructing “sovereignty in the name of unconditionality.” 34

Cause what is at stake is “another thought of the possible (of power, of the masterly and sovereign “I can,” of ipseity itself) and of an im-possible that would not be simply negative.” 34

Namely, the “event in its essential structure”; in the event or the advent, in the invention of

what happens or arrives, the semantic link between the avenir—the

future—of  reason, the devenir—the becoming—of rationalities, and

the “viens,” the venir, or the venue—that is, the “come,” the coming, or

the arrival

… of what in

this “-venir” appears �first of all unforeseeable, seeable perhaps but unforeseeable,

assuming that we can ever see without in some way foreseeing

and without seeing come from out of some horizon. A foreseen

event is already present, already presentable; it has already arrived or

happened and is thus neutralized in its irruption. Everywhere there is

a horizon and where we see-coming from out of some teleology or

ideal horizon, some horizon of an idea, that is, from out of the seeing

[voir] or the knowing [savoir] of an eidos, everywhere that ideality

is possible (and there is neither science nor language nor technique,

nor, and we must recognize this, experience in general, without the

production of some ideality), this horizontal ideality, the horizon of… 34

… this ideality, will have neutralized in advance the event, along with

everything that, in any historicity worthy of this name, requires the

eventfulness of the event. 35

the event must exceed all teleological idealism; … ”and elude the ruses by which teleological

reason conceals from itself what might come or happen to it

and affect it in its ipseity in an auto-immunitary fashion. (And, notice,

it is reason itself that orders us to say this, reason that gives us such

a thought of the event, not some obscure irrationalism.) The event

must also announce itself as im-possible; it must thus announce itself

without calling in advance, without forewarning [ prévenir], announcing

itself without announcing itself, without any horizon of expectation,

without telos, without formation, without form or teleological preformation.

Whence its always monstrous, unpresentable character, demonstrable

as un-monstrable. Thus never as such. One thus says, one

exclaims, “without precedent!”, with an exclamation point. Whenever the event of, for example, a techno-scientific inventionvent, as I tried to

show at the beginning of Psyché, The Invention of the Other, is made possible

by a set of conditions for which we can give an account and that

we can identify or determine in a saturable fashion, as is done and

must be done after the fact by epistemology, by the history or philosophy

of the techno-sciences (politico-economic infrastructure, epistemic

con�guration, paradigm, and so on), we are no longer talking

about an invention or an event. An event or an invention is possible

only as im-possible. That is, nowhere as such, the phenomenological

or ontological “as such” annulling this experience of an im-possible

that never appears or announces itself as such. NBNBNB 35

then: To think this and to say this is not to go against reason. To be

worried about an ideocracy or a teleologism that tends to annul or to

neutralize the eventfulness of the event, and that does so precisely so

as to immunize itself against it, is not to go against reason. It is in

fact the only chance to think, rationally, something like a future [venir]

and a becoming [devenir] of reason. It is also, let us not forget, that which should free not only thought but scientific research from the control or conditioning to which it is subject by all sorts of political, military, techno-economic, and capitalist powers or institutions (for

example, in the appropriation through patents of bio-genetic discoveries).

The same goes for “state” control of knowledge, sometimes, to cite

just one example, in the distinguished and respectable form of so-called

ethics committees. 35

then is underlined the aporia of the fact of one never being able to restrict, through appeal to reason, or limit scientific research, and on the other hand never being able to “found a responsibility or a decision in any kind a of sustained manner” (“like a sufficient reason that would provide an account of what follows from it”). 36

it is necessary to know that the ever best possible comprehensive knowledge is needed and indispensable, to be able to make decisions and assume responsibility; an absolute interruption, mad; 36

plasticity of reason; history, becoming (Brunschvicg, Bachelard, Canguilhem, Foucault, Lacan, and so on)  36

focussing on an example from today, some metonomy of all the urgencies that confront us:

a well chosen example on the the side of life: tying together “reflections of an ethical, juridical, political, and, inseparably, techno-scientific nature¾and precisely in a place where technicity, the

great question of the technical and the logic of the prosthesis, would

be not accessory but essential and intrinsic to the problematic of reason.

In this hypothesis, my choice would have gravitated toward the

terrible dilemma of cloning—whether therapeutic or reproductive. For

we would there �find, I said to myself [he was later to abandon this working hypothesis], the best and the worst of reason,

the newest and most terrifying in the realm of the calculable as

well as the incalculable, the powers and the impotence of reason confronted

with these major investigations concerning the essence of the

living being, birth and death, the rights and dignity of the human person,

the rights, laws, and powers of the sovereign state in these domains,

the reason of State that gives itself the right to rise above all other

rights, the ongoing and future development of international law (for

we know that the decisions being made today by Western heads of

state on this subject are determining an international jurisprudence). 37

To generalize, the proponents of cloning, and especially of therapeutic

cloning, claim the rational necessity of not limiting theoretical

and techno-experimental research whenever the results can be calculated

and the anticipated benets programmed, even if this calculability risks,

without any assurance, exposing us to the incalculable [The Large Hydron Collider]. On the other

side, one opposes not only the improbable programmation of countless

armies of threatening clones in the service of an industrial, military,

or market rationality, whether demonic or mad (for a certain reason… 37

… can of itself become mad [is it not so, now?]), but also, and more often, therapeutic cloning

(whose limits would not be rigorously secured) or cautious experimentation

in the area of reproductive cloning (whose technical possibility

has not even been proven). One thus objects to all cloning in

the name of ethics, human rights, what is proper to man, and the dignity

of human life, in the name of the singularity and non-repetitive unicity

of the human person, in the name of an ethics of desire or a love

of the other—which we sometimes believe or try to make others believe,

with an optimistic con�dence, must always inspire the act of procreation.

And, �finally, one objects to cloning in the name of that incalculable

element that must be left to birth, to the coming to light or into the

world of a unique, irreplaceable, free, and thus non-programmable living

being. 38 Then immediately he asks:

What, then, does this currently prevailing ethical axiomatic in the

law and politics of the West keep out of rational examination? First

of all, the fact that so-called identi�catory repetition, the duplication

that one claims to reject with horri�ed indignation, is already, and fortunately,

present and at work everywhere it is a question of reproduction

and of heritage, in culture, knowledge, language, education,

and so on, whose conditions are assured by this duplication just as

much as by production and reproduction. But what is also, and especially,

overlooked is the fact that this militant humanism, this discourse

about ethics, about human freedom and human specifi�city, seems to

assume that two so-called genetically identical individuals will have

identical fates, that they will be indistinguishable and subservient to

the calculation that has given them birth. This is yet another way of

ignoring what history, whether individual or not, owes to culture, society,

education, and the symbolic, to the incalculable and the aleatory—

so many dimensions that are irreducible, even for “identical” twins, to

this supposedly simple, naturalist genetics. What is the consequence of

all this? That, in the end, this so-called ethical or humanist axiomatic

actually shares with the axiomatic it claims to oppose a certain geneticism

or biologism, indeed a deep zoologism, a fundamental though

unacknowledged reductionism. 38 And thus the problem calls for a completely different elaboration.

For hasn’t the path already been cleared

for this, and approved in its principle, by so many prosthetic techniques,

by recent developments in gene therapy using interferring RNA,

by so-called information tele-technologies, structures or organizations

that are themselves prosthetic and that actually situate, along with what

I call iterability, the true place of the problem of reason today: that

of technicity, of the proper of man, of what is proper to the living

body, of the proper in general? In every �field. The presuppositions

shared by both parties in this debate over cloning thus call for a systematic

re-elaboration, one for which the vigilance of reason must be

without respite, courageous and upright, determined not to give in to

any dogmatic intimidation. But I said that I will not speak about

cloning. 39

in techno-science, the calculable, under the generality of a law, norm, determinative judgment, there are no events; absolute singularity is required. In fact: “Without the absolute singularity of the incalculable

and the exceptional, no thing and no one, nothing other and thus

nothing, arrives or happens.” Nigraphy. 39

unconditionality without sovereignty: ”…it will have to inherit or retain the memory of that which,

in the unconditionality of reason, relates each singularity to the universalizable.

It will have to require or postulate a universal beyond all

relativism, culturalism, ethnocentrism, and especially nationalism…” 40

And against Heidegger’s dike (as opposed to the legality of the Roman jus) qua harmony or gathering¾in the end as logos. D: ”The interruption of a certain unbinding opens the

free space of the relationship to the incalculable singularity of the other. 41

Perfectibility of law requires justice 41

Then comes the shot:

To think together both this heterogeneity and this inseparability is to

recognize, and so bear witness to, an auto-delimitation that divides reason

and that is not without relation to a certain auto-immunity. What

is called reason, from one language to another, is thus found on both

sides. According to a transaction that is each time novel, each time

without precedent, reason goes through and goes between, on the one

side, the reasoned exigency of calculation or conditionality, and, on

the other, the intransigent, non-negotiable exigency of unconditional

incalculability. This intractable exigency wins out [a raison de] and must

win out over everything. On both sides, then, whether it is a question

of singularity or universality, and each time both at once, both calculation

and the incalculable are necessary. This responsibility of reason,

this experience that consists in keeping within reason [à raison garder],

in being responsible for a reason of which we are the heirs, could be

situated with only the greatest of difficulty. Indeed I would situate it…41

…precisely within this greatest of difficulties, within the auto-immunitary

aporia of this impossible transaction between the conditional and the

unconditional, calculation and the incalculable. A transaction without

any rule given in advance, without any absolute assurance. For there

is no absolutely reliable prophylaxis against the auto-immunitary. By

de�nition. An always perilous transaction must thus invent, each time,

in a singular situation, its own law and norm, that is, a maxim that

welcomes each time the event to come. There is responsibility and

decision, if there are any, only at this price. If I had to attribute a

meaning, the most difficult, the least mediocre, the least moderate

meaning, to this well-worn, indeed long discredited word “reasonable,”

I would say that what is “reasonable” is the reasoned and considered

wager of a transaction between these two apparently irreconcilable exigencies

of reason, between calculation and the incalculable. 42 Here D keeps his discussion to human rights

…to interrogate, in a deconstructive

fashion, all the limits we thought pertained to life, the being of life

and the life of being (and this is almost the entire history of philosophy),

between the living and the dead, the living present and its spectral

others, but also between that living being called “human” and the

one called “animal.” 42

in 45 came the juridical performative that instituted, against the backdrop of the human rights, the concept of crime against humankind. Now the globe itself has become the camp, and the crime comprises most of humankind…

the ipseity, the presence, the securing for itself, of the performative annuls and neutralizes the eventfulness of the event it is supposed to produce. And so like the constative 43

THEN:

If an event worthy of this name is to arrive

or happen, it must, beyond all mastery, affect a passivity. It must touch

an exposed vulnerability, one without absolute immunity, without

indemnity; it must touch this vulnerability in its �finitude and in a nonhorizontal

fashion, there where it is not yet or is already no longer

possible to face or face up to the unforeseeability of the other. In this

regard, auto-immunity is not an absolute ill or evil. It enables an exposure

to the other, to what and to who comes—which means that it

must remain incalculable. Without auto-immunity, with absolute immunity,

nothing would ever happen or arrive; we would no longer wait,

await, or expect, no longer expect one another, or expect any event.

Freedom without subject and autonomy, a heteronomy without servitude, something like a pssive decision….inversalization??? then: and do such in analogy:

Similarly, beyond law,

debt, and duty, it would be necessary to rethink rationally a hyperethics

or hyper-politics that does not settle for acting simply “according

to duty ( p�ichtmässig)” or even (to take up the Kantian distinction

that founds practical reason) “from duty” or “out of pure duty (eigentlich …43

aus Pflicht, aus reiner Pflicht).”12 Such a hyper-ethics or hyper-politics

would carry us unconditionally beyond the economic circle of duty or

of the task (Pflicht or Aufgabe), of the debt to be reappropriated or

annulled, of what one knows must be done, of what thus still depends

on a programmatic and normative knowledge that need only be carried

out. 44 What about a hyper-science?

THEN:

For as soon as reason does not close itself  off to the event that comes, the event of what or who comes, assuming it is not irrational to think that the worst can always happen, and well beyond what Kant thinks under the name “radical evil,” then only the infinite possibility of the worst and of perjury can grant the possibility of the good, of veracity and sworn faith. This possibility remains infinite, but as the very possibility of an auto-immunitary finitude. 44

Sovereignty one of the traits by which reason defines its power and element, a certain unconditionality. Concentration into a single point of indivisible singularity; absolute force and absolute exception. Secularizing a theological heritage. To conclude D settles for “two telegraphic and programmatic indications”: 45

Can Husserl’s Crisis and its warning, 1935 and situated between the two world wars as for its horizon, be transposed or translated today, “when the concept of s as indivisible and unshareable is being put to an even more critical test?” 45 and the principle of ruins is working over the nation-state sovereignty… but what about scientific sovereignty? 45 …”convulsive death throes”… D: then what looses pertinence is war, world war, enemy and indeed terrorism

Consider the context we’ve inherited from the end of the Cold War: a so-called globalization [mondialisation] that is more inegalitarian and violent than ever, a globalization that is, therefore, only simply alleged and actually less global or worldwide than ever, where the world, therefore, is not even there, and where we, we who are worldless, weltlos, form a world only against the backdrop of a nonworld where there is neither world nor even that poorness-in-world that Heidegger attributes to animals (which would be, according to him, weltarm). Within this abyss of the without-world, this abyss without support, indeed on the condition of this absence of support, of bottom, ground, or foundation, it is as if one bore the other, as if I felt, without support and without hypothesis, borne by the other and borne toward the other, as if, as Celan says, Die Welt ist fort, ich muss dich tragen, where the world goes away, where the world disappears, I must bear you, there where the world would no longer or would not yet be, where the world would distance itself, get lost in the distance, or be still to come. It is this so-called globalization that then confiscates to an unprecedented degree and concentrates into a small part of the human world so many natural resources, capitalist riches, techno-scientific and even tele-technological powers, reserving also for that small part of the world those two great forms of immunity that go by the names public health and military security. 46

A reasoned game theory is passé; its calculations of risk;

A new violence is being prepared and, in truth, has

been unleashed some time now, in a way that is more visibly suicidal

or auto-immunitary than ever. This violence no longer has anything

to do with world war or even with war, even less with some right to

wage war. And this is hardly reassuring—indeed quite the contrary.

It is a matter, in essence, neither of classical, international war declared

in accordance with old jus europeanus, nor of intra-national civil war,

nor even of what Schmitt called “partisan war,” since even this latter,

just like terrorism in its classical sense, resorted to violence or terror

only with a view toward the liberation or foundation, in the short

or longer term, of some nation-state community, some nation-state territory,

in short, some sovereignty. In essence, there is no longer any

such thing today that can be called in all rigor “war” or “terrorism,”

even if there can still be, here and there, in a secondary sense, as the

surviving vestiges of this paradigm, wars or terrorism in these three

senses; and even if, by means of loaded rhetorical gestures, one sometimes

needs to make others believe that one is going to war or preparing

for war against some enemy force organized into a state or into

some state structure that supports the enemy. The stir created by these

war mobilizations can be terribly effective, to be sure; concrete, rational,

and real, it determines and deafens the entire earth. But it cannot

make us forget that we are dealing here with useful projections and

ultimate denegations, with what psychoanalysis calls “rationalizations”

(as when it speaks of “sexual theory”). A powerful “rationalization”

would thus be under way, its calculation fully conscious or not. 47

Which, I might add, would have had no chance of emerging in history without, among other things, this poisoned medicine, this pharmakon of an in�inflexible and cruel auto-immunity that is sometimes called the death drive and that does not limit the living being to its conscious and representative form. 48

… necessary to erode not only its principle of indivisibility but its right

to the exception, its right to suspend rights and law, along with the

undeniable onto-theology that founds it, even in what are called democratic

regimes, and even when this is denied—in what is to my eyes

a questionable fashion—by experts such as Bodin, Hobbes, and Rousseau. 48

[onto-theology is no less pertinent to technoscience, than, say, to political forms of sovereignty; the universality of human rights afoot with the universality of the technosciences]

THEN:

For wherever the name of God would allow us to think something else, for example a vulnerable non-sovereignty, one that suffers and is divisible, one that is mortal even, capable of contradicting itself or of repenting (a thought that is neither impossible nor without example), it would be a completely different story, perhaps even the story of a god who deconstructs himself in his ipseity. 48

The invention of these maxims resembles the poetic invention of an idiom whose singularity would not yield to any nationalism, not even a European nationalism—even if, as I would like to believe, within

today’s geopolitical landscape, a new thinking and a previously unencountered destination, along with another responsibility for Europe, are being called upon to give a new chance to this idiom. Beyond all

euro-centrism. This idiom would again be a singular idiom of reason, of the reasonable transaction between two antinomic rationalities. At the utmost point of its extreme difficulty, indeed of its im-possibility, what I call here—in these sentences and not others—the reasonable would be that which, in conveying pre-ference itself in all that it conveys [portant dans sa portée la pré-férence même], will always be preferable—and thus irreducible to the rational it exceeds. In such sentences as these, the

rational would certainly have to do with the just, and sometimes with the justness or exactitude of juridical and calculative reason. But the reasonable would do yet more and something else; it would take into account the accounting of juridical justness or exactitude, to be sure, 49

… but it would also strive, across transactions and aporias, for justice. The reasonable, as I understand it here, would be a rationality that takes account of the incalculable so as to give an account of it, there where

this appears impossible, so as to account for or reckon with it, that is to say, with the event of what or who comes.

It remains to be known, so as to save the honor of reason, how to translate. For example, the word “reasonable” [raisonnable]. And how to pay one’s respects to, how to salute or greet [saluer], beyond its latinity, and in more than one language, the fragile difference between the rational and the reasonable.

Reason reasons, to be sure, it is right [a raison], and it gives itself reason [se donner raison], to do so, so as to protect or keep itself [se garder], so as to keep within reason [raison garder]. It is in this that it is and thus wants to be itself; that is its sovereign ipseity.

But to make its ipseity see reason, it must let itself be reasoned with. 50

Edmund Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, trans.

David Carr (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1970), 269–99. Hereafter

cited as Crisis. [The French translation Derrida is working with is that of Gérard

Granel, La crise des sciences européennes et la phénoménologie transcendentale (Paris: Gallimard,

1976).] German text: Husserliana 6 (The Hague: M. Nijhof, 1954).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: