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Helen Petrovsky: A Life with No Analogon (Remembering Jean-Luc Nancy)
A Life with No Analogon (Remembering Jean-Luc Nancy)
(p. 53 – 62)

Helen Petrovsky

A Life with No Analogon (Remembering Jean-Luc Nancy)

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The memoir takes the reader back to 1995–1996, the academic year when Jean-Luc Nancy, then head of the philosophy department at the University of Strasbourg, was teaching a course on Kant’s third Critique. The main problem is posed in the following manner: what does it mean to think of nature as technique? Technique, or the “art” of subsumption itself, is presented as a relation to purpose, which has to do with the modern image of a human being. Nancy interprets humans in terms of an infinite relation to purpose. In Kant, one comes across two forms of technique, correlating with two kinds of reflective judgments: “purposiveness without purpose,” i.e., art in the conventional sense, and inner purposiveness, which is manifested in the spontaneous organization of both animate and inanimate nature. However, in each of the cases purposiveness is ascribed not to a creator, but to the human being as an actual bearer of judgment. This allows Nancy to characterize Kant’s system in terms of system-subject. In other words, it is the modern subject that is assigned the task of cognizing the unity of nature. The act of creation is thus replaced with finite thinking, while the exigency of the unconditional originates from reason itself.

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Helen Petrovsky

Helen Petrovsky is head of the Department of Aesthetics at the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Her major fields of interest are contemporary philosophy, visual studies, North American literature and culture. She is the author of a number of books devoted, among other things, to a theoretical exploration of the image. Her most recent book is Disturbance of the Sign: Culture against Transcendence (Vozmushchenie znaka: Kul’tura protiv transtsendentsii, 2019), for which she was awarded the Alexander Piatigorsky Literary Prize (2020–2021). She is also editor-in-chief of the theoretical and philosophical journal Sinii divan.
Susanna Lindberg (ed.), Artemy Magun (ed.), ...: Thinking With—Jean-Luc Nancy

With this book, we would like to resume the passionate conversation that Jean-Luc Nancy was engaged in throughout his life, with philosophers and artists from all over the world. Now that he has passed away, it is not enough for us to simply reflect on his work: we would like to stay true to the stance to which his thought invites us, in a pluralistic and communal way. Jean-Luc Nancy takes up the old philosophical question of truth as a praxis of a with — understanding truth without any given measure or comparison as an articulation of a with. It is a thinking responsible for the world from within the world, a language that seeks to respond to the ongoing mutation of our civilization.


With contributions by Jean-Christophe Bailly, Rodolphe Burger, Marcia Sá Calvacante Schuback, Marcus Coelen, Alexander García Düttmann, Juan-Manuel Garrido, Martta Heikkilä, Erich Hörl, Valentin Husson, Sandrine Israel-Jost, Ian James, Apostolos Lampropoulos, Nidesh Lawtoo, Jérôme Lèbre, Susanna Lindberg, Michael Marder, Artemy Magun, Boyan Manchev, Dieter Mersch, Hélène Nancy, Jean-Luc Nancy, Aïcha Liviana Messina, Ginette Michaud, Helen Petrovsky, Jacob Rogozinski, Philipp Stoellger, Peter Szendy, Georgios Tsagdis, Marita Tatari, Gert-Jan van der Heiden, Aukje van Rooden.