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Living on Phantasms: Re-evaluating the Figure of the Phantasm in Jacques Derrida's Late Seminars

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Living on Phantasms: Re-evaluating the Figure of the Phantasm in Jacques Derrida's Late Seminars

Giesbrecht, Michael (2019) Living on Phantasms: Re-evaluating the Figure of the Phantasm in Jacques Derrida's Late Seminars. [Graduate Projects (Non-thesis)] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This paper investigates the figure of the ‘phantasm’ in Jacques Derrida’s last seminars, explicating this notion in terms of his argument for life’s constitution as originally other-oriented and inflected by a non-present, finite temporality. Since this constitutive differential and finite condition demands the living organism affirm its survival as itself, I contend that the phantasm is generated as the anticipatory projection of life’s re-identification with itself, thus turning away from finitude and relational interdependence. Yet, I argue that it couldn’t be otherwise – that there couldn’t be a life without such a phantasm – since the disappropriative effects of its constitutive conditions only allow for lived identity as re-identification across an innately finite temporality and aleatory relationality. Moreover, the projected, phantasmatic ‘return’ of self-identification is required to establish any relation to the other from the outset: without the living being’s anticipated survival, no difference of self from other, and hence no relationality, would be established. Therefore, the phantasm is engendered by life’s differential constitution despite being unrealizable due to these very conditions. If my contention holds, then two major implications follow: first, the phantasm is irreducible in Derrida’s account; second, his ‘deconstruction’ of the phantasm cannot amount to its renunciation for the supposed unconditionality of such anterior differential-relational conditions. Rather, deconstruction entails an affirmative engagement with the phantasm as inseparable from an anterior acquiescence or ‘promise’ to the other, from which derives a constitutive normative exigency in life.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Philosophy
Item Type:Graduate Projects (Non-thesis)
Authors:Giesbrecht, Michael
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Philosophy
Date:31 August 2019
ID Code:985936
Deposited By: MICHAEL GIESBRECHT
Deposited On:04 Oct 2019 19:53
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 19:53
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