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Extra info for The Step Back: Ethics And Politics After Deconstruction (S U N Y Series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy)

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Ever since Plato made anamnesis central to philosophical knowledge, the problem of memory has been central to philosophy, even though its theme has had to be recalled repeatedly under different names—repetition, “assembling reminders,” reactivation, destruktion, deconstruction, and so on. We need new names, in part to counter precisely the dangers of familiarization. In these repeated renewals of philosophy, of philosophical method, of philosophy always in conflict with mere method, and in the issues raised by this need for a perennial resurgence of the physis of philosophy, it is hard to know whether we are dealing with ethics or ontology, or whether the event of philosophy was not always prior to that distinction.

And what could determine this or a different shape of response? First, note that if ressentiment is understood as revenge against time and its “it was” it cannot in principle be successful. For any particular act of ressentiment will itself be engulfed by the very time it rails against. The frustration of ressentiment is essential because its impotent rage can only produce imaginary and temporary reversals to what it opposes. But while it is vital to understand ressentiment at this ontological level, it is hard to resist asking whether the very level at which this phenomenon operates is not symptomatic of the problem.

Sometimes he uses the word in scare-quotes, sometimes without. “The Anaximander Fragment”26 marks this same association. Violence is used to describe both what is required of interpretation and what has already been suffered by the object of interpretation. The truth of man’s being has been violently suppressed and must be violently recovered. 27 As it would be hard to find a better example of what could be 38 PHILOSOPHY AND VIOLENCE meant by instituting violence, I will present a short account of what he says here.

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