“Only Proteus Can Save Us Now”
On Anarchy and Broken Hegemonies 1

Reiner Schürmann


1. Only Proteus Can Save Us Now [1987 response to Walter Brogan and Michael Murray]

I thank you, Walter Brogan and Michael Murray, for your thoughtful remarks. I will do justice to as many of them as I can, by sketching a few features of the Heidegger profile I have tried to draw in the book—the profile of the body of questions that bears the name “Heidegger,” not of the man who was born in 1889 and who died in 1976. To be sure, other outlines of that body of questions are possible. Only dogmatists and journalists can be filed by one single ID-picture. But the purpose of the book was to raise the question of action or praxis—a question Heidegger declared he did not deal with, yet which, it seems to me, he does answer by his very project of “thinking differently.”2

I will begin with a very general trait, marking no more than a silhouette: at the end, after a few additional traits, I will put to that portrait one specific question having to do with “acting.” I will then try to make it talk. I will address some of your criticisms only after having drawn the initial silhouette.3

1.1 On the Philosophers’ Release from Civil Service4

In the Introduction to the Crisis of the European Sciences, Husserl described the role of the philosopher: “We are the functionaries of mankind”5 he wrote … The bureaucratized version of the Philosopher-king, after all. The first sketch of the Heidegger-profile I am attempting is entirely negative: this is not a functionary’s portrait. In what sense philosophers have been mankind’s foremost civil servants is not so difficult to assess. They have been experts in securing ultimate moorage points for knowing and acting—not a minor responsibility—and one [that] each of them had to carry out for the greatest benefit of his contemporaries. Such securing requires a know-how (in Greek, τέχνη): how to establish standards. Right and Left, the philosophers qua functionaries of mankind are still very much among us. On the Right, they are the nostalgics of Classical Philosophy, looking for ‘the first things’; and on the Left, the nostalgics of the Enlightenment, looking for norms within a communicative ethics.6 When Heidegger speaks of “philosophy,” it is this professionalism of ultimacy claims that is meant; and when he announces the “end of philosophy,” he suggests that it has never been anything other than a positing, an imposing, a taking of positions or stands, at any rate an act of arch-violence.7

To understand at all the otherness Heidegger claims with regard to the whole of Western philosophy, it is necessary to locate with some precision the violence his endgame turns away from. He agrees with the old description of philosophy as διασώζειν τὰ φαινόμενα (Eudoxos of Cnidus): as preserving that which shows itself.8 In this more modest capacity, the philosopher attempts to think with some rigor about the things that “show themselves” to everyone: about phenomena that we all know, although poorly. With some rigor: that is to say, he inquires into the conditions that make those phenomena possible. Since those conditions do not show themselves, the most a phenomenologist can aim at is to keep questions about them alive and articulate. In his capacity qua civil servant, on the other hand, the philosopher makes it his competence to put an end to questions about conditions. He too says, “the buck stops here,” i.e., “there can be no infinite regress.”

That axiom, “there can be no infinite regress”—usually called forth out of the blue—has been the philosophers’ one professional device, just as, over the centuries, bloodletting has been the one device any physician had to be skilled in. And both skills were therapeutic. Indeed, the axiom was put to work so as to assure some one representation of ground capable of consoling the soul and consolidating the city. The professional violence required of the philosopher has been that of subsumption. He was expected to console our private lives and to consolidate our public lives by pointing out powers of subsumption: genera, types, species, or classes; nature, self-consciousness, or objectivity; ideals, meaning, values; standards or norms … as well as the many other head-dresses under which comes the universal, the κοινών. All of these representations inflict the same violence on everyday experiences, turning the singular into a particular: the ineffable into something effable. It is these agents of subsumption that I have called “principles.” The most recent of them, in which violence becomes full-blown and global, is technology—what Heidegger calls the “enframing” [ das Gestell ].9

Obviously much more than style is at stake in principial thinking. At stake is a mode of living and dying that has made the West since the Greeks: a mode in which any experience receives its meaning once it becomes referred to one form of a universal … be that [of] the Marine Corps. Indeed, in a recent film, Stanley Kubrick has one of his characters speak as just such an agent of subsumption: “You [Marines] die . . . but the Marine Corps lives forever.”10 In the strong sense of the term, then, Michael Murray, one cannot say that the attempt at something like a deduction of categories amounts to “principial” thinking. In taking his leave from civil service, Heidegger is far from renouncing rigorous thinking.

Once released from his civil service, the philosopher—Heidegger prefers to say ‘the thinker’—no longer needs to satisfy a job description adding up to the mechanics of subsumption. His διασώζειν, cultivating, is devoted rather to the singular, no longer considered a case or part of a whole, no longer particularized. This thoroughly anti-Aristotelian task of thinking can be shown following various strategies [see n.2 below].11

The uttermost singular is my death. It is what renders me always and everywhere alone, foreign, silent. One of the strategies toward rehabilitating the singular follows therefore a transformation in our self-understanding: no longer as particulars within a certain definable species but as mortals—not subsumable. The specimens that we are of the species “rational animal,” Heidegger writes, or of the ‘transcendental subject,’ “have yet to become mortals” (PLT 179).12

Another such strategy follows a parallel transformation in the understanding of being: no longer as what is most common to all entities but as event. The strategies of thinking differently both about man and about being are obviously closely connected. I was therefore perplexed at your worry, Walter Brogan, that Heidegger’s transition from the question of the “meaning” of being to that of its “truth,” and lastly to that of the “event,” might somehow produce three incompatible stages (note that Heidegger himself spells out these stages in VS 73).13 There is no cause for worry: all three articulate one and the same insight—that of “being as time” (NI 20).14 But following the various re-orientations in tackling that single issue, the figure of man appears differently: first as Dasein, then as an epochal Menschentum, and lastly as mortals. Your quote about “dwelling as mortals” pertains to the context of the third and last way of approaching that single issue.

So, the task is to preserve, διασώζειν , the phenomena without dissolving them into some universal fantasm. Now, the one undissolvable phenomenon we all know is death as my own. Throughout his writings, Heidegger has therefore sought to learn from our experience as mortals in order to think of being otherwise than as the most encompassing subsumptive fantasm. He seeks to understand being as the ordinary process by which phenomena as singulars enter into a constellation—a process so ordinary and familiar that it is the most difficult to grasp. That ordinariness is what pulls it out of sight. In his last writings, being could not even be thought of as Ereignis, as the “event of appropriation,” if the process suggested were not countered from within by an undertow, which he calls Enteignis, “event of expropriation.”15 I can only concur with Walter Brogan when he says that to think being as event is to retrieve more decidedly than ever the movement of withdrawal in presencing, of holding back and concealing, of the night. In earlier texts, Heidegger suggested the undertow toward absencing, for instance through the term Abgeschiedenheit, taken only secondarily from [Georg] Trakl, but primarily from Meister Eckhart.16

Contrary to what Richard Rorty keeps telling us, there is then nothing “edifying” in Heidegger’s thinking:17 no uplift in the face of death, and no construction upon grounds posited. Taking his cue from death so as to think being as time, Heidegger puts, on the contrary, an end to elevation, be it of the spirit or of some conceptual edifice.

To suggest the public function Heidegger turns away from—the function of subsumption for the sake of consoling the soul and consolidating the city—the two contemporary models on the Right and the Left that I mentioned earlier may suffice.

Leo Strauss and his disciples seek to rehabilitate what is basically the Stoic natural law theory: the principle of a continuity of order linking the soul to the city to mankind to the cosmos. Violently subsumed under such a universalist fantasm of nature, the soul may indeed find its rest and the city, its law and order.18 At the other end of the spectrum, the so-called Critical Theorists invest their expectations of comparable safeguards, in some ideal speech situation: just seat a Wall Street lawyer, an Ayatollah, and a Soviet apparatchik at the same table to ‘talk it out,’ and reason will eventually prevail; through discourse, they will agree on norms both for conduct among themselves—on ethical norms—and for conduct in public, on political norms. Here it is enlightened reason as a principle (whatever the ontic obstacles due to neurosis, ideology, or stupidity may be) that both consoles and consolidates.19

That much about the profile of the philosopher [that] Heidegger turns away from. It indicates the otherness he seeks with regard to the whole of the tradition. Heidegger cannot be counted among the functionaries of mankind because he consistently thinks otherwise than as an agent of subsumption. This other thinking is not restricted to some one major or minor issue. The mechanics of subsumption under ultimate representations such as classical nature or modern reason had to be totalistic, and so does non-subsumptive thinking. In other words, Heidegger’s move away from public service cannot be regional. Other contemporaries have more recently sought to settle on a territory not shelled by the violence of principles. Paul Feyerabend has performed this move for questions concerning knowledge, and Michel Foucault, for questions concerning institutions.20 When, as in Heidegger, the issue is the being-question, there can be no partial release from civil service. This is why the title of the book states that Heidegger subtracts from principial violence both being and acting.

1.2 The “Event” and its τόποι

I was amused to hear Walter Brogan criticize me for breaking the texts down into “three different Heideggers” and Michael Murray, for “homogenizing” all of Heidegger. The question is less a matter of an exegesis than of a topology. Trying another Heidegger portrait now, I find it more fruitful to ask: Which is the site from which he speaks? than to ask: What has he said when?

The first sketch of a portrait was entirely negative: the body of questions that circulate under the name of Heidegger does not come with the paunchy silhouette of a civil servant. Obviously, one has to ask under what conditions the philosopher’s release from public service can at all occur. Here, Heidegger’s profile will appear Janus-faced, looking back to the tradition, working through it, and at the same time forward to a possible other beginning, or rather the possible beginning of something other—the beginning he also calls the “entry into the event.”21 When he described the three stages of his itinerary (VS 73) [see n.13 below], the third was indeed characterized as the attempt at a topology of being qua event.

Any discourse that speaks from a boundary-line is Janus-faced as it addresses the two territories the boundary sets apart. The line of demarcation from which Heidegger speaks has been popularized as the “closure of metaphysics.” The philosopher’s release echoes a displacement by which an entire age may be sliding out of that enclosure—a slow process whose first spokesmen, according to Heidegger, were Hölderlin and Nietzsche.22 It is no overstatement to say that in all his writings, including his lectures on the history of philosophy, Heidegger aims at understanding that process in which ultimate standards have become nothing; to understand its antecedents and possible consequents, its potential for what he calls “salvation” as well as its inherent danger.23 This requires a bit more of a doing than Jacques Derrida is willing to take on, who thinks that one can just “change terrain, in a discontinuous and irruptive fashion, by brutally placing oneself outside and by asserting an absolute break and difference” (Margins, 135; [see also BH 674n.17]).24 For Heidegger, understanding the displacement that seems to have been on its way for over a century now requires more than a brutal assertion. It requires both a great leap forward and a working-through of the past.25 Hence bifrontal Janus with his two-fold gaze: one face looking toward a possible outside territory, the other, toward the strategies within the metaphysical arena that have begun to prepare the transgression ever since the first beginning with the so-called Presocratics. I have tried to spell out this complex net of strategies, through a historical deduction of categories.26

That deduction is only superficially “principial.” No agent or referent, no entitative origin such as the transcendental subject expresses itself through the categories. They are sites or τόποι of being. The venerable label “category,” just as all other terms borrowed from the tradition, has then to be thought of anew. How? If being is to be understood as the event by which phenomena enter into a constellation and form a world, then a category points to the loci where such presencing—such “worlding”—can be read. The deduction is the topology.

Both of you allude to the important and difficult question: Is the epochal boundary line from which, and for the sake of which, Heidegger speaks historical or systematic? It seems to be historical, since technology, as the nineteenth and twentieth centuries’ way-to-be, is what draws the line. Yet if its strategies go back to Greece, it is clearly a systemic feature of metaphysics understood as the mechanics of subsumption. A brief remark on Kant will help to show that the disjunction between “historic” and “systematic” is of decidedly limited pertinence [see, e.g., HBA 4; BH 6].

Kant begins the second preface to the Critique of Pure Reason saying that in one of its activities, reason is burdened with ideas—representations of totalities, precisely—that it can neither resolve nor escape.27 Now, two years after the publication of the Critique, he writes the magnificent little essay “What is Enlightenment?” Here is its opening line: “Enlightenment is man’s release [Ausgang] from his self-incurred tutelage [Unmündigkeit].”28 And what is this tutelage? Reason’s self-subjection to historical representations set up as supreme reason itself.29 So, in the Critique, he would say that submission to illusory totalities is systemic, built into reason inescapably.30 It is our transcendental fate. In the essay, he says that this bondage is historical. Tutelage is self-incurred and man’s release from it, a possibility within history.

Likewise for a culture’s, and therefore its philosophers’, release from the mechanics of subsumption: there is perhaps no need to change perspectives, as it were in mid-sentence, if one says with Heidegger that the essence of technology has made philosophy a closed discourse all along, inasmuch as the mission of private consolation and public consolidation has remained its originally technical function in the sense of τέχνη, of professional “know-how”; but the full deployment of technology as we witness it today brings that closed discourse to the edge of a possible other one: a discourse that would be other because it would echo an economy of presencing not marked by principial representations. For a century and a half, we have heard quite a few attempts at such a discourse responding to the event by which singulars enter into a precarious constellation and, for a mortal glimpse of time, make up a world. (I believe such a change-over occurred in English-, French-, and German-language literature, during the same years, with James Joyce, Proust, and Robert Musil.)

Heidegger’s portrait remains Janus-faced, at every step of his itinerary. The literally decisive locus, cutting apart two territories, is the locus from which the deduction of categories is carried out: our own. Michael Murray’s “either-or”—either a full set of traits or no deduction at all—misses this thrust of the entire enterprise.31 Of course, the table is not complete, just as the complex net of existentialia in Being and Time, which my table translates into a project of a topology of the event, was never meant to be exhaustive [see HBA 162]. Even Aristotle’s and Kant’s tables were exhaustive more by fiat than by faithfulness to the phenomena. Furthermore, as Walter Brogan rightly observes, the deduction reveals the pervasive ambiguity of metaphysics: The Greek traits such as φύσις remain operative throughout, but they are overdetermined by those traits that reach their full deployment only with contemporary technology. The deduction serves then also as a useful tool against all those pronouncements in Heidegger according to which metaphysics appears like one monolithic bloc. This means however that, contrary to another remark by Walter Brogan, the Greek categories do not come “too early” and the Nietzschean-technological ones “too late”: as the two sets determine the whole of the history in-between, the deduction shows that what Michael Murray remarked about technology is in fact true of metaphysics altogether: it is essentially broken between being as full presence and as event.32

The project of deconstructing metaphysics is retrodictive, yet entirely topological. It inquires into places, asking: Which experience have the functionaries of mankind turned to, so as to promote it to the rank of ultimate standard? For one epoch—not easy to delineate historically33—philosophers, I said, sought such a standard in nature, construed as a continuous fabric of λόγοι. In a more recent age, they seem to have taken their cue rather from the experience of self-reflection. In his more summary texts about metaphysics as one single epoch, Heidegger would say that from Attic philosophy onward, there has in fact been only one standard-setting phenomenon: the experience of physical change. At any rate, in its retrospective-retrodictive use, the project of a topology amounts to asking: where have we looked for supreme principles? Which have been the singulars we have blown up to normative proportions so as to turn all other singulars into particulars subsumable under its integrative rule?

In its prospective use, the topology is again a discourse about places. But here the places are other, and therefore the discourse is other. It is the discourse of “the other thinking” [see HBA 229; see also n.2 below ]. The places are now ephemeral concatenations of singulars retained as singulars. The τόποι, inseparably spatial and temporal, situate the event of mutual manifestation among phenomena: the event that constitutes their phenomenality.

1.3 What Is to Be Done at the End of Metaphysics?34

I should now like to sketch with a few more traits that Janus face that looks ahead, toward the other beginning [that] Heidegger’s later thinking is meant to prepare. To be sure, this is merely a possible thought of a possibility; but since Being and Time, he held that higher than the actual stands the possible.35 May Hesiod forgive me the theogonic monster, as well as the anachronism, but the Janus-face turned toward the future is Protean. And may Heidegger forgive me for naming the unnameable: if “only a god can save us now,” that god will have to be Proteus.36

If a new way of being becomes possible with contemporary technology, acting too will suffer a transmutation. On the boundary line on which we stand, acting means something more militant than “going with the flow,” and something more painful than gentleness and passivity. The turning, Kehre, in Heidegger’s itinerary bore directly on the mechanics of subsumption and the arsenal of principles it puts to work. In those passages of Being and Time where he spoke of Dasein in man, “man” was indeed not yet entirely disentangled from entitative representations; and representational thinking is subsumptive thinking. How, then, is one to think differently—and not only of man—without lapsing into the most effective mechanics of them all, namely determinate negation? Heidegger hits upon this difficulty constantly.

Here are a few examples of such a negation that reinforces the same rather than prepar[ing] the other. In the first beginning, with Parmenides, the Many functions as the contrary to the One, thereby making its principial rule possible. In the nineteenth century, positivism was devised to oppose all-subsumptive idealism; but the opposition remained reactive, only enhancing the grip of the ideal. The twentieth century has given us in its second half a variety of colorful escapes from all-subsumptive technology; but escapes, too, are reactive, and they merely strengthen the power of what one seeks to flee from.37

When I speak of anarchy, this is then not to be understood as the determinate negation of principles. The contrary of a principle is the principled, that to which the principle is applied. A principle is something, a universal representation, hence an entity. Anarchy however designates a mode of phenomenal interconnectedness: not some entity but a relational net that lacks all ἀρχαί. On the territory administered by the mechanics of subsumption, the phenomenality of phenomena is constituted by their reference to some one focus, center, core, chief, or authority. If about the other territory one has to speak mostly in negative terms, this does not imply any generic—be it contrary or contradictory—other: the other is rather disparate, and in that sense, anarchic. No common trait or strategy leads from the rule of subsumption to the freedom of the event. This is why, to understand being as Ereignis, a leap is required.38 It is also why what I have called the transitional categories comes with a twofold incidence, recapitulatory and anticipatory.

The coming-about and the passing-away of phenomenal constellations as they happen to occur, with no room for the hubris of duration [see HBA 245–50], would be protean presencing. Such presencing is anarchic inasmuch as it excludes any form of transcendence—be it Dasein’s still awkward step beyond itself, as described in the Existential Analytic [of Being and Time (see, e.g., BT 67–71, 76–7)]. Proteus, then, is a time-figure, while anarchy is a being-concept. “Protean anarchy” is one way of paraphrasing Heidegger’s later [1962] title, “Time and Being.”39

The arch-hubristic fictions were the epochal principles. Their genealogy goes back to the moment Plato located being in what is most enduring, the idea. Their necrology prepares the access to a terrain where nothing is constantly present. In the form of constantly present standards, being determined what could and what was to be done: the moment, however, constant presence turns out to have been the one metaphysical illusion, acting too will have to be thought of as protean and anarchic.

I have sketched a profile of the body of questions signed Heidegger. To conclude, I will now try to make it talk. This will be all the briefer since I am taking here a step beyond interpretation, a step I have not taken in the book. What prompts me to do so is my impression that neither of the two commentators seems to have sensed the militant, public, arduous dimension of dislodging all principial remnants. The question amounts to this: What is to be done at the end of metaphysics? Stated otherwise: With time understood as event without duration and being, as presencing without ἀρχή, what becomes of acting?

Again, a topological note is in order here. The way I have just phrased it, the question of acting does not address the other territory, other than the one ordered by the mechanics of subsumption. Its locus remains rather the borderline between the one and the other territory; the one and the other thinking; the one and the other acting. It is the question concerning preparatory acting, preparatory of the other dwelling and its law—of the other eco-nomy—which, under the sway of technology, amounts to no more than a possibility.40

If today the history of being assigns us indeed to a borderline site, then what is happening to us are decisive, albeit hardly visible, transmutations. And if in these transmutations time turns against constant presence and being, against the rule of the universal, then the targets for transitional acting have already been identified: they can only be all instances of that constant presence as well as of that rule of the universal. The end of philosophy entails, then, a task for acting that is no other than the task for thinking. On being and acting alike, Heidegger puts into question the prestige of all enduring agents of subsumption.

One would certainly not remain faithful to the phenomena if one were to describe our boundary world, technology, as entirely isomorphic. This would suggest that after the death of God, all idols are gone as well. Such candor, however, amounts to no more than our contemporary way of drawing the curtain over critical thinking by cutting short all questioning. To describe our age as having already reached a state of global sameness among entities would eliminate the very ambiguity that defines any boundary.

At the edge of the principial territory, our world remains full of agents hubristically endowed with ultimacy. Heidegger defined hubris in temporal terms, as the character of all that seeks to hold on to its while.41 Now, to such hubristic fantasms we daily pledge allegiance, dedicate institutions, and devote our lives in order to deceive death. “Metaphysics is that space,” Heidegger writes, “in which it becomes our destiny that the suprasensory World, the Ideas, God, the moral Law, the authority of Reason, Progress, the Happiness of the greatest number, Culture, Civilization lose their constructive force and become nothing” (QCT 65).42 Yet that self-emptying, that κένωσις, of principles is far from having reached its completion. Although turned hollow, the relics of those fantasms are still being called upon to console the soul and consolidate the city.

What, then, is to be done at the end of metaphysics? Call all archic remnants by their name, which is “hubris,” and through a discursive intervention rob them of their fictitious constancy.43

Only that way will the technological animals become the mortals that we are. Such transmutation, as prompted by the kenotic fate of all supreme representations, has been stated most succinctly in the Japanese haiku poem:

“Dead my old fine hopes

And dry my dreaming

But still …

Iris, blue each spring.”44

1.4 [Appendix]45

Old question of starting points: “Deep inside myself, I just know…” (Schwärmer) [Enthusiast, zealot]; “The factor without which everything would become incoherent” (pple [principle] of non-contradiction); the ultimate condition (non est recedere ad infinitum) [There is no infinite regress].

“You [Marines] die . . . but the Marine Corps will live forever” (Kubrick) [see n. 10 below].46

ἴδιον=one’s own; flag: literally the most idiotic universal; with no offence: “Go to America …” (de Tocqueville):47 Heidegger and Wittgenstein turned into pragmatists [see n. 17below].

“Values”: Leo Strauss and his flock; vs absolute good and evil; for Hei [Heidegger]: ἀγαθόν=first value, because posited.

referential thinking ultimate

2. SPEP, Boston [1992 response to Peg Birmingham and Rodolphe Gasché]

I thank Peg Birmingham and Rodolphe Gasché for their thoughtful remarks. I shall go right away to the heart of the matter that I have tried to pursue, at least as I see things now, in the earlier books as well as in the two forthcoming volumes.49 That heart of the matter has to do with beginnings, and in more ways than one.

2.1 Beginnings and ἀρχή

In philosophy it is advisable to state where and how one begins. In literature, one may take one’s starting point with some extraordinary experience—like being on the road . . . The more extraordinary a novelist’s experience, the better perhaps. But in philosophy, the starting point has to be an experience that is not extraordinary. It has to be one that every one recognizes as his own as well, otherwise philosophy’s pretense to the universality of its concepts will be foiled from the outset. For Plato, that experience may have been the question: What is the good life? For Kant, it was experience in the sense of our ordinary knowledge of sense objects.

One popular way of beginning appears in meta-remarks often heard and read such as this: “If I argue that X, then the result will be undesirable; therefore I shall argue that Y.” This amounts to an acknowledgement, touching in its candor, that the starting point is desires and the argument, their justification (see BH 676n.45).

Desires, however, are as notoriously unreliable as they are inescapable. They make one argue the maximization of now this, now that preferred posit or thesis. The Platonic maximization of the good and the Kantian maximization of subjective spontaneity may serve as examples of such theticism.

To put desire into its place, if that is at all feasible, there is not a great number of candidates that may provide a starting point which every one knows, yet poorly; a starting point that stands in need of elucidation and which can be relied on as indeed universally intelligible. If one tries to avoid the traps and gratifications of theticism, such a systematic beginning can only be sought for in traits of everydayness. Of these the most elementary concern my birth and my death. Nothing is more certain than that I came into being and that I will be going. What we know, although poorly, are not birth and death as datable occurrences. Rather their discordant pulls on everydayness are the ultimates of experience. For me, philosophy has therefore to begin as an Analytic of Ultimates.

In order to characterize these ultimates, I borrow a distinction from Hannah Arendt, broadening it however beyond the sphere of the political that was her primary concern. This is the distinction between natality and mortality. Arendt described natality as the principle of beginnings. It is, she wrote, “the miracle that saves the world.”50 Sitting down and beginning a new book, founding the United Nations, falling in love again … all these are possible due to the impulse of natality. Philosophical discourse is best begun with this impetus that birth imparts on everyday experience. But, as ultimate, it does not function alone. The other pull is mortality, which accounts for our finitude. This is the condition that spreads our lives out over contingent time. It makes [it such] that one can speak of one’s life only in telling its story and its stories. [51]

Arendt does not say this, but obviously her distinction stems from Heidegger: “Factual being-there exists gebürtig”—the translators put “as born”; ‘natively’ would be more precise—“and natively, it is already dying, in the sense of being-towards-death” [BT 426; SZ 374; Schürmann trans. mod.]. Natality and mortality thus are opposed as being-towards-birth—Heidegger says “being-towards-the-beginning” (Sein zum Anfang)—and “being-towards-death” (Sein zum Tode, BT §72) [BT 425; SZ 373].

It is true that Heidegger did not devote to being-towards-birth the same breadth and depth of analysis as he did to being-towards-death. Furthermore, I am not sure that in his project they are truly ultimates since he ties all functions back to their “originary rootedness” [ursprünglichen Verwurzelung] in being-there [BT 429; SZ 377; Schürmann trans.].52 Natality and mortality on the other hand, the way I tried to retrieve them, do provide a starting point for philosophy that everyone knows, one which is unconditioned, but which cannot fall prey to the maximizing impulse of thetic desire, because this starting point is not simple.

In a way the impossibility of normative simplicity—of one simple last instance [53] of obligation—is the sole topic of the two volumes entitled Broken Hegemonies .

This allows me to address Rodolphe Gasché’s suggestion concerning the aporetic. The aporetic situation has traditionally to do with knowing and not knowing. It is the situation without a way out ,54 in which I come to know my ignorance. But this is already a restrictive sense of πόρος [passage] and ὁδός [path]. The knowledge sought, not found, and then found in ignorance—to put this all too briefly—is sought and found as cognitive, not as insight into the conditions of everydayness. Aporia is a cognitive problem inasmuch as it concerns contents: the good life, precisely, hence virtues, hence the good. With theories of the aporetic, the good is in fact already posited in advance; and with the good, the whole apparatus of subsumption. But as I said, what we know phenomenologically as unhintergehbar, as impossible to step behind, cannot concern one content or another. If it is to be recognizable to everyone, it has to be formal, not material.

“To begin,” in Greek is ἄρχειν. In theticism, what begins and holds sway over phenomena has been some last referent: some archic posit. One may say that for at least two centuries, it has been subjectivity that has been called upon to begin and rule over phenomena. Subjectivity has been and remains the representation under which we moderns have subsumed, and continue to subsume, all other representations. It is the ἀρχή of modernity.

Now, I have always tried to better understand anarchy. One has to distinguish various senses of that term.

A doctrine of principles, whether explicitly or tacitly and whatever its variant, cannot do without a certain concept of anarchy. In such a doctrine, this concept only sums up the axiom that forbids stepping back indefinitely towards more and more primitive conditions. Within theticism, the first ἀρχή will have to be anarchic, since as Rodolphe Gasché observed it would no longer be first if it in turn had its ἀρχή (see BH 153, 629, 648n.53).

What fascinated me, first in Meister Eckhart and later in Heidegger, were thought strategies against such thetic ἀρχαί [see, e.g., HBA 229, 280].55 In Eckhart, that counter-strategy appears for instance in his exhortation to “break through”56] beyond the Father. In Heidegger, at least the way I read him in the book on which Peg Birmingham commented, the an-archic counter-strategy arises from his analysis of the history of epochs. With an “other thinking” as well as an “other acting” [see HBA 229, 275; see also n. 2 below], which in our age may have become a possibility, the phenomenality of phenomena would not be constituted in tying them back to one master-referent: to one ἀρχή. One may call this a post-epochal anarchy.

Still different is the anarchy that appears as one tries to unlearn truncating the ultimates which are natality and mortality. Natality will always propel thought to posit universals—regional, not necessarily hegemonic ones. Desires, as I said, are inescapable. But what happens to hegemonic posits, were one to unlearn denying mortality in the constitution of phenomena? Hegemonic posits would show themselves to be broken from within. The effort to remain faithful to the ultimates of ordinary experience jars with the call for the simple principles establishing the law. Such ultimate dissonance deprives us, and has always deprived us, of any appellate jurisdiction. Here, “the origin thus proves to be anarchic because in dissension with itself” (BH 629).

That much about the analytic of ultimates as a propedeutics to a topology of hegemonic phantasms. I should now like to suggest how mortality disrupts the representations maximized as hegemonic by natality. Such disruption comes from singulars and the phenomenological faithfulness to them.

2.2 Singularizations

In the two volumes entitled Broken Hegemonies, my guiding question is one raised by both Peg Birmingham and Rodolphe Gasché: How exactly do singulars break the phantasms that lay down the law?

First a remark about “phantasm.” I use this term not in the sense of psychoanalytic theory, but to designate the so-called standards that philosophers consider it their craft to secure. As they function as last instance—the Platonic good, Kantian subjectivity—as the master referent, such standards are hegemonic. The term ‘phantasm’ designates, in other words, focal meanings of being.57 The question, then, is this: How do such foci, how do subsumptive posits of meaning—hegemonic phantasms—fare if what is phenomenologically originary are natality and mortality? Stated otherwise: If philosophy begins with these ultimates of ordinary experience, what happens to normativity, and that is, to the law?

What happens is that the law proves incapable of imposing itself plainly, simply, univocally. Rather it places us always and essentially in a double bind.58 This double bind I call the tragic condition of being. Somewhat abstractly it can be stated as the discrepancy between universals and singulars. About singulars, now, several points have to be kept in mind.

First, singulars are not particulars. They become particularized through the positing of some one subsumptive class or kind, of which they then are cases. Theticism has no use for singulars. In all thetic rigor, idealists have always held that the singular has no being. While the opposition between universals and particulars constitutes a pair, the opposition between universals and singulars does not. They are disparate opposites.

Furthermore, when I speak of the singular I do not speak of ostensive objects. I do not raise problems pertaining to so-called nominalism, at least not primarily.59 The singular in the sense of certain late Medievals appears rather as a consequence [resulting] from what the analytic of ultimates shows. It shows that universals result from the impetus of natality, and what is singular, from the discrepant undertow of mortality.

But this is not to plead the singular self, either. “Develop your singularities,” one was told not too long ago in Paris as well as in California. The exhortation entailed and entails analytically: “Respect singularities.” Yet here is what was not said and is however needed if philosophy’s task remains to render explicit the prior knowing that we have of conditions: Whence such an imperative? What renders it possible? Accordingly, no time was lost in Frankfurt to retort: “In the name of what? Spell out your validity arguments.” Now names and values, as well as the subjective (or intersubjective) competencies on which critical theorists rest such arguments, under topological inspection turn out as products, brought into being by theticism.

Rather, the law maximized by natality gets ruined by the singular qua singularization, hence by a temporalization. Singularization turns time against itself. An analytic of ultimates concerns the future in two ways. Natality pushes me to project the morrow … But I know mortality, too, in the mode of the future. The anarchic pull in each and every law is then to be understood as singularization to come[see BH 347].

The différend between the law and the singularization appears beautifully in a certain primal scene with which, and through which, the topology of phantasms has to work.60 The scene is the conflict of heroic and democratic laws in fifth century Athens, as represented on stage by Aeschylus and Sophocles. Agamemnon slits Iphigenia’s throat in the name of what is called values: in the name of such normative universals as are nation, army, honor of course, plus perhaps Greek expansionism and the Ionian colonization … One cuts, so as to promote a common name capable of setting the law. But by the same slitting, Agamemnon also cuts himself off from the law of the Atrides. He decides for one clear-cut law: for the one at Aulis, against the one at Mycenae where other obligations would have compelled him to cut and decide differently. At Aulis, his public function inserts him into a world that bestows on him a meaning as head of the armies. Yet also at Aulis, the undeniable allegiance—yet an allegiance denied—to the family lineage singularizes him as well. The allegiance to his blood line expels him in advance from the world of weapons and battle ships, the world that in sacrificing his daughter he extolls as unequivocally normative [see BH 621–2].61

That much to suggest that the law arises essentially from tragic denial [see BH 26–36]. Knowing the expulsion and singularization that accompany clear-cut normativity, on the other hand, makes any univocal meaning meaningless. This knowing, made explicit, is tragic knowledge [see BH 4].

2.3 To Know, to Think, to Wit62

“With desire we take hold of a law

That can serve as the weapon to our passion.”

(Wir fassen ein Gesetz begierig an,

Das unsrer Leidenschaft zur Waffe dient.)

—Goethe, Iphigenia in Tauris, V.3; vv. 1832f.63

Is the law, as these lines suggest, a weapon to brandish in the defense of our passions? A passion turned into a weapon, perhaps? A singular passion—the passion for some singular—which desire comes to promote, exalt, institute as universal rule?

The correlative of denying singularization is maximization: what Heidegger, in some text, calls Aufsteigern.64 This correlation can best be shown in following the Aufsteigern of proper names into common names; into representations of the common.

If there are reasons to agree with Goethe, then the law will prove of rather modest extraction. As in all dazzling ascensions, the humble conditions of the beginning will make themselves felt even in the effects of name and renown. The singular point of departure from which the law arises, a singularization now concerning names, will fracture, from within, the universal endowed with the force of obligation. Renown comes from naming again. It is a re-noun. So understood, the word well describes the law’s rise and career. A proper name named anew, re-named for the purpose of subsumption, carried to the rank of the most common name, maximized: that is what the law would be. Speaking in the name of, will always amount to speaking of the proper name or noun, and then of the renown-renoun.

In this and then is lodged the whole problem of normativity, of principles, of appellate recourse, of the last instance. It will be useful to reflect on the persistence of the singular, the object of passion, at the heart of the common referents that enjoy the renown of law. Reflecting thus means to put into question the rallying names in which we trust as if their legislative prestige went without saying: names such as of progress, of the people, of the race, of freedom … Submitting to such common representations, we become capable of understanding each other—which is, by the way, why anomy is bound to remain a dream.

The prestige of the common, to which desire propels us, allows for actual knowing (erkennen, connaître), and it prompts thinking. The persistence of the singular under the law, however, with the various senses of passion that ensue, is something of which we have prior knowing (wissen, savoir; ‘to wit’ as in ‘God wot,’ ‘he wist not’).

We actually know things in calling them by their name. Knowledge grows and gains strength in the light of the common. Without specific and generic names expressing laws, the world would remain impenetrable to us. Cognitive laws enunciate necessary relations linking phenomena. We think, when we ask ourselves and others: in the name of what do I do what I do, say what I say, judge as I judge? Here, as meaning is at stake rather than kinds, we put to work an other name: a common that is other. Consequently, we put to work a law that is other, one which enunciates not relations that are but those of which we are convinced they ought to be. Thought relations remain always more tenuous than cognitive relations. An agreement that rests on a common thought remains more precarious than one imposed by a truth known. In the absence of names that give it meaning, the world would become unlivable for us.

Cognition and thinking are not all. The laws that regulate the true and those that regulate meaning do not exhaust the whole law that passes as normative. Our understanding cannot but comply with the true that compels it; the true is a hard law. Reason, on the other hand, debates convictions; meaning commands with a softer law, where freedom enters. This is to say that one and the other depend in their turn on conditions. Philosophy has as its mission to seek the unconditioned that renders possible the conditioned. Outside of this, it lapses into some theory of: into theory of understanding or theory of meaning precisely, as well as some other such theories. None of these is philosophy. As for the unconditioned, we have a prior knowledge (Wissen) of it. Neither hard nor soft, it can be neither demonstrated nor even discussed. What, then, do we know of the law, prior to demonstration establishing the true, and discussion negotiating meaning?

Not all prior knowledge is ultimate (which is why, in Kantian terms, our theoretical as well as practical make-up is arranged according to an order that the deductions trace; the only ultimate function being apperception). Could the ultimate that we know bear both on the common which desire promotes, exalts, declares, and institutes as law, and on the singular as it affects a passion? Could this double bearing make us familiar with a double bind that is ultimate: with the law as subsumptive and as deictic? If we maximize, and cannot but maximize, proper names into common ones, could this be because the tragic condition is known to everyone? That knowing makes us posit principles, as it keeps us at the same time inevitably faithful to deictic objects. Stated otherwise, when we upgrade a singular passion—a passion for some singular—and, in the words of Goethe, brandish it as a law, could it be that we know conflicting ultimates? Do we obey a universalizing-singularizing double bind, one that is ineluctably originary?

If such is unconditioned knowledge, then we will learn more about the law, in analyzing its ultimates in ordinary experience.

2.4 Analytic of Ultimates and Topology of Broken Hegemonies

The connections between the analytic of ultimates and the topology of broken hegemonies are not difficult to see. Again, a sketch will have to suffice.

In a thetic beginning of discourse one states: “I posit that X, from where it follows that Y and Z.” The supreme good, substance, or the principle of sufficient reason posited, one occupies a point of departure that will allow one to understand (such is at least the expectation invested in theticism) the good life, physical change, or the impetus that moves essences toward existence. A thesis is a posit for the sake of subsuming and explicating consequences that have proved problematic at the outset (which is the reason why a thesis is never first absolutely; but this is another question). Nothing in any case serves better “as the weapon to our passion” than theticism in its innumerable forms. It provides interlocutors with common concepts and agents with general ideas. Theticism constitutes the force of the natural metaphysician within us. Thus to the extent that, to live, it is necessary to speak and act, to understand and think, we will never extricate ourselves from poses and positions assumed, from theses put forth and stops posited … We will never extricate ourselves from maximizing representations into laws.

In a casual beginning of philosophical discourse one might state: “Master posits have abounded and superabounded, and they continue to abound; their profusion alone demonstrates that none of them is compelling, necessary, or even legitimate; let us then start more modestly with the casus, the contingent case, with the site that happens to be our own and let us ask: What is befalling us today?” From such a casual beginning one will be able to note deconstructive questions into the margins of transmitted systems. One will be able to annotate our institutions archaeologically and genealogically, thus subverting them.

As to the analytic of ultimates, it begins still differently. To a certain extent, the topology of hegemonies connects with the analytic of ultimates, as epochal history connects with the existential analytic in Heidegger. But to a certain extent only, since the connection remains highly problematic in Heidegger. Furthermore, according to some of his pronouncements, two or three more centuries would suffice to wean us from thetic investments.65 Thus the pull towards subsumptive phantasms would not be phenomenologically co-ultimate to the pull that always singularizes us. Focal meanings would, as it were, be incurred historically, and the day could come when we will no longer speak of them—just as, for two centuries now, one has not heard of phlogiston or of ether.

The analysis of ultimates precedes the topology of broken hegemonies in that it reveals strategies in unconditioned knowledge which disjoin the conditions of thought.

It is not to extravagate, not to adventure outside of the knowledge that is most evenly distributed in the world, to the state that everyone knows at least this much about ultimates, namely, that the clarity of a common posit is never the whole of experience, never all of experience. Something else mixes with such posits, which ruins the rest promised by subsumptive names. Familiar in advance with destabilizations in a universe of meaning that is stabilized phantasmatically, we are not really surprised when a world gets undone which for a while went without saying. What surprises is rather that things hold: that much at least we know, if neither by the understanding, nor by reason. It is a knowing that arises from elsewhere than cognition and thought. The strategy of retreat, which wrenches us in advance from any constituted world, is the mother of all contingencies. It foils understanding and allows itself to be thought only with difficulty. Still, it is this strategy of dephenomenalization, incongruously at work in all phenomenal arrangements, that must be thought.

The project in Broken Hegemonies is to grasp natality and mortality as they join in phantasms of a last instance; it is to rehabilitate the originary double allegiance; to lend a voice to the tragic condition silenced by the theticism of meaning.

Since Parmenides until certain motifs still in Heidegger, thinking means: grasping the simple originary reference [see BH 347; see also, e.g., BT 48, 215].66 Trying to remain faithful to the ultimates that we know because we are born and die, it will be impossible to claim any simplicity in the last instance and impossible to claim any simple last instances. What holds and binds us originarily will rather be a disparity. The conceivable, the sayable, all that allows for communication and which gives life, does not pair off with singularization—the workings of our natural languages notwithstanding, fashioned as their grammar is by the mechanics of determinate negations. Our languages oppose to life the inconceivable and unsayable which singularizes and which imparts death.

But the disparity of ultimates turns language against itself. From this point of view, words possess a double pertinence. They subsume particulars as cases of a universal, and they point out deictic singulars. The impetus of natality makes [it such] that words signify the common. It opens up the space for subsumptions, outside of which nobody would hear anybody. There exists no mode of speaking which would allow [one] to desert that space (if metaphysics amounts to the labor of subsumption, then one would have to say that there exists no non-metaphysical language). Yet the undertow of mortality also makes words point to singulars, just as it singularizes us (if words have this ostensive, monstrative bearing, if they signify not only a universal but signify to me what to do or who to be, then metaphysics never constituted a closed system). This counter-pull in speech makes for its appellatory, and in that sense performative, function which strips language of overdeterminations.

The topology is an attempt at hearing—at “retrieving”67—in normative arguments the fidelity to tragic knowledge, and this through the very din of theticism. It will be a matter of wresting the originary double allegiance from texts and theses bequeathed by tradition. For the attempt at so wresting oneself away from univocal law, the analytic of ultimates serves as a set of tools. It serves not to unlearn, but at least to observe at work the most widely shared reflex, which is much more than a professional idiosyncrasy of philosophers: the reflex of denying that beneath all law and obligation, it is the tragic that places us in its binds. Through such retrieval one may hope, not to be sure to correct oneself of the ancient reflex which posits and which denies, as one corrects oneself of a tic, but to reveal in the phantasms that it exalts the work of the ultimates that breaks their hegemony.

Observing how tragic denial functions requires a topology. If the subsumptive posits are indeed maximized out of rather humble experiences, they will be more easily understood [when] led back to their places of extraction. What phenomenon is being preserved, albeit hyperbolically, under this or that posited normative referent? A first sense in which I speak of πόρος concerns these places from which normative maximizations take off. In any reading of a text, this is a useful sense—as long, at least, as it is practiced without leaning overly.68 When the good attains the rank of being truly being and thereby fulfills the function of the one, the πόρος of extraction is the more modest question: how to live well? Likewise, when substance becomes the terminus for all πρός ἓν relations, its hyperbolized function arises probably from the marvel before man’s technical know-how: how striking the transformations are that our hands (of fifth and fourth century Athenians) are capable of effecting upon materials. Topology seeks to go back to the given, under the posited. It inquires into the places of birth from which the impulse of natality takes off.

But topology concerns other places as well. For two centuries now—ever since Kant saw in the French Revolution the proof of an undeniable moral progress—there has been no lack of theories that locate historical beginnings, carve out eras and demarcate epochs. Revolutions have been called upon as indicators of a new beginning, as have the moments of a people’s rising spiritual essence, the advancements in the means of production, the discoveries that render normal science incommensurable with one that precedes, the inventions that rearrange a configuration of knowledge and power … It seemed to me that the most obvious and the least thetic beginnings mark themselves when one natural language yields to another in our history. Everything begins differently as we change language. The λόγοι of which the topology takes inventory are then the Greek, the Latin, and the modern vernacular sites from which philosophy has spoken.

These two senses of πόρος—phenomenon from which a thesis is raised, [and] natural language which for a time lends its parameters to theticism—converge on the hegemonies themselves. Only retrospectively of course, once the chips are down and phantasms have collapsed, can the hypothesis be entertained that the Greeks relied on the ἓν or “one,” the Latins on natura, and the moderns on self-consciousness as on their most common place.

2.5 Peremption69

What happens today, however, and has been happening for a century and a half (roughly since the death of Hegel and Goethe), is more than the destitution of one or the other such phantasm. Our lot is the relinquishment of any representation functioning as plainly and simply normative: what in legal theory is called peremption (also “quashing”), the annulment of a previously valid law. It is better not to use this quashing for pronouncements claiming the end of metaphysics. In order for such an end to be even thinkable, it would indeed be necessary to suspend the impulse of natality, to disengage thought from that impulse. One might just as well ask desire to rid itself of its megalomania.

Peremption as our lot requires a new discipline in thought: not only to comply with norms, but also not to betray the deictic phenomena in their places of manifestation. We have yet to learn how to live in worlds where this singularizing undertow would no longer be denied. Phenomena are betrayed as they are subsumed under one among them, which gets saved and cultivated excessively. On the other hand, they are saved (διασώζειν τὰ φαινόμενα) as they are allowed to manifest themselves for themselves. This requires that we welcome the effacement of all theses that console the soul and consolidate the city; that we allow their relinquishment to lay down its law, which is not one and simple. One may speak, then, of peremption as laying down the law for us. Which law? The originary tragic double bind.

With the conflictual origin so rehabilitated, passion rids itself of the disguises under which it worked in theticism. Goethe’s lines on Leidenschaft can also be read as addressing a Leiden, a suffering that seeks to arm itself. Now the wound suffered by the law comes from its other which does not fall within its regime, which shares no common genus with it, and which nevertheless inhabits it like an injurious agent. The other to all genera is the singular. To say yes to peremption as laying down the law means rehabilitating the singular under common names, affirming the παθεῖν that singularizes us to death, understanding all figures of ἀρχή as figures turned against themselves with passibility and in this [sense as] anarchic.

Edited by Francesco Guercio and Ian Alexander Moore

We thank the Schürmann Estate and Michael Heitz at Diaphanes Verlag for generously allowing us to edit and publish the responses. We also thank Kieran Aarons, Peg Birmingham, Krishna Boddapati, Walter Brogan, Rodolphe Gasché, Reginald Lilly, Michael Murray, and Dennis Schmidt for their help during our research.

1 These responses by Reiner Schürmann to commentators at meetings of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy are published here for the first time. For the original transcripts of the two versions of Schürmann’s 1987 response (henceforth referred to as the “Early Draft” and the “Later Draft”), as well as his 1992 response, see, respectively, “Only Proteus Can Save Us Now,” undated, in Series VI: Writings, 1964–1992, Reiner Schürmann Papers, NA.0006.01, The New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York, box 3, folder 22; and “Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (SPEP) Conference, Boston: Response to Remarks by Peg Birmingham and Rodolphe Gasche,” undated, in Series VI: Writings, 1964–1992, Reiner Schürmann Papers,  box 3, folder 40. All endnotes are by Francesco Guercio and Ian Alexander Moore and the Editors of the Journal. In-text citations and translations from the original appear in parentheses; citations and translations that have been added by Guercio and Moore and the Editors of the Journal appear in brackets.—Ed.

2 Heidegger uses the phrase “another kind of thinking” (das andere Denken) (Martin Heidegger, “Introduction to ‘What Is Metaphysics?,’” trans. Walter Kaufmann, in Pathmarks, ed. William McNeill [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998], p. 289; “Einleitung zu ‘Was ist Metaphysik?,’” in Wegmarken, ed. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann, vol. 9 of Gesamtausgabe, ed. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann [Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1976], p. 381).

3 This last sentence is missing from the Early Draft.

4 See also Reiner Schürmann, “On the Philosophers’ Release from Civil Service: An Interview with Reiner Schürmann,” Kairos 2:1 (1988), pp. 133–45.

5 Edmund Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, trans. David Carr (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1970), p. 17; Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaften und die transzendentale Phänomenologie: Eine Einleitung in die phänomenologische Philosophie, ed. Walter Biemel, vol. 6 of Husserliana, ed. Ulrich Melle (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1976), p. 15.

6 Schürmann remarks elsewhere: “The right, positing heteronomous authorities anchored in the past . . . strives for a rehabilitation of natural teleology. A certain left, positing future authorities that emanate from autonomy (for example, a community emancipated from communicative distortions), strives to validate arguments for the Letz[t]begründung, for precisely those ultimate foundations” (Broken Hegemonies trans. Reginald Lilly [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003], p. 9; henceforth BH, followed by page number; Des hégémonies brisées [Zurich: Diaphanes, 2017], p. 17.

7 See Martin Heidegger, “The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking,” in On Time and Being, trans. John Stambaugh (New York: Harper and Row, 1972), pp. 55–73; “Das Ende der Philosophie und die Aufgabe des Denkens,” in Zur Sache des Denkens, ed. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann, vol. 14 of Gesamtausgabe, ed. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 2007), pp. 67–90.

8 As referenced by Simplicius, In Aristotelis de caelo commentaria, 488.18–24; On Aristotle On the Heavens 2.10–14, trans. Ian Mueller (London: Bloomsbury, 2005), pp. 28–9.

9 See, for example, Martin Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology,” in The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, trans. William Lovitt (New York: Garland, 1977), pp. 1920; “Die Frage nach der Technik,” in Vorträge und Aufsätze, ed. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann, vol. 7 of Gesamtausgabe, ed. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 2000), pp. 20–1.  

10 Full Metal Jacket (1987), directed by Stanley Kubrick, written by Stanley Kubrick, Michael Herr, and Gustav Hasford (Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video, 2001), DVD, 00:38:58–00:39:04.

11 Aristotle writes, “it is impossible to have scientific knowledge of singulars” (Aristotle, Posterior Analytics, trans. Jonathan Barnes [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993], I.18, 81a–b).

12 Schürmann is referring to Martin Heidegger, “The Thing,” in Poetry, Language, Thought, trans. Albert Hofstadter (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), p. 176; trans. mod.; “Das Ding,” in Vorträge und Aufsätze, p. 180.

13 Schürmann refers to an earlier edition of Martin Heidegger, Vier Seminare: Le Thor 1966, 1968, 1969, Zähringen 1973, in Seminare, ed. Curd Ochwadt, vol. 15 of Gesamtausgabe, ed. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1986), p. 335. Heidegger writes: “Here [in Being and Time] ‘meaning’ is to be understood from ‘project,’ which is explained by ‘understanding.’ What is inappropriate in this formulation of the question is that it makes it all too possible to understand the ‘project’ as a human performance. . . . In order to counter this mistaken conception . . . the thinking after Being and Time replaced the expression ‘meaning of being’ with ‘truth of being.’ And, in order to avoid any falsification of the sense of truth, in order to exclude its being understood as correctness, ‘truth of being’ was explained by ‘location [Ortschaft] of being’—truth as locality [Örtlichkeit] of being” (Martin Heidegger, Four Seminars: Le Thor 1966, 1968, 1969, Zähringen 1973, trans. Andrew Mitchell and François Raffoul [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003], pp. 40–1; Vier Seminare, p. 335). KB: I left the German text (Vier Seminare) in because the quotation refers to some German words; in general, this is the rule we follow.

14 Schürmann is referring to Martin Heidegger, The Will to Power as Art, vol. 1 of Nietzsche: Volumes I and II, trans. David Farrell Krell (New York: Harper & Row, 1991), p. 20; “Der Wille zur Macht als Kunst,” in pt. 1 of Nietzsche, ed. Brigitte Schillbach, vol. 6 of Gesamtausgabe, ed. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1996), p. 17.

15 In Heidegger on Being and Acting, Schürmann writes: “Expropriation, Enteignis, accounts for the tendency toward negativity in a given economy—all and any negativity in all and any economy. It accounts for concealment (λήθη) in unconcealment, which in turn accounts for withholding (ἐπέχειν) in the epochs. It is the undertow in all surface fluctuations” (Reiner Schürmann, Heidegger on Being and Acting: From Principles to Anarchy, trans. Christine-Marie Gros and Reiner Schürmann [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987], p. 218; henceforth HBA, followed by page number).

16 Abgeschiedenheit means “detachment” or “departedness.” Schürmann discusses it, among other places, throughout Wandering Joy: Meister Eckhart’s Mystical Philosophy; Translation and Commentary (Great Barrington, MA: Lindisfarne, 2001); Maître Eckhart ou la joie errante (Paris: Payot & Rivages, 2005). Heidegger treats it most extensively in “Language in the Poem: A Discussion on Georg Trakl’s Poetic Work,” in On the Way to Language, trans. Peter D. Hertz (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), pp. 159–98 (where it is rendered as “apartness”); “Die Sprache im Gedicht: Eine Erörterung von Georg Trakls Gedicht,” in Unterwegs zur Sprache, ed. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann, vol. 12 of Gesamtausgabe, ed. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1985), pp. 33–78. In the late thirteenth century, Meister Eckhart likely coined the Middle High German term abegescheidenheit (see Meister Eckhart, Traktate, ed. Josef Quint, vol. 5 of Die deutschen Werke, ed. German Research Foundation [Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1963], 283.8; see also p. 438n. 1). For Heidegger’s complicated relation to Eckhart and Trakl on this theme, see Ian Alexander Moore, “For the Love of Detachment: Trakl, Heidegger, and Derrida’s Geschlecht III,” International Yearbook for Hermeneutics 18:1 (2019), pp. 233–56.

17 See, for example, Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1979), pp. 11–2, 367–70.

18 On Leo Strauss and his “flock” (see §1.4 of this article) Schürmann says, for example: “Leo Strauss . . . seeks to resuscitate the conception of natural law as based upon a ‘teleological vision’ . . . . According to Strauss, it is important to resuscitate it in order to hold mass society in check: ‘Liberal education is the necessary effort to establish an aristocracy at the heart of mass democratic society’” (BH 654n. 47; Schürmann is quoting from Leo Strauss, Liberalism Ancient and Modern, [New York: Basic Books, 1968], p. 4). Schürmann also writes: “In the United States there has arisen from Strauss a veritable movement whose goal is the formation of a fundamentalist elite. The movement is not confined to university circles. . . . Being a sacralized text is a function that falls to a group of ‘great books’ from Plato to Thomas Aquinas . . . but also to the American Constitution. As their fundamentalism requires, the Straussiansread these texts extremely defensively and polemically against every historical method” (BH 382n. 66, 667n. 72).

19 The word “ontic” in this sentence appears as a handwritten insertion in the typescript of the Later Draft, and is missing from the Early Draft. With the remark on “enlightened reason as a principle,” Schürmann has in mind above all Jürgen Habermas and Karl-Otto Apel: “All of Apel’s work aims at establishing a transcendental philosophy of language as first philosophy capable of founding both critical theory and emancipatory practice. Even when the Aristotelian heritage (the reference to a first philosophy) in the theories of legitimation is less explicit, the very notion of legitimation includes the πρὸς ἕν reference, the reference of subjects to a norm-bestowing authority. For the so-called Frankfurt School, this authoritative point of reference is the utopian voluntary and rational agreement of all members of society” (HBA 350n. 183; see also BH 9, 627).

20 See, for example, Paul Feyerabend, Against Method, rev. 3rd ed. (New York: Verso, 1993); and Reiner Schürmann, “On Constituting Oneself an Anarchistic Subject” and “Modernity: The Last Epoch in a Closed History?,” in Tomorrow the Manifold: Essays on Foucault, Anarchy, and the Singularization to Come, ed. Malte Fabian Rauch and Nicolas Schneider (Zurich: Diaphanes, 2019), pp. 7–30 and 55–76, respectively. 

21 Martin Heidegger, “Summary of a Seminar on the Lecture ‘Time and Being,’” in On Time and Being, p. 42; “Protokoll zu einem Seminar über den Vortrag ‘Zeit und Sein,’” in Zur Sache des Denkens, p. 41.

22 Although he was unable to locate the text of his response, Michael Murray did recall in an email to us (on September 18, 2021) the way in which he had questioned Schürmann on this point: in Murray’s view, Hölderlin was not merely, for Heidegger, “an early spokesman for the release” but rather “the poet of the future.” “He belongs,” Murray continues, “to the history of Western poetry, not the aesthetic economy of European literature.” Schürmann was, admittedly, not always clear about Hölderlin in Heidegger on Being and Acting, to which Murray was responding. Let us compare, for example, two passages from the book. In the first passage, the Proteus-like futural figure of Hölderlin comes to the fore: “What, then, would ‘the other thinking’ be, the one which is hardly adumbrated by the phenomenology of technology as the era of closure? . . . . The difficulty of describing it led Heidegger for some years into the vicinity of Hölderlin’s poetry” (HBA 229). This futural sense comes across more explicitly in the French text: “est-ce justement pour pouvoir décrire cette pensée future que Heidegger, pendant quelques années, se tourna vers Hölderlin” (“it is precisely in order to be able to describe this future thought that Heidegger, for some years, turned toward Hölderlin”) (Reiner Schürmann, Le principe d’anarchie: Heidegger et la question de l’agir [Bienne, CH: Diaphanes, 2013], p. 336; emphasis added). In the other passage, Hölderlin assumes a more Janus-like profile: “The ‘other beginning,’ Holderlin’s, thus repeats the first, the pre-classical Greek beginning” (HBA 373n. 120). See also Schürmann’s early paper, “Situating René Char: Hölderlin, Heidegger, Char and the ‘There Is,’” boundary 2 4:2 (Winter 1976), pp. 512–34.

23 See, for example, Heidegger, “Die Frage nach der Technik,” p. 29; “The Question Concerning Technology,” p. 28.

24 Schürmann is referring to Jacques Derrida, Margins of Philosophy, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), p. 135; Marges de la philosophie (Paris: Minuit, 1972), p. 162.   

25 Schürmann remarks more than once on the Verwindung of metaphysics as ‘working-through’ (durcharbeiten) it. For example, he writes that “the new understanding of dwelling requires working through (verwinden in the sense of durcharbeiten) the representations of constant presence as the temporality of the law. It is one and the same deconstruction that breaks the prestige of referents and of constancy” (HBA 290); and that “we disengage ourselves from something only in grappling with it, as a neurosis is grappled with by Freudian ‘durcharbeiten,’ working-through. . . . To ‘verwinden’ means first of all ‘getting over’ suffering” (HBA 327n. 14; see also BH 576).

26 See the fourth part of Schürmann’s Heidegger on Being and Acting, titled “Historical Deduction of the Categories of Presencing” (HBA 153–229).

27 This remark by Kant is actually in the preface to the first edition (see Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, trans. and ed. Paul Guyer and Allen W. Wood [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998], Avii–viii).

28 Immanuel Kant, “What is Enlightenment?,” trans. Lewis White Beck, in On History, trans. Lewis White Beck, Robert E. Anchor, and Emil L. Fackenheim, ed. Lewis White Beck (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1963), p. 3; “Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung?,” ed. Heinrich Maier, in Abhandlungen nach 1781, ed. Heinrich Maier, Max Frischeisen-Köhler, and Paul Menzer, vol. 8 of Werke, ed. Wilhelm Dilthey, vols. 1–9 of Gesammelte Schriften, ed. Prussian Academy of the Sciences (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1923), p. 35.

29 Ibid.

30 See, for example, Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, A297–8/B353–4.

31 In the aforementioned message (see n. 22 above), Michael Murray recalled that he had challenged Schürmann also on this point: “Reiner claimed to have presented a transcendental deduction of Heidegger’s categories, with all due qualifications and nuance. I raised the question of whether it was the complete and necessary set, on the model of Kant’s contention that if you don’t have the entirety, the deduction loses its value. Philosophy’s dream has always been to arrive at the essential and complete set of categories. (Heidegger’s thought eventually became (also) a deconstruction of such an aspiration.) The way Reiner carries out the deduction exhibits the systemic style in which he treats Heidegger’s works, that is, assembles pieces and references from many texts to construct a general picture. (That’s what I meant by ‘homogenizes,’ which he posed as the opposite of Walter Brogan’s complaint.) He replied that he acknowledges both the historical as well as the systemic approaches. But I had suggested not just that the historical . . . gets elided, but it’s also the ‘singularity’ (in Reiner’s sense) of Heidegger’s actual texts that gets elided in favor of a conceptual schematic.” Interestingly, Gianni Carchia, in the introduction to his Italian translation of Heidegger on Being and Acting, described Schürmann’s historical deduction of the categories of presence as “one of the most immediately baffling [sconcertanti] features of [the] book,” calling it “a sort of eschatological Kantism” (Gianni Carchia, introduction to Reiner Schürmann, Dai principî all’anarchia: Essere e agire in Heidegger, trans. and ed. Gianni Carchia [Vicenza: Neri Pozza, 2019], pp. 11–2; our translation).

32 In the aforementioned message (see n. 22 above), Michael Murray recalled that Schürmann accepted his claim “ that modern technology is broken, ‘always already broken’ I would say in Heidegger’s idiom,” and extended “it to the whole history of metaphysics.” Murray continues by arguing that: “What I don’t think he appreciated sufficiently is just how totalizing Heidegger’s very important account of technology is, and in certain ways the same can be said for his history of metaphysics. One simple clue to the first is how Heidegger utterly misses the uniquely accident-prone character of modern technology, in contrast to his famous recognition of it in the case of the breakdown of the equipmental environ in Being and Time.”

33 In the Later Draft, the clause “not easy to delineate historically” is crossed out in pencil.

34 See Schürmann, “‘What must I do?’ at the End of Metaphysics: Ethical Norms and the Hypothesis of a Historical Closure,” in Tomorrow the Manifold, pp. 31–53.

35 Heidegger writes that “higher than actuality stands possibility” (Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson [New York: Harper & Row, 1962], p. 63; henceforth BT, followed by page number; Sein und Zeit [Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1967], p. 38); henceforth SZ, followed by page number.

36 Martin Heidegger, “Only a God Can Save Us: Der Spiegel’s Interview with Martin Heidegger,” trans. Maria P. Alter and John D. Caputo, in Philosophical and Political Writings, ed. Manfred Stassen (New York: Continuum, 2003), p. 38; “Spiegel-Gespräch mit Martin Heidegger,” in Reden und andere Zeugnisse eines Lebensweges 1910–1976, ed. Hermann Heidegger, vol. 16 of Gesamtausgabe, ed. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 2000), p. 671.

37 ‘Escaping,’ and its inherently reactive character, is also at the core of Schürmann’s writing in Les origines (Toulouse: PUM, 2003). For example, Schürmann writes, “The first reflex of my life: to get the hell out”; and “You do not know how to leave the past. The world left behind catches up with you again” (Origins, trans. Elizabeth Preston and Reiner Schürmann [Zurich: Diaphanes, 2016], pp. 24, 40).

38 Heidegger writes: “the cleft . . . between thinking and the sciences is unbridgeable. There is no bridge here—only the leap” (Martin Heidegger, What Is Called Thinking?, trans. Fred D. Wieck and J. Glenn Gray [New York: Harper & Row, 1968], p. 8; trans. mod.; Was heisst Denken? ed. Paola-Ludovika Coriando, vol. 8 of Gesamtausgabe, ed. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann [Frankfurt: Klostermann, 2002], p. 10). Schürmann was often keen to recall that Nietzsche had already written in Zarathustra: “the smallest cleft is the hardest to bridge” (die kleinste Kluft ist am schwersten zu überbrücken) (see, e.g., BH 180; Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for None and All, trans. Walter Kaufmann [New York: Penguin Books, 1966], pp. 106, 217; see also Reiner Schürmann, The Philosophy of Nietzsche, ed. Francesco Guercio [Zurich: Diaphanes, 2020], pp. 82, 104).

39 See Heidegger’s lecture “Time and Being,” in On Time and Being, pp. 1–24; “Zeit und Sein,” in Zur Sache des Denkens, pp. 3–30.

40 Schürmann writes: “in the final analysis, there is only one rule for the direction of thinking: φύσις understood as the movement of emergence out of absence into presence. What would the acting be that would prepare an economy freed from ordering principles? It would be an acting following that same rule. . . . Since an ordering principle initiates and commands, since it is the ἀρχή of an epoch, such acting preparatory to a post-modern economy would be literally an-archic” (HBA 289).

41 For example, Heidegger writes: “Die Un-Fuge besteht darin, daß das Je-Weilige sich auf die Weile im Sinne des nur Beständigen zu versteifen sucht” (Martin Heidegger, “Der Spruch des Anaximander,” in Holzwege, ed. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann, vol 5. of Gesamtausgabe, ed. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann [Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1977], p. 356). Schürmann translates this as: “Disjointure means that whatever lingers awhile becomes set on fixing itself in its stay, in the sense of pure persistence in duration” (HBA 248). For an alternative translation, see Martin Heidegger, Early Greek Thinking, trans. David Farrell Krell and Frank Capuzzi (New York: Harper & Row, 1975), p. 43.

42 Schürmann is referring to Martin Heidegger, “The Word of Nietzsche: ‘God Is Dead,’” in The Question Concerning Technology, p. 65; “Nietzsches Wort ‘Gott ist tot,’” in Holzwege, p. 221; cited in HBA 288; see also Schürmann, The Philosophy of Nietzsche, p. 124.

43 Schürmann writes: “The entry into the event . . . remains thinkable and doable only as the struggle against the injustice, the hubris, of enforced residence under principial surveillance—whatever form it may take. Such removal would be the politics of ‘mortals’ instead of ‘rational animals.’ It carries out the answer to the question, What is to be done at the end of metaphysics?” (HBA 281); and proclaims, “What must I do at the end of metaphysics? Combat all remnants of authoritative Firsts” (Schürmann, Tomorrow the Manifold, p. 52).

44 The author of this haiku is Ome Shushiki (1669–1725). Schürmann’s source seems to be A Little Treasury of Haiku: Basho, Buson, Issa, Shiki, Sokan, Kikaku, and Others, trans. Peter Beilenson (New York: Avenel, 1958), p. 9. This same haiku serves as an epigraph to Reiner Schurmann’s magnum opus, Broken Hegemonies.

45 What follows is our transcription of a page of notes appended to the Later Draft.

46 This line is crossed out in pencil in the typescript.

47 See Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, trans. Henry Reeve (London: Saunders and Otley, 1840); see also Alexis de Tocqueville to Charles Stoffels, Paris, November 4, 1830, Tocqueville-Beaumont correspondence: 1830–March 1831, Yale Tocqueville Collection, series A, sub-series VII, box 1.

48 Schürmann discusses these kinds of referential thinking throughout Broken Hegemonies (see, e.g., BH 8, 469, 601, 612).

49 Schürmann is referring to Broken Hegemonies, which would eventually be published as a single book.

50 Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), p. 247.

51 In Broken Hegemonies, Schürmann writes: “Mortality makes our finitude and lays out the singular life in a narratable story” (BH 635n. 33; trans. mod.).

52 With and against Heidegger, Schürmann attempts to disrupt and undermine the thetic temptation to establish foundations—a temptation that notoriously ended up exitial for Heidegger—by thinking the Da of Dasein, or the there of being-there, as a fundamentum concussum, as an always already “shaken ground” which can “no longer [furnish] . . . phenomena ‘originary rootedness’” (BH 560, 675n. 29). For more details, see Ian Alexander Moore and Francesco Guercio, “Heidegger, Our Monstrous Site: On Reiner Schürmann’s Reading of the Beiträge,” Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 42:2 (2021), pp. XX–XX.

53 Here and below Schürmann seems to have in mind the German phrase “letzte Instanz” (“dernière instance” in Des hégémonies brisées, p. 9),​​ which refers to a highest authority or court of appeals. See, also, Reginald Lilly’s remark in Broken Hegemonies (BH 9n. *).

54 A literal translation of the Greek ἀπορία, the state (-ία) of being without (ἀ-) passage (πόρος).

55 See also, for example, Schürmann, Wandering Joy, pp. 115–6.

56 See Schürmann, Wandering Joy, pp. 65–7.

57 In Broken Hegemonies, Schürmann writes: “maximiz[ing] the fantasmic work of everyday language . . . centers lines of force—strategies of speaking, lifeʼs inner dependencies—on a steady focal point. It imposes a standard meaning of being. Therefore it is impossible to describe it in the way that one describes a being; it is rather a matter of showing the mode of operation of such an epochally varying point to which all phenomena must be related if they are to have a meaning” (BH 9; see also BH 634n. 17).

58 Taking his cue from Gregory Bateson, Schürmann spells out the threefold structure of the tragic ‘double bind’ in Broken Hegemonies: “First there is a primary injunction that decrees the law; then there is a secondary injunction decreeing a law in conflict with the first; and finally, there is a third injunction ‘prohibiting the victim from escaping from the field’ constituted by the first two injunctions” (BH 633n. 1; see also Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology [Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1972], p. 205–17).

59 For Schürmann’s treatment of nominalism, see, for example, Reiner Schürmann, “Neo-Aristotelianism: On the Medieval Renaissance and William of Ockham,” ed. Ian Alexander Moore, Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 40:2 (2020): 315–47, and Neo-Aristotelianism and the Medieval Renaissance: On Aquinas, Ockham, and Eckhart, ed. Ian Alexander Moore (Zurich: Diaphanes, 2020).

60 On Schürmann’s use of this term, see BH 16–26; Des hégémonies brisées, pp. 26–38.

61 For the tragedies to which Schürmann is referring, see Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 223–48; and Sophocles, Electra, 530–9.

62 The following text can be found, with some significant omissions and variations, in Broken Hegemonies (BH 343–9).

63 Schürmann is referring to Iphigenia’s words to Thoas (see Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris, ed. Liselotte Blumenthal, in Dramatische Dichtungen III, ed. Liselotte Blumenthal et al., vol. 5 of Dramatische Dichtungen, vols. 3–5 of Goethes Werke: Hamburger Ausgabe, ed. Erich Trunz et al. [Munich: C.H. Beck, 1977], act 5, scene 3, lines 1832–3).

64 For example, in his Nietzsche, Heidegger writes: “On the basis of all the intervening material we can easily see that this definition of art as the stimulant of life means nothing else than that art is a configuration of will to power. For a ‘stimulant’ is what propels and maximizes [Aufsteigernde], what lifts a thing beyond itself; it is increase of power and thus power pure and simple, which is to say, will to power” (Heidegger, The Will to Power as Art, vol. 1 of Nietzsche, pp. 75–6; trans. mod.; Nietzsche: Erster Band, p. 74; see also BH 612). Elsewhere, Heidegger writes: “Beyng is here not a supervenient genus, not an added cause, not something that encompasses beings by standing behind and over them. If that were the case, beyng would be degraded to the level of an addendum, whose accessory character would not be undone by any maximization [Aufsteigerung] to ‘transcendence’” (Martin Heidegger, Contributions to Philosophy [Of the Event], trans. Richard Rojcewicz and Daniela Vallega-Neu [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012], p. 203; trans. mod.; Beiträge zur Philosophie [Vom Ereignis], ed. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann, vol. 65 of Gesamtausgabe, ed. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann [Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1989], p. 258).

65 See, for example, Heidegger, “Only a God Can Save Us: Der Spiegel’s Interview with Martin Heidegger,” p. 41; “Spiegel-Gespräch mit Martin Heidegger,” p. 675.

66 See Parmenides, “Περί φύσεως,” in Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, 6th rev. ed., ed. Hermann Diels and Walther Kranz (Berlin: Weidmann, 1952), vol. 1, 28B3, B6.

67 “Retrieval” (Wiederholung) is translated as “repetition” by Macquarrie and Robinson (BT 437; SZ 385). For Schürmann’s take on the notion of “retrieval,” see also Simon Critchley and Reiner Schürmann, On Heidegger’s Being and Time, ed. Steven Levine (London & New York: Routledge, 2008), pp. 58–73.

68 Schürmann seems to suggest that by lingering too long on observing maximization one would risk blinding oneself to the fantasmogenic work of the latter, thus betraying phenomena in “their places of manifestation.”

69 Schürmann’s French term for “peremption” is dessaisie, which gets translated as “diremption” in Broken Hegemonies (see, e.g., BH 514ff.). This translation choice has been pointed out as “remarkable given that ‘diremption’ strongly resonates with a falling into two or a bifurcation, a conceptual specification that is not contained in the French ‘dessaisie’ and that invests this notion with a decidedly Hegelian ring, given that ‘diremption’ is the standard English translation for Hegel’s ‘Entzweiung’” (Malte Fabian Rauch and Nicolas Schneider, “Of Peremption and Insurrection: Reiner Schürmann’s Encounter with Michel Foucault,” in Schürmann, Tomorrow the Manifold, pp. 164–5n. 54).

Reiner Schürmann - “Only Proteus Can Save Us Now” On Anarchy and Broken Hegemonies
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