File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0112, message 130

Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 20:05:06 -0600
Subject: Re: anthropology...

steve.devos wrote:
> But I suspect that this isn't the anthropology Eric has in mind.... I
> imagine that Eric is thinking in terms of the passage from the symbol to
> the sign, whose history might be followable as an anthropology... but if
> not what is?


You're right. The whole idea of Club Med merging with academia to
promote cultural tourism/colonialism is perfectly disgusting and isn't
what I had in mind.  Nor is the passage from the symbol to sign which I
also fail to comphrehend. 

I had in mind a different passage....

It strikes me that with Kant the question of a philosophical
anthropology looms with great significance. The project of the
Enlightenment and later Modernism was based on this new definition of
who we were. Kant's Copernician Revolution consisted, at least in part,
of bringing the heavens home to roost.

With Heidegger a different philosophical anthropology presents itself.

With Lyotard, whom I read as opposing Heidegger in so many respects, a
different anthropology returns, one that rewrites Kant with a vengence.

At the center of this is our indetermination and there is a tension
between the human and inhuman that works on several different registers.

In the essay "Newman: The Instant" of all places Lyotard proposes what
such an anthropology might mean.  He points out that the sublime is not
merely an aesthetic category, but one that is ontological in its
import.  It centers upon the agitated wonder that there is something
rather than nothing and the anxiety that nothing may happen. Lyotard

"One feels that it is possible that soon nothing more will take place. 
What is sublime is the feeling that something will happen, despite
everything, within this threatening void, that something will take
'place' and will announce that everything is not over.  That place in
mere 'here', the most minimal occurence."

"Being announces itself in the imperative.  Art is not a genre defined
in terms of an end (the pleasure of the addressee) and still less is it
a game whose rules have to be discovered: it accomplishes an ontological
task, that is, a 'chronological task'.  It accomplishes it without
completely it. It must constantly begin to testify anew to the occurence
by letting the occurence be."

My contention is that under the rubric of Art, there is a kind of
philosophical anthropology which Lyotard is suggesting here, contra
Heidegger, which opposes the complexity and development model which
constitutes "the end of humanity."

I recognize this needs to be developed further, but this is what I am



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