Naufrages, of Derrida’s “Final” Seminar

in Research in Phenomenology
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This article puts into play the ghostly horizon of “death” as it follows its semblances through Derrida’s reading of Heidegger in the French thinker’s last seminars as published in The Beast and the Sovereign Vol. ii. The moments I underscore are three, always marking the playing out or releasing of death’s ghost, its sovereignty over life, while the readings, drift off driven by other forces: 1. In Session iv, Derrida’s enjambment of Heidegger’s sense of dasein and Welt with Celan’s line from Atemwende, “Die Welt ist fort, Ich muß dich tragen” (“the world has withdrawn, I must carry you”); 2. The mutual displacement of the question of the other and the question of death at the beginning of Session v; and 3, the unfolding of Crusoe’s desire and fear of “living a living death” in Derrida’s discussion of survivance, also in session v. The discussion closes with the interpolation of Latin American thought through the introduction of the temporalizing movement of différance read in light of the non-linear simultaneous asymmetric temporality one finds constitutive of Latin American consciousness. Thus, the reading moves from the deconstruction of various figures of death that permeate in an almost transcendental manner the organizing of the meaning of Derrida and Heidegger’s thought, to a thinking with the temporalizing movement of survivance or living-dying, in which the binomial reasoning and teleological structures of temporality held by the figures of life and death are released to a thought beyond their supposed mutually exclusive timeline.




Paul Celan, “Grosse, Glühende Wölbung,” in Atemwende (Frankfurt-am-Main: Surhrkamp, 1967), 93. Paul Celan, Die Gedichte, ed. Barbara Wiedemann (Frankfurt-am-Main: Surhrkamp, 2003), 210, my translation.


Michael Naas, The End of the World and Other Teachable Moments (New York: Fordham University Press, 2015), 69.


Alejandro A. Vallega, Latin America Philosophy, from Identity to Radical Exteriority (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014), Part iii, 139–217.


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