Words, Silence, Experiences: Derrida’s Unheimlich Responsibility

In: Research in Phenomenology
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  • 1 Vanderbilt University

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In its engagement with Derrida’s unheimlich responsibility elaborated in The Beast and the Sovereign, Volume One, this essay is about death, words, silence, and lives of people and animals. It is also about experiences that to varying degrees bring lives to words and words to lives. Its guiding hypotheses are that death, words, silence, and lives in their happenings exceed the laws that function to identify them and that none of their happenings is sovereign in relation to the others. The essay culminates with Derrida’s engagement with ungrounded time when completion and beginning are simultaneous. That simultaneity constitutes a threshold in which people must respond. For Derrida the threshold is shadowed by his own approaching death.

  • 8

    Barry Lopez, Of Wolves and Men (New York: Scribner’s, 1978), 264. I will put page numbers from this book in parentheses as wm.

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