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The Verge of Silence

Gadamer on Celan and the Poetic Word

Daniel L. Tate


Gadamer’s question “Are Poets Falling Silent?” is motivated by the “linguistic need” (Sprachnot) of modern lyric indicative of the “forgetfulness of language” (Sprachvergessenheit) that prevails today. In Paul Celan’s late work, Gadamer finds poetry that, bordering on the cryptic, stands on the verge of silence. Nevertheless, he insists that these poems do speak and that the title of Celan’s poem series, Breath-crystal, figures the truth of the poetic word. From this standpoint the paper discusses Gadamer’s hermeneutic understanding of the poetic word treating the constitutive elements of the poetic word as an event of language, the way this conception of the poetic word both embraces and yet departs from the usual understanding of the radical turn to language in modern lyric, and the meaning of Gadamer’s claim regarding the truth of the poetic word that fulfills the original saying power of language.

The Virtue of Joy

Spinoza in Jean-Luc Nancy’s Deconstruction of Christianity

Ashok Collins


In this article, I examine the presence of Spinoza within Jean-Luc Nancy’s deconstruction of Christianity project. Although the debt Nancy owes to other philosophers such as Derrida and Heidegger has been recognized, less well known is his reliance on a Spinozist frame of reference throughout his writings on Christianity. Analyzing Nancy’s reading of key moments within the deconstruction of Christianity—the doctrines of creation ex nihilo and the incarnation—I explore how the coupling of transcendence and immanence in a Heideggerian ontological mode can be enlightened by Spinoza’s philosophy. What takes shape is a profoundly embodied and affective relationality that I argue is the central resource Nancy wishes to expose at the heart of both Christianity and the secular West.


Husserl and Henry on Empathy and Shared Life

Joseph Rivera


The purpose of this paper is threefold: (1) To show the basic contours of transcendental subjectivity in the later work of Edmund Husserl, especially the Cartesian Meditations and the Crisis, and in the strictly phenomenological work of Michel Henry, especially Material Phenomenology; (2) to highlight Henry’s radical critique of Husserlian intersubjectivity and show that such critique, while valuable in its intention, is ultimately misguided because it neglects the important contribution Husserl’s complicated vocabulary of lifeworld makes to the study of intersubjectivity; and (3) to point toward a phenomenological conception of intersubjective practice we may call the realm of we-synthesis that prioritizes the first-person perspective rooted in empathy, which enables meaningful engagement with the second-person perspective. Working in conjunction with Husserl and Henry on the phenomenological conception of shared life enables the recuperation of the fragile line between subjectivity and intersubjectivity.

Dennis J. Schmidt

Archetypes of Knowledge

The Relevance of Jung’s Psychology of Scientific Discovery for Understanding Contemporary Technoscience

H.A.E. (Hub) Zwart


This paper substantiates why Jung’s psychology is still highly relevant for understanding science today. I explore how his methods and insights allow us to come to terms with the phenomenon of scientific discovery. After outlining core Jungian concepts and insights concerning science, I will focus on the relationship between alchemy and modern science. Also, I will highlight Jung’s understanding of scientific research as a practice of the self, directed at individuation (the integration of various aspects of the self into a coherent whole). Finally, I discuss the role of archetypes in the context of discovery of modern science. Whereas archetypal ideas may function as sources of insight and inspiration, the task for researchers is to come to terms with them, instead of being overwhelmed by them. Besides case studies discussed by Jung himself, I also present more recent examples, taken from molecular life sciences research and climate change research.

Roula-Maria Dib


This paper takes Jung’s essay ‘Ulysses’ as a case study in order to elucidate his opinion on the relationship between modern artists and mental insanity. The study seeks to contradict a common misconception that Jung ‘diagnoses’ modern artists such as Pablo Picasso and James Joyce with schizophrenia; instead, the paper sheds light on the cultural (not pathological) connections he makes between modern artists and art. The study examines Jung’s writings on modern art and aesthetics, aiming to dismantle some misinterpretations that might make his attitude toward them appear to be a diagnostic one. Above all, I suggest that through his reading of Ulysses, Jung shows how the feelings of confusion that arose in him can actually be reconstructive; this leads to what I would dub a ‘psychic synthesis’ through modern art. Finally, after clarifying Jung’s standpoint on modern art and insanity, this paper seeks to significantly contribute a revaluation of Jung on modernism.