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Title: Critical indifference in the aesthetics and politics of Simon Critchley
Authors: Corby, James
Keywords: Critchley, Simon, 1960- .
Politics in literature
Discourse analysis, Literary
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: University of Malta
Citation: Corby, J. Critical indifference in the aesthetics and politics of Simon Critchley. Malta: University of Malta, 2012. 1-15.
Abstract: Those of you who are familiar with Simon Critchley‟s work will know that he is fond of saying that philosophy begins not in wonder, but in disappointment. Well, I guess the same could be said of this paper. I‟ve followed Critchley‟s work with interest over the years but reading his most recent book, The Faith of the Faithless, I felt that his attempted appropriation of the affordances of faith, particularly as understood by heretical medieval Christianity in particular, in order to motivate secular political commitment, creates more problems than it solves. Faith of the Faithless is clearly a transition book—the move towards religious discourse and tradition is a move away from an interest in poetry that previously, in works such as Things Merely Are, his book on Wallace Stevens, he had tended to foreground; Critchley no doubt wouldn‟t see it like that, but there is a definite shift of interest; this sense of transition can also be understood as part of a gradual and as yet incomplete drift away from his earlier affinities with the work of Levinas and Derrida, towards people like Agamben and, most notably, Badiou—a move typical of the recent trajectory of theory away from the perceived negativity of poststructuralism and its various aftermaths, towards more affirmationist—often vitalist—philosophies pushing back against biopolitical forces (Benjamin Noys‟ The Persistence of the Negative is particularly insightful on this).
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