Ego Sum: Corpus, Anima, Fabula

Ego Sum: Corpus, Anima, Fabula

Ego Sum: Corpus, Anima, Fabula

Ego Sum: Corpus, Anima, Fabula


First published in 1979 but never available in English until now, Ego Sum challenges, through a careful and unprecedented reading of Descartess writings, the picture of Descartes as the father of modern philosophy: the thinker who founded the edifice of knowledge on the absolute self-certainty of a Subject fully transparent to itself. While other theoretical discourses, such as psychoanalysis, have also attempted to subvert this Subject, Nancy shows how they always inadvertently reconstituted the Subject they were trying to leave behind.
Nancys wager is that, at the moment of modern subjectivitys founding, a foundation that always already included all the possibilities of its own exhaustion, another thought of the subject is possible. By paying attention to the mode of presentation of Descartess subject, to the masks, portraits, feints, and fables that
populate his writings, Jean-Luc Nancy shows how Descartess ego is not the Subject of metaphysics but a mouth that spaces itself out and distinguishes itself.


Jean-Luc Nancy

For Marie-Eve

Of this book written thirty-five years ago, will I dare say that it has not lost any of its freshness for me? I will, provided of course that I do not read it again. Were I to read it now, I would undoubtedly find it flawed in many ways and marked by the time of its writing. But first, I avoid as much as possible—interpret this any way you want—rereading my own texts. and second, in the case of this particular book, I am freed from the obligation and the care of rereading it in a more specific way, since it has never ceased reworking, repeating, and renewing itself within me— somewhere in an obscure region I have neither the desire nor perhaps even more the time to explore for new material to write about but where at the same time I know that the book still resonates, always producing new scions.

Ego sum. Today, I would only have to add an exclamation mark. “Ego sum!” Yes, of course, I am! of course, this does not mean anything—that’s evident, it is evidence itself. There is nothing to add: I am, and I am saying it. I say that I am, and that’s the same thing as being—for a speaking being at least. and if the meaning of being of such a being is found nowhere else than in the verb “being” understood in a transitive way, which discredits both the intransitive verb (Hegel’s “spiritless copula”) as well as the substantive (Heidegger’s “Being that is not”), if, in other words, the human Dasein is in that it transitively exists its own being, this transitivity is only given in saying or speaking [le dire].

If “being” names—in an unnamable way—the act whereby existence finds itself existing (received within the totality of beings, collected and . . .

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