Heidegger in France

Heidegger in France

Heidegger in France

Heidegger in France

Synopsis

Dominique Janicaud claimed that every French intellectual movement--from existentialism to psychoanalysis--was influenced by Martin Heidegger. This translation of Janicaud's landmark work, Heidegger en France, details Heidegger's reception in philosophy and other humanistic and social science disciplines. Interviews with key French thinkers such as Francoise Dastur, Jacques Derrida, Eliane Escoubas, Jean Greisch, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Jean-Luc Marion, and Jean-Luc Nancy are included and provide further reflection on Heidegger's relationship to French philosophy. An intellectual undertaking of authoritative scope, this work furnishes a thorough history of the French reception of Heidegger's thought.

Excerpt

Dominique Janicaud's Heidegger in France is a major work of breathtaking historical scope, a unique intellectual undertaking reconstituting in two volumes the history of the French reception of Heidegger, from its earliest stages in the late 1920s until 2000. One “certainty” guided Dominique Janicaud in this enterprise, that of “the omnipresence in France of the influence, direct or indirect, of Heidegger’s thought and work. Apart from the mathematical sciences and life and earth sciences, there is hardly one sector of knowledge or intellectual activity that has not been positively or negatively affected by that thought” (hf, 301). Volume 1 is a narrative on Heidegger’s influence on twentieth-century philosophy in France; volume 2 is composed of interviews of leading philosophers and Heidegger scholars working in France, including Françoise Dastur, Jacques Derrida, Éliane Escoubas, Jean Greisch, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Jean-Luc Marion, and Jean-Luc Nancy, each offering an account of their own relation to Heidegger. These interviews provide a unique perspective on the impact that Heidegger’s thought has had on contemporary French thought, shedding light on their intellectual itinerary. This English edition includes the entirety of volume 1 and seven of the interviews from volume 2, which have been selected by the translators. This intellectual history of the French reception of Heidegger’s work also amounts to a history of twentieth-century French philosophy itself, since, as Janicaud shows throughout, contemporary French philosophy has to a large extent constituted itself on the basis of a dialogue with Heidegger’s thought, whether embracing it, rejecting it, or misunderstanding it! Jacques Derrida, for instance, explains in his interview with Janicaud that Heidegger is a kind of contremaître for him (literally, a counter-master, but the French term has the colloquial sense of a work supervisor, or overseer, someone in a position of authority who watches over someone else, often disapprovingly). Derrida plays here as well on the sense of being against, as in “going against” the master: “When I say: ‘counter to Heidegger’s order’ (Counterpath, 56), it is because he haunts me, in Counterpath as in The Post Card, he is always there, watching me and reproaching me for something” (hf, 355). This description of Derrida’s relation to Heidegger might serve as an accurate illustration of Heidegger’s place in French philosophy: a master with whom and against whom one thinks.

Janicaud writes that at first he “had not envisioned a second part completely devoted to interviews with the personalities, translators, and/or interpreters who have been significant actors or witnesses in the reception of Heideggerian thought in France” (hf, 12). However, he then adds that the development of the work itself . . .

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