The Rigor of a Certain Inhumanity: Toward a Wider Suffrage

The Rigor of a Certain Inhumanity: Toward a Wider Suffrage

The Rigor of a Certain Inhumanity: Toward a Wider Suffrage

The Rigor of a Certain Inhumanity: Toward a Wider Suffrage

Synopsis

Focusing on the idea of universal suffrage, John Llewelyn accepts the challenge of Derrida's later thought to renew his focus on the ethical, political, and religious dimensions of what makes us uniquely human. Llewelyn builds this concern on issues of representation, language, meaning, and logic with reflections on the phenomenological figures who informed Derrida's concept of deconstruction. By entering into dialogue with these philosophical traditions, Llewelyn demonstrates the range and depth of his own original thinking. The Rigor of a Certain Inhumanity is a rich and passionate, playful and perceptive work of philosophical analysis.

Excerpt

How wide is our usual conception of what we call universal suffrage? the aim of this book is to show that that usual conception is not wide enough and that it is not wide enough because it does not do justice to what the book’s title and one of its epigraphs calls “inhumanity.” the envisaged widening of that common conception referred to in the book’s subtitle is simultaneously a widening of our conceptions of the ethical and the political toward the ecological. the eco-logical. the envisaged progression starts in logic and the philosophy of logic—unless it is prevented from starting at all because philosophers have held too rigid a conception of logic’s scope.

Because the widening of suffrage projected in this book culminates in chapters that owe not a little to the writings of Jacques Derrida, an apt way of illustrating the point I have just made about philosophers who have taken what I regard as a one-sided view of logic is to tell a short story that touches upon what some of those philosophers have said about him.

Among the philosophers just referred to I single out one who singled out me by sending a letter in which I was advised to steer clear of Derrida on the grounds that “Derrida’s claim to understanding any logic [her emphasis] was a sham.” I was flattered to receive this letter, because its sender is an eminent logician, one after whom a certain logical formula has been named and one . . .

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