Humanities

Claim Of Language: A Case For The Humanities by Christopher Fynsk

By Christopher Fynsk

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The Wction springs from this aporia—the impossible (but necessary) task of honoring the Wnitude of existence in a political project adequate to its adversary. The Wction, I should emphasize, presents itself as such; what it performs is at least as important as the idea it seeks to sketch. And indeed, in its imaginative verve and with the tint of a Nietzschean menace (for the discomfort of some, as Granel would love to say, and for the delight and encouragement of others), it succeeds in communicating the notions of freedom and public action that are crucial to the critical undertaking he envisions.

Events such as: 1. 3 2. TechnoscientiWc developments that challenge traditional concepts of life and death (as in medical technology) or space and time (as in developments in the media and communication—transformations that alter the very meaning and constitution of public space). 3. A resurgence of religious movements and associated political forces throughout the world that place new forms of pressure on the values of reason or on notions such as democracy. 4. Cultural displacements—transformations in the arts and their material bases, or transformations Acts of Engagement • 25 in forms of life.

21 Capable of death, as Heidegger said in Being and Time, mortals know an incapacity in relation to truth. The task for mortals, as Heidegger suggests throughout his later work, is to recover relation to this delivering usage, this (non)ground of human destination—to assume in a free usage (“a free use of the proper,” as Hölderlin said) its originary abandonment or exposure in this er-eignend-brauchende Be-wëgung. This “free usage,” Heidegger tells us, would be Wrst of all a Sprachgebrauch that remarks the double character of the human implication in language, the way humankind is leant to language and lends itself to language (unreservedly—there is no economy here) in an originary assent to a relation always already contracted.

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