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Mourning Becomes the Law: Philosophy and Representation (1996)

af Gillian Rose

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In Mourning Becomes the Law, Gillian Rose takes us beyond the impasse of post-modernism or 'despairing rationalism withour reason'. Arguing that the post-modern search for a 'new ethics' and ironic philosophy are incoherent, she breathes new life into the debates concerning power and domination, transcendence and eternity. Mourning Becomes the Law is the philosophical counterpart to Gillian Rose's highly acclaimed memoir Love's Work. She extends similar clarity and insight to discussions of architecture, cinema, painting and poetry, through which relations between the formation of the individual and the theory of justice are connected. At the heart of this reconnection lies a reflection on the significance of the Holocaust and Judaism. Mourning Becomes the Law reinvents the classical analogy of the soul, the city and the sacred. It returns philosophy, Nietzsche's 'bestowing virtue', to the pulse of our intellectual and political culture.… (mere)
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  Lior.Zylberman | Apr 11, 2020 |
This collection of posthumously published lectures by the brilliant scholar Gillian Rose examines the political and philosophical paradoxes which emerge in the separation of metaphysics from ethics. Rationalism, or enlightenment reason, is long considered by many modern thinkers as the ground from which domination and oppression emerge, Nazi Germany representing the apotheosis of instrumental reason through the systematized murder of millions (see review on Negative Dialectics). In response, post-modernism seeks to "renunciate" reason, truth and self-identity, emphasizing fragmentation and cultural pluralism. It problematizes the notion of representation (political as well as artistic) and the status of a singular, free-thinking subject whose (self) knowledge affords it power and therefore the ability to dominate and control. Rose argues that post-modernism's insistence on plurality, fragmentation, and the 'ineffable' as well as any attempt to re-establish a "new ethics" (dependent on a substitution of the 'other' for the 'self', as in the case of Emmanuel Levinas) thwarts the possibility of an informed politics as well as any notion of 'community'. What post-modernism's anti-foundationalist stance prevents us from understanding are the mechanisms which give rise to regimes of domination, power, and authority in the first place. In no longer recognizing universals in the sphere of politics, philosophy, and art, we become blind to seeing those things which have the potential to control, deceive, and mislead our understanding of the world and ourselves. To me, there really isn't such a concept as 'post-modernity'(comment if you like and bring it), and even if it did exist, riddled with paradoxes, aporias, and logical impasses, it always made me feel ill at ease precisely because of this question of ethics and the de-enstatement of the subject. Post-modernity was simply an "odd logic" of modernity. That said, I liked Rose's definition of post-modernism as 'despairing rationalism without reason'. Post-Kant, post-Hegel, even post-Heidegger, she means to "reinvigorate" reason so as to envision an ethics not grounded in metaphysical "truth" or a shaky ontology, but politics and theology. She calls this revisioning the "Third City" between Athens (reason, power, the State) and Jerusalem (ethics) in the clearest, most engaging chapter in the book "Athens and Jerusalem: A Tale of Three Cities". This re-assessment of reason she calls "mourning" (following somewhat from Derrida) using a painting by Poussin and the Tragedy of Antigone as artistic representations. She discusses the painting in depth in chapter one (it's the cover of the book, too), which made me feel confident that I could understand what she would develop in the following chapters. "Mourning" is not accepting or resigning oneself to the authority of the state or any locus of power, nor is it compromising the status of a metaphysical subject for an elusive, often abysmal, ontological Being. it is something else altogether, something committed to a political activity which re-posits and re-assesses itself as an on-going dialogue. Gillian Rose was a rare and remarkable intellect who died far too young from cancer several years ago. This slim volume of 150 pages or so is dense reading for the most part, but as a series of lectures, there are many lucid passages expressed in an even, pedagogical tone. If I could describe Rose's scholarship in two words, they would be 'thorough' and 'enlightening'. Mourning Becomes the Law is not for everyone, just like this confusing review isn't. Thanks for reading, by the way. I admired the depth of Rose's thinking as well as her efforts to divulge the sometimes overlooked problems inherent in postmodern thought. What inspired me most was her commitment to the importance of political activity and the subject's role in furthering politics for the "general good", and not simply for individual, and often divisive, self-interests. ( )
1 stem m.gilbert | Feb 12, 2011 |
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In Mourning Becomes the Law, Gillian Rose takes us beyond the impasse of post-modernism or 'despairing rationalism withour reason'. Arguing that the post-modern search for a 'new ethics' and ironic philosophy are incoherent, she breathes new life into the debates concerning power and domination, transcendence and eternity. Mourning Becomes the Law is the philosophical counterpart to Gillian Rose's highly acclaimed memoir Love's Work. She extends similar clarity and insight to discussions of architecture, cinema, painting and poetry, through which relations between the formation of the individual and the theory of justice are connected. At the heart of this reconnection lies a reflection on the significance of the Holocaust and Judaism. Mourning Becomes the Law reinvents the classical analogy of the soul, the city and the sacred. It returns philosophy, Nietzsche's 'bestowing virtue', to the pulse of our intellectual and political culture.

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Efterladte bibliotek: Gillian Rose

Gillian Rose har et Efterladt bibliotek. Efterladte Biblioteker er de personlige biblioteker fra berømte læsere, registreret af medlemmer fra gruppen Legacy Libraries som er det engelske udtryk for Efterladte Biblioteker.

Se Gillian Rose's efterladte profil.

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