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The Impossible Force of “Mightlessness”: Translating Derrida’s impouvoir and Heidegger’s Machtlose

  • Oisín KeohaneEmail author
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Part of the Contributions To Phenomenology book series (CTPH, volume 86)

Abstract

This paper examines how Derrida, in The Beast and the Sovereign, Volume II, examines the notion of Walten in Heidegger. I argue that while Derrida has provided us in his seminar with invaluable insights into Heidegger’s early work – dating from the late 1920s to the early 1930s – he has missed something essential in Heidegger’s thought towards the end of the 1930s, namely, Heidegger’s turn towards das Machtlose, the ‘unpower’ which is beyond power and lack of power, as described in his 1938 Mindfulness. This turn, I claim, cannot be separated from Heidegger’s turn towards Nietzsche in his seminars post-1935. It also demonstrates that Derrida remains blind to his own proximity to post-1935 Heidegger when he himself tries to separate the forceful unpower (im-pouvoir) of unconditionality from the majestic power (pouvoir) of sovereignty. It thus discusses the connections, as well as the differences, between Derrida’s impouvoir and Heidegger’s Machtlose.

Keywords

Walten Pouvoir Power Machtlose Heidegger Derrida 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of DundeeDundeeUK
  2. 2.University of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

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