Paul North, Yale University
“The Phenomenality of the State: Kafka and Plato.”
Friday, March 22, 5:00pm
College Arts & Humanities Institute
1211 East Atwater Avenue, Bloomington
This talk calls for the inauguration of a discipline called “political phenomenology” that would investigate the peculiarly slippery appearance of the modern state. After positing that there have already been two strong contributors to this non-existant field—Kafka and Plato—it argues that the causes for the state’s problems of self-legitimation, as well as its ability to appear in an ever changing multiplicity of forms, are analyzed in one pregnant passage of Kafka’s Castle. The talk is an extended reading of this passage and its Platonic overtones, with reference to Plato, Franz Brentano and descriptive psychology, Max Brod, and state theory.