Indiana University Bloomington

Spring '18: Jean-François Lyotard's The Differend


How does injustice take place in the context of language? How do we conceptualize conflicting claims that offer no avenue for mediation? For guidance, the Center turns to philosopher Jean-François Lyotard’s 1983 landmark study The Differend. Lyotard defines a “differend” as a claim that lacks a language in which its demands can be formulated. His exploration of a multiplicity of language games speaks to our present situation, which is characterized by an accelerating fragmentation of the public sphere and the emergence of unbridgeable differences of perspectives. The work of the reading group culminates in a symposium, in which leading scholars help us think through and with Lyotard’s important book.

All Center events are open to the public.

Fall 2018 Theme: Play

Next term, our theme will be “Play,” and the central text of the reading group will be the recently translated work by Eugen Fink, Play as World-Symbol, the final fruit of his phenomenological researches. Our guides are Jonathan Elmer (English) and Bret Rothstein (Art History). We look forward to talks by three visitors who approach the theoretical puzzle that is play from sharply different angles: Sergio Pellis (Neuroscience, Univ. of Lethbridge); Alexander Galloway (Media, Communication and Culture, New York University); and Alva Noë (Philosophy, UC Berkeley). Details to follow.


“The Will in Question,” Fall 2018 Graduate Course

The course, offered by Professor Jennifer Fleissner (English), surveys writings on the will and culminates with its reappearance in the work of some contemporary theorists. At the intellectual core of the course lies the direct opposition that seems to inhere in the very idea of the will: will conceived as restraint of instinct and particularity (in writers such as Kant and Hege)l, and will understood as force or desire (in others such as Schopenhauer and Nietzsche). More ->

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