One of the strongest strands in Nancyâs philosophy is his attempt to rethink community and the very idea of the social in a way that does not ground these ideas in some individual subject or subjectivity. The fundamental argument of the book is that being is always Âbeing with,â that ÂIâ is not prior to Âwe,â that existence is essentially co-existence. Nancy thinks of this Âbeing-withâ not as a comfortable enclosure in a pre-existing group, but as a mutual abandonment and exposure to each other, one that would preserve the ÂIâ and its freedom in a mode of imagining community as neither a Âsociety of spectacleâ nor via some form of authenticity.
The five shorter essays impressively translate the philosophical insight of ÂBeing Singular Pluralâ into sophisticated discussions of national sovereignty, war and technology, identity politics, the Gulf War, and the tragic plight of Sarajevo. The essay ÂEulogy for the MÃªlÃ©e,â in particular, is a brilliant discussion of identity and hybridism that resonates with many contemporary social concerns.
As Nancy moves through the exposition of his central concern, being-with, he engages a number of other important issues, including current notions of the Âotherâ and Âselfâ that are relevant to psychoanalytic, political, and multicultural concepts. He also offers astonishingly original reinterpretations of major philosophical positions, such as Nietzscheâs doctrine of Âeternal recurrence,â Descartesâs Âcogito,â and the nature of language and meaning.
About: This book, by one of the most innovative and challenging contemporary thinkers, consists of an extensive essay from which the book takes its title and five shorter essays that are internally related to ÂBeing Singular Plural.
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