Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Mill's - Gaston's 'Derrida And Disinterest'

"Sean Gaston's contribution to philosophical literature on the work of Jacques Derrida is to be welcomed for its serious engagement with Derrida's oeuvre and sensitive reading of his formulations of ethics and responsibility. Gaston develops an insightful and original interpretation of Derrida's work through the lens of 'disinterest' and considers the potential of this concept for contemporary ethics and politics. He highlights the eighteenth-century understanding of disinterest, in which it is seen not as the lack or absence of all interest, but as opposed to self-interest and therefore central to ethics. This understanding, Gaston contends, has been obscured through the association of disinterest with either 'private autonomy' or 'public hegemony' (vii). In returning to an ethical conception of disinterest and particularly its importance for Derrida and Levinas, Gaston elucidates Derrida's relation to Levinas, arguing that in his conception of a radical disinterest 'that founds and exceeds the interests of being', Levinas revives 'a disinterest that both redefines and reinhabits the traditional concepts of disinterest that flourished in the eighteenth century' (vii). Derrida, on the other hand, formulates a post-Nietzschean disinterest radicalized by différance, which prevents the return of the same and of identity in disinterest, effectively turning ethics toward the 'to come' (viii)." - NDPR.

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