Toisen ajattelun tragediasta

Of the tragedy of the thought of the other

The article focuses on three thinkers of the other: Sigmund Freud, Jacques Derrida and Emmanuel Levinas. With respect to each the article inquires what happens to the thought, how it becomes other in its effort to say the wholly other which is incommensurable with its traditional, that is ontological, categories. In each case this effort has to be defined as both necessary and impossible – the fate of the thought that wants to say 'come' to the other seems to be a tragedy of disappointment. The article argues, however, that this tragedy must not be seen only as an impasse, but also as a condition of possibility of ethics. The key to this reading is Derrida's paradoxical idea of undecidability as a condition of the possibility of justice beyond calculability. An ethical thought of the other finds its possibility in the thought of undecidability: be it in the manner of Freud in being incapable (for exemple in his discourse on deathdrives) of saying anything of his subject without withdrawing it immediately, or in the manner of Levinas in trying to locate the ethical Saying in the language of the ontological Said by an infinite oscillation between this Said and its unsaying.

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