Preface vii
Introduction 1
Jean-Luc Nancy


1 Another Experience of the Question, or Experiencing
the Question Other-Wise 9
Sylviane Agacinski

2 On a Finally Objectless Subject 24
Alain Badiou

3 Citizen Subject 33
Etienne Balibar

4 Who? 58
Maurice Blanchot

5 The Freudian Subject, from Politics to Ethics 61
Mikkel Barch-Jacobsen

6 Voice of Conscience and Call of Being 79
Jean-Franr,;ois Courtine

7 A Philosophical Concept. ... 94
Gilles Deleuze

8 "Eating Well," or the Calculation of the Subject:

An Interview with Jacques Derrida 96

Jacques Derrida

9 Apropos of the "Critique of the Subject" and

of the Critique of this Critique 120

Vincent Descombes

10 Being and the Living 135
Didier Franck

11 Who Comes after the Subject? 148
Gerard Granel

12 The Critique of the Subject 157
Michel Henry

13 Love between Us 167
Luce Irigaray

14 Descartes Entrapped 178
Sarah Ko/man

15 The Response of Ulysses 198
Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe

16 Philosophy and Awakening 206
Emmanuel Levinas

17 Seisus communis: The Subject in statu nascendi 217
Jean-Franr;ois Lyotard

18 L'Interloque 236
Jean-Luc Marion

19 After What 246
Jacques Ranciere

Name Index 253

About the Editors and Contributors 256


A Philosophical Concept
Gilles Deleuze

A philosophical concept fulfills several functions in fields of thought that are
themselves defined by internal variables. There are also external variables (states
of things, moments in history), in a complex relation with the internal variables
and the functions. This means that a concept does not die simply when one wants
it to, but only when new functions in new fields discharge it. This is also why it is
never very interesting to criticize a concept: it is better to build the new functions
and discover the new fields that make it useless or inadequate.

The concept of subject does not escape these rules. It has for a lon g time fulfilled
two functions, first, a function of universalization in a field where the universal was
no longer represented by objective essentials, but by acts, noetic or linguistic.
Thus, Hume marks one of the principal moments in a philosophy of the subject,
because he calls upon acts that go beyond the given data (What h appens when I
say "always" or "necessary"?). The corresponding field, then, is not exactly the
field of knowledge, but rather the field of "belief' as a new basis for knowledge.
Under what conditions can a belief be considered legitimate, whenever I venture
to say more than is given to me to know? Second, the subject fulfills a function of
individuation in a field where the individual can no longer be a thing or a soul, but
is instead a person, alive and sentient, speaking and spoken to (I-You). Are these
two aspects of the subject, the universal "I" and the individual "me," necessarily
linked? Even if they are, isn't there a conflict between them, and how might it be
solved? All these questions actuate what has been called the philosophy of the
subject, already with Hume, and also with Kant, who confronts an "I" as the
dete^ination of time and a "me" as determinable in time. Again with Husserl,
similar questions will be asked in the last of the Cartesian Meditations.

Can we find new functions and variables able to bring about a change? Functions
of singularization have invaded the field of knowledge, thanks to new variables of
space-time. By singularity, we mean not only something that opposes the universal,
but also some element that can be extended close to another, so as to obtain a
connection; it is a singularity in the mathematical sense. Knowledge and even
belief have then a tendency to be replaced by notions like "arrangement" or
"contrivance" (in French, agencement and dispositif) that indicate an emission and
a distribution of singularities. Such emissions, of the "cast of the dice" kind,
constitute a transcendental field without subject. The multiple becomes a substan-
tiveMultiplicityand philosophy is a theory of multiplicities that refers to no
subject as preliminary unity. What becomes important is not what is true or false,
but the singular and the regular, the remarkable and the ordinary. The function of
singularity replaces that of universality (in a new field in which there is no use for
the universal). This can be seen even in law: the judicial notion of "case" or
"jurisprudence" dismisses the universal to the benefit of emissions of singularities
and functions of prolongation. A conception of law based upon jurisprudence does
not need any "subject" of rights. Conversely, a philosophy without subject has a
conception of law based on jurisprudence.

Correlatively, types of individuation that were not personal may have imposed
themselves. We wonder about what makes the individuality of an event: a life, a
season, a wind, a battle, S o'clock . . . . We can call ecceities or hecceities these
individuations that no longer constitute persons or "egos." And the question arises:
Are we not such ecceities rather than "egos"? Anglo-American philosophy and
literature are particularly interesting from this point of view because they are
conspicuous for their inability to find a sense to give to the word "me" other than
that of a grammatical fiction. The events raise very complex questions about
composition and decomposition, about speed and slowness, about latitude and
longitude, about power and affect. Against all personalism, psychological or linguis-
tic, they promote a third person, and even a "fourth person singular," the non-
person or It in which we recognize ourselves and our community better than in the
empty exchanges between an I and a You. In short, we believe that the notion of
subject has lost much of its interest on behalf of pre-individual singularities and
non personal individuations.
But it is not enough to place concepts in opposition to
one another in order to know which is best; we must confront the field of questions
to which they are an answer, so as to discover by what forces the problems transform
themselves and demand the constitution of new concepts. Nothing of what the great
philosophers have written on the subject grows obsolete, but this is why, thanks to
them, we have other problems to discover, problems that save us from a "return"
that would only show our incapacity to follow them. Here, the position of philosophy
is not fundamentally different from that of science or art.

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