Suspending the World: Romantic Irony and Idealist System

Philosophy and Rhetoric 53 (2):111-133 (2020)
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This paper revisits the rhetorics of system and irony in Fichte and Friedrich Schlegel in order to theorize the utopic operation and standpoint that, I argue, system and irony share. Both system and irony transport the speculative speaker to the impossible zero point preceding and suspending the construction of any binary terms or the world itself—an immanent nonplace (of the in-itself, nothingness, or chaos) that cannot be inscribed into the world's regime of comprehensibility and possibility. It is because the philosopher and the ironist articulate their speech immanently from this standpoint that system and irony are positioned as incomprehensible to those framed rhetorically as incapable of occupying it. This standpoint is philosophically important, I maintain, because it allows one to think how the (comprehensibility of the) world is constructed without being bound to the necessity of this construction or having to absolutize the way things are or can be.
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Archival date: 2020-06-19
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