Another Life. Democracy, Suicide, Ipseity, Autoimmunity

Enrahonar: Quaderns de Filosofía 2021 (66):15–35 (2021)
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This paper elaborates some of the conceptual implications of Derrida’s call for “another thinking of life” in Voyous: Deux essais sur la raison. The paper first argues that Derrida’s deconstruction of the opposition between metaphorical and literal uses of the discourse of life in La vie la mort is radicalized in Voyous when he argues that democracy’s “autoimmunitary suicide” should be the point of departure for rethinking life in general. To understand further these autoimmune-suicidal tendencies, the paper turns to Derrida’s engagement with Aristotle’s conceptual figure of the prime mover in Voyous. The paper argues that Derrida turns to Aristotle because the prime mover illustrates the ways in which the concept of life remains historically and structurally informed by the philosophical value of ipseitocratic sovereignty, which is allergic to the disseminatory, proliferating, and improper qualities that the philosophical tradition has always ascribed to democracy. Autoimmunity thus provides a way for thinking of a democratic life that is not entirely determined by the teleological power of any divinely good life.

Author's Profile

Ronald Mendoza-de Jesús
University of Southern California


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