The inner experience of living matter: Bataille and dialectics

Philosophy and Social Criticism 33 (5):597-615 (2007)
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The dialectical aspect in the work of Georges Bataille is often neglected. At the suggestion of Foucault and Derrida, Bataille is most often even taken to be a non-dialectical thinker. But Bataille worked intensely with Hegel's ideas, his thought was expressed in Hegelian terms, and both his epistemology and his ontology can be considered a determinate negation of Hegel's position in the Phenomenology. This is shown, first, by analysing Bataille's notions of `inner experience', and, second, by showing how Bataille extends dialectics to the natural, non-human realm, and even conceives the link between the human and non-human as itself dialectical. However, once we see the dialectical nature of his theoretical stance, we are struck by a great vagueness in his practical conception of where society ought to be going
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