Of Life that Resists

Philosophy Today 59 (2):207-225 (2015)
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For Michel Henry, the Cartesian notion of “videre videor” (“I seem to see”) provides the clearest schema of the type of self-affection in which life is experienced, and through which one can provide a properly phenomenological conception of life. It is above all in Henry’s exemplification of the ‘videor’ in terms of affective experience (in undergoing a passion, feeling pain) that one is able to pin down his two principle arguments concerning the nature of this self-affection. The one, regarding the videor as a form of self-awareness, ultimately fails to convince, whereas the same cannot be said for Henry’s analyses of those types of affective experience whose primary characteristic is precisely a form of resistance internal to life itself. This leads to a demonstration of how Henry’s phenomenology of the videor founds an understanding of life that presupposes a form of impotence and limitation, and even finitude, as the very implication of its appearance.
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