By Sean Gaston
'Glibly disregarded by way of postmodernists as an phantasm, the assumption of disinterestedness has been patiently waiting for its philosophical saviour. Sean Gaston has now ridden triumphantly to the rescue, with a subtlety and originality of perception which absolutely bounce from the page'. Terry Eagleton Disinterest has been an incredible idea in Western philosophy when you consider that Descartes. Its desirability and value were disputed, and its definition transformed by means of such pivotal figures as Nietzsche, Shaftesbury, Locke and Kant. during this groundbreaking booklet, Sean Gaston appears to be like on the therapy of disinterest within the paintings of 2 significant sleek Continental philosophers: Jacques Derrida and Emmanuel Levinas. He identifies either as a part of a practice, obscured because the eighteenth-century, that takes disinterest to be the other of self-interest, instead of the absence of all curiosity. this sort of culture locates disinterest on the centre of wondering ethics. The e-book argues that disinterest performs an important position within the philosophy of either thinkers and within the discussion among their paintings. In so doing it sheds new mild on their respective contributions to ethical and political philosophy. additionally, it lines the heritage of disinterest in Western philosophy from Descartes to Derrida, taking within the contributions from significant philosophers in either the analytic, Anglo-American and Continental traditions: Locke; Shaftesbury; Hume; Smith; Nietzsche; Kant; Hegel; Heidegger. Derrida and Disinterest bargains a brand new interpreting of Derrida, a stimulating account of the function and value of disinterest within the historical past of Western philosophy and a provocative and unique contribution to Continental ethics.
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Additional info for Derrida and Disinterest
As Derrida notes in a signiﬁcant passage from ‘Violence and metaphysics,’ Le´vinas associates this modern ‘enthusiasm’ with the thought of Heidegger: Despite all the misunderstandings which may be embedded in this treatment of Heideggerean thought . . Le´vinas’s intention, in any event, seems clear. The neutral thought of Being neutralizes the Other as a being . . The Heideggerean ‘possibilities’ remains powers. Although they are pretechnical and preobjective, they are nonetheless oppressive and possessive.
Because private reasoning will make a claim to right reason through the individual nature of its perceptions and the pressures of its natural passions and private interests, right reason must be represented by ‘the Reason of some Arbitrator, or Judge’ (32–3). The private – and the private use of language – can only be disinterested through a common public authority. For the sake of rational and ordered communication in the commonwealth, language needs the Leviathan. ’28 The individual must, Hobbes writes, ‘devest himself’ – disinterest himself – and ‘renounceth, or passesth away his Right’ to establish the mutual duties and securities, contracts and covenants for civil society (103, 92).
32 While for Hobbes the ability of the public to disinterest the private rests on the many being represented, or ‘becoming,’ the one, the sovereign, for Locke disinterest rests on the one, the individual, being a representative of or ‘becoming’ the many, the people. Like Hobbes, Locke believes that ‘Men being biased by their Interest,’ must surrender ‘all private judgments’ in the executive powers of law making and in punishment. 33 Retaining the rights of consent, property and rebellion, Locke founds the public disinterest of the private on the social roles of the individual.