Friday, November 17, 2006

Who Gave Birth to Adriana Cavarero?

Adriana Caverero comes to my attention by way of Butler (Giving an Account of Oneself) who rather dismisses her as not being Hegelian enough (or Foucaultian enough). Hmm. Cavarero does appear to be an interesting thinker. Here's a brief statement of hers on natality. It shows her indebtedness to Nancy and Arendt. If you'll recall, I had voiced some doubts about Arendt's claim that being and appearance coincide. Cavarero takes those same passages from Arendt and runs with it:

Properly speaking, the individual and the community should be considered as opposites. The first term refers to something indivisible that stands by itself, while the second term, as can be seen from its root (cum), expresses the very essence of relation. Corresponding to the concept of the individual there should be that of a collectivity in which individuals are together because they form an aggregate. But the with implicit in the community does not in fact stand for the simple fact of being together, one next to the other, as an aggregate; it refers rather to an internal or constitutive relation. In this relation the uniqueness of each individual constitutes itself. Each one is a unique existent for whom the other cannot be lacking. Each one, in so far as they exist, exists with the other and cannot exist without the other. Its uniqueness, and that of the other, appear [compaiono] in the relation that constitutes them. This explains why Hannah Arendt endows the uniqueness of each human being with the status of appearance, and why Jean-Luc Nancy refers to the community as an appearance [comparizione].

I've added Cavarero's For More Than One Voice: Toward A Philosophy Of Vocal Expression to my reading list. It may take some time to get to because I also have books from Lacan, Stern and Stengers on the way.

As to the question, "Who gave birth to Adriana Cavarero?" would it be fair to answer "Hannah Arendt"? Is this ever a fair question to begin with? I'm not really sure. Often we do ask of the singular human being "Where are you from?" or "Where are you coming from?" and that suffices. To really know an intellectual, though, we also want to know who. What is this who of the intellect? Who is it? Is it simply the who of one's birth, or do we take natality as having another extended meaning? What is the extent of whoness?

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posted by Fido the Yak at 9:24 AM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Fido,

Thanks for introducing new continental thinkers (new to me, at least) like Caverero and Nancy (who I have only come across - by accident).

But I have difficulty with her (outmoded?) concept of the individual versus the group. They are opposites, according to her, yet they have "an internal or constitutive relation...Each one...exists with the other and cannot exist without the other".

It's as if she is approaching Deleuze's idea of the machine without going the whole way.

A "machine" has no subjectivity or organizing center. It is nothing more than the connections and productions it makes. It is what it does. Just as an "individual".

In other words, shouldn't we be talking about the DIVIDID?

Orla Schantz

November 17, 2006 3:24 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Yes, I thought it was strange of her to begin with individual vs. community. I don't know whether her thinking touches on Deleuze at all. The problematic she explores in that little essay could come straight out of Nancy or Arendt's thinking about plurality--but it's a funny way to start off.

The dividid? That's new to me, but I think I may get the point. I'm coming to believe there are many ways of expressing the same idea. There is no machine in Nancy (so far as I've read) but there is an ontology of the "with" which is nothing like a subjectivism or a monadology.

Right now my head is hurting because I can't figure out Lacan means by "ontic." Oh well.

November 17, 2006 5:02 PM  

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