: Differend: Phrases in Dispute (Theory and History of Literature) ( ): Jean-Francois Lyotard: Books. This original study examines Jean-François Lyotard’s philosophical concept of the differend and details its unexplored implications for literature. it provides a. Expressing the Inexpressible: Lyotard and the Differend Jacob M. Held Marquette University Department of Philosophy Coughlin Hall P.O. Box

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Lyotard argues that Auschwitz offers something that is unpresentable in the presentation of history itself: Lyotard presents various examples of the differend, the most important of which is Auschwitz. Although the above account requir es that discourse take place within some dominant paradigm, albeit with new idio ms, this is a necessary structure of language and not inherently detrimental.

He pays close attention to the economic forces at work in occupied Algeria, arguing that it is in the economic interests of France to keep Algerians in a state of underdevelopment and poverty. In order to do this Lyotard belie ves language must be made less restrictive, or as he says one must proliferate i dioms such that all cases of injustices are expressible.

When he returned to France in the early fifties, Lyotard arrived in a nation that had allowed itself to forget the Holocaust and the fate of French Jews at the hands of the French collaborationists and had rewritten the story of the Occupation as one of brave resistance and victimhood.

Jean-Francois Lyotard, Differend: Phrases in Dispute – PhilPapers

Against the nihilism of the semiotic sign Lyotard proposes a reinterpretation of the sign: Lyotard sees Lacan’s application of Saussurean linguistics to psychoanalysis as particularly worrisome. But Lyotard argues, though, that ethics cannot be differens philosophy, but is but one language game among others. In her introduction to Harnessing the Holocaust: This, for Lyotard, is at the heart of all creation, which comes with the misery that the painter faces with a plastic surface, of the musician with the acoustic surface, the misery the thinker lyoatrd with a desert of thought, and so on.

There are many possible ways of linking on to a phrase, and no way is the right way. When a circumstanc e such as this arises, when claims cannot be expressed, when the structure of la nguage necessarily prohibits the free expression of a concern, and when the reso lution of a claim is not able to be addressed in terms of the dominant discoursethen Lyotard states that a differend has been created, and such a differend mu st be resolved.


Open access to the SEP is made possible by a world-wide funding initiative. If one lytoard to occupy the position of the victim one will always misrepresent that victim since one can never fully grasp the nature of th e injustice given its inexpressible nature. Lyotard’s philosophy of language and justice is most fully developed through the concept of the differend, in the book of the same name.

Any proposed solution to a differend will do violen ce do some group. Lyotard presents us, rather, with a metaphysical system in which intensities and structures are both essential elements of the libidinal economy.

The Confession of Augustine was incomplete at the time of Lyotard’s death, and has been published posthumously in partial form, with working notes appended. Lyotard rejects both of these alternatives on the grounds that the choice seems difficult or arbitrary, and also rejects a third alternative – that we lyktard distinguish two kinds of equally legitimate knowledge, one based on the view of society as unitary and the other on the view of society as binary. Lyotard develops the notion of paganism in “Lessons in Paganism” reprinted in The Lyotard ReaderJust Gaming and various other short works of the late seventies.

Correspondance —Paris: Antony Hudek and Mary Lydon Minneapolis: If it were possible to express a wrong the wrong would becom e a damage.

Differend: Phrases in Dispute

One needs to justify one’s claim that a differend has occ urred. Consider the follow ing. Like other structures which difffrend to be hegemonic, Lyotard proposes its disruption through the release of dfferend libidinal forces it contains which are not consistent with it. The differend is experienced as a feeling of not being able to find the words to express something; it signals the limits of one language game or phrase regime and the attempt to move on to another one.

Postmodernism Lyotard abandoned his libidinal philosophy in the later years of the seventies, beginning a philosophy of paganism that developed, by the eighties, into his unique version of postmodernism.

In its mature form, Lyotard’s postmodern politics deals with the concern for justice and the need to bear witness to the differend. To elaborate on what was said above; genres of discourse themselves are inc ommensurable. As distinguished from a litigation, a differend would be a case of conflict, between at least two parties, that cannot be resolved for lack of a rule of judgement applicable to both of the arguments.


Jean-François Lyotard (1924—1998)

The Diffeerend Lyotard develops the philosophy of language that underlies his work on paganism and postmodernism most fully in The Differend: However, not all injustices can lyootard ex pressed in monetary terms or are susceptible to remuneration.

Skip to main content. The nihilistic aspect of representational theory is this denial of the libidinal. Instead of opposing theory with alternative practises which are more libidinal, Lyotard asserts that theory itself is a libidinal practice which denies that it is libidinal. Log In Sign Up. Libidinal Economy begins with the figure of a body ambivalently sexedbeing cut open and spread out to form a flat, band-like surface.

As he reports in an autobiographical essay that opens Peregrinations: Lyotard’s politics can be traced back to his general concern for events and the limits of representation. Rojeck, Chris and Turner, Bryan S.

Lyotard believes that computerization and the legitimation of knowledge by the performativity criterion is doing away with the idea that the absorption of knowledge is inseparable from the training of minds. The following is a list of books by and about Lyotard available in English. Postmodern Condition If one desires to express the differend in an attempt to resolve oyotard inju stice, then the first point that needs to be addressed is what exactly the diffe rend shows.

The need for a solution is hastened by the fact that Lyotard claims that the differend masks an injustice, or violence, done to those who, due to the na ture of discourse, cannot express their wants, needs or situations in general.

Around dfiferend same time, he began to attend the seminars of the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan — Every wrong ought to be able to be put int o phrases.

This rejection is manifested in the philosophy of paganism that preceded Lyotard’s postmodernism. For Lyotard, libidinal energy can be used as a “theoretical fiction” to describe the transformations that take place in society.