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HSE Philosophy Colloquium
International Conference Modes of Thinking, Ways of Speaking (April 2017)
Edited by: A. F. Filippov, N. Farkhatdinov.
Higher School of Economics, National Research University, 2020.
Логико-философские штудии. 2021. Vol. 19. No. 2. P. 131-135.
In bk.: Changing Democracies in an Unequal World. Milan: FrancoAngeli Open Access, 2020. Ch. 8. P. 159-173.
Humanities. HUM. Basic Research Programme, 2020
Prof. Cohen is one of the leading philosophers in France today. Among his best-known publications are the books: Le spectre juif de Hegel (2005), Le sacrifice de Hegel (2007), Alternances de la métaphysique. Essais sur E. Lévinas (2009), The Husserl Dictionary (2012). Recent articles include: “Jacques Derrida—Judeities” (2016), “Heidegger. On the Possibility of Sacrifice” (2014), “Logos—Aletheia—Philein” (2014), “The Event of a Reading: Hegel ‘with’ Derrida” (2012). In 2012, Prof. Cohen was made a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French government for his contributions to philosophy.
On Wednesday, 7 December 2016, Prof. Cohen spoke on “Sacrifice, Truth, Justice.” His talk focused on the intimate relationship between “sacrifice,” “truth” and “justice,” insofar as it structures the history of metaphysics. First, he sought to determine in which manner, and according to which “law,” these related concepts interact and, through their interrelation, organize the foundational question of the history of metaphysics, that is, the question pertaining to the meaning of Being. Second, showed how and why this very question, while persistently secluding its inherent “sacrifice,” opens up to what Heidegger called the “event” (Ereignis) of “truth.” And third, he argued for another idea of “justice” which incessantly differs from the sacrificial “event” of the truth of Being.
On Thursday, 8 December 2016, Prof. Cohen met with the Philosophy Club to discuss Heidegger’s “Letter on Humanism.” A spirited discussion ensued.
On Friday, 9 December 2016, Prof. Cohen spoke on “Our Nihilism.” His talk began with Zarathustra’s claim that “The desert is growing.” He then asked: What does the genealogical view discover and unravel, when it turns its scrutiny and lucidity towards the prevailing and supposedly “highest” values? Prof. Cohen finds these consumed in nihilism. But what is nihilism? First, nihilism designates the historical situation in which all the “highest” values are rendered null and void. Second, it marks theunfolding and internal logic of our contemporaneity which, in this sense, has been evolving since Plato—so nihilism corresponds to the very humanity of humankind. Far from seeking to eliminate nihilism, Cohen’s approach sought to develop, from this “most alarming of all guests,” the possibility of a knowledge and an ethics. Drawing on Nietzsche, Heidegger, Levinas and Derrida, Cohen argued that our task is to think and act through our nihilism and bring forth the possibility, if any, of its promise.