Interpreting Excess: Jean-Luc Marion, Saturated Phenomena, and Hermeneutics (Perspectives in Continental Philosophy)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
JJean-Luc Marion's theory of saturated phenomena is one of the most exciting developments in phenomenology in recent decades. It opens up new possibilities for understanding phenomena by beginning from rich and complex examples such as revelation and works of art. Rather than being curiosities or exceptions, these excessiveor saturatedphenomena are, in Marion's view, paradigms. He understands more straightforward phenomena, such as the objects of the natural sciences, as reduced and impoverished versions of the excess given in saturated phenomena.Interpreting Excess is a systematic and comprehensive study of Marion's texts on saturated phenomena and their place in his wider phenomenology of givenness, tracing both his theory and his examples across a wide range of texts spanning three decades.The author argues that a rich hermeneutics is implicit in Marion's examples of saturated phenomena but is not set out in his theory. This hermeneutics makes clear that attempts to overthrow the much-criticized sovereignty of the Cartesian ego will remain unsuccessful if they simply reverse the subject-object relation by speaking of phenomena imposing themselves with an overwhelming givenness on a recipient. Instead, phenomena should be understood as appearing in a hermeneutic space already opened by a subject's active reception. Thus, a phenomenon's appearing depends not only on its givenness but also on the way it is interpreted by the receiving subject. All phenomenology is, therefore, necessarily hermeneutic.Interpreting Excess provides an indispensable guide for any study of Marion's saturated phenomena. It is also a significant contribution to ongoing debates about philosophical ways of thinking about God, the relation between hermeneutics and phenomenology, and philosophy after the subject.
Introduction 1 1 Marion’s Claims 15 2 The Hermeneutic Structure of Phenomenality 35 3 The Theory of Saturated Phenomena 57 4 Events 75 5 Dazzling Idols and Paintings 117 6 Flesh as Absolute 130 7 The Face as Irregardable Icon 159 8 Revelation: The Phenomenon of God’s Appearing 178 Conclusion: Revising the Phenomenology of Givenness 216 Notes 221 Selected Bibliography Index 263 279 vii ................. 17519$ CNTS 10-28-09 14:18:48 PS PAGE vii
and Heidegger overlook otherness: Husserl by conceiving intersubjectivity on the basis of empathy, so that others become alter egos of myself, and Heidegger by making being absolute. Levinas’ thought begins from the primacy and irreducible infinity of otherness, particularly as it announces itself to me in the face of another. For Levinas, the subject is always preceded by the summons of the other, who constitutes me by calling me to ethical responsibility. Levinas’ insistence that a call has
the world is made evident (VI 137/181). Seeing and being seen are two aspects of the one fundamental event, which is the making visible of the world: There is vision, touching, when a certain visible, a certain tangible, turns back on the whole of the visible, the whole of the tangible, of which it is a part, or when suddenly it finds itself surrounded by them, or when between it and them, and through their commerce, is formed a Visibility, a Tangible in itself, which belong properly neither to
description of learning to use a computer, which he proposes as an example of the anamorphic way in which phenomena ‘‘come upon me.’’ He declares that a computer appears as the equipment that it is ‘‘only once it functions, and it will function only once a hand . . . turns it on, taps on a key, fiddles with the keyboard’’ (BG 127/180). In this instance, he has no hesitation in stating the implicatures for the recipient’s role: That I lend myself to its playing defines the
I set out an alternative and explicitly hermeneutic account of Revelation. In this alternative account, Revelation’s appearance is set in a complex circular relationship with the recipient’s response of faith: Revelation’s appearance depends upon the recipient’s faith, which is in turn given by God’s initiative in Revelation. I then demonstrate that this understanding of the interrelationship of Revelation and faith is far more consistent with the Christian tradition than is Marion’s account.