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Modern Thought in PainPhilosophy, Politics, Psychoanalysis$
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Simon Morgan Wortham

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748692415

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748692415.001.0001

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Distress I

Distress I

(p.39) Chapter 2 Distress I
Modern Thought in Pain

Simon Morgan Wortham

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines Ranci;re's critique of Lyotard's interpretation of the sublime. Rancière's wider dissatisfaction with Lyotard hangs on a recursive reference to a lecture given by Lyotard for Amnesty International in 1993, ‘The Other's Rights’, a text that Rancière fails to read with any rigour. It argues that, since on closer inspection Lyotard's discourse in this lecture cannot be reduced to Rancière's image of postmodern thought as paralysed by mystical reverence for a primordial Other which produces itself as melancholic obstacle to the onward march of political emancipation, we must read his hostility ‘otherwise’. In fact, it much more comes down to a dispute between equality and dissymmetry as the founding term of the possibility of human relationships.

Keywords:   Jacques Rancière, Jean-François Lyotard, sublime, distress, Amnesty International lecture, primordial Other, human equality, human relationships

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