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Interventions in Contemporary ThoughtHistory, Politics, Aesthetics$
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Gabriel Rockhill

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474405355

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474405355.001.0001

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Is Difference a Value in Itself? Critique of a Metaphilosophical Axiology

Is Difference a Value in Itself? Critique of a Metaphilosophical Axiology

(p.117) Chapter 4 Is Difference a Value in Itself? Critique of a Metaphilosophical Axiology*
Interventions in Contemporary Thought

Gabriel Rockhill

Edinburgh University Press

The opening chapter in this section outlines the implicit value system and binary normative logic—the valorization of difference over and against identity—that has dominated the ‘philosophy of difference’ in France and played an important role in the ‘politics of difference’ in the Anglophone world and beyond. By detailing a series of surreptitious conceptual operations aimed, in part, at disguising the rigidity of this metaphilosophical axiology, it calls into question the sacralization of difference, with special attention paid to its operative historiographical paradigms and its ultimate political consequences. It develops, in this regard, a metaphilosophical critique of one of the deep-seated normative commitments that has dominated a very significant portion of contemporary theory. This critical intervention thereby brings together one of the central motifs of the book as a whole, which aims at dismantling the more or less discreet attribution of value to difference in a seemingly unlimited number of domains (including history, politics and aesthetics).

Keywords:   Philosophy of difference, politics of difference, metaphilosophy, Derrida, Deleuze, Lévinas, Lyotard, Foucault, Rancière, Bourdieu

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