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Evil and the Experience of Freedom: Nancy on Schelling and Heidegger

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This essay examines Jean-Luc Nancy's re-posing of the question of freedom in The Experience of Freedom in relation to three issues—what he calls the “thought of freedom,” the reality of evil, and the closure of metaphysics. All three elements that he discusses point directly to Heidegger's engagement with Friedrich Schelling's attempt to establish a system of freedom. My intervention into the discussion between these three thinkers will address several issues. The first part draws out the implications of Nancy's argument that the thought of freedom, not the question of being as Heidegger would have it, is the ultimate matter for thinking that arises at the end of metaphysics. This in turn has important implications for Nancy's understanding of evil. The next part confronts and criticizes Nancy's contention that there is an “ontodicy” in Heidegger's thought that lends a certain justification to evil. The final part aims to show how Heidegger's engagement with Schelling and the reality of evil has to be understood within the context of the question concerning technology. This leads to a second confrontation with Nancy, who proposes a quite different interpretation of technology according to his own ontology, which he calls “being singular plural,” which amounts in effect to a liberation of technology from the being-question.

Affiliations: 1: Koç University, Istanbul

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