May 8, 2019


Expressing the Inexpressible: Lyotard and the Differend Jacob M. Held Marquette University Department of Philosophy Coughlin Hall P.O. Box Jean-François Lyotard, who coined this term in his book Le Différend (), translated as The Differend: Phrases in Dispute (), took as his key exhibit. The Différend () as “The Postmodern Condition, Part One”. Part One: The Historical Context. The life path and careers of Jean-François.

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The discussion of signs recalls Lyotard’s analysis of the nihilism differen semiotics in Libidinal Economywhere he refers to Augustine, and what is perhaps the main theme of this work – Augustine’s writing as a study in the phenomenology of time — is referred to in the earlier paper “The Sublime and the Avant-Garde.

Rather, the task is to develop an attunement to the plurality of opinions and language games. What is at stake in the genre of comedy, for example, is to be humorous, to make people laugh. On the one hand, capitalism is a good system for the circulation of libidinal energies; it encourages enterprising explorations of and investments in new areas. Paganism is the attempt to judge without pre-existing criteria, in lyptard of truth, beauty, politics and ethics.

Lyotard gives us a few examples of llyotard of utterances.

Jean-François Lyotard (1924—1998)

The subject cannot be seen as a master of language games, a unifying power, but is rather a node at which different incommensurable language games intersect. Lyotard needs a methodological representation to apply to society in order to examine the status of knowledge in postmodern societies. For the defense, it is sufficient to refute the argumentation and to impugn the proof by counterexample. The stakes bound up with a gen re of discourse determine the linkings between phrases. Wheth er or not this feeling is justifiable is another question.

The Differend

Lyotard’s response to the nihilism of structure takes place through the concept of dissimulation, which suggests that libidinal energy must work within structures.


That is, the opening of the subject to forces which are deemed irrational, such as feelings and desires. As Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt point out, phrasing oneself in terms of the dom inant discourse can be more liberating than the post-modern alternative, namely Lyotard’s paganism.

The original wrong signified by the differe nd is a wrong and not a damage. For structuralism, as it would come to define itself over the next fifteen years in works by Lacan and Claude Levi-Strauss differwndamong others, the human subject is largely the effect of discursive grammars in which it is produced.

It covers a wide variety of topics, including phenomenology, psychoanalysis, structuralism, poetry and art, Hegelian dialectics, semiotics, and philosophy of language. The fact that differehd differend masks injustices require s that one whom is motivated by a sense of justice address, and resolve, the pro blem. This means that there is no “correct” genre in which to situate the initial phrase which is presented, and no genre has more validity than others. However, poetry is also privileged as a manifestation of the figural in the way it upsets established orders of meaning, following Lyotard’s move from the figural as simply sensuous to the figural as disruptive force in any system.

In “Lessons in Paganism” he claims that all discourse is narrative; all theory, all politics, all law, are merely a collection of stories.

Justice demands a witnessing and a remembering of the fact ,yotard there is a differend.

Lyotard, Jean-François | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Lyotard says that it is signalled by the difficulty of linking on from one phrase to another. Lyotard rejects both of these alternatives on the grounds that the choice seems difficult or arbitrary, and also rejects a third alternative – that we might distinguish two kinds of equally legitimate knowledge, one based on the view of society as unitary xifferend the other on the view of society as binary.

In Lyotard joined the socialist revolutionary organisation Socialisme ou Barbarie Socialism or Barbarism. In the second part the focus shifts from Husserl to the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Examples from particular movements in art and individual artists and writers are common in his philosophical works, and in addition he wrote a number of books on individual artists, including Georges Guiffrey, Albert Ayme, Gian-franco Baruchello, Jacques Monory, Valerio Adami, Shusaku Arakawa, and Daniel Buren.


The situation is a double bind because there are two alternatives – either there were gas chambers or there were not – which lead to the same conclusion: Lyotard develops the philosophy of language that underlies his work on paganism and postmodernism most fully in The Differend: This work remains an important thinking of immanence and what a body politic would be like if reduced only to its libidinal pleasures and the blockages that make institutions possible.

The plurality of phrase regimens is a fact, and what is unjust or wrong would be precisely using one phrase regimen to silence that of others, to introduce a localized narrative as a metanarrative that would put all others in their place and render them mute and unseen. As in Discourse, Figureit is not that one form of the inhuman exists without the other: Lyotard addr esses both of these possibilities.

Discours, figureParis: In this way, from the beginning of his career to its end, Lyotard never argued that all was socially constructed, that all language games had equal validity, or that we are locked within the prison house of language. That is, they are of radically different types and cannot be meaningfully compared through an initial presentation of the vifferend event of which they are situations.