'What does the transcendental Aesthetic represent? Not the traditional division of the sensible and the intelligible but rather the division between two forms (a priori) within the “sensible” or intuitive itself. The first and most fundamental result is that there is no intuitus originatus. Whether it was situated as arche or as telos, within the divine or within the human (as either pure intellectual self-consciousness in Descartes or pure empirical sensibility in Hume), what had heretofore ensured the philosophical itself disappears. As a result, all that remains of the subject is the “I” as an “empty form” (a pure logical necessity, said Kant; a grammatical exigency, Nietzche will say) that “accompanies my representations”. This is so because the form of time, which is the “form of the internal sense,” permits no substantial presentation. As it well known, the Kantian “cogito” is empty.'

  'This awakening of the subject is accompanied by an apparently compensatory “promotion”of the moral subject which, as we know, launches a variety of philosophical “careers”. Without oversimplifying or hardening the contours of a question that merits extended analysis, we cannot fail to note that this “subject” without mathesis, even of itself. It is indeed posited as freedom, and freedom is the locus of “self-consciousness”. But this does not imply that there is any cognition―or even consciousness―of freedom, for freedom in turn is posited only as ratio essendi of the moral law within us, which, because it is only a fact (a factum rationis, as Kant says), can provide only a ratio cognoscendi of freedom, which produces no cognition. This fact (the imperative, the universality of the law) is neither an intuition nor a concept. As a moral subject, in sum, the subject recovers none of its substance. Quite to the contrary, the question of its unity, and thus of its very “being-subject,” is brought to a pitch of high tension.'

Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe & Jean-Luc Nancy, The Literary Absolute: The Theory of Literature in German Romanticism, translators: Philip Barnard & Cheryl Lester, publisher: State University of New York Press

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