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Continental Philosophy Group Talk (Michael Naas, DePaul University)
Friday March 29, 2019, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
One of five departmental research interest groups, the Continental Philosophy Group works in the traditions of textual interpretation of human consciousness, phenomenology, and post-structuralist critical theory, among other related traditions of thought.
The group welcomes Michael Naas, professor of philosophy at DePaul University’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Professor Naas teaches courses in philosophy and comparative literature and conducts research in the areas of ancient Greek philosophy and contemporary French philosophy. He has edited and translated a number of the works of Jacques Derrida, and is the author of Turning: From Persuasion to Philosophy (Humanities, 1994), Taking on the Tradition: Jacques Derrida and the Legacies of Deconstruction (Stanford, 2003), and Derrida From Now On (Fordham, 2008), among other volumes.
Program and Contingency in Derrida’s 1975–76 Seminar Life Death
This lecture considers the relationship between contingency and teleology in Derrida’s 1975-76 seminar Life Death, particularly in Derrida’s analyses of the work of Nobel Prize–winning geneticist François Jacob. I begin with Derrida’s skepticism regarding Jacob’s claims to have developed a “logic of living beings” that avoids the metaphysical trappings of traditional conceptions of life. The lecture then follows Derrida’s attempt to expose a latent teleology and humanism in Jacob’s understanding of the genetic program and to restore an element of chance or contingency both to that program and to the specifically human program that presumes to control it.