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By Ric Beardsworth

ISBN-10: 0415109663

ISBN-13: 9780415109666

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It is only when buffered habits of being guarded or reserved become one’s common disposition that the idea of an “intimate” space within which “personal” feelings or “individual” vulnerabilities might be shared begins to make sense. Intimacy becomes “private” in contrast to one’s ordinary buffered public negotiations. Within that private space, however, intimacy takes on a new intensified power. One need think here not only of the glorification of friendship in the Essais of Michel Montaigne (see SS chap.

In Taylor’s view, Descartes rejects the classic notion of reason (defined as the ability to encounter the logos undergirding reality), substituting somewhat deviously a completely different concept of reason defined now as the ability to execute certain subjectively established procedures. Indeed, for Taylor, a whole host of terms undergo such a process of redefinition. For example, “the notion of ‘idea’ migrates from its ontic sense to apply henceforth to intra-psychic contents, to things ‘in the mind,’” and as this occurs “the order of ideas ceases to be something we find and becomes something we build.

By how much they promoted or obstructed these intrinsic goods” (SA 405). Taylor quotes E. M. 20 In particular, whilst ideals of individual self-expression and fulfilment have come to dominate in the second half of the century (during what Taylor calls “the age of authenticity”), these ideals have not, as might have been expected, led to the rejection of friendship. Instead, the commitment to intimacy has intensified further as it has come to be seen as essential to individual fulfilment. Whilst this lingering version of friendship is often seen as narcissistic,21 this in itself is not so much an individual choice towards selfishness as the consequence of the broader modern political project.

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Derrida and the Political by Ric Beardsworth


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