Derrida and Our Animal Others

Derrida and Our Animal Others

Derrida’s Final Seminar, the Beast and the Sovereign
David Farrell Krell
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 06/18/2013
ISBN: 978-0-253-00945-6
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Jacques Derrida’s final seminars were devoted to animal life and political sovereignty—the connection being that animals slavishly adhere to the law while kings and gods tower above it and that this relationship reveals much about humanity in the West. David Farrell Krell offers a detailed account of these seminars, placing them in the context of Derrida’s late work and his critique of Heidegger. Krell focuses his discussion on questions such as death, language, and animality. He concludes that Heidegger and Derrida share a commitment to finding new ways of speaking and thinking about human and animal life.

Author Bio

David Farrell Krell is currently Brauer Visiting Professor of German Studies at Brown University and Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University. He writes fiction and is author of numerous scholarly books, including Contagion (IUP, 1998) and The Tragic Absolute: German Idealism and the Languishing of God (IUP, 2008).


“Focusing attention on questions of death, language, and animality, Farrell Krell reveals that Heidegger and Derrida are both committed to finding new ways of speaking and thinking about human and animal life. Krell’s original and provocative readings do justice to two of the twentieth century’s most creative minds and bring them closer together than previously thought possible.”

“David Farrell Krell presents Derrida's work on animality in an interesting and precise way. His major contribution, however, is in response to Derrida's criticisms of Heidegger. Krell gives us new insights into how to understand Heidegger. That Krell is able to do this is no surprise, since he is one of the world's leading scholars on Heidegger's thought. ”
 — Leonard Lawlor, The Pennsylvania State University

“David Farrell Krell offers Derrida's last seminar the response for which it calls. He invites readers to consider a number of questions that have not yet been adequately broached, either in continental philosophy or in critical animal studies, that may well move both fields forward. It would be difficult to overestimate the book's importance here.”
 — Dawne McCance, University of Manitoba

“[One of] the first books to be published on the two volumes of Jacques Derrida’s last seminar series, La Bête et le souverain (published in French in 2008–10 and in English in 2009–11); [The author] also includes a chapter on Derrida’s L’Animal que donc je suis (published fully in book form in French in 2006 and in English in 2008) — all posthumous works based on lectures or seminars on the intertwined questions of animality and sovereignty.69.3 July 2015”
 — French Studies

“Derrida and Our Animal Others . . . appeals to a broad audience of both scholars and students of Derrida’s and Heidegger’s work, as well as more casual readers interested in a clearer understanding of Derrida’s thinking on animality. Krell’s style is, as always, fluid and eminently readable, sacrificing none of the complexity of Derrida’s or Heidegger’s thinking, while remaining clear and engaging throughout. His analysis is also quite provocative, raising challenges to Derrida’s reading of Heidegger, as well as contributing significant insights into the 1929–1930 lectures and the role of apophantic discourse in Heidegger’s thinking. . . . Derrida and Our Animal Others is an excellent and provocative commentary, leading the reader through the central issues of Derrida’s work on the question of the animal and inspiring the desire for further exploration. I have no doubt that this text will prove an indispensable resource for readers of The Beast and the Sovereign lectures and for students of Heidegger’s and Derrida’s work generally.7.2 2014”
 — Derrida Today

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
1. The Beast and the Sovereign I
2. The Beast and the Sovereign II
3. How Follow the Animal... That I Am?
4. Is There a Touchstone for All Philosophy?
5. Is Apophantic Discourse the Touchstone?
6. Conclusions and Directions for Future Research