>> Go to Current Issue

Forum Philosophicum

Volume 24, Issue 1, Spring 2019
Thinking with René Girard

Table of Contents

Already a subscriber? - Login here
Not yet a subscriber? - Subscribe here

Browse by:

Displaying: 1-10 of 10 documents

1. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Mathias Moosbrugger Historian in Disguise: On Derrida, Durkheim and the Intellectual Ambition of Rene Girard
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
This paper rereads René Girard’s intellectual biography as a process first of apparent dissociation, and then of not so very much apparent, though quite solid, recovery of historical thinking. A trained historian-archivist, the young Girard began to massively rearrange his intellectual outlook by adopting methods and perspectives drawn from both very modern thinkers such as Jacques Derrida, and classical thinkers such as Émile Durkheim. In developing his signature theory of the scapegoat mechanism, however, Girard’s intellectual biography eventually came full circle. Reluctantly, and sometimes probably even unconsciously, he began to work intellectually like a good historian. Historical methodology and mimetic theory have, therefore, very much in common. This usually overlooked close relationship would seem to offer a promising new perspective when it comes to further developing mimetic theory methodologically.
2. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Colby Dickinson Polarized Readings of Rene Girard: Utilizing Girardian Thought to Break a Theological and Philosophical Impasse
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
René Girard’s work often seems suspect to liberals, because it ap­pears as a totalizing narrative. Such hesitancy with respect to either dismissing or endorsing it follows from the demise of “grand narratives” that brought with them imperialistic and hegemonic tendencies. Yet if a liberal viewpoint does not embrace Girard, it is for different reasons that conservatives are either fully supportive of his thought as promising a return to religious values or hesitant about accepting his theories because they critique a form of violence inherent to any community. Girardian thought, it can be argued, has focused on deconstructing mythological justifications for violent activity at the expense of establishing a fruitful position regarding positive communal formations. The tensions between these juxtaposed liberal and conservative viewpoints, as taken up in this article, illustrate an impasse between deconstructivist-genealogists (representing trends within liberal discourse) and communitarians (representing conservative or orthodox viewpoints)—one that shows up in a variety of contexts today. Highlighting this particular standoff in interpretations of Girard can, nevertheless, yield important insights regarding the ultimate significance of his work.
3. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Andrew O’Shea Memory, Origins, and the Searching Quest in Girard’s Mimetic Cycle: An Arendtian Perspective
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
This paper offers an interpretation of René Girard’s mimetic theory in light of Hannah Arendt’s account of St Augustine’s philosophy of love. Girard’s mimetic theory crosses many disciplines and has been the main inspiration in his oeuvre over decades. However, its later application and how it purports to demystify culture and point to the truth of the Christian revelation, sits uneasily with his early confessional position. This paper is an attempt to make sense of Girard the Christian thinker, who seeks to explain Christianity without a continuous searching quest for God and ethical orientation in the world. I examine his early theory of desire and how it claims to lead to the conversion of the hero and author of the novel, and how Girard compares the hero’s journey in literary space to the Saint’s journey in spiritual space. In explicating Hannah Arendt’s work entitled Love and Saint Augustine I set out some of the key concepts of Augustine’s philosophy of “love as desire” and highlight a number of contexts in Augustine’s thinking that refocus his philosophy in the direction of memory in response to the commandment to love God, neighbour and self. I go on to examine whether Arendt’s analysis of Augustine might also apply to Girard’s journey with mimetic theory. Finally, I attempt to articulate a context for reading Girard in light of Augustine’s own searching quest for God, one that tries to bring his personal and confessional stance back into his account of mimesis and human origins.
4. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Andreas Wilmes Demystifying the Negative: Rene Girard’s Critique of the “Humanization of Nothingness”
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
This paper will address René Girard’s critique of the “humanization of nothingness” in modern Western philosophy. I will first explain how the “desire for death” is related to a phenomenon that Girard refers to as “obstacle addiction.” Second, I will point out how mankind’s desire for death and illusory will to self-divinization gradually tend to converge within the history of modern Western humanism. In particular, I will show how this convergence between self-destruction and self-divinization gradually takes shape through the evolution of the concept of “the negative” from Hegel to Kojève, Sartre and Camus. Finally, we shall come to see that in Girard’s view “the negative” has tended to become an ever-preoccupying and unacknowledged symptom of mankind’s addiction to “model/obstacles” of desire.
5. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Tania Checchi Myth and “il y a”: A Convergent Reading of Rene Girard and Emmanuel Levinas
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
In order to disclose possible affinities between the oeuvres of Emmanuel Levinas and René Girard that run deeper than both the apparently opposite quarters in which they deploy their thought—difference and sameness—and their patently shared view—an ethical concern for victims— their analogue account of the mythical dynamics of undifferentiation should be explored. Due to their very similar endeavor—to pinpoint the circumstances in which mythical violence arises—Levinas’s notion of the il y a as a neutral and saturated field of forces and Girard’s description of the final paroxysm of the mimetic crisis can be equated with very instructive results. Furthermore, because both instances are linked to the primeval situation in which the subject as such emerges, these authors’ descriptions reinforce each other and provide us with a critical account of a realm that should be transcended—the domain of the violent sacred in which force becomes the ultimate criteria—lest we run the risk of a total social involution.
6. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Pierpaolo Antonello Sacrificing “Homo Sacer”: Rene Girard reads Giorgio Agamben
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
Taking as its point of departure the existing critical literature on the intersections between René Girard’s and Giorgio Agamben’s anthropogenetic theories, this essay aims to add further considerations to the debate by discussing some of Agamben’s intuitions within a Girardian paradigmatic explanatory frame­work. I show how by regressing the archeological analysis to a pre-institutional and pre-legal moment, and by re-examining the antinomic structure of the sacred in its genetic organizing form (so briskly dismissed by Agamben in Homo Sacer), one can account more cogently for certain key issues relevant to Agamben’s theo­retical project, such as the “paradox of sovereignty,” the nature of the “state of exception,” and the dissociation between culpa and individual responsibility in archaic law, as recently discussed in Karman. I also put forward arguments concerning the limitations of Agamben’s immanent ontology to account for the zoe/bios distinction as a key structural element of his particular take on biopolitics, viewing this specifically in the light of Girard’s anti-sacrificial interpretation of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures.
7. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
John Ranieri The Quranic Jesus: Prophet and Scapegoat
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
A major theme in René Girard’s work involves the role of the Bible in exposing the scapegoating practices at the basis of culture. The God of the Bible is understood to be a God who takes the side of victims. The God of the Qur’an is also a defender of victims, an idea that recurs throughout the text in the stories of messengers and prophets. In a number of ways, Jesus is unique among the prophets mentioned in the Qur’an. It is argued here that while the Quranic Jesus is distinctly Islamic, and not a Christian derivative, he functions in the Qur’an in a way analogous to the role Jesus plays in the gospels. In its depiction of Jesus, the Qur’an is acutely aware of mimetic rivalry, scapegoating, and the God who comes to the aid of the persecuted. Despite the significant differences between the Christian understanding of Jesus as savior and the way he is understood in the Qur’an, a Girardian interpretation of the Qur’anic Jesus will suggest ways in which Jesus can be a bridge rather than an obstacle in Christian/Muslim dialogue.
book reviews
8. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Emanuele Antonelli Mark R. Anspach. Vengeance in Reverse. The Tangled Loops in Violence, Myth, and Madness
view |  rights & permissions | cited by
9. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Piotr Ufnal Brian Besong. An Introduction to Ethics. A Natural Law Approach
view |  rights & permissions | cited by
10. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Note about Forum Philosophicum
view |  rights & permissions | cited by