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Expressing the Inexpressible: Lyotard and the Differend Jacob M. Held Marquette University Department of Philosophy Coughlin Hall P.O. Box Jean-François Lyotard, who coined this term in his book Le Différend (), translated as The Differend: Phrases in Dispute (), took as his key exhibit. The Différend () as “The Postmodern Condition, Part One”. Part One: The Historical Context. The life path and careers of Jean-François.

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Because the event is unpredictable, we cannot actively control the way it will be released and form new structures. A differend is a case of conflict between parties that cannot be equitably resolved for lack of a rule of judgement applicable to both.

Releasing the energy in structures in turn creates new events, with their own energetic potentialities. Postmodernism Lyotard abandoned his libidinal philosophy in the later years of the seventies, beginning a philosophy of paganism that developed, by the eighties, into his unique version of postmodernism.

Difference corresponds to figure, and the distinction between discourse and figure itself is said to be one of difference rather than opposition.

He argues that phenomenology does not represent differenr on Marxism, but is in fact a step backwards. Violence is the result of the circumstances of life.

If the differend is inexpressible by definition, then whatever subsequently is expressed by a newly created idiom ca nnot be the original state of affairs or fact of the matter.

The structure within a structure is rarely remarked upon in terms of its metaphorical value but it is worth noting that Lyotard included numerous other philosophical voices in a book which is devoted to dkfferend the language games that silence one group so that another group can be empowered.

His later works, such as The Inhuman and Soundproof Room: That is, the opening of the subject to forces which are deemed irrational, such as feelings and desires. Lyotard introduces a distinction between opposition and difference to account for the differing ways in which the discursive and the figural function.

Thus one follows orders in the army, prays in ,yotard, questions in philosophy, etc. In a litigation, the plaintiff’s wrong can be presented. A victim, for Lyotard, kyotard not just someone who has been wronged, but someone who has also lost the power to present this wrong.

Linking onto phrases within an economic genre of discourse with phrases motivated by academic concerns will cause the linkage of those phra ses to be deemed inappropriate, and hence unintelligible or irrelevant. It is Lyotard’s view that certain technical and technological advancements have taken place since the Second World War his historical pin-pointing lyitard the beginning of postmodernity which have had and are differfnd having a radical effect on the status of knowledge in the world’s most advanced countries.


In the libidinal philosophy Lyotard uses the idea of libidinal energy to describe events and the way they are interpreted or exploited, and he develops a philosophy of society and theory in terms of the economy of libidinal energies. Lyotard develops the notion of paganism in “Lessons in Paganism” reprinted in The Lyotard ReaderJust Gaming and various other short works of the late seventies.

Writings on Contemporary Art and Artists vol. Art has a privileged place in Lyotard’s philosophy of events, since it calls attention to the limits of representation. This is the libidinal band sometimes called the libidinal skin. This requires new rules for the formation and linking of phrases.

The Differend — University of Minnesota Press

A change in the mode of analysis from libidinal forces to language, and 2. Lyotard insists that phrases must, of necessity, follow other phrases – even silence is a kind of phrase, with its own generic effects. Skip to main content.

Most true “discoveries,” Lyotard argues, are discoveries by virtue of the fact that they are difefrend radical that they change the rules of the game – they cannot even be articulated within the rules of the “dominant” game which is dominant because it draws the consensus of opinions.

Differend – Oxford Reference

Sim, Stuart, Lyotard and the Inhuman Cambridge: Author Information Ashley Woodward Email: For Lyotard phenomenology cannot properly formulate a materialist worldview and the objective nature of the relations of production; lyotardd ends up interpreting class struggle as taking place in consciousness.

Lyotard sees reason not as a universal and immutable human faculty or principle but as a specific and variable human production; “paralogy” for him means the movement against an established way of reasoning.

That is, they tend to claim sole right to the exploitation or interpretation of intensities.

Books by James Joyce —no doubt, can be treated like a commodity like any other, but open up onto a plurality of meanings. Regarding the victim, Lyotard wants to find a palatable solution to their situation. Imagine that subsequent to the origin al wrong a phrase is found that appears to express the original situation in the genre of discourse within which it was previously inexpressible.


Manchester University Press, He does, however, see a problem with the legitimation of knowledge by performativity. Lyotard identifies the problem with which he is dealing – the variable in the status of knowledge – as one of legitimation. Rather, the task is to develop an attunement to the plurality of opinions and language games.

Yet these rules only apply within specific genres and there are no rules for how to make links between the different genres themselves.

Jean-François Lyotard: “Le Différend,” Part One

Thee different roles that a phrase can fill are called ph rase regimens. Lyotard’s philosophy frequently calls into question the powers of reason, rejecting many of the claims that have been made about it in the history of philosophy. What is unjust is the violent silencing of those raising claims to justice and disallowing them from making prescriptive claims, such as those colonized and left unheard by hegemonic powers.

In the second part the focus shifts from Husserl to the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. For Nietzsche religion is nihilistic because it places the highest values as the ground for all values in a transcendent realm which cannot be accessed, thereby cutting us off from the highest values and devaluing the realm of our actual experience.

Lessons on the Analytic of the Sublime: This is the case if the victim is deprived of life, or of all his or her liberties, or of t he freedom to make his or her ideas or opinions public, or simply of the right t o testify to the damage, or more simply if the testifying phrase is itself depri ved of authority. After his arrival, Lyotard immersed himself in the works of Marx while updating himself on the Algerian situation.

Marxism, Lyotard believed, failed to account for the desire that pushed those very students into the streets in the first place. To what does the phrase refer? Lyotard’s response to the nihilism of structure takes place through the concept of dissimulation, which suggests that libidinal energy must work within structures.