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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In relation to research, this means the production of new ideas by going against or outside of established norms, of making new moves in language games, changing the rules of language games and inventing new games. Choosing a course of action may produce a differend, it may create discursive violence, but in the end it is often the only choice oppressed peoples have.

Systems and affects dissimulate each other. Part of Lyotard’s aim is to defend the importance of the figural and sensual experience such as seeing. This is differenx gives us the ability to name the unjust. In “Algeria Evacuated,” written after the end of the occupation, Lyotard regretfully asks why a socialist revolution did not take place, concluding that the social and political upheavals resulted in an opportunistic struggle for power rather than a class-based action.

Enter the email address you signed up with and we’ll email you a reset link. In this way, the gaining of scientific knowledge is not an end in itself, in but is in service ultimately to economic motives that will make certain processes more efficient and others redundant.

Lyotard asserts that a justice of multiplicities requires a multiplicity of justices. Lyotard calls lyitard change that has taken place in the status of knowledge due to the rise of the performativity criterion the mercantilization of knowledge.

In other words, Lyotard does not believe that science has any justification in claiming to be a more legitimate form of knowledge than narrative.

Hence, for example, he will say that capitalism is a liberating form of libidinal economy, since it overthrows all manner of institutions in the name of the accumulation of more and more money.

At the same time, they often deny libidinal intensities themselves, taking themselves to be primary and stable structures. Theory attempts to be detached and “cold,” and takes itself to be a stable and consistent structure which represents stable structures in the world. He proceeds to deconstruct this opposition, however, and attempts to show that discourse and figure are mutually implicated.


One becomes a victim if one loses th ese means. He proposes diffrend possibility of IBM having exclusive control of databases and satellites.

Expressing the Inexpressible: Lyotard and the Differend | Jacob Held –

Rather, one can see in his writings a concern for victims of injustice and a desire to provide a means for correcting the problem. After Libidinal Economythrough a series of shorter works, Lyotard argued that we live again in pagan societies with many gods to be worshipped. Difference is a disruptive force at the limits of discourse, indicating that no rational system of representation can ever be closed or complete, but is always opened up to forces sensual, emotional, figural that it cannot enclose within itself.

Foucault, Lyotard, Derrida London: Lyotard lytard a further example of the logic of the double bind: Firstly, it refers to the dehumanising effects of science and technology in society.

The motivation behind the idea of bearing witness is clear.

Jean François Lyotard

This means that there is no utopian society free from exploitation, either pre-capitalist or post-revolutionary. The libidinal philosophy engages with art on the level of its affective force: The language, the opportunity, and the means to articulate any wrong that may have befallen them is also denied them.

Lyotard sees a danger in this dominance, since it follows from his view that reality cannot be captured within one genre of discourse or representation of events that science will miss aspects of events which narrative knowledge will capture. Sign in with your library card. The Marxist metanarrative lyotxrd science a role in the emancipation of humanity. Lyotard is clear that subjects are only such in the way that they move and are produced by moves within different language games. Stanford University Press, All structures contain libidinal energy as an under-exploited potentiality, waiting to be released and to flow into new structures.

Yet these rules only apply within specific genres and there are no rules for how to make links between the different genres themselves. Postmodern science, however, does not function according to a legitimation by performativity precisely because it undermines determinism. Difference corresponds to figure, and the distinction between discourse and figure itself is said to be one of difference rather than opposition.


This leads to one disheartening result: As he reports in an autobiographical essay that opens Peregrinations: In any case, computerization seeks the repetition of what exists now in modes of efficiency, while the child in the human is open to possibilities of the future, the events to come that cannot be programmed or pre-figured. Genre dissertatifParis: Academic Tools How to cite this entry. Witnessing the injustice and brutality of French rule in Algeria apparently gave Lyotard a heightened sense of injustice lyotrad an instinct for situations which allowed unfairness differwnd breed.

Every phrase presents a universe, composed of the following four elements or, as Lyotard calls them, instances:. According to the “narrative” of science, however, only knowledge which is legitimated is legitimate – i. More Like This Show all results sharing these subjects: Polity Press and Blackwell.

Lyotard presents a postmodern methodological representation of society as composed of multifarious and fragmented language games, but games which strictly but not rigidly – the rules of a game can change control the moves which can be made within them by reference to narratives of legitimation which are deemed appropriate by their respective institutions.

It is written in a bewildering combination of styles at times reading more like an avant-garde novel than a philosophical texta method Lyotard uses in an attempt to overcome the limitations he sees in traditional academic theory. Lyotard produced an M. Therefore, if the differend is to be expressed it must be done via some form of communication that was not possible before but ha s lyotarv been made possible.

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

Don’t have an account? Thus, obviously, all terror, annihilation, massacre, etc. I will use the term modern to designate any science that legitimates itself with reference to a metadiscourse … making an explicit appeal to some grand narrative, such as the dialectics of Spirit, the hermeneutics of meaning, the emancipation of the rational or working subject, or the creation of wealth … I define postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives.