Confessions: The Philosophy of Transparency by Thomas Docherty

By Thomas Docherty

This ebook explores what's at stake in our confessional tradition. Thomas Docherty examines confessional writings from Augustine to Montaigne and from Sylvia Plath to Derrida, arguing that via all this paintings runs a philosophical substratum - the stipulations less than which it truly is attainable to say a confessional mode - that wishes exploration and explication.
Docherty outlines a philosophy of confession that has pertinence for a latest political tradition in response to the thought of 'transparency'. In a postmodern 'transparent society', the self coincides with its self-representations. any such place is vital to the assumption of authenticity and truth-telling in confessional writing: it's the foundation of claiming, honestly, 'here I take my stand'.
The query is: what different outcomes may perhaps there be of an assumption of the primacy of transparency? components are tested intimately: the spiritual and the judicial. Docherty exhibits that regardless of the tendency to treat transparency as a normal social and moral reliable, our modern tradition of transparency has engendered a society during which autonomy (or the very authority of the topic that broadcasts 'I confess') is grounded in guilt, reparation and victimhood.

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In fact, it seems, Badiou is in some ways evading the problem that Lyotard once identified as that of a differend. A differend arises when two competing claims upon truth, each entirely reasonable within their own regimes of discourse, enter into a conflict with each other, and when we cannot find a third and overarching regime of discourse within whose terms both parties to the dispute can operate. It is a kind of impasse in thought or in argument. Badiou’s position circumvents this, essentially by claiming a more fundamental viability for one of the potential parties: one event, as it were, has a greater claim on universalizability, or, in Badiou’s terms, one singularity is universal.

In this case, we have a situation where the judgement is made; and what is at stake is not so much the identity of a murderer as the identity of the law: as Descombes might have it, the necessarily ‘natural-seeming’ or self-evidentiary naturalness of the law itself: the identity of the law with the law. When experience in the form of real history calls the judgement into question, by providing the content of a countervailing or critical experience, then that experience has to be discounted in the interests of conformity to a rule: in this case, preserving the office of the law, and perhaps yet more importantly that of the officer of the law.

It would follow in this that the contemporary demand for confessional culture, all the way from demands for ‘transparency’ in public life to daytime TV shows where individuals parade stereotypically dramatized versions of their personal lives, is entirely consistent with a market-capitalism. If this is so, then confession is simply a literary and cultural mode that requires conformity with preset identities, identities that are given to individuals through established cultural norms; and the I that ‘confesses’ is necessarily simply playing out a role, their confession ripe for consumption in a marketized society.

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