Apocalyptic Logic and Nuclear Catastrophe

Our lecture will address the correlation between “apocalypse” – its inherent logic, intentionality, signification, teleological intent and its constant reformulations in the history of Western thought and the “nuclear”. In order to best approach this correlation, we will firstly show in which manner apocalyptic discourses structure the onto­theological foundation of Western metaphysical thinking as well as why this tradition, from Greek thought to contemporary philosophy, incessantly combines, to the point of amalgamating, philosophical comprehension with the revelatory instant of an apocalyptic event. Secondly, following a close reading of Gunther Anders’s The Obsolescence of Man, as well as other seminal texts from this author’s corpus, we will show how the “nuclear” symbolizes a wholly other event than that reducible to the traditional apocalyptic logic of Western philosophical comprehension.

Indeed, the “nuclear” enacts a destruction of the very possibility for any “revelatory instant” through which can occur a gathered and collected comprehension. We will follow the hypothesis according to which the so­called “nuclear apocalypse” is not an apocalypse per se, but rather entails a radical and uncompromising foreclosure of the very “revelatory instant of comprehension” at work in apocalyptic logic. From this foreclosure, we will determine in which manner the “nuclear” opens towards an entirely different signification for thinking – one in which the determinate structure of apocalyptic logic is not projected towards the modality of comprehension, founded on truth and justified ground of explication, but rather voided out of itself and expelled from its own­most essence towards a confrontation to a yet un­thought idea of history in the history of thinking.


Raphaël Zagury-Orly, Docteur en Philosophie, est Directeur du Programme de Master en Beaux-Arts (MFA) à l’Ecole des Beaux Arts et de Design Bezalel. Il est également enseignant-chercheur en philosophie à l’institut Cohn de l’Université de Tel-Aviv. En Janvier 2011, il a publié un ouvrage intitulé Questionner encore aux Editions Galilée. Il a publié de très nombreux articles sur l’idéalisme allemand, la phénoménologie allemande et sur la philosophie française contemporaine. Il a aussi co-dirigé, avec Joseph Cohen, le collectif intitulé Judéités. Questions pour Jacques Derrida aux Editions Galilée, publié en 2003 et, pour la revue Les Temps Modernes (Paris, Gallimard), le collectif Heidegger. Qu’appelle-t-on le lieu ? (Juillet-Octobre 2008, no. 650) Il est, depuis 2008, membre du Comité de Rédaction de la revue Les Temps Modernes et, depuis 2004, Editeur scientifique et traducteur auprès des Editions Resling de Tel-Aviv.

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