The fiftieth anniversary issue of Les Temps modernes leads off with an article by Jacques Derrida, “‘Il courait mort’: Salut, salut. Notes pour un courrier aux Temps modernes,” a tribute both to Les Temps modernes and to its founder, Jean-Paul Sartre. For those who have followed what Derrida has said over the years, this “tribute” came as something of a surprise. Derrida, after all, had mocked Sartre as the “onto-phenomenologist of freedom,” always in search of a “fundamental project” that could explain an individual’s whole life; he called “daring” or “risky” Sartre’s criticism of Bataille for having a shaky understanding of German philosophical terms and concepts when Sartre himself had, in Derrida’s view, a very inadequate grasp of Hegel, Husserl and Heidegger.
Let me start with an apparent aside. In the midst of his dialectical demolition of Foucault’s Histoire de la folie, in “Cogito et histoire de la folie,” Derrida argues that although Foucault wants to do an archeology of madness’s silence, an archeo-logy is a logically ordered work (465), and that even though Foucault wants to protest against reason’s sequestration of madness, “reason in the classical age” can only be brought before the tribunal of Reason in general (466), which could then rule on the unreasonableness of classical reason.
Paul Gyllenhammer, Bruce Baugh, and Thomas R. Flynn
The articles in this section deal with two concepts from Sartre’s Critique of Dialectical Reason analyzed in the work of Tom Flynn. The first is the practico-inert, the materialized result of human activity that can turn that activity against itself, but which can also take on a positive and progressive role in history. It is this progressive role that Paul Gyllenhammer analyzes. Bruce Baugh’s article looks at Flynn’s analyses of how, in the Critique, the “third” mediates group praxis in such a way that it moves from passivity to activity but without fusing into a hyperorganism, and how this decisive shift accounts for “the revolutionary moment.”