Catherine Malabou: Heir to Heidegger, Hegel, and Derrida?

Catherine Malabou
Rather than having to wait a year or more for reviews of scholarly books, the Web has allowed for more immediate attention and discussion of scholarly books to emerge in a more shorter time. For instance, Catherine Malabou’s Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing: Dialectic, Destruction, and Deconstruction, published in November 2009, has already received a lot of attention, including a recent review in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (NDPR).

In his review, John Protevi writes, “[Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing] has the form of an intellectual autobiography, though it is not really about Malabou the person, but about the concepts of our era, or more strikingly still, about the “materiality of existence and [the transformations of] its ontological meaning.” Protevi continues calling it an “excellent work,” and praises Malabou for “providing us with an exhilarating tour of a masterful reader, writer, and thinker of the hugely important tradition gathered under the names Hegel, Heidegger, and Derrida.”

For the past month, the excellent group blog An und fur sich, which is comprised of professors and grad students, has been having a book event for Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing. Like the NDPR review, the discussion at An und Fur sich focuses on the importance of Malabou for contemporary thought.

Clayton Crockett, who wrote the foreword to the book, opened the discussion at An und fur sich, writing:

I think that Malabou’s ideas have many resonances and are important for many areas of thought. In terms of Continental philosophy of religion and radical theology, I think that her sharp rejection of messianism is provocative and important for thinking about the relationship between deconstruction and religion…. Finally, although Malabou is a student of Derrida, her work is studded with insights of Deleuze, and plasticity helps draw out some of the implications of Deleuze’s discussions of the brain, most powerfully in Cinema 2. So for me at least plasticity is this incredibly rich notion with which to think, and Malabou has given us these incisive and brilliant readings of important philosophical thinkers, and I think she deserves to be considered one of the major contemporary philosophers in the world today.

Leave a Reply