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Seductions Of Fate

Tragic Subjectivity, Ethics, Politics

Seductions Of Fate by Gabriela Basterra
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Engaging with a wide variety of literary, philosophical and psychoanalytic texts (from Aeschylus to Lorca, from Aristotle to Kant, from Hegel and Freud to Lacan and Levinas), Seductions of Fate argues that tragedy shapes our subjectivity. We, modern subjects, constitute ourselves on new versions of destiny, such as 'power', the law or the past. Though this tragic self-representation seems to contradict the modern rationality, it allows the self to protect its freedom from the ethical experience that would put it into question. Autonomy and freedom are thus enabled by the very victimization they claim to overcome. Hence the paradox of our tragic subjectivity: we represent ourselves as victims in order to preserve our autonomy.

What is it we fear so much as to prefer to become tragic subjects? What is it we evade by resorting to tragic death? It is daring to decide what our duty is beyond legitimizing social rules. It is acting without guarantee, expanding the political beyond institutions and laws. When facing this terrifying emptiness, this endless responsibility, the death that reaffirms our position in the social symbolic order comes as a relief.

This radical ethical experience-which is here traced in Kant's ethics, Lacan's psychoanalysis and Levinas's ethical subjectivity-constitutes the subject as other than itself. Focusing primarily on this gap within the self, which compels the self to act on an unconditional but impossible address, this book opens a new perspective on the rapport between ethics and politics.
Palgrave Macmillan; February 2004
226 pages; ISBN 9780230508194
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Title: Seductions Of Fate
Author: Gabriela Basterra
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