This article is an inquiry into the concept of metaphysical experience through a joint discussion of two authors and philosophers with different approaches that nevertheless converge in the reclamation of the concept and rely both on the experience of death as an example. In both cases, the authors are guided by the central problem of how not to relinquish metaphysical experience to unscrutinized immediacy or a powerful conversion which enjoins subjection, putting it in contact with aesthetics and ethics at once. Theodor Adorno situates metaphysical experience as a problem of philosophy of history and devotes attention to the contemporary possibility of experiences that evoke transcendence. The transformations he identifies in the concept also lead him to propose art as a domain where metaphysical experience is alive. The implicit personal investment Adorno makes is much more clear in Lacoue-Labarthe who, in a dialogue with Maurice Blanchot, shows the experience as deeply bound up with literature and its links to subjectivity. The article argues that the main difference between the two approaches is modal and temporal from the side of the object, aside from the different modes of interrogation recognized with the labels deconstruction and critical theory.
Adorno, Theodor. Notes to Literature, Vol. 2. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992.
Adorno, Theodor. The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture. London: Routledge, 2010.
Allen, William S. Blanchot and the Outside of Literature. London: Bloomsbury, 2018.
Bernstein, Jay. “Why Rescue Semblance: Metaphysical Experience and the Possibility of Ethics.” In Why Rescue Semblance?, edited by Tom Huhn and Lambert Zuidervaart. Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1999.
Blair, Lindsay. Joseph Cornell’s Vision of Spiritual Order. London: Reaktion Books, 1998.
Blanchot, Maurice. The Writing of Disaster. Lincoln: Nebraska University Press, 1995.
Blanchot, Maurice and Jacques Derrida. The Instant of my Death / Demeure: Fiction and Testimony. Palo Alto: Standford University Press, 2000.
Brittain, Christopher C. Adorno and Theology. London: Continuum, 2010.
Evans, Jules. The Art of Losing Control: A Philosopher’s Search for Ecstatic Experience. Canongate Books, 2017.
Fenves, Peter D. The Messianic Reduction: Walter Benjamin and the Shape of Time. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 2011.
Fort, Jeff. “The Look of Nothingness: Blanchot and the Image.” In Understanding Blanchot, Understanding Modernism, edited by Christophe Langlois, 219-46. New York: Bloomsbury, 2018.
Gordon, Peter. Adorno and Existence. Boston: Harvard University Press, 2016.
Hegarty, Paul. “Violent Silence: Noise and Bataille’s ‘Method of Meditation.”’ Negative Ecstasies: Georges Bataille and the Study of Religion, edited by Jeremy Biles and Kent Brintnall. New York: Fordham University Press, 2015.
James, William. Varieties of Religious Experience. London: Routledge, 2012.
Lacoue-Labarthe, Philippe. Ending and Unending Agony: On Maurice Blanchot. New York: Fordham University Press, 2015.
Lacoue-Labarthe, Philippe. Phrase. New York: SUNY Press, 2018.
Magun, Artemy. “Negativity (Dis)embodied: Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Theodor W. Adorno on Mimesis.” New German Critique 118, Vol. 40, No. 1 (2013): 119-148.
Marrati, Paola. “The Difficulty of Experience.” MLN, Volume 132, Number 5, December (2017): 1225-1235.
Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Sense and Non-sense. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1993.
Rasula, Jed. Modernism and Poetic Inspiration: The Shadow Mouth. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
Smock, Ann. “No Music...” MLN, Volume 132, Number 5, December (2017): 1151-1169.
Stocker, Barry. Philosophy of the Novel. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.
Thacker, Eugene. Starry Speculative Corpse: Horror of Philosophy. Winchester: Zero Books, 2015.
Wahl, Jean André. L’Experience metaphysique. Flammarion, 1965.
Open Philosophy is an international Open Access, peer-reviewed academic journal covering all areas of philosophy. The objective of Open Philosophy is to foster free exchange of ideas and provide an appropriate platform for presenting, discussing and disseminating new concepts, current trends, theoretical developments and research findings related to the broadest philosophical spectrum.