First published in 1979 but never available in English until now, Ego Sum challenges, through a careful and unprecedented reading of Descartes's writings, the picture of Descartes as the father of modern philosophy: the thinker who founded the edifice of knowledge on the absolute self-certainty of a Subject fully transparent to itself. While other theoretical discourses, such as psychoanalysis, have also attempted to subvert this Subject, Nancy shows how they always inadvertently reconstituted the Subject they were trying to leave behind.
Nancy's wager is that, at the moment of modern subjectivity's founding, a foundation that always already included all the possibilities of its own exhaustion, another thought of "the subject" is possible. By paying attention to the mode of presentation of Descartes's subject, to the masks, portraits, feints, and fables that populate his writings, Jean-Luc Nancy shows how Descartes's ego is not the Subject of metaphysics but a mouth that spaces itself out and distinguishes itself.
"In this masterful study which lays out the groundwork for his later corpus, Jean-Luc Nancy examines the emergence of subjectivity as a philosophical event whose advent is decisively shaped by its discursive articulation. Taking to task the attempt to utter through one's mouth rather than merely think the givens of one's existence, he deftly captures the struggle of modern thought to re-envision its modes of being in the margins of philosophy and literature."
--Dalia Judovitz, Emory University
About the Author:
Jean-Luc Nancy is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Universite Marc Bloch, Strasbourg, as well as a respected commentator on art and culture. His wide-ranging thought is developed in books including Listening; Dis-Enclosure: The Deconstruction of Christianity; Noli me Tangere: On the Raising of the Body; Corpus; and Corpus II: Writings on Sexuality, all published by Fordham University Press. Marie-Eve Morin is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alberta in Canada. She is the author of Jean-Luc Nancy and co-editor of Jean-Luc Nancy and Plural Thinking: Expositions of World, Ontology, Politics, and Sense.