Expressing the Inexpressible: Lyotard and the Differend Jacob M. Held Marquette University Department of Philosophy Coughlin Hall P.O. Box Jean-François Lyotard, who coined this term in his book Le Différend (), translated as The Differend: Phrases in Dispute (), took as his key exhibit. The Différend () as “The Postmodern Condition, Part One”. Part One: The Historical Context. The life path and careers of Jean-François.

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This set of essays, most first given as lectures, are remarkable in their literary and philosophical quality, with each indirectly, as the subtitle suggests, taking up the problem of temporality, that is, our openness to the unphraseable events given in a future worthy of the name.

Thus, though we cannot do anything other than digferend linkages among phrases and create new events, hegemonic discourses or grand narratives often want to pre-program how those links are to be made and thus control all future phrases or events Differend Djfferend event is to be understood as a phrase in the philosophy of the differend.

Events always exceed interpretation; there lyptard always something “left over” that an interpretation does not account for. If it were possible to express a wrong the wrong would becom e a damage.

Lyotard seeks to dethrone the subject from this organisational role, which in effect means decentring it as a philosophical category. Practically, this also means working within existing political institutions, but “passively,” so as to release as much desire dissimulated within those institutions as possible, without constraining desires through planned outcomes.

It has frequently been claimed that in this way complete and certain knowledge is possible, at least in theory.

Jean François Lyotard (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

One who has suffered a wrong is a victim, whereas one who has suffered a damage oyotard a plaintiff. Art and Politics London: These events can be interpreted in different ways, and no single interpretation will capture events accurately.


Different discourses have different goals or objects. Art need not provide a political message, represent reality properly, or morally guide us. The fact that the differend masks injustices require s that one whom is motivated by a sense of justice address, and resolve, the pro blem.

The problematic of time is a recurring feature in Lyotard’s work, and thus The Confession of Augustine can be seen as a further investigation into one of Lyotard’s ongoing concerns. The project of Socialisme ou Barbarie was to provide theoretical resources to contribute to socialist revolution, critiquing other existing socialist strands particularly Stalinism and the French communist party as a hindrance to revolution, and with a particular emphasis on the critique of bureaucracy.

Lyotard sees reality in terms of unpredictable happenings eventsrather than structured regularities. One cannot claim, “Here is a wrong I just cannot express it.

In the libidinal philosophy, the subject is construed as one organisational structure or dispositif which channels and exploits libidinal energies. Regarding the victim, Lyotard wants to find a palatable solution to their situation. As diffferend acts phrases are an occurrences in the world.

Jean-François Lyotard: “Le Différend,” Part One

One need only see the decimation of the U. Lyotard’s writings cover a large range of topics in philosophy, politics, and aesthetics, and experiment with a wide variety of styles. For Lyotard, these questions cannot be answered from within these sciences themselves. The defenda nt in these cases need not give an account of reality but merely must show that the plaintiff’s account is incorrect.

Lyotard rejects phenomenology’s attempt to find a third way between subjectivism and objectivism, and asserts Marxism’s superiority in viewing subjectivity as already contained in objectivity. Diffdrend admits that this description of everything in libidinal terms is a “theoretical fiction,” merely a way of speaking which gives us useful terms for theorizing about what happens in the world.


As opposed to negating the possibility of utilizing this power Lyotard must provide an account of how a ction can be rational and just, even in light of the fact that it necessarily cr eates differends and further violence. Lyotard distinguishes the victim from the plaintiff.

Jean-François Lyotard: “Le Différend,” Part One | Art History Unstuffed

The Differend Lyotard develops the philosophy of language that underlies his work on paganism and postmodernism most fully in The Differend: In this context, modern and postmodern art can be distinguished in the following way. In time the band begins to slow and cool, and forms what Lyotard calls “the disjunctive bar. Lyotard’s analysis of the limits of reason and representation is played out in Discours, figure through the terms of the discursive and the figural.

Because the event is unpredictable, we cannot actively control the way it will be released and form new structures. Medicine and health Music Names studies Performing arts Philosophy. Metanarratives do violence to alternative representations of events that are valid in their own right.

In Discourse, FigureLyotard differentiates discourse, that is, the written text investigated by semiotics and structuralism, and the figural, that is, the visual, which he discusses through the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty.

We feel pain at the frustration of our faculties to fully grasp the sublime object, but a pleasure as well in the attempt to do so. Thus we will get a plurality of criteria, a plurality of judgements, a plurality of justices.