Jean-Luc Marion

Last updated
Jean-Luc Marion
Born (1946-07-03) 3 July 1946 (age 73)
Alma mater École Normale Supérieure
Era 20th-/21st-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Phenomenology
Main interests
Philosophical theology, Phenomenology, Descartes
Notable ideas
"As much reduction, as much givenness," saturated phenomenon, the intentionality of love

Jean-Luc Marion (born 3 July 1946) is a French philosopher and Roman Catholic theologian. Marion is a former student of Jacques Derrida whose work is informed by patristic and mystical theology, phenomenology, and modern philosophy. [1] Much of his academic work has dealt with Descartes and phenomenologists like Martin Heidegger and Edmund Husserl, but also religion. God Without Being, for example, is concerned predominantly with an analysis of idolatry, a theme strongly linked in Marion's work with love and the gift, which is a concept also explored at length by Derrida.

Philosophy Study of general and fundamental questions

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?

Theology Study of the nature of deities and religious belief

Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but also especially with epistemology, and asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but also willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship.

Jacques Derrida French philosopher

Jacques Derrida was an Algerian-born French philosopher best known for developing a form of semiotic analysis known as deconstruction, which he discussed in numerous texts, and developed in the context of phenomenology. He is one of the major figures associated with post-structuralism and postmodern philosophy.

Contents

Biography

Early years

Marion was born in Meudon, Hauts-de-Seine, on 3 July 1946. He studied at the University of Nanterre (now the University Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense) and the Sorbonne and then did graduate work in philosophy from the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, where he was taught by Jacques Derrida, Louis Althusser and Gilles Deleuze. [2] At the same time, Marion's deep interest in theology was privately cultivated under the personal influence of theologians such as Louis Bouyer, Jean Daniélou, Henri de Lubac, and Hans Urs von Balthasar. From 1972 to 1980 he studied for his doctorate and worked as an assistant lecturer at the Sorbonne. After receiving his doctorate in 1980, he began teaching at the University of Poitiers. [2]

Meudon Commune in Île-de-France, France

Meudon is a municipality in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is in the département of Hauts-de-Seine. It is located 9.1 km (5.7 mi) from the center of Paris.

Hauts-de-Seine Department of France in Île-de-France

Hauts-de-Seine is a department of France located in the region of Île-de-France. It is part of the Grand Paris as it covers the western inner suburbs of Paris. With a population of 1,603,268 and a total area of 176 square kilometres, it is the second-most highly densely populated department of France. Hauts-de-Seine is best known for containing the modern office, theatre and shopping complex La Défense. Its inhabitants are called Altoséquanais.

Louis Althusser French political philosopher

Louis Pierre Althusser was a French Marxist philosopher. He was born in Algeria and studied at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, where he eventually became Professor of Philosophy.

Career

From there he moved to become the Director of Philosophy at the University Paris X – Nanterre, and in 1991 also took up the role of professeur invité at the Institut Catholique de Paris. [3] In 1996 he became Director of Philosophy at the University of Paris IV (Sorbonne), where he still teaches.

Marion became a visiting professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1994. He was then appointed the John Nuveen Professor of the Philosophy of Religion and Theology there in 2004, a position he held until 2010. [4] That year, he was appointed the Andrew Thomas Greeley and Grace McNichols Greeley Professor of Catholic Studies at the Divinity School, a position that had been vacated by the retirement of theologian David Tracy. [5]

The University of Chicago Divinity School is a private graduate institution at the University of Chicago dedicated to the training of academics and clergy across religious boundaries. Formed under Baptist auspices, the school today lacks any sectarian affiliations.

David Tracy is an American theologian and Catholic priest. He is Andrew Thomas Greeley and Grace McNichols Greeley Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Catholic Studies at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

On 6 November 2008, Marion was elected as an immortel by the Académie française. Marion now occupies seat 4 an office previously held by Cardinal Lustiger. [6] [7]

Académie française Pre-eminent council for the French language

The Académie française is the pre-eminent French council for matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution, it was restored as a division of the Institut de France in 1803 by Napoleon Bonaparte. It is the oldest of the five académies of the institute.

Jean-Marie Lustiger French Catholic cardinal

Aaron Jean-Marie Lustiger was a French cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He was Archbishop of Paris from 1981 until his resignation in 2005. He was created cardinal in 1983 by Pope John Paul II. His life is depicted in the 2013 film Le métis de Dieu.

His awards include: [6] [8]

Karl Jaspers German psychiatrist and philosopher

Karl Theodor Jaspers was a German-Swiss psychiatrist and philosopher who had a strong influence on modern theology, psychiatry, and philosophy. After being trained in and practicing psychiatry, Jaspers turned to philosophical inquiry and attempted to discover an innovative philosophical system. He was often viewed as a major exponent of existentialism in Germany, though he did not accept the label.

Philosophy

Marion's phenomenological work is set out in three volumes which together form a triptych [9] or trilogy. [10] Réduction et donation: Etudes sur Husserl, Heidegger et la phénoménologie (1989) is an historical study of the phenomenological method followed by Husserl and Heidegger, with a view towards suggesting future directions for phenomenological research. The unexpected reaction that Réduction et donation provoked called for clarification and full development. This was addressed in Étant donné: Essai d'une phénoménologie de la donation (1997), a more conceptual work investigating phenomenological givenness, the saturated phenomenon and the gifted—a rethinking of the subject. Du surcroît (2001) provides an in-depth description of saturated phenomena. [11]

Givenness

Marion claims that he has attempted to "radically reduce the whole phenomenological project beginning with the primacy in it of givenness". [12] What he describes as his one and only theme is the givenness that is required before phenomena can show themselves in consciousness—"what shows itself first gives itself. [13] This is based on the argument that any and all attempts to lead phenomena back to immanence in consciousness, that is, to exercise the phenomenological reduction, necessarily results in showing that givenness is the "sole horizon of phenomena" [14]

Marion radicalizes this argument in the formulation, "As much reduction, as much givenness", [15] and offers this as a new first principle of phenomenology, building on and challenging prior formulae of Husserl and Heidegger. [16] The formulation common to both, Marion argues, "So much appearance, so much Being", adopted from Johann Friedrich Herbart, [17] erroneously elevates appearing to the status of the "sole face of Being". In doing so, it leaves appearing itself undetermined, not subject to the reduction, and thus in a "typically metaphysical situation". [18]

The Husserlian formulation, "To the things themselves!", is criticized on the basis that the things in question would remain what they are even without appearing to a subject—again circumventing the reduction or even without becoming phenomena. Appearing becomes merely a mode of access to objects, rendering the formulation inadequate as a first principle of phenomenology. [19] A third formulation, Husserl's "Principle of all Principles", states "that every primordial dator Intuition is a source of authority (Rechtsquelle) for knowledge, that whatever presents itself in 'intuition'...is simply to be accepted as it gives itself out to be, though only within the limits in which it then presents itself." [20] Marion argues that while the Principle of all Principles places givenness as phenomenality's criterion and achievement, givenness still remains uninterrogated. [21] Whereas it admits limits to intuition ("as it gives itself..., though only within the limits in which it presents itself"), "givenness alone is absolute, free and without condition" [22]

Givenness then is not reducible except to itself, and so is freed from the limits of any other authority, including intuition; a reduced given is either given or not given. "As much reduction, as much givenness" states that givenness is what the reduction accomplishes, and any reduced given is reduced to givenness. [23] The more a phenomenon is reduced, the more it is given. Marion calls the formulation the last principle, equal to the first, that of the appearing itself. [24]

Phenomenological reductions of Husserl, Heidegger and Marion [25]
 To whom are the things in question led back by the reduction?What is given by the reduction?How are the things in question given; what is the horizon?How far does the reduction go, what is excluded?
First reduction transcendental (Husserl)The intentional and constituting IConstituted objectsThrough regional ontologies. Through formal ontology, regional ontologies fall within the horizon of objectivityExcludes everything that does not let itself be led back to objectivity
Second reduction existential (Heidegger)Dasein: an intentionality broadened to Being-in-the-world and led back to its transcendence of beings through anxietyThe different ways of Being; the "phenomenon of Being"According to Being as the original and ultimate phenomenon. According to the horizon of timeExcludes that which does not have to be, especially the preliminary conditions of the phenomenon of Being, e.g. boredom, the claim
Third reduction to givenness (Marion)The interloqué: that which is called by the claim of the phenomenon [26] The gift itself; the gift of rendering oneself to or of eluding the claim of the callAccording to the horizon of the absolutely unconditional call and of the absolutely unconstrained responseAbsence of conditions and determinations of the claim. Gives all that can call and be called

By describing the structures of phenomena from the basis of givenness, Marion claims to have succeeded in describing certain phenomena that previous metaphysical and phenomenological approaches either ignore or exclude—givens that show themselves but which a thinking that does not go back to the given is powerless to receive. [27] In all, three types of phenomena can be shown, according to the proportionality between what is given in intuition and what is intended:

The saturated phenomenon

According to John D. Caputo, Marion "is famous for the idea of what he calls the "saturated phenomenon," which is inspired by his study of Christian Neoplatonic mystical theologians....[The idea that] there are phenomena of such overwhelming givenness or overflowing fulfillment that the intentional acts aimed at these phenomena are overrun, flooded—or saturated." [34]

"The Intentionality of Love"

The fourth section of Marion's work Prolegomena to Charity is entitled "The Intentionality of Love" and primarily concerns intentionality and phenomenology. Influenced by (and dedicated to) the French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, Marion explores the human idea of love and its lack of definition: "We live with love as if we knew what it was about. But as soon as we try to define it, or at least approach it with concepts, it draws away from us." [35] He begins by explaining the essence of consciousness and its "lived experiences." Paradoxically, the consciousness concerns itself with objects transcendent and exterior to itself, objects irreducible to consciousness, but can only comprehend its 'interpretation' of the object; the reality of the object arises from consciousness alone. Thus the problem with love is that to love another is to love one's own idea of another, or the "lived experiences" that arise in the consciousness from the "chance cause" of another: "I must, then, name this love my love, since it would not fascinate me as my idol if, first, it did not render to me, like an unseen mirror, the image of myself. Love, loved for itself, inevitably ends as self-love, in the phenomenological figure of self-idolatry." [35] Marion believes intentionality is the solution to this problem, and explores the difference between the I who intentionally sees objects and the me who is intentionally seen by a counter-consciousness, another, whether the me likes it or not. Marion defines another by its invisibility; one can see objects through intentionality, but in the invisibility of the other, one is seen. Marion explains this invisibility using the pupil: "Even for a gaze aiming objectively, the pupil remains a living refutation of objectivity, an irremediable denial of the object; here for the first time, in the very midst of the visible, there is nothing to see, except an invisible and untargetable void...my gaze, for the first time, sees an invisible gaze that sees it." [35] Love, then, when freed from intentionality, is the weight of this other's invisible gaze upon one's own, the cross of one's own gaze and the other's and the "unsubstitutability" of the other. Love is to "render oneself there in an unconditional surrender...no other gaze must respond to the ecstasy of this particular other exposed in his gaze." Perhaps in allusion to a theological argument, Marion concludes that this type of surrender "requires faith." [35]

Publications

See also

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References

  1. Horner 2005.
  2. 1 2 Horner 2005, p. 3.
  3. Horner 2005, p. 5.
  4. Horner, Robyn. Jean-Luc Marion: a Theo-Logical Introduction. Burlington: Ashgate, 2005.
  5. University of Chicago 2010.
  6. 1 2 Académie française, 2008.
  7. L’Agence France-Presse 2008.
  8. University of Chicago Divinity School 2015.
  9. Marion 2002a, p.ix.
  10. Marion 2002b, p.ix.
  11. Marion 2002a, pp.ix-x.
  12. Marion 2002b, p.xxi.
  13. Marion 2002a, p.5.
  14. Robyn Horner, translator, in Marion 2002b, p.ix.
  15. Marion 1998, p.203; Marion 2002a, p.16; Marion 2002b, p.17-19; see Marion 2002b, p.x, note 4 for translator's note.
  16. Marion 1998, p.203; Marion 2002a, p.14-19; Marion 2002b, p.16-19.
  17. Marion 2002a, p.329, note 4.
  18. Marion 2002a, p.11.
  19. Marion 2002a, p.12.
  20. Husserl 1969, p.92.
  21. Marion 2002b, p.17.
  22. Husserl, Edmund. Die Idee der Phänomenologie, Husserliania II. pp. 61 and 50 respectively. Cited in Marion 1998, p.33 and Marion 2002b p.17-18.
  23. Marion 2002a, p.17.
  24. Marion 2002b, p.26.
  25. Marion 1998, pp.204-205.
  26. Marion 1998, p.200-202.
  27. Marion 2002a, pp.3-4.
  28. Marion 2002a, pp.222, 308.
  29. Marion 2002a, pp.53-59.
  30. Marion 2002a, pp.191-196.
  31. Marion 2002a, pp.194, 226.
  32. Marion 2002a, pp.222-225.
  33. Marion 2002a, pp.196-221, 225-247 and Marion 2002b.
  34. Caputo 2007 p. 164.
  35. 1 2 3 4 Marion 2002c

Sources

Further reading