Homo Perfidus: an antipathology




Cohen, Sagi

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This thesis explores the notion of betrayal through a sustained examination of two politically abject types – ‘the corpse/body’ and ‘the dilettante’. By expounding on what is here termed an ‘antipathology’, it performs a phenomenology of these types, not so much enclosing them as totalities, or consistent concepts/essences, as taking them in their discursive import, “at their word”. The argument unfolds via readings of Friedrich Nietzsche and Emmanuel Lévinas – both serving as each other’s readers and interpreters – taken to share the project of critiquing morality in the name of what I term, after Lévinas, ‘ethics’. This antipathology of treason aims at evoking the mechanisms of political ‘abjection’ – a concept borrowed from Julia Kristeva – employed in the traitor’s expulsion from the political. It will thus probe into the ethical implications of this expulsion, insofar as it is taken here to be inscribed deep within prevalent ethico-political discourses, part-and-parcel of their sustaining inertia.



Treason, Lévinas, Nietzsche, Dilettante, Corpse, Abjection, Kristeva, Interdisciplinarity