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actual and virtual

A modal distinction proposed by French philosopher Gilles Deleuze as a replacement for the problematic real-possible distinction more commonly used in philosophy. The possible is a bad ...

REALITY

REALITY   Reference library

Jean-François Courtine

Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Philosophy, Literature, Literary reference works
Length:
8,337 words

...reality must be founded on something existing and actual, and consequently in the existence of the necessary being” ( Monadology , §44; cf. Theodicy , §184). But what does “reality” mean in such a remarkable passage? It is not opposed to the possible as the actual is to the virtual: instead, it is the reality of the possible in the divine understanding; that is, the reality of its substance, its peculiar tenor or determinateness. The reality is from the outset conceived as essentia or realitas possibilis , and it is as such that it appears as exigentia...

LANGUAGE

LANGUAGE   Reference library

Irène Rosier-Catach, Barbara Cassin, Pierre Caussat, and Anne Grondeux

Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Philosophy, Literature, Literary reference works
Length:
9,944 words

...manipulable, and it is strengthened by its assumed close fidelity to its object. One might suspect, however, that this overly harmonious symmetry erases the interactive complexity of the problem that needs to be resolved. This is why, downstream from Saussure, one of the most interesting studies appears to be the one proposed by Ludwig Jäger, which Thomas Scheerer summarizes as follows: what we are dealing with is a chiasmic classification based on the four concepts “actual/virtualand “individual/social.” So we have: 1. As far as the virtual ( in absentia...

MEMORY

MEMORY   Reference library

Jean Bollack

Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Philosophy, Literature, Literary reference works
Length:
14,603 words

...eludes us if we consider that there is such a thing as a false opinion, and that “we are capable of not knowing what we know.” In the dialogue, Socrates introduces an important semantic distinction between having at one’s disposal (“possessing,” kektêsthai [ ϰεϰτῆσθαι ‎]), and having concretely in one’s hand ( echein [ ἔχειν ‎]), as we would hold a stylus (197b). What we need, more than an erasure or simple virtuality, is a wider effective presence, but a presence that is not actualized. Socrates is thus led, once he presents this deeper understanding of the...

BILDUNG

BILDUNG (GERMAN)   Reference library

Michel Espagne

Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Philosophy, Literature, Literary reference works
Length:
10,481 words

...and may even serve as its motive force. Culture does violence to nature, but at the same time it develops nature’s virtualities. Humans’ goal is indeed to develop their natural strengths, “der Anbau-cultura—seiner Naturkräfte” ( Metaphysics of Morals [ Metaphysik der Sitten ], 1797 ), and these natural strengths are not limited to intellectual and spiritual strengths, but also include physical strengths. The development of culture culminates in a constitution defined in accord with the concepts of human rights, in an overall refinement of the manners and...

ENGLISH

ENGLISH   Reference library

Jean-Pierre Cléro and Sandra Laugier

Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Philosophy, Literature, Literary reference works
Length:
7,758 words

...in French by discours ); and “language” (in the sense of faculté de langage ). Nonetheless, French’s set of systematic distinctions can only remain fundamentally virtual in English, notably because the latter refuses to radically detach langue from parole . Thus in Chrestomathia , Bentham uses “tongue” and “language” interchangeably and sometimes uses “language” in the sense of langue : “Of all known languages the Greek is assuredly, in its structure, the most plastic and most manageable.” He even uses “speech” and “language” as equivalents, since...

FORCE

FORCE   Reference library

Françoise Balibar

Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Philosophy, Literature, Literary reference works
Length:
6,622 words

...sublunary world, dunamis is a sovereign and complex notion. It refers first, as early as Homer, to potestas , physical or moral force, the power of men or gods, political power. The term can also apply to the value of a word, the power of a number that is squared, armed forces, and then refers to what we could call an effective reality. But dunamis also means potentia , that is, a “not yet,” a pure virtuality, this “potential Hermes that the sculptor perceives in the wood” ( Metaphysics Θ ‎.6, 1048a32–33), and virtus , a faculty (“when we call...

DICHTUNG

DICHTUNG (GERMAN)   Reference library

Élisabeth Décultot

Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Philosophy, Literature, Literary reference works
Length:
4,548 words

...meaning oscillates between the negative and positive kinds of virtuality of Fiktion , but a narrower meaning may be added to it. Dichtung may simply designate literary creation in the precise sense of the term, especially poetic creation, hence merging the terms Literatur and Poesie . Even though Dichtung participates in these three meanings of Literatur , Fiktion , and Poesie , it has nonetheless continuously strived to distinguish itself from them by assimilating unique meanings, born of the historical and philosophical circumstances that created...

SIGNIFIER

SIGNIFIER   Reference library

Barbara Cassin, Frédérique Ildefonse, Carita Klippi, and Irène Rosier-Catach

Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Philosophy, Literature, Literary reference works
Length:
10,849 words

...large variety of ancient and modern translations? The difficulty for recent translators of lekton lies less in their choice of verb—there is general agreement, with Baratin and Desbordes, who render lekton as énonçable (cf. L’Analyse linguistique , 72–73), on using the verb énoncer in French for legein [ λέγειν ‎]—than in the question of knowing whether or not the concept entails a nuance of virtuality. Is it a matter of dicible, exprimable, énonçable (ibid.)—Long and Sedley translate lekton as “sayable”; Brunschwig and Pellegrin as dicible —or...

AIÔN

AIÔN (GREEK)   Reference library

Éric Alliez

Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Philosophy, Literature, Literary reference works
Length:
7,502 words

...of convertibility between (difference in) being and (difference in) duration, after having invested and broadened all the anti-Aristotelian virtualities. III. The Paradoxes of Time and Eternity A. “Time,” “duration,” and “eternity” in the seventeenth century Freed from the Aristotelian cosmological paradigm as the idea of an arbitrary plurality of purely subjective times ( ad placitum … ), in the seventeenth century time is thus defined on the basis of an objective, functional representation and a universal form. The Cartesian criticism of “Scholastic...

ASPECT

ASPECT   Reference library

Sarah de Voguë, Rémi Camus, Maryse Dennes, Ilse Depraetere, Sylvie Mellet, Albert Rijksbaron, and Maria Tzevelekou

Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Philosophy, Literature, Literary reference works
Length:
16,881 words

...origin determines the past, the present, and the future tenses. Such a conception of linguistic tense is debatable. First of all, there are linguistic forms whose interpretation appears to be unaware of both the problematics of origin and the structure of the periods thus asymmetrically constituted (the past is established, while the future is virtual). This is the case, for example, with generic utterances. It is also one of the things involved in the category the Stoics isolated and described as the aorist : a form whose value is supposed to be to refer to...

MORALS

MORALS   Reference library

Barbara Cassin, Marc Crépon, and François Prost

Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Philosophy, Literature, Literary reference works
Length:
9,347 words

...it is based less on a system of preestablished rules and moral precepts, or on theological dogma, than on a series of forms of knowledge and of controls that not only regulate the lives of individuals, but also conflate themselves in a global subject: the population. The notion of mœurs —which becomes the object of an actual science (cf. Lévy-Bruhl, La morale et la science des mœurs [Ethics and moral science], 1903 )—thus ensures the articulation between the disciplining of the body (the singular) and the normalization or regularization of this population...

CONSCIOUSNESS

CONSCIOUSNESS   Reference library

Étienne Balibar

Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Philosophy, Literature, Literary reference works
Length:
13,665 words

...perception, consciousness or internal knowledge that each of us feels immediately by himself when he perceives what he is doing or what is happening in him.” Antoine Arnauld identified the Latin conscius esse with the “reflection that may be called virtual and that is found in all our perceptions,” and that allows us to define thought as “essentially reflecting on itself” ( Des vraies et des fausses idées , 1683 ). In this sense, the Cartesians are the true inventors of what Wolff was to call “rational psychology.” This first trend in the (re)definition...

I

I   Reference library

Étienne Balibar

Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Philosophy, Literature, Literary reference works
Length:
15,717 words

...and determining for the development of Western philosophy. It is debatable because it is Eurocentric, and consequently idealist, and only apparently attentive to the materiality of language. Let us admit with Jakobson that every language contains a complete system of references of the code to itself, from the code to the message, from the message to itself, and from the message to the code—and notably that there is necessarily a class of specific units of meaning (shifters, or embrayeurs in French) whose function is to refer to the singularity of an actual...

ESTI

ESTI   Reference library

Barbara Cassin

Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Philosophy, Literature, Literary reference works
Length:
11,210 words

...other is by mê [ μή ‎]: this covers both “subjective” and “prohibitive” negation, which implies a will and a supposition of the mind (see, e.g., Meillet and Mendryes, Traité de grammaire comparé des langues classiques , §882–83). We find the latter mainly in modes other than the indicative, related in fact to “modality” (subjunctive, optative), to express all the nuances of prohibition, deliberation, wish and regret, eventuality, or virtuality. Similarly, one may distinguish ouk on [ οὐϰ ὄν ‎] and mê on [ μὴ ὄν ‎], “not being,” distributing all the...

SIGN

SIGN   Reference library

Barbara Cassin, Mildred Galland-Szymowiak, Sandra Laugier, Alain de Libera, Frédéric Nef, and Irène Rosier-Catach

Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Philosophy, Literature, Literary reference works
Length:
17,133 words

...in this manner that the symbolic at play in the analytic exchange is to be understood, to wit: what we discover, and what we speak about over and again, and which Freud manifested as its essential reality, whether it be a matter of actual symptoms, parapraxes, and whatever be inscribed; it is still and always a matter of symbols and even of symbols specifically organized in language, and thus functioning on the basis of equivalents of signifier and signified: the very structure of language. The “symbolic” thus becomes the very center of the analytic experience,...

MIMÊSIS

MIMÊSIS   Reference library

Jacqueline Lichtenstein and Elisabeth Decultot

Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Philosophy, Literature, Literary reference works
Length:
17,354 words

...at times as strict reproduction, at others as an inventive recomposition of the real and nature, at times as natura naturata , and at others as natura naturans . As of the 1740s there was thus a deep linguistic malaise regarding the use of the word nachahmen (to imitate), with attempts alternately to save it at whatever cost or to burden it with negative virtualities. If, still in the middle of the century, recourse to the word Nachahmung seemed stripped of ambiguity and difficulty for J. C. Gottsched or J. E. Schlegel (“a poet is a skillful imitator...

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