Benjamin’s Ethics of Pure Violence
This chapter begins by distinguishing between “presentation” (Darstellung) and representation (Vorstellung). The duality of Vorstellung and Darstellung appears uncertain in light of Walter Benjamin’s announced task to present his critique’s “relation to law and justice.” The question is whether Benjamin’s narrative performance aggravates or mitigates the conflict between act and event, whether he moves “toward a critique of violence” or loses sight of it. The chapter asks how the concept of justice could possibly be done with justice while using a philosophical treatise, which is more of a doing (act) than a happening (event). Provided that Benjamin’s rhetorical expertise will distinguish his performance in the face of the double bind of the law of genre and the specific economy of his text, it will undoubtedly fail to avoid the impasse of the non-presentability and non-representability of justice.
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