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Nicolas de Warren: Trust and Original Forgiveness

Lecture by Nicolas de Warren (Leuven), organized by the Department of the History of Philosophy

In this talk, I formulate a double-proposal for a phenomenological analysis of the life-world. Rather than consider the life-world primarily in either epistemological or ontological terms, I argue for an essentially ethical conception of the life-world as "trust in the world."

I propose that trust in others--the focus of my talk--entails what I shall call "original forgiveness," namely, a forgiveness that is neither a response to a determinate moral harm of the past nor an anticipatory excuse or preemptive condonation for harms to come. Original forgiveness defines instead the availability for forgiveness that affords in advance complexity in our interactions with others, yet opens us to the special vulnerability of unanticipated harms in trust's betrayal. In order to specify this original availability for forgiveness in the openness of trust, I develop a phenomenological appropriation of Gabriel Marcel's notion of "disponibilité." In a second step, I draw a contrast between this original availability ("disponibilité") for forgiveness with two other forms of availability, i.e., the presentness of the self for others: fidelity and candor. I conclude these remarks with an illustration of my proposed concept of "original forgiveness" in contrast with fidelity and candor through an interpretation of Shakespeare's King Lear, with an emphasis on Cordelia, Kent, and the Fool, and Cordelia's forgiveness of her father.

Nicolas de Warren

Nicolas de Warren studied philosophy in Paris, Heidelberg and Boston, and obtained his PhD from Boston University in 2001. Since 2012, he holds a BOF/ZAP Professorship in the Center for Phenomenology and Continental Philosophy / Husserl Archives at KU Leuven. He has published widely on topics in phenomenology, aesthetics, history of philosophy and political philosophy, and is the author of Husserl and the Promise of Time: Subjectivity in Transcendental Phenomenology, Cambridge University Press, 2009. His most recent publications include an essay on Merleau-Ponty's aesthetics (Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology) and an essay on time and forgiveness (Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Phenomenology). He is also an editor of the book series Contributions to Phenomenology. He is currently writing a book on the unforgivable.

When & where?

May 11, 3.15-5 pm
Faculty of Philosophy, room Omega

Last modified:10 May 2016 12.27 p.m.