Aesthetica Preprint, 91 (April 2011)

Marcello Ghilardi: Derrida and the Question of the Gaze

This volume by Marcello Ghilardi ( focuses on a careful selection of texts by Jacques Derrida where the French philosopher addresses aesthetic questions. The experiences of sight, touch, proximity, and encounter are connected with and contrasted to those of blindness, distance, and the aporetic quality of all relationships. The conceptual framework that emerges reveals, on the one hand, the link between the aesthetic and ethic dimensions and, on the other, the mutual implications of the empiric and the transcendental, establishing a close dialogue with such thinkers as Aristotle, Merleau-Ponty, Husserl, Heidegger, and Nancy.
This volume also aims to foreground possible "new perspectives" that, starting from Derrida's theoretical suggestions, point to other forms of intelligibility, such as those of Chinese thought. Chinese thought does not represent a way out of Western metaphysics, but rather enables a deconstructive approach to and an alternative perspective on the Western tradition
Language and argumentative form are a far from secondary concern of the present essay. Derrida's style exceeds the limitations of rigidly defined philosophic discourse, in order to articulate an approach that challenges the classic modalities of Western logos. The present volume is divided into three chapters (devoted, respectively, to the relationship between seeing and touching, between sight and blindness, and between the gaze and ethical relationship) where the critical approach constantly engages figures of myth, poetry, and painting, in order to perform that dissemination of meaning that characterizes the contingency, but also the freedom and richness, of human beings.