Buchstabe und Geist
Pascal und die Grenzen der Philosophie
1. Edition 2010
Neue Studien zur Philosophie -
In this book, Pascal’s philosophy, often dismissed as mere moralistic literature, is subjected to a systematic interpretation. His thoughts on human existence lead to the destruction of the very concept of human nature; anthropology becomes antianthropology. Furthermore, it is shown how the theory as well as the use of language in Pascal is profoundly animated by a critical account of language that follows the idea that every expression depends on something that has not yet been expressed or that cannot be properly expressed. Language, therefore, cannot claim to freely dispose of reality but must submit itself to the charge of expressing a truth not yet articulated. On this basis, the questions of truth and the essence of philosophy itself are approached with the instruments developed in the course of the interpretation, especially with the concept that is shown to be crucial to Pascal’s thought: the concept of a dialectic of interior and exterior, of a conflict between letter and spirit. It is the spirit that establishes the rights of the letter; but, despite its contingency and irreducible materiality, it is the letter that lends effective reality to the spirit. Thus, thoughts or intentions are nothing but vacuous virtualities, if they are not realized in words or actions; but this realization affects in return the thought or the intention that motivated the whole process, thus creating a dialectical and dynamic relationship.