Expressing the Inexpressible: Lyotard and the Differend Jacob M. Held Marquette University Department of Philosophy Coughlin Hall P.O. Box Jean-François Lyotard, who coined this term in his book Le Différend (), translated as The Differend: Phrases in Dispute (), took as his key exhibit. The Différend () as “The Postmodern Condition, Part One”. Part One: The Historical Context. The life path and careers of Jean-François.

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Yet, leaving behind any foundation for prescriptive statements does not leave us unable to speak to what is just and unjust.

Jean-François Lyotard: “Le Différend,” Part One

Art and Aesthetics Lyotard was a prolific writer on both art and philosophical aesthetics. Lyotard’s analysis of the limits of reason and representation is played out in Discours, figure through the terms of the discursive and the figural. In fact, the cause of justice means that one phrase regimen e.

This study problematises the temporal mode of the ‘now’, the present, in its relations to the past and the future.

The Differend – Wikipedia

In order for the referent to be expressed, these four silent negations must be withdrawn. Lyotard does not believe that there is any easy answer. In relation to research, this means the production of new dfferend by going against or outside of established norms, of making new moves in language games, changing the rules of language games and inventing new games. The discourse of the rule of judgement may be such that the victim’s wrong cannot be translated into its ,yotard the wrong may not be presentable as a wrong.

Regarding the victim, Lyotard wants to find a palatable solution to their situation. The end result of Lyotard’s work on Algeria and the disappointment at the failure of socialist revolution to take place led him to an abandonment of revolutionary socialism and traditional Marxism on the grounds that social reality is too complex to describe accurately with any master-discourse. Discourse, Figure Lyotard’s second book of philosophy is long and difficult.


One witnesses or recognizes that an injustice has occurred, however this ca nnot be expressed, there is no idiom to communicate the idea. In the libidinal philosophy Lyotard uses the idea of libidinal energy to describe events and the way they are dufferend or exploited, and he develops a philosophy of society and theory in terms of the economy of libidinal energies.

Differend – Oxford Reference

I will use the idfferend modern to designate any science that legitimates itself with reference to a metadiscourse … making an explicit appeal to some grand narrative, such as the dialectics of Spirit, the hermeneutics of meaning, the emancipation of the rational or working subject, or the creation of wealth … I define postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives.

Lyotard’s answer is – differenv. Lyotard came to Algeria at a propitious time: For Lyotard, no just resolution of a differend is possible. Lyotard offers a number of examples of differends: Lyotard writes that the developments in postmodernity he is dealing with have been largely concerned with language: The other side of the tensor contains residual potentialities for other meanings.

The Differend

Lyotard’s postmodern politics involves the attempt to rethink the political after the death of metanarratives such as Marxism and liberalism. If you have found this material useful, please give credit to Dr.

Nested inside this procession of propositions are intermittent series of paragraphs which discuss, in a smaller font, related writings of other philosophers and this internal progression of the argument has its own numbering system.

While Freud largely discussed the libido at the individual level as a form of energy circulating within the body and necessitating societal laws that led to the formation of an internal superego keeping these energies in check, Lyotard greatly extends the idea of the libido to think of political economy as really a libidinal economy.

The context, he argues, is the linguistic turn in philosophy, and his avowed method is to engage political disputes on the model of linguistic affairs Differendxiii. To what does the phrase refer? An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.


In the earlier phase of his work, art is celebrated for its figural and libidinal aspects that oppose and deregulate systems of discourse and rational thought. Enhanced bibliography for this entry at PhilPaperswith links to its database.

If it were possible to express a wrong the wrong would becom e a damage. Indeed, later in interviews he will argue for at least passing through capitalism for those facing economic hardship. There are two choices: Lyotard allots to the philosopher the role of making the differend real.

As distinguished from a litigation, a differend would be a case of conflict, between at least two parties, that cannot be resolved for lack of a rule of judgement applicable to both of the arguments.

If one recognizes that a wrong has been done, then one is to b ear witness to the violence. The very nature of discourse puts the burden of proof on th e plaintiff and determines the legitimacy of claims. His father, Jean-Pierre Lyotard, was a sales representative. But of course, any differrend eyewitnesses are dead and are not able to testify. On the other hand Lyotard s uggests that it is the philosopher’s job to proliferate idioms thereby affording greater opportunities to express the lyotatd signified by the differend, and in so doing provide a means by which one can right the wrong that has been done.

The burden of proof is always on the plain tiff.

That is, they tend to claim sole right to the exploitation or interpretation of intensities. Bearing witness leaves no room fo r action; no pathway towards reconciliation of past injustices, or prevention of future one’s. The name acts as a point which links the referent and the many senses which may be attached to it.

Lyotard produced an M. Doing this requires that a particular discourse be dominant.