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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The court of appeal in which claims to land rights are heard functions entirely according to government law, and tribal law is not considered a valid system of judgment. The master narratives of the Enlightenment do not seem particularly repressive here, and the concept of truth is not fluid or unstable-on the contrary!

But where Deleuze and Guattari differentiate fascistic and liberating forms of desire, Lyotard argues it is impossible to do so. Yale University Press, This would result in Discourse, Figure The burden of proof is always on the plain tiff.

Many tribal groups claim that land which they traditionally inhabited is now owned and controlled by the descendants of European colonists. On the one hand, any representation will miss something of the event, and on the other, lyotar forces such as feelings and desires will arise to disrupt rational schemas of thought.

The Differend — University of Minnesota Press

With vast amounts of knowledge stored digitally in databases, who decides what knowledge is worth storing what is legitimate knowledge and who has access to these databases? These set-ups channel energy into more or less stable systems and structures, and therefore all dispositifs, all systems and structures, can be described lyltard terms of the slowing and cooling of the band.

Lyotard’s philosophy exhibits many of the major themes common to post-structuralist and lyotarr thought. Rather postmodern art would be that taking place of a self-enclosed event that withstands interpretation and is irreducible, as art, to any use value.


As a defining element with which to characterise these technical and technological advancements, Lyotard chooses computerization. The problematic of time is a recurring feature in Lyotard’s work, and thus The Confession of Augustine can be seen as a further investigation into one of Lyotard’s ongoing concerns. The postmodern would be that which, in the modern, puts forward the unpresentable in lyorard itself; that which denies itself the solace of good forms, the consensus of a taste which would make it possible to share collectively the nostalgia for the unattainable; that which searches for new presentations, not in order to enjoy them but in order to impart a stronger sense of the unpresentable.

So how do we judge, without criteria? The phi losopher’s goal is to detect when a differend exists and either bear witness to it, or express it and thereby provide a means toward its resolution. This, for Lyotard, is at the heart of all creation, which comes with the misery that the painter faces with a plastic surface, of the musician with the acoustic surface, the misery the thinker faces with a desert of thought, and so on.

Expressing the Inexpressible: Lyotard and the Differend | Jacob Held –

One continually navigates throughout the language community choosing those phrases that best, although inadequately, express injustices in an attemp t towards some sense of progress. It has frequently been claimed that in this way complete and certain knowledge is possible, at least in theory. Proper names pick our referents in a way that is rigid and consistent but, according to Lyotard, empty of sense. Discourse, Figure Lyotard’s second book of philosophy is long and difficult.

The Differend

That is what is unjust. The need for a solution is hastened by the fact that Lyotard claims that the differend masks an injustice, or violence, done to those who, due to the na ture of discourse, cannot express their wants, needs or situations in general.


Linking phrases, he says, is necessary but contingent in how it is done Differend In “Algeria Evacuated,” written after the end of the occupation, Lyotard regretfully asks why a socialist revolution did not take place, concluding that the social and political upheavals resulted in an opportunistic struggle for power rather than a class-based lyotarr. For example, the name Fred may consistently pick out a particular person, but there are many different senses or meanings which may be attached to this person.

University College London Press, One can choose how differens links, so long as one links according to the rules of the game at hand.

Jean-François Lyotard (1924—1998)

That is, they have more than one possibility. The limitations of reason are particularly evident for Lyotard in regard to the problems of representation. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi Manchester: The nature difefrend discourse precludes the communication of this injustice.

In postmodernity, knowledge has become primarily a saleable commodity. Rojeck, Chris and Turner, Bryan S. Art and Aesthetics Lyotard was a prolific writer on both art and philosophical aesthetics. For Lyotard change is life affirming, whereas the stable structures that inhibit change are rifferend and life denying. Lyotard’s own project appears lyotafd unless he admits of a solution that al lows violence on some level. No doubt, Lyotard was not the only one to see these changes coming, but his prescience is notable nonetheless.

Literature — Literary theory and cultural studies. Reflections on Time, trans.

After Libidinal Economythrough a series of shorter works, Lyotard diffetend that we live again in pagan societies with many gods to be worshipped. The Assassination of Experience by Painting, Monory, trans. Sign in via your Institution.