"Extraordinary weirdness, in the best sense possible:" An interview with Simon Critchley

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In a very revealing—and apparently boozy—interview with Full Stop, Simon Critchley recently opened up on a wide range of topics, discussing at length everything from love and death to faith and politics, and touching on how recent turns in his life set his political and philosophical worldview in a new direction. The discussion usefully clarifies many of the important theoretical moves he makes in his new book The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology and provides an immediately salient political context—especially in light of the Occupy movements—in which to understand his reflections on the relation between love, representation, democracy and belief.

For instance, he says:

Faith is a subjective commitment to something that places a demand on you, that places a call on you. There are people that will believe that the source of that call is a divinity; there are people that will believe that the source of that call isn't. It's not for me to decide one way or the other - the experience of faith is the same. If I understand faith as a faith in the existence of a deity, I still can't make that leap - and then philosophy is atheism. But if faith is understood as, let's say, an ethical disposition of the self as a kind of commitment that the self makes, then I think faith makes sense to me. So the word "faith" can be used in very different ways. But it's a question that I do ask myself and perhaps should ask myself on a deeper level, I think. One of the formulations I come up with in The Faith of the Faithless is that politics is association without representation. It's a form of being together that doesn't necessarily require the forms of voting, representative assemblies, parliaments, houses of congress and all the rest. So politics is really at its essence a form of direct democracy. The Occupy Movement was playing that out, I think, in a very incredible way.


Visit Full Stop to read the interview in full.

 

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