Cover of Of Minimal Things by Rodolphe Gasché
Of Minimal Things
Studies on the Notion of Relation
Rodolphe Gasché

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1999
400 pages.
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Cloth ISBN: 9780804736763
Paper ISBN: 9780804736770

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Of Minimal Things is an exploration and reassessment of the philosophical notion of relation. In contrast to the scholastic, ontological conception of relation as a thing of diminished being, this book views relation as the minimal and elemental theme and structure of philosophy. Drawing radical conclusions from the classical understanding of relation as a being-toward-another, it argues that rethinking relation engages the very possibility and limits of philosophical discourse.

In the author's studies of Nietzsche and Benjamin, Husserl and Heidegger, Derrida and Blanchot, relation is shown to be central to their thought and to undergo elaborations that escape the ontological, categorial, and formalist ways in which the concept has traditionally been interpreted. Comprehending relation in terms of determination, foundation, mediatization, translation, or communication, these authors are shown to draw out and refine a host of structural implications of the notion that unseat its formalist and categorial conception.

Studying the writings of Mallarmé and Kafka, the author argues that rethought from, and in light of the other to which a relation tends, philosophy necessarily opens up to and is implicated in its others, one such possible other being literature.

About the author

Rodolphe Gasché is Eugenio Donato Professor of Comparative Literature at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is the author, most recently, of The Wild Card of Reading: On Paul de Man.

"Of Minimal Things is masterful, learned, and never ceases to deliver maximal thought. Those seeking an intellectual challenge, and not just a performance, are urged to read it at least once."

—International Studies in Philosophy