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By Christopher Fynsk

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There is no denying the vast and insidious reach of the reigning powers in the global orders (and certainly no denying their terrible ecological and dehumanizing effects). 26 When this event occurs, everything seems to be at stake, and in a certain sense this is indeed the case (for one moves at that point to the grounds of meaning itself). 27 It cannot be set up against a global horizon and in view of global transformation without being stripped of its eventful character (and the material relations exposed there).

The Wction springs from this aporia—the impossible (but necessary) task of honoring the Wnitude of existence in a political project adequate to its adversary. The Wction, I should emphasize, presents itself as such; what it performs is at least as important as the idea it seeks to sketch. And indeed, in its imaginative verve and with the tint of a Nietzschean menace (for the discomfort of some, as Granel would love to say, and for the delight and encouragement of others), it succeeds in communicating the notions of freedom and public action that are crucial to the critical undertaking he envisions.

To be sure, Derrida is well aware that there has always been a place in the university for discussion of the rhetorical effects of language, or its “force”; but his argument is that no institution has recognized de droit the place of the event in the discourses it sanctions—namely, the possibility that those discourses could alter the contract that authorizes them. No institution has sanctioned (and above all, sought) an alteration of the symbolic order it represents—an act of speech, in other words, that would constitute an intervention in the symbolic.

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