Sunday, November 29, 2015

Finitude Poised for Metamorphosis: Understanding Emmanuel Falque's Sense of Analogy

Emmanuel Falque's The Metamorphosis of Finitude: An Essay on Birth and Resurrection (NY: Fordham Univ. Pr., 2012; first published as Metamorphose de la Finitude: Essai Philosophique sur la Naissance et la Resurrection, 2004), presents 'finitude' within the context of the 'preemptive right of the infinite over the finite' in modern philosophy and phenomenology (MF, 16-17). Falque rejects the notion that finitude has its origin in the infinite, the notion that finitude is a snippet of the infinite within its tracing of infinity. Hence, we, in our finitude, do not first see ourselves as some imperfect piece of the perfect, but first see ourselves as defined by our facticity, our being within the plane of immanence, which, for us is 'impassable' (not impassible). Heavily indebted to Heidegger, Falque proceeds from our thrownness, our birth into a Dasein whose future is foreclosed by death. How shall we think Falque's 'finitude' productively?

If infinity is like a 'line,' a vector extending in two directions infinitely, then finitude is like a 'line segment,' with its end points of birth and death. This segment does not actually come from any pre-existing line as defined in basic geometry, but as a thing foreclosed in a being whose ends are clearly defined. Finitude knows of nothing in excess of its endpoints; it knows only of itself. This 'positiveness of finitude' is independent of the finite 'insufficiency of man' and of the infinite ( the plenitude of God), and it alone shapes Dasein (MF 18). Still, we must continue to think of the segment as in some way detached (I use the term advisedly in light of this theological motif in Meister Elkhart) from the line. Indeed, Falque depends on the play of this relation as he interprets the Incarnation as finitude coming face to face with the infinite as the Logos interdigitates with the flesh.

The likeness of the line segment to the line plays out in the 'apperceptive transposition' of suffering of the flesh of the Son to the Father (MF 67-74). The image and likeness of the segment to the line is the affinity of the one to the other. This image and likeness though plays on the horizon of finitude and the plane of immanence (not a 'concept' of immanence). The analogy of finitude and the infinite derives then solely from the Incarnation, where the very finitude of Dasein rests in the perichoresis of Trinity, which does not threaten in any way the integrity of the divine life (MF, 88-90).

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