In his novels, poetry and as well as in his theoretical works, the French writer and philosopher Georges Bataille developed the idea that truth is something impossible, even unbearable. It is impossible not to violate objective truth as soon as one tries to formulate it. Language and speech are not human tools toward the discovery of truth, but they rather challenge the notion of truth properly. However, maybe in this inevitable violation of truth a new concept and practice of truth emerges. Bataille looked for this unexpected concept of truth in the transgressions of eroticism. Before him, the nineteenth century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who has had an enormous impact on Bataille’s thought, and after him, Michel Foucault, who was firmly indebted to Bataille’s analyses, both have attempted to straighten out Bataille’s intuitions toward a new ontology and a new ethics of truth. Laurens ten Kate will sketch out the line from Nietzsche through Bataille to Foucault. He will demonstrate how truth can best be understood as a relational gesture, as communication.
Bio – Laurens ten Kate (Utrecht, 1958) is a philosopher and religions scientist. His thesis was entitled The Empty Place. Revolts against Instrumental Life in Bataille’s Atheology. He worked as a researcher at the Theological University Kampen, at the Heyendaal Institute for Interdisciplinary Religious Studies at the University of Nijmegen, and as a philosophy editor at Boom Publishers in Amsterdam. Since 2002 he works at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht (UvH). At present he is working at the chair group of Globalization and Communication Studies: Give Meaning in a Pluralistic World, led by Hans Alma. Ten Kate’s expertise relating to the contemporary French philosophy: In 2005 he published the collection Breekbare vrijheid (Fragile Freedom), with texts by Michel Foucault and a comprehensive introduction to his work. Further publications: Flight of the Gods (2000) and Retreating Religion (2012).
Poster design by Dayna Casey
Artwork curated by Chantell Hassan, made by Nikolas Magris