Jean-Luc Nancy and the myth of the individual

Deconstructing dualisms

The dualisms of mind and body, individual and community, have troubled Western philosophy for centuries. Jean Luc Nancy who died on August 23, aged 81, made it his mission to overcome them. Despite his incredible wide range of interests and prolific output, two key ideas always remained at the centre of his thought: The individual is meaningless without a community, and the self only makes sense as an embodied, social being, writes Peter Salmon.


People are strange. For the philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, who died on August 23 at the age of 81, this was no platitude. As he himself noted, it was this strangeness which drove a career of thought not only onwards but outwards – over 200 books, in some of the most scintillating prose gifted to us by a philosopher, covering subjects as diverse as philosophy, literature, politics, film, sexuality, contemporary art, history, and most recently the coronavirus pandemic, that ‘all too human virus.’ It is no surprise th

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