Raoul Moati received his PHD from the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, where he taught for several years. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy of the University of Chicago. He is also a Member of the Chicago Center for Jewish Studies, a Member of The Emmanuel Levinas Center (Université Paris-Sorbonne) and an Associate Member of the Husserl Archives (Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris). Raoul Moati works and teaches principally in Phenomenology, Existentialism, Continental Philosophy, Philosophy of Language and Metaphysics. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Les Oeuvres complètes (Complete Works) of Emmanuel Levinas published by Grasset (Paris).
His work primarily deals with the philosophical conflict between Deconstruction and Ordinary Language Philosophy. His first book (Derrida/Searle, deconstruction et language ordinaire (Paris, PUF, 2009, New-York, Columbia University Press, 2014) focuses on Derrida’s and Searle’s controversy about Austin. A systematic work on Derrida and the Ordinary Language (Derrida et le langage ordinaire) has been published in 2014.
In the most recent phase of his work, Raoul Moati tries to challenge the continental claim of the so-called “End of Metaphysics”. For Moati this deconstructive claim is based on a questionable understanding of the concept of Metaphysics. Moati tries to problematize this question in his latest book, which consists in a very close reading of Levinas’s masterpiece Totality and Infinity (Evénements Nocturnes, Essai sur Totalité et Infini). An English version of this book is currently in preparation and will be published by Fordham University Press (in Perspectives in Continental Philosophy series).
List of Publications (DOC)
Raoul Moati's recorded lecture(s).
office: Stuart, 205
On leave Winter and Spring 2017
PHIL 50108. The Passion of Being - On Sartre. This course will be devoted to the reading of texts of Sartre. Our exploration will elucidate what Sartre names "Existential Psychoanalysis". In order to have an understanding of what is at stake under this concept, we will first explore its role in the economy of Sartre's ontology (Being and Nothingness and Question of Method). In a second step, we will try to explore the several ways in which Sartre is going to put into practice the main principles of his psychoanalytical method, through the readings of his essays on Literature, on Baudelaire, Genet, Flaubert and others. Autumn 2016.
PHIL 23205. Introduction to Phenomenology. This course will be devoted to the exploration of one of the most important philosophical movements of the Twentieth Century: Phenomenology. Our exploration will take as guideline the following question that we will have to clarify and to answer during the quarter: is there a trans-phenomenality of being?
We will see that Husserl and Heidegger's answer to that question is negative whereas Sartre's answer is positive. The orientation of the quarter will be defined by the attempt to defend Sartre's position concerning this philosophical issue and to raise then a second question entailed by our answer to the first: does the discovery of the trans-phenomenality of being imply to give up the phenomenological method coming from Husserl and Heidegger or to redefine it? Autumn 2016.
PHIL 23205. Introduction to Phenomenology. The aim of this course is to introduce students to one of the most important and influential traditions in the European Philosophy of the 20th Century: Phenomenology. The main task of this course will be to present Phenomenology’s main concepts and the meaning of Phenomenology’s transformations from Husserl to Heidegger, Sartre, Levinas and Henry.
The fundamental credo of Phenomenology consists in the emphasis laid upon phenomena given to consciousness. This emphasis coincides with the “return to things in themselves” as formulated by Husserl. What can this kind of return actually mean? And what does this claim suggest about philosophical practices prior to phenomenology, idealism or empiricism? In what way, for Husserl, was classical philosophy not able to give access to things such as they are truly given ? And what is the meaning of such idea of « givenness ». Does Phenomenology fall into the so-called « myth of the Given » . No future phenomenologists after Husserl will question the fundamental idea of returning to things in themselves thanks to the phenomenological importance given to phenomena, but they will question the privilege of intentional consciousness postulated by Husserl - Heidegger will expand phenomenology to the ancient question of “Being” (thanks to the existential clarification of the Husserlian concept of Intentionality) and Levinas will question Husserl’s and Heidegger’s approaches of phenomenology - intentional and existential - as falling into the Western problem of Ontology and Totality against Otherness and Ethics. As we will see, even if Phenomenology coincides with the philosophical description of our "Openness to Exteriority", this openness - Intentional, Existential or Ethical - entails necessarily not the abandonment, but a radical redefinition of the concept of Subjective Immanence." Spring 2016.
PHIL 51415. Sartrean Meditations. This seminar will be devoted mostly to the reading of texts of Sartre. Our goal will be to try to define the meaning of Sartre’s project of elaborating an existential psychoanalysis. In what sense can it be an alternative to Freudian or Lacanian psychoanalysis? We will try to follow Sartre in the elaboration of such a project in reading texts in which Sartre develops an existential psychoanalysis of French writers like Baudelaire, Genet and Flaubert. Autumn 2015.
PHIL 23408/33408. Introduction to Being and Time. (=FNDL 23408) The aim of this course will be to introduce to one of the most important and discussed work pertaining to the continental field of the Philosophy of the XXth Century: Heidegger's Being and Time. Our course will be structured by two main movements. On the one hand we will introduce to the main and fundamental concepts developed by Heidegger in his work through analytic sessions devoted to the most important sections of Sein und Zeit. On the other hand, we will follow the way Sein und Zeit was received and discussed in the field of French Contemporary Continental Philosophy - especially through Derrida's and Levinas's interpretations and discussions of Sein und Zeit. The double structure of our itinerary obeys to a philosophical necessity which will take the form of a leading question: is it possible to think beyond the primacy of the horizon of Being - drawn by Heidegger in Sein und Zeit - anything like an "Otherwise than Being"? And if so, we will have to elucidate why and in what sense such an alternative horizon of sense does not entails the abandonment of the Heideggerian Question of Being, but leads, on the contrary, to the full explanation of the background without which the Question of Being raised by Sein und Zeit becomes unintelligible. Winter 2015.
PHIL 23006. Metaphysics of Society - An Introduction to Levinas's Totality and Infinity. This course is devoted to one of the most important philosophical books of the continental tradition, Levinas's Totality and Infinity. We will propose a systematic reading of Levinas's masterpiece in order to show the main aspects of Levinas's philosophical elaboration. The first aspect of our course will be to insist on the way Levinas takes position in the field of German and French phenomenology, in what consists exactly his technical and systematic critique of Husserl, Heidegger and Sartre's conceptualities. We will, for that reason, propose to make Totality and Infinity in resonance with the most important sections of Husserl's Ideas for a Pure Phenomenology and a Philosophical Phenomenology, Heidegger's Being and Time and Sartre's Being and Nothingness. This preliminary step will give us the conceptual means required in order to understand the exact philosophical position of Levinas towards the concept of society - that Levinas inherits directly from the French Sociological tradition (Durkheim in particular). Once such a background clarified it will become possible to understand Levinas's own elaboration towards the notion of society and for what reason the social experience coincides for him with a metaphysical experience - in other words in what sense Levinas can claim that the social relationship articulates what Descartes called the Idea of the Infinite. Such a second step will lead us to a last step which constitutes the ultimate demonstrative goal of our course: we will indeed try to show the necessity to overcome with Levinas the universalization of the notion of phenomenon coming from Husserl and Heidegger, to propose, in other words, a deflationist understanding of the notion of phenomenon. Such a deflationist understanding does not imply nevertheless the abandonment of the notion of phenomenon. On the contrary the metaphysics of society that we will propose, will lead us to think society as the fundamental presupposition from which the notion of phenomena coming from the Phenomenological tradition can find its logical meaning. What will be at stake is nothing else than the possibility of thinking anew the notion of Metaphysics in order to overcome the so-called "end of Metaphysics" proclaimed by Heidegger and Derrida. Winter 2015.
PHIL 56205. Radical Immanence. This course will be based on a direct confrontation between Sartre’s and Michel Henry’s phenomenological works. The main goal of this course will be to reintroduce the concept of immanence in a phenomenological sense beyond its critique by the philosophies of existence – of the so-called extatic dimension of human existence. The main goal of this course will be then to introduce two Sartre’s and Michel Henry’s phenomenological masterpieces (mainly Sartre’s The Transcendence of the Ego (la Transcendance de l’Ego) and Henry’s The Essence of Manifestation (L’Essence de la manifestation)). Does the discovery of our intentional or existential openness to the world implies necessarily the renunciation to the notion of immanence or do we have to elaborate a phenomenological meaning for the concept of immanence in order to go further in the comprehension of the transcendent nature of our being? This will be the leading question of our seminar. Autumn 2014.
23411/33411. Being, Time and Otherness. This course will be devoted to two early Essays of Levinas, Time and Other and Existence and Existents. We will try to situate these two works in the context of the French reception of German Existentialism. The major goal of this course will be to show that the concept of Otherness in Levinas’s philosophy does not entail a simple abandonment of the Heideggerian “ontological difference” but lies in a new deduction of it that entails a new concept of Time, beyond its ontological (and Heideggerian) meaning. We will try to explain how this new deduction of the ontological difference is based on the elucidation of phenomenological events that remain hidden to the so-called “phenomenological reduction” and that requires a reform of the phenomenological method that Levinas inherits from Husserl and Heidegger. Thanks to this new method, Phenomenology can be accomplished as an investigation that is able to go beyond intentional objects. Autumn 2013.
54805. The Concept of Metaphysics: Heidegger, Levinas, Derrida. This course will be devoted to the confrontation of two of the most important masterpieces of Continental Philosophy: Being and Time of Heidegger and Totality and Infinity of Levinas. In this course we shall try first to focus on the Heideggerian project of a “deconstruction of the metaphysics of presence”. Against Heidegger, Levinas maintains that ontology cannot be fundamental—the question of being at the core of Heidegger's project cannot just be directed to one's own tacit understanding of being. If the question of being is an actual question, its addressee must be an Other. Levinas teaches that metaphysical experience of otherness cannot be captured in Heideggerian fundamental ontology. Nevertheless, Derrida in “Violence and Metaphysics” challenges Levinas’s idea of a Metaphysical Experience that could be entirely free of Ontology and Phenomenality (in the Heidegger's senses of these terms). Against Levinas he defends the the idea that the Other cannot be identified to a Metaphysical Presence (as it is for Levinas) but necessarily coincides with an Absence and a Trace. We will try to identify and to criticize such a reduction of the Levinas' Metaphysics to the so-called "Metaphysics of Presence" identified and deconstructed by Heidegger and Derrida. Through the analysis of the philosophical conflicts between Heidegger, Levinas and Derrida about metaphysics, the fundamental goal of this course will be to defend a sense for Metaphysics after the so-called “End of Metaphysics". Autumn 2013.
23205. Introduction to Phenomenology. The aim of this course is to introduce students to one of the most important and influential traditions in the European Philosophy of the 20th Century: Phenomenology. The main task of this course will be to present Phenomenology’s main concepts and the meaning of Phenomenology’s transformations from Husserl to Heidegger, Sartre, Levinas and Henry.
The fundamental credo of Phenomenology consists in the emphasis laid upon phenomena given to consciousness. This emphasis coincides with the “return to things in themselves” as formulated by Husserl. What can this kind of return actually mean? And what does this claim suggest about philosophical practices prior to phenomenology, idealism or empiricism? In what way, for Husserl, was classical philosophy not able to give access to things such as they are truly given ? And what is the meaning of such idea of « givenness » ? Does Phenomenology fall into the so-called « myth of the Given » ?
No future phenomenologists after Husserl will question the fundamental idea of returning to things in themselves thanks to the phenomenological importance given to phenomena, but they will question the privilege of intentional consciousness postulated by Husserl - Heidegger will expand phenomenology to the ancient question of “Being” (thanks to the existential clarification of the Husserlian concept of Intentionality) and Levinas will question Husserl’s and Heidegger’s approaches of phenomenology - intentional and existential - as falling into the Western problem of Ontology and Totality against Otherness and Ethics. As we will see, even if Phenomenology coincides with the philosophical description of our "Openness to Exteriority", this openness - Intentional, Existential or Ethical - entails necessarily not the abandonment, but a radical redefinition of the concept of Subjective Immanence." Winter 2014.
27000. History of Philosophy III. German Idealism. PQ: Completion of the general education requirement in humanities. This course is an introduction to German Idealism, through readings of Kant’s first and second Critiques, Fichte’s Vocation of the Scholar and Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. We will focus especially on the concept of “recognition” and examine why for Kant and Fichte the social recognition - the recognition of the Other as a free agent - becomes intelligible thanks to practical reason. Once this background clarified, we will then discuss Hegel’s famous “Master-Slave Dialectic” and try to explain the meaning of the so-called “struggle for recognition” in the economy of the Phenomenology of Spirit. Winter 2014.