Raoul Moati

Raoul Moati
Assistant Professor
Stuart Hall, Room 205
Office Hours: Spring Quarter, by appointment
773.702.8656
Université de Paris I PhD (2010)
Teaching at UChicago since 2013
Research Interests: Twentieth-Century and Contemporary Continental Philosophy

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.

One of the most important aspects of Moati's work consists in the attempt to challenge the continental claim of the so-called "End of Metaphysics." For Moati this deconstructive claim is based on a disputable 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 has been published by Fordham University Press (in the Perspectives in Continental Philosophy series). Recently, a colloquium about Moati's work has been organized by the University of Namur (Belgium).

,

Selected Publications

Books (French and English):

Derrida/Searle, déconstruction et langage ordinaire (Paris, PUF, Philosophies, 2009), 153 pp.

Zizek, Marxisme et psychanalyse, with Ronan de Calan (Paris, PUF, Philosophies, 2012), 153 pp.

Evénements Nocturnes, Essai sur Totalité et Infini, Préface de Jocelyn Benoist (Paris, Hermann, Le Bel Aujourd’hui, 2012), 380 pp.

Derrida/Searle, Deconstruction and Ordinary Language, foreword Jean-Michel Rabaté (New-York, Columbia University Press, 2014), 165 pp.

Derrida et le langage ordinaire (Paris, Hermann, Le Bel Aujourd’hui, 2014), 460 pp.

The Night of Being: A Guide to Levinas’s Totality and Infinity, New-York, Fordham University Press, 2016. 210p.

Sartre et le mystère en pleine lumière, Paris, Cerf, 2019.

Edited Books:

Autour de S. Zizek, Psychanalyse, Marxisme, Idéalisme Allemand (Paris, PUF, Actuel Marx, 2010), 290 pp.

Du Bruit et du sensible: La pensée de J. Benoist, with D. Cohen-Levinas (Paris, Hermann, forthcoming, 2019)

Recent Articles:

"Deformalization and Phenomenology in Levinas’s Totality and Infinity," in D. de Santis, ed., Handbook to Phenomenology (Routledge, forthcoming, 2019)

"Non Being-Thrown," forthcoming in S. Hammerschlag, ed., Levinas, The Unpublished Work (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2019), 15 p.

,

Media

Raoul Moati, recorded lecture

Review of Moati, Sartre et le mystère en pleine lumière in Le Monde

,

Recent Courses

PHIL 20107 Introduction to Sartre

(FNDL 20107)

This course will be devoted Jean-Paul Sartre as a philosopher, as a writer, as a literary essayist and as an existential psychoanalysis. Sartre exposed most of his « existentialist » philosophy, based on the discovery of the absolute freedom of the human being and of her being-thrown in an meaningless world, through philosophical dry treatises, but also in using more accessible literary forms, like novels and theaters plays. 

In exploring Sartre’s multiple ways of dealing with abstract philosophical thesis (contingency of being, throwness of the human being, absolute practical responsibility of individuals), we will raise with Sartre the question about the relation between the form mobilized and the metaphysical content deployed in each case and show in which way the first is never optional to the second. 

Another aspect of our exploration will be to make sense of Sartre's practice of the literary essay about other writers through the form of the portrait. That practice is related and works as exemplifications of what Sartre calls « Existential psychoanalysis ». The main idea of Sartre’s practice of the « portrait » is to discover « modes of phenomenalization » of the contingent thing-in-itself, specific to each individual. By that means, Sartre’s Existential psychoanalysis is supposed to lead us to the discovery of the main specific world of each other writers Sartre writes about in order to make sense of the hidden meaning of their literary works. We will see in which way each of them embodies essential features of the human condition described by existentialist philosophy, especially Baudelaire, Genet and Flaubert.

 

2019-2020 Winter

PHIL 24400 Heidegger's Being and Time Division I

(FNDL 24406)

We propose a cursive reading of the section I of the masterpiece of Heidegger Being and Time looking for the very connection, as our very leading question, between the idea of being in general and the discovery of the being of human being named by Heidegger - Dasein.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
German Idealism

PHIL 51822 Political French Liberalism

It is often said in contemporary literature that the difference between different types of democracies, like democratic Republic and Constitutional Monarchy, is a superficial one compared to the true relevant divide of modernity between democratic societies and non-democratic societies. The problem with such a divide is that it entails the reduction of Modern Constitutional Monarchies to decorative regimes - in other words to a variety of Republic. 

The goal of our seminar is to go back to the French post-revolutionary period in order to examine what has been called the « British moment » of the French Intellectual History because of its quest for the foundation of a Liberal and Constitutional Monarchy in France. 

That period deals with the difficult intellectual challenge for French thinkers to overcome Absolutism in favor of Democracy without rejecting Monarchy as such. 

The « British moment » of the French Intellectual History represents then a transitional - and mostly forgotten -moment between the old regime and the contemporary French Republic. Such a particular moment of French History can be decomposed into three main sub-moments and opens three main intellectual, historical and philosophical sequences: 1789 and the debates about the role of the Monarch in the context of « Popular Sovereignty ». The important thinkers of that period we are going to read are J. Necker and Madame de Staël (and some of Rousseau). 

Then 1814, when after Napoleon’s fall France restored the Monarchy through the form of a Constitutional Monarchy. France’s intellectual life will be divided between Conservative Monarchists like Bonald and Chateaubriand and Liberal Monarchists like Benjamin Constant and Alexis de Tocqueville whose thoughts are going to prepare the advent of the Liberal period of French Monarchy after 1830’s Revolution. The goal of our careful readings of Rousseau, Necker, Staël, Bonald Chateaubriand, Constant, Tocqueville and others will be to make sense of what became in current debates about democracy mostly incomprehensible: in which way the nature of the democratic regime makes a difference to the concept of democracy one speaks about.

2019-2020 Autumn
Category
Social/Political Philosophy

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?

2018-2019 Winter
Category
Phenomenology

PHIL 24400 Heidegger's Being and Time Division I

(FNDL 24406)

We propose a cursive reading of the section I of the masterpiece of Heidegger Being and Time looking for the very connection, as our very leading question, between the idea of being in general and the discovery of the being of human being named by Heidegger - Dasein.

2018-2019 Autumn
Category
German Idealism

PHIL 50106 Sartre and Philosophy of Mind

It's been ten years that a growing interest for Phenomenology is manifest in the field of the contemporary philosophy of mind, especially amongst others phenomenologists, for Sartre. We will try to discuss most of the contemporary approaches of Sartre and try to understand what could be an actual and sustainable sartrean position today in the debates turning around the notion of self-consciousness.

2018-2019 Autumn
Category
Continental Philosophy
Philosophy of Mind

PHIL 28501 French Existentialism

Right after WWII a new way of living emerges in France: Existentialism. Existentialism becomes the name for the feeling of the Freedom recovered after France occupation by Germany. But more than a simple revolution in customs it lies on a new metaphysics of the human experience. This new metaphysics of Human's finitude is popularized by Sartre's manifesto: "Existentialism is a Humanism". The main goal of this course will be to introduce students to French Existentialism in taking as a center of our investigation Sartre's philosophy. We will try to clarify its main origins and concepts in insisting first on the meaning of the philosophical conflict between Christian Existentialism (inspired by Kierkegaard) and Atheist Existentialism (inspired by Feuerbach and Kojeve). We will also insist on the importance of Heidegger for the formation of the French Existentialism. Once this background clarified we will focus on Sartre's philosophy and on Sartre's relations to literature throughout Sartre's art of portraying from an existentialist point of view and methodology, some major French writers like Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Genet and Flaubert. These investigations will give us a privileged key in order to make sense of the Existentialism fundamental claim following which Human life must be understood as an existential engagement towards the Impossible goal of being God. From an existentialist point of view as a matter of fact: God is no longer the principle of existence (as it is in Classical Metaphysics and Theology) but the Goal that finite existence tries to embody in vain.

Open to students who have been admitted to the Paris Humanities Program. This course will be taught at the Paris Humanities Program.

2017-2018 Spring
Category
Continental Philosophy

PHIL 20109/30109 Sartre's Being and Nothingness

(FNDL 20109)

We propose here a cursive reading of Sartre's masterpiece of 1943, explaining the whole project of Sartre's phenomenological ontology. For that we will focus on his polemical relation to German Idealism (mostly Hegel) and to German Phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger) in order to clarify the meaning of notions that Sartre inherits from these two traditions like in-itself, for-itself, intentionality, existence, selfhood, pre-reflexive consciousness, negativity, nothingness etc. (B)

Prior knowledge on Descartes, Spinoza, German Idealism, Phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger) and knowledge in French are highly recommended to attend this class.

2017-2018 Winter
Category
Continental Philosophy
German Idealism

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."

2016-2017 Autumn
Category
Phenomenology

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.

2016-2017 Autumn
Category
Continental Philosophy
,

For full list of Raoul Moati's courses back to the 2013-14 academic year, see our searchable course database.