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By Paul de Man

Editor note: Edited and with an creation by means of Andrzej Warminski
Publish 12 months note: First released in 1996

Paul De Man's acceptance used to be irreparably broken via the revelation after his demise of his wartime anti-Semitism, obscuring a few legitimate highbrow contributions to the sector of aesthetics. This choice of philosophical essays, compiled by way of Andrzej Warminski of the collage of California, argues for the shut connections among artwork and politics and paintings and technological know-how. He discusses Kant and Hegel, whose significant contributions to aesthetics are much less identified than their paintings on rationality and morality. And in an essay on Schiller he deplores, quite naively, the poet/playwright's loss of philosophical problem for the root of his paintings.

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Conclusions" was the lecture on Benjamin's "The Task of the Translator," now included in The Resistance to Theory. 24 D INTRODUCTION: ALLEGORIES OF REFERENCE know, it will take us back to the second all too predictably—in numerical order, as it were, one by one. " That the rigorous epistemology's exposition should be what makes it impossible to decide it as proof or as allegory already provides us with an indication of where the problem lies: it of course "has to do" with the epistemology's own discourse—indeed, with the referential (and thus rhetorical) status of its own language of definition and proof.

Mermaids and unicorns are mentioned in another context in bk. 3, chap. 3, p. 25. 42 D THE EPISTEMOLOGY OF METAPHOR most fantastic entities by dint of the positional power inherent in language. They can dismember the texture of reality and reassemble it in the most capricious of ways, pairing man with woman or human being with beast in the most unnatural shapes. Something monstrous lurks in the most innocent of catachreses: when one speaks of the legs of the table or the face of the mountain, catachresis is already turning into prosopopeia, and one begins to perceive a world of potential ghosts and monsters.

Blaise Pascal, "The Mind of the Geometrician," in Great Shorter Works of Pascal, trans. Emilie Caillet (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1948), p. 190. INTRODUCTION: ALLEGORIES OF REFERENCE D 25 back to something other than the relations among signs in that they try to say something about the nature of the chose signified by the sign. ) The geometrician, then, in order to know what he is talking about, must be able to keep nominal definitions and real definitions apart. Can he really do so? " As soon as the distinction between nominal and real definitions is instituted—or "enunciated," as de Man puts it—it runs into problems on account of Pascal's having to introduce what he calls "primitive terms" into his epistemological discourse.

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