Auto-affection and the Curvature of Spacetime: Derrida Reading Heidegger Reading Kant

Cathrine Bjørnholt Michaelsen*

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

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This paper has a twofold objective. First, it engages with the interrelation of time, space, and matter in Kant, Heidegger, and Derrida and questions whether and how this interrelation effects the possibility of self-relation. In Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics Heidegger suggests that the very structure of subjectivity is constituted by what he calls the ‘pure self-affection’ of time and thus the possibility of self-relation is intimately bound up with the temporalizing of time. In his 1964–65 seminar, Heidegger: the Question of Being and History, Derrida translates this pure affection of time into the more generic term ‘auto-affection,’ which will remain a pivotal reference point for his deconstruction of the metaphysical privileging of time as presence. Derrida shows how the (im)possibility of auto-affection is bound up not only with time but also with space, or rather with the ‘spacing of time’ that he also refers to as ‘the trace.’ Second, the paper moves across the frontiers of philosophy and physics posing anew the question concerning the interrelations of temporality, spatiality, and materiality. With reference to what in general relativity is called ‘the curvature of spacetime,’ the efficacy of materiality in the movement of auto-affection is called into question.
TidsskriftInternational Journal of Philosophical Studies
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)411-432
Antal sider22
StatusUdgivet - 2020

Bibliografisk note

Published online: 22 May 2020


  • Temporality
  • Spatiality
  • Materiality
  • Transcendental aesthetics
  • Deconstruction
  • General relativity